The Best of Cinema 2016

Of the 44 theatrical releases I saw from 2016, these are my ten favorites:


10. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

While the characters could earn more investment, it succeeds on a level of scale and spectacle, communicating genuine stakes to a known narrative outcome.


9. Silence


Martin Scorsese has wrestled with the fundamental questions behind religion for his entire career, and his exploration arrives at its apex here, as intense imagery combats difficult words of faith and denial.


8. Arrival


As Denis Villeneuve’s mastery of cinematic language grows, it’s befitting that a film about language contains some of his most sensitive work to date, topped with an elegantly subtle twist.


7. Moonlight


One young man’s crisis of identity is exquisitely expressed in beats both muscular and delicate, with a bold structure and deeply felt performances, confidently realized by Barry Jenkins.


6. Swiss Army Man


With a concept as bizarre as a suicidal young man befriending a talking, flatulent corpse, it’s a miracle this film got made at all, but this disarming buddy comedy confronts our insecurities and celebrates what makes us all weird.


5. Weiner


No arena in America offers individuals a chance to fall harder than in politics, and thus this documentary provides a front row seat to such a painfully uproarious collapse, an honest look at one man’s penchant for his own self destruction.


4. Everybody Wants Some!!


Richard Linklater uses the starting points of juvenile masculinity and the dynamics of male bonding to penetrate the ideas of carving out self and collective identities, resulting in a college film equally raucous and quietly insightful.


3. La La Land


By alternately respecting and defying the conventions of classic Hollywood musicals, Damien Chazelle brings his talented eye and ear to a beloved cinematic genre, and reinvigorates it with technical athleticism and a dream central duo.


2. Jackie


National and personal tragedy made manifest by exacting craftsmanship from all departments, as Pablo Larrain brings the viewer into the shattered yet resilient mind of Jackie Kennedy, but of course, it’s Natalie Portman’s astounding emotional fragility that owns every last frame.


1. Knight of Cups


The City of Angels as it never has been captured before, with Terrence Malick’s kaleidoscopic, hallucinatory, and ravishing imagery, all in the service of one man’s never ending quest to rediscover himself, amongst the women in his life, the palm trees, and an industry threatening to consume him.


Honorable Mentions: Cafe SocietyHell or High WaterThe Light Between OceansThe Lobster, Neruda

Overrated: Deadpool

Underrated: The BFG


~ by romancinema on December 16, 2016.

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