As it is the start of a fresh year, it is time to reflect on the mixed bag 2016 had to offer - this varied bunch contained some nifty surprises and extreme disappointments. So it is my job to select my favorites from the pack and compile them into a ‘best of the best’ list (in no particular order).
Arrival is nothing short of a modern masterpiece. This film dives deep into morals revolving around humanity but still maintains a level of entertainment. On a technical scale, Arrival is beautifully filmed with fantastic coloring. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeremy Renner or Amy Adams picked up multiple awards based on their performances. With Prisoners and Sicario already up Denis Villeneuve’s sleeve, Arrival helps solidify his talent as a director.
2016 already had one disappointing superhero battle and did not need another. Luckily, Joe and Anthony Russo blew everybody away with their depiction of Marvel’s Civil War. They seamlessly introduced new characters, created moments of tension and humor, and managed to pull off such a herculean task of surpassing The Winter Soldier. Civil War is the best Captain America film. It’s the best Avengers film. It’s the best Marvel film.
The Coen Brothers once again collaborated with Roger Deakins to create Hail, Caesar! This film-turned-celeb-spot follows studio executives and producers during a stressful day within Hollywood’s Golden Age. With hilarious writing and beautiful colors, Hail, Caesar! is wonderful and one of 2016’s best.
The simplicity of this film and pure entertainment value makes Hunt for the Wilderpeople so enthralling. A relationship between foster parent and troublesome teen taken to the extreme is pure magic. Plus, the setting, score, and characters are wildly engaging throughout. It is a shame that such a brilliant film is unheard of worldwide.
Who knew that Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe had such great chemistry? Shane Black apparently. This easy career-best is a classic 70s buddy cop story with fantastic set pieces, engaging narrative, and genuinely interesting characters. A pure splendor to watch over and over.