Best of 2016

 

Happy New Year 2016.

Another year of film has gone by and now it’s time to get started on looking back on my favourite films (and TV!) of the last year. Though it’s hard to ignore the shitstorm 2016 was in the wider world (and 2017 isn’t looking great) this year in film has been pretty good, and 2017 looks even better!

Just like the last couple years I am looking back at my favourite films from 2016, narrowing it down as best I can, with a few more extra categories and some TV too.

Absolute favourites

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Julian Dennison and Sam Neill in Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Julian Dennison and Sam Neill in Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Taika Watiti is a comedic genius and this has to be one of my favourites for the year. Julian Dennison as Ricky steals the film and has you laughing hard. But his relationship with Sam Neill as Uncle Hec is what gives the film heart. Both do not want to be where they are but form a close connection and provide you with laughter and some really touching moments.

The Jungle Book

Neel Sethi and Bill Murrary voicing Baloo

Neel Sethi as Mowgli and Bill Murrary voicing Baloo

So Disney are remaking their classic animated films into live action, and so far The Jungle Book has been the best, losing none of the magic of the original. I love the original Disney animated film, I love Jon Favreau the director and the cast they put together to voice the CG animals was pretty good. Bill Murray as Baloo is the perfect choice. The CG is amazing too, you almost feel like you could reach out and stroke a real panther.  And now I have the DVD (Christmas present!) I can’t wait to see it again.

Comedy

Swiss Army Man

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe

With many reviewers and critics calling it the ‘farting corpse’ film I knew what to expect but fortunately those were thrown out the window when I watched it. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe have wonderful chemistry and this is a film which really celebrates life and human relationships There is laughter, music, sadness, anger and yes, a farting corpse.

Deadpool

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool

This can also be put into ‘Superhero’ category but that already has too many so its being a comedy. This film thankfully lived up to and surpassed many fans expectations for it. Ryan Reynolds must be so happy with how well it was received. Hilarious from beginning to end – and absolutely filthy in terms of language in true Deadpool fashion, completely made up for that terrible Wolverine Origins version we were subjected to. Possibly its only let down was Colossus , who  is actually pretty good in the other X-Men films.

Animated

Zootropolis

Gennifer Goodwin voices Judy Hopps and Jason Bateman voices Nick Wilde

Gennifer Goodwin voices Judy Hopps and Jason Bateman voices Nick Wilde

Disney did again, and I think actually trumping Pixar with Zootropolis this year. They really know how to make films for adults as much as kids and this one was great. The howl-off was the best part, or maybe the sloths – too many good parts to decide!

Finding Dory

Ellen DeGeneres returns as the voice of Dory

Ellen DeGeneres returns as the voice of Dory

So films are pretty much sequels nowadays, especially those coming out of Hollywood, but this one does hold up. Introducing new characters and bringing back some great ones, Finding Dory is a fun follow up to Nemo and shows that when it comes to sequels, trust in Pixar. (Cars 2 included reluctantly).

Sci-Fi/fantasy

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne

Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne

I am a huge Harry Potter fan and have been for years so was very excited to hear that there would be more filmss that would further extend the potter universe. Eddie Redmayne is not a favourite of mine but he was very good as Newt and I can’t wait for more films in this series. And the fantasy side was also explored further. Those beasts were just wonderful. If only it was real. I think to myself fairly often how much I would like to be a witch in that world.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Felicity Jones and Diego Luna

Felicity Jones and Diego Luna

So again the best sci-fi film is a hard one too choose. Arrival was just phenomenal (read my review here) and one of the best sci-fi films in the last few years too, but I have to mention Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is my third favourite Star Wars film already, even though I have only seen it the once (at the time of writing). Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope take first and second place respectively, if you were wondering. The diverse cast is just what this huge franchise needed, and Rogue One included a lot of fantastic actors, like Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn and Mads Mikkelsen. Then there is Felicity Jones. She oozes coolness in this role and the journey she goes on is so exciting. The rag team group of rebels, the gritty film-making style feels like a bit of fresh air has breathed life into the Star Wars world.

