Monday, December 26, 2016

Top 10 Films of 2016

So here we are at the end of another year!

While 2016 has been a year that many of us would rather forget for many reasons, film has not let us down. As we once again head into awards season, we are reminded of how much beauty there is in the escapism of cinema and that this art form is one that remains a comfort in the hard times. Of course each year sees the release of some terrible films, but we will always remember the year for the amazing films that were released rather than the downright awful.

So as always, my top 10 for the year is based on the Australian release schedule. So one film in particular that I have seen that will not feature in my list is Pablo Larrain's Jackie, as it will be released in Australia on January 12 2017. I am absolutely besotted with this film and there is no doubt that I would be in my top 5 if it was to be released in 2016.

Also, I have found that this year that my top 10 reflects my personal taste more than any other year. I recognise that many will not share my enthusiasm for a few of the films in my list, but I have reasoning behind each of these films and stand by them.

So let's start off with number 10 and count down....

10. Zootopia
Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush
Writers: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jennifer Lee, Josie Trinidad and Jim Reardon (story), Jared Bush and Phil Johnston (story and screenplay), Dan Fogelman (additional story material)
Cast: (voices) Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer

When Disney talks, the world listens. Zootopia's timing this year was absolutely uncanny. It was exactly what the world needed to see at the time of release and still is nine months later. Disney once again turned to their winning concept of talking animals (which always delights the younger audiences), but there were underlying themes there for both young and old. On top of that, the film was a whole lot of fun with a witty sense of humour that played on words and the stereotypes of animals, as well as loads of film and Disney related Easter Eggs.

9. Oasis: Supersonic
Director: Mat Whitecross
Cast: Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Paul Arthurs, Paul McGuigan, Tony McCarroll, Mark Coyle

So this is one of the films that slipped into my top 10 because of what it meant to me, but I know I am not the only one out there who feel's so passionately about Mat Whitecross' Oasis: Supersonic. This music documentary about the Gallagher brothers' hugely successful British band is such a treat for fans as it is reminiscent of the band's glory days and gives us much needed hope that there may be a reunion one day. Yet, it does not sugar-coat nor defend anything the band did and is unapologetic as it tells things for how they really were. Seeing the infamous Knebworth concert on the big screen and hearing their music in a cinema was quite the experience.

8. Trumbo
Director: Jay Roach
Writers: Bruce Cook (book), John McNamara (screenplay)
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Michael Stuhlberg, Louise C.K., Elle Fanning, Dave Maldonado, John Goodman, David James Elliot, Alan Tudyk, Roger Bart, Dean O'Gorman, Christian Berkel

You can all have your Walter White, but this is my favourite Bryan Cranston performance. Trumbo is a stunning and riveting portrait of old Hollywood which brings to light the extreme injustice inflicted upon important and talented members of the filmmaking community out of fear of their conflicting political beliefs. Cranston was astonishing as Dalton Trumbo and it was a well-earned Oscar nomination for him. Helen Mirren was also perfect as Hedda Hopper, the woman with balls of steel who could make or break anyone in Hollywood. Despite having a serious undertone about a dark period of Hollywood history, there was still something so much fun about this piece of movie nostalgia. 

7. Brooklyn
Director: John Crowley
Writers: Colm Toibin (novel), Nick Hornby (screenplay)
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Fiona Glascott, Julie Walters, Eileen O'Higgins, Jessica Pare, Emily Bett Rickards, Eve Macklin, Nora-Jane Noone

Brooklyn is just downright sweet and beautiful. Every part of it. With it's glorious sense of 1950's nostalgia, it is almost surprising how relatable the story and themes in John Crowley's Brooklyn are to the modern woman in it's heart-warming story of personal growth and love. I saw a lot of myself in Saoirse Ronan's Eilis and with how much women are encouraged to go out into the world and find a new life these days, I know I am not the only one who did. The production design of 1950's New York and the exquisite costume design made Brooklyn extremely easy on the eye.

6. Hacksaw Ridge
Director: Mel Gibson
Writers: Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Luke Pegler

Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge is frightfully graphic, violent and confronting, but ultimately life-changing in the most beautiful of ways and an absolute triumph in filmmaking. People talk of how some war films are frightfully beautiful, this is one of them. The cinematography and special effects of Hacksaw Ridge are just so incredible, but they also make the film a very hard watch and it takes a lot not to look away during some of the combat sequences. However, the story of Desmond Doss is overwhelming in the best possible way and Andrew Garfield an unforgettable performance.

