Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 Over

2016 eh? Bunch of stuff happened didn't it? Yes, that and there were some great movies released this year. There were a lot of shit ones too but then everything's a balance.

This year I chose to do twenty movies to demonstrate the good health of cinema but mainly due to the high form of stuff I caught at Frightfest clogging up the top ten, they showed some proper shit too but then there's that balance again.

The rural multiplex didn't fair so well with only three out of the top ten getting a showing over the road. It is no surprise that the rural multiplex showed some serious shit as well though, everything's a fucking balance.

Here's twenty films that if you haven't yet seen, find a moment and see them. Then there's ten you can comfortably avoid as well, they are poor as piss.

20 Favourite New Films That I Saw On A Cinema Screen

20: Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds finds the perfect role allowing him to ruthlessly quip to his hearts content whlst his overbearing smugness is thankfully hidden behind a mask. Further notched up the list by appearing at just the right time and skewering the po-faced seriousness that now drowns many superhero movies.

19: The Girl With All The Gifts
An excellent book, trimmed down to the barest character motivations to communicate a brand new angle on zombie infestation. Not just a 28 Days Later clone but does take a lot of what makes that brilliant before romping off down it's own unique path.

18: Goodnight Mommy [Ich Seh Ich Seh]
An exercise in chilling Haneke style minimalism. The ending is too garish and clearly broadcast for it to truly stand next to such a master but echoes of his cold devastation can be found throughout which is why it's here.

17: The Ghoul
Sits so comfortably within the incredibly restrictive confines of its budget that you stop noticing the basic sets and instead focus on excellent acting and a moebius strip script that begins as police procedural, heads towards mental illness and finally ends somewhere most unexpected, most welcome and with a distinct whiff of Alan Moore's work about it.

16: Captain America: Civil War
Marvel change up a gear calling on their untouchable expertise with episodic story structure, swift and immediate character introductions (one panel with a funny quip in a comic book, one scene and a funny quip in a film, and they're in!) and regular moments of constantly inventive spectacle. Handles so much world building whilst ruthlessly clinging to its own story throughout, it's easily leaving any attempts to compete in the dust.

15: Nocturnal Animals
Packed to the brim with existential angst, nasty relationship fallout and grim emotional catharsis. But mainly makes it here because Michael Shannon's delivery of the line 'fuck off' is the best I've seen all year.

14: Midnight Special
Shannon once again on fine form as an intensely unhappy man shepherding a glowing faced boy toward awe filled conclusion. With added bonus of consistently excellent supporting cast.

13: The Nice Guys
Shane Black has now honed his only movie, a witty bickering duo caught in a maelstrom of dark action-comedy, to a near diamond level of perfection.

12: Free Fire
Ben Wheatley leaves behind disorientating editing and experimental abstraction for an exercise in pure form that zings with both insults and bullets, managing to maintain momenutum even when everybody's dragging themselves around the floor on their elbows.

11: Man Underground
Another low budget gem anchored by superb performances, this one dabbles in alien conspiracy, flawed human relationships and amateur film making.

10: Green Room
A tightly controlled siege movie with intermittent explosions of violence presided over by a quietly terrifying Patrick Stewart. Slowly shifts from generating stomach churning disgust to being hideously cathartic.

09: The Arrival
Less a film, more two hours of slow dawning realisation.

08: The Witch [The VVitch: A New England Folktale]
A fantastic journey into puritanical brutality and harrowing devil manifestation that would probably get this far on the talking goat alone.

07: Under The Shadow
Set against the Iran war of the eighties so plenty of room for political statement, though none of this ever gets in the way of the truly brilliant traditional ghost story at its core contrasting fictional chills with the very real horror of humanity's squabbles.

06: Hail, Caesar!
The Coens continuing to just calmly shit out masterpiece after masterpiece.

05: Found Footage 3D
Uses the 'rules aware' horror tropes of Scream to highlight the daftness ingrained in the Found Footage genre. Yet at the same time is also a perfectly executed Found Footage horror movie. All filmed in 3D. Which is as totally idiotic as it is totally brilliant. It's very brilliant.

