Top 30 Best New Movies Of 2016 – Guide# Top Ten # 7 Comments
Let’s explore the best new movies 2016 has had to offer. We’ve got Sir Spielberg, Wilderpeople, Mr.’Pool, Harry Potter universians and the biggest ever superhero scrap. What do you think were the top movies of 2016? Let me know in the comments.
30th – Grimsby (aka The Brothers Grimsby)
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson
Director: Louis Leterrier
Out: March 11, 2016 (U.S. Release Dates)
Grimsby football-mad father of 11 Nobby (Cohen) finally finds his long lost brother (Strong), who in the intervening years has become a polished super spy. But when he accidentally makes his brother chief suspect in an assassination, and causes Daniel Radcliffe to get AIDS, the two go on the run… Sacha Baron Cohen has been responsible for some brilliant comic characters: Borat, Ali G, Bruno. He isn’t as sure-footed with Nobby, or as amusing – when out promoting the film in character and during early scenes in the movie it’s not quite working. But that all changes when he teams up with Strong, with whom he makes a great double act. Strong’s a brilliant straight man, his looks of bafflement and concern are constantly amusing, in between barking ridiculous lines with sincere urgency. Cohen and Strong both do whatever it takes to get a laugh, neither leaves with their dignity intact. It’s extremely filthy and pushes the boundaries, but while the likes of ‘Vacation’ uses penis gags as a lazy crutch, the x-rated gags here are genuinely hilarious (particularly the elephant scene and sucking poison scene). Although ‘Grimsby’ is Cohen’s funniest narrative movie (‘Borat’ was a mockumentary), a lot of the humour is UK-centric – his impression of Liam Gallagher’s swagger and many other cultural jokes are going to be lost elsewhere. If you’re amused by someone lighting a firework between their buttocks and you’re British, it’s a must see.
29th – Under The Shadow
Starring: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi
Director: Babak Anvari
Out: October 7, 2016
During the Iran-Iraq war of the 80s, a mother decides to stay in her Tehran apartment with her young daughter while her husband goes to serve. An unexploded bomb through the roof spooks the other residents into leaving, but also unleashes an evil spirit which threatens to rip her daughter away… Written and directed by an Iranian-expat as his directorial debut, this is Persian-language but produced by a British film company as a co-production with Qatar and Jordan. It was filmed in the latter. ‘Under The Shadow’ sits somewhere between ‘The Badadook’ (mother trying to cope with child and absent husband, mental breakdown may be behind events), and ‘Dark Water’ (mother-daughter in quiet apartment block, with the ceiling stain swapped for a bomb-inflicted crack). The Iranian time and place setting is a powerful one and is presented with compelling authenticity, the war climate alone would be unnerving enough to carry the film. And the sincerity and reality in that drama means that when supernatural notions start dropping into conversation they have more ‘integrity’ than normal. As things build, some simple conversations can send a chill. The movie loses a little of its uniqueness as the war and other characters are pushed to the background, but tension is kept on edge. The typical serviceable-but-immersion-breaking cgi does turn up eventually, which is a shame because the fx could easily have all been practical.
28th – Eye In The Sky
Starring: Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam
Director: Gavin Hood
Out: April 1, 2016
A drone unit tracks some of East Africa’s most wanted terrorists to a Kenyan house where they prepare for a suicide bombing, observed from Surrey, London and Texas by the mission commander (Mirren), an army colonel (Rickman), the drone’s pilot (Paul) and many others in the military/political chain of command. When a innocent Kenyan girl positions herself in the potential drone-bomb radius, a legal and ethical debate breaks out over whether it should be dropped… From the screenwriter of well-received political dramas like ‘Five Minutes of Heaven’ and ‘Omagh’, this was originally developed at the BBC. The director has done well on similar ground with ‘Rendition’ and ‘Tsotsi’. It all boils down to an old premise: would you take one innocent life to save many others? The final decision creates more tears and anguish than would be plausible from professionals, while the emotional impact on the audience is not as strong as they presume. But it makes for a thought-provoking and very modern warfare scenario. It’s well acted, the different arguments succinctly presented, and the military/political chain of command is intelligently researched and handled. Alan Rickman’s final film is one to be proud of.
27th – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Starring: Joe Alwyn, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin
Director: Ang Lee
Out: November 11, 2016
A 19-year-old private (newcomer Alwyn) and his company survive a harrowing battle that’s captured by news cameras. In response they are brought home by the U.S. administration for a promotional tour, culminating in the halftime show of a Thanksgiving Day football game – all while facing an imminent return to the war. Vin Diesel plays his Sgt. on the battlefield, Garrett Hedlund a leftist Sgt. and Kristen Stewart his guilt-ridden sister. Chris Tucker is a Hollywood producer type while Steve Martin is the fictional owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Based on the 2012 novel, the screenplay was adapted by Simon Beaufoy of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘127 Hours’. It’s helmer Ang Lee that makes this so anticipated. It’s hard to think of a more versatile director, and he’s coming off the back of the intellectually robust/visually spectacular ‘Life of Pi’ (which won him the Directing Oscar). Here he is shooting again in native 3D, but with an ultra-high frame rate of 120 frames per second – all with the aim of creating for audiences the heightened sensations that soldiers experience. The movie has impact as a funny yet sobering dissection of the American way of watching war. Even if as a protest it feels a decade too late.
26th – The Lobster
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Out: May 13, 2016
In an absurdist version of modern society, single people are taken to The Hotel, where they must pair with a romantic partner within 45 days or be turned into an animal. The newest arrival (Farrell) is soon among those suppressing his true self in order to couple up, before he breaks free to try living with the loners in the woods… The first English language film from the Greek director of ‘Dogtooth’, this won the Jury Prize at Cannes. It’s a desert dry comedy that mocks society’s obsession with everyone being in couples past a certain age, and the nature of those unions. As someone involved in the mad, sad scramble of late-30s coupling up – before the doom of being single in your 40s – it all struck a chord. The speech and mannerisms are stilted, boiling down the truths of this situation to ridiculously simple, often highly amusing, statements. It’s brilliant comic filmmaking, unique and thematically rich, but the humour and commentary have a tone that if you don’t tap into it you’ll simply find this puzzling, bleak and boring.
25th – Finding Dory
Starring: (voices) Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy
Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Out: June 17, 2016
Six months after ‘Finding Nemo’, forgetful blue tang fish Dory (DeGeneres) suddenly recalls her childhood memories. Remembering something about “the jewel of Monterey, California”, and accompanied by Nemo and Marlin (Brooks), she sets out to find her parents. Their adventure includes a dip through the Pacific Ocean where shipping containers have fallen off boats, a frightening encounter with a giant squid and wading past a kelp forest on California’s northern coastline. Also new friends in the form of an octopus (Ed O’Neill, ‘Modern Family’) and a whale-shark who thinks she’s a whale when she’s actually a shark. The main voice cast returns, except Alexander Gould who has been replaced as Nemo since the actor is no longer a kid. Pixar’s sequels have produced mixed results from the excellent ‘Toy Story 3’ to the distinctly underwhelming ‘Monsters Inc 2’ and ‘Cars 2’. ‘Inside Out’ showed they’re still capable of genius and at least ‘Finding Dory’ has the writer-director of ‘Finding Nemo’ and the brilliant ‘WALL·E’ behind it (returning to animation after directing megaflop ‘John Carter’).