With just days left before we turn another page in the calendar, here’s a look back at the year’s best films.
With hundreds of films released each year, it is hard to keep a track of all of them and sometimes we tend to miss out on some of the best ones. So if you’re a busy-bee, struggling to keep updated, here is our comprehensive list of some of the best films from 2016 that you might have skipped out on.
Denis Villeneuve’s follow-up to last year’s Sicario boasts the same brand of gorgeously portentous widescreen imagery as well as a female protagonist thrust into head-spinning territory. In this case, however, the subject isn’t Mexican drug cartels but aliens, who mysteriously arrive across the globe in giant ships, and who don’t communicate in anything like a decipherable human language. Enter Amy Adams’ linguist, who—paired with Jeremy Renner’s mathematician—is tasked by the U.S. government with finding a way to communicate with these extraterrestrials, known as “heptapods” because of their seven-limbed physical form. What endues is a thrilling “first contact” drama that also splits its focus to concentrate on Adams’ protagonist’s grief over the loss of her daughter—twin narrative threads that eventually dovetail into a poignant portrait of the circular nature of life, and the way in which written and spoken language help connect us all to our pasts, present, and future.
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
When the last Harry Potter movie was released, for Potterheads all around the world, it was possibly the worst thing ever. But 2016 brought us not only a new play in the form of the ‘Cursed Child’ but also a film adaptation of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ starring none other than Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in the lead role.
Moonlight is a coming-of-age tale about a homosexual African-American boy living in Florida. That basic plot description, however, does little to convey the incisive poetry of Barry Jenkins’ film, whose narrative is divided between three stages in the life of its protagonist, Chiron (aka “Little” as an adolescent, and “Black” as an adult). From its astounding opening shot on a street corner circling around a drug dealer (Mahershala Ali) who’ll come to be young Chiron’s surrogate father figure—since his mother (Naomie Harris) is a junkie—this evocative drama captures an overwhelming sense of both place and character. As Chiron grows up, enjoying fleeting moments of euphoria amidst routine abuse and neglect, Jenkins charts thorny individual and interpersonal dynamics in which both salvation and damnation seem to stem from the same (or, at least, similar) source. Sensitive, subtle, intense and complex, it’s a triumph of both expressive direction and—courtesy of Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes as Chiron, as well as André Holland and Janelle Monáe—nuanced, heart-rending performance.
4. Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch also known as the man with the sharpest cheekbones in Hollywood starred in one of the best superhero movies of the year Doctor Strange as an arrogant superhero who is given the responsibility of saving the world in one of the best films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
5. The Invitation
For her first feature since 2009’s Jennifer’s Body, Karyn Kusama delivers one of the year’s great gripping thrillers with The Invitation, an intensely unnerving story about a Los Angeles man (Logan Marshall-Green) who, with his girlfriend in tow, attends a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and her new boyfriend (Game of Thrones‘ Michiel Huisman)—an awkward situation compounded by the fact that Marshall-Green and Blanchard’s characters split following the death of their young child, which neither has properly gotten over. Kusama shrewdly lays out her psychological dynamics, and she imbues her action with an eeriness that suggests there’s more to this get-together than initially meets the eye, and which slowly builds to near-unbearable levels. By the time its revelations finally arrive, The Invitation has become a small-scale masterwork of sustained anxiety, and all the more chilling for casting its eventual horrors as the natural byproduct of madness begat by grief.
The heartthrob, Ryan Reynolds proved once again why he is simply the best. The anti-hero with a penchant for foul language gave some of the best comic relief of the year while taking on Ed Skrein who played Ajax and Morena Baccarin as Vanessa.
7. Captain America Civil war
Captain America: Civil War the third installment in the Steve Roger’s story proved once again why Avengers are the mightiest heroes on earth.
With a star-studded cast that includes Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp and Tom Holland the heroes came together in what could be one of the most epic battles that action-lovers’ ever witnessed.
8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
he one-off anthology that no one knew what to expect had a hype around the release of this movie. This turned out to be as epic as far as movies are concerned.
Focusing on the Rebel Alliance’s operation to retrieve the plans for the first Death Star, with a trip to the galaxy far, far away, the movie was the first to not be Jedi focused as its predecessors.
The story follows Jyn Erso, the daughter of the designer of the Galactic Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star, and her journey.
The stellar cast includes Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, and cameos from other Star Wars stars, is must watch for all Star War fans.
9. Don’t Breathe
Director Fede Alvarez proved he was a gifted technician with his 2013 Evil Dead remake, but it’s his latest thriller that establishes him as more than just a look-at-me behind-the-camera showman. Alvarez’s latest concerns three kids (Dylan Minnette, Jane Levy, Daniel Zovatto) who, desperate to get out of their working-class circumstances, decide to rob a blind man (Stephen Lang) reportedly in possession of a stash of money hidden in his dilapidated home. Their plot, however, goes awry when that sightless individual turns out to be far more capable—and lethal—than anticipated, leading to a perpetrators-become-the-victims nightmare that the director orchestrates for maximum tension. Even when it eventually turns to third-act bombshells, Don’t Breathe is a work of superbly sustained suspense, employing its gorgeous widescreen visuals to deliver a bevy of heart-pounding thrills—and one that also, subtly, doubles as a commentary on the literal, emotional, and psychological decay that’s overtaken modern-day Detroit.
10. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
As mentioned earlier, 2016 has been a battle between Marvel and DC this year for the best superhero movie.
DC put out its own follow-up to 2013, Zach Snyder directed Man of Steel which features for the first time both Batman and Superman on the big-screen which also features Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg.