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Top 10 Favourite Films of 2016

Hey, hey, hey ladies and gents, how’s it going? So 2016 is almost over and most of the major film releases have come and gone and while tis year has been a bit on the disappointing side when it comes to some of the major blockbuster films and the summer in particular, there has still been some really cool films that’s dropped this year and I’m here to give you my top 10. Now before we begin know that this is my opinion so don’t get on my case if your films aren’t on my list, okay? Cool, let’s get going

Honorable mentions:

  • The Nice Guys
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Moana
  • The Accountant
  • Don’t Breathe
  • The Edge of Seventeen
  • Arrival
  • Hunt For the Wilderpeople

10. Green Room

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Original review available here

This is a recent entry in my list as I saw it last week and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, I mean I’d heard a lot of good things about this film over the course of this year but when watching it was just super engaged and captivated by the chaos, violence, darkness and the characters. I’m not a fan of horror films at all, but this film had me from beginning to end and I think I liked it more because I went in blind with little information on the story, the performances were all really solid especially from Patrick Stewart,Β Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots and the late Anton Yelchin.

9. Hell or High Water

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Original review available here

This film was such a nice surprise, it was one of the few films that was hyped up during the early reviews that lived up to the hype. This film was engaging, dramatic and featured incredible performances from Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine especially. I wish more people had seen this film, I recall it being pretty intriguing in the beginning, but it just got better and better and by the end I was loving it.

8. Zootopia

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Original review available here

Zootopia was a film I had next to no expectations for, the trailers looked interesting enough but I thought this would just an okay to decent Disney film, and yet it ended up being one Disney’s best films in recent times. This film was fun and colourful little adventure, and yet it did get pretty dramatic, emotional and had a lot of interesting themes and issues that relate to the world we live in today. I loved the characters, animation, soundtrack and the pop culture references, and just the fact that was humour for kids and adults was just want I wanted.

7. Doctor Strange

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Original review available here

I really like this film, one of the best aspects was the fact that it was another origin story that was familiar yet unique with its mythology, locations, characters and mystical/supernatural powers and locations. The film had an interesting interpretation of magic, really cool and vivid visual effects, crazy and creative action sequences, a lovely film score and really solid cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

6. Jungle Book

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Original review available here

Jungle Book was another one of the best surprises of 2016, I thought the film would be decent, but ti was so much better than I expected and I enjoyed it more than the original in a lot of ways. What I loved about this film was its ability to take the foundation of the orignal cartoon but find ways to modernise it with some updated story and character elements, and by expanding upon a few elements, it made for a more interesting experience with more depth and darkness. The voice cast were great especially Idris Elba as Shere Khan and those visual effects were INSANE, so damn impressive and probably the most realistic talking animals ever produced in film.

5. Midnight Special

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Original review available here

I was really annoyed I missed this in the cinema because when I watched it in the summer I enjoyed it so much and it jumped into my top ten immediately. I love sci-fi films and love films with mystery and suspense, and this film had that. I really liked the story and characters just wanted to know how everything would play out, and throughout the film’s engaging and making you question the end game. And while the ending has led some to either love or hate the film, I thought the ending was solid and fascinating, oh and the performances were all really good especially from Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton.

4. Rogue One: A Star War Story

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Original review available here

This film has a lot of elements that I would consider to be favourite of the year material, but there are a few minor issues that prevent it from being in my top three. Rogue One presents a side of the Star Wars universe that we’ve not yet seen in live-action, mainly the darker, grittier and realistic side of things. While we know of the tale of how rebels stole the Death Star plans, but we never saw the specifics, and this film told that story in an interesting way which expanded the mythology of SW, showed more the war-like events that take place in this universe and had great ties to the all of the SW films and TV shows. With really impressive visual effects, cool characters, awesome action sequences and one of the most exciting third acts of any film ever, Rogue One ended up being a really good session considering all that the reshoot hullabaloo.

3. Kubo and the Two Strings

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Original review available here

Ah Kubo, I really wish more people had seen this film. Laika is a studio that I had a great deal of respect for and ever since Coraline they’ve been delivering new and interesting content in their films in terms of the stories, characters and especially with the animation and this film I think might be their best to date. I saw this film opening day and then again around a month later and still really enjoyed it, besides the gorgeous art direction and animation, the film had a great sense of atmosphere, adventure, playfulness, drama and emotion, with great characters and a story which felt familiar yet had really important themes and mythology thanks to the Japanese setting.

