10. Rogue One
Though I have my gripes with Rogue One, I realised something on my second trip to the cinema to see it. Every time I sit in that chair and prepare to journey to a galaxy far far away, I am enveloped in a universe that I love and adore. Though I know Rogue One only works for dedicated fans of the series, I fortunately fall into that bracket. That may not make it a great film, but it means it does its job just fine for me.
Finishing with Moana and starting with Zootopia, Disney had a pretty good year for animation. Interweaving political allegory and race relations effortlessly into a story about a bunny’s dreams of being a cop allow for a film to be enjoyed by all ages. Zootopia represents Disney’s continuation to push the boat further out on what can be tackled in animation, and with each and every success you can only assume their confidence grows and grows.
8. Don’t Breathe
The only thing that stops Don’t Breathe from being flawless is that it doesn’t know where to stop, and at points becomes too gratuitous for its own good. In one scene most of the audience around me at the time were enveloped in an uncomfortable squeamish laughter, and that’s not the emotion you won’t to put across in a movie like this. A smell blemish however in what is a perfectly inventive thriller.
7. Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek Beyond is dedicated to the memories of Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, and I hope they would be proud of its achievement. It’s a film that perfectly celebrates the franchise on its 50th year and sums up everything it stands for. Both Nimoy and Yelchin have played their part in that legacy and nobody shall forget that, but by no means is this the final frontier of it all.
6. The Nice Guys
It’s a shame there aren’t more film out there like The Nice Guys. Yet the endangered species that is the ‘original screenplay’ looks like it may become ‘extinct’ in the near future. Despite plenty of fans of The Nice Guys imploring everyone and their mothers to see the film, its box office representation appears to have been lacklustre. If you’re still yet to see it, I implore you to check it out.
5. The Jungle Book
Shoe-horned nostalgia aside, there was little to struggle with in The Jungle Book. What John Favreau has done is create a new and original adaptation that can easily stand side-by-side with its animated predecessor. Favreau is obviously a man with both great respect for Kipling and Disney, and that shines through in the meticulous care he has so obviously taken in every aspect of his creation. In a time where remakes and rehashes are so common, it’s hard to argue with that push when every so often we get films like this.
4. Everybody Wants Some!!
And with this film’s release, the greatest bromance story was born. Though my very use of the word may have you thinking that Everybody Wants Some!! is a film to avoid, let me quickly turn you back to the cinema with haste, as this is one you shouldn’t miss. The follow up to his magnum opus Boyhood, Richard Linklater has provided an equally simple yet brilliant tale that plays as an almost spiritual sequel to his 1993 film Dazed and Confused. Set over just a few days, this tale of a bunch of raucous college kids has you craving the party lifestyle, simply because it comes across so undeniably infectious.
You really do struggle to see how Moana could not be a success. Even where Disney has in the past been perpetrators of cultural appropriation in skewing ethnic diversity for profitable gain, Moana seems inherently respectful in its depiction of Polynesian culture. Moana is a sure fire hit and potential future standout in Disney’s catalogue of classics, not because it managed to hit the right notes in elements like story and song, but more because all those parts come together to create one mesmerizing feature film.
On the whole, the beauty of Arrival is that it poses its message within a narrative that is itself clever, interesting and therefore absorbing. Because of that, it feels humanistic despite the far reaching concept. Though, it’s interesting to think that even though Arrival’s science fiction monarch comes from the fact that it is a story about aliens, maybe the idea of a unified humanity is itself science fiction. After 2016 it may appear that way, yet Arrival is a film that reminds me there is still those out there who believe in the power of unity, and thanks to Dennis Villeneuve’s daring and creative concept, this film will remain at the pinnacle of sci-fi for years to come.
1. Hell or High Water
I have not yet stopped thinking about this film since seeing it last September, and with it brought a reinvigorated love for the Western. Hell or High Water is entertaining, beautifully written and perfectly directed, but more importantly, thematically it places itself on the cinematic timeline for its representation of the Western in the modern day. Though it’s early days, Hell or High Water has the potential to be looked upon in the future as an iconic American tale, one that is as enjoyable as it is important.