Five Easy pieces: the best films of 2016

tfr writers on their highs - and lows - of the past year

 

Andrew Kerr

Best
1. The Neon Demon - Glitz, glamour, and lesbian necrophilia. What more could you want?
2. 10 Cloverfield Lane - A claustrophobic scenario, dominated by an oscar- nomination-deserving Goodman .
3. Arrival - TEFL for Aliens.
4. Swiss Army Man - Harry Potter farts his way into our hearts.
5. Everybody Wants Some!! - We all finally find out how the Trinity Rugby team lives.

Worst
War On Everyone - Everyone’s second favourite McDonagh tries to make a buddy-cop film with meaning.

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Clare Martin


1. Hunt for the Wilderpeople - From the film’s playful storytelling to the plucky soundtrack, Taika Waititi is quickly proving himself to be the Wes Anderson of New Zealand.
2.  Swiss Army Man  -This dreamlike movie is unlike any other thanks to the ethereal music and heartwarming friendship between a man and his corpse.
3.  10 Cloverfield Lane -Tense and claustrophobic, it’s a solidly acted film even if you didn’t like the ending.
4.  Arrival - Arrival’s focus on linguistics brings a fresh perspective to the typical UFO film and delivers an incredibly relevant message on communication.
5.  Everybody Wants Some!! - Richard Linklater bottled 1980 and created the perfect college film with it.

Worst

Dr. Strange: Boring and unnecessary – how many movies focus on an overly arrogant white male protagonist who’s humbled into becoming a hero?


 

 

Naomi Keenan O’Shea

Mustang -As cinematically accomplished as it is culturally and politically pertinent, Ergüven’s beautiful debut feature explores the vibrancy and tragedy of five sisters’ lives under familial imposed house arrest in contemporary Turkey.

American Honey - Arnold’s latest cinematic masterpiece is an exuberant addition to her succinct but outstanding canon of work, exploring a conglomerate of youths, predominantly cast with non-professional actors, living vicariously on the margins of American society.

Victoria - Schipper’s love letter to Berlin is visually and aurally masterful, with a haunting soundtrack composed by Nils Frahm and an outstandingly adept one take shot lasting the entirety of the film’s two hour and twenty minute runtime.

Weiner - So hilarious it is almost unbelievable, Kriegman and Steinberg’s intimate real-time portrayal of the infamous Anthony Weiner and the unfolding of his latest political campaign is the first documentary to emerge about the radical Democrat turned dick-pic fanatic.

Zoology -The second feature from the young Russian director is a surrealist fable reflecting contemporary Russian society and politics, equally beautiful and powerful as it is disturbing and repulsive.

Jack Thornton        

The Neon Demon  - A visually stunning film that forces you to appreciate the beautiful aesthetic and leaves you horrified at the same time, a feat which is very seldom achieved in cinema.

Swiss Army Man –  The most original film to be released in a long time, you find yourself deeply invested in the emotional narrative all while cracking up at fart joke

I, Daniel Blake – A pseudo-documentary style film that portrays the harsh reality of the people whom society has failed, a truly eye-opening film that has so much to say on both the individual and societal level.

Café Society – An extremely stylish and elegant film with quite a simplistic but nonetheless entertaining plot, the charming 1930’s Hollywood aesthetic in the hands of someone like Woody Allen is always going to be a pleasant and enjoyable watch.

American Honey – A very naturalistic film with very ‘real’ performances, the sobering reality of the American Dream is the emphatic message of this film, think of Arnold’s previous effort Fish Tank and simply “Americanise” it, which is basically this film in a nutshell.

Worst film:

Suicide Squad –A straight-up mess, from the strange editing to the horrible standout performances, *ahem* Cara Delevingne, this film really struggled to prevent you from genuinely cringing at the many filmmaking blunders.


 

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Liam Farrell

1. Anomalisa - Kaufman’s haunting and uncanny stop-motion takes an unflinching look at the hair-thin line between love and loneliness.

2. The Neon Demon - Electric dissection of the fashion industry in all its vapid glory.

3. Paterson - A beautiful zen haiku about a man, his wife, his bus, and his dog.

4. Nocturnal Animals - Stylishly taut and multi-layered psychological thriller fueled by revenge and spite.

5. Rams - Feuding sheep-farmer brothers are forced to cooperate to save their livelihoods in an emotional, witty, and heartbreaking human drama.

 

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Ken Donnelly

1. Paterson– Jim Jarmusch has created a film which wonderfully deconstructs and celebrates the familiar and the ordinary.

2. Weiner – The incredible documentary following the story of Anthony Weiner, the New York politician whose sexting scandals shook the world.

3. A Date For Mad Mary – The best film ever to be set in Drogheda. Too good to be overlooked.

4. Arrival – A gripping sci-fi with both an exciting plot and a main character you actually care about.

5. Finding Dory – Disney Pixar’s much anticipated sequel is actually pretty good.

Worst

Deadpool – The movie that was supposed to lift the superhero genre out of its never-ending cycle of blandness turned out to be more of the same rubbish. Annoying, crass and stupid.