Better Than All the Rest: 10 Best Movies of 2016

You can check out the worst films of 2016 right here. However, this article is going to be a lot more positive because this list is my ten favourites of the year. I honestly thought this was a banner year for great films so this wasn’t the easiest thing to compile. Now before we rank ’em, here are some…

Honourable Mentions: Everybody Wants Some!!; Dr. Strange; Sausage Party; Finding Dory; Hail, Caesar!; Rogue One; 10 Cloverfield Lane; Star Trek Beyond; Don’t Breathe; Allied

 

#10. Deadpool (original release date: February 12, 2016)

This was a breath of fresh air. While I felt like the Marvel Universe had become saturated a bit at this point when Deadpool was released, this particular film was what everyone needed: a swift kick in the nuts and a brand new sense of humour to give us a break from all the overwrought serious plots in films like Captain America and Thor. I should not that I love the Marvel Universe of films but this one absolutely stands head and shoulders above most of them for its creativity alone. Ryan Reynolds shines like never before. I originally gave this a **** 1/2 but I’m upping it.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

#9. The Jungle Book (original release date: April 15, 2016)

Not even taking into account how wonderful this film is in terms of the actual story, the acting and the screenplay, this film also breaks the barrier for use of CGI. If this thing somehow doesn’t win an Oscar for Visual Effects then there is honestly something wrong with the Academy. Neel Sethi turns in a very impressive performance for a novice child actor working essentially by himself while we also get wonderful vocal performances from people like Bill Murray playing Baloo and Ben Kingsley as Bagheera. Christopher Walken also recreates the totally offensive King Louis scene in the original Disney production and makes it much better. A vast improvement over the cartoon.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

#8. Captain America: Civil War (original release date: May 6, 2016)

As terrific and refreshing as Deadpool was, this is the ultimate Marvel movie. To see a movie with Captain America and Iron Man finally going head-to-head was incredible as was the inclusion of a multitude of other characters. It never even felt like it was too many as it does in some movies because most of these people were already introduced in their own films and weren’t being shoe-horned into the script. There is a sickening amount of intense drama in the film with that final fight scene between Iron Man, Cap and the Winter Soldier being one of the best of the year. The airport fight is something to behold as well. Not a weak link in the movie.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

#7. Zootopia (original release date: March 4, 2016)

This was a VERY strong year for animated films as this is one of three that will appear on my Top 10 with FIVE if you include the Honourable Mentions section. This movie is not only a wonderfully sweet Disney film but also includes a great message about acceptance and not buying into racial stereotypes. Yes, that’s right. That message is not even beaten into the viewer’s head but one can clearly see that message sitting above the surface. There are some very talented choices for the voice cast and above all else, it a super-duper funny movie.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

#6. Eye in the Sky (original release date: April 1, 2016)

If you didn’t see this criminally underrated film, you owe it to yourself to purchase it. The film is a take on a political wartime thriller but with a modern spin and more focus on the machinations of what it takes to make wartime decisions rather than from the tired perspective of the soldier or pilot like we usually get in these movies. There is even some comedy in the film albeit from scenes like watching various heads of state pass responsibility around the room before making any kind of concrete decision. It is filled with tense drama and solid performances from its cast. It’s just a shame that not many people saw it when it was released last year.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

#5. The Edge of Seventeen (original release date: November 18, 2016)

What a wonderful film. I have a soft spot for coming-of-age plots so I knew I was going to like this but I was still amazed at how good the movie was anyway. Hailee Steinfeld gives a phenomenal lead performance and has some really fun chemistry with Woody Harrelson, who also gives a really good, grounded and funny performance as a teacher. Their love/hate relationship leads to some of the best scenes in the film. The biggest thing about this movie is its honesty. Nothing feels fabricated or created simply for plot advancement. It’s a beautiful film.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

#4. Arrival (original release date: November 11, 2016)

Ever since I saw Prisoners, I knew Denis Villeneuve had amazing talents as a director. I have yet to see his early work but I’m sure it’s phenomenal as well. After Sicario topped my Best-of list from last year, this one had a lot to live up to but it delivers in spades. From Amy Adams’ breathtaking lead performance to the film’s very sophisticated script and the overall angle they took with this story, nothing could have prepared me for this wonderful experience. I will not say how this one ends but it’s a film that you enjoy watching unfold and learning new plot details as you go on. It’s a very satisfying experience when everything finally comes together.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

#3. Moana (original release date: November 23, 2016)

Where to even begin here? Disney rights their past wrongs by beautifully representing another culture with this film. Dwayne Johnson is a real treat as the demi-God Maui, giving us a performance as memorable and fun as Robin Williams playing the Genie in Aladdin. There are lots of terrific musical numbers, the voice casting is spot-on (especially the newcomer they hired to play the title role) and the visuals are amazing. I have only seen animation this good (or better) one other time (more on that later) and at times I almost forgot that I wasn’t watching a live-action film. This is going into the annals of all-time Disney greats.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

#2. La La Land (original release date: December 9, 2016)

I only got the opportunity to see this movie in 2017 but it was originally released last year so I am including it in this list. And how could I not? I have never finished a film with a more satisfying feeling than after watching this one. How can you NOT tap your feet to the wonderful musical numbers? How can you not love the performances and chemistry between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling? How can one not think this movie is perfect or at least as close as it possibly can be? This is one of those movies that deserves all the awards season hype that it is getting and I hope it sweeps through the Oscars.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

And now…

It is time…

For…

THE

BEST

FILM

OF

2016…

 

#1. Kubo and the Two Strings (original release date: August 19, 2016)

Back in August when I reviewed this masterpiece of cinema, I declared it my favourite film of the year. Amazingly, after 4 1/2 months, my original statement still stands: this was the BEST film of 2016 and one of the most original works I have seen in a long time. The combination of 3D, stop-motion and computer graphics is absolutely flawless and creates one of the best-looking films ever. That’s not even taking into account the fact that this film doesn’t look down on its young viewers. It treats its audience with respect by utilizing a mature and sometimes tragic plot to tell the story of young Kubo and his mission. Charlize Theron and a vocally-unrecognizable Matthew McConaughey provide ample support in this FLAWLESS cinematic achievement.

You can check out my original review here.

Rating: *****

 

Rating System:

* (Brutal; the worst rating)

** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)

*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)

**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)

***** (Flawless; a true achievement)