2016 is finally over and it is time to give the Men vs. Movies fans my favorite movies of the year from January 1st to December 31st. 2016 was an unordinary year filled with incredibly disappointing blockbusters and some outstanding independent films.
This list for me is going to be a little different than some of my fellow Reviewers. This is because the year 2016 was an incredibly busy year for me, through school, work, and preparing for my future, I was unable to see many of the films that are on other peoples lists. But that just means that this will probably be an "Everyman's List," meaning that it may be relatable to those who haven't seen all of the Oscar contenders of this year.
Having said that, this is my personal list out of the movies that I have indeed seen this year in the standard 10 movie countdown format!
10. The Jungle Book (April 4th, 2016)
The Jungle Book, Directed by Jon Favreau was a visually stunning masterpiece. It captured the spirit of the Disney animated film while integrating some of the original story by Rudyard Kipling. Neel Sethi, the young boy who played Mowgli, had an incredibly difficult task acting towards completely animated animals and I could only tell that he was using his sole imagination a couple of times. Knowing that he was doing the best he could at such a young age with very few visual cues around was one of the reasons that this movie stood out to me and really showed that this young man cub has a great future ahead of him. The music throughout this movie was memorable and recognizable from the Disney classic and is at times arguably better. This movie will be one to put on at any time of the year and will be instantly enjoyable with high rewatchability.
9. Kubo and the Two Strings (August 19th, 2016)
Kubo and theTwo Strings is one of the most inspirational stories of the year. I am not usually a fan of stop motion but this film was by far one of the best stop motion films I've seen and one of the most seamless ones at that. The soundtrack of this film kept the film moving at a very brisk yet rewarding pace and used imagery and visuals in ways that I would have expected from a Pixar film. If Laika keeps up the work they are doing they are going to be looking at some potential Oscar contenders for Best Animated Picture. I cannot wait to see what else comes out of Laika studios and I hope that Kubo gets the credit and recognition that it deserves this upcoming February.
8. Doctor Strange (October 20th, 2016)
Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, was one of Marvel's most daring origin stories to date. With such interesting source material and finally delving into the magic of the Marvel Universe this was an incredibly daunting task to accomplish and they did so beautifully. Although I did have some gripes with the filmmaking of this movie (the pacing specifically was way too rushed), the pure enjoyment and utter awe outweighed this and made way for this movie to make it onto my top ten list of 2016. The visuals and 3D in this movie were bold and created something that was original and never before seen on the big screen (or outside of the comic book realm for that matter). The music in this movie, by Michael Giacchino mirrored the feel of the film excellently and created a fun atmosphere for this movie to take place in. Doctor Strange is a fun and energetic Marvel Movie that will go down as one of the best Marvel origin films, although it is not the best Marvel movie.
7. Pete's Dragon (August 12th, 2016)
Pete's Dragon was an inspiring coming of age story that dealt with the struggles of growing up and how being a imagination is one of the most important attributes that a child could have. This movie used colors in a spectacular fashion to symbolize many different emotions that the story was trying to convey, similar to how Pan's Labyrinth used them. This movie struck a special nerve for me because I used to watch the 1977 Disney version and was a special nod to my childhood. This film was a beautiful reconstruction of that version and was just different enough that it wasn't an exact remake either creating all new emotions throughout the movie. These Disney live action remakes just keep getting better and better and I could not be happier.
6. Star Trek Beyond (July 21st, 2016)
Star Trek Beyond was one of the biggest blockbuster surprises of the summer. The trailer campaign severely disappointed me throughout it's buildup to the release date and I never thought that I would enjoy this film. Having said that, this was my favorite new or old Star Trek movie to date. I am not even a Star Trek fan (Star Wars fanboy here), but this movie captivated me and was a fun ride from beginning to end surprising me scene after scene. The music was consistent with the other movies (a trait that is severely lacking in franchises these days) and the enjoyable blend of new action packed scenes and old, witty, and smart banter between the cast, this movie was dare I say the perfect Star Trek Motion Picture. Whenever someone asks to watch Star Trek or I feel like watching Kirk and the gain on the bridge of the Enterprise this is the film that I will be scrambling toward, for the foreseeable future.
5. Sing Street (April 15th, 2016)
Sing Street is probably the only movie on this list that you have never heard of and that's a shame, because everyone should logon to your Netflix account and checkout this movie immediately. Sing Street is an interesting story of a young Dublin Rock n' Roll band in the 80's. The movie perfectly encapsulates what I believe 80's Dublin would feel like and was unique in multiple ways because it was not only a musical comedy but it is also an incredible coming of age story that deals with deeper family issues, regarding divorce, brotherly support, and romance. This independent film consists of instant musical classics such as "Drive it Like You Stole It" and is comparable to the other 80's Dublin musical movie The Commitments. This film is gritty and is one of the most real feeling films that I have seen this year and would recommend this feature to anyone taking the time to read this Top Ten List.
4. Captain America Civil War (May 6th, 2016)
When I saw this film I did not think that it was going to be number four on this list I actually thought that it was going to be number two or one. But upon deep contemplation I had to place this lower than I had originally had anticipated. Captain America Civil War is probably one of the best executed Marvel Comics adaptation and was a huge testament to the Russo Brother's creative intellect. They had the cast, characters, story, and spectacle all on point and this movie was an incredibly emotional ride. I cannot wait to see how the repercussions of this movie trickle throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe and change the way that we view our heroes for either the better or the worse.
3. The Nice Guys (May 20th, 2016)
The Nice Guys is the most underrated gem of the year in my opinion. This movie had me belly laughing from start to finish and has one of the highest rewatchability in a movie that I have seen in a very long time, it just never gets old. Ryan Gosling is an incredible comedic standout in this film and Shane Black did an excellent job redeeming himself from Iron Man 3 (although I did enjoy that film). I highly recommend this film for many reasons but one of the most important is just the way that they captured the 70's feel with the camera work, colors, costumes, music, and much much more. Check out the Nice Guys the next time you go to the Redbox or just buy it on Blu Ray right now, IT'S THAT GOOD!
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16th, 2016)
Star Wars has taken a huge step forward with this being the first of a group of anthology films that are going to be coming out in the coming years as filler movies in between the Saga Films until they are officially concluded with Episode 9, however, the genius of these anthology films is that they never have to end. We could have Star Wars every year for the foreseeable future and that is something that I could not be any happier about, especially if these anthology films are as good as this one. I personally thought that Rogue One was one of the best Star WARS movies to ever be made ranking it in the top three of my all time favorite Star Wars movies. This movie was a gritty war movie that kept you on the edge of your seat for the entirety of the film. Now even though the pacing was slow at first and the soundtrack could have been better, this was an outstanding test run for what is to come and my utter enjoyment for Star Wars lore and movies skyrocketed this movie to one of the top two spots in my top ten list for this year and I highly recommend anyone to see this movie, Star Wars fans or not.
1. La La Land (December 25th, 2016)
La La Land is one of the most magical and inspirational movies that I have seen in a very long time. It stole the spotlight from Star Wars from me and I did not think that that could be done. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have incredible chemistry in this impeccable homage to classic Hollywood and the Fred Astaire days of classic cinema. I can not praise this movie enough whether it be the music, costumes, acting, or cinematography this movie had it all and even though it was a musical it will be one of those musicals that will be watched over and over by me and by millions of other movie fans for years to come. I am proud to give the spot of Number One to La La Land and I hope that it sweeps the Oscars this upcoming February.