Hello, I am the Indie Princess and welcome to my first post. This has been a long time coming, considering I have been planning on doing reviews for about 6 years, and I thought that, in order to say hello to this new opportunity for me, my first post would be about saying goodbye to the previous year and the films it brought. To me, 2016 was not a terrible year. Yes, it had it’s flops, but it also had so many impressive highs, and today I am going to talk about the good, the bad, and the mediocre of 2016. Before I begin though, a few quick disclaimers. First, no I have not seen everything. In fact I didn’t really get into watching a lot of these until around November, and by then I was far too behind to catch up (along with the fact that I am a broke college student who doesn’t live in a huge town, so I sadly didn’t have the chance to see a lot of smaller or foreign films.) So, if you’re wondering where The Handmaiden, Jackie, Arrival, or La La Land are, or why flops like Gods of Egypt or goddamn Nine Lives aren’t anywhere on the list, I just haven’t gotten the chance to see them (and also I’m not that much of a masochist.) However, when I do my 2017 best of lists next year, I will update my 2016 lists with the films I saw over the course of the year, so I guess that’s ok? And of course, if you think a film should be higher or lower on this list, I completely respect your opinion. This is only my take on these films so don’t take my opinions as fact. Anyways, let’s begin, shall we?
45. God’s Not Dead 2
(Disclaimer: This placement has nothing to do with my opinions on religion. I have no problem with anyone because of their religion…unless they are an asshole about it. That’s an issue. I just have an issue with the very warped message in this film.)
Probably the most reprehensible film of not only the year, but possibly the decade (although I didn’t see that Hilary propaganda movie so we shall see about that), God’s Not Dead 2 is everything that is wrong with Christian based films. First off, no one in this film acts like an actual human. From the first 5 minutes, where the pastor character is continuously getting into accidents involving coffee and what not, every character acts like aliens who only think in black and white terms. The christian characters are perfect saints who are so unfairly persecuted and don’t deserve anything bad because jesus, while everyone else is evil, manipulative, and ignorant. It’s not just that the script is ludicrous and makes up the idea that this has actually happened in real life (plot twist: it hasn’t), it’s not just that the whole film looks flat and uninteresting, it’s NOT just that it’s a Christian persecution movie. It’s not that it is hateful and poisonous, so toxic in its message that I can’t believe that this kind of propaganda was made. Horrible, just horrible. Avoid at all costs.
44. Collateral Beauty
From the most reprehensible to the most nonsensical, Collateral Beauty is just a beautiful mess. Where do I begin? The story, for starters, is probably the dumbest idea since Winter’s Tale. Allan Loeb has written a film that is not only loaded with plot holes, but also conceptually and morally makes no sense. If you want to see this, avoid trailers at all costs, because the actual film is far more sinister and mind boggling than the trailers would lead you to believe. Almost every actor plays their part as if they are grasping for an Oscar. Will Smith does his typical Oscar bait performance, while Kate Winslet tries and fails to do something with her fairly meatless plotline. Not even Helen Mirren’s over the top performance can’t save a floundering cast. I will give Edward Norton some credit, because he is at least trying to create an actual character, but even then he can’t make you believe in what his character’s motivations. Add in plot twists that you can guess the moment you meet the characters and a script that just makes no sense (seriously kid, I don’t care how much you hate your dad, Hamilton is bloody amazing, you can see it twice!), and everything is just a hodgepodge of weirdness. If it wasn’t for the fact that God’s Not Dead 2 is downright unwatchable, this would have been the worst I saw this year.
