Has it been a year already? Absolutely it has and here are my Top Ten films of 2016. Of course being me I don’t think anyone will be surprised that my choices are spread among many genres. Let us begin with number 10!
10) A MONSTER CALLS – The story of a young boy dealing with an ill mother, a grandmother who clearly doesn’t understand him, an absent father and a rather large tree! It is a film that questions what it means to be a complex human being and will require lots of tissue. Focus Features deserves every accolade along with director JA Bayona and young actor Lewis MacDouglass.
9) JACKIE – Fox Searchlight Pictures and director Pablo Larrain bring an in-depth look at the death of President John F. Kennedy from a perspective I’ve never seen. Natalie Portman brings her acting skills front and center as the days preceding and after the Presidents death are told from Jacqueline Kennedy’s perspective. Every corner of this film is brilliantly done.
8) THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS – Ever wonder what your pets are doing during the day? Well Universal and Illumination Entertainment have the answers in this colorful, fun and heartwarming look at our furry friends and the mischief being a pet brings. Director Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney bring friendship and loyalty wrapped up in slobbery kisses in this animated family film.
7) THE INNOCENTS – In the category of unexpected brilliance is Music Box Films and director Anne Fontaine’s film THE INNOCENTS (Les Innocentes). In 1945 Poland, a young doctor befriends a group of nuns who need her help. Behind the walls of the convent are shocking secrets in this story of survival surrounded by a brutal war. Every frame holds an unexpected turn with a stellar cast of amazing actresses.
6) TROLLS – 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks team up for this absolutely spectacular animated film. From the happiest little creatures to the grumpy Bergen, the TROLLS story is told with breathtaking animation as Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick sing their way into our hearts. This is a top tapping good time filled with fun, laughter and songs that have already stuck in my head.
5) DEEPWATER HORIZON & PATRIOTS DAY – Since both films are directed by Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg I’m calling this a double win! DEEPWATER HORIZON tells the story of the BP oil rig disaster and the consequences of that event. PATRIOTS DAY is the story of the Boston Marathon bombing and the hunt for the terrorists. They are both amazing films about the human spirit as Berg brings true stories to the screen and gives each film heart, soul and a deep well of emotion.
4) SULLY – Director Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. Pictures lets Tom Hanks have the pilot’s seat in this true story about Chesley Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeff Skiles and the landing of a plane on the Hudson River. In this remarkable film, Hank’s performance as Sully proves that calmer heads prevail both in the air and on the ground, especially when there are those looking for someone to blame.
3) LA LA LAND – Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone pair up once again and this time they are ready to sweep us off our feet. Mission accomplished! Writer/Director Damien Chazelle and Lionsgate should bring home the Oscar gold for this film. When struggling musician Sebastian and equally struggling actress Mia find each other, they share their dreams of success that might easily rip them apart but hey – here’s to the fools who dream right?
2) DEADPOOL – Ryan Reynolds began 2016 for me with such deep and disturbing laughs that I harbor a secret wish for more! Director Tim Miller along with Marvel and 20th Century Fox put on screen a ‘superhero’ who is probably anything but super by most standards! Instead, Wade/Deadpool is a deeply disturbing smart mouth with a line for everything and no real fear because that’s what happens when death is taken off the table.
1) ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story – Here it is, easily the number one film of 2016 with Director Gareth Edwards and Walt Disney Studios taking us all back to a moment in time. Remember when Leia puts the plans to the Death Star into R2D2? Well, fans of all ages will experience how that all came to be in this film. In watching ROGUE ONE, fans are transported back to 1977 and that summer when everyone would unwittingly become part of an iconic adventure that has become generational. This is a piece of the Star Wars universe that I happily will be seeing again and again!
Of course in choosing I could have easily stretched the list to my top twenty but ten is tradition so instead I will have an Honorable Mention category which includes ZOOTOPIA, STORKS, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, GIRL ON A TRAIN, DR. STRANGE as well as HACKSAW RIDGE and FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. This has definitely been a good year for animation!
There you have it, my list of the Top Ten films of 2016. I expect that maybe a few of these will make it to awards season but then again I don’t base my likes on what will wind awards. Instead each of these films brings something that I haven’t seen in a very long time.
Whether it is stellar comedy in DEADPOOL (thank you Ryan Reynolds), gorgeous set design and costuming in JACKIE, family laughs with THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS and TROLLS, tales of the human spirit like SULLY, DEEPWATER HORIZON and PATRIOTS DAY, unexpected foreign story telling of THE INNOCENTS, love and song in LA LA LAND or revisiting a galaxy far, far away in ROGUE ONE – each is the reason we go to the movies!
In the coming year we all wait to see what poster will show up on the local theatre marquee and here is just a taste of what is to come: THE SPACE BETWEEN US about a boy born on Mars, FIFTY SHADES DARKER, JOHN WICK: Chapter 2 as our favorite quiet man takes on more bad guys, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE which is one I am waiting for.
Also THE GREAT WALL, PATIENT ZERO, TABLE 19 and Walt Disney Pictures high anticipated film BEAUTY and the BEAST. DreamWorks isn’t far behind with their animated offering of THE BOSS BABY! The furious are back with THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 has Groot lovers waiting anxiously as well as Ridley Scott’s next installment of ALIEN: Covenant.
Jack Sparrow is back with PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Dead Men Tell No Tales and so is THE MUMMY. The webbed one is back with SPIDER-MAN: Homecoming and the streets are covered in apes with WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. Also returning is KINGSMAN: The Golden Circle and TRANSFORMERS along with THE POWER RANGERS.
Let’s not forget those who protect the universe with THOR: Ragnarok and JUSTICE LEAGUE. Of course the year will end with the next installment of STAR WARS: Episode VIII and I’ll be there with bells on!
That’s just a taste of what is to come so follow along with Military Press magazine and online for reviews and interviews from your favorite stars, film makers and shakers. It has been a pleasure bringing the entertainment world to you and from our family to yours Happy Holidays and our best wishes for the New Year!
See you at the movies!