Another year has passed, and since I remember people being interested last time, I have put together a fresh list running down my top 10 films of 2016. Enjoy, and look out for my top 10 most anticipated films of 2017 list @starwarsnonsense (which is my Star Wars blog)!
Honourable mentions: Rogue One, Kubo and the Two Strings, When Marnie Was There and Love and Friendship.
One line review: An exquisitely understated and sweet portrait of the poetry of the mundane, elevated to the level of transcendence by a marvellously genuine and appealing performance from Adam Driver.
2. Nocturnal Animals
One line review: Not style over substance as some have claimed (though every frame is gorgeous), Nocturnal Animals is a deeply unsettling portrait of a seemingly immaculate life fractured by festering regrets.
One line review: My favourite of all the CG Disney animated movies, Moana is a wonderfully refreshing adventure that has relationships between women at its core.
One line review: A beautiful piece of cinematic sci-fi that is ultimately a celebration of linguistics and love - this underlines that 2016 is truly the year of Amy Adams.
5. Your Name
One line review: A Ghibli-shaped hole in my heart was filled by this movie, which features wondrously detailed animation and some of the most ingenious and rewarding plotting I’ve ever seen.
6. Midnight Special
One line review: I bought a ticket for Adam Driver but loved Midnight Special for Michael Shannon, who delivers a powerhouse performance as a father willing to go to any lengths to protect his terrifyingly powerful child.
One line review: A perky and remarkably imaginative animated movie with a central message that promotes tolerance and compassion without resorting to preachiness.
8. Tale of Tales
One line review: The year’s best looking movie (sorry, Nocturnal Animals!) and one of the best and most authentic presentations of fairy tales I’ve ever seen on the big screen.
9. The Witch
One line review: The year’s most unusual horror movie relies on historical authenticity and the gradual build of a creepy atmosphere as opposed to cheap thrills, and is a remarkable evocation of the paranoia and superstition of the earliest European settlers of America.
10. The Girl With All The Gifts
One line review: This movie basically means Hollywood shouldn’t bother with a film of The Last of Us, since there’s nothing left to accomplish - the killer premise of child zombies is exploited to the fullest extent here, and the weird, faintly surreal ending truly lingers.
If you already know me, you could probably guess that this would be on the list considering I never shut up about it.
This film flopped at the box office, but I’m honestly not sure why? It has absolutely gorgeous animation. Like, they could have gone with a palette of grays and blues like most scifi films do, but Treasure Planet actually has a large color palette, especially when it comes to the scenery. It shows off all the beautiful colors of space instead of making everything chrome against a dark backdrop. There are likable characters, including a an anti-hero, disabled pirate, a female Naval Captain that’s a total no-nonsense badass, and a sulky teenager. Arguably one of the darkest films Disney has done in the last twenty years. Disabled main character with only one eye, one arm, and one leg. Literally all of the character designs are gorgeous. The plot is a little boring at times, but it’s fairly easy to get lost in the world that’s been created.
Plus, we get visuals like this!
Brother Bear was another box office flop but this one also had rather negative reviews. The early 2000′s was not kind to Disney animation.
Yes, it does have a transformation plot, which I know is kind of iffy depending on the person, but overall it’s a great film. The music is amazing, bless Phil Collins signing onto another Disney project. The characters are great, I don’t think there were any I didn’t like except maybe the moose (because as an adult I don’t find them as funny as I did as a child, but I don’t really dislike them either). The relationship between the brothers was amazingly done. Usually when people want to talk about animated sibling relationships, they mention Lilo and Stitch, which is also great, but I really like how the brothers interact in Brother bear. They’re all closer in age (which is like my sister and me, so I can connect with it more), and I think that worked well when they added in the anger and grief and self-blame in the story.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
There’s not really much I can say about this one, because truthfully I’ve only seen it a handful of times. Something about it kind of freaked me out as a child (I think it was that giant leviathan creature that attacked their submarine thing????), and I only recently found my old VHS player and haven’t had the time to watch it again.
Atlantis has it all. A beautiful world. Well-rounded, interesting characters. A romance that didn’t feel ridiculously forced. The voice talents of Michael J. Fox, Cree Summer, and Leonard Nimoy. A balances of a more adult plotline, while still retaining a kid friendly atmosphere.