2. Captain America: Civil War

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Original review available here

What can I can about this film that hasn’t been said already? Civil War was a damn good time in the cinema and in a lot of ways set a benchmark for not only superhero films and mainstream blockbuster films to follow, and I think a fair amount of people agreed that there wasn’t many, if any films that was able to match the quality that this film provided. Now sure the villain wasn’t the best, there were some convenient plot elements and if you weren’t up to date with the MCU films then you wouldn’t be able to fully invest in the story, but the pros of this film outweigh the cons by miles. This film was dramatic and hilarious, introduced Black Panther in fabulous way and reintroduced the world to Spider-Man, had some incredible action sequences and delivered great fan service for comic book fans. This was easily one of my favourite experiences in the cinema. πŸ˜€

1. Sing Street

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Original review available here

While I loved Civil War, I think Sing Street just edges it out for being an original film that came out of nowhere as one of the best feel-good films I’ve seen in a while. I had heard a lot of talk online on Collider Movie Talk and Schmoes Know Show about this film so I checked it out in September and was really surprised with how heartfelt, beautiful and fun the film was with its story, characters and soundtrack. It had the right balance of realism and fantastical elements. Oh and can I just mention that soundtrack again, all of the 1980’s choices of songs were great, but its the orignal songs that will make you want to buy the soundtrack, the sounds of “Up” and “Drive It Like You Stole It” are my favourites. πŸ™‚

So that’s my top 10, hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to drop me a comment below, tell me you like my choices or tell me I’m totally wrong, I don’t care. πŸ˜› Anyway thanks for reading and I’ll see ya with new film reviews in 2017! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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LATE QUICK REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for another review I should have reviewed a while ago, I am of course talking about the latest Laika film; Kubo and the Two Strings. Annoyingly I saw this film opening day but didn’t have time to do the review because I had to go to a pre-wedding party and then the actual wedding in Leicester, and after a while work caught up with me and my fresh thought were lost. So I didn’t want to review this film without having seen it a second time, and so that’s why this review’s a month late. 😦 But with that out of the way I’m now ready to pass judgement!

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So the story can be described as the following:

“The film tells the story about Kubo, who has magical powers and whose left eye was stolen. Accompanied by Monkey and Beetle, they must subdue the Sisters, Raiden the Moon King and his army of evil spirits.”

This film tells a wonderful story that felt classic and familiar, yet unique and captivating especially for older audiences and those who are into Japanese mythology. There’s a sense of magic, fun and wonderment, but it was also mixed in with some darker/serious elements which gave this film an edge and a classic Disney kind of tone which made me happy. There’s also deep respect and admiration for the Japanese culture in the way in which the story, visuals and music come together. And as a fan of Japanese mythology and classic tales of grand adventures involving young heroes discovering their destiny this film spoke to me on every level. I also adored how this film had such a great deal of emotional moments whether they were dramatic, sad or funny. The only thing I would say that I was a little iffy on was the ending, while I understood the approach I would have preferred something a little different.

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The cast was really good and did well to bring life to their characters with some of the actors feeling like they brought some of their mannerisms to their roles. Firstly there’s Art Parkinson who did really well as Kubo, this kid is a little delight as he was cocky, yet sweet, imaginative, resourceful and charming. Charlize Theron as Monkey was awesome, she was a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point badass who while tough kind have a soft side as well. I also loved Matthew McConaughey as Beetle/Hanzo, this guy was really funny because of his dim-witted, charismatic and courageous personality. Rooney Mara was unrecognisable as the Sisters, but I loved her performance as she was able to add such a level of intimidation and aggressiveness to these creepy/scary characters. Ralph Fiennes as Raiden the Moon King was very good too, the first time I really thought I could hear a bit of James Woods, but upon closer listening I could hear Fiennes in there and he was really good offering us a villain who was perceptive and dangerous. I also liked Brenda Vaccaro as Kameyo, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hashi, and the lovely George Takei as Hosato who I recognised the moment I heard his character speak.

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When it comes to the presentation it was fantastic, Laika always bring their A-game to their films and with each film they produce they go that one step beyond and produce the most insane material in the current stop motion landscape. Visually the film did well to blend the practical side of things with what I could only assume could only be clever uses of CGI. There was such large sense of scope, really great lighting and a diverse colour palette, add on top of that the brilliant art direction and some wonderfully creative imagery especially with the animated origami. Plus as a fan of action sequences involving sword fighting and other Japanese weaponry this film had some kick ass moments and didn’t shy away from the violence which I also loved. Oh and the film score from Dario Marianelli was fantastic capturing the sense of adventure, drama, tension and generally allowing to feel immersed and emotionally invested in what was happening on-screen, and this might be a soundtrack I have to buy too. πŸ™‚

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In conclusion Kubo and the Two Strings is damn good film, one of the best of 2016 and I think it might be favourite Laika film (though I still LOVE Coraline). It pains me that more people haven’t checked this film out just because of its visual aesthetic and lack of the typical 3D CGI stuff that a lot of people have become conditioned to. Kubo is an incredible film and while the story is set in the realm of fantasy, at the same time the film felt very grounded and relatable because of the themes, characters and story elements.

Rating: 8.5/10 (Highly recommended for sure!)

So have you seen Kubo and the Two Strings and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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