5. The Revenant
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Writers: Michael Punke (based in part on the novel by), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Mark L. Smith (screenplay)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Paul Anderson, Forrest Goodluck, Luke Haas, Grace Dove

The Revenant just snuck into Australia's 2016 release schedule as it was released on January 7 and I could not neglect it. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant is the perfect hybrid of exquisite beauty and graphic brutality in it's story of human survival in the unforgiving wilderness which is enhanced by it's superb performances by it's stellar cast. The film will always be remembered primarily as the film that Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for and there is no denying that it was a well deserved win. However, the film as a whole deserves more respect than that. Brutal, but visually exquisite.

4. La La Land
Director/Writer: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt

Damien Chazelle's La La Land is getting a lot of love in the form of Oscar buzz at the moment and I am all for it. The film a love letter to both old and new Hollywood and to the city of Los Angeles, and the city hasn't looked this good on screen in a long time. La La Land is so multi-layered and says so many things in the most creative of ways with beautiful song and dance sequences. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are both wonderful as the dreamers we all wish we were. The fact that I love old Hollywood and Los Angeles didn't hurt the growing love I felt for this film when I saw it in the cinema.

3. Hail, Caesar!
Directors/Writers: Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Alden Ehrenreich, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, Alison Pill

When I first saw Hail, Caesar! back in February, I was almost positive I had seen the film that would be my number one film of 2016. Joel and Ethan Coen penned the ultimate love letter to old Hollywood with Hail, Caesar! The film is a masterpiece in the eyes of those who are fascinated with the golden age of Hollywood, but with it's entertaining screenplay and stunning visual production can be enjoyed on a much larger scale by all audiences. Being an old Hollywood buff myself, the Coen brothers' screenplay blew me away because of how much it interlocked several pieces of Hollywood history. I know those who know only bits and pieces about the days of the Studio System would not pick up as much, but for those who are it is just glorious and so much fun.

2. Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Barry Crump (based on the book by), Taika Waititi (screenplay)
Cast: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Taika Waititi, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Rhys Darby, Oscar Knightley, Stan Walker, Mike Minogue, Cohen Halloway

I loved Hunt for the Wilderpeople when I first saw it in the cinema, but after I bought it on the first day it came out on DVD, I have come to love it even more with each rewatch. Taika Waititi's new take on the self discovery adventure film is incredibly charming and effortlessly funny with a view of New Zealand that has never been seen in cinema before. There is so much beauty in this film both in the visuals and in the subtly heartfelt performance by Julian Dennison and Sam Neill as the lead characters, Ricky and Hector. Waititi's direction is currently going from strength to strength and his cameo as the priest is a hilarious highlight.

1. Ghostbusters
Director: Paul Feig
Writers: Kate Dippold and Paul Feig (written by). Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis (based on the 1984 Ghostbusters written by)
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey, Andy Garcia, Cecily Strong, Charles Dance

So....Ghostbusters is my number one film of 2016 and believe me, no one is more shocked about this than me. If someone had told me this time last year that the female led Ghostbusters remake was going to be my favourite film of the coming year, I would have asked what drug they were on. Now, I am obsessed with this film and it will come as no surprise to those who know me that it tops my list.

So hear me out. Yes, I love Ghostbusters because it makes me laugh every time I watch it (and I have watched it at least 20 times since I bought it on DVD) and Kate McKinnon's Holtzmann is my spirit animal, but there are some things I feel this movie did brilliantly. Firstly, this year and last year has seen the bombardment of remakes and by July this year, I was completely over going to see remakes, origin stories and sequels. From the outside, Ghostbusters purely looked like just another remake with females in the lead to make it look different. This film gave me faith in the remake. The Paul Feig and Kate Dippold written screenplay merely used the 1984 film as inspiration while it created a whole new story, but was still completely respectful to the original film.

Secondly, THIS is how you do a female empowerment film. So many filmmakers think that female empowerment in film is merely just putting a woman in their film or an action woman kicking butt. The four women in Ghostbusters are the ones girls should be looking up to. All smart women who are doing what they want in life, despite what people are saying. Nothing is talked about in regards to their appearance or their relationship status. Yet they do all kick butt in the name of science and because they are all smart and streetwise women.

And now I will go and watch this film for the 21st time.

Honourable mentions.....
The Big Short
The Witch


  1. Interesting list! I love that Ghostbusters is in here, I honestly don't understand the hate either. Wilderpeople was fantastic too. Still haven't pinned down my Top 10 and I'm running out of time to post it haha.

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