Let's take a look back. 2016 was a great year for film and gave us some masterclass cinema, along with groundbreaking achievements. Here's my top 15 picks for that year.
Noble Mentions: Sully, Love & Friendship, Moana, Hidden Figures, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Finding Dory, 10 Cloverfield Lane and Hacksaw Ridge.
An Arnold Recommendation (Great Film):
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#15 A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls is a gloomy and magical cinematic experience. Director J.A. Bayona's engrossing, dark tale is a feast for the viewer's eyes. Plus, an exceptional voice from Liam Neeson adds structure to the emotional core of the film.
Kubo and the Two Strings is a grand achievement in the stop-motion industry. Bold, stylish and inspirational; Kubo and his group of companions will have you cheering from the first frame until the last.
It's been a fantastic year for stop-motion and My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de courgette) helps add emotional depth to the genre. This sober story isn't afraid to explore dark themes of the sadness in life. Each plastic character is a raw depiction of laughter, sorrow, and joy. This Zucchini is a testament to the resilience of the human heart.
#12 The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is marvelous as it is engrossing; this rare remake is a feast for the eyes of all ages. The newest Disney masterwork has finally arrived. It's a wonder for the ages.
Director Martin Scorsese's decades-long quest has finally arrived. Silence is a confident, thought-provoking film about spiritual tributes. Scorsese's ambiguity towards the Christian faith helps give the audience a bold journey that, in the end, is full of rich rewards.
Arrival is a work of art for modern day science fiction. The film is just has awe-inspiring as past science fiction films, such as Metropolis, Star Wars or even Alien. It's sophistication in writing and drama took me by complete surprise.
Jackie is like portraits of glamorous trauma seeping through the paint. Jackie will visually and symphonically haunt you by the end of its cut throat montage. Natalie Portman gives the role of the lifetime as she fully transforms herself into the First Lady in red. It's a stunning and refreshing depiction from a woman's prospective.
Zootopia is furry perfection. Beautifully animated and brilliantly well-rounded; Zootopia shares an important message on stereotypes and prejudice. It’s the best animated film of 2016. Hands down.
A modern western masterpiece. Hell or High Water shows us the virtues of old-fashioned filmmaking throughout, giving us full-embodied characters to actually care about in this solidly crafted film.
Lion is a beautifully told, uplifting story of family, courage and determination. A journey that will transcend through your heart and breath life. It showcases some of the very best from 2016.
#5 Sing Street
Director John Carney returns to his musical roots fueling the audience with '80s pop vibes. Sing Street will slap a smile on your face while singing its heart out, it’s one of the best films of 2016.
"Tell the judge I love my wife." Astonishing from beginning until end, Loving is a well-crafted historical drama that pays homage to Richard and Mildred Loving. The film's sensible approach in storytelling blossoms its relevance in today's world.
Delivering one of the most real dramas of 2016 filled with full-bodied characters, Manchester by the Sea will destroy your heart and soul.
Seen through the eyes of one man’s story, Moonlight welds together a beautifully crafted character study of lives too rarely seen in the spotlight. The reason why Moonlight won Best Picture is because it is the best film of 2016.
#1 La La Land
A technicolor musical treasure! La La Land is, hands down, the tap-dancing movie of the year. La La Land will sweep you off your feet with its music, dance numbers, performances, direction and vivid beauty. It's sheer perfection as it refuels a dying genre. It's my favorite film of 2016.