So we have hit the half way point of the year and it seems appropriate to look back and say what is my favorite and least favorite films so far. I did a video on youtube about it that I would love if you check out.
But here are my best and worst lists
BEST OF THE YEAR
- Zootopia- still most creative film I’ve seen this year. Sure the metaphor has some flaws but I think most fables do if you nitpick them. Fables are used to teach lessons to children and I think this is as close to a modern new fable we’ve ever gotten. I loved Judy Hopps as a character and her bond with Nick. I thought the mystery was great and the world building stunning. Plus, a lot of hilarious laughs too!
- Sing Street- the movie that made me smile the largest and that I immediately wanted to force everyone around me to see. A coming of age story of a teen in Ireland in 1985 who forms a band to impress a girl. Completely charming and witty with great music. I loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it.
- Love and Friendship- a deliciously saucy take on Jane Austen. Great writing and direction by Whit Stillman. Lady Susan is kind of a Jane Austen anti-hero and her manipulation of others was so much fun to watch. Costumes, production design and acting all fantastic
- Finding Dory- Pixar’s latest charms and improved upon the second watch. Great message about the unique gifts of those with disabilities but also quite possibly Pixar’s funniest movie. And it looks fantastic of course.
- Everybody Wants Some!- another fantastic period piece by Richard Linklater. More R-rated than I typically go for but I loved spending time with these crazy boys! Amazing performances and great soundtrack also.
- April and the Extraordinary World- bold steampunk 2D animated film about a girl who is searching for her parents. It was unlike any other film I’ve ever seen. The animation captures the tone and feel perfectly. Its just refreshing and suprising.
- Captain America: Civil War- a fantastic pay off of the arcs we’ve seen grow from both Tony and Steve. One has learned to fear control. Another has learned to embrace its protection. Friendships are tested, people are betrayed and some awesome action goes down. I can’t imagine not being entertained by this film.
- Presenting Princess Shaw- a heartwarming documentary about a girl who makes youtube videos of her singing and an Israeli man who finds her singing and shares it with the world. If you ever feel depressed about the internet this is the movie to watch. It shows the benefits of this crazy interconnectivity we all have. Sometimes we can help dreams come true.
- 10 Cloverfield Lane- I’m not normally a horror person but this was so well done. John Goodman is very scary and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic. She’s not a stupid shrieky female from a horror movie. She’s smart and the screenplay kept me guessing. I didn’t hate the ending like some did.
- Midnight Special- Jeff Nichols plunges right into the heart of this scifi film. No exposition or lead up. No we are immediately in the story. I loved how it showed the different types of belief and how it affects each person’s behavior.
- Eddie the Eagle- if you are having a bad day this is the movie to watch. It will make you feel good and give a big smile on your face. Being a huge Olympics junkie I loved Eddie’s crazy story. All the performances are great and the ski jumping scenes are compelling enough.
- The Abolitionists- fantastic documentary about project underground which stages operations to free children from sex trafficking. It’s not a dry documentary but you see these operations and some fail, some work and it is nerve wracking and exciting to watch. Heroic what these men and women do.
- Kung fu Panda 3- it seems like most aren’t as high on this film as I am but I loved it. I thought it was the best of the 3. It combines the comedy of the first with the action of the second. Plus, the animation is stunning. It’s some of Dreamworks best.
- Jungle Book- I liked this movie but I’m definitely not as high on it as everyone else seems to be. I thought it got a little slow in the middle and the songs didnt work; however, the visuals are amazing and I really like how they made Mowgli a more dynamic, less whiny character. The ending is so much better than original film
- Only Yesterday- this is half a great film for me. I enjoyed it but for Studio Ghibli I was expecting a little more. Particularly the parts with the adult girl felt false and preachy to me but the kids stuff I loved. And of course I always love Takahata’s animation.
- Do-Over- Adam Sandler does it again with a film I had to watch in batches just to get through it. He’s so annoying in this movie as a man who cons his friend played by David Spade into faking their deaths and starting over in Puerto Rico. It’s offensive, disgusting and worst of all not funny.