43. Zoolander 2
I remember clearly seeing the first Zoolander while in middle school and really enjoying it. This, on the other hand, makes me wonder if the first was any good in the first place. I feel like the sequel was trying to be everything the first was: a tongue and cheek look into fashion that contains some darker elements to balance out the idiocy of it. However, with this script, it completely fails. The script, which can be attributed to 4, YES, 4 people, is stale and unfunny most of the time, while the final third quickly jumps the shark with a plot twist involving child sacrifice. Yes, a mainstream comedy whose big main set piece takes place during the sacrificing of a child. This would be fine if, you know, IT WAS ACTUALLY FUNNY. It’s not obviously, and in the end it just makes it completely cringeworthy. Along with that, all the performances are completely phoned in, and other than the returning characters, every character is completely bland. It pains me to see something with such potential fail, but sadly, all Zoolander 2 does is crash and burn. But hey, at least it gave me Ariana Grande in bondage gear, right?
42. Dirty Grandpa
Gross is the perfect word to describe Dirty Grandpa. Watching this unfunny excuse of a gross out comedy just left a rancid taste in my mouth. Almost every attempt at a joke is completely cringeworthy, and everything else around it is completely forgettable. What makes this even more upsetting is the cast. Zac Efron can be funny (I’ll bring that up later), but he is not a good straight man, while Zoey Deutch is stuck with a very bland girlfriend character. However, the biggest disappointment here is Robert De Niro. My god, this is such a terrible performance. Knowing the caliber of acting De Niro can produce, it’s actually upsetting to see him pull of this sham of a performance. Overall, this movie is nothing more than a boring catastrophe that squanders the talent of an incredibly capable actor. Come back De Niro, PLEASE.
41. Batman: The Killing Joke
Surprisingly, this was the film I nearly stopped watching halfway through, and I saw God’s Not Dead 2. Now, I have yet to read the comic this is based on, but even then I know it will be far superior to this piece of direct to dvd dribble. The opening 30-40 minutes feels incredibly tacked on, with a plotline that only demonizes and sexualizes the Batgirl character all before she is victimized and assaulted. Pleasant. The rest of the film is incredibly dull and uninteresting, and it took me several days just to get through this 90 minute film. It’s obvious that this was meant to be a straight to DVD film, and really, it should have stayed there.
I heard about this from Nyx Fears, whose rant on it is actually pretty impressive, and when I saw it pop up on Netflix, I thought “meh, it can’t be that bad.” And oh was I wrong. With the exception of the Christmas and New Year’s segments, which I found to be relatively good, every segment in this film is either batshit crazy or completely unwatchable. The acting in Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and especially Halloween makes the segments, which are pretty uninventive to begin with, painful to watch, while St. Patrick’s and Easter just made me laugh at how bizarre they are. The only one with real potential is Father’s Day, which has a really heart-wrenching story that just ends with a stupid jump scare. Again, pleasant. While it veers on the edge of being so bad it’s good, I can’t see myself watching it again because I like it. If anything, this movie was fun to introduce to my friends, who were equally as revolted as I was. Holidays: the movie that brings people together just by how bad it is.
Speaking of gross, while Dirty Grandpa just leaves a rancid feeling in your throat, Grimsby makes you want to go upchuck your last meal. This film contains grossest scenes I have seen in awhile, and while I applaud Sacha Baron Cohen for somehow getting people to go along with it, I also can’t say it was pleasant to watch, especially that now infamous elephant scene. I’m still dry heaving at the thought of it. Along with that, the leads have no chemistry, especially since it looks like Mark Strong does not want anything to do with this film, and the female characters are all one note, especially the “surprise” villain.The only reason that it’s not higher is that, and I’m ashamed to say it, I did laugh a few times. Some jokes actually landed, which is more than I can say about Dirty Grandpa or Zoolander 2, so as much as I detest some of the scenes in this film, I can at least give it a small pass. Either way, if you want to actually hold down food for a few days, don’t watch this film. Really, just don’t watch it.
