Best Films of 2016
2017 is just a few days away but 2016 wouldn’t be complete without taking a look back at what the year had to offer. But rather than wallow in the bastard this year has been, we’re taking a look at a cracking year of cinema. We’re not doing our usual Top 10, instead we’re going to take a look the year through categories. So without further ado, here’s the best the big screen had to offer in 2016!
Best Documentary of 2016 – O.J.: Made in America
O.J.: Made in America may be 467 minutes short, but it’s without doubt one of the absolute must-sees this year, and almost certainly one of the best pieces of sporting documentary ever made. Many of us over a certain age vividly remember the court case of O.J. Simpson, but very few of us probably understood the context of it, and most importantly, cannot possibly fathom how a crime so blatant went unpunished. Ezra Edelman’s epic piece explores the extraordinary details of Simpson’s life, the case, as well as two of America’s biggest fixations; race and celebrity. This documentary deals with it all.
Best Musical of 2016 – La La Land
Whiplash was 2015’s indie darling and writer/director Damien Chazelle was back in late 2016 with another jaw-dropper in La La Land. The pair of films couldn’t be any more different with La La Land taking a pastel-filled, nostalgic look at the magic of Old Hollywood through the eyes of young love with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. This quintessential boy-meets-girl fairy tale is the feel-good film of the year and looks just immaculate. Expect this to feature heavily come Oscar night…
Best World Cinema of 2016 – Victoria
Flicks with a gimmick often don’t live up to the potential billing but German single-take thriller Victoria delivers and then some. Yes, Sebastian Schipper’s film was technically released in 2015 but it didn’t receive much coverage outside Germany until this year. Plus this is our list and we’ll do what we want… The film follows a Spanish girl in Berlin who winds up helping out four men she meets in the street to pull off a robbery. It’s a gripping thriller in its own right, but it’s all the more incredible given the whole 138 minutes are presented using a single camera shot. An incredible achievement.
Best Horror of 2016 – Train to Busan
Another one from the World Cinema Collection of 2016, Train to Busan is Korea’s take on the zombie epic. With clear nods to George Romero, Train to Busan follows a man and his estranged daughter as they become trapped with other passengers on a speeding train packed full of zombies. It’s scary and gory, yes, but it’s also got something to say. The film broke the Korean record with over 10 million punters flocking to the cinema, and with talks of an American adaptation on the way, make sure you watch this adrenaline-filled social satire zombie juggernaut first.
Best Indie Film of 2016 – Moonlight
Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight follows the story of a young man dealing with his dysfunctional home life as well as his sexuality during Miami’s ‘War on Drugs’. It’s not an easy watch by any means but we’d defy anyone to come out of a screening of Moonlight and not take something profound away. Unsurprisingly, Moonlight is one of the bookies’ frontrunners for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Best Family Film of 2016 – Finding Dory
Pixar always delivers a family favourite and 2016 was no different with the sequel to the much loved Finding Nemo. This time around it was Nemo’s not-so-helpful Blue Tang Fish friend, Dory, to travel across the Big Blue to find her way home. A toss-up between this and Kubo and the Two Strings, Finding Dory just shaded the category thanks to its heart-warming and timely message about family, loss, and the acceptance of the other.
Best Comic Book Film of 2016 – Captain America: Civil War
2016 was the year Marvel really flexed their muscles in Hollywood. While DC’s attempts to break that stranglehold virtually all flopped, Marvel delivered the best comic film since the first Avengers with Captain America: Civil War – essentially the third instalment in the Avengers series. And this time, things got serious with lines in the sand drawn between #TeamCap and #TeamStark. Civil War was everything a blockbuster should be; great action, spellbinding set pieces, bellyaching wit, emotional narratives and bold character dynamics. Perfect.
Best Comedy of 2016 – Deadpool
Not content with just one of the biggest hitters of the year, Marvel also gave us a new take on the comic book genre with Deadpool. Packed with quick-witted humour, Ryan Reynolds breaks the fourth wall nearly as many times as he makes dick jokes. Vulgar? Yes. Knowing? Yes. But Deadpool is the antihero we not only want, he’s the comedian the genre needs.
Best Sci-Fi of 2016 – Arrival
It’s hard to be original when it comes to alien films these days – just ask the makers of Independence Day: Resurgence – but up and coming director Denis Villeneuve delivered something as innovative as it was beautiful in Arrival. Having made our Top 10 last year with Sicario, the director once again uses a female protagonist to create a genuinely unique narrative. As twelve mysterious Pringle-shaped alien spaceships appear across the globe, a linguist played by Amy Adams is tasked to communicate with the aliens alongside a mathematician played by Jeremy Renner. You’d usually expect chaos and warfare to ensue – instead Arrival delivers one of the most heartfelt and genuine movies of 2016.
Best Film of 2016 – Room
It feels almost cheating to make a film nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars our film of the year. But believe it or not, Room was released in the UK in January – and for us, there’s not been a better film in the eleven months that followed. An adaptation of the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue, Lenny Abrahamson’s film centres around Brie Larson and her five-year old son, Jack (played by Jacob Tremblay), as they’re held captive by a rarely seen kidnapper in a room at the back of his garden. Though of course intense, the film being revealed through mostly Jack’s fairy tale perspective turns something turbulent and disturbing into something unique and oddly uplifting. The performances from both Larson and Tremblay are staggering, with Abrahamson’s direction perfectly assured. We won’t be forgetting Room in a hurry. Well, for at least a year anyway!
So there we have it – our favourite films of 2016! Let us know what you think in the comments below or send us abuse over on Twitter!