This year hasn’t been the strongest (so far) when it comes to a year of films and visual entertainment. Sure, there are some good flicks on the menu worth having again, no doubt about it, but when you try to look at what the chefs are cooking and find none of them appetizing is when you scoff. I am that customer at the restaurant of films and I want to tip my servers plenty, but they just haven’t all earned that 20-35% I want to give.
With all that talk about cinematic feasting, it wasn’t nearly as hard to pick out my favorites of this year (so far) simply because I either came home disappointed or didn’t get a chance to see a lot of the smaller ones, the curse of not living directly in a big city. With that said, I’m sure me leaving off Green Room, The BFG, Midnight Special etc., but I’ll see them eventually! Without further ado…
10. Hail Caesar!: I’m sure all the flack I was getting for liking this movie was warranted after putting it number 10 on my list of favorite Coen Brothers films (ever), but there’s a reason for that. It’s over the top, call back to old Hollywood genres like romances, musicals, noirs, and comedies made for a fun theater experience with classic Coen dialogue and zany characters. It also introduced me to the new Young Han Solo Alden Ehrenreich and that’s a solid reason to give this film a chance, he’s great.
9. 10 Cloverfield Lane: I waited to here confirmation on whether or not this was directly tied to the found footage film that shared a name in the title, but there was no point. I was given a claustrophobic, one room setting for a film that had a terrifying John Goodman and splendid writing and acting. It was unique and suspenseful, but not so aggressive in it’s horror or sci-fi genre tropes to get away from what it really wanted to be and that’s a follow along thriller of the best type.
8. The Boy and the Beast: This is arguably one of the best films I’ve seen in quite some time. After getting it on blu-ray this year and seeing it in a small arthouse theater with some buddies of mine, the three of us were hooked. From the beautiful Japanese animation to the central themes of the film, The Boy and the Beast proves that Pixar and America aren’t the only places to get great animated features. It goes in some unique directions with it’s plot that further along an already heartwarming and action packed tale of family, fathers, and acceptance.
7. The Witch: I don’t even like horror movies all that much, but while I was cowering in fear during this film’s runtime, I could help but to keep watching the carnage and weirdness that is The Witch. Movie fans whom are also horror fans know that this is a masterful work from a young director, but I think the old English and period drama dialogue and setting turned the lesser knowing movie fans off because they’re used to gore fests and overused story tropes. For me, this is what I want in horror as well as all films, and that is for them to tell a great story that will keep even the most hesitant of fans wanting to come back for more.
6. Zootopia: Animation always tends to be the lone bright spot even in a lame movie year (so far) and Zootopia was a film that had people walking in with low expectations, but like most Disney properties, people including myself, were blown away by the charm and deeply cutting topics the film presented to us through talking animals. It was funny, quite serious at some moments, and the word I’ve been using through this whole list, original. I think Finding Dory is a really good movie, but this should be the favorite to take home the Best-Animated Feature Oscar this year.
5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Rated-R Cut): Notice the words in parenthesis and realize the difference before you yell at me. I was immensely disappointed with the theatrical cut the studio decided to release. The poorly edited, non cohesive storytelling from the theater cut didn’t help the film flow like we had hoped, but after seeing the cut that fans will get to see on blu-ray, you are going to have to swallow your words. Sure, it’s still not a perfect film, but you will definitely realize how much smoother a watch it is, and I think you will appreciate the film for what it is after seeing the longer cut.
4. The Lobster: At first, I was very unnerved after seeing this film for a few reasons, but the more time went by, the more I realized how much I found myself enthralled by the original story and the dry, unapologetic performances by the actors. It hits on really significant points surrounding the world of online dating, relationships, and finding love, but through the lens of a satirical director’s vision that boasts an arthouse style that is hard to miss. Should be interesting to see where it ends up during awards season.
3. Deadpool: One of the biggest hits of the year and for good reason, Deadpool proved that not all comic book movies need to be for children and teenagers and can be successes anyways. Ryan Reynolds was born to play this role and takes shots and any and everything you can think of in the best ways possible. It’s got raunchy humor you fall in love with immediately and brings life into a genre that is often too bloated with explosions and end of the world scenarios.
2. The Nice Guys: This was the film I wanted people to go out and support, but even though people love to bitch and moan about “the lack of originality” in films these days, no one went out to see this masterwork by Iron Man 3 director Shane Black. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are hilarious in this comedy crime noir set in the 70’s in Los Angelas. The performances are hysterical from everyone and it never has a dull moment or scenes that don’t fit. It was close to a perfect film as far as entertainment goes, but alas, no one saw it.
1. Sing Street: One of the few A+ scores I gave to a film this year and it was no contest as to why I gave it that score. It sucks you into this world that is the 80’s in Dublin Ireland in a time where poverty and rebellion are running rampant, but in a John Hugh’s style musical-comedy-drama-romance telling of some kids who want to make a band, it provides one of the most original bits of coming of age storytelling I’ve seen in years. The music (original and non-original) are perfectly added ingredients to this film and make you believe in chasing dreams, falling in love, and doing what no one thought you could do. It leaves you joyous and endlessly inspired.