Superhero

The superhero films started off with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice which I did enjoy but really could have been better, especially when you realise the two could have solved their differences a lot sooner if they had done a bit more research – their mums have the same name! ‘The Greatest Detective?!’. Yeah, right. So by far not the best. The best has to be:

Captain America: Civil War

Team Captain America, L-R: Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Captain America and the Winter Soldier

Team Captain America, L-R: Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Captain America and the Winter Soldier

Thankfully Captain America: Civil War saved the superhero films. Basically like Avengers 2.5 it included the most people yet in an Avengers film (I think in Infinity War they all need to have their names taped to their foreheads so it will be easier to follow) and also brought Spiderman into the fray. I think it might also be one of the Universe’s best films so far too. Even if it didn’t have Thor in it.

Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

Now – for me – it is hard to decide between X-Men: Apocalypse and Doctor Strange. I love the X-Men films having grown up with them but Doctor Strange, like Guardians, was a chance for Marvel to show they could be weird and different and still have people love the films. Plus that scene with Benedict Cumberbatch and Mads Mikkelsen ‘Mister Doctor’ was brilliant. (Congrats to Mads on being the only actor to be mentioned twice in this post). Having liked Mr Britishname Complicated for a fair few years, I was looking forward to seeing him as a superhero. And damn he is a good one. He is going to be great addition to the Avengers for Infinity War.

TV

Not just films, but 2016 was great for TV. Some of it I haven’t yet watched like Stanger Things and Westworld, but have heard great things and some which I have seen but might be the only one I know who has like Please Like Me and Mozart in the Jungle. Game of Thrones had a great sixth season after a rather boring fifth – Battle of the Bastards was just WOW. I am so sad there isn’t much of it left.

Gael Garcia Bernal (R) as Rodrigo in Mozart in the Jungle

Gael Garcia Bernal (R) as Rodrigo in Mozart in the Jungle

The Australian comedy Please Like Me is something I would recommend to everyone. Josh Thomas is a terrific writer, perfectly combining laugh out loud moments with those that make you curl into a ball and sob. Episode 5 was a right kick in the balls! And in December I was introduced to the fantastic Mozart in the Jungle. Never being a fan of classical music I had no idea what it would be like, but I have fallen in love with it. Possibly my favourite show of the year. I have always liked Gael Garcia Bernal and he shines as the Maestro. And Hailey (Lola Kirke), despite being very different from me, is so easy to relate to. A young woman just starting out in a career with something she is passionate about is easy to connect too. And she is strong, funny and very lovable.

Michael Emerson, Amy Acker and Jim Caviezel in Person of Interest

Michael Emerson, Amy Acker and Jim Caviezel in Person of Interest

Two other TV shows I started watching last year were Person of Interest and Mr Robot. Both were recommended to me and both were awesome TV. Though Person of Interest has sadly been cancelled and came to a final end its something I can easily watch over and over and season to season just got better. Its on Netflix – go watch! Mr Robot is one of those shows which has skyrocketed and its easy to see why. Remi Malek is brilliant as Elliot and the who cast is brilliant and each episode keeps you wanting more.

Mike Colter as Luke Cage

Mike Colter as Luke Cage

Then there was also Netflix Marvels shows Daredevil and Luke Cage. Daredevil was maybe not as good as the first season but it did introduce Frank Castle – Jon Bernthal being perfectly cast. It creates the set up for The Defenders coming out in 2017 and The Punisher, both of which I am very excited about. Luke Cage was one I didn’t know what to expect. Having met Luke already in Jessica Jones I wasn’t sure he could carry his own TV show. A little slow starting and kinda cheesy in parts, I ended up really liking it. Luke Cage and the whole Harlem scene is pretty baddass. Plus, its nice to get away from Hell’s Kitchen!!

Worst

Suicide Squad

L-R Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Katana, Rick Flag, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang

L-R Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Katana, Rick Flag, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang

Suicide Squad was a big let down for me. The trailers gave it too much hype and although the characters WERE good and there was great performances, the plot was all over the place and for people who haven’t seen it I would say give it a miss unless you are a hardcore fan. Waste of your time, sadly.

Do you agree? Any films or TV you watched in 2016 that you think I might like, let me know in the comments!

Finally, Happy New Year and enjoy another year of cinematic wonders!

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About Monica Jowett

I am a graduate of the University of South Wales, where I studied Film Studies. I write reviews and articles for my own blog and other sites, and spend a lot of my time living and breathing all things film related. I love films and TV. I avoid horror as I am a little too jumpy, but do have an unashamed love for soppy chick-flicks.
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