2016 has been a roller coaster year as far as films are concerned. While I could not watch as many films as I would have liked, I did watch a few, and while some of the most anticipated films turned out to be mediocre fare, there were others that were surprisingly good. Below are five films that I have enjoyed the most and would most likely watch again. They are not all critical darlings or technically perfect, but are the ones that I enjoyed the most.
Kubo and The Two Strings(Animation):
It is the story of a boy named Kubo, the son of the greatest warrior on earth and a princess from the moon kingdom, who embarks on a quest with a talking baboon an eight legged insect-man to retrieve pieces of magical armor scattered across the kingdom to battle the moon king.
As far as fantasy stories go, that is as fantastical as you can get.Set in a colorful land where magic is possible, the film is an amazingly heartfelt adventure film about loneliness and the need for family. Beautifully animated, the story is brought to life through imaginative visuals, some intense action, and excellent voice work by Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey.
This is by far the Best Animated Film of the year.
Set in the 1600’s, The Witch follows the events in the lives of an outcast family living on the edge of a forest, trying to make a livelihood for themselves by growing their own crops and homeschooling their children. Their faith and familial bonds are tested when their newborn son disappears, and inklings of a malevolent presence in the forest turns their lives upside down.
A slow burn horror film, it succeeds in building a world of its own where religion and superstition are very real factors in day to day lives. Also, the use of an older dialect of English may be off-putting to some, but for me it enhanced the whole eerie mood of the film.
In-spite of a polarizing ending, this is a thoroughly enjoyable horror/thriller.
The Jungle Book:
As any cinephile would know, The Jungle Book is the story of Mowgli, a man cub raised by wolves as one of their own. When Sher Khan the tiger gets wind of Mowgli’s existence, he vows to hunt him down as he believes man is dangerous and has no place in the jungle. What follows is an epic adventure, where Mowgli meets many an interesting character in his quest to beat Sher Khan.
This live adaptation of the beloved Disney classic was every bit thrilling and inspired as the original. It is hard to believe that the whole film was shot in a studio, as the VFX is state-of-the-art. Also, this is the best 3D film of the year.
An emotionally satisfying adventure, this film is great fun.
The Nice Guys:
Set in the 1970’s, this film is about two private investigators who reluctantly team up to solve the case of a missing girl and inadvertently get mixed up in the mysterious death of a famous porn star.
Russell Crow and Ryan Gosling give probably the best comedic performance of the year. Directed with a wicked sense of humor, the USP of the film is the superb chemistry of its two leads. The film itself is shot as a throwback to the old noir films, which is a rarity nowadays.
A roller-coaster of a film, this is pure fun.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them:
Set seventy years prior to the events of the Harry Potter series, this magical adventure takes us to New York, where a mysterious darkness is wreaking havoc, which threatens to expose the magical community to the world. Meanwhile a visiting magizoologist accidentally lets lose his collection of magical creatures and is in a race against time to find them.
Written by J.K.Rowling herself, this film is first of a planned pentology of films that is rumored to cover much of the backstory regarding Dumbledore’s hey days that was only hinted in the films and the books. Shot with the right amount of humor and technical verve, this film was a blast from start to finish.
A welcome and satisfying return to the magical world we all missed.