Greetings, Movie Fans!
Alright, now to bring this list to a close for another year.
Here are the final five films from my Top 10 of 2016!
5. SING STREET
Musicals today may be a lot different than they were during the Golden Age of cinema when romances and dramatic-comedies would break out randomly in professional song and dance choreography. Not to make light of those films, it was called the Golden Age for a reason, but the cost to make a film these days being what it is and most classic musicals never clocking in under two-and-a-half hours, it makes sense to have music that's integrated into the overall story structural rather than as a flashy diversion. If there's one director that has this new perspective down to a science, it's John Carney. After breaking into the limelight with the outstanding "Once" back in 2007, and his not-quite-as-good follow-up "Begin Again" from 2013 that showed Carney could handle a much bigger budget and cast, he returns back to his simpler craft with "Sing Street", an absolutely excellent tribute to 1980's punk rock. What's even more impressive is that while Carney made sure to bring in some heavy-hitters like The Cure, The Jam, and Duran Duran, a bulk of the musical numbers were originally made specially for the film. It was obvious to me that "Sing Street" was a winner when it had me smiling from beginning to end. Highly recommended!
4. DON'T BREATHE
Nothing draws me into a horror film faster than when it makes a mission out of rolling up its sleeves and delivering relentless suspense like a cold pair of hands grasping firmly around your neck. Stephen Lang continues to beg the question as to why he is still so underrated in these roles, the moral ambiguity forced upon the audience was a genius way of keeping up engagement, and the classic rundown house in a decimated neighborhood served as the tasty frosting on the cake. I have heard some say that activities that went down during the Third Act left them jarred and out of the said suspense that got them there in the first place, but from this angle, having that in the film brought even more gravity and terror to the circumstances rather than simply having the characters escape or not escape. Just when I thought the home invasion sub-genre had become more or less exhausted, Fede Alvarez breathed life into the medium and certainly leaves me excited for what he has coming next.
3. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
While "Rogue One" may not answer any questions as far as the future installments of Star Wars and the direction that they are taking the overall story arc for the new trilogy, it does answer two very crucial ones just the same: Yes, Star Wars does appear to be in good hands with the Disney Empire (pun intended) when it comes to turning out high quality films, and most importantly, filled the biggest plot hole that has plagued "A New Hope" since its release. Not bad for a single installment in a franchise with perhaps the loftiest expectations in Hollywood. Honestly, it would have been plenty if "Rogue One" had passed as worthy supplement material for Episode IV, and not only did it do that, but it is a feature that I feel will be a standout moving ahead. Terrific action sequences, capable casting, and just enough winks to the target audience to create exciting word-of-mouth, "Rogue One" made me feel like the kid that used to watch the original trilogy on a regular basis back on VHS. I couldn't ask for much more than that.
2. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
How the hell is Laika not a household name by now? You know a movie is great when it can blow you away with its imagination and immensely impressive stop-motion animation, and simultaenously piss you off when nobody went to see it and it barely re-cooperated its budget. Seriously, Illumination can rake in hundreds of millions of dollars this year on a lazy hack-job, but "Kubo" goes by mostly unnoticed. There are no words.
Ok, end of rant.
Laika already had me hooked from the get-go with "Coraline", and then "ParaNorman" only solidified the studio as a legitimately talented bunch of filmmakers. To attempt to describe what makes "Kubo" such a great movie, outside of an addicting story and score, would be doing it a grave injustice. Do yourself a favor and go watch it already.
And finally, my favorite film from 2016 is:
All Hail, Horror!
It's about goddamn time.
Naturally, "Hush" does draw many comparisons to "Don't Breathe" and vice versa, and perhaps there is a level of exploitation at play in both films with the "victim" being physically disabled, although the screenwriters mapped it all out in a tasteful enough way by not making those characters helpless, so it would be rather difficult to levy a complaint against it. What was so smart about "Hush" is that while Maggie was entirely deaf, the audience could still hear her movements and thus making her attempts at survival that much more suspenseful. Lean and well-crafted, not only was "Hush" my favorite film from 2016, but also one of the biggest surprises. Netflix doesn't always score with its original material, though if this is the type of horror they plan on churning out, count me in!
I hope you all enjoyed my Top 10 Films of 2016 list!
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Thank you for reading!