Unfortunately, it does lack some coherency in the plot, and because of it’s fast-paced nature, there isn’t a lot of time for character development. The creators also borrowed a lot of elements from the Ghibli film castle in the Sky, but ultimately it’s still a great film visually speaking.
(PS: it was hard to pick a screencap that shows how visually stunning this film is. So much blue.)
The Black Cauldron
Honestly, The Black Cauldron is one of my favorite Disney films, but I can recognize that it has a lot of problems story wise. As in, they tried to stick the contents of two full length novels into an 80 minute film. Yeah, it didn’t work. The characters are interesting, albeit under-developed, visually it’s very beautiful, and it has just the right amount of creepy to give 5 year old me nightmares as a child (the Horned King was a brilliant concept). The author of the book series the Chronicles of Prydain, which the film is based on, found the film enjoyable on its own, but admitted it didn’t follow the books well. It was also another box office flop, making $21.3 million in revenue, which was less than half of the budget to make the film. This is the film that Disney pretends they didn’t make and is frequently referred to as the “worst Disney film” however we all know that that right belongs to films like Home on the Range, Chicken Little, and Mars Needs Moms.
There is speculation that Disney has plans to make a live action series based on the original books, so fingers crossed!
It’s underrated, but I can kind of tell why. Everyone already knows the story of Robin Hood, because there’s at least ten different films and TV series about the guy. He’s been on OUaT, and there was a parody movie with Cary Elwes!
The animation is, decent, but not great, but the budged was only 5 million, so??? Meaning that a lot of the characters action were redrawn from previous films such as The Jungle Book and Aristocats. However, this was pretty common in old Disney films because the animators were paid for shit and it’s not plagiarism if you’re ripping off yourself. It is a little sloppy though.
Either way, it’s still a decent film. The songs were fun and had a delightfully folk sound to them, if you’re into that! The characters are pretty cute, the story is straight forward, and there’s not actually anything to really dislike about the film. It’s just a silly comedy that has it’s ups and downs.
I don’t even know what to say about this film other than it’s gorgeous and no one ever talks about it. Like, this is the first true Disney film that relies entirely on CGI. No Pixar involvement. Just Disney and CGI. This is the most successful film of 2000 and I’ve never heard people talk about it even though it has great characters, an interesting story, and great visuals.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
While I personally don’t believe Hunchback is all that underrated (I usually see it in just about every top 10 or 20 list), it’s still a great film that deserves more praise than it gets.
Hunchback is beautiful, inspiring, dark, has excellent morals, amazing characters amazing music.It’s basically the complete package of everything you could want in a Disney film and it’s enjoyable for all ages.
The only thing I didn’t like about this film was the gargoyles and it’s kind of implied that they’re more like imaginary friends instead of real creatures, so they get a pass.
This year I got to see so many great films at festivals all over the world, online and at our local theatres! I love weird horror and sci-fi genre films more than anything so Ive compiled a list of what I think are the top 10 most effectively scary, disturbing, suspenseful and/or spooky films I got to see this year!
Some are remakes, some are borderline documentary and others are directorial firsts but all I considered to be quite simply, awesome.
In no particular order…
EVIL DEAD - Fede Alvarez
I was very excited to see this remake and it did not disappoint. This film is a tour de force of awesome practical effects and although not everyone loved the storyline I thought it was a great re-imagining of the original.
V/H/S 2 - Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto, Adam Wingard.
What I love about the V/H/S films is the sampling of great horror material you get from so many awesome directors. Both the sequel and the original have made me go out and watch other feature films from nearly all the directors involved. Putting their talent together in an anthology series like V/H/S was something refreshing I think the genre needed and has opened the door for new filmmakers much like The ABC’s of Death. V/H/S 2 had its ups and downs, but delivered on the scares and originality of its content. If you haven’t already you need to see this film!
THE CONJURING - James Wan
As I’m writing this I’m sitting in front of the special features menu on The Conjuring Blu ray. I saw this film twice in theatres and after my first viewing immediately went home and researched the Perron family for hours on end. I loved this film. Ed and Lorraine Warren will always hold a special place in my heart and to see part of their story told so well on screen was awesome. The Conjuring, along with most of Wan’s films, gets my vote for best titles of the year!
