22 Dec Favourite Films of 2016
At the end of what might well be a legendarily duff year a look back shows that for all the dreadful goings on it’s been an incredibly strong year for cinema. Too strong! But, eve missing out plenty that was on our Must See list we still managed to catch a big ‘ol bunch of good movies, and these were our absolute favourites
The Nice Guys
Just like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Shane Black creates another hilarious pulp crime tale that feels like the start of a brilliant series but that we’ll only ever get one perfect outing. No one writes like Black and this is a career best, even if it isn’t set at Christmas. Ryan Gosling gives a blow out comedy performance that had me rethinking an actor I was already a fan of and Russell Crowe shows that he does his best work with a a bit of weight above his belt and a smirk on his face.
Director Jeff Nichols nods warmly at Spielberg with his slow burning sci-fi chase movie. We would argue there’s a dash of Stephen King at play too as Roy and his son Alton are pursued by government forces and religious zealots hungry for Alton’s unusual abilities. If you liked Stranger Things, this is one for you.
A masterpiece of slow burn horror. Every image is potent with malice and every line meticulous, it ratchets up tension so perfectly you’ll be contorting in to a pretzel in your seat. A film that would be perfect to discover on BBC2 at 1:30 in the morning when you’re too young to see it. Bleak, precise and exactly what it wants to be.
Captain America – Civil War
Have you seen Chris Evans? Have you seen what he looks like? He holds down a helicopter in this film. Look at this man!
If you needed another reason, then I guess Civil War is another successful showing for long form storytelling this year. It uses characters that we’ve known for a decade and puts them truly at odds, culminating in an ending that is very unusual for a blockbuster; one that leaves you feeling sad that these people just can’t get along. Seeing them team back up for Infinity War is going to be embarrassingly heartwarming.
There’s no such thing as a “lesser” Coen movie. What’s a Ladykillers? Hail Caesar! is a straight up screwball comedy set in Hollywood’s Golden Age and moves at such a pace that most of the all-star cast only get a couple of scenes. Carrying the whole thing is Josh Brolin as the movie’s straight-man who reveals a film that, while scathing, is a love letter to the industry. It also proves once again that Ralph Fiennes should have been doing comedy for years, Channing Tatum is tremendous, and that Alden Ehrenreich needs to be really big really soon.