So we come to the halfway point of the year and as well as looking forward to what’s to come it’s time to reflect on what, in my opinion, have been the best movies of the year so far.
Now as with my previous list I must state that I live in the (not so) United Kingdom so the film schedule is a bit different to the rest of civilisation. There are a handful of films that didn’t come out until 2016 here that were already out in the US and other territories. If you can stomach this then let’s begin with the honorable mentions
The Big Short:
Adam McKays Oscar winner about the stock market crash and the men who that saw it coming.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was funny when it needed to be, broke the 4th wall with conviction and to great effect, made boring banking terms and mathematics interesting and relatable. Any film that has a Selena Gomez cameo and it actually improves the film deserves credit, and a special mention for the use of ‘When The Levee Breaks’ by Led Zeppelin.
Eye In The Sky:
Drone warfare has been a hot topic ever since residents in the middle east have come out saying that they’re now afraid of uncovered blue skies.
The topic of drones was tackled well in Good Kill but Eye In The Sky had multiple aspects covered in an incredibly tense film that really represented the modern form of battle, that is being in (basically) a shed in Nevada controlling a war machine hovering over Nairobi. Constantly swapping between Devon, London, Singapore, China, Nevada, Kenya and Hawaii could’ve distanced the audience but it only drew me in. This film is particularly noteworth as this was Alan Rickman’s last on screen appearance.
Captain America: Civil War:
For the full review of this film check it out right here ( https://www.ticgn.com/captain-america-civil-war-review-spoiler-free/ )
Arguably the most anticipated movie of the year so far and live up to the hype it did. Civil War was surprisingly brilliant at managing all of the mouths it had to feed, not a perfect movie but it did have the best superhero fight scene of all time.
For my full review of this film check it out right here ( https://www.ticgn.com/review-finding-dory-movie/ )
Pixar once again makes my list but a far cry from Inside Out and the original Finding Nemo. Having said that, a Pixar misfire is streets ahead of other film and animation companies. And before the commenters say anything, yes Cars 2 was a piece of garbage.
The gang are back for more marine based tomfoolery. Fish, seals, whales, birds and otters everywhere!!
Easily the 2nd best film this year about animals (btw, The Secret Life of Pets is also good, but ineligible for consideration.)
How can we forget #WireWatch. Dominic Cooper and Idris Elba together, made me happy.
Disney have made some really brilliant movies since the start of the new decade and while my personal favourite of this bunch has been 2010’s Tangled, don’t judge I just love it, Zootropolis is a welcome relief from endless sequels and reboots. To have something so unique not only strike a chord with the masses and teach small children about very complicated and adult issues but to become the 2nd highest grossing ORIGINAL film of all time. Well done Disney, you done good. Now make sure that Wreck it Ralph sequel is up to snuff. (Idris Elba in another animated voice role #WireWatch)
Now onto the reason you clicked on the article.
10. Florence Foster Jenkins
Meryl Streep, 1940’s New York, Hugh Grant, hilarious facial expressions, deliberately bad singing and Meryl Streep. Sorry did I mention her twice? It’s easy to go on about her for ages.
The brilliant true story of the, supposed, worst singer of all time and her loving husband that bribed the media to keep up the charade until she books to perform at Carnegie Hall.
The best performance of Hugh Grants career and the first good film role for Simon Helberg and of course Streep doesn’t put a foot wrong. Golden Globe nominations for all of them and Grant may even be in store for for something more. Aside from being very funny, it’s heartfelt moments are exactly that. Heartfelt.
A first for my lists, the first film not released in cinemas to make it and I’m so happy it’s this one.
Hush is a home invasion thriller written by and starring Kate Siegel about a deaf woman who is preyed upon by a masked man after he killed her neighbour and cut the power.
The mind games played by both parties on each other were believable and still riveting. Many horror tropes were used and either debunked or executed brilliantly.
This has the potential to be a proper classic of the genre and I can only hope that Netflix, DVD and word of mouth can certify this wonderful film in the minds of horror fans.
Hush is also easily one of the best films I’ve ever seen that was made for less than $100,000.
The academy’s choice was a good choice. I cannot properly articulate how pleased I was that something beat The Revenant to the statuette for best film.
The unbelievable true story of the Boston Globe’s expose on the Catholic Church molestation scandal was a moving and shocking film in every sense of the word. I at one point just dropped my jaw in response to this movie, the performances were perfect for these roles and brilliantly complemented each other. As a theatre geek (we’re really fun at parties, promise) it was really nice to see Brian D’Arcy James in a frontline role.
It was remarkable how they managed to make administrative tasks and underlining really exciting, fair play Spotlight.
7. The Hateful Eight
For my full review of this awesome film check it out here ( https://www.ticgn.com/the-hateful-eight-review/ )
Tarantino you clever mo*********r you. QT was on fine form once again with a brilliant re-imagining of the western movie with the best mustache in recent memory. Eight people trapped in a snowy cabin and nobody trusts each other and you have a movie right there. Kurt Russell’s facial hair aside, as a fan of QT’s previous work this is beautifully self-indulged and visually brilliant. Then there’s the music, anyone that can bring Ennio Morricone back from obscurity is fine by me, I was won over in the Overture before the film even started.
