Films of 2016 Rundown

Hi guys its time for my films of 2016 countdown, although this year it is different as I’ve chosen to move the review of the year from my blog to the Flixwatcher site. Welcome!

I have been at my wits end trying to get all my favourite films into a cohesive list of 10 for you all to read then I decided not to bother and buck the trend. What follows is a list of my favourite films of and my worst films.

I have included the trailers for all of the best films. Let there’s know what you think and if you’ve seen any of them! There will be no spoilers!

What was your number one film of 2016?

In case you haven’t heard about Flixwatcher we are a podcast site that reviews Netflix Films. If you like the sound of that please do visit our homepage or the scoreboard to view some the films that we have talked about so far.

Please do share with your friends and family and subscribe to us on iTunes.

15 Everybody Wants Some!!

Everybody Wants Some!!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6raUs0CiCQ

I’m genetically predisposed to like any Richard Linklater film. His opus is arguably “Boyhood” but my favourite will likely always be “Dazed and Confused”, which was the first film of his that I saw.

EWS!! is a spiritual sequel to both Boyhood and Dazed and Confused and follows a college baseball team from the viewpoint of one of their freshmen in the days before the start of the academic year. What I really liked about this was that even though these guys are all “Jocks” they each had their own personality. Everyone here united by their love of playing baseball but have come from different backgrounds and have different agendas. That tallies with my experience of playing sports through the years. Typically people into sports are depicted as meatheads, that has never been my in real life experience and this was the first film to show it as thus. The female characters don’t get much to play with here, which is a bit of a shame.

As always for a Linklater film the music on was excellent and particularly loved the sing off to Rappers Delight in the car at the start.

14) Creed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv554B7YHk4 I’d not been bothered about a Rocky film since the 1980s. There was no need to make any more and the fact that they did was just embarrassing.

Up steps Adonis “Creed” as played by Michael B Jordan who is Apollo Creed’s son. The the genetic spirit to fight is strong in the Creed bloodline and instead of accepting a cushy promotion, Apollo follows his fathers footsteps into the ring. He seeks out an initially reluctant Rocky Balboa as a coach in my favourite Stallone performance ever.

Creed is certainly one of the best Rocky films of the recent years. I’d need to revisit the early films again before I try and rank this amongst the others.

13) The Queen of Katwe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4l3-_yub5A

Disney have had a smashing year this year with Star Wars, Jungle Book, Marvel Cinematic Universe and original treats such as Moana and Zootropolis/ Zootopia.

I wanted to draw your attention towards one of the smallest Disney films I have seen in a long time. “Queen of Katwe” is a true and recent story following Phiona who lives in Katwe, a slum in Uganda. One day Phiona stumbles across a chess school run by Robert Katende as played by David Oyelowo. Phiona, who was about 10 years old does not have any formal education and cannot read takes to the challenges of chess and kicks ass.

Even though this is a story about chess it’s an underdog story and should be thought about in the same way as Karate Kid, Cool Runnings and Rocky. It’s tough watching in some places as the effects of poverty are hard to escape, but its ultimately uplifting and well worth a watch!

 

12) Edge of Seventeenhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D8LiwkhP-w I will always champion Indie teen flicks and was keen to see Edge of Seventeen when I first heard about it. “Nadine” played by Hailee Steinfeld, was a friendless child that grew up in the shadow of her popular twin brother. This was always fine as she always had the care and affection of her dad who passes away when she was young.

I will always champion Indie teen flicks and was keen to see Edge of Seventeen when I first heard about it. “Nadine” played by Hailee Steinfeld, was a friendless child that grew up in the shadow of her popular twin brother. This was always fine as she always had the care and affection of her dad who passes away when she was young.

Now at seventeen years old, she feels that life is against her and that she has to strike out to stop things falling apart around her.

The quick witted teen banter of films like this and “Juno” is something that I couldn’t emulate at that age, but does resonate with me and I always hope I find it entertaining. Her head to heads with teacher “Mr. Bruner” as played by Woody Harrelson are so entertaining and Woody’s performance in this is one my favourite of his ever.

 

 

11) The Jungle Book https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcgJRQWxKnw Disney are going through the stages of making “True to Life” versions of its best known traditionally animated films. They took on “Cinderella” last year and they’ll be doing “The Lion King” in years to come. The cynical reason for doing these is “money” – why make anything original that might fail when you can regurgitate old faves and make a shed load of money.

