For all intents and purposes 2016 has been a pretty great year for films, there’s so many I didn’t get a chance to see that surely might change the line up of this list but, you know, with 272 films watched this year there were many, many highlights and relatively few real bummers.
Even more exciting for me is that my list features 5 foreign language films, 4 documentaries, 2 animated films, a local film and 2 western inspired titles. There’s also a section on honourable mentions to check out.
So, without further ado – The Hit List 15 – Aza’s Best of 2016 – Movies!
Honourable Mentions: The Big Short, Captain America: Civil War, Rogue One, Before The Flood, The Ivory Game, A Monster Calls, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Elle, Sand Storm, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Hail Caesar!, Eye in the Sky, Mon Roi, Downriver, The Neon Demon, Captain Fantastic
15. THE NICE GUYS
Shane Black, Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and a show stealing Angourie Rice do pulpy crime comedy justice with this deliciously amoral tale.
The Best Picture Oscar Winner 2016 is a triumphant ode to investigative journalism – an industry under threat in this age of click bait media.
13. BONE TOMAHAWK
A western/horror hybrid from S. Craig Zahler that manages to effortlessly deliver stunning character work and blood curdling terror in the Old West.
12. BEING 17
André Téchiné’s touching drama of two teenagers coming of age in a wintery back drop is a work of quiet power and shouldn’t be missed.
Like watching a train wreck unfold in front of your very eyes not once, but twice… Weiner is an unprecedented look inside rise and fall of outspoken New York politician Anthony Weiner and it’s intoxicating viewing.
10. HELL OR HIGH WATER
A modern day Western which more than echoes a spiritual sequel to No Country For Old Man, it features a trio of career best turns from Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster. Outstanding!
An insightful look at 3 Palestinian gay men living in Tel Aviv is as much a universal story of understanding the position of homosexuals in a closed society as it is a intimate look at the dynamics of a nation under a constant threat of war.
8. MICROBE ET GASOIL
Michel Gondry massively returns to form with this, his most personal film to date. It’s a joyous coming of age tale that features all the hallmarks of Gondry’s greatness matched with pitch performances and subtle invention.
7. O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA
Possibly the most forensic and exhaustively researched documentary on fallen star O.J. Simpson that will ever be made. This 7.5 hour event is riveting from start to finish. This will win the Oscar next year. It. Is. FABULOUS!
6. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
With every project Laika make, they push the boundaries of stop motion animation and with this one they’ve add so much heart and texture to it, it’s a totally beguiling experience.
Sofia Exarchou’s scathing social commentary on the displaced youth in Athens set against the decaying remnants of the Olympic park is a reaffirmation on the power and vitality of cinema. So good to see a Greek film this high up!
4. I, DANIEL BLAKE
Ken Loach’s humanist tale may seem small scale but the implications are of immense power. To quote our Stephen’s review, this is a ‘Clarion Call’ of a film and a searing anti-austerity message matched by two stunning central turns.
3. CHASING ASYLUM
The most essential piece of cinema to come out of Australia in decades, Eva Orner’s incendiary documentary into the repulsively inhumane treatment of aslyum seekers and refugees by the Australian Government is the most important film you need to see right now!
2. THE RED TURTLE
A sumptuous hand drawn animation that omits dialogue for glorious ambience, stunning visuals and an allegorical tale that will move you to tears. Simply gorgeous from all aspects, this Studio Ghibli co-production is a mammoth achievement.
Todd Haynes’ tale of forbidden love set in the repressive 1950s features career best from leads Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. From a beautifully realised production design, to sequences of yearning and love, Carol is the most sublime film of 2016 and worthy of the crown as my Best Film of the Year!