6. Money Monster
You know, not every movie has to be over 2 hours long. It is possible to make compelling stories with interesting character arcs and have multiple action set pieces within 90 minutes. The story of a man who lost it all on the advice of a television stock market adviser takes the host hostage live on his own show and demands an answer as to why he and thousands of others had their lives ruined in less than a second.
Jack O’Connell continues his promising film career with a knockout performance alongside the heavyweights of George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Jodie Foster’s direction at times was so good you could be convinced that she was an old hand at this, but then again when you’ve been in the film industry for over 40 years you pick up a thing or two.
Also, #WireWatch as Dominic Cooper makes an appearance.
(Starts singing the Rocky theme)
This was the biggest surprise for me as I was expecting this film to flop, a long awaited continuation of a 70’s classic with less than brilliant films in the franchise making a comeback with a new black protagonist…
Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t have been so worried.
Creed is the story of Adonis ‘Donnie’ Creed, the son of Apollo Creed and how he comes to be trained by the retired Rocky and it’s awesome. It’s just awesome. The fight scenes, especially the first against Leo Sporino, were brutal in the best way. I don’t know how Coogler did it but I felt every punch and sharp breath. Visceral in every way.
In years gone by this will be looked upon as a truly great sports movie and one of the best sequels of all time, if only the Academy saw it the same way.
For my full review of Mr Pool’s film debut (1st rule of Wolverine Origins…) check it out right here ( https://www.ticgn.com
Hey yeah I wanna shoop baby!
Of course this was going to be here, the funniest film I’ve seen since The Hangover and one of the best superhero casting decisions alongside Robert Downey Jr and Hugh Jackman. Deadpool was the exact superhero film we needed, so far removed from the Marvel and DC templates that it stood out amongst the crowd and brought in all the money. I mean, it made more than Batman V Superman and that is some of the best news I heard all year!
It’s the little details sprinkled around that really make this film. In jokes about the films budget, Monty Python-esque side comments, unicorns and international women’s day.
If every film took the Deadpool approach to marketing then many more people would go to the cinema. It’s too early to tell but this may have changed the game for film promotion.
3. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Director Debut, franchise film connected to cult and indie smash hit with a legion of fans ready to take this film to school and then it was a tense thriller with multiple incredible scenes and an atmosphere some films can only dream of. Creed was a bigger surprise to me but 10 Cloverfield Lane came out of nowhere and knocked everyone sideways with twist after twist after twist.
A car crash that leads to a woman being ‘saved’ and kept in an underground bunker with two other men. Apparently it’s unsafe to go outside, though being inside might not be much better.
Mary Elisabeth Winstead was fantastic in this film, Ramona Flowers herself in a role that I can only hope will lead to more screen time for the actress as it is thoroughly deserved. Also deserving of a mention is John Gallagher Jr. who makes his second appearance in this Top 10 list, after being the killer in Hush, for putting in another stellar performance this year alone, someone needs to cast this guy as a romantic lead or something. However in terms of performances it’s hard to look past John Goodman, the living legend was creepier than I’ve ever seen him and in Barton Fink he basically played the devil! I don’t think any performance nominations will come his way but he deserves a couple. Maybe an Empire or Saturn award.
2. Sing Street
Musical comedy, teenagers, Ireland in the 80’s? This film shouldn’t work, but it does on every level.
13 year old Connor has moved school and notices a girl across the street, to get her attention and affection he starts a band with his new school mates. After experiencing a wide range of 80’s music from The Cure, to Duran Duran to Hall and Oates the band start writing their own music and making cheap videos with the girl featuring in all of them.
During Sing Street I had the biggest smile on my face, as a musician there are fewer things that give me greater joy in movies than the process of songs being written and performed. I had that feeling the whole time during this film, John Carney has hit three for three in his music films with Once and Begin Again becoming classics of the genre.
It would have to take a juggernaut of a movie to keep Sing Street from being number 1. But for those who know me there was only ever one movie.
Room is the story of Ma and Jack. For seven years Ma has been held captive in a shed, two years in she gave birth to a son and created light out of the darkness for him. Hiding the real tragedy of their home until his fifth birthday she plans to save them both, or at least just Jack.
I made no secret of how much I adored Brie Larson’s performance in my Oscar’s preview and she is the best thing about the movie. However, everything and I mean EVERYTHING about this movie was perfect. Jacob Tremblay’s performance as Jack was at times uplifting and heartbreaking, his reaction to being told how small Room was will live with me for the rest of my life. ‘Room wasn’t small, it went to the end of the earth in every direction’.
Stephen Rennicks’ score on repeat viewings only increases my love for the movie.
Lenny Abrahamson should feel very proud to have made such an overwhelming film. The most poignant moment in the movie is when Ma decides to tell Jack the truth about room and his reaction is one of disgust and shouts at her ‘I want a different story’. Perfectly echoing the audiences thoughts of shock and disbelief at what’s on display.
Room is a masterpiece and one of the greatest films ever made, while this is only the opinion of one man I feel that Room is by every definition a must-see movie.