Merry Christmas everybody from all of us at The Reviewing Network….and by all of us…I mean, just me because I’m the only one working on this site…but hey, I’m happy to do keep doing this and because it’s Christmas and it’s also the 3rd year anniversary of the site’s launch, let’s celebrate by looking at my top 10 favorite movies of 2016.
The year is nearly over, a lot of the big new releases are out there so that means it’s time to recap the highlights of another pretty solid year for movies.
As always, my annual warning that a lot of the big Oscar contenders have not opened up around here so unfortunately I’ve yet to see films like The Birth Of A Nation, Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, Manchester By The Sea, among many other Oscar contenders this year so those will not be on this list.
What did make the list? Let’s find out together:
Yes, I know this just came out and I remember last year, I was hesitant to get The Force Awakens in the top 10 so I left it in the honorable mentions. This time around, Rogue One just barely makes it into the top 10, it was a close one for the 10th spot this year.
After a rocky start, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story jumps quickly into high gear with a lot of good action, good acting, good comedy, good drama, great music by Michael Giacchino, a great bevy of new characters, the return of a legendary baddie at his finest, it’s everything you could possibly ask for with a Star Wars film and thensome. This movie more than proves that Disney buying Star Wars was the greatest thing that could happen to this franchise, one of the best movies of the year, this is a must see movie.
Speaking of one of the most overlooked movies of the year, why the fuck did nobody go and see Hardcore Henry? This movie was badass action that has been long overdo, the idea of doing a first person action movie can be seen as somewhat of a gimmick if done the wrong way but Hardcore Henry manages to make the gimmick work as well as they did and also, I can’t remember the last time Sharlto Copley was this much fun and awesome.
8. Southside With You
Finally got around to checking this one out before I made the list, I love this movie, this is basically the Before Sunrise except done with Barack & Michelle Obama with excellent performances by Parker Sawyers as Obama and Tika Sumpter as Michelle with a really solid script and direction by Richard Tamme. This is definitely a movie to seek out.
Shane Black is back, baby. Russell Crowe & Ryan Gosling work incredibly well together in this 70s era style version of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Who would’ve thought a Cloverfield followup nearly eight years after its’ release would actually be really solid? Okay, techinically it’s not a true Cloverfield followup but nevertheless, this is still a really impressive and effective thriller lead by a strong Oscar worthy performance by John Goodman. Granted, the last 10 minutes could’ve been better but for what the movie is, it’s badass.
Sweet mother of god, people, watch this movie and you will not be disappointed, this movie has some of the best animation that I have seen in years, the voice cast is great, the story works really well, it has a strong message.
Please do not let The Little Prince go under your radar, it’s one of the best movies of the year.
Ryan Reynolds fought long and hard to get Deadpool the proper film treatment he deserves and he succeeded, this R rated superhero spoof works on all levels, Reynolds was terrific as Deadpool, the comedy was hilarious, it was over the top action goodness, more movies need to be like this dammit.
For the first time ever, my top 3 movies of 2016 are all animated features, just goes to show such a testament to how strong of a year of animation this was so here’s the top 3:
Moana is another classic feature film to add to the Disney vault with its’ beautiful animation, great voice cast, great characters, great story, a great message about finding your true calling within yourself, great music, there’s no doubt about it, Moana is yet another Disney masterpiece that will be remembered for years and years to come.
Disney had topped themselves once again, Zootopia was one of the most hilarious and fun animated movies I’ve seen in a long time, probably since The LEGO Movie. This movie has everything, gorgeous animation, very likeable characters, a really strong voice cast, hilarious comedy, a great story, great music, a strong message that plays a lot into today’s world, it’s everything you could ask for and more. You’re doing yourself a huge disservice by missing out on Zootopia.
and the #1 best movie of 2016 is:
The animation is breathtaking, the story is great, the voice acting is amazing, the music is great, everything about this movie just works. We should all be thankful that a studio like Laika exists out there who are making these not only beautiful movies but also profound movies, films that make you think a lot and be enjoyable for both kids and adults, outside of Pixar, this studio has done a fantastic job of creating great animation and Kubo is easily the best one they’ve done so far. This is one you need to rush out and see ASAP, you will not be disappointed.
Captain America: Civil War — Like I said, my #10 spot was a tough one, it was between this, the next movie, and Rogue One. Proof that Marvel continues its’ dominance and shows another studio who tried to do a superhero crossover how it’s done. Captain America: Civil War did everything you’re suppose to do with a movie like this right, it knows when it has to have fun, it knows how to mix comedy, adventure, and drama into an effective and enjoyable movie and create the most impressive Spider-Man in movie form yet, it did everything right that the other big superhero crossover film this year did so wrong. I’m not mentioning that one yet because I’m saving that for the next list…
Kung Fu Panda 3 — In such a strong year for animation, it’s a damn shame that Kung Fu Panda 3 is getting passed over because it’s equally as enjoyable as the previous films and proves that DreamWorks Animation can still provide great family entertainment without insulting the intelligence of its’ audience *cough*Home*cough*.
Finding Dory — An idea that sounds like nothing but a cashgrab but after watching this Finding Nemo sequel, you realize that Pixar had an exciting story to tell with Dory and it works really well, the animation is excellent, the story is written well, the comedy is funny, the new characters are terrific. Not quite Toy Story level excellency but certainly a huge step up from Cars 2.
