THE BEST FILMS OF 2016
Yesterday we looked at the worst of 2016, today; we celebrate the best films of the past year as seen by your truly.
10. Amanda Knox
This is a complete departure for me, as normally I’ve never included documentaries. But there are times and 2016 sports two such instances both from Netflix, where the documentary out shined many of its feature film counterparts. I do not know whether Amanda Knox is innocent or not. Only she and God know the truth. What I do know is that the investigation as shown here was troubling and sloppy at best. It’s a very compelling look at a case that captivated the world.
The second documentary to make my top ten gave us a real and disturbing look at America’s racial history. So much of it is tough to swallow and that’s the point. Often the truth is. The injustices of the past shouldn’t be glossed over as a footnote. It should be studied and respected in order for it to never, ever happen again. There is an old saying; those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
8. Finding Dory
Finding Dory is as charming if not more poignant than its predecessor. Always remember, no matter what obstacles the ripples of life give you, just keep on swimming. This is a wonderful message no matter how old we are and where we are in life.
7. The Magnificent Seven
Yesterday I discussed remaking classics and the failures of Ben-Hur. Today the flipside of that coin is the western remake of the Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner classic, The Magnificent Seven. This time around we have Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in the lead roles and while it doesn’t quite live up to the original, it does deliver enough to make it one of the better westerns in recent times. Love the action and the cinematography. Besides, I love any story where the underdog stares adversity in the eye no matter the odds.
One of the great strengths of the science fiction genre is its ability to make us think about our past, our present and of course our future. Sometimes the biggest element missing in a film about close encounters with aliens is the humanity aspect. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Arrival, a thinking person’s sci-fi that is far more about humans and family than it is about aliens. I think it will be a very safe bet that Amy Adams will get a well-deserved nod for her terrific performance.
The first of three Marvel related films to make the best of list may not be part of the cinematic universe but one could only hope that someday it will. Deadpool is what Suicide Squad wanted to be and everything it wasn’t. Ryan Reynolds was born to play this character. Deadpool is so outrageous and so worthy of its R-Rating, that it might end up being over the course of time, one of the best comic-book films of all-time. So much fun with incredible visual effects and innovative storytelling with its fourth wall breaking that you will leave the theater craving chimichangas and perhaps wanting a unicorn. I can’t wait to see what Reynolds and company comes up with next.
4. Doctor Strange
The second Marvel property to make it to the top-five, Doctor Strange is intelligent and delivers some of the very best visual effects; especially in 3D I’ve ever seen. Benedict Cumberbatch is outstanding in the lead role. He is without question, Doctor Stephen Strange. The entire film hinges on his performance that if he doesn’t deliver, all the special effects in the world would not have saved this latest entry in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We live in an age where bullying seems to be an accepted part of life. Look no further than this year’s Presidential election. This is what makes Zootopia such a welcome. Not only is its story of inclusion brilliantly delivered in a thoughtful manner, Zootopia sports some of the best animation that at times seems missing in recent years. A must see for everyone whether you have children or not.
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Simply put, Rogue One was the prequel we had looked for. The first standalone film in the Star Wars mythology may be the most emotional one outside The Force Awakens. It showcases great special effects and wonderful performances led by Felicity Jones. The members of Rogue One are the unsung heroes behind the rebellion. This film reminds you just how good the Star Wars universe is and it sets the bar high for future tales from a galaxy far, far away.
1. Captain America: Civil War
I think when everything is said and done, we will look back at these Marvel films and agree that the Captain America trilogy was some of the cinematic universes best. Civil War proves much like Nolan’s Batman had done, comic book inspired films can be intelligently thought-provoking as well as action packed with a sense of humor. And did I mention Spider-Man? Awesome stuff. This superhero clash was everything Batman v Superman fell short in doing. We know time is drawing near when we’ll have to say goodbye to Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. in their iconic roles. Thankfully not just yet but when we do, they will be missed.
Another year has come and gone. While I don’t think 2016 was the best year for films overall, there were some really good standouts that should get some considerations come Oscar time. Like anything else, movies and how one feels about them is all subjective.
Till next time…
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight