The Top 25 Greatest Films Of 2016

2016 managed to be a rough year across the board but despite all that some great films were released. This is a countdown of the greatest films of the year.

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Countdown of the Twenty-Five greatest films of 2016

By Carter Bagley

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Last night was the annual ceremony where Hollywood comes together and awards some of the greatest films of the past year. To celebrate the 89th Academy Awards I’ve put together my personal favorite films of the calendar year of 2016.

Movies That Almost Made It

“Indignation” – James Schamus, 2016

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“Zootopia” – Byron Howard & Rich Moore, 2016

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“War Dogs”- Todd Phillips, 2016

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“Sully” – Clint Eastwood, 2016

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“Sully” Review

Now Here It Is, The 25 Greatest Films Of 2016

25. “The Accountant” – Gavin O’Connor, 2016

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A film I didn’t expect to like as much as I did at all was “The Accountant”. It’s the perfect example of what an action movie should be and it gives me hope for the future of the genre. From start to finish it was emotional and exciting and I’m excited to see if this film could get a sequel.

“The Accountant” Review

24. “Star Trek Beyond” – Justin Lin, 2016

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The latest film in the “Star Trek” universe managed to be action-packed while having the same feel and tone as the classic TV series. Justin Lin did an outstanding job on his first film for the franchise and since I had a lot of fun with this one I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

23. “Green Room” – Jeremy Saulnier, 2016

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An amazingly suspenseful and brutal horror film that has one of the most original and terrifying plots in recent years. With a great performance by the late Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart portraying the scary and intimidating bar owner, “Green Room” manages to be intense and memorable.

22. “Snowden” – Oliver Stone, 2016

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This film was bound to be controversial from the moment it came into fruition but I think people overlooked the film way more than it deserved. “Snowden” was a very well made film with an excellent performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

“Snowden” Review

21. “Oasis: Supersonic” – Mat Whitecross, 2016

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An all inclusive documentary on one of my all-time favorite bands so I may be biased here but it’s definitely a powerful and well made documentary.

“Oasis: Supersonic” Review

20. “Doctor Strange” – Scott Derrickson, 2016

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Marvel continues to entertain mass audiences with their crazy visuals and great storytelling. “Doctor Strange” is different than the rest though and manages to stand completely on it’s own as an original and fun film.

“Doctor Strange” Review

19. “Lion” – Garth Davis, 2016

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Another film I saw very recently and I’m glad I caught it in time because it’s a beautiful, tragic and redeeming tale of family that will make anyone tear up just a little.

18. “Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins, 2016

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This film has received a lot of love and praise and took home the statue last night (after an unfortunate mixup) and despite being good I don’t think it’s the greatest film of the year by any means, but that doesn’t take away at all from it’s good qualities.

“Moonlight” Review

17. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” – Gareth Edwards, 2016

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Another year. Another “Star Wars”. This one, however, isn’t another sequel and instead tells an unconventional story that isn’t perfect but manages to be completely thrilling and entertaining.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” Review

16. “The Jungle Book” – Jon Favreau, 2016

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There’s no way in hell I expected to love this film as much as I did. This adaptation of the classic Disney film and novel may be the best one yet and it’s the perfect family movie for anyone to love.

15. “Hell Or High Water” – David Mackenzie, 2016

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An unexpected success story, “Hell Or High Water” is a thrilling and smart heist movie set in small town America and despite it’s small setting and simple premise what it has to say is by no means small.

14. “Don’t Think Twice” – Mike Birbiglia, 2016

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A relatable and simple film set in the world of improv comedy. It doesn’t have much to say but it says what it tries to in such a lovely and entertaining way that it will have a soft place in your heart after you watch it. The cast is fantastic and fun and “Don’t Think Twice” is simply just a fantastic film.

13. “Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson, 2016

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Mel Gibson’s comeback film that’s brutal yet inspiring and tells the true story of Desmond Doss, a man who’s courage and moral compass is so admirable that you can’t help but at least enjoy this film.

“Hacksaw Ridge” Review

12. “Hunt For The Wilderpeople” – Taika Waititi, 2016

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A film that I didn’t get a chance to see until recently but it was totally worth. It’s quirky and odd but completely deserves your attention.

11. “Everybody Wants Some!!” – Richard Linklater, 2o16

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Richard Linklater’s spiritual sequel to “Dazed and Confused” is just pure entertainment that’s funny, charming and filled with classic music that’ll take you back to a time that’s passed… even if you never lived it to begin with.

10. “Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve, 2016

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Denis Villeneuve is a masterful filmmaker who’s made great film after great film and “Arrival” is no exception. I just can’t wait until I get a chance to see his take on “Blade Runner”.

