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January 15, 2017


Top 10 Films of 2016

by Franz Patrick

Below are my choices for the Top 10 Films of 2016. It must be noted that the list may change slightly if I happened to come across great movies I had missed prior to this post. The same rule applies to all of my annual Top 10 Lists. In other words, my lists are updated continually. My hope is to provide alternative movies that are absolutely worth seeing that may not or will not necessarily appear on “Top Critics” picks. Underneath each picture is an excerpt from my review which can be found in the archive. In the meantime, dive in and, as always, feel welcome to let me know what you think.

Omohide poro poro
[Only Yesterday]
Isao Takahata

“‘Only Yesterday,’ written and directed by Isao Takahata, is, I think, about life itself, how one chooses to live one’s life, and how it is perfectly all right to take one’s time to figure out how to live that life. It is an animated film that is beautifully written and crafted, so unwilling to sacrifice even an ounce of complexity just so the viewer can understand how a character is feeling or thinking. It is a piece of work that transcends genre. It will, or should, stand the test of time because it captures a specific human story and yet it is also about everyone.”

Midnight Special
Jeff Nichols

“‘Midnight Special,’ written and directed by Jeff Nichols, shares one important similarity with great science-fiction feature films of the past: treating its characters as people with specific motivations—eschewing the black-and-white concept of good versus evil altogether—and allowing the conflict to churn and rise from decisions made by flawed but determined men and women. Such is one of the main anchors of this most mysterious and curious picture, carefully modulated in feeling, thought, and action every step of the way.”

The Edge of Seventeen
Kelly Fremon Craig

“High on emotional intelligence, pointed sense of humor, and entertainment value, ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ belongs on the shelf among superior modern coming-of-age films such as Mark Waters’ ‘Mean Girls,’ Jason Reitman’s ‘Juno,’ James Ponsoldt’s ‘The Spectacular Now,’ and Stephen Chbosky’s ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower.’ Aspiring coming-of-age pictures about smart teenagers should look up to it as an example.”

Everybody Wants Some!!
Richard Linklater

“In mainstream films, especially comedies, jocks are almost always a target of ridicule. They are often depicted are dumb, mean, and sexist, sometimes downright racist—with nothing on their minds but throwing balls, driving expensive cars, chasing girls, and getting some action. We are so aware of these stereotypes that we almost expect these assumptions to come to the surface every time we meet a character in the movies who just so happens to be passionate about sports or a specific sport. Linklater, a most humanistic writer-director, unveils a world where audiences do not have to settle for the lowest hanging fruit. Instead, he inspires us to look up and recognize alternatives that are much closer to reality.”

Little Men
Ira Sachs

“For a good while of Ira Sachs’ masterful slice-of-life picture ‘Little Men,’ it is seemingly meandering, directionless, not at all interested in plot and the usual contrivances that come with it. It’s so refreshing to come across a film that has the potential to become anything—just like its thirteen-year-old protagonists who forge a friendship after they meet during a funeral. From the ashes sprouts a sign of life and we wonder for the entire duration of the material whether this life shared by two can endure the roughest storms.”

The VVitch: A New-England Folktale
Robert Eggers

“The experience of watching this meticulously crafted horror film is like being shoved into a dark, utterly silent room in which the space is lit only by flickering candles, a translucent dusty shawl permanently stitched around our heads, and we are forced to make sense of what exactly it is we are seeing, where we are possibly going, and what mysteries lie behind our limited sensations. It respects instead of cheapens the horror genre from the beginning right to the very end, a rarest quality that should be acknowledged, celebrated, and, hopefully, become a source of inspiration of future filmmakers with genuinely scary stories to tell.”

Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush

“The filmmakers are able to create and establish a universe that is filled with possibilities. About twenty minutes into the picture, notice the way it takes its time to introduce the city to its main character, as well as audiences, as pavonine colors, flavorful textures, and numerous faces and bodies invade the screen to the point where we want to pause at each shot and appreciate both the foreground and background. Such a trait is very important because it inspires the viewer to revisit this world and capture beautiful images and jokes one might have missed the first go-round.”

The Lobster
Yorgos Lanthimos

“Viewers with a palate for the bizarre are certain to embrace ‘The Lobster,’ intelligently written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, and yet the piece is not simply for those with an acquired taste because the roots of the humor, curiosities, ironies, and social commentaries are near universal. For instance, all of us have been in a situation where we find ourselves being the only single person in a group of couples, at times even being the subject of conversation (and judgment) as to why we do not yet have a special someone and simply settle down. The picture is packed with a wicked sense of absurdist and satirical humor.”

Where to Invade Next
Michael Moore

“Written, directed, and produced by Michael Moore, ‘Where to Invade Next’ is consistently surprising, funny, ironic, and has a flair for dramatization. But somewhere in the early-middle I found my amusement turning into anger and frustration because I was reminded by the many fundamental factors that are flat-out wrong with America. We have the knowledge and ability to do and become more, so why is it that we are not progressing as fast or as much as we are capable of? One has to wonder if the American Dream is really but a dangling carrot.”

A Monster Calls
J.A. Bayona

“Deep inside ‘A Monster Calls,’ based on the novel and screenplay by Patrick Ness, lies a heart of a warrior, and that heart is carried by a twelve-year-old named Conor (Lewis MacDougall) whose mother (Felicity Jones) is dying of cancer. Yet despite the premise of the film, the picture is not a standard ‘cancer movie’ in which family members gather from across the world merely to hug and cry together because the plot demands that they do. Rather, the film takes a serious look at the fear of losing a loved one from a disease that ravages thoroughly through the eyes of a young artist increasingly desperate to see the person he values most be well again.”

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. GaryGreg828
    Jan 15 2017

    Dude, you and I disagree on a lot of stuff, but you are the MOST well-rounded blogger I have come across! You cover new-releases, old films, foreign films from all over the globe, popular films, obscure films, straight-to-VOD, family movies, horror films, comedies, dramas, cartoons, documentaries, any everything in-between….

    Very versatile list. I haven’t seen many of these, but I liked Midnight Special and The Witch. I was pretty bored watching The Lobster, and didn’t finish it. Those were the only 3 I’ve seen. I didn’t think Edge of Seventeen looked good, but it made it on someone else’s top-10 so I may try to check it out soon if I can. God bless. :)


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