Oh, dang. It’s already well into February and I realized I forgot to do this. Not that the one of you regularly reading my blog cares (obviously.) Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of the top and bottom five of 2016.
Anomalisa – I had to see this one twice before I decided I hated it. The movie itself was pretty good and the stop-motion animation was unique and well done, but it turns out that the main character was despicable and really had no redeeming qualities. You’re essentially watching a puppet who’s an asshole.
The Jungle Book – Didn’t like the cartoon when I was a kid, didn’t like this one.
High-Rise – Misfire on all levels. Pun intended.
Jason Bourne – I think I’ve seen my last Bourne movie, at least while the same director is at the helm. I hate to sound like an old guy, but the camera-work in this piece of shit was nauseating. I’ve been complaining about bad camerawork for longer than I’ve been middle-aged, so I don’t think it’s just my eyes and brain.
Sausage Party – I’m all for sophomoric humor when it’s done well, but this one tries to pull out some deep commentary about religion or something, but that, too, was written at a fourth grade level. This thing just sucked and was barely funny a couple times.
The Revenant – I used to point to Winter’s Bone to illustrate why Chris Nolan is wrong about shooting in digital, but now I’ll point at The Revenant. It’s amazing what they did not only shooting in digital, but shooting in natural light. It’s too bad not that many people will see it the way it was shot, unless you buy a 4K bluray player and a TV equipped with DolbyVision(tm), which you should go out and buy right now. I mean the TV. With DolbyVision. Please give Dolby some money so I can continue to work.
Zootopia – I forgot that I saw this in 2016, it seems like so long ago. Proof positive that John Lassiter has made Disney Animation better, and Pixar has of late become worse (Moana not withstanding, which was pretty good but not great.)
Midnight Special – That Michael Shannon guy is growing on me. This is on of the few sci-fi-ish movies that has great build-up but maybe not the best ending, but I didn’t care. The journey through the story and balance between the supernatural(?) and family was so well done it didn’t really matter how it ended.
La La Land – I’m stupid for a good musical. The great thing about La La Land is that even if it wasn’t a musical, the story is pretty god on its own. They could have pulled of a pretty decent movie without the singing and dancing. This may be my favorite movie of 2016 but I’ll have to watch it a couple dozen more times to be sure.
Hell or High Water – I’m a dude so I like westerns. This film isn’t really a western in the classic sense, more like a modern day noir set in the desert. It works on all levels and is gorgeous to look at to boot. Very underrated, ignored film from 2016. You should seek it out.
Arrival – So many reasons to like this one. Amy Adams, for one. The fact that Wolfram and his kid worked on it. The lack of spoilers in the marketing campaign. The discussion it opens up after you’re done watching it. I’d hesitate to call this a ‘smart’ movie. It doesn’t necessarily make you think too much in a cerebral way, but it asks you to think about a certain subject (being purposely vague) in a way you’re not used to, and to try to perceive the story in a different way than you might while you’re watching it. Just a great film all around. Worth watching multiple times.
Captain Fantastic – Viggo! And his schlong! I wasn’t really into it until the second half, I honestly thought that the main character was sort of a jerk and was missing the point of view of all his children (and his wife.) But then it sorta started to grow on my as he came around. Great acting, excellent story, and I was surprised at the emotional heft that a Guns n’ Roses song could carry.
Zero Day – Not a whole lot I didn’t know about, but a nice, deep dive into Stuxnet and what it means to the world at large, without being to sensationalist until the very end of the film.
The Lobster – I still haven’t gotten around to watching this a second time, but I really want to. I think there are multiple ways to interpret the end of the film and I’d like to see if my perception has changed since the initial viewing. There’s one particularly disturbing scene I’m not sure I want to sit through again, but the Colin Farrel and Rachel Weisz were so great in it, I think I can maybe plug my ears during that scene and not be too disturbed by it.