It’s that time of year again when we look back on a year of blockbusters, indie darlings and spectacular flops.
This is Part One of a highly selective list for several reasons:
I didn’t get to go to the cinema as often as I wanted, and I had a busy summer, so I haven’t seen many of the year’s films, especially ‘the big films’ (although, by all accounts, I didn’t miss much).
For instance, I’d been looking forward to Suicide Squad for months, but the terrible reviews piled up and I thought I couldn’t waste a tenner on what sounds like dreadful nonsense: I’ll see it eventually, probably late one night after the pub with beanmimo and a few beers.
Many of my favourite films of 2016 are in fact from 2015, but I only got to see them this year, and I’m including them here. I’m linking to my Oscars reviews for several movies, as several were in the running for a gold statue.
Part Two will appear late in December as I’m hoping to catch a lot of movies over the Christmas holidays.
So in alphabetical order, here are a few of my favourites:
Maybe it’s not as clever as it thinks; maybe it pulls a twist on the audience with a sentimental or semi-sentimental ending; maybe the antagonistic military and stubborn CIA characters are a bit of a throwback; and I’m still a little fuzzy on some of the linguistics, but no matter – Denis Villeneuve’s thoughtful, intelligent, heartwarming and heartbreaking alien first contact film is more The Day the Earth Stood Still than Independence Day. Amy Adams delivers one of her best performances in one of the year’s best films.
What is real and what is fake? Author is a fascinating documentary about the greatest literary hoax of all time, one which managed to fool publishers, literary agents, filmmakers, and a host of celebrities.
God, I love this film. If you haven’t seen it, see it now.
Laurie Anderson’s documentary essay is ostensibly about her beloved dog, Lolabelle, who died in 2011, but it also about New York and American life after 9/11; the rise in surveillance culture and the increasing militarization of everyday life; illness; artistic expression; the Tibetan Book of the Dead; a philosophical essay on language and the world; time; and ultimately a grieving love letter to Lou Reed, and a treatise on what it means to love and to express love (in all its forms).
Tiny green balls!
Part Three Stooges, part The Island of Dr. Moreau. It’s got Mads Mikkelsen in a dreadful perm and moustache and compulsively masturbating, living in a run-down sanatorium with his demented siblings, one of whom has sex with chickens because he hasn’t met any women: what the hell else do you need?