Sunday, 1 January 2017

January 2017 - Top Films of 2016, Jan 2017 releases: Assassin's Creed, La La Land, Trainspotting 2, Sing, Underworld 5, and Hacksaw Ridge

Hi Everyone,

Every year a number of actors and actresses (and musicians etc.) are taken from us. Yet, it seems that 2016 was particularly harsh to us, in that we lost the likes of Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Anton Yelchin, etc. etc. and (only a few days ago) Zsa Zsa Gabor, Andrew Sachs, Alan Thicke, Liz Smith, Watership Down author Richard Adams, Rick Parfitt, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds. What is going on!!! I won't dwell on this matter any further here, but I bet there won't be a dry eye in the house when the Oscars run their annual “In Memoriam” segment during the fast approaching ceremony on 26th February 2017.    

 Silhouette of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia (artist unknown)

But, of course, there was much to celebrate in 2016 as well. I speak of the movies!!! I was hoping to present my top ten favourite films of the year on this blog page; but I couldn't whittle them down to ten – and therefore shall be shamelessly cheating and listing (in alphabetical order) my favourite 45 films of 2016. However, I have been able to split them into Gold, Silver, and Bronze lists (15 films in each).

But, first of all, are the favourite movies of the film reviewers I admire and follow. It should be noted, however, that - of these – only Mark Kermode is British. By contrast, the American lists that follow contain films that haven't even opened in the UK yet.
Mark's list (as does my own) draws from all the movies that got a UK theatrical release between 1st January and 31st December 2016. (It therefore contains a number of films up for contention at last year's BAFTAs and Academy Awards ceremonies).

Here are the top ten best movies of 2016 according to film critic Mark Kermode:-

1. Under the Shadow
2. Notes on Blindness
3. Embrace of the Serpent
4. Son of Saul
5. 13th
6. Room
7. Julieta
8. I, Daniel Blake
9. Your Name
10. A United Kingdom and Things To Come (Tie)

The best 2016 films of US YouTube film reviewer Jeremy Jahns:-

1. Arrival
2. Captain America: Civil War
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Deepwater Horizon
5. Deadpool
6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
7. Patriots Day
8. Kubo and the Two Strings
9. The Edge of Seventeen
10. Moana

The best 2016 films of US YouTube film reviewer Chris Stuckmann:-

1. The Nice Guys
2. La La Land
3. Silence
4. Your Name
5. Deadpool
6. Moonlight
7. Hacksaw Ridge
8. Captain America: Civil War
9. The Boy and the Beast
10. Manchester By the Sea
11. Zootopia (aka Zootropolis)
12. Paterson
13. Arrival
14. Swiss Army Man
15. The Witch

Honourable mentions: Hell or High Water, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Sing Street, Kubo and the Two Strings, Fences, and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

The top ten 2016 films of US YouTube reviewer Grace Randolph (of Beyond the Trailer)

1. Eddie the Eagle
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
3. The Accountant
4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
5. Sing
6. Doctor Strange
7. Hidden Figures
8. The Jungle Book
9. Hacksaw Ridge
10. Captain America: Civil War

The best 2016 films of US YouTube reviewers Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis - of Schmoes Know. Where they differ, the two's selections will be labelled (KH) and (ME). 
1. Arrival (KH) and La La Land (ME)
2. Hell or High Water (KH) and Sing Street (ME)
3. Sing Street (KH) and A Monster Calls (ME)
4. La La Land (KH) and Hell or High Water (ME)
5. Nocturnal Animals (KH) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (ME)
6. The Nice Guys (KH) and The Edge of Seventeen (ME)
7. Captain America: Civil War (KH) and Nocturnal Animals (ME)
8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (KH) and Moonlight (ME)
9. Moana (KH) and Silence (ME)
10. Patriots Day (KH) and The Witch (ME)

Their honourable mentions include: Hacksaw Ridge, The Accountant, Kubo and the Two Strings, Deepwater Horizon, Deadpool, The Jungle Book, Eddie the Eagle, 13th, Weiner, The Founder, Lights Out, Zootopia, Don't Breathe, Midnight Special, and Manchester By the Sea.

So, finally, here is my own list of favourite films of 2016. As I said above, I really can't whittle them down to a top ten (or even a top twenty) – I like too many of the films for that. 
As usual with such lists; please bear in mind the following. I haven't seen everything that came out (having missed, for example, The Light Between Oceans, Your Name, Sully, and Deadpool). Also, a number of films that are being highly regarded haven't even come out in Britain yet. These include: Moonlight, Silence, Hidden Figures, Fences, Manchester By the Sea, and La La Land. Furthermore, this is a very personal list of my favourites. It is not necessary an objective list of films that should be considered absolutely “the best”. These are my favourite movies of 2016 – the ones I enjoyed the most, and in most cases look forward to seeing again and again.

