Sunday, 8 January 2017

2016 in Review


We already are one week in 2017. I've already watched more than 10 films, and already read a whole book. Not a tiny one, but an almost 500 pages long book. Still, I haven't had the time to write my Best and/or Worst Movies of 2016 post, which apparently is something everyone has been posting in the past days and weeks. But here I am, finally.

Truth to be told though, if it wasn't for the snow outside and the cold that came with it, I probably wouldn't be writing this. But I'm sitting right next to the fireplace with a warm cuppa, and I really feel like writing. Wow, I'm a living movie cliché. 

But let's get to business, shall we? And let me tell you something else about me, I suck at making lists. I really do. Also, tons of 2016 films like La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight are yet to be released here in Italy. And since I'm sure I'm going to love La La Land, making a Top Best Movies list without it would be a crime.

So what I going to do instead is talk about some good films - at least in my opinion - that deserve to be seen by more people, some I wasn't expecting to be great, some that I wanted to be great and were great, and at last some that turned out to be a disappointment.

Also, since the name of the post is 2016 in Review, I'm going to give a little space to those actors that sadly left us in the past year.

NEED TO BE SEEN BY MORE

Eddie the Eagle
It tells the story of Eddie Edwards, a tenacious British ski jumper with one big dream, compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics. While it's the typical and clichéd underdog story, this film made me laugh and cry, and made me bond with its character. Also it shows that winning isn't everything, what's important is knowing that you gave your best.

Everybody Wants Some!!
It follows the lives of a group of college baseball players in 1980 Texas in the days before they start college. Just like most of Linklater's film, this one hasn't a real plot. It's all about following the characters around and listening (and enjoying) some realistic yet great dialogue. And of course there's also a fantastic soundtrack. This one also fits the "wanted to be great" category".

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
It follows the adventure of a rebellious kid and his foster uncle as they go missing in the wild New Zealand bush. This one was suggested by a Twitter friend and it blew me away. Easily one of the best of the past year, this is a charming, funny and heartwarming gem.

Hush
It follows a deaf writer living a solitary life in the woods as she fights for her life when a masked killer appears at her window. I watched this one because Dell said it was great, he was right. This film is tense, gripping and clever. One of the best horrors in years.

TURNED OUT GREAT

10 Cloverfield Lane
After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack. I was expecting this to be absolute trash, then I found out Damien Chazelle co-wrote the script and I watched it. It turned out to be a fantastic psychological thriller with enough tension and mystery to keep you glue to the screen. And John Goodman gives a hell of a performance.

Deadpool
After being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, Wade Wilson adopts the alter ego Deadpool and hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. Back in 2009 a pathetic attempt was made to bring this superhero to the screen, that's why my expectations for this were low. Needless to say, I loved it. It's hilarious, rude, violent, even romantic. A total game changer for superhero movies.

The Jungle Book
After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery with the help of Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo. I grew up watching Disney Classics and The Jungle Book was one of my favourites. I was skeptical about this one because Disney's live-action films never turned out very good, but finally they nailed it. And even though some complained about the violence, I really liked Jon Favreau's serious approach to the story, 

Zootopia
In the mammal metropolis of Zootopia, a rookie bunny cop must work with a cynical con artist fox to solve a mysterious case. After seeing the trailer I thought I would enjoy this one. I didn't. I loved it. It is fun, it features wonderful characters, Godfather and Breaking Bad references, and it makes a commentary on prejudices and racial issues. Easily the best animated film of 2016.

WANTED TO BE GREAT, TURNED OUT GREAT

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Newt Scamander arrives in New York where some of the magical creatures he's been capturing around the world escape, putting in danger both the wizarding and the No-Maj worlds. As someone who read the books and watched all the movies, I was more than excited for this film, and this film delivered everything I dreamed of: a spectacular, engaging and exciting adventure to the discovery of a magical New York in the 1920's.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
After the formation of the Galactic Empire, the Rebel Alliance recruits Jyn Erso to steal the design schematics of the Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star. As above, I was super excited about this one, and it turned out amazing. The story which is based on a single quote from A New Hope is engaging, gripping and refreshing, and we already know the outcome. I wish there was more character development, but they did a great job with Jyn.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

The Nice Guys
In 1977 Los Angeles, a mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a young porn star. From the trailer and the reviews I read, this film seemed so much fun. It wasn't. At least for me. It's pretty much a stupid, American comedy. It's not boring but it's not exciting either. The story lacks suspense therefore fails to be interesting or exciting. It isn't a complete missed shot though, Crowe and Gosling are awesome together.

Star Trek: Beyond
The Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. This was one of the films I waited the most for. It was beyond terrible. The story is paper thin and unengaging. The villain sucks. The action sucks because everything just goes too fast and the editing is a hell of a mess.

Suicide Squad
A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous villains on the planet to execute dangerous black ops missions and save the world. I was so excited and happy about this one because finally a film about villains was being made. I wish they didn't make it because they treated the Joker like trash. His only purpose in the film is to be Harley Quinn's back story. It's fun at times, but it's tedious and unexciting most of its running time. Margot Robbie though was fantastic as Harley Quinn, and the soundtrack was great too. But the music was all over the place.

X-Men: Apocalypse
Upon awakening after thousands of years, Apocalypse is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutant to cleanse mankind and create a new world order. The first two films of the prequel trilogy were fantastic, so I didn't think, not even for a moment, that this final chapter could be a disappointment. But I was proved wrong. This film is a mess from start to finish and it was able to transform one of the most powerful, interesting and complex mutants/villains into just another guy who wants to rule the world.

I'M ALMOST DONE, I PROMISE...

From terrorism both in Europe and Middle East, to earthquakes that razed to the ground entire cities here in Italy; from Brexit, to Donald Trump elected president, the world got even more crazy in 2016.

Cinematic speaking it didn't go much better. The year opened with David Bowie's death - I will always remember his heartbreaking performance in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence -, followed by the death of Alan Rickman, the man I'll always remember for playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.

It also saw the (too) early departure of Anton Yelchin, known for playing Pavel Cekov in the Star Trek remakes. Gene Wilder also left us, known by most for playing Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, but that I'll always remember for having an affair with a sheep in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask.

Given the awful start, the year also had to close in an awful way. In the month of December, the entire world saddened to the terrible news of Carrie Fisher's death. I will always remember her - and I'm not the only one - for playing one of the most confident and strong leading women in films, Princess Leia. And unfortunately, a few days later, also her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds passed away.

BASICALLY 2016 WAS PRETTY MUCH A SHITTY YEAR

8 comments :

  1. I agree more people need to see Hush and Hunt for the Wilderpeople!

    2016 was shitty. lol

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    1. Hopefully 2017 will be a better year.

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  2. I'll pretend you put The Nice Guys under the wrong header because I love that movie haha!
    I'm 100% with you on everything else though, but I still need to see Hush and Eddie the Eagle :)

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    1. Nope, it's in the right place. I believe I'm one of the few that didn't like it though

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  3. I have marked down the films you mentioned to see which I do want to see. I liked The Tough Guys and I wasn't disappointed because I wasn't listening to the hype which can often screw up my way of thinking. Love your shout outs as well

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    1. I'll have to stop doing that, hype likes to screw with me.

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  4. Great picks of movies - 10 Cloverfield Lane, Zootopia, Fantastic Beasts. Eddie the Eagle was on my to-watch list all last year but I kept forgetting about it. Definitely going to make a point to see it this year. Love the closing to your post - hope 2017 is wonderful for you!

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    1. Thanks, I hope 2017 will be a great year for you too!

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