As the sun starts to set a little earlier and the summer of 2016 slowly moves behind us, it’s time to count down the top 10 films of the year so far. Its been slim pickings given the fairly lacklustre summer but there might be a little room in there for some surprises as well.
The most recent film on the list, Nerve is the brainchild of the duo behind Catfish. Choosing this time to showcase social media as a tool for wicked, the New York based thriller will make you think twice about sharing your life online. With some decent performances from the lead actors, its the overall message and unexpected relevance to the story that will keep you thinking about it long after you have left the cinema.
Demolition is no doubt one of the more dramatic films on the list. After his wife dies, investment banker ‘Davis’ takes a deep look at his own life while trying to come to terms with the tragedy. While this may not be the best effort from director Jean Marc Vallee, an endearing story and an outstanding performance from lead Jake Gyllenhaal put this comfortably at number 9 on my list.
- Eddie the Eagle
Both heart-warming and endearing, Eddie the Eagle was definitely one of the biggest surprises of the year. Lovingly directed and full of charm, the story was a simple adaptation of true life Winter Olympics legend, Eddie Edwards. Director Dexter Fletcher has carved a nice niche for himself with this and Sunshine On Leith, so fingers crossed it’s not the last we see of him within the genre.
- Green Room
There is no question about it – Jeremy Saulnier is one of the hottest directors out there at the moment. After releasing Blue Ruin in 2013, Saulnier decided to release Green Room, not only showing that he can take on horror genre but also proving he is much more than a one hit wonder. With some great scenes, a well thought of soundtrack and a stand out performance from Patrick Stewart, this is definitely one to catch when it’s released.
Even though this was only Charlie Kaufman’s second attempt behind the camera, Anomalisa is easily one of the best technical achievements in the last few years. With a thought provoking screenplay, Kaufman expertly uses the puppetry to both add depth and explore the human condition. Great voice work, a deep story and insane technical achievement make this more human than most other films this year.
- The Revenant
The Oscar winning epic takes the mid card slot as it nestles nicely into fifth place. Making the production as difficult as possible, director Alejandro G Innarutu manages to capture something quite special as he tells this incredible story of survival. When you combine the incredible production details with outstanding performances, the Revenant will not only be remembered for a long time to come, but will also be a hard one to knock from the this list.
Taking comic films in a completely new direction, Ryan Reynolds not only manages to do justice to the character but also help us forget how terrible the character arc is in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Although it’s a little light on the ground with the plot, this is definitely one of the better superhero films of the year so far.
- The Big Short
Managing to step away from his comfortable veil of slapstick comedy, Adam McKay easily delivers the surprise hit of the Oscar season. Telling the eye-opening story surrounding the 2008 US housing crisis, The Big Short not only delivers a robust and interesting story, but also one of the most eye-opening 2 and a half hours you could imagine. Given the complex subject matter, there are times when the narrative loses itself a little but thankfully, perfect pacing and an interesting use of cut scenes/narration do a great job at keeping the audience on the right track.
- Captain America: Civil War
Much like Deadpool, Civil War decided to take the trope of bad guys vs good guys and turn it on its head. Successfully bridging the gaps in the ever expanding universe, the Russo’s have added a nice little twist to something that was getting fairly predictable. Grounding the story in a similar way to The Winter Soldier, Civil War is not only another great entry in the franchise but brings a level of fun that many of this year’s super hero films have not managed to achieve.
Taking the number one spot on my list of the top 10 films this year is Spotlight. Following the events that surrounded the Boston Globe’s investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church during the early 1990’s, director Tom McCarthy sets the pace perfectly, managing to progress the plot nicely while keeping you right in the middle of the drama. When paired with one of the best ensemble casts to date, Spotlight truly stands out as a masterpiece in its own right and after this summer’s disappointing box office performances, could be a seriously tough one to beat.
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