38. Alice Through the Looking Glass
Here’s something you won’t hear often, especially from a self-proclaimed nerd: I adore the first Alice movie. In fact, it is still one of my favorite films ever and probably the film I have seen the most. If that says a lot about my taste in film, so be it. I enjoy it. THIS, on the other hand, is probably the biggest disappointment of the year for me. Another film that makes me wonder if the first one was any good, this new Alice movie dumbs down the plot even more and ends up swerving out of control half way through. The amount of plot holes and stupid moments that are brushed aside with throwaway lines is mystifying to me. Linda Woolverton, who wrote Beauty and the Beast(?!), just completely fails at writing a coherent script. Plus, nearly every performance is awful. I was mocking Anne Hathaway’s performance for a week after I saw this film, and honestly, this is the first Johnny Depp performance that I utterly despise (then again, I haven’t seen Mortdecai so…). He makes The Mad Hatter less mad and more like a stubborn child with a terrible lisp. It’s kind of embarrassing to watch really. If it wasn’t for the fact that Sacha Baron Cohen brings some energy to his performance and some of the visuals are decent, then this would be much lower on this list. Off with your bloody head, Disney.
37. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
I can barely remember this film. Seriously, it’s like it got wiped from my mind, it was that bad. I remember Zac Efron still being a terrible straight man and Adam Devine being incredibly unfunny. I remember being disappointed with Aubrey Plaza yet again this year. I remember an awful bisexual stereotype who, whenever she came on screen, made me wish for the scene to be over. And I remember still having a crush on Anna Kendrick despite the fact that she was in this. That’s it. It wasn’t funny. Don’t bother with it.
36. Sausage Party
I really wanted to like Sausage Party, especially since we really need some more actual R rated content in theaters. Sadly, other than that infamous food orgy scene I found this to be pretty tame (especially compared to Grimsby.) Really, it’s nothing more than a film that thinks because animated characters are saying naughty words, that it’s funny. There are no real jokes to this other than curse words, sexual references, and a hot dog smoking pot. Comedy gold, ladies and gents. Now, to give credit where it’s due, the social and religious satire is actually kind of neat, especially since a lot of animated films this year tackled more political subjects, and the voice acting is decent (although Michael Cera does shine, he really does have a future in voice acting.) The rest, however, is just pretty bad. Maybe if I see it again with a better audience (since the showing I went to had less than 10 people in the audience), I will enjoy this a lot more. For now, I just feel disappointed by this film.
35. Hurricane Bianca
This one hurts. I am a huge fan of Rupaul’s Drag Race and Bianca Del Rio is in my top 3 of my favorite queens from it, so a movie based on her persona should have been at least funny. Sadly, just like with a lot of Bianca’s more scripted works, a lot of it falls flat. I mean granted, Roy Haylock didn’t write the script but there still isn’t any of Bianca’s signature snark and charm. It kind of relies on the novelty of Bianca and ends up being just one note (and an unfunny note to boot.) Adding on to that, the character development is non existent. The transition from Richard Martinez to Bianca Del Rio feels incredibly forced and every character is very two dimensional, with the twists that happen not making much sense. I will say that the side plot involving the mentor character, while rushed, is very heartfelt and hey, it’s not a long movie. I just hope that the next film learns from it’s mistakes and actually gives the audience something worthy of Bianca Del Rio. (And if you’re reading Bianca, please don’t kill me for this. Big fan, I swear…)
Trolls is honestly pretty mindless. Now that I think about it, it is the perfect “sit your kids in front of the TV and let them watch the pretty colours” movie. It’s harmless enough, but it’s just not good. Like, at all. Despite the lovely animation, every character other than the two leads are completely one note and unmemorable, and even then the leads are pretty dull. I also found the emphasis on death to be kind of unnerving. As much as I enjoy dark material in animated films, the amount of talk about eating these cute, cuddly creatures was really tough to stomach. Along with the music being rather unexciting (other than the Sound of Silence cover, that was actually really great) and an ending that feels rushed and half-assed, Trolls is everything that I really dislike about “kids” films. Please, try harder Dreamworks.