04: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Star Wars movie full of darkness and moral ambiguity that everybody really wanted when Force Awakens was released turned out to be a really good film. Really fucking good in fact, though I'm glad Force Awakens wasn't this because now we have both.

03: The Neon Demon
Winding Refn responding to 'style over substance' accusations by sculpting a fantastic homage to substance free exploitation cinema from a huge solid chunks of pure style, demonstrating that the phrase 'style over substance' need not necessarily be shorthand for shit.

02: The Similars [Los Parecidos]
Sets its stall out early as Twilight Zone pastiche, then piles on the weird by constantly finding new inventive explanations for just what the fuck is going on. Frequently made me laugh just as hard as it freaked me out.

01: The Greasy Strangler
Endlessly quotable. Endlessly stomach turning. Endlessly perverse. Endlessly hilarious. Endlessly insane. Enlessly greasy. Endlessly brilliant.

10 Shittest Films That I Saw On A Cinema Screen

10: X-Men: Apocalypse
After making the one amazing X-Men movie we all knew Singer still had in him he went on to show it was the only amazing X-Men movie he still had in him with this insipid CGI particle spunkfest.

09: Suicide Squad
A hopeless muddle of characters doing very little other than expressing various attitudes and waiting for a plot point that will require their ability. 'There's water? Well I'm a fucking crocodile, let's try and actually do something!' Though this never happens for Captain Boomerang because who needs somebody whose best special ablity is not being able to act in a film?

08: Don't Breathe
Inconsistency and everybody being a wanker leaks all the tension away and then it ends with a turkey baster moment that's somehow worse than when Sunset Beach did it in the nineties.

07: The Conjuring 2
Crosses a fine line that seperates genuinely unexpected scares from laughable Where's Wally style ghost spotting. 'Where's it going to jump out from? Where is it? Oh. It was the dog. It was inside the dog? What the fuck am I watching.' etc.

06: Blair Witch
A textbook rendition of everything that is wrong with modern found footage movies. So many glitch-cut jump scares even the characters started complaining about it, people doing inexplicable things for the sake of maintaining a running camera (I almost had a hernia from laughing at the girl trying to get a drone out of a tree with a broken ankle) and forgetting what made it work so well in the first place by having a shabby old lady jogging about the last twenty minutes.

05: Without Name
Made it's lead character such an unlikeable prick, it made the entire film into unlikeable shit.

04: The Legend Of Tarzan
Shows absolute contemptible disregard for the source material, geography and basic physics.

03: Blood Feast [2016 Remake]
Remakes are unecessary at the best of times but remaking a legendarily bad film then packing it full of terrible lines, hopelessly inept acting and a woman in her late thirties playing a teenager isn't funny, it's bollocks.

02: Passengers
Tries to pass off a particularly nasty stalker tale as a love story in space, tainting everything that happens and making Chris Pratt an irredeemable prick no matter how many spaceships he fixes or fucking trees he plants.

01: Cell
An atrocity on every level from direction, script and special effects right the way through to what the fuck is everybody wearing? Cusack and Jackson visibly could not give a fuck about what's happening around them and it has three endings and the clever thing is they're all shit.

Thanks. Next!


  1. I don't get the dislike of Don't Breath. I really enjoyed it. Also Sunset Beach. Soft spot for gloopy turkey basters I guess.

  2. My 10s for 2016 - most of which I saw at either FrightFest or London Film Festival:


    10. Train To Busan
    09. Another Evil
    08. Beyond the Gates
    07. The Ghoul
    06. Raw
    05. Callback
    04. The Neon Demon
    03. Nocturnal Animals
    02. Man Underground
    01. The Wailing

    Honourable mentions to Hail Caesar, Free Fire, The Eyes of My Mother, Trespass Against Us, Chameleon, Sadako Vs Kayako, Fear Inc, Psycho-Pass - all worth watching.


    10. Cold Moon
    09. Playground
    08. Let Her Out
    07. The Void
    06. Yakuza Apocalypse
    05. Abattoir
    04. Cell
    03. Red Christmas
    02. Bed of the Dead
    01. Blood Feast

    Dishonorable mentions to Headshot, Broken, Without Name, Into the Forest, Realive, 31 - all worth avoiding.