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HoldenMartinson

Unofficial Best of 2016

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I'm a sucker for traditions, and this one is one of my favorites.

 

What are the most canon-worthy films of 2016? Which would you posit for the pantheon of great films to live on forever?

 

I know my own shortlist includes some terrific films, but ultimately, I'd go with Ava DuVernay's 13th, one of the most shocking and stomach-churning documentaries of the century. Otherwise, I'm thoroughly impressed by Moonlight and The Witch.

 

Your own picks?

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I really liked One More Time with Feeling. It didn't screen in many cities, though.

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I really liked One More Time with Feeling. It didn't screen in many cities, though.

Skeleton Tree has ended up as my favorite album of the year, but I don't know when I'll get to Once More with Feeling. I'm excited for it, though.

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I really enjoyed Green Room, it's kind of austere but I really appreciate that about it.. A Bigger Splash came really early in the year, but that one also left a mark. Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton are unbeatable for me. The Handmaiden, The Witch, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and Hail, Caesar all deserve a mention. Have to catch up with Moonlight, Jackie, and La La Land still so my opinion is probably forfeit.

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There were a few movies I really liked this year including Hell or High Water, Everybody Wants Some, Captain Fantastic, Deadpool. But "canon-worthy" for 2016? I would say only Hell or High Water and Captain Fantastic. I think maybe The Edge of Seventeen could be debated for inclusion. I haven't seen La La Land or Manchester by the Sea yet, but I hope they are worthy of being in the discussion.

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Not sure which specifically I would nominate for a "canon" type list, but I've enjoyed a few movies this year:

 

Arrival

Moonlight

Nocturnal Animals

Elle

The Edge of Seventeen

Hell or High Water

Green Room

The Nice Guys

 

 

Still plenty I need to catch up on as well.

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i still have some stuff to see, including Silence which I'm pretty hyped for. then again, Scorsese has enough in the Canon, so here's my year-end top 10.

 

Hail, Caesar

Certain Women

The Handmaiden

Tickled

Manchester By The Sea

The Lobster

Everybody Wants Some!!

Green Room

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Moonlight

 

damn, that top 10 looks a lot better than my 2015 list. Although Hail Caesar is my #1, I'd rather nominate my close 2nd, Certain Women.

 

I haven't seen everything Reichardt has made, but she's becoming one of the best filmmakers in the world. Certain Women is so crucial in the shitstorm of a year we're having; just four women doing their thing. Working hard. Living life. Looking at America. Canonical as fuck.

 

for the sake of the argumentatitive nature of the show, here are some movies that have gotten a lot of buzz that i'd vote against.

 

Hell Or High Water - a western made by a director who doesn't have a passion for westerns. the modern upgrades are visual rather than ideal, as the transgressive relationship between a white sheriff and his native depute is unfortunately the most progressive part of the film.

 

La La Land - a good film, but keeps itself from being great. Chazelle is reference-heavy, but it's almost like the start button on his blender was broken, whereas someone like Tarantino has a $90000 food processor for his references.

 

American Honey - eyeroll, the film. heavy handed in its themes and dialogue that nobody would say in real life. sure i have a little bit of coastal elitism, but i've talked to plenty of people my age from middle america, and nobody is like that

 

The Nice Guys - a neo noir that takes more from 80's buddy cop comedies than it should. the best neo-noirs, the funny ones, have a sense of seriousness a la Inherent Vice and The Long Goodbye.

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The films I consider to be the best last year would have been The Neon Demon, followed by The Witch, The Lobster and Arrival.

 

I also really enjoyed 10, Cloverfield Laneand The Beatles: 8 Days A Week (which, granted, was basically catering towards my fanboydom).

 

To some lesser extent, I also liked Hail, Caesar! (which I found to be overstuffed and too long), Money Monster (which was surprisingly good), and, for some reason, The Purge: Election Year really stuck with me, partially in an ironic way, but also, because it was just pure catharsis, when you get smashed every week for a year by some shitty election news in America, which will totally have an influence on us in Europe, but you yourself can't really influence at all.

 

Also, please consider that in continental Europe, many films come out quite a bit laterthan in America. So, I simply haven't had a chance to catch up with La La Land, Moonlight (which I am most excited about watching), and Manchester By The Sea. Also, it was really difficult to get a good copy of the Witch. I gonna watch Nocturnal Animals this weekend.

