Favourite Films of 2016

As a rule, on my previous blogs I have shied away from doing list posts, but here on the Balding Geek, that will change. Lists are great for loads of stuff.

So, for my first list, I want to try and let you know what my favourite films of last year were. There is a slightly self-serving motive behind this post. Whilst putting this list together I realised that my film watching last year comprised overwhelmingly of Superhero films. Whilst I think those films are great and serve a purpose, I feel that I am missing out on so much more with other genres of film. So, this post will serve as a basis for me looking back this time next year at what my favourite films were this year in the hope that I have diversified my viewing. OK enough of the blurb, let’s get on with it.

Having said the above, my top film from last year was a Horror/Suspense film

1.       The Witch – A New-England Folktale

This film is DARK; in every sense of the word. The subject matter is grim, the visual look of the film is overwhelmingly Natural and the overall production of the film is scarily accurate. The dialogue in the film is of the time. The story itself draws from actual reports from 17th century New England. The Witch is not a film to be taken lightly, you must give it your whole concentration, if you don’t you will get lost and the film will fall flat for you. The fact that the writer has made the dialogue olde worlde, you get dragged into the film and the horror of it all is amplified. It’s a brilliant concept that hasn’t really worked since the first Paranormal Activity film for me. If you have a chance and are willing to give a couple of hours to something that will tax your mind and shred your wits, then The Witch is for you.

2.       Deadpool

When people look back at the 2016s slate of Superhero films they are going to look at the perceived failure of the DC output and then they are going to look at Deadpool and wonder what the hell took Fox so long to greenlight this film. In hindsight, it was a no-brainer, it was a success before it was released. The pre-release hype machine that surrounded the film (AKA Ryan Reynolds Twitter feed) just made that film a surety to explode on release weekend. The hype aside and watching the film you realise that the botched attempt at introducing the character in the Wolverine Origin film was just a slip into the drink. I loved the whole of this film, from the sarcastic opening credits where no one is named and just given a stereotyped character description to the sly dig at there not being enough of a budget to have more than two minor X-Men characters in the film. Each part of this film took itself less and less seriously, except it was done with an absolute belief that however irreverent this seemed, it took so much work and determination to make it the best superhero movie of the year!

3.       Batman Vs Superman – Dawn of Justice.

I knew as soon as I heard that the studio had interfered in the editing of this film, that the reviews and internet crazies would be baying for someone’s blood over this film. I also knew (even before it was announced) that there would be an “alternative” cut on the DVD release. And lo – there was. The Ultimate Edition would be so much better and in hindsight, everyone would be claiming that the studio was wrong and should have had the longer version as the Theatrical Release. Blah blah blah! At just over three hours in length, the Ultimate Cut of the film was more interesting held up as a complete film and quite frankly made more damn sense. I just hope that someone somewhere is telling the studio to butt out and let the creative people in the world take care of the creative stuff, just give them a cheque and send them on their way! As for the film, it’s got Batman and it’s got Superman and has cameos from all the other Justice League heroes, I loved it and would have sat through another hour just to carry on geeking. I am at a stage where DC can do no wrong with their output (just as long as they don’t try to remake Superman 4 – The Quest for Peace – that turkey should have been shot for Christmas and then burnt at the stake).

4.       Suicide Squad

After supposed critical bashing that Batman Vs Superman received and the overwhelming success of Deadpool people were jumping up and down with anticipation for Suicide Squad. From the start of production, it had been one of the most reported films of last year. Every aspect of the film that was released to the public was scrutinised within an inch of its life. From Jerad Leto’s Tattoos to Margot Robbie’s death-defying bootie shorts, everything was under the microscope. Then when it was announced that the film had been sent back for reshoots, everyone thought that a turkey had escaped the Christmas turkey farm. Pretty much every film has reshoots of some kind, this one was no different. The only thing was, the reshoots were announced after the release of Deadpool and it was assumed that the film was being retooled to be more ‘Pool-like.

In the end, the film was a fun romp that has stood up to multiple watches since its release. The humour of the film is totally different from Deadpool. In the same way that DC and Marvel’s paper output are significantly different in style, the Cinematic Universes should be considered opposites too. The Darker tone of the DC Cinematic Universe opposed to the brighter, more “whizz bang” Marvel Universe. For me, the differences are warmly welcomed; to have something to get your teeth into rather than the popcorn kernels that are mandated with Marvel, makes for a whole different level of experience.

5.       The Young Messiah

This is the surprise film of the year for me. I saw a brief trailer for it on TV just before Christmas and was intrigued by Sean Bean playing a Roman Centurion. I was curious as to how Bean was to die in this film; I joked with my family that I had to watch it.

As a side fact, I really enjoy Bible films and TV series. I may not believe in any particular faith, but the stories from the holy books are some of the longest lasting and most captivating stories ever to be written; and when they are produced well, then I will take the time to watch the film.

The Young Messiah is a tale of what happens to Jesus from Birth to his appearance as a Prophet and what situations surrounding his growing up and finding his heritage. This is one of the parts of the story of Jesus that has always been missing for me. I have often pondered what happened to that kid. Whilst this film doesn’t offer the whole story, it does give you a solid jumping off point.
Just to spoil one little point of the film that did make me smile… Sean Bean made it to the credits alive!!!

Finally, the also-rans from my list:

Ghostbusters – The all-female remake. A great addition to the franchise and I have no idea where the hate came from for this film. Chris Hemsworth was hilarious too.

Warcraft – Not being a World of Warcraft player, all I was expecting was a Middle Earth bash em up. Warcraft is so much more and I just hope that Duncan Jones gets to expand on the universe he set up so well.

The Conjuring 2 – A scary “fictional” retelling of the Enfield Poltergeist story. A brilliant follow-up to the first instalment if you aren’t looking for a faithful retelling of what actually happened.

Captain America – Civil War – Briefly, this should have been an Avengers movie. The fact that every Avenger bar Thor and Hulk appeared plus a few new peeps (YAY Spiderman) – it didn’t feel like a Cap film, the tension between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, made for a better story that a Captain America solo film. Mixed feelings over this, it was a good action film, but it was seriously misplaced in the Marvel Universe in my opinion.

That is my overblown rundown of the films that stood out for me last year. If anything stood out for you last year that I might have missed, drop a note in the comments; I am always game for something new.

Thanks for geeking with me!

Let me know what you think