Sunday, January 01, 2017

My Favorite Top Ten Films of 2016

How do I choose my favorite films? It’s quite simple. They are the ones I want to watch over and over again! And so, behold my top ten favorites of 2016 listed below.

LA LA LAND. “City of Stars, are you shining just for me?” Ryan Gosling sings in a scene from this glorious modern musical. And now I ask -- in my out-of-tune voice -- “La La Land, were you made just for me?” Maybe not, but you make me feel like the answer is “YES.”            

HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS. Sally Field gives the best performance of her career in this wonderful film about a lonely woman who misinterprets a young colleague’s friendly behavior as something else indeed. “Doris” takes us on an emotional roller coaster – and I loved every minute of it.   

TROLLS. After seeing Trolls, I kept smiling for a very long time. Everything about this animated movie musical delighted me, but especially the song and dance numbers. The look of the film also charmed me completely. Plus, lots of color, cute characters, and zippy action helps move the simple plot along.

THE JUNGLE BOOK. Wow! The look of this creative film adaptation of Kipling’s classic simply bowled me over. And the human voices of the animals sounded perfect for each animal character.  

HIDDEN FIGURES. Why didn’t we already know about these fabulous African-American women who helped with the space race? To me, this is the most important film of 2016. It also boasts terrific acting by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Kevin Costner.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. Disturbing? Yes, very! But the cinematography and splendid acting by Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson overshadows this thriller’s upsetting and sometimes confusing plot.  

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS. Awesome stop-motion animation and wonderful storytelling are keys to the success of this outstanding film. Words alone cannot express its profound beauty. You just have to see it!     

20TH CENTURY WOMEN. This wonderful character-driven offering about a single mother and her son boasts first-rate acting by a very strong cast. Annette Bening brings her drama/comedy “A game” to the lead role, and she’s ably supported by Lucas Jade Zumann, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, and Billy Crudup.  

FORSAKEN. This fabulous Western tells the tale of a depressed ex-gunslinger trying to make peace with his father, a minister disappointed with the violent path his son chose after the Civil War. These key roles are played to perfection by Kiefer Sutherland and his real-life father, Donald Sutherland. Because of its intriguing emphasis on this strained relationship, Forsaken ends up being a compelling drama as well as Western gold.     

DE PALMA. What a treat to hear Brian De Palma talk about his philosophy of filmmaking and to see clips from some of his memorable films like The Untouchables!   

Honorable Mention (in no particular order): A Monster Calls, Finding Altamira, Me Before You, One Last Tango, The Wave, Dancer, The Hunt for Wilderpeople, Captain Fantastic, The Salesman, The Handmaiden

Dishonorable Mention: Sausage Party – what were they thinking? 

Have a very Happy New Year, movie fans!



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