I was a cynic. I saw Cinderella last year and it was nice enough, though I wasn’t a Cinderalla fan so wasn’t that bothered. The Jungle Book wasn’t my favourite Disney Cartoon but I thought it was great and was apprehensive about this version. I needn’t have been, It’s magical. This film rests on its special effects, which are stunning, the voice cast, which was amazing, and the Neel Sethi, who played Mowgli and does a bang up job.

There are some scary scenes in there, so not for the youngest of children, but it funny and having Bill Murray as Baloo is genius casting.

 

10) A Life Animated https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n7fosK9UyY

I first heard the story of Owen Suskind in an episode of the Podcast “Radiolab”. The episode, titled “Juicervose” tells of the Owens story from being a happy care free child to developing autism at about 3 years old and suddenly not being able to communicate with his family.

One thing that their family could enjoy together as always were Disney films. Through the course of the podcast episode and as told at the start of the story Owen’s family realised that he could still communicate with them by interacting with these Disney classics.

A Life Animated goes onto show Owen as an adult, with a long term girlfriend who is about to move out of his parents house and live in his own flat by himself. It is both heartbreaking and inspirational and is my favourite documentary of the year.

 

9) Captain America: Civil War

Sometimes you just have to applaud what is going on at Marvel Cinematic Universe. They just keep on cranking out the goods and “CA:CW” is one of the goods. It’s high up there within the MCU films amongst Guardians of the Galaxy and the First Avengers film.

“CA:CW” sees much of the Avengers Team together on screen but divided in spirit as they come to terms with the amount of death and destruction that follows them and their antics.

Should great responsibility come with great power? Yes. How should we address this? FIGHT!!

And fight they do… yay! This time the baddies are themselves, and they fight away from most people in disused airport to minimise collateral damage. These guys are learning! It’s just good fun and great to see Black Panther and Spiderman, really looking forward to their films!

PS I still don’t get “The Vision”. Do you? Answers on a postcard – or in the comments section…

8) The Girl With All The Gifts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1n4vpOjm5EWe have zombies! In this zombie

We have zombies! In this zombie story fungal spores are the source of the the zombiefication in a similar way to the Playstation game “The Last of Us”. It’s a British flick so will draw immediate comparisons to “28 Days Later” but there is a whole different theme going on here.

The premise here is that the there are a certain number of “hybrid” zombie children who retain the ability to think and emote but turn can turn into ravenous flesh eaters when sensing a meal, i.e. humans. The zombie kids are schooled, locked away and tested in a lab-rat vivisection style on an army base set in the UK countryside.

Inside the base everyone is safe. The kid zombies are controlled and sedated and the adult zombies are “out there”… until one day they’re not.

We follow one of the child zombies, Melanie aka “The Girl With All The Gifts” as she works with the humans in this infected world.

7) Green Room

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP0Ic6-OShEWow – Green Room is a tough watch! We follow punk band “The Ain’t Rights” on a jobbing tour and after one of their gigs is

Wow – Green Room is a tough watch! We follow punk band “The Ain’t Rights” on a jobbing tour and after one of their gigs is canceled they were “lucky” enough to get fixed up with another gig. This new show, however, happens to be at a secluded Neo-Nazi skinheads bar that is headed by “Darcy” as played by a mean Sir Patrick Stewart!

The cast is a tight one featuring Anton Yelchin, who was one of the least mourned after but deeply tragic deaths of 2016. You also have Alia Shawkat, best known as “Maeby Funke” from Arrested Development and Macon Blair who starred in director Jeremy Saulnier’s previous film “Blue Ruin”.

Having to gig in a skinhead bar is a horrible situation to be in especially if you’re not a neo-Nazi, especially if you hate neo-Nazis and especially if you if you kick off your set with a song intended to anger them. The gig actually goes quite well and things taking huge dive for the worst when the “Ain’t Rights” finish and head back to the titular green room after their set. Yikes!

