Thursday, February 23, 2017

Best and Worst of 2016

It's near the end of February 2017, but I thought it's better late than never to finally sum up my thoughts on the year that was 2016. I'm going to present the top 10 movies that I liked, and also mention the bottom 10 that where most disappointing to me.

With honourable mention to Hacksaw Ridge (which I still haven't seen, but I'm pretty sure if I had, it would be on the list), here are my top 10:

10. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice - as a self-professed DC fan, seeing the holy trinity on the screen was something that I never thought was possible. Since its release, countless number of critics, youtubers, and celebrities have made fun of the Martha plot, and yes, I agree it was a little ridiculous. But overall, the movie was a visual marvel (forgive the pun), and Batfleck was pretty awesome.

9. War Dogs - sleeper hit of the year. As I mentioned in my review, I think the movie suffered from a case of identity crisis. But nevertheless, it was a very entertaining movie.

8. Hail, Caesar! - like another move on my top 10 list, Hail Caesar is a love letter to Hollywood. From the Coens brothers and a stable of A-list actors, you could expect a certain standard. Hail Caesar delivers on that!

7. Zootopia - the best animate feature of the year filled with heart, spectacle, and humour. What else do you need?

6. Nocturnal Animals - Tom Ford's triumphant return to the directors chair resulted in the best thriller of the year. The movie and its message stayed with me for a few days after my first screening. It's a pity that it didn't receive the recognition it deserved in the awards season.

5. Rogue One - I never thought an entry in the middle of the main saga could be this appealing. The plot is well-thought with very few flaws. The ensemble of characters make you care about them even in the short span of the movie. Hats off the every one involved in making this movie!

4. Deadpool - 'nuff said!

3. Allied - a mature movie for a mature audience. Similar to Nocturnal Animals, I expected to see some attention from the award committees. A thrilling movie that keeps you at the edge of your seat till the end. Robert Zemeckis is a master filmmaker and I hope to see more from him in the coming years.

2. The Nice Guys - Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling were the best pairing of 2016! Their chemistry and dynamic, plus Shane Black's script and direction, resulted in one of the best dark comedy / detective noir movies since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (by Shane Black nevertheless). There are no talks of a sequel, but I desperately hope they make one.

1. La La Land - I can't say much beyond what I've already said in the review: "an ode to Hollywood (old and new), La La Land is a Disney-style musical fairy tale" for an adult audience. It's about life, pursuit of happiness, and most of all about "fools who dream". Easily one of the best movies of the 21st century!

Although the title of the post says "Best and Worst of 2016", these movies are not bad by any means. They simply disappointed me and delivered far below what I expected. Without further ado,  the bottom 10 are:

10. X-Men: Apocalypse - after the magnificent reboot/sequel that was Days of Future Past, I expected much more from Apocalypse. What we saw was a much weaker movie than X-Men: The Last Stand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Some say the material was too much for a feature length film, but I've seen the 90's animated show do a much better job using the same source material in a much shorter time.

9. Star Trek Beyond - not a bad movie per se, but it felt like a stretched out TV episode. I never was a Trekkie, but I really enjoyed the 2009 reboot. So although I was invested in the characters and actors, Beyond made me want to never see them again!

8. Keeping Up with the Joneses - it was a pity to see a talented cast fail to draw even one chuckle from the audience. What a waste of resources!

7. Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising - similar to what I said about the previous entry!

6. Warcraft - Peter Jackson has shown that one can condense a rich source material in a two-hour feature and make the audience care about the fantasy genre. I had never played the game, and except for Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, have no affinity towards the genre. But I think the filmmakers failed - considering the massive budget and the talented cast that they had.

5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - with visuals belonging to the PlayStation 2 era, this film does nothing but set the table for future entries. The saving grace of the movie was Colin Farrell, even with the limited screen time.

4. Moana - it looks beautiful, but fails to connect with the audience. Particularly considering the calibre of animated features that we have seen since the Disney renaissance after the Little Mermaid (1989). Again, not a bad movie necessarily, just really disappointing.

3. Jungle Book - this was a bad movie though! Mowgli's actor had a very stiff delivery and gave an obnoxious vibe. Bill Murray saved the film from a truly horrible experience.

2. Sully - one of the most unbearable movies of the year, particularly if you watched it at a movie theatre. They showed the crash landing sequence at least five times. This is what happens when you make a 96 minute movie based on an event that took only 208 seconds.

1. Arrival - I know that many critics called Arrival the best movie of the year. I agree it's a good movie, but for me, it was the most disappointing. What was the point of the movie really? It's hard to discuss it without spoiling the ending. But other than Amy Adams' acting, the story and movie have no other merits.

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