Hello there. Somehow space year 2016 is almost at an end, and while I'm not entirely sure where that twelvemonth went it does mean one thing - end of year lists!
This is my movie list, that's Daniel, and it comes with some qualfiers. I didn't see every film which came out this year, not even close. I even missed some blockbusters and I'm certainly light on a few of the award-sniffing titles. I'm also not a massive fan of documentaries, so there.
And the most important note is that this is entirely my point of view. I liked these films very much, while critical darlings like Arrival left me cold. So with that in mind, take this list for what is it - an indication of films you might like to catch up on if you missed them.
Let's dive in, from 10 to 1...
Tom McCarthy's film is blistering in its expose of facts that we really should know by now. With consistently strong performances and a stunning weight of revelations, it also manages to be accessible and even sometimes fluffy thanks to the exceptional script, also by McCarthy and Josh Singer.
This might not appear on many other lists but I absolutely loved Deadpool. As comic book movies become super serious and ridiculously self involved, this film just took the piss out of everything, including itself. I'm not convinced this particular lightning can strike twice for a sequel but the original remains great fun in rewatches.
Disney ups its game again to challenge the might of Pixar. This might not be an ideal film for kids but the mixture of beautiful animation, a fast paced quippy script and a real social message make this one to definitely check out if you missed it. And you probably didn't because it made a billion dollars.
Here's one you are likely to have missed - a Turkish-French film about five young girls struggling to deal with the demands of their restrictive society. It sounds grim but there's a lot of lightness to Mustang thanks to the young performers and a bitter sting of the reality of life for people away from the liberal nations we normally see depicted on the big screen.
Production designer Robert Eggers brought all of his skills to bear in this directorial debut, resulting in a stunning recreation of 17th Century New England. The Witch is more about atmosphere than jumps but still chills in its second half, as the darkness in the trees grows ever closer. Remember young Anya Taylor-Joy, she's going places.
Swiss Army Man
This is an utterly bizarre film, way beyond anything you might expect even if you've seen the trailer. It's all about a stranded Paul Dano who finds a corpse played by Daniel Radcliffe and together they go on an amazing adventure. It's crude and strange and bewilderingly beautiful and destined for cult status. It's also likely to be extremely divisive, which makes for great conversations as the credits roll.
Makato Shinkai’s latest got a limited release in Ireland but is on its way to becoming the highest grossing anime of all time worldwide. And that’s mostly because it’s a wonderfully made drama/comedy/romance with stunning imagery which ramps up to a truly emotional finale. Don’t be afraid of subtitles and track this one down - it’s a work of art and genuinely funny too.
It feels like eons since I saw this film but it’s never truly left my mind. Charlie Kaufman penned a play back in 2005 and decided it would make more sense on the big screen as a painstakingly animated stop motion feature. The result is as impressively realised as you might expect, but also surprisingly and even shockingly human even as it delves into denser and darker material.
Kubo and the Two Strings
Laika is the company behind Coraline, The Boxtrolls and personal favourite ParaNorman, and they’ve hit it out of the park with their latest feature. Set in a time and place inspired by feudal Japan, it’s the story of a young boy and his incredible adventure. But while the sets and characters are gorgeously crafted it’s the tale which really grabs the mind and heartstrings, pulling the audience towards a finale with real emotional depth. And good golly gosh but you’ve never seen something so pretty.
The last two were in close contention but Green Room wins by a sliver for a significant reason - I have rarely seen a film so effectively toy with an audience. Jeremy Saulnier’s third feature takes real lessons from Blue Ruin in a fantastically restrained sense of pace. Combined with the constant threat and the close confines of a club in the middle of nowhere, this results in almost unbearable tension as the audience knots up tighter and tighter. This makes the moments of release all the more awe-inspiring, and Saulnier expertly metes out ultraviolence while keeping us onside with an excellent cast, including Patrick Stewart, a brilliant turn by Imogen Poots and a sad farewell for Anton Yelchin.
Many of these films are available on home video now and most probably won’t be winning major awards in the new year, but why not give them a go over the holiday season.