6) The Hunt for the WilderpeopleI was accused of being a “Kiwiphile” by a Kiwi friend of mine. I am. I love the country and think the people there are simply the most welcoming I have ever met. Then you have their pop culture output including “Flight of the Conchords” and the old computer game “A New Zealand Story” (ps – I have no idea if this was made in New Zealand). Flight of the Conchords pointed me in the direction of director Taika Waititi initially with “Eagle vs Shark”, then “What we Do in the Shadows” and now “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”.

I was accused of being a “Kiwiphile” by a Kiwi friend of mine. I am. I love the country and think the people there are simply the most welcoming I have ever met. Then you have their pop culture output including “Flight of the Conchords” and the old computer game “A New Zealand Story” (ps – I have no idea if this was made in New Zealand). Flight of the Conchords pointed me in the direction of director Taika Waititi initially with “Eagle vs Shark”, then “What we Do in the Shadows” and now “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”.

Wilderpeople follows delinquent “Ricky Baker” who is fostered with Bella and “Uncle Hec” out in the country where he can’t loiter, kick stuff or steal. He does, however, try to run a way a few times to much amusement. Uncle Hec is played by Sam Neill and guides young Ricky through the countryside and back into civilisation after Ricky runs away. This, however is hampered by a broken leg and an inadvertent manhunt.

It’s just an entirely charming film of the kind that I don’t think could come out of any other country thank New Zealand.

Taika Waititi is directing the next Thor film “Ragnarok”. I cannot wait!

5) Train to Busan

Zombies on a train in Korea! K-Zombies are fast and mean in this exciting and heart heartbreaking flick.

A father and daughter take a train out to Busan to visit her mother. Wouldn’t you know it – just as the train doors are about to close a an infected lady manages to scarper aboard. In this world the zombification process happens FAST and the rest of the train becomes infected.

As well as the father and daughter you follow the people in the different coaches, the baseball team (I think those bats might come in handy don’t you), the arsey and selfish businessman, the pregnant lady and her bloke, the elderly sisters. Some of these people will die, I’ll leave you to find out who. All of these people learn something about themselves, I’ll leave you to find out what.

4) Captain Fantastic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1kH4OMIOMc

Capt fantastic is a film directed by Matt Ross who is best-known as playing the bad guy “Gavin Belson” in the HBO TV series “Silicon Valley”. Capt Fantastic tells the story of Ben Cash, played by Viggo Mortensen who chose, together with his wife Leslie, to raise their six children in the idealistic wilderness home that they created. The children are home schooled and home trained and outrageously talented both physically and mentally, but hugely lacking in social skills.

Early on in the film you hear that Leslie, who is absent from her family at the start of the film tragically dies. So “Captain” and the kids head off in their bus “Steve” to attend her funeral.

Captain Fantastic owes a fair amount to “Little Miss Sunshine” so if you got on board with that film you’re sure to like this.

3) Deadpool

Wonderful. I had such low expectations for Deadpool as previous Non-Marvel cinematic universe films such as Fantastic Four and the most recent versions of Spiderman have been crap and boring respectively. Deadpool was not this. It was funny and rude and funny and made a shed load of money even on a limited budget.

The main problem with Deadpool and it’s success is that people aka “Suicide Squad” “http://bgr.com/2016/04/01/deadpool-suicide-squad-humor/“ tried to copy Deadpool without knowing what made the film great. We’ll talk more about Suicide Squad Later…

2) Rogue One | A Star Wars Storyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wji-BZ0oCwg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wji-BZ0oCwgI saw Rogue One twice in 3 days, I’ll likely see it again before it leaves the cinemas as i’m a sucker. One of my best friends daughters, I think she is 8, described “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” as “Episode 3.5”. I wish I had that kind of insight at that age.

It’s billed as a standalone story, it’s really not, it’s just not canonical to the “Episode #” thread. This means that it can set itself apart tonally and stylistically. It also means that it can draw from the universe and pull on the nostalgia strings in doing so. Tonally it is dark. Things happen in R1 that would not likely happen in the main Star Wars story. Stylistically its different. Amongst other things there is no title “crawl” and this is the first film Star Wars film not to be scored by John Williams.

Nostalgically there are hits and misses. The misses include the resurrected digitised characters. The hits tho? Wow guys – Darth Vader is in this film and he is BADASS! I’ll say no more.

 

1) Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings it took me completely by surprise, and has been the film of the most obsessed with since watching it couple of times in the cinema in the space of a few days.

