Top 10 movies of 2016? You choose.

Keith and the Movies top 10 picks:

lovefriend#10 – “Love & Friendship” I admit, I was a little caught off guard by this wonderful Jane Austen period romp from Whit Stillman. I didn’t quite know what to expect going in. After seeing it I still find it to hard to fully describe. It feels every bit at home in an Austen world, yet there is such a striking uniqueness about it. There is hardly any semblance of stiff, sudsy drama. In its place is a biting sense of humor that will require a finely tuned ear and multiple viewings to fully appreciate. Add to it a remarkable eye-opening performance from Kate Beckinsale and hysterical supporting work from Tom Bennett. Don’t miss this one. [FULL REVIEW]

 

thinktwice#9 – “Don’t Think Twice” This smart and witty comedy-drama from writer/director Mike Birbiglia is a movie more people need to seek out. Centered around a tight-knit Brooklyn based improv troupe, “Don’t Think Twice” delicately examines the fine line between collaborative loyalties and personal career ambition all within the difficult profession of making people laugh. Its great cast of characters are fleshed out through some strong performances and Birbiglia’s thoughtful yet cutting script. There is such an honest and passionate approach from all involved and you see it throughout the entire film. [FULL REVIEW]

 

 

midnight#8 – “Midnight Special” Jeff Nichols’ unique foray into science fiction earned a spot on this list the moment I left the theater back in April. “Midnight Special” dabbles in several other genres making it impossible to pigeonhole and so many of its moving parts click perfectly. Michael Shannon is superb and the weight he brings to the central father/son relationship is undeniable. And that’s where this film hit home for me. It portrays a father’s love and self-sacrificing devotion to his son. It just happens to be in a clever sci-fi setting. Yet another winner from Jeff Nichols. [FULL REVIEW]

 

 

train#7 – “Train to Busan” Think about this – a zombie outbreak on a speeding train. Doesn’t sound like your normal ‘Best of the Year’ type of movie, does it? As it turns out, this South Korean horror-thriller from director Sang-ho Yeon may have been the most exciting, hair-raising experience I had with any 2016 movie. The film’s pitch-perfect pacing keeps the stakes high and the tension even higher. But it’s more than a conventional zombie flick. There are several deeper running themes that the film handles deftly and intelligently. That’s one of many reasons it stands out so distinctly within its cluttered genre. [FULL REVIEW]

 

 

lala#6 – “La La Land” After 2014’s “Whiplash” it was obvious writer-director Damien Chazelle had a deep, sincere affection for music. That love was cemented with this year’s bold, audacious and utterly delightful “La La Land”. I was never caught up in the pre-release hype like many, but Chazelle shattered my expectations by creating a sensory production soaked in color, style and energy. It calls back to the time when music and song had a much more profound cinematic voice yet this is more than a simple nostalgia trip. It’s fresh, ambitious entertainment with a sweet romantic center and far more great moments than shortcomings. [FULL REVIEW]

 

 

innocents#5 – “The Innocents” I haven’t seen many conversations about the best foreign films of 2016 that has included “The Innocents”. Such a shame. This penetrating French-Polish drama from director Anne Fontaine tells a World War 2 story that has largely remained untold. The film is written, directed, shot, edited and mostly performed by women giving this devastating story a powerful female perspective. Adding to that is the superb lead performance from Lou de Laâge, one of my favorites of the year. Navigating its troubling subject matter can be uncomfortable, but the payoff is well worth it. [FULL REVIEW]

 

 

anthro#4 – “Anthropoid” It’s a movie that came and went with little fanfare but deserved a lot more attention than it got. “Anthropoid” is a patient historical thriller that bucks popular formulas in its telling of the World War 2 assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich in Nazi occupied Prague. Sean Ellis worked as director, co-writer, and cinematographer and consistently keeps his film rooted in reality. There’s no gloss, melodrama, or embellishment. Just a powerful story that is immaculately shot and brimming with slow-boiling tension. It also features what is easily the best shootout of the year. This is a gem. [FULL REVIEW]

 

 

fences#3 – “Fences” As a movie fan nothing is better than watching great actors and actresses work especially when they are given meaty, robust material. “Fences”, the film adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, features two of the year’s most electrifying performances (Denzel Washington and Viola Davis) and an absorbing story grounded in real-life, kitchen table drama. Washington (who also directs) doesn’t shy away from the story’s stage roots. His film embraces it by trusting the richness of the material and the talents of its stars.  The result is a powerful experience that will gnaw at you for days. [FULL REVIEW]

 

 

hacksaw#2 – “Hacksaw Ridge” In 2016 Mel Gibson returned to directing in grand style. The true story of Desmond Doss is a profoundly moving tale of heroism and conviction. Gibson’s approach to it is both beautiful and abrasive. The first half’s simple, idyllic perspective crashes against the second half’s brutal reality of war. Many have struggled with the shifting tones and graphic violence, but this is a film of contrasts and Gibson doesn’t shy away from it. A fine performance from Andrew Garfield and Oscar-worthy work from Hugo Weaving are just icing on the cake. [FULL REVIEW]

 

 

 

arrival#1 – “Arrival” The biggest and brightest surprise of my movie year came in the form of Denis Villeneuve’s cerebral take on the ‘Alien Invasion’ angle. “Arrival” is a beautiful film, but it’s a far cry from the ‘blow your hair back’ sci-fi many were expecting. In fact you could call it the anti-blockbuster. Packing a truly piercing performance from Amy Adams and a blindsiding emotional punch, “Arrival” subverts numerous genre conventions. It turned out to be one of those special experiences that has stayed with me to this day. It’s also another affirmation of Villeneuve’s position as one of our very best filmmakers. [FULL REVIEW]

 

What are your top 10 movies of 2016 let us know?

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