MANIAC - Franck Khalfoun
I have been following of Elijah Woods foray into horror since the emergence of Spectrevision and am loving everything that he has done so far! Some may think the first person camera style of the Maniac remake is a gimmick but I think it does nothing but heighten the experience of getting a view into this characters totally deranged life. I liked this film a lot more than I thought I would and the gore effects were especially gruesome!
YOU’RE NEXT - Adam Wingard
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. You’re Next totally blew me away and erased any negativity I ever felt towards the home invasion genre. It was brutal, funny, sick, suspenseful and the soundtrack had me on the edge of my seat. One second you felt like you were watching Home Alone and the next you were transported to some awesome 80’s slasher flick brought into 2013. I can’t say enough good things about this film. Adam Wingard is wonderful and I can’t wait to see The Guest!
BYZANTIUM - Neil Jordan
I had been waiting to see this film ever since I saw Antiviral at last year’s Atlantic Film Festival. I love Caleb Landry Jones and saw that he was in this one as well. With Byzantium Neil Jordan has brought another beautifully crafted vampire film to the screen. Interview With the Vampire is a favourite of mine and Ive seen more vampire films than I can count but this one certainly stands out as being something much more than typical. The tone and cinematography in the film was perfectly grey and moody and the female leads gave great performances. If you like vampires even a little please check out this film!
TOAD ROAD - Jason Banker
I was fortunate enough to be able to see Toad Road at a local genre film festival called Outlier in November. I didn’t know a lot about the film, only that the director had found a group of teens to spend time with and document and that footage was integrated into the film. Well, that and I can never resist a film about hell or the devil. The urban legend of the film really interested me and the more you watch the more you feel like you’re being pulled down along with the characters through toad road and this different state of mind. This one was definitely one of the weirder films I saw this year but also one of the best!
BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO - Peter Strickland
A film about Italian horror sound studio recordings?! Where do I sign up, was my first thought when I heard about this film. I was so excited for Berberian Sound Studio and I was so glad it didn’t disappoint. It had a touch of weirdness to it that made it extra memorable for me and of course, the sound in the film was killer. This one easily made it into my top 10 and if you haven’t been to see it yet you need to!
STOKER - Chan-wook Park
This was one of my highly anticipated releases of 2013. An american film from Chan-wook Park with a creepy storyline is my cup of tea. I found this film subtly eerie in ways that I don’t see a lot in the genre and loved the colouring and feel of the film. This was one of the few wide release genre films I really enjoyed this year and to see original content in a world of remakes was refreshing!
A FIELD IN ENGLAND - Ben Wheatley
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this was my favourite film of 2013. I had the opportunity to see this film at The Atlantic Film Festival this September and after the movie was over my friends thought I might even cry I was so visibly moved. I haven’t felt this way about a film in a long time and to know that there are filmmakers out there with the ambition and guts to bring something so strange and fearless to the screen is comforting. In beautiful black and white A Field in England was mystical, gritty, poetic and wonderfully psychedelic. Please watch this film.
All in all it was a great year for the genre, and 2014 already has me looking forward to a lot of new content from some favourite directors and some new ones as well! Honourable mentions that nearly made the top 10 this year are HERE COMES THE DEVIL, the shirt film, DECOPODA SHOCK, DOOMSDAYS, INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2, THE LORDS OF SALEM, MAMA, and of course HANSEL AND GRETEL WITCH HUNTERS. I hope anyone who takes the time to actually read this will see at least one film this year that might be a little on the strange side! <3 <3 <3
In light of the Studio’s not closing (and my boundless boredom) I made a top 10 list of their films in accordance to how I feel about them, so I’m only including ones that I’ve actually seen…and I haven’t seen some pretty important ones so there.
Ponyo! Everybody loves this movie because it’s ridiculously loveable, and I love it too! I just don’t think it’s that great. The thing I like most about this movie is the animation because I really love the way Hayao Miyazaki animates water. It’s just so damn cool! I really like the setting as well. It’s pretty standard Miyazaki fair, y'know it’s about the environment and stuff. But it’s very pretty and very fun!
