Every year, Hollywood (and a few others) churn out and endless collection of films to watch – if only we had enough weekend and money to catch them all. But you wouldn’t want to be the odd one out that’s lost when everyone’s quoting their favourite movie lines at a braai, or being unaware of the biggest shocking twists in pop culture. There’s no way of watching every movie released in a year, so I compiled a handy list of 10 2016 movies that you’ll probably want to have seen.
10 Cloverfield Lane: This exciting thriller burst onto movie release schedules out of nowhere. It’s still pretty unclear how exactly this movie connects to 2008’s Cloverfield (is it a sequel? A prequel? An unrelated, but thematically linked story, a la Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits?), but in an unprecedented move, it’s connection and title was only announced 2 months before its release. It got some mixed reactions from viewers, but was ultimately a well-regarded, exciting thriller with plenty of mystery. 2017’s God Particle has been announced as the third instalment in the Cloverfield franchise, but we still don’t have any idea how it’ll all connect.
Deadpool: Though my personal reaction to this movie was pretty mediocre, Deadpool was definitely the most-talked-about superhero movie of 2016. It’s different enough from what we’ve gotten tired of, and it was a massive popular and monetary success – proving to movie studios that a funny, R-rated superhero movie isn’t doomed to fail. What’s most important about Deadpool, outside of its success or failure as a movie, is what it’ll inspire going forward. Expect more violent, over-the-top superhero movies coming in the next few years.
Ghostbusters: Yes, they remade a classic. Again. But this time, with -gasp- women! The mere fact that 1984’s Ghostbusters was getting remade, got a lot of fans understandably angry. At the same time, the worst parts of the internet reared its ugly head, and created anti-women campaigns to bash the movie before it even existed. Though the female cast was great, and the special effects and action sequences were on par with the best, the question remains: Is there any point in this remake? You’re gonna have to watch Paul Feig’s movie to take part in the discussion.
Hail, Caesar!: Not every Coen Brothers film is equally digestible and broad, but this film about 1950s Hollywood is definitely entertaining. It features kidnapping, pregnancy, gossip magazines and paparazzi, all centered around a strange fictional story with real life Hollywood “fixer” Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) as protagonist. Some of the best scenes are those with posh English director Laurence Laurentz (played by Ralph Fiennes) and Alden Ehrenreich’s young western star Hobie Doyle. Ehrenreich’s portayal here gets me excited for the comedic potential when it’s his turn to be Han Solo in the upcoming 2018 Star Wars spin-off.
Kubo and the Two Strings: You already know that Laika makes brilliant stop-motion animated movies (like Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and ParaNorman), so it’s no surprise that Kubo and the Two Strings is a masterpiece. With flawless animation, it tells the story of a young one-eyed boy who journeys with a magical monkey and an amnesiac Beetle on a journey to look for his deceased father’s magical armour. The film is moving, magical, and overall beautiful – a must-see for fans of Laika, stop-motion animation, and/or fables.
Noem My Skollie: This acclaimed South African film by director Daryne Joshua was South Africa’s only submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category in the 89th Academy Awards. It’s an Afrikaans film about Cape Gangsters who end up in jail, and end up as storytellers. The film ended up not being nominated for the award, but it was still highly regarded by critics. The Oscar Ceremony will be held on 26 February 2017, if you’re interested in checking out the winner.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Like the above-mentioned upcoming Han Solo spin-off, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a spin-off from the main Star Wars “episodes”. Instead of focusing on the story of the Skywalker family, this one gives viewers the backstory to how the Death Star plans (which played a crucial role in the original Star Wars: A New Hope) was stolen in the first place. Though it’s not a perfect film by any measure, it’s fun, daring, and experimental – and will give fans the feeling of delving into their toybox and making up new stories for familiar characters and situations.
Sausage Party: As the title suggests, Sausage Party is not quite as family-friendly as most CG animated films. It’s filled to the brim with sex jokes in a typical Seth Rogen stoner-comedy – except that the characters are CG-animated food). It not only opens up the possibility for more adult-oriented animation (as well as a strongly hinted-at sequel), but the film is also the center of a controversy that highlights the potential mistreatment of animators who worked on the project.
The BFG: A Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of a beloved Roald Dahl children’s book – what more do you want? This film is fun, adventurous, and silly, just like the author and director would suggest, but works for slightly older audiences too. I mean, is anyone ever too old to want to see the Queen of England’s corgis farting*? I didn’t think so. *They call it “whizzpoppers”, though.
Tickled: Though this list is alphabetical, coincidentally the most intriguing got left till last. This documentary has it all: Blackmail, scandal, investigation, and… ummm… tickling? Find out all about the crazy world of “competitive endurance tickling” in this documentary.
Do you agree with my list? Leave a comment and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here.
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When not musing about films and music, Floris is either editing videos or making not-that-depressing music.