Before I belligerently dive into my new post, let me start off by just saying it’s good to be back, where have I been, simply, just sat on my ass doing well not a lot, so I have no excuse for not posting. And simply by writing the above sentence I have probably discredited myself and the faith my readers have in me. But guess what as in keeping with the mantra I informed you of in my first ever post, I don’t care if this is the case, if you want to read, read, if not well… fair enough that’s your prerogative, but you’ve made a bad choice.
But you get it I’m back and with the film year quickly coming to a close I thought I’d enlighten you to what my favourite films of the year have been. Also if you are an intelligent individual your probably wondering why I didn’t post this during the pre-new year hype, and if you weren’t well I guess I’ve just insulted you, again. But in answer to your query, it’s because they hadn’t all come out yet, as many in the US are slated and counted as 2015 productions but over here on my side of the pond I had to wait until 2016 to watch last years films. I have finally made my way through a grand majority of them. So without further ado, here are my top 5 films of 2016:
1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
I had this one picked right off the back of it’s first trailer as one to watch, and loved every minute of it upon seeing it, from its mad, dark sense of humour, quirky stop-motion segments, Earl (yep just Earl, in all his awesomeness), to the unbelievable amounts of homage to and love of film on display. And all played out incredibly by the talented Thomas Mann as Greg (the titular ‘Me’), RJ Cyler as Earl and Olivia Cook as Rachel ‘The Dying Girl’ with great support from the hilarious Nick Offerman, Connie Britton and Jon Bernthal. All making for one of the oddest and sweetest coming of age tales in the vein of Perks and the work of Wes Anderson. A must see for all film lovers and those still trying to figure it all out.
2. Star Wars VII The Force Awakens
This had to be on the list, the biggest franchise of all time returns and with style. While many have argued it is simply a re-working of the original trilogy and that its all too similar, I couldn’t disagree more, I can see where they are coming from in some regards but this film was just so much fun and John Boyega and Daisy Ridley are just a phenomenal pairing. Who just bring so much energy and excitement to the screen, while Ridley in her introduction is one of the weakest elements as soon as she joins up with Boyega’s Finn she instantly gels and becomes a much welcome mark on the Star Wars franchise. Again a film filled with throw backs and homages to the originals and film in general. It’s a showcase in how film can be fun while also still retaining a great sense of place and character.
3. Mad Max Fury Road
Speaking of fun, how about an adrenaline fuelled heart pounding thrill ride delivered by the creative genius of George Miller. Fury Road instantly cemented itself as canon and a one of a kind film, when this film gets going it is unwilling to stop. Tom Hardy is excellent, Charlize Theron is brutal and brilliant and as for the stunts and cinematography nothing quite like it has been put on the silver screen before.
4. Inside Out
This for me saw the return of an on form Pixar, after the lacklustre Monsters University, Brave and Cars 2. Pixar returned to taking on complex and imaginative ideas and translating them in a unique and simple way with their trademark sense of humour. Creating a picture both appealing to children and adults alike. Inside Out was a behemoth of ideas and sadly only a small range of them could be explored with Pixar hitting a potential goldmine with this idea, and yet I am satisfied with just the one picture following Riley’s wonderful journey to sense of childhood maturity. And Bing-Bong. Forever in our hearts.
5. The Hateful Eight
The 3 hour Tarantino epic felt like it was going to be a task instead it was a joy, brilliantly written as always, a kleptic cast all on top form as always, unrelenting amounts of profanity and violence as always, making for a winning combination as always, ignoring Deathproof and Kill Bill Vol. 2 if you will. A western of minute yet epic proportions, one simple idea, a room full of deadly bounty hunters and potential friends or foes, and one that will keep you guessing till the end.
And as for the worst, the big disappointments. Oscar season is a prime time for them to rear their ugly heads and this year is no exception with two Oscar potentials making their way on to my rather small list:
The Danish Girl
Straight out of the gate I knew I was going to struggle to enjoy this, because of goddam Eddie Redmayne, I am not a fan in the slightest. Yet the premise intrigued and after seeing the wonderful Alicia Vikander in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I was keen to see what else she could do, but I shouldn’t have been so naive. Vikander was wonderful and proving herself a real up and coming force to be reckoned with but The Danish Girl was a bore. The character of Einar/Lili failed to engage me and left me massively disliking a very positive figure, as with the change came new life but not literally which is how the character of Lili took it, infuriating me to no end with her unrelenting disregard for the lives of those around her. As for Tom Hooper, there’s not a lot I can say if you like his style of crowded frames matched with vast empty spaces engulfing the characters and the obvious 20/30’s decadence he loves, you might find more enjoyment here.
Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawerence, Oscar nominated three times in a row Director David O’Russell, two time Oscar Winner Robert DeNiro, and Oscar nominated Bradley Cooper, one messy ill directed attempt at further glory; tick. This is the feeling you get while watching Joy, a film I was very much excited for, as have been a fan of David O’Russell particularly enjoying his previous efforts. But it just try’s to hard, with Russell trying to unleash his old school comedy flair with his recent pitch perfect controlled madness. But none of it gels and the story offers little incentive to keep watching, the film only finally gaining some sort of pace and direction with the introduction of Cooper’s character and the infamous QVC channel before once again losing its way. For a brief moment it all almost works but sadly its just all too brief. Maybe next time O’Russell as I’m sure you’re not done yet but forget about the glory, focus on the film please.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The big one, the year looked like it would get off to an amazing start but it turned out to get off to a false start. This film promised so much but gave very little with half the film ending on the editing room floor if we were to go by rumours and we no longer do upon its home release. This could of been the Avengers best outing to date, with the Winter Solider setting such a high bench mark. But the film was clearly stripped of all content, the creators bullied and leaving the film huddled in the corner clutching its cartoon of milk. The most worrying part of this all is; is this how Marvel will continue to treat it’s properties? It isn’t the first time we’ve heard of either Marvel or Disney inserting their dominance on a picture, but I guess only time will tell but I still have faith in the Marvel-verse, even after the sub-par Ant-Man, the faith remains.
Here’s to another year of great films, epic story lines, huge disappointments, shoddy to out of this world acting… I don’t know what else to put. It’s film, you never know what’s going to happen.