33. Suicide Squad
I was actually thrilled at the idea of this movie. I adore Batman’s rogues gallery and the fact that Harley Quinn, who is not only my favorite DC character, but one of my favorite characters of all time, was finally coming to the big screen…girl I was ready. However, in a matter of 10 minutes I was annoyed beyond belief. The editing of the first 45 minutes of this film, from the goofy as hell character introductions to the music choices feeling more like a broken jukebox than a soundtrack, was atrocious and couple that with some of the most underdeveloped characters I’ve seen this year, I was ready to give up. However, what keeps it from being lower on here is that I found the second half to be…fine. Just fine. There are still some pretty bad choices made story wise, plus Cara Delevingne is still there, but the editing and music calms the hell down and it ends on a pretty decent, if sequel baity, note. While it does have a more redeeming second act, I can’t get past the choices made in the first. As much as I want to love it, I have to accept that it deserves on a spot on this list.
32. Bad Moms
Another completely forgettable comedy with bad acting, Bad Moms at least has it’s moments. I at least had fun with this film, especially during the moments when Kathryn Hahn was on screen. However, the lead performance from Mila Kunis and the cliche ridden plot just do nothing for this film. Kind of a disappointment, but I won’t say that I didn’t get some pleasure from it.
31. The Girl on the Train
Now, granted, I haven’t read the book (I tried but I just couldn’t get into it.) I knew about all the twists though, and those are actually handled pretty well. Along with that, Emily Blunt does a pretty decent job. However, everything except for those two elements are BORING. I was falling asleep, I was that bored. None of the characters other than Blunt’s have any life to them (especially Haley Bennett’s who is basically a breathing sex doll in this film) and the plot just drags. It reminds me of why I stopped reading the book, because it did the exact same thing. Really, while Emily Blunt does try to elevate the material, it isn’t a very good film, let alone adaptation.
30. Maggie’s Plan
I expected a lot more from this honestly. I love Greta Gerwig and while I was hoping this would be in the same vein as Frances Ha, it was more like Lola Versus. Greta Gerwig, as always, is charming, but the script is dry, and not in a good way. It drags quite a bit and I kept checking the timer just to see how long it would be until it was done. The performances outside of Gerwig’s are decent, but none really shine, and the scripts attempts at humor just fall flat. Not one of Gerwig’s best endeavors for sure.
29. I’m Not Ashamed
I feel as though I would have liked this more if this was just a typical teen flick. If this was your standard movie about a young girl finding out who she is and all the relationship and friend drama that comes with it, I would have been able to enjoy this more. Hell, even if they kept the religious angle of the story, I would have been fine with it. Despite how preachy the film got with the whole “trust God, he believes in you” message, there were times that I actually related to Rachel’s personal struggles with religion. If this film was about a girl named Rachel who loved to act and just wanted to make the world a better place, then I would have been fine with it. However, this is not the case. As this movie oh so lovingly reminds us every, say, 10-15 minutes, this is about a girl who, despite all the good she wanted to do, was shot and killed in a horrific and pointless shooting. As much as I wanted to root for Rachel and hope that she would get the happy ending she deserves….I had to remind myself that she never would. The idea of a light hearted, feel good movie, let alone a lighthearted, feel good movie backed by one of the biggest Christian movie studios right now, about her story just doesn’t work. At times it felt like pandering more than anything and, despite the good message about being kind to everyone, it was incredibly painful to watch, especially when they would cut to the killers. By feeding conspiracy theories about video games and bloody Darwinism and not giving the killers any character outside of “ruthless and blood hungry,” it feels even more like propaganda at times and it only accentuates the idea of Rachel being a “martyr,” even though it has never been proven if the conversation before her death even happened. In the end, I can say that, despite the corny dialogue, I liked a good chunk of this film, however I cannot get past the fact that it was made in the first place. (But yes, it did make me start to sob near the end…then again everything about Columbine makes me sob so don’t take that as an endorsement for this movie.)
28. Audrie and Daisy
Audrie and Daisy is a pretty standard documentary. It presents it’s facts and opinions in a pretty by the numbers way, with nothing too flashy happening to distract from it’s main message of supporting victims of sexual assault. It does get dull at times, but the moments that need to pack a punch do just that. It might not be the best documentary I saw this year, it is pretty decent, especially if you want to more about these cases.
27. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Finally, a comedy that I actually enjoyed! I really didn’t like the first Neighbors, so I wasn’t expecting much from it’s sequel, and while it is pretty middle of the road, I found a lot of enjoyment out of this. The jokes, for one, actually stick most of the time, and while I didn’t love some of the more gross out material, the digs at both wayward feminism and how society treats women as fragile was quite enjoyable. Along with that, the cast *GASP* has something to do! Everyone is in their element, from Seth Rogen playing the perfect average man, to Zac Efron playing the kind of macho yet goofy character he should actually be playing, to Rose Bryne and Chloe Grace Moretz showing that they can be just as, if not funnier than the men. Even the supporting actresses in the sorority get some laughs, especially from Awakwafina (who I’m excited to see in that completely unnecessary Ocean’s film.) Funny and topical, Neighbors 2 is delightful, despite being a bit pedestrian.
26. The VVitch
Aesthetically, this film is amazing. It captures the landscape of colonial New England perfectly, and it’s bleak color palette really does add to the doom and gloom of the story. Along with that, the performances are all stellar, especially from Anya Taylor-Joy, who I see a huge future ahead of her. Sadly, the film does drag a bit before the plot actually kicks in, and it leaves a lot more questions unanswered than I’d like (I know that was probably the intention, but fight me, I just would like just a little more answers.) It’s also more of a psychological thriller than a horror film, which isn’t a bad thing, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. A promising debut, The VVitch is a sign of new things to come in the world of horror, and if Robert Eggers is the future of the genre, I’m cool with that.
25. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
I may not have been a huge fan of Hot Rod, Akiva Schaffer’s last film collab with The Lonely Island, Popstar really does make up for it’s flaws. While not constantly laugh out loud funny, the jokes that stick stick and the comedic performances all work. The real powerhouse though is the music. The Lonely Island really deserve more praise, especially considering that, while the rest of the film is pretty by the numbers, the wit in both the script and the original music proves that they can branch out from their Youtube roots. A pretty fun time that I will for sure be checking out again, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping deserved more than it got, and will hopefully help The Lonely Island more than hinder them.
24. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
This was…disappointing. It’s still good, it just was disappointing. The script’s plot holes are massive and really unforgivable, which lead to my interest falling as the movie went on. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything good about Fantastic Beasts. Eddie Redmayne is great as Newt Scamander, and this is the first Dan Fogle performance I didn’t hate, plus the visual effects and costume design are pretty top notch. And hey, seeing Ezra Miller in a mainstream movie will always make me happy. Sadly, the script really needed to be touched up. If it wasn’t for that, I probably would have loved this a lot more.
23. Me Before You
I was expecting to hate this. I was spoiled early on, and I was mortified by what the ending of this film was. To be fair though, it is handled in an ok way? I mean, as someone who suffers from mental illness, it wasn’t handled that distastefully. Plus, the movie is actually pretty good! Cheesy, yes, but still good! I believed the romance in this film (and this is coming from a known cynic) and the performance from Sam Claflin was actually really well done. Emilia Clarke was good too, although she really does like to act with her eyebrows. Besides that, I would recommend this film. While I do wish it had ended differently, I did enjoy it and may just check out again sometime soon.
22. Finding Dory
Fun fact: Finding Nemo was actually the first film that I saw in theaters, and it is the reason I’ve been obsessed with movies since I was a kid, so Finding Dory had big shoes to fill for me. While it’s not as good as it’s predecessor, Finding Dory is still a gorgeously animated film with a sweet message and a charm that I found was missing from quite a few films this year. It’s not as innovative or creative as Inside out or Up, but it does have a sweetness that marks the entire film, and while it’s nothing new, it is fun and a nice delight. While it’s not the crowning jewel in Pixar’s crown, it is a nice addition to the worlds the studio has created.
