The 5 Best Films of 2016 (So Far)
Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2016? The Oscars came and went. Disney took over the world with huge hit after huge hit (apart from the colourful turd that was Alice Through The Looking Glass). Mid-budget cinema’s future got more worrying as films like Popstar and The Nice Guys flopped in the US. Thankfully, we’ve still had enough great films released to give us devote moviegoers some hope for the rest of the year.
As usual, I won’t be including any films that were nominated for an Oscar this year; as great as Spotlight, The Revenant, Son of Saul etc. were, they’ve already been discussed and dissected to death. Despite my best efforts, I can’t see every single film released, so if your favourite film isn’t mentioned, I probably didn’t get a chance to see it (that long list includes favourites like The Nice Guys, Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, and Finding Dory). Without further ado, here are my picks for the five best films of the year so far.
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Nearly ten years after found footage monster movie Cloverfield first hit the cinemas, disturbing spin-off 10 Cloverfield Lane appeared out of nowhere. A tense, low-budget chiller set almost entirely in an underground bunker, Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut featured a trio of great performances from John Gallagher Jnr., Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and the sublime John Goodman in one of his most terrifying roles. Despite a slightly disappointing climax, 10 Cloverfield Lane is one of the pleasant surprises of the year.
One of the highest grossing films of the year so far, Zootopia is the best children’s film since Inside Out, and one of the entertainingly original animations in years. The rather strange story of a rabbit trying to make it as a police officer in the harsh titular city, Zootopia packs in great action set pieces with big laughs (the sloths especially), while exploring increasingly dark ideas of racism and classism. The first of many massively successful Disney films this year.
3. Everybody Wants Some!!
Richard Linklater’s spiritual sequel to cult high school film Dazed and Confused is yet another casually fun ‘hangout’ movie. Taking place in a fraternity house over the weekend before the start of college, Everybody Wants Some!! lacks the great characters of its predecessor or the drama of Linklater’s recent output, but it’s a breeze of a film, offering fun dialogue and quality acting from a young, mostly unknown cast.
Netflix’s best film to date, Mike Flanagan’s old-school horror Hush is one of the scariest films of the year. Starring Flanagan’s real-life wife Kate Siegel in a brilliant breakthrough role as a deaf writer fending off an eerie serial killer (John Gallagher Jnr., making his second appearance on this list), Hush is cleverly plotted, frequently disturbing, and utilises the limitations and capabilities of deafness to create plenty of unique situations. The cleverest take on the ‘cabin-in-the-woods’ film since You’re Next.
1. Green Room
While Green Room has sadly been overshadowed by the untimely death of its leading actor Anton Yelchin, Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to 2014’s Blue Ruin is the most adrenalized-yet-tense film I’ve seen all year. Following a punk band trapped in the titular room by neo-Nazis (led by a chilling Patrick Stewart), Green Room never skimps on shocking twists and stomach-churning violence.
However, Saulnier’s confident script and direction turn what could have been a generic B-movie into a masterpiece of ferocious gore and wall-to-wall action. The late Yelchin is excellent in the role of the beaten-down, out-of-luck bass player forced to become a hero. Too intense for most audiences, Green Room has an atmosphere and control of tension unlike any film I’ve ever seen, and it’s quite easily the best film of 2016 so far.
It’s been a solid first half of the year. Here’s hoping the second half of 2016 leads to even more great films, awards-worthy performances, and hope for film lovers everywhere.
By Harry J. Ford
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- Posted in: End of Year Review ♦ Lists
- Tagged: 10 cloverfield lane, 2016, animation, anton yelchin, best films, everybody wants some, green room, hush, jeremy saulnier, john gallagher jnr, john goodman, kate siegel, mary elizabeth winstead, mike flanagan, richard linklater, zootopia