9) My Neighbor Totoro
Another movie we all love! And only at number 9. Don’t get me wrong, this movie is great and iconic and is a great, safe way to introduce the concept of death and tragedy to young children, as I know many have. But, I just don’t think there’s that much here for an older audience. Which is fine, but yeah, it doesn’t do all that much for me. Most of the movie is the main characters going about their lives while occasionally running into Totoro. Which, for the record, is the best part. The animation on Totoro is great and you get a real sense of texture and weight. HE JUST LOOKS SO FUZZY.
8) Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind
Okay technically not a Ghibli movie but it has pretty much the exact same creative team so shut up. This movie is epic. I just really love the world here. Post apocalyptic but also really medieval but futuristic with a little steampunk thrown in, it’s great. And the creature animation is fantastic. For me, I don’t personally find it that engaging, but I think the word I would use to describe this movie is interesting. It’s just a really interesting movie. And I like it a lot.
7) Kiki’s Delivery Service
Okay, this movie is so important. I cannot think of a single better movie to show a kid who’s growing up. You know why? Because this movie teaches that feeling sad is okay. When’s the last time you saw that in a movie (it was probably in another Ghibli movie tbh)? Kiki is awesome, she’s determined and mature but is still a kid. And Jiji is just THE BEST SIDE CHARACTER, it’s a really pleasant movie. It’s a good one to watch when your down. I love this movie. It’s great.
6) From up on Poppy Hill
I like this movie for a lot of the same reasons I like Kiki’s Delivery Service. It’s a really quiet, comforting movie. The film takes place just before the Tokyo Olympics, Japan is still recovering from World War II and everyone is ready to throw out the old and bring in the new. So when a historic clubhouse at Umi’s private school is going to be torn down, our heroes band together to stop it. The movie is really simple and straightforward and noticeably devoid of supernatural elements, but it really gives you a sense of place. You really get a feel for what Japan was like in the early 60s. And the movie has a very pretty Japanese pop soundtrack that’s really nice, and there’s a really intimate romance (that’s imo the best one in all of Ghibli). Love it.
5) The Wind Rises
This film is a masterpiece (AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEAT OUT FROZEN FOR BEST ANIMATED PICTURE BUT THAT’S ANOTHER STORY). This is Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie, for real this time. And boy does it show. By telling the tale of a real life genius aviator who is forced to use his creations for evil, Miyazaki ultimately shows us creativity is fleeting. That you can only be a genius for so long, commenting on his own career in the process. Miyazaki felt like he just didn’t have much more creativity left in him. Whether or not he was right, we’ll never know. But at least we know why he retired. It’s kind of like The Tempest of Miyazaki films, and it’s amazing.
4) Princess Mononoke
Oh yeah. Now we’re getting down to it. This movie is epic. In fact, this movie so epic, it gives Lord of the Rings a run for its money. I mean DAMN this movie is huge. Our heroes travel over vast mountains and fields and engage in huge, epic battles, which by the way, are so brutal that the violence is never glorified. It’s definitely the most violent animated film I’ve seen, and the creature animation is GLORIOUS, and Ancient Japan is just as great a setting as you’d expect it to be. So good.
3) Porco Rosso
God I love this movie. Miyazaki knew exactly what kind of film he wanted to make, and boy did he make it. In it we have Porco, our Humphrey Bogart-esque loner who’s best friend is his plane, and he’s being hunted down by Bounty Hunters and the newly Fascist Italian Government. And he’s a pig. For some reason (well it’s probably a metaphor). And did I mention that this takes place in an alternate history on the Mediterranean Coast after WWI where fighter pilots use militarized sea planes to fight? Oh yeah. There’s that. This movie has great character development, a host of entertaining side characters, and it’s actually really funny, and has some great action scenes. It’s criminally underrated and I enjoy it immensely. Go watch it.
2) Howl’s Moving Castle
I’m a sucker for a few things, and a few of those things happen to be French things, Steampunk things, and WWI history. AND HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE HAS ALL OF THAT in one way or another, so it’s no surprise that I like this movie. A lot. I also really like Sophie’s character arch. For those of you who don’t know, Sophie has never believed that she’s beautiful, and is cursed to be old, but the curse deteriorates the more confident she gets. It’s just really empowering and amazing.