- Mother’s Day- Another offensive film that tries to get a laugh out of a woman calling a man a ‘towel head’. Maybe a sharper comedy could make that work but not here. None of the plotlines are given enough time to be interesting and the performances aren’t great. Worst of all it didn’t say anything insightful or funny about mothering, motherhood or mother’s day!
- Norm of the North- I know animation is hard to do so I try to be forgiving but it is really hard with Norm of the North. The characters are inconsistent. The plot is inane. The animation is awful. The story is tired and preachy. It’s awful.
- Me Before You- should be an innocent little romantic tearjerker but when you throw in an acceptance of assisted suicide by someone who does not face an imminent death than I have a problem. The movie and book expect us to celebrate this choice but it doesn’t work because the character isn’t given enough choice for the choice to feel valid. For example, he’s not given any mental health care or counseling or shown any other way to live his life. It’s very offensive ableist nonsense. Plus, the lead is a manic pixie dream girl we’ve seen a thousand times. Snore.
- The Choice- more incompetently made than Me Before You but it didn’t really offend me. It’s funny because it is called the choice but the character actually doesn’t make the choice. It’s dopey romantic tearjerker but everything was badly done down even to the makeup which looked heavy and caked on at times.
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2- what a letdown because I LOVE the original. This not only repeats all the jokes of the original but does it 3 or 4 times till I was rolling my eyes. The big family shenanigans were way over the top and the acting was surprisingly poor. So disappointing.
- Bling- I reviewed this for rotoscopers.com here. The animation is actually pretty good but the message is so strange. It’s all about getting the biggest ring to propose to girls even if in one case they have no intention of marrying the character at all. The focus on materialism in a movie clearly aimed at very small children I couldn’t get over.
- Warcraft- one of the worst fantasy movies I’ve ever seen. I was bored in the Hobbit movies but at least the narrative made sense. I had no idea here who was fighting who, what their names were, what the rules of the portal or fel was…There is no lead protagonist or central villain making things muddled. There is this pool that I didn’t understand. I guess this is just for the fans because I thought it was awful
- Alice Through the Looking Glass- I was not a fan of the 2010 film and this may be worse. It’s a bit brighter but that’s about it. The time travel story is generic at best. Everything is based on this deep relationship between Alice and the Hatter and I never felt that. And it all comes down to a lie over tarts which when you think of all the apocalyptic horrors in last film and destruction in this it is so absurd.
- Ride Along 2- I didn’t like the first Ride Along and they didn’t improve upon it here. Kevin Hart is very annoying in this and the story is from a rejected episode of Miami Vice.
- The 5th Wave- another young adult dystopian borefest. I hate these kind of movies and this was grim without any interesting characters or new storyline. It’s just really boring and predictable.
- Saturday’s Warrior- for the Mormon audience only. Poorly made and acted but some good songs for the faithful. That’s about all it has going for it. Extremely cheesy.
- God’s of Egypt- I can’t believe this is this high on the list but darn it all if it didn’t make me laugh. A so bad it’s good situation but make no mistake this ridiculous CG fest is very, very bad. The plot makes no sense, the acting is awful but it is just over the top enough to be funny.
- X-Men Apocalypse- what a huge letdown after Days of Future Past. Honestly I don’t understand what other people saw in this film. It’s fractured and no characters are sufficiently developed. The horseman agree to follow Apocalypse without any real explanation. The final battle is bland and boring. I hated Apocalypse as a villain and most of the plotlines we’ve seen in 8 other X-Men movies. It’s a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. Honestly it reminded me of the 3rd Transformers movie and I’m a huge X-Men fan so that’s depressing to say
- Zoolander 2- I didn’t hate this movie but it isn’t good either, but I don’t love the first Zoolander. There are some funny cameos that got me laughing but it also can be very boring and silly
So there you have it. The best and worst of 2016. What would be your list? To see where other movies fall in my ranking check out my letterbox account. http://boxd.it/DSqm