(The films in each section are presented in alphabetical order – because I wimped out of finalizing a definitive order.)

GOLD (The 15 movies that make up my top favourites of 2016)

1. Brooklyn*
2. Carol*
3. Deepwater Horizon
4. Doctor Strange
5. Eye in the Sky
6. Hell or High Water
7. I, Daniel Blake
8. Kubo and the Two Strings
9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
10. Room
11. Star Wars: The Force Awakens*
12. The Jungle Book
13. The Legend of Tarzan
14. The Man Who Knew Infinity
15. Trumbo

*Included because I personally saw it in 2016 (though it opened towards the end of 2015).

SILVER (More favourites – ones that didn't quite make the first list)

1. 10 Cloverfield Lane
2. Arrival
3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
4. Captain America: Civil War
5. Florence Foster Jenkins
6. Hail, Caesar!
7. Me Before You
8. Midnight Special
9. Morgan
10. Queen of Katwe
11. Spotlight
12. The BFG
13. The Free State of Jones
14. Warcraft: The Beginning
15. Zootropolis (aka Zootopia)

BRONZE (The 15 films that represent my “honourable mentions” of 2016)

1. A United Kingdom
2. Bastille Day
3. Don't Breathe
4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
5. Green Room
6. Huntsman: Winter's War
7. Joy
8. Our Kind of Traitor
9. Storks
10. The Accountant
11. The Brand New Testament
12. The Conjuring 2
13. The Infiltrator
14. The Nice Guys
15. X-Men: Apocalypse

I really enjoyed watching the above forty-five movies, and – if you haven't seen them yet - they are all worth checking out either on TV, DVD, or via streaming.

Now we turn our attention to this month's new releases. Perhaps the highest profile movies coming out in January 2017 in the UK are (in no particular order) Assassin's Creed, T2: Trainspotting, La La Land, Underworld: Blood Wars, Sing, and Hacksaw Ridge. Here is a picture from each movie to whet your appetite:-

Assassin's Creed © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

T2: Trainspotting © 2016 CTMG, INC. All Rights Reserved.

La La Land © 2016 Lionsgate Entertainment. Image by Dale Robinette. All Rights Reserved.

Underworld: Blood Wars © 2016 Sony Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Sing © 2016 Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Hacksaw Ridge © 2016 Lionsgate Entertainment. Picture Credit: Andrew Garfield. All Rights Reserved.

Here's a to a playlist of the major movie trailers for this month:-

And here's a comprehensive run down of the January 2017 new releases:-

The major films are A Monster Calls, Assassin's Creed, Denial, Hacksaw Ridge, Jackie, La La Land, Lion, Live By Night, Manchester By the Sea, Sing, Silence, Split, T2: Trainspotting, The Bye Bye Man, Underworld: Blood Wars, and XXX3: The Return of Xander Cage.

Limited or “key cities” releases include Cameraperson, Christine, Danny Says: The Life and Times of Danny Fields, Endless Poetry, Guardian, iBoy, Irreplacable, Meri Pyaari Bindu, The White King, The Young Offenders, and Zero Days.

In addition to the above are three classic movies being showcased theatrically, and these are Ghost in the Shell (1995), Goodfellas (1990), and Trainspotting (1996) - the latter film probably being for one day only (17th January 2017).

Not included in the magazine are this month's “Event Cinema” special screenings and the like. This, however, is what's happening in January 2017:-

  • 6th January 2017 – Nabucco – Met Opera 2017 (By Experience) 
  • 6th January 2017 – Tempest – RSC Live 2017 (Picturehouse Entertainment)

  • 15th January 2017 – Romeo and Juliet - Live at the Teatro Alla Scala (Soda Pictures)

  • 20th January 2017Romeo et Juliette – Met Opera 2017 (By Experience)
  • 20th January 2017 – Sleeping Beauty – The Bolshoi Ballet 2017 (Picturehouse 

  • 27th January 2017 – Il Trovatore – Royal Opera, London 2016/17 (Royal Opera House)
Here is the link to my latest newsletter (which is a download of approximately 30MB):-

A hope you all had a Merry Christmas (or whatever festival you may have celebrated) and wish you a happy and prosperous new year. And, if you're going to the cinema in the next few weeks, I hope you have a great trip. Happy viewing!

Here are trailers for most of the above mentioned films:-

A Monster Calls

Assassin's Creed



Danny Says: The Life and Times of Danny Fields


Endless Poetry

Ghost in the Shell (1996)

Goodfellas (1990)

Hacksaw Ridge




Live By Night

Manchester By the Sea

Meri Pyaari Bindu




T2: Trainspotting

The Bye Bye Man

The White King

The Young Offenders

Trainspotting (1996)

Underworld: Blood Wars

XXX3: The Return of Xander Cage

Zero Days