I saw all the critically acclaimed movies released in December and the Oscar nominated movies; "Moonlight", "La La Land", "Silence", "Star Wars: Rogue One", "A Monster Calls", "Hidden Figures", "Lion", "Manchester By the Sea" and "Noctural Animals" to name a few. The majority of them I found "decent". Not great but not bad either. In most cases, I believe the sheep (movie critics) and general public over-hyped these movies, as they usually do. I do not purposely try to be "different" but from time to time I scratch my head in bewilderment over their tastes.
Some of my choices were nominated for Oscars and did receive critical acclaim. Most were ignored and some even slammed by the public.
The world in 2016 was, to put it mildly, interesting. Americans followed a presidential election between two of the most distrusted candidates in modern history. One had absolutely no qualifications whatsoever and was a reality TV host. In our age of celebrity, "wise" voters chose this person. America has been reaping the benefits ever since (that's sarcasm).
I mention the election because when I compiled my list of the best films of 2015 I pointed out how angry movies had become. Revolt was in the air. Liberal Hollywood was sending a message with movies advancing a liberal agenda. Oddly though, 2016 seemed tame by comparison. Yes, there was "Miss Sloane" (unfairly damned by the public) which caused conservatives to go bananas, but few other mainstream titles really stirred the pot and left much of an impression.
Suffering a backlash from the previous year's Academy Awards ceremony, which saw some black actors and actresses call for a boycott of the show, some of the best movies released this year saw life through the eyes of black characters. These movies were the saving grace of 2016.
Outside of that point, I'm not sure there is a connection, a common theme, between my choices for the best films of the year other than I simply liked them.
1. ALLIED (Dir. Robert Zemeckis; U.S.)
A movie that received a mixed reaction. It reminded me of an Alfred Hitchcock movie from the 1940s. It was honestly never my intention to place this at the top of my list, though I did intend for it to be placed somewhere in the top ten. Eventually, after being disappointed title after title, "Allied" seemed better and better by comparison than most.
Here is a piece of classic, old-fashion Hollywood entertainment featuring two mega-star performances by Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard with Cotillard stealing the show. I was very disappointed that the movie received only one Oscar nomination (costume design) but was shut out of all the major categories. If Hollywood was in a nostalgic mood (La La Land), "Allied" was a movie it should have paid more attention to.
2. FENCES (Dir. Denzel Washington; U.S.)
3. HIDDEN FIGURES (Dir. Theodore Melfi; U.S.)
4. LOVING (Dir. Jeff Nichols; U.S.)
5. SING STREET (Dir. John Carney; UK)
6. MISS HOKUSAI (Dir. Keiichi Hara; Japan)
One of the most beautiful animated movies released in 2016. It does not have a linear plot but is wonderful to look at.
7. ELLE (Dir. Paul Verhoeven; France)
8. MISS SLOANE (Dir. John Madden; U.S.)
9. LIGHTS OUT (Dir. David F. Sandberg; U.S.)
The horror movie of the year!
10. WE MONSTERS (Dir. Sebastian Ko; Germany)