Top 10 2016

by | May 27, 2020 | 0 comments

The annual top 10 list is here. Note that I haven’t been able to see some of the films coming out late this year, due to geographical location or because of their limited release. Keep an eye out for them in the 2017 Young Critic Award Nominations, to be announced January 13.

1. La La Land

An absolutely magical time at the movies. This film reinvigorates the musical genre with a beautifully executed story helmed by two great leading performances and a great directorial sophomore effort from Damien Chazelle.

2. Manchester By The Sea

A tribute to the simplicities of everyday life. Manchester manages to bring beauty to the fairly boring and tragic life of a janitor. Cassey Affleck’s stunning performance along Lucas Hedge’s film debut, make Kenneth Lonergan’s return to the director’s chair a true triumph. 

3. Arrival

A truly unique entry to the sci-fi genre, Dennis Villeneuve manages to take a cautious and very procedural approach to the film, while also managing to hype up tension and twisting an ending in Christopher Nolan-like way. Amy Adams’ restrained performance brings a emotional depth that perfectly balances out this great film.

4. Moonlight

A unique film not only this year, but in most of recent cinema history. Barry Jenkins brings a distinct narrative voice, while also holding nothing back from the troubles of our main character. The three brilliant actors that play our narrator through the different stages of his life are perfectly cast and usher in a much-needed voice in today’s Hollywood.

5. Kubo and the Two Strings

A true epic like that of ancient poems, Kubo is a true creative opus. The great voice cast and the spectacular animation make this a dying breed of animation filmmaking and storytelling in general.

6. Everybody Wants Some!!

Richard Linklater’s follow-up to his ambitious Boyhood infuses an incredible amount of fun and philosophical conversations with a relatively simple story – Linklater’s specialty. The great cast chemistry along with nostalgia for the 80s, and for an optimistic look at life make this one of the great joys of this year’s cinema.

7. Eye in the Sky

A look at the evolved modern warfare. This unflinching look at the risks and consequences of drone warfare along with an analysis at the clashes of military and politics, morality and logic, make this one of the tensest thrillers as well as one of the most enlightening and shocking pieces of the year. The strong cast with Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman at the helm help show us the grey area that their characters operate in.

9. The Edge of Seventeen

This extinct genre got a jolt of life again. The John Hughes-like look at high schoolers seemed to have been lost to bland YA apocalyptic book adaptations. But 17 brought us back to high school in a way we hadn’t experienced in decades. Hailee Steinfeld’s brilliant performance and an unwavering mixture of contemporary adolescent problems with some nostalgia for the likes of John Hughes or even American Graffiti make this a fun movie as well as a big surprise.

10. Sing Street

Playing with nostalgia again, but this time helped with a fabulous original soundtrack. The young cast wows as well as the sharp script. John Carney reveals himself to be a director for movies about music, after notable efforts with Once and Begin Again. 

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