Now that 2017 has officially began, here’s a quick look back at the brightest sparks that a rather mediocre year of film had to offer:
10 . Ghostbusters
No, I have not become confused and mixed up my lists for best and worst, this was genuinely one of the films that I had the most fun watching, the comedy was non-stop and Kate McKinnon’s slow-motion moment of kicking ghost ass is one of my favourite moments of the year. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but when you’re willing to give it a chance, it’s purely enjoyable and will be something I’ll continue to watch for years to come.
9. 10 Cloverfield Lane
The link to Cloverfield within the last few weeks before release had everyone scrambling for what this could be, as it turned out it had very little to do with the original film and yet it became one of the best mystery or thriller of the year. John Goodman’s performance turned him from a gentle giant to someone you wouldn’t want to come across in a dark alley…or basement. It got suspense running at an all time high and keeps you on your toes, even on the second watch when you know what’s coming.
8. The Hateful Eight
Now the cinematic release of this one became a little difficult when Tarantino became protective of his film and the way it should be viewed but he had good reason because it’s yet another visually stunning film. It may not have been what you were expecting from a man with so many vibrant and non-stop adrenaline films but for a film which is 90% talking, it’s fascinating to watch; at any given moment you have no idea what may happen, who you can trust, which are the bad guys and which are the good, who will survive. It didn’t manage to get the real impact it should have but Tarantino’s unbreakable streak of quality cinema has remained intact.
7. Sing Street
Simply one of the most entertaining and funny films that’s been released not only this year, but several that preceded it. Music blended with teenage infatuation and imperfection, a great cast with a great soundtrack and directed by John Carney (Once, Begin Again) who seems to have cornered the market on music based film. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will make you remember the feeling of being young and believing anything is possible.
6. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Taika Waititi made a brilliant mockumentary with What We Do in the Shadows, he then took that one step further with Wilderpeople, introducing the world to who has to be one of the most hilarious young actors currently working, Julian Dennison and a film that’s got a huge heart and a fantastic sense of humour. It is extremely difficult not to love this film and the even better factor is that it’s suitable for all ages, it’s sharp and quick witted but it’s also at its core about love and family. An all around wonderful film.
5. Café Society
Woody Allen may have made his way into the public eye for the wrong reasons this year but putting that aside he also made a classic, suave and chic 1930’s comedy and drama. With great performances from Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carrell, Blake Lively, Corey Stoll and Indie queen Parker Posey, as well as another stellar turn from Kristen Stewart, it has an old-fashioned charm with a Woody Allen flair usually reserved for New York but this time extended to Los Angeles. It’s a return to the Allen you know and love after the less than magical Magic in the Moonlight and the great but extremely calm and quiet Irrational Man. It’s not only a great love story but fantastic characters and most importantly will make you feel nostalgic for a simpler time of cinema.
4. I, Daniel Blake
My reaction to watching this film was that I had just been punched in the gut by Ken Loach, this is the most brutally honest film of the year and a scathing indictment of how our government treats its citizens, especially in their time of need, preferring bureaucratic nonsense over being helpful. The performances are perfectly relatable and human, the whole thing feels utterly real and as though it could, and probably is, happening right around the corner. It’s undeniable an uncomfortable and unforgiving film to watch, but it’s a film that you need to see.
I, as well as many other people, eagerly awaited the next offering from Denis Villeneuve, he’s managed to spend his directorial career so far without a misstep or lesser film, he makes one stunning film after another and this was no exception. One of the most interesting films released in 2016, excellent performances from Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner and for once it wasn’t all given away before you saw it, finally a sci-fi film with enough substance to make it almost feel like a drama, the aliens just being along for the ride. It’s creative, well written, visually almost perfection and overall absolutely sensational.
2. Green Room
Jeremy Saulnier moved himself closer to the limelight with the critically acclaimed Blue Ruin then has firmly stepped forward with Green Room, certainly the best horror film of 2016. The tension is at an all time high and will keep your heart rate up for the entire 90 minutes, one of the final and an outstanding performance from Anton Yelchin, and the one film that’s really managed to turn the charming Patrick Stewart into a real villain. It uses violence and terror to a perfect degree, it’s a relatively simple yet amazingly effective plot and despite being on the scary side, is a lot of fun to watch. Another that will keep your heart rate up, even when you know what’s coming.
I saw this film in the second week of January and all year not one single film has been able to knock it off the top spot, it’s so emotionally powerful and well directed and written, not to mention Brie Larson’s Oscar winning performance as Ma which blew every other performance by an actress out of the water this year. The immense quality of the film and its story is spine tingling to watch, you immediately become protective of this mother and son and the environment of room is so closed off and contained that when you finally see the outside world again, it’s like seeing it through Jack’s eyes. Jack of course played by Jacob Tremblay, whose career will now be closely watched around the world since his star performance in Room. A thought-provoking and simply superb film, if you didn’t know Lenny Abrahamson before, you definitely do now.
It hasn’t exactly been a stellar year but these select few, you won’t forget any time soon. Check back tomorrow for Film Carnage’s Top 10 Worst of 2016!