Swiss Army Man
Daniel Radcliffe. Flatulence. How can this NOT be on the top ten list?
Set in a pixelated world of Disney, Zootopia explores the themes of segregation and race as all the animal species in Zootopia have put aside their natural positions on the food chain to coexist in harmony. Judy Hopps (a rabbit) moves to the big city to become a police officer and ends up getting involved in a major crime despite her superiors’ doubts.
Hell or High Water
Texas brothers Toby (Chris Pine), and Tanner (Ben Foster), join forces years to rob branches of the bank threatening to foreclose on their family land. They soon find themselves pursued by Texas Ranger, Marcus (Jeff Bridges) looking for one last grand pursuit on the eve of his retirement, and his half-Comanche partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham). As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their scheme, and with the Rangers on their heels, a showdown looms at the crossroads where the values of the Old and New West murderously collide. A taut thriller, original in the bland sea of remakes/reboots and sequels.
You can catch Barbara Fieschi-Jone’s review in the movie review section, but in case you missed it, this is Tom Ford’s second film, based on the book Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, which follows a Los Angeles gallery owner (Amy Adams) who is surprised by the arrival of a novel by her ex that imagines a couple who come to a violent end. In many ways, the film is book-like with the way it requires the audience to fill in a story’s gaps with their own imagination.
Told through the medium of realistic stop-motion puppets, there’s an oddly hopeful, fatalistic yet witty vibe to Charlie Kaufman’s tale about a man in a hotel who only sees the same face and hears the same voice on everyone. Perhaps not for everybody, Anomalisa showcases what can be achieved through some old age techniques with new technology.
Three people in a bunker. The world outside may or may not have ended. This is a character study where you’re not sure who to trust or what’s going on, the tension is palpable and there’s a constant unnerving throughout the whole film. John Goodman gives one of his best performances and Mary Elizabeth Winstead matches him scene for scene. It’s a shame that this didn’t receive more attention from audiences, as it was a gem of a movie.
The Nice Guys
Shane Black is the go-to script guy for mismatched buddy cop films. Lethal Weapon. The Long Kiss Goodnight. The Last Boy Scout. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. And this year he directed and wrote another squabbling duo set in the 1970’s underworld. Ryan Gosling plays the bumbling P.I. matched with Russell Crowe’s cantankerous enforcer as they make their way through the seedy underbelly of the showbiz landscape looking for a missing girl. Galvanised by a dry and quick narrative, The Nice Guys was another film overlooked by audiences this year, but deserves a view.
The first Marvel film to dip its toe into the unchartered world of adult humour (or juvenile humour, dependent on how you view it), Deadpool may seem like a adolescent placement in the top 10 best films of 2016, but in a world saturated with so many dull or uninspired superhero movies, Ryan Reynolds’ take on the Merc with a Mouth was a breath of fresh air. The X-Men spin-off is an 18 certificate, sharp, and full of fast-hitting jokes. One of the most hilarious and quotable films of this year, Deadpool broke the fourth wall (staying true to character) and upped the ante for other superhero movies, stating that sometimes you don’t have to pander to the studio execs and make a film 12A in order for the targeted demographic to enjoy a film. After the success of Deadpool, it’s not surprising to see more marvel films go for the dreaded ‘R’ Rated certificate. Let’s see how next year’s ‘Logan,’ fares, but is it too little too late for the man made of adamantium? We’ll have to wait and see. Snikt.
I, Daniel Blake
A gateway into real-life misery through systemic cruelty, Loach’s work is also an excoriating attack on Britain’s welfare system. Daniel Blake is an elderly carpenter, recovering from a serious heart attack and expected to look for work he can’t do. One of the few films of 2016 to open the eyes of the apathetic, to lay witness of the bureaucratic nightmare that London 2016 has to offer and how our failure-encouraging computer automated service system is shockingly still operating, I, Daniel Blake may be a hard film to watch, but undeniable to ignore.
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster is one of the oddest movies in recent memory—and one of the most hilarious ones as well. In this dark comedy/drama, a single man checks into a hotel where he must find a mate within a month or be transformed into the animal. It stars Colin Farrell in his most impressively understated performance to date. There is something truly sad and reflective about the narrative, which takes some violent and surprising turns, despite the movie’s billing as a comedy. It’s the kind of movie that stays with you long after the credits have rolled, and deservedly takes the top billing as my best film of 2016.
List by Anthony Self
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