Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher

Films released in 2016: A Final Word

Closing the books on 2016

The Academy Awards marks the official end to the 2016 year in film.  It's time for me to concentrate on the movies released in 2017 and a year that will culminate in the 2018 Academy Awards.  Before I do that, though, I have to take one final look in the rearview mirror.  

When I list my top movies of the year, I don't have an arbitrary number in mind, and I am only recommending them to the extent that your tastes and mine coincide.  My list is comprised of films that combine art, story, and entertainment, and it is highly personal.  With the exception of Arrival (a truly exceptional film), I have not included films from several of my favorite genres--science fiction, fantasy, superhero, and animated--because their primary concerns are escapism and sheer entertainment, not great art; they are aimed at box office numbers, not Oscars.  Also, my list doesn't reflect an agenda,  it isn't influenced by the opinions of the critical mass of critics.*

The Very Best can't miss films, in order of my preference:
La La Land 
Hidden Figures
Hell or High Water 
Hacksaw Ridge
Manchester by the Sea 

The Best of the Rest, again in order of preference:
Hail, Caesar!  
Eye in the Sky 
Love and Friendship 
Captain Fantastic 

* Disclaimer: 
I see 40-45 movies a year.  My record for catching foreign films and documentaries hovers somewhere between embarrassing and abysmal.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Science Fiction and Fantasy:
Star Trek Beyond - if you aren't a Trekkie, you may rate this lower, but it's still terrific entertainment
Passengers - audiences defy critical hatchet job to the tune of $300 million WW; audiences are smart
Rogue One - vastly superior to The Force Awakens; still, it is Guns of Navarone goes to the stars 
Midnight Special - father protects son with special powers from religious cult and government
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - doesn't rise to Potter standard, but still most welcome 

Captain America: Civil War - good humor and exciting, despite too many heroes
Doctor Strange - mystical tale, outright laughs, and Inception-like effects recommend it
Deadpool - raunchy, rousing antihero; not for kiddies
X-Men: Apocalypse - fitting transition from Fassbender/Lawrence/McAvoy to younger X-Men

Kubo and the Two Strings - more for adults than kids, visually gorgeous metaphorical folklore
Zootopia - entertaining plea for understanding; DMV scene is worth price of admission
Moana - Polynesian princess is cursed, but her movie surely isn't
Finding Dory - Sequel enjoyed by everyone but Oscar
The Jungle Book - classic story, star-filled and well-made remake.


Café Society - yes, it's typical Woody Allen, but that alone makes it better than most
The Girl on the Train - suffered from high expectations, Emily Blunt is award-worthy
Inferno - scenic, intriguing Dan Brown film was doomed by critics before it was released
Ghostbusters 2016 - critics kowtowed to misogynistic fanboys--one of many bad moments for them
Collateral Beauty - unapologetically sympathetic musing on life and love sunk by critical torpedoes

Disappointments (I refuse to use the term "overrated"--trolls have rendered it meaningless):
Jason Bourne - A great trilogy taken one step too far, none of the intrigue of the first three
The Lobster - the Ionescu-like absurdity, the intentionally flat-tone never took focus
Nocturnal Animals - plot-within-a-plot, neither satisfies; terrific performances wasted
Sully - Tom Hanks inhabits heroic role/story, but Eastwood's melodramatics create ham
A Bigger Splash - remake of French film was most notable for Ralph-Fiennes full-frontal     


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