And so we are in the middle of the year and so we have our usual poke around what was super (and what wasn’t) in 2016 so far.
Things started well with another crop of films all clambering for awards but this year, more than recent, we have had quite a few mediocre films that left me feeling a bit cold about the movie industry. Quite a few of the better films failed to reach an audience with the less favourable ones making huge amounts at the box office, signaling almost certain sequel status.
Still, there is a decent list of films that didn’t quite make my top ten list but did need a mention:
The Revenant, Creed, Youth, Goosebumps, The Big Short, A Bigger Splash, Deadpool, The Survivalist, Anomalisa, Hail, Caesar, Eddie The Eagle, Zootropolis, The Witch, Midnight Special, Florence Foster Jenkins, Love & Friendship, Money Monster
So now we have my favourites of this year, so far. Remember, this is only my choices and you may disagree, which is fine. If you do, let me know.
10. SING STREET
Crossing The Commitments with Gregory’s Girl, this delightful coming-of-age musical follows a young boy in Belfast in the 80’s, falling in love, dealing with an identity crisis and getting advice, musically, from his brother. A film that left a huge smile on my face.
9. HIGH RISE
It’s been a good year for Tom Hiddleston so far and this was one of the reasons. A bizarre, imaginative and original tale of dystopia set in the 70’s from British director Ben Wheatley that was bonkers, brazen and beautiful all at the same time.
8. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
After years of Marvel films which introduced the superhero universe, here came the big one. An all-mighty fall-out between friends Captain America and Iron Man. This could have been a mess with too many characters battling for screen time. Instead, it was exciting, moving and funny, with Spider-Man along for the ride. Just terrific entertainment.
7. BONE TOMAHAWK
A film that still haunts me. What starts out as a routine western turns into something far more grisly. With 90 minutes following four characters searching for a tribe who have kidnapped a woman, this proves that taking two genres and mixing them together can work. Far superior to Tarantino’s overblown The Hateful Eight.
6. EYE IN THE SKY
The trailer truly misrepresents this cracking thriller that is both intelligent, nail-biting and surprisingly funny considering the subject matter. It also throws up some moral questions about modern warfare and shows the trappings of making decisions that could cost lives. A completely satisfying experience and a fitting finale to the late, great Alan Rickman’s career.
5. TALE OF TALES
Possible the most bonkers movie of the year. A collection of three adult fairy tales entwined with each other. A gorgeous looking film that confidently takes what should be tales for children and delivers them exactly how they should. No fluff. No retelling. Just straight-forward, imaginative filmmaking.
4. THE JUNGLE BOOK
Who would have thought that a remake of my favourite Disney animation could be so good? Made up mainly of CGI, this beautiful, carefully crafted telling of the adventures of Mowgli and his animal friends is both magical and marvelous. With perfect voice casting, this deserves to be the biggest film of the year so far.
Going into Room, I knew very little about the story. Yet 2 hours later I was pushed through the wringer, emotionally. Brie Larson deservedly walked away with the Oscar for Best Actress while Jacob Tremblay is still the most remarkable child actor I have seen. Shocking and heartbreaking.
Based on the true story of the Boston Herald’s uncovering of abuse in the Catholic Church, this ensemble piece is magnificently underplayed and absolutely lacking in sensationalism, yet it is gripping, emotionally draining and unbelievably powerful and, again, very deserving of the Best Picture Oscar.
1. SON OF SAUL
A magnificent film that is one of the toughest watches ever. The story of a prisoner in Auschwitz and his desperate attempts to properly bury a boy he believes is his son is not only an emotional rollercoaster but brilliantly filmed as the camera never leaves Saul’s face, leaving the audience to imagine the horrors around him. An important film that will stay with me for a long time. It demands to be seen.