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My Best Films of 2016

Next year Charlotte and I have said we need to get better at going to the cinema.  After a strong first 6 months we tailed off a bit in the second half of 2016 as house hunting, and trying to make the most of living in the city centre while we can got in the way.  Despite that, there weren't many films I'm overly gutted about having missed, but that that may explain the minimal number of changes to my half year review.  Looking back on this list it's clearly been a strong year for films.  Here are my faves.  Well done 2016.

11. Hell or High Water

This was a great surprise.  There didn't seem a huge amount of fuss made over this film when it was out, but I was taken aback by brilliant performances by Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster, but more so by the David Mackenzie's direction.
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10. I, Daniel Blake

There aren't too many films that have ended up transcending the medium and generated political discussions on television and radio, but Ken Loach's brutal I, Daniel Blake did exactly that.  It opens a window in to life below the poverty line and highlights the short drop there is to fall to get to that situation.  That scene in the food bank is shocking and gut-wrenching in equal measure.  It's a must watch.
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9. Moana

Disney does it again.  The switch to CGI has been a huge success, and Moana takes it place alongside Tangled and Frozen as one of their absolute best.  The fact Lin-Manuel Miranda played a huge role in the music helps.
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8. Zootropolis

A real toss up with Moana as to which would come out on top of the kid's animations for me this year.  Zootropolis edges out Moana due to it's clever interpretation of the world around us, warts and all.  It makes it an important watch for kids and adults alike.
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7. Anomalisa

There aren't many films that have left as longer a lasting impression on me this year as Anomalisa and it's incredibly detailed puppetry.  The decision to use puppets isn't just for the sake of it, and used as a clever metaphor for one man's mid-life crisis.  It's more real an interpretation of an inner conflict than many other films have managed with real life actor.
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6. The Witch

Terrifying.  Absolutely terrifying.  Once you have the ear for the dialogue (please don't let it put you off) you're in for a creepy horror that made my skin crawl.  It's completely unnerving and I was so pleased when it ended.  But in a good way.
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5. Room

I still believe this is one of the best ever child performances, and that Jacob Tremblay should have received an Oscar nomination.  Thankfully, Brie Larson's performance wasn't overlooked in a film that had everyone in the screening I was at in tears.
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4. Creed

It's a Rocky film, you know what to expect.  What many didn't see coming was a Golden Globe performance from Sly Stallone himself, the excellent Michael B. Jordan giving it his all, and some breathtaking cinematography.  The films opens to a long shot lasting an entire warm up routine, up the stairs, in to the ring, and the whole round, and it doesn't let up after that.
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3. Rogue One

Gareth Edwards.  Take a bow.  As much as I enjoyed Monsters (2010), although Godzilla (2014) had it's moments, I was a bit disapointed after one of the best trailers ever.  I was therefore a tad hesitant when Edwards was handed the helm for the first ever Star Wars stand alone story.  I feel pretty stupid now.
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2. The Revenant

The Revenant looks so good you could watch it on mute.  Alejandro G. Iñárritu certainly has a way of constructing a sequence.  I was left ducking away from stray arrows during some of the battle scenes, trying to catch my breath when Leo fell in the icy water, and grabbing for my hoodie when all he had was a horse carcass.
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1. The Nice Guys

The film that stood out for my at the half way point of 2016 lasts the distance.  I honestly can't remember a comedy I laughed as hard or as often at in a long time.  I really should hate Ryan Gosling, but he has a knack for being brilliant in brilliant films.  So annoying.  Him and Russell Crowe build a brilliant double act in a buddy cop formula that has been done to death (not least by Shane Black already in 1987's Lethal Weapon and 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), but somehow this feels fresh and original.
ryan gosling cheers russell crowe the nice guys


  1. Everybody wants some? War on Everyone? Great list though Phil x


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