21. The Jungle Book
I loved the animated Jungle Book movie growing up, and seeing the trailers for this modern adaptation, I thought that it would not only revitalize the story, but add something new with the upgrades in effects. I was right. While I found that the story did drag (which I have found typical for every adaptation of the Jungle Book), the visual effects more than make up for it. Watch it just to see the marvel that this movie is.
*sigh* I liked it, ok? I had no expectations going in and I came out really enjoying it. It’s not better than the original, but it does have it’s moments. Yes, the villian is really awful and the chemistry was exactly there between Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, but the final fight was pretty fun, most of the jokes were decent, and Kate McKinnon is a breath of fresh air and deserves such a great career. I don’t know, I liked it! That doesn’t mean anything other than i have questionable taste in film, that’s it, ok?
I’ll keep this short and sweet: I’m a huge fan of Jeff Nichols and, while it’s pace does become tedious at times, the performances by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga and the gorgeous cinematography are mesmerizing. Keep it up Jeff.
18. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I think I liked this a lot more right after I saw it than I do now. Maybe it’s the Nostalgia Critic review that made me realize the flaws this film had. Who knows but besides that, it is still a bloody good movie with amazing visuals, a female lead that I actually enjoyed (unlike Rey, who I still have yet to warm up to), and by far the coolest scene this year. I don’t even have to go into which scene it is, if you’ve seen Rogue One then you know exactly what it is. It’s a worthy companion piece to the Star Wars universe, and it brings me hope to the future of these side stories.
I can tell that this will be controversial. I mean, this is one of the most critically acclaimed films of the decade, how could it not be my absolute favorite? Well….here’s my issue. There really is no real character to Chirone, and because of that his story isn’t that fascinating. I mean, his defining characteristics are that he is abused by nearly everyone in his life and that he’s gay. We don’t really find out anything else about him and so his transition from weak kid to tough thug feels kind of disingenuous. Maybe the play went into better detail about that, but since I’m not reviewing the play so I have to judge this on it’s merits. To be fair though, everything else about the film is pretty damn excellent. The moments that need to have emotional weight to them hit you like a kick to the stomach, the cinematography is lush and striking, and the performances are all excellent, especially from Naomie Harris, who brings an unnerving desperation to her role as a drug addled mother. While it’s not my favorite, it is one that I really enjoyed and I probably will be watching it again.
This is definitely an “actor’s” film. It plays out very much like a stage play, and so every actor is playing their parts in more of that style, making their characters larger than life and more exaggerated. I don’t see that as a bad thing in this case. The powerhouse performances that come from Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were fantastic, and I would not be mad if either won Oscars for these performances (although who I really want to win best actor is coming up.) While I did find that the ending went on for what felt like forever and the character of Troy is probably one of the more detestable I have seen this year, I found this to be a pristine film that really allows its actors to really sink their teeth into this great material.
I will admit that besides being a Disney fanatic, I am also a Lin Manuel Miranda fangirl. This was just a match made in heaven! Now, I can see that there were some issues involving the story. The chosen one storyline doesn’t really have any new twist to it, other than it literally has the water chose someone, and so it does feel quite formulaic, and the villains, other than the main baddie, don’t really pose a real threat since we know our heroes are going to get out unscathed. Besides that though, the animation is probably the best that I saw this year, and the voice acting, especially from Auli’l Cravalho, is all top notch. And yes, the music is amazing. Lin Manuel Miranda has yet to disappoint me, and he possibly never will. It’s another amazing effort from Disney that proves that we are for sure in a new renaissance for the company.
14. Nocturnal Animals
The first of two dark yet stylized films from an auteur director, Tom Ford brings a luxuriant style to some incredibly gritty material. Now, I do understand the backlash around this film, and I do agree with a lot of that backlash, but that doesn’t stop this from being a great film. Even though Amy Adams doesn’t really have much to work with, every other actor, from Jake Gyllenhaal to Laura Linney and especially Michael Shannon (who I’m secretly hoping wins the Oscar Sunday), do career best performances. The visuals are stunning and will burn into your mind after you see them. And the ending packs the right amount of punch to successfully leave the viewer speechless. Marvellous and inventive, I just wish it had gotten more awards attention than it did.