1) Spirited Away
(Okay I know original right) but SERIOUSLY this movie is insane I don’t even know where to begin. The movie starts of with Chihiro in the process of moving, and she’s terrified, and then she gets trapped in the spirit world and her parents are cursed. From there on, this movie, is unbelievable. One thing I love about this movie is that Chihiro gets scared. She gets so scared. But she keeps going. It teaches kids it’s okay to be scared. And I just love that this movie feels so lonely. Which might sound like a weird way to describe a movie but I think it fits. The scene on the train (gifed above) is maybe my favorite scene ever in a movie. You just get this feeling. Like you’ve been there. Like you’ve sat there quietly in a scary situation having no idea what’s coming next. It’s almost indescribable but it really speaks to me. And I just keep coming back to loneliness. I feel like every character here is afraid and lonely (except for a few). It’s just so different, and I find that oddly comforting. Because we feel lonely all the time don’t we? But media never seems to show that! We have our character and their group of friends. But here, we have our character, and a few outcasts, who I can’t say are friends. They’re just sort of brought together by their common alienation. And when Chihrio returns home, she’s not afraid of moving anymore. And if that’s not comforting as fuck, then I don’t know what is.
WatchMojo just published a list of "top 10 underrated martial arts films" and 13 Assassins is on there, which is overrated to me, but Rurouni Kenshin is not, which i feel is underrated. Not that you should watch WatchMojo but idk I needed to send my complaint to a fellow martial arts person
I don’t think “13 Assassins” is under or overrated. I think it’s appropriately enjoyed. It IS an excellent film though.
“Rurouni Kenshin” is definitely underrated though. Western audiences have hardly seen it, which is a shame since it features some of the best sword work ever committed to film.
I can’t believe that 2016 has already reached an end! This year has absolutely flown by, but it was an amazing year for cinema. This is a list of my top 10 favorite films of the year, and it was really hard to just narrow it down to 10, but I did so with some honorable mentions.
It’s important to note that these films aren’t ranked based on the grade I gave them. These are just my personal favorite films ranked based on my opinion and how much I love them. Also, I have not yet seen Paterson or Silence because they haven’t opened in the Southeast yet. Without further ado, let’s get started with my Top 10 Favorite Films of 2016!!
10. The Neon Demon: I know not everyone loved this film, but Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest effort really took my breath away. I think Refn said so much about vanity and beauty in our society through brilliant visual storytelling, and I liked it more with repeat viewings.
9. Green Room: Jeremy Saulnier delivered a brutal and heart-pounding cat and mouse thriller that kept me coming back for more. After I saw this film the first time, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve seen it 5 times, and could easily watch it some more. It is beautifully violent and incredibly well directed.
8. Nocturnal Animals: Tom Ford brought us his best film to date in a really impressive visual tale that connects three narratives wonderfully and takes you on a gritty journey with amazing performances that make it hard for you not to be sucked in with your eyes glued to the screen.
7. Captain Fantastic: Viggo Mortensen is back and delivers one of his best performances to date in this touching and moving film about family that offers up some wonderful insights on our society. The script is sweet and funny, and the performances are touching.
6. Manchester by the Sea:This film was so realistic and the dialogue was so masterfully crafted, that I felt like I was just peering in on the lives of these people. Casey Affleck delivers one of the best performances of the decade in a film that deserves to be seen.
5. Hacksaw Ridge:Mel Gibson is back and better than ever! This film is absolutely stunning. It really sits and builds this hero without pushing any kind of agenda whatsoever. The hero is built up so that when we got to the war sequence, my jaw was on the floor and my eyes were full of tears. This is the most brutal war film since Saving Private Ryan, but it isn’t glorifying violence in any way. It is placing these events in front of your eyes without holding back, so you can appreciate true heroism.
4. Arrival: Denis Villeneuve continues to prove he’s one of the best directors working because he just gets better and better at honing his craft. Arrival is a gorgeous film that examines communication and human connection in a slow burn and methodical film that rewards you more so than I expected. Villeneuve continues to blow me away with each film he makes.