 

 

American Honey - eyeroll, the film. heavy handed in its themes and dialogue that nobody would say in real life. sure i have a little bit of coastal elitism, but i've talked to plenty of people my age from middle america, and nobody is like that

 

Yep. I agree with that one. I saw it with a couple of friends about a month ago, and it grew in a negative way on me. Boy, was I looking forward for it: I love road movies, nature, and travelling, so that film should have been right up my alley... but the way the film handles its non-existent story-line, its main characters, and its subject I found all together really counterproductive and condecending. That main character is so fucking unlikable, that it almost hurt physically, and the film goes on waaaaay too long.

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Krisha -- blew me away, honestly. Well, maybe that's a little hyperbolic, I don't want to oversell it. But I do want other people to see it! My dark horse/golden brick of 2016. A very, very good film, one of the best about addiction's devastating effect on family, maybe the only great one.

 

The Wailing -- fucking gonzo Korean horror, loaded with crazy images and shocks, puts the PG-13 American horror industry to shame and then barfs on it. Absolutely nuts and made with more technical skill than all the dumb franchise sequels released this year.

 

The Lobster -- Lanthimos is undisputably a master filmmaker, a visionary, and a gift to cinema. That said, I enjoyed ALPS and Dogtooth slightly more because I find recognizable Hollywood actors a little distracting. Terrific performances though, Farrell especially. (Good year for him, I thought he was fantastic in True Detective also.)

 

Elle -- Verhoeven applying decades of honed craft to the blackest of socio-sexual thrillers. Huppert is just ridiculously good; if there's a better actress alive, point her out (okay okay Nina Hoss is pretty great). Utterly captivating and UNCOMFORTABLE -- this is the most difficult viewing I can remember in years, Gaspar Noe has nothing on this. Just thinking about it now makes me want to see it again. Best of the year.

 

Honorable mentions which I haven't seen: Chan Wook Park's The Handmaiden, American Honey (I loved Red Road; she is a fascinating filmmaker), Moonlight.

 

Honorable mentions I did see: High Rise (quite something but somehow didn't add up), The Tower (doc of the year), The Witch (real cohesive vision and world, great writing, I just don't think it's gonna have legs, I may be wrong).

 

BEST TV: motherfrickin Westworld!! The OA was beautiful, and Luke Cage was better than any network show in years. Netflix killed it this year.

 

Worst thing I saw in 2016: Cabin Fever - an almost line for line, shot for shot remake that makes Eli Roth's okay 2002 seem worse. I'm not sure what I was expecting but it was somehow much, much worse.

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Honorable mentions I did see: High Rise (quite something but somehow didn't add up), The Tower (doc of the year), The Witch (real cohesive vision and world, great writing, I just don't think it's gonna have legs, I may be wrong).

 

Yup, I've seen High Rise as well. For some uncertain reasons, it came to Zurich and was on schedules for some cinemas for the longest time. Some nice visuals, but I'm not a fan. I consider it to be in the tradition of Metropolis (1927) and Blade Runner (1982), in the sense that the story might be secondary, and the main focus was on showing off cool-ass architecture and visuals. These film have surely their place in history of design, but on their own merits, as a film itself, don't quite work for me.

 

Also, Nocturnal Animal is, I think, a mess in terms of story-telling, but with some nice shots, music and performances. It lacks the timeless elegance of A Single Man, and some directorial choices are a bit too on-the-nose for my taste. Boy, that film would have gained a lot by a more radical re-edit, because I felt no flow overall and the cutting between the 3 different story-lines was really cumbersome at points: Instead of adding up to a bigger picture richer in information, which is what montage should be about, the different parts felt repetitive and, really, weakened each other.

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Nicole Kidman was very good in Nocturnal Animals; her range is limited but she's excellent within it.

 

The film itself got a high rating from me but I didn't like it -- too mean, too punishing to its characters. I recognize the craft but didn't enjoy it. Lots of tension (the long assault scene, yikes) but just not worth it.

 

Great music, I agree. That stood out for me.

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BEST TV: motherfrickin Westworld!! The OA was beautiful, and Luke Cage was better than any network show in years. Netflix killed it this year.

 

Luke Cage was a rough watch for me. Flat, oddly paced and unenjoyably silly.

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Still would appreciate a belated Best of 2016 if Amy's up for it

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