13. The Neon Demon
…I don’t know man. I kind of loved this. I have yet to see anything else by Nicolas Winding Refn, but trust me when I say that I really need to get on it. This film….this film is a piece of work. It’s mesmerizing in it’s depth and in just how far it will go in the name of “art.” Seriously, this film is insane. Telling my friends what this is about is both a mortifying and hilarious experience. Trust me. While I had a lot to be desired from Elle Fanning’s performance, everyone else, from Jena Malone to freaking Keanu Reeves, does some of their best work ever. Seriously though, Jena Malone is fantastic. I kind of wish she was cast in the Suspiria remake because I feel like she would fit perfectly into that world. Visually, it’s a masterpiece and while the dialogue can be weak at times, it is a mind boggling experience that I can’t wait to revisit.
12. Little Sister
I found this one night while cruising through Netflix, and boy am I glad that I chose to watch it. A quaint little film about a former goth turned nun who visits home, it is a lovely look into the lives of some very interesting characters. The dry wit and fascinating storytelling really allows the viewer to become a part of this family, and the performances just add to that even more. However, I did find the last third to be completely arbitrary with plotlines that came out of nowhere and the burn makeup to look too much like a knock off Deadpool mask. Other than that though, I had a blast with this film. Definitely a small indie flick you need to check out.
11. The Devil’s Carnival: Alleluia!
I love Terrence Zdunich’s work, especially Repo!, but I did have quite a few issues with the first Devil’s Carnival. The sequel, however, ramps up the camp and excels because of it. It’s the kind of low budget film that excels by not showing it’s budget. The costumes, hair and makeup, and set design are all fun and bring to life both the vintage aesthetic of Heaven, and the grimy carnival style of Hell, and, unlike the first one, this one actually has a story and isn’t just a bunch of characters we don’t know or really care about meandering about. Plus, none the performances stick out as being completely unwatchable, which is a first for these films. What holds it back is, surprisingly, the music, which unlike the first one and Repo!, only has one real standout, Down at the Midnight Rectory (seriously, it is an amazing swing song.) Other than that though, The Devil’s Carnival: Alleluia exceeded the expectations I had after the first, and I eagerly anticipate the next chapter in this series.
How did this not get a single Oscar nomination?! Really, is it because of the material? I mean sure, that 8 hour OJ documentary seems pretty riveting, but so was this! Tickled is something to behold, a documentary that starts off as a playful look into professional tickle fighting and ends up becoming a dark look into the underbelly of internet scams. It’s unnerving in it’s look into how sick some people can be. Plus, it gave me even more fear about the people I meet online. Thanks for that film. An amazing documentary that deserves more attention, check this out now!
9. Doctor Strange
I’m so glad that this exists…..OK, I’m glad that most of this exists. I adore Tilda Swinton and she does a pretty good job (but then again she always does…) but the whitewashing of her role is something I could not look past, and I really don’t want to see ANOTHER origin story ever again. However, the typical Marvel humour is still really good, and the visuals…man these visuals. It is definitely the trippiest thing Marvel has made. This film made me excited for the possibilities that the MCU could become, and I’m anticipating Doctor Strange’s next adventure. Just, don’t take LSD before watching this. It’s not a good idea, trust me.
8. Captain America: Civil War
I think I have enjoyed the Captain America movies more than any of the other MCU films, and this one is probably the best of them all. The Russo Brothers bring just enough edge to the film, with the story taking turns that actually forward the plot and don’t feel like major plot conveniences. Add to that some amazing fights that show an amazing array of powers, and you’ve got a film that not only knocks it out of the park, it knocks it out of this world.
