Top Ten Films of 2016

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Nick Brent counts down his top 10 movies of 2016.


2016 has been a very strange year. It's been filled with surprises, both good and bad. With the political turmoil of Brexit and Trump, and the untimely passings of many of our beloved icons such as David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, film has not only been my escape from the harsh reality of our world but also a way to learn, gain positivity and hope.

Fortunately, whilst we all might be damned in one sense, we have been blessed with some truly great films this year, and so here is a run down of my personal top 10 films of 2016.

First, lets rattle off some honourable mentions;
  • Florence Foster Jenkins - Ironically, pitch perfect
  • Hail, Caesar! - So close to being in my top 10 - if only it were so simple
  • Tale of Tales - A beautifully surreal, lavish and twisted fairytale.
  • Star Trek Beyond - A love letter to the series.
  • The Hateful Eight - A proper Tarantino movie. Too long but nice and bloody!
  • Bridget Jones’s Baby - Emma Thompson is in this film.
  • Ghostbusters - Yeah, I liked it… *ducks*
And also some dishonourable mentions;
  • Deadpool - Tries too hard and it shows.
  • Batman v Superman - Extended cut is more enjoyable but this is a real slog.
  • War Dogs - It’s not The Wolf of Wall Street.
  • Suicide Squad - What. A. Mess.
  • Hardcore Henry - Nauseating and very tiresome.
  • Grimsby - I spent most of the film with my head in my hands.
  • London Has Fallen - "Head back to Fuckheadistan" … yup….
  • Dirty Grandpa - Easily the worst film of the year.
And now the top 10...


10. Finding Dory
Finding Dory doesn't quite reach the levels of perfection that Inside Out, Wall-e and Toy Story did, but it is better than Finding Nemo. The story is sweet with the perfect mix of comedy and pathos, it's beautifully animated and the voice cast were superb. Top quality from Pixar!


9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
You can read my full review for this film here.  Just know that since that review was published, I have seen the film for a second time and now prefer it to The Force Awakens, and it is my second favourite in the franchise after The Empire Strikes Back.


8. The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is so very sweet and so magical. It's just a joy to watch and is the movie we chose to watch as a family on Christmas Day. You can read my full review for this film here.


7. Ethel & Ernest
Ethel & Ernest is an utterly compelling and deeply moving animation. A true and intimate reflection of life and the mortality of us all. It's a very beautifully told story and a charming look at the lives of ordinary people living through extraordinary times. It’s uncomplicated, honest and incredibly touching. An instant classic, but then it is based on the book by Raymond Briggs so what more do you expect?

If you missed this you can catch it on BBC iPlayer now!


6. The Revenant
I’ve watched The Revenant a fair few times now and I never tire of it. I was left speechless by this when I saw it in the cinema. In fact, as the credits rolled, no one in the whole auditorium moved - they sat in silence. A testament to how gripping and intense this film was.


5. Green Room
There is only one way to describe Green Room. And that is brutal. Very brutal. But gloriously so! It’s a slow burner to begin with but once the blood starts pouring, it doesn't really stop!


4. High-Rise
Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s take on this Ballard novel is a dreamlike masterpiece thanks to its strong script and acting, fluid camera work and artistic, Kubrick-ian cinematography. You can read my full review for High-Rise here.


3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Hunt for the Wilderpople is offbeat and quirky but uniquely funny, sentimental and poignant. It’s a real hoot and pretty “majestical”


2. Room
I have never been so moved by a film. A sad, but ultimately uplifting and heartwarming picture and one of many films this year that presents the message of hope so clearly. Room doesn't put a foot wrong and is really very beautiful.


1. Arrival
Having actively avoided the universally panned Independence Day: Resurgence, I was hesitant about seeing Arrival as I was expecting another dumb and cliched first contact movie. I couldn't have been more wrong!

Arrival was thoughtful and captivating and one of the most intelligent and thought-provoking science fiction films I have seen in a very long time. It’s strong messages about the values of life and love were moving, and for this year in particular, very much needed and appreciated. The cinematography was beautiful and the direction was superb. Accompanied by a strong and eerie soundtrack, resonate sound design and an incredible, Oscar-worthy central performance from Amy Adams, Arrival hits every note perfectly. It is stunning. It wasn't what I was expecting. It was so much more and for that, it is my film of the year.


I must add that there are so many other films from this year that I still need to see! I was very disappointed to miss out on Nocturnal Animals, A United Kingdom, Sully, Kubo and the Two Strings, Son of Saul, The Nice Guys, Sing Street (which I was hoping to watch before I wrote this but didn't get the time) and so many more - but I’ll get round to those eventually. For now we move forward into 2017, and in January alone we have A Monster Calls, Silence and La La Land, so it's looking like a very strong start to what will hopefully be another fantastic year in the world of film!

What did I miss? Do you agree or disagree with me on any? Other opinions are, of course, available. What were your favourite films of 2016? 

Nick is a 2000 year old alien who travels through time and space, saving the good and conquering the evil... or so he likes to think.

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