3. The Nice Guys: This is, by far, the funniest film of the year, and one of the funniest in quite a few years. The chemistry between Gosling and Crowe is pure cinema magic and Shane Black’s script is genuinely perfect. Black has provided an amazing movie for true fans of cinema to soak up. Please go support this movie because it underperformed, and that is such bullshit because The Nice Guys is phenomenal.
2. Hell or High Water: This movie blew me away. I adore this film. I bought the blu ray, and I’ve watched it over and over again, and I just love it more each time. I actually think this is the best screenplay of the year, powered by great direction and Oscar worthy performances across the board. The cinematography is also gorgeous, bringing this world to life in one of my favorite films I’ve seen in many years.
1. La La Land: I was a huge fan of Whiplash, but I think Damien Chazelle outdid himself here. La La Land is the best directed film of the year, hands down, and is a love letter to people with passion, ambition, and who want to follow their dreams. Gosling and Stone have chemistry that comes along maybe once every couple of decades in cinema and the film builds upon them masterfully. The script is amazing, the songs are tremendous, and the directing is flawless. This is truly one of my new favorite films, and it actually got better on the second viewing! There was no doubt in my mind that La La Land was my favorite film of 2016 because it is a true cinematic masterpiece.
There you have it! Those are my 10 favorite films of 2016! Thank you so much to all of you who have read our reviews here at Home Planet Reviews for yet another year. It really means a lot to us that people care about what we have to say because we just love movies. We started this page just for fun and because we love talking about cinema, and we get to do that here. So, to anyone that reads our reviews, thank you. We look forward to doing it again in 2017!
My love affair with cinema started early, but it escalated into full-blown obsession by the time I was a teenager. It was during those years that I began immersing myself in the legendary films of the 1970s, Hollywood’s last true Golden Age of Film. It was easy to get lost in the decade’s output because once I’d seen a few of the films, I was hooked. My education in film spanned many decades but the 1970s (whose influence was still felt strongly in early 1980s films) were the primary source for me. Films like Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Dog Day Afternoon, Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The French Connection, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, All the President’s Men, A Clockwork Orange, Alien, Halloween, The Shining, The Deer Hunter, and so many more were crucial to my development as a cinephile.
Robert De Niro starred in several of the films on that list. He and Al Pacino were like twin acting gods to me then. Their performances were not only great, but in a naturalistic, ‘method’ style. There were few signs that they were even performances at all; instead their acting always seemed completely organic. They so inhabited their characters that the line between actor and character was blurred to the point that it barely existed at all anymore. Over the years, Pacino rose slightly above De Niro in my personal pantheon, based mostly on his added layer of sensitivity, expressed, most beautifully, through his big, soulful eyes. But it cannot be denied that for a stretch of my life, I related all too well to both De Niro’s and Pacino’s portrayals of conflicted misfits, residing just outside the margins, from De Niro’s electrifying Johnny Boy in Mean Streets to Pacino’s deeply moving lead performance in Serpico.
Most critics and fans believe both actors have lost a certain edge over the last several decades. Age and complacency may of course play a part. Of the two, De Niro especially has slid into a series of performances that are little more than tired caricatures of his screen persona. That’s fine, everyone ages, everyone loses a step or two or ten. Pacino’s avoided it to a degree because his sensitive artiste vibe ages well. Instead of discussing what De Niro’s lost though, I prefer to remember that for the entirety of the 1970s, much of the 1980s, and for a period in the 1990s, he was one of the world’s best actors. He commanded the screen as a young Vito Corleone in Godfather II; he offered one of the most searing portrayals on film of how loneliness and despair can lead to horrific violence, as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver; as Rupert Pupkin in the criminally underrated masterpiece The King of Comedy he masterfully toed the line between disturbing and heartbreaking; and in Midnight Run he showed one of the first signs that his particular gifts could be deployed in service of comedy. In fact, he’s never made a comedy as thoughtful and as smart as Midnight Run again, and it still stands as one of his best performances, in a career overflowing with excellence. It’s also worth noting De Niro’s return to form in this year’s The Wizard of Lies, costarring the equally magnificent Michelle Pfeiffer. As Bernie Madoff, a man so closed off and emotionally stunted that it’s almost painful to watch, De Niro crafts an exquisitely nuanced performance, proving that in the right film and the right role, he’s still got it.