…I swear, I’m not a Marvel fangirl. I just really enjoyed what they released this year. By far the best superhero movie that has come out this year, Deadpool is a crazy good time that goes from 0 to 100 in an instant and never pulls back. The jokes come a mile a minute and nearly everyone lands. Ryan Reynolds redeems himself from his previous Deadpool outing, and while it has a pretty basic romance story, everything else, from the fight scenes to the pretty hilarious villians, work perfectly. A nice yet naughty treat, if you are a fan of Deadpool’s humour, you will for sure enjoy this flick.
6. The Revenant
Yes, I’m counting this as a 2016 release. It didn’t go wide until January in Canada so screw it, let’s go with it. Visually and acting wise, this movie is a masterpiece. The cinematography done by Emmanuel Lubezki is stunning, making the beautiful mountain location of southern Alberta (a place I have been to many times throughout my life) look more exotic than they ever have to me. Leonardo DiCaprio, of course, does an excellent job, but I also want to praise Tom Hardy for his gritty and dastardly portrayal of a pretty awful human. While it does drag, The Revenant is an impressive feat that needs to be seen to believe.
Nothing will top the emotional punch that this film’s ending had. Anomalisa is a marvellous allegory for mental illness and loneliness, with a style that cannot be replicated. The way this story is told needs to be seen, as it has a unique voice that I can’t properly explain. A film that will make you think after watching, I advise you look as little into this film as possible. That’s what I did, and it’s why I’m keeping this so vague. It really needs to be experienced blind. Trust me and go and watch it.
If Moana was a nice feather in Disney’s cap, Zootopia is the crowning achievement in it’s new renaissance. A visual masterpiece, it not only has the animation to back it up, it also has great characters and a socially conscience story that struck a chord with me. To see an animated film bring up a discussion about discrimination is refreshing and bold, and when you put it in terms that kids will understand, it will be interesting how this film impacts people years down the line. Add in stellar animation and characters, and you’ve got an easy winner for Best Animated Feature. This movie is gold, and if it wasn’t for the next 3 films on my list, it would have been my favourite of the year.
3. Manchester by the Sea
This was the last film I saw before my cut off date, and it’s the one that hit me the hardest. My jaw literally dropped in the theater during one sequence, I was that affected. This film portrays grief in such nuanced way, and it is helped by the magnificent performance that Casey Affleck does. He is incredible in this film, and if there is any luck in the world, he will win Sunday night. The only thing keeping this from being any higher is Michelle Williams’ character. Yes, she does a fine enough job, but her character feels so tacked on and is only there to be a catalyst for the plot. It would have been fine without her. This movie is amazing though, and I really wish more would see it.
2. Sing Street
This really was the year for original musicals, and while Popstar and Moana both lacked in story, I found was completely drawn in by Sing Street. The music weaves in perfectly with this coming of age story, with the changes in styles mirroring the changes in this boys life. Both the acting and vocal performances are stellar and feel much more real than a lot of teen flicks, while the story feels real. However, what keeps it from being the best is both the use of the manic pixie dream girl stereotype and the ending, both of which stick out like sore thumbs. While it isn’t perfect, Sing Street is a fun and heartwarming film that needs to be seen by anyone who loves musicals.
1. Swiss Army Man
Describing this movie to those who have never heard of it is a…fascinating experience. However, I still try to because while it is batshit crazy, it is also absolutely fantastic. Everything from the brilliant performances from Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe to the hilariously potent script to the cinematography to the freaking music choices. Everything is perfect. It is a film that really shouldn’t exist, but it really does deserve it’s place at number one.
Well, you made it. I appreciate it. It took a lot of work to get this done, so thanks for sticking it out. I hope that I at least introduced you to a film that you’d be interested in seeing. If you like this, hopefully you’ll follow me along on this new journey and you come back. I will have an Oscars predictions post up soon, so I will hopefully see you then. Thank you for reading. I’m the Indie Princess, and I’ll see you next time!