Arrival –The best thing you can say about this movie is that the pacing is pitch perfect, this is a slow moving sci-fi film but in the good way, a way that keeps you guessing as you watch the feature like Ex Machina does on what will happen in the end as you never get any full indication of how the movie will end as you watch it. I will tell you that it does have a really solid payoff at the end, one of the best third acts you could expect for a sci-fi feature.
There’s really no flaws that I can say with Arrival, I watched this entire movie and I could not find a negative flaw to it, I really enjoyed the hell out of this movie, it’s one of the best movies of the year and is more than worth seeing, go see it now dammit.
Sully — Sully works because of the great cast lead by Tom Hanks, a very nice looking plane crash, and a quick smooth running time. I just wish that they didn’t pad the story out with so much unnecessary stuff and clichés then I would’ve said we may have a contender for best movie of the year but as it stands, Sully works for another great Clint Eastwood movie and another excellent Tom Hanks performance, so I’ll take that as a consultation prize.
The Secret Life Of Pets — The Secret Life Of Pets may step a little too far into Toy Story territory but as long as you can still get entertainment value out of it, it really is not a big deal. And this movie delivers on everything else, the voice work, the great characters, the animation, the comedy, it all comes together very nicely to make this the best movie Illumination has put out to date. I really loved this movie a lot, it lived up to my expectations very well.
The Jungle Book — Jon Favreau returns to blockbuster form and Disney manages to create a live-action adaptation of one of their beloved animated features that manages to top everything they’ve done in the past and creates a unique and incredible adventure featuring one of the best voice casts ever and a rising young star in Neel Sethi as Mowgli.
Hail, Caesar! — The Coen Brothers did it again, another hilariously fun over the top comedy featuring an impressive all-star cast in George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson Ralph Finnes, Alden Ehrenreich and Tilda Swinton. One of the best Coen Bros.’ films in years.
The BFG — Steven Spielberg proves he’s still got it, taking one of Roald Dahl’s most beloved childrens’ books of all time and creates a good fun enjoyable adaptation with yet another strong performance by Mark Rylance and a great new actress in Ruby Barnhill. It’s unfortunate that it bombs but I hope this movie finds a following in the years to come.
Central Intelligence — One of the funniest comedies I saw this summer, Kevin Hart & Dwayne Johnson’s comedic chemistry is what holds this movie together, these two need to do more movies together, I swear. Hell, I will even watch that Jumanji reboot if Hart & Johnson are still attached to it.
Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday — Thank god I finally got Netflix because it means I get to watch their great original movies and TV shows right as they air, such as Pee Wee’s Big Holiday, a return to form for Paul Reubens’ legendary character. A lot better than Big Top Pee-Wee was and certainly a better holiday than Mr. Bean’s Holiday was.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi — More proof that Michael Bay can still provide great entertainment without insulting the intelligence of his audience, 13 Hours was a surprisingly strong and effective action thriller.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot — God, that title is so bad but the movie is so good. Really, that title is the biggest flaw of the movie solely because they had a great title in The Taliban Shuffle and they said, “no, that’s not marketable enough so let’s make a title that’s even less marketable.” And that’s why this movie failed at the box office. But regardless, Tina Fey really shines in this movie, there’s a lot of great comedy and drama and the rest of the cast in this is fantastic. This is definitely one you’ll want to check out.
How To Be Single — One of the biggest romantic comedy surprises in recent memory, the four leads, Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, and Alison Brie are great in this movie and the movie doesn’t pull that romantic comedy cliché bullshit, it doesn’t treat being single as an insult, this film actually embraces single life and for that, it’s one of the best movies of the year…at least in the honorable mentions.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising — More big surprises this year, Neighbors 2 broke a trend of just these godawful comedy sequels and manages to actually be enjoyable, maybe not as enjoyable as the first movie but hey, it was enjoyable, that’s more than I can say for 98% of all the comedy sequels we’ve gotten this decade.
Money Monster — A great thriller directed by Jodie Foster, of all people, and boasting strong performances all around from George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and especially breakout roles for Jack O’Connell and Caitrona Balfe.
The Angry Birds Movie — The second best video game adaptation ever, next to Mortal Kombat. Well, okay, it’s not a perfect movie but hey, it was at least more enjoyable than 95% of the other bad video game adaptations we’ve gotten over the years.
Barbershop: The Next Cut — A great long overdue sequel that, like Zootopia, manages to take important issues of today and presents them in a funny and effective dramatic way. Might very well be the best of the Barbershop movies.
Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders — Easily the best movie to have an association with Batman this year, a fun enjoyable tribute to the 60s Batman TV series, nicely animated, very funny, just an enjoyable fun direct-to-video feature. Heck, it was the best DC movie that came out this year…and it went straight to video.
Everybody Wants Some!! — I overall enjoyed the movie, I don’t think it’s quite as good as some of Linklater’s more superior works like Dazed & Confused or Boyhood but it’s still a really solid and really entertaining movie, much like Stranger Things, this is something that definitely benefits on nostalgic love of the 80s, brilliantly written characters, well acted characters, and a ton of really solid bits of comedy. Maybe not one of Richard Linklater’s stronger films but I still really enjoyed it enough to highly recommend it.
So, those are the best movies of 2016, what about the worst? Well, check back next week as we launch into 2017 with one final jabbing at the absolute worst of 2016.
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