Critics and fans alike are calling 2016 a terrible year for movies. That would be the case if all one took in were the blockbusters and the well-intentioned message pictures that round out the list of this years biggest moneymakers and awards-hopefuls.
Stop banking on Hollywood, because other than the money you bring them the studios don’t have time to fret over whether or not their franchise work pleased viewers. The fact is, they don’t care if their picture sucks as long as it rakes in millions of bucks. Case in point: Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Of the 200-plus films surveyed this year, at least 30 are top ten worthy. And gosh only knows the last time two films by the same director cracked the list. (It was a Pablo Larrain kind of year).
Since 1977, I’ve been keeping a log of every film I see (ranked in order of personal preference), screening venues, my personal star-rating, and a reminder if it was shot in ’Scope. (Don’t ask.) Needless to say, I’ve gone back and filled in the pre-1977 years. I’d send you a copy, but the thing is so damn heavy that it’s not easily transportable.
Linked here you'll find this year’s list of movies viewed. A few obscure symbols dot the the landscape, the key to which is listed here:
- ↔ = Shot in widescreen with an anamorphic lens
- Ω = Seen on television
- ↓ = A must to avoid
My choices for the year’s top ten movies can be found here. Matthew also joined in the fun by posting his own personal preferences. What follows is my list of this year’s notable screenplays, performances, cinematography, and a few other loose ends.
Director: Consult the list. The titles of their films are in bold.
Screenplay: Guillermo Calderón (Neruda), Micah Bloomberg & Benjamin Dickinson (Creative Control), Benjamin August (Remember), Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi (The Invitation), Kleber Mendonça Filho (Aquarius), and Jessica Sharzer (Nerve).
Cinematography: Frederick Elmes (Paterson), Vittorio Storaro (Café Society), Robbie Ryan (American Honey), Linus Sandgren (La La Land), Pedro Sotero and Fabricio Tadeu (Aquarius), Diego García (Neon Bull), and Caleb Deschanel (Rules Don’t Apply).
Actor: Christopher Plummer (Remember), Danny Glover (Mr. Pig), Tom Hanks (Sully), Adam Driver (Paterson), Denzel Washington (Fences), Miles Teller (Bleed for This), Nicolas Cage (Dog Eat Dog), Jonathan Pryce (Dough), Matthias Schoenaerts (Disorder), Alfredo Castro (Desde Allá), and Andre Royo (Hunter Gatherer).
Actress: Sonia Braga (Aquarius), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Agyness Deyn (Sunset Song), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures), Rachel Weisz (Denial), and Ruth Negga (Loving).
Supporting Actor: Aaron Eckhart (Sully, Bleed for This), John Carroll Lynch (The Invitation, Sunny Pawer (Lion), Stephen Lang (Don’t Breathe), Ben Foster (Hell or High Water), Kurt Russell (Deepwater Horizon), Mark Strong The Brothers Grimsby, Hayden Szeto (The Edge of Seventeen), Luis Alberto Garcia as club owner, Mama (Viva), Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri (Little Men), Peter Mullan (Sunset Song), Timothy Spall (Denial), and Bob "Not Guilty" Hope (O.J.: Made in America).
Supporting Actress: Lily Gladstone (Certain Women), Viola Davis (Fences), Meg Tilly (Antibirth), Kristen Stewart (Certain Women), Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Café Society, Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Tammy Blanchard (The Invitation), Michelle Williams (Certain Women, Manchester by the Sea), Jenny Slate (My Blind Brother), and the brilliant Mo’Nique (Almost Christmas).
Animation: Kubo and the Two Strings, Boy and the World, and Moana.
Biggest laugh-getter of 2016: Nothing came close to The Brothers Grimsby.
You loved ’em, I didn’t: Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Deadpool.
Two films I’m hoping the Digital Gym will pick up: Zach Clark’s Little Sister and Terrence Davies’ astonishing Summer Song.
Biggest disappointments: The Lobster, Elle, and little something called Silence.
Number of this year’s Top 20 biggest grossers that I made it through: 5.
Walk out: I aborted Bridget Jones’ Baby after 40 minutes.