It’s made by the same Studio, Laika, that made Coraline, Box Trolls and Paranorman, none of which I’ve seen before watching Kubo. It tells the story of hey young boy called Kubo who we first see as a baby being rescued by his mother from an attempt on his life. He doesn’t get away unscathed as he lost his eye during the attack.

Kubo and the Two Strings is a stop frame animated film and is simply the most beautiful film I’ve seen all year in terms of aesthetics, style and story. It might be a bit scary for the youngest kids but I assure you this is not just a kids film.

K&T2S also contains my favourite song of the year in the form of Regina Spektors version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

These are the films of 2016 that I liked and highly recommend to you all and think that most people would get something out of them, but for whatever reason they didn’t “click” 100% with me.

Moana

Moana didn’t hit me hard in the cinema but I have had the soundtrack on constant loop since leaving the screening. I think I need to rewatch it tbh. The soundtrack as a whole is probably the best that Disney has ever produced. I’m serious!

Zootropolis / Zootopia / Whatever…

A great Disney original and based on the storyline has a natural kinship with Moana

Dr Strange

Yup – impressive. In other years would have featured higher in my list.

Arrival

What a magnificent and subtle story about alien invasions. In-spite of the impressive visuals one of my favourite scenes was actually a lo-fi one involving Amy Adams’ character explaining how a sentence works on a whiteboard.

Hail Caesar

Don’t watch this expecting a cohesive story. It’s effectively a series of interlinked vignettes that pay homage to Hollywood of old. Some fantastic stand alone scenes especially the Tap Dancing “No Dames” scene with Channing Tatum the and “Would that it were so simple” scene with Alden Ehrenreich and Ralph Fiennes.

Room

Horrible and uplifting in equal measures. Fantastic performances from Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay

Films of 2016 that I haven’t seen that sound like they are right up my alley!

I just couldn’t get round to seeing these films but have heard from reliable sources that they are worth a gander. As I write this I have a couple of long haul flights planned so will be buying these for the journey.

    • Embrace of the Serpent
    • Nice Guys
    • Keanu
    • Love and Friendship
    • Victoria
    • Florence Foster Jenkins
    • Paterson
    • I, Daniel Blake
    • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

 

The Worst Film of 2016: Suicide Squad

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdiFhv3gsyoI have been flipping flopping between “Batman vs Superman : Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” for worst film of the year.

I have been flipping flopping between “Batman vs Superman : Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” for worst film of the year.

Initially, I was firmly in the BVS:DOJ corner for worst film mainly because it’s overly long, deathly boring, Lex Luthor is beyond tedious and the “Martha? Why did you say that name” scene contains one of the cringiest pieces of dialogue ever committed to screen.

So why have I chosen Suicide Squad as the worst film?

There are a few reasons.

1) I had higher expectations of SS than did for BVS:DOJ. I had little hope for Zack Snyder and BVS:DOJ and he delivered on expectations.

I have respect for SS Director David Ayres and hoped that he could buck the DC Comic Universe trend of crappy films. He couldn’t, so the feeling of disappointment is greater.

2) BVS:DOJ has more redeeming features than SS. Inspite of the crappy film overall there were a couple of really good bits. The first is that Ben Affleck makes a pretty decent Batman when in action mode and not whining and pining. The second is that I thought Wonder Woman was really good and augmented by her sick electric Cello theme by Hans Zimmerman and Junkie XL.

 

SS had one cool bit where “Enchantress” was called forth and her transformation sequence started from a clasped and interlocked hand that spiralled into through the rest of her body. I’ll give Harley Quinn a 1/4 of a point as I think the character is cool and Margot Robbie plays her well I just think she could be written better

3) Some things in SS such as the soundtrack (trying to emulate Guardians of the Galaxy but ultimately missing the point) really irritated me, whereas the biggest reaction to BVS:DOJ was simply boredom and disbelief.

PS: I have not seen “Grimsby”, otherwise that could well have been the worst…

 

Well that’s a list of the films that came out in 2016 that I think are worth a gander. As I said at the top we are a Podcast site that reviews Netflix Films. If you like the sound of that please do visit our homepage  or the scoreboard to view some the films that we have talked about so far.

Please do share with your friends and family and subscribe to us on iTunes.

Love you!

Bye!

Kobi


Also published on Medium.

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