My list is all about the movies that wowed me. Would I want to see a film again, if I could? Did I look at my watch, when I first saw it?
There were fewer movies on the long list than there were in previous years. Unexpected and guilty pleasures get special mentions.
I have delayed posting this but I won’t get to see “Moonlight”, “Manchester By The Sea” or “La La Land” in time to consider them, as the UK release dates are later this month. North American friends have loved those and I look forward to seeing them, very soon.
1) Queen of Katwe: It’s a wonderful African story of hope and faith. Yes, there is a Christian message and it’s a Disney movie. I have seen it three times and can hardly wait to see it again.
2) American Honey: Andrea Arnold’s astonishing and perceptive story sums up the disconnected feelings of young adults. It made me ache, with the memories it evoked. Sasha Lane is a superb actress and the whole ensemble is terrific. It’s not for those who can’t handle swearing.
3) A United Kingdom: You may already know the real story. It’s still incredibly well done and very moving.
4) Train To Busan: It’s a horror/zombie tale, but it’s engrossing. Yes, there are subtitles but I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next. And I am not normally a fan of this genre.
5) Ghostbusters: I loved it. I didn’t love the original movies as much as I love this. I laughed a lot and I fail to understand the criticism of this, by others.
6) Creed: This had a heart that went way beyond the rest of the Rocky franchise. I don’t like violence, but the boxing makes sense and the performances are excellent. (2015 but released in the UK in 2016).
7) Trolls: It made me smile, sing along and dance. It will lift your spirits.
8) Spotlight: With incredibly difficult subject material – historic child abuse – this combines journalism and recent history in an engrossing way. (2015 but released in the UK in 2016).
9) Arrival: Amy Adams is extraordinary. Denis Villeneuve is a genius. And it’s great to see so many Montreal settings. It asks important questions about what it is to be human and to communicate.
10) Julieta: It has the most beautiful opening scene of the year and it is moving and gorgeous. My female friends liked this a lot more than my male friends did.
You should probably skip “Julieta” and “Arrival” if you are dealing with bereavement, on any level.
I also loved “Kubo and the Two Strings”, “When Marnie Was There”, “Zootopia/Zootropolis” (why the silly change of name for Europe?), “Eddie The Eagle” and “The Secret Life Of Pets”.
My guilty pleasure is the foul-mouthed animation called “Sausage Party”. I have been unable to have a hot dog since.
It’s been an extraordinary year for animated tales.
A big thank you to all at Stratford East Picturehouse.
2017 – bring on more movies. Thank you, dear readers, for continuing to read, comment and subscribe. 2016 was a very bad year, for me. You, the readers and watching films, kept my sanity.