Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016 at the Pictures!

37. Storks

Bit disappointed in this animated flick, had its moments but all the best jokes were in the trailer.

36. The Secret Life of Pets
Likewise, a bit one note, but pleasingly didn't overstay its welcome as this sort of film often does.

35. The BFG

Decently Spielbergian, Dahlesque enough, but boring for long stretches, and only really so-so in the end.

34. The Purge: Election Year
A good central conceit that as per for this series is undermined by being hamfisted & unpleasant throughout.

33. Inferno

Brainless, & the twists are loudly signposted jaw droppingly early, but Hanks & the other main cast are watchable enough, just.

32. Bleed For This
Stodgy and overlong with spectacularly badly directed boxing scenes but some top drawer performances, even from Miles Teller.

31. Nocturnal Animals
Expected this to just be arty & vacuous. The A story is, but the B story is much better. Michael Shannon excellent.

30. Suicide Squad 
Better than the reviews, but the 2nd half is a dogs dinner. Smith & Robbie great, Leto astonishingly awful.

29. The Legend of Tarzan
Way too slow to get going, but great performances from an impressive cast before the CGI heavy finale.

28. Jason Bourne
Tense & reasonably thrilling after a slow start but still not a patch on Bond, whatever Damon says. Potential for sequels.

27. Return of the Caped Crusaders.
Gloriously silly, affectionate, smart and with some superb in jokes. Fun, if totally disposable.

26. Finding Dory
Meh sequel that stays in its comfort zone, which admittedly is in the high quality vicinity of its predecessor.

25. The Magnificent Seven
Superb performances & more echoes of the original than at first glance, yet somehow less than the sum of its parts.

24. X-Men: Apocalypse
Unwieldy but decent X sequel with a likeable cast and strong characters. Plus a pointless Hugh Jackman cameo.

23. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Infuriating but nonetheless thrilling slogathon in which Snyder continues to get Superman fatally wrong but Affleck starts to get Batman right. Wonder Woman's Led Zep-esque theme tune a rare highlight.

22. Allied

An over-botoxed Brad Pitt just about keeps up with an on song Marion Cotillard, with super period costume & design. Cop out end.

21. Pete's Dragon
Pleasantly surprising "remake" that bears little resemblance to original & hence is vastly superior. Heart warming fare.

20. Swallows & Amazons
Charming & accomplished adaptation with a wisely embellished spy storyline & superb location work. Fun frolics.

19. War on Everyone
Darkly funny buddy cop movie that snuck under the radar; quirky & facetious & surprisingly good natured despite itself.

18. A Street Cat Named Bob
A star turn from Luke Treadaway & the army of cats playing Bob in an infectiously feelgood & timely story.

17. Anthropoid
Grim & uncompromising WW2 resistance flick that's a difficult but necessary watch. Unrelenting & tough. Dornan & Murphy top.

16. The Jungle Book
Far better than it had any right to be, helped enormously by some quality casting & the original songs.

15. Star Wars: Rogue One

Not *quite* as good as repute, but a muscular war movie that proves there's mileage in SW spinoffs. Much fanwank.

14. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
Fun, magical period thrillride that plays to strengths of the Harry Potter films without weakness of child leads.

13. Ghostbusters
Criminally dismissed by boors, this fun & funny FX heavy reboot sequel thing is owned by Kate McKinnon on an oddball roll.

12. Star Trek Beyond

Wisely gets franchise back on track by centring on much loved characters with plot almost secondary. Cast excellent.

11. Doctor Strange
Visually astounding & fresh feeling leap forward for the MCU with a spring in its step & panache in every turn.

10. The Shallows
Woman v Shark nerve shredder, great visuals, a strong central performance & unrelenting fear from a great monster.

9. A United Kingdom 
Superb battle-against-prejudice period piece from director Amma Asante with Oscar-worthy star turn from David Oyelowo.

8. Deadpool 
Deserved breakout hit of the year, extremely NSFW, very funny & genuinely by far the best of the releases on offer for couples on Valentine's Day.

7. The Girl With All the Gifts 
Thought provoking intelligent British zombie flick that breathed new life and depth into a very tired genre.

6. Kubo and the Two Strings
Superb stop-motion animation, quirky, multi-layered & sophisticated, unafraid to be scary, sad & beautiful.

5. Captain America: Civil War

The new high bar for superhero movies, smart & thematically rich, with new additions Black Panther & Spider-Man superb.

4. Moana 
Latest from Disney, comfortably surpasses both Frozen and Zootopia; visually stunning with a sharp script & sharper songs. Instant classic.

3. Deepwater Horizon
Heartstopping, scathing disaster movie; places you at the centre of breathtaking manmade destruction. Be prepared to cry angry tears.

2. The Infiltrator
A colossal tour de force from Brian Cranston on the other side of the war on drugs as a real life undercover CIA agent. Gripping, high quality stuff.

1. Arrival
Cerebral but emotionally profound sci-fi with a soul. Mind bending but personal. Amy Adams immense.

Coming Soon... Destiny of the Daleks

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