Top 10 films of 2016 that you (probably) haven’t seen — but you absolutely must!
2016 has, like most years in this new decade, produced several sequels, remakes, reboots and re-imaginings. In that regard, it hasn’t really stood out. But considering the sheer number of films that are released every week, it’s understandable if you missed a few.
If you, like so many other movie fans, thought that 2016 was dismal (both cinematically, and, you know, in general) you’ll find that there’s nothing quite like sitting down to watch a movie that you had no idea existed - made better with the promise that it will blow you away.
If having a good time with a movie is all that you seek, you need not look any further than this list. We’ve tried to make it unique, and eclectic. From fans of adult dramas, to zombie aficionados to, well, children - there’s something for everyone. Or at least, that has been the attempt.
Here’s our list of 2016’s top films you (probably) haven’t seen.
1. Hell or High Water
Neo Westerns have perhaps become a more popular genre than their precursor: The Western. Hell or High Water is among the best ones you’ll ever see. It’s a classic cops and robbers story, shot in a stark, plain style - just like those classic John Ford movies. It features terrific central performances from Chris Pine and Ben Foster (who play bank robber brothers) and Jeff Bridges (who plays the cop hot on their trail). It’s as good as No Country for Old Men.
2. Train to Busan
Some would say that zombie movies have gone the way of superhero flicks - or at least, are getting there. The genre reached critical mass about 2-3 years ago, but Train to Busan breathes new life into it. No irony intended. Don’t let the fact that it is Korean deter you; they’re making some of the best movies of our time.
3. Pete’s Dragon
Pete’s Dragon is a classic Disney film. In fact, it may be one of their finest movies in about a decade. But everything about it is unexpected. The fact that it is set in the ’70s, that it stars an ageing Robert Redford and an unknown child as its leads, and that it is made in the spirit of American independent movies. It’s true life begins now - after its theatrical run, when word of mouth gives it wings.
4. Don’t Think Twice
You’ll be surprised to learn that Don’t Think Twice remains, in December, one of the best-reviewed films of the year. And it deserves every bit of praise that has come its way. Not too many people would be interested in a bittersweet story about an improv comedy troupe, but with a cast that is as talented as any you would have ever seen (Mike Birbiglia, Keegan Michael-Key, Gillian Jacobs, Chris Gethard), you’d be robbing yourself of a great movie. If you need more convincing, know that it stands at 99% on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
5. Midnight Special
Midnight Special is a classic, and its one of the biggest tragedies of 2016 (at least as far as movies are concerned) that it bombed and was soon forgotten after its release back in March. But it’s a science fiction film as good as Arrival - which was as good as it gets. What’s more shocking is that director Jeff Nichols made another great film this year, the slightly more popular Loving.
6. Kubo and the Two Strings
Ask any fan of animation what their favourite studio is, and they’d probably say Pixar. But sitting in its quiet corner in this immense landscape, is the relatively smaller, almost artisanal company, Laika animation. Like Aardman, they specialise in stop-motion animation, a dying artform, but unlike Aardman, they make only classics. Kubo is one of their best movies, about a young boy in ancient Japan and his epic journey to come to terms with his grief.
7. Other People
The cancer movie has become a genre unto itself. Just this year, we got at least two films about a quirky family’s attempts to tackle the impending demise of one of their own. But Other People rises above the cliches. It’s a crime that the film, which was once touted as an Oscars contender, was absolutely ignored when it mattered the most.
8. In a Valley of Violence
To describe it as briefly as possible, director Ti West’s film is basically John Wick set in the Wild West. Ethan Hawke plays the archetypal Man with No Name, whose dog is killed by a terrible outlaw. The hell Ethan Hawke unleashes upon the outlaw’s cronies and the town that he runs with his sheriff father (played by an in form John Travolta) is a sight to behold.
9. The Nice Guys
As we find ourselves singing praises of Ryan Gosling and his limitless talent courtesy La La Land, let us not forget to sing praises of Ryan Gosling (and Russell Crowe) and his limitless talent in that instant cult classic The Nice Guys.
10. Sausage Party
Remember that time when we all thought Seth Rogen’s first animated movie would be just like his live-action films - profane, crass, and oddly touching? Well, it’s a movie about religion. Also, its final scene is hands down the most outlandishly unforgettable of the year.
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