The Films That Stood Out to Me in 2016

So 2016 has been a mixed year in terms of films; the summer blockbuster season was… well a bust, and there have been a lot of films that haven’t fully hit the mark (for me). But, there have also been some real treasures – some films that have been absolutely exceptional; ones that I didn’t see coming. Now of course this is all about the films that for me, just couldn’t escape my head. The ones that burrowed themselves into my memory banks, set up shop, and politely – or sometimes quite forcefully – told me that they planned on being there for the long-haul. This was something I was completely okay with.

I suppose I should lay what you can expect from this piece, as I’m not intending for it to be the usual ‘Top 10’ lists that you’re going to be seeing around this time of year. What I want to do with this is not necessarily focus on what might be considered the absolute best-of-the best from 2016; the films that were perfect in their every effort and deserve to be recognised as the next masterpieces. This is more about me shining a light on some films that, for one reason or another (those reasons will be laid out in detail when I talk about each film) just had an effect on me, made it so that they stuck around and kept me thinking about them. The films are in no particular order, but my favourite film of 2016 will be in there somewhere. But don’t worry, you’ll know when that comes up.

I also want to point out that this list only contains films released in the UK in 2016. So films like, La La Land, Midnight, Manchester by the Sea, etc. films which everyone is singing the praises of, will not be contenders for this list. I want to keep it contained to only films released in UK cinemas in 2016. That way I can give everything a fair shot from this year.

So yeah, that’s what I intend to do with this piece. You’ll definitely recognise a lot of these films, and many other people will assuredly be talking about them, but I’m also hoping there will be 1-or-2 that slipped under your radar, and reading about them here gives you that little nudge to go watch them. So without further-a-due, let’s get into the films that stood out to me, and made their presence known, in 2016. Read more

Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards, offers one of the most different feeling Star Wars films to date. This is a film of tragedy, dire situations and the unbending want for revenge, and with such a darker tone comes people and places that are unique in their presentation (for a Star Wars film). However a film of this scale is of course not without its problems (some which are very noticeable). But then I did find so much to be interested by, and I also continue to adore the level of work and detail that is going into these new films… but… is what the film does, enough to make it worth existing? Did we need Rogue One? Let’s get the full review underway and answer not only those questions, but better explore all of the films elements. Read more

Review – The Birth of a Nation

the-birth-of-a-nation

The Birth of a Nation, directed, written and starring, Nate Parker, is a film that struggles to concisely tell its story. Too often does the film give little glimpses of story elements, only for it to then move on and begin to focus on another. This lack of time means that a lot of the elements in the film feel underserved, and lacking in meaningful depth. So though the film has a powerful story at its core, there is a clear lack of time or development for any of it. But let’s get to the full review, and see just how, The Birth of a Nation shapes up. Read more

Review – Snowden

snowden

Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone, offers a comprehensive and expansive look at Edward Snowden. The film is extremely intentional in its focus, and also very detailed in its offerings. While it is perhaps a little long in the tooth, it certainly can’t be said that the film doesn’t share as much of the story as it possibly can. I foresee this film dividing audiences – because of its approach – and so getting into the film and reviewing it, is something I’m eager to do. So let’s get to it. Read more

Review – Desierto

desierto

Desierto, directed by Jonás Cuarón, is a simple film; one that is efficient and unencumbered by a variety of things. Now with that, does of course come some positives and some negatives: primarily that while you have a film that is easy to understand and follow along with, you don’t get a film with a lot of depth. I knew the end goal, and I knew the path that was going to be taken, but was it enough to keep me interested in, Desierto? Well let’s find out through this review, shall we? Read more

Review – Sully: Miracle on the Hudson

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Sully: Miracle on the Hudson, directed by Clint Eastwood, is a structurally unconventional film – something I’m not opposed too. However, in the context of this film, it felt distracting and messy. I never felt like I got a clear, coherent idea of the primary characters in the film, and despite some solid performances, I was left struggling to connect myself to a film that lacked some genuine humanity. So I should probably get this review underway, as I certainly have some things to say. Read more

Review – A United Kingdom

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A United Kingdom, directed by Amma Asante, offers a compelling story, one that I’m interested to go forth and learn more about. The problem is, the film puts such a fixed-focus on that story, that it fails to adequately explore the heart of the film; it’s main characters, who are deserving of as much time and focus, as the story was. Due to the film not balancing its two most integral elements, there is a lack of humanity; to what is the truest human story: love. But let’s get the review underway, and see if, A United Kingdom does enough to keep you invested in what is has to show. Read more