Tina’s Top Ten Movies of 2016
In no particular order, here are my top 10 movies of what I watched in 2016.
John Wick (2014)
‘Oh, is this Keanu’s comeback’ enquired my Son upon me rewatching John Wick a few days ago. Has Keanu ever really been away? I don’t think so, Google his film output and you’ll see he’s worked solidly in some good films despite making a few clangers. What actor has had a totally glowing career?
Here stands John Wick, happily married assassin, who having left his old life behind, is dragged back into the dark recesses of crime once more when someone (Alfie Allen) steals his car and kills his puppy; a gift from his recently deceased wife. What ensues is a rollicking non-stop barrage of action where Keanu deftly not only kicks ass, but makes you care about his character. They killed his puppy for fucks sake! They deserve to die. I see a LOT of action films (past and present) so it has to be a little special to hold my attention (unless I’m inebriated) and this film definitely had me on the edge of my seat. Without a doubt the best action film of the year.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
You sort of expect a bit of a ‘wackyish’ film from Taika Waititi after Eagle Vs Shark and the amazing (if you haven’t seen it buy it now) What We Do in the Shadows. But no, there is no wackiness, because this is one of those Australian films, you know what I mean… one of those heartwarming, good-story, well-acted movies that come from Oz that you know from the first minute, you’re in for a treat. Ricky Baker, unwanted by his mum is taken to live with Bella and Hec on a farm. Sam Neill is a grumpy Hec (you know that won’t last long) and Rima Te Wiata is filled with palpable longing as Aunty Bella. She sings a song to Ricky on his birthday and as soon as it starts… yep, you know it’s a winner. I guarantee you’ll have a massive grin on your face whenever you think of this movie. Oh and I’m really looking forward to Taika’s take on Thor in 2017. He will no doubt put some LOLZ in it.
Sing Street (2016)
You might see the ads/poster and the title for this and think ‘Nahhh, not for me’. You’re wrong.
Set in the mid-80’s a young lad starts a new school and band because he fancies this girl. Oh and his family are crumbling around him. Same old story you may think, seen it ALL before, but no, you haven’t. Because this has such a bounce in its step, whether or not you like 80’s music I defy anyone to keep still during the soundtrack of ‘DuranDurany’ type songs the band play. The cast are so likeable, you really do care about the characters, it’s funny and has a huge heart and it’s far from boring. Possibly my film of the year. Watch and have a massive smile on your mush.
The Witch (2015)
Many essays will be written about this film. Lots of deep thought and gender politics will be discussed, and of course this IS a movie that is open to many interpretations and ideas of sexuality, religion, history, gender, magic… Ohhh… did I just say… magic? Burn the Witch!
The tale of a hardcore Puritan family – so rigid in their following of the bible that they cast themselves out of their village, and how they survive, or rather… don’t survive.
This is a fever dream of a film.
I have heard complaints of the first promise of witchcraft not being followed through, but this is an insidious film, with dark whispers and desire, which to me is far more horrific than having a witch slapped in front of me. Beautiful to see, terrific acting and a story for all young girls to be afraid of. A REAL fairytale, scary and oppressive.
What can I say that you don’t already know? It’s violent. It’s funny. Ryan Reynolds FINALLY found his niche…HOORAY! A great popcorn film that treated us like grown-ups, has a heart and best of all, a happy ending (probably in a sex way as well as a happy way). Hope they don’t fuck up Deadpool 2.
The Dressmaker (2015)
Now here’s a little Australian film I’d imagine not that many people have watched, and certainly not a lot of men. The poster and trailer shows us Kate Winslet returning home to the outback after ‘doing something bad’ years ago and leaving town. This is actually rather like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Muriel’s Wedding in a ‘she fucked up, then made it all okay again’ way. And of course it’s VERY Australian (but that’s a good thing). Now I don’t go for sloppy shitty romantic girl films, and this IS quite romantic (the ‘hunk’ being Liam Hemsworth) but it’s much more than that. This might make you laugh but it does actually remind me of John Ford’s The Searchers! So if your Mr/Mrs fancies it one night, give it a go, it’s a cracking little indie film.
I admit I’m in 2 minds about including this as I liked it very much on seeing it at the cinema, but now some weeks later, I think I need a re-watch. But I’ll stand with my initial gut reaction and say that this is a film of life, human life and hope. It’s tender in its state, and reaches out to caress you as you watch it. I do think it’s a bit of a hard watch too, as it did make me feel quite emotional (though I do cry at the cinema quite easily. Watching Rogue One today I started to sniff when that music started). This is a film I’ll either come to love or feel that it has no longevity and may even be… self-indulgent. Gut feeling right now is, it’s a winner!
The Revenant (2015)
Great story, good acting (mumble mumble… Tom Hardy… hey it was cold maybe his lips were stuck together), harsh conditions and most of all… the spectacle of it all. You freeze with them, the light, the sound; this is a consuming film where I felt I was experiencing everything these men were going through. The pain and anguish, injury. It was like a marathon torture. So yeah, I enjoyed it.
Eye in the Sky (2015)
Another film that may have flown under a lot of radars.
Drone warfare – the fact that someone in another country can kill you via this is what this extremely tense thriller is about. I was literally squeaking with anguish through this film. It’s definitely one of those films that when it finishes, you finally relax. You’ll never be so filled with anguish over selling bread as in this movie.
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016)
Peewee Herman, oh how long you have made me smile like a loon. He’s marmite, love him or hate him (Dave hates him), and I love him…pure love. All human experience, life, pain, longing and love is in this film from Netflix. Do you want to sit back, relax, and watch something with the kids? Forget Star Wars; bring Peewee into your life.
These almost made it onto the list: –
Love and Friendship (2016), Elvis and Nixon (2016), Embrace of the Serpent (2015), Hell or High Water (2016), Zootopia (2016).
Article by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With).