So today, on Robert De Niro’s birthday, let’s celebrate the abundance of moments and performances he’s left behind on celluloid for us and for future generations to discover and cherish. Listing my personal top ten De Niro performances is an enormous, anxiety producing task, but one I’ll attempt here in honor of the man on his birthday. There are plenty of picks here you would expect, plus a few dark horse roles for which I’ve always had a particular fondness.
And here’s my list of the most anticipated films of 2017! There are loads of really exciting films coming out this year, and while my most anticipated film is a no-brainer I hope you find the rest of the list interesting.
Honourable mentions: The Handmaiden, Okja, Mute, Beauty and the Beast, Manchester by the Sea, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Moonlight, Wonder Woman, Kong: Skull Island, Baby Driver, Split, The Book of Henry and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
n.b. I’m in the UK, so several of the films I include here have already has a release in the US. We’re always playing catch-up!
1. Star Wars Episode VIII
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher
Plot: Having taken her first steps into a larger world, Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.
Why be excited? I could just write ‘because it’s Star Wars’, but since I believe in putting effort into these things I’ll try to be somewhat more articulate. I really adored The Force Awakens, and it filled me with a sense of wonder and joy I hadn’t experienced in the cinema for a long, long time. I loved the new characters it introduced (particularly Rey, Kylo and Finn) even more than the stalwarts of old, so the promise of seeing their stories continued in the next episode is thrilling in the extreme. I also happen to be a huge admirer of Rian Johnson’s work (I particularly love The Brothers Bloom), so I’m incredibly excited to see Rian’s “weird thing” (imo, the weirder the better!)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Issey Ogata, Tadanobu Asano
Plot: The young Portuguese Jesuit Sebastião Rodrigues is sent to Japan to succor the local Church and investigate reports that his mentor, a Jesuit priest in Japan named Ferreira, based on Cristóvão Ferreira, has committed apostasy.
Why be excited? I’ve long admired Scorsese and shamelessly stan his editor Thelma Schoonmaker, so am thrilled to see them collaborating on a film that tackles such an obscure and fascinating period of history. The cast is top flight, and the magnificent trailer does a fantastic job of evoking the tension of the scenario. Silence is also Scorsese’s passion project (he’s been trying to get it made since the 1980s), and suffice to say I happen to find passion positively infectious.
3. La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons
Plot: The story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts.
Why be excited?Whiplash hit me like a ton of bricks when I caught it on blu-ray last year, and it easily has one of the best endings of any film I’ve ever scene. The quality of Chazelle’s previous offering alone would have been enough to get me hyped for this, but it’s also a musical that honours the golden age of Hollywood. That, combined with the stellar reviews, makes this unmissable for me.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Harris, Brian Gleeson
Plot: Mother concerns a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence
Why be excited? This will be Aronofsky’s first film since the batshit crazy biblical film that is Noah, and I’m fascinated to find out what the hell Mother even is (seriously - we know much more about Episode VIII than we know about this). All I know is that I will follow Aronofsky’s career for as long as he continues to make movies.
5. The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones
A Cold War-era fairytale about a mute woman who falls for an amphibious man.
Why be excited? Much like Mother, we know very little about The Shape of Water. I’m very excited for this film for the same reason that I’m excited for Mother - I love del Toro’s work, from The Devil’s Backbone right through to Crimson Peak. Del Toro is fantastic at melding fantasy with real-world struggles (see: The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth), so I’m extremely intrigued to see him returning to a theme that he’s handled with aplomb before. The delightfully surreal synopsis only compounds my excitement.
Kubo and the Two Strings has to be the best movie I had ever seen this year, hands down! The animation was amazing and the plot was outstanding! I absolutely love the characters, especially Kubo himself. The movie made me cry, laugh, and cry some more. It was great! The story was so heartwarming and very creative. Kubo is now on my top 5 favorite animated films list. 11 out of 10! I highly recommend you guys to watch the movie. You won’t be disappointed.