“Arrival” Review

9. “Midnight Special” – Jeff Nichols, 2016

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Directed by Jeff Nichols who is starting to become one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation after directing “Take Shelter” and “Mud” which are each brilliant in their own right but now he’s topped himself with a compelling modern sci-fi film that proves he’s poised for great things still.

8. “Swiss Army Man” – Daniel Kwan & Daniel Sheinert, 2016

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A movie that must be seen on it’s insane premise alone. It could’ve easily sold itself on shock value alone but instead it uses quirky comedy and the excellent performances by it’s two leads to craft an odd yet effortlessly charming story.

7. “Captain America: Civil War” – Joe & Anthony Russo, 2016

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Another film that’s gotten a lot of hate from the time of it’s release until now but after rewatching it, it still stands as a near perfect blockbuster and one of the greatest superhero films to date.

6. “Nocturnal Animals” – Tom Ford, 2016

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A movie that was a bit divisive in many ways but it’s incredibly clever and packed with powerful performances.

5. “Deadpool” – Tim Miller, 2016

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A near perfect action-comedy, Ryan Reynolds pushed this thing along for years and it turned out perfectly. If you haven’t seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and go see it as soon as possible.

4. “Manchester By The Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan, 2016

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One of the saddest but most powerful films I’ve seen in a long time. Casey Affleck really amazes here and completely deserves all the praise he’s receiving.

“Manchester By The Sea” review

3. “The Nice Guys” – Shane Black, 2o16

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Hilarious. Entertaining. Overlooked. This film needs more attention because it’s truly amazing and Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make an incredible duo. Go watch “The Nice Guys” if you haven’t already.

2. “Sing Street” – John Carney, 2016

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Horribly marketed by the Weinstein Company upon release and overlooked this is a lovely little film that sadly will be forgotten about. Though to the people who saw it, it left it’s mark and to me it’s simply one of the most personal films I’ve seen in years.

“Sing Street” Review

1. “La La Land” – Damien Chazelle, 2016

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This is one of those films that will get tons of hate for a little while and for some reason it’s kind of cool to hate it. This seems to happen to a couple movies every year but while others are released to praise and later get swallowed by the hate this one will be one to overcome it. “La La Land” is a beautiful and entertaining tale that will one day go down as a Hollywood classic. There’s simply no other film that belongs at this spot.

“La La Land” Review

Film Review: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is an extremely exciting and memorable film despite it’s noticeable flaws

Review of the first Star Wars Anthology film about the brave team that stole the plans for the Death Star

By Carter Bagley

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Disney and Lucasfilm announced “Rogue One” a couple years ago now and despite being the massive “Star Wars” fan that I am I was never as excited for this as I was for “The Force Awakens”. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that the idea of another prequel didn’t sit well with me but there was never any doubt that I would end up seeing the film on opening night. The director of 2014’s “Godzilla” remake was recruited to direct it and I am still not sure if he was the best choice but I have to say that he did a fantastic job at directing this story and the many mind-blowing battle sequences throughout the film. Felicity Jones plays the brand new character of Jyn Erso, the daughter of an imperial rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6.jpegscientist  who is responsible for designing and constructing the death star for the Empire. The film takes place just before “A New Hope” and tells the story of the crew of rebels who stole the blueprints for the death star that were used to destroy it in the original film. Jones’ performance and charisma is most definitely the factor that brought this film together in my opinion because many of the other characters didn’t grab you all that much. Mads Mikkelsen absolutely blew me away despite how little screen time he actually had and that just shows how capable he is as a performer. Despite those two I really can’t say I resonated that much with any of the characters on a personal level rather than just thought they were cool to watch. Diego Luna tries his best and brings charm to his character as a loyal rebel soldier though he never gets fleshed out as a character the way he deserves to. Other actors like Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen were fun to watch and had some great lines but their characters just unfortunately had little to no depth to them. This is disappointing to me because my favorite part of “Star Wars” was always the characters and these just didn’t grow on me like Rey and Finn did in “The Force Awakens”. All these flaws didn’t nearly stop this film from being extremely entertaining though and I was pretty much hooked the entire time. Michael Giacchino handled the score on this one too and I have to say the music was very noticeable and I think he even did a better job than John Williams did on “The Force Awakens”. It certainly still retained the magic that all the other films in the saga have and the things that tie this film with the original trilogy is what excited me the most. It also fixes a major plot hole in “A New Hope” that fans have been complaining about for years and I won’t spoil it but it was very satisfying as a lifelong fan of the movies. The visuals are absolutely stunning and the cinematography was breathtaking and absolutely gorgeous but there was one completely CGI character that was really distracting and I’m not going going to spoil any details but you will definitely notice it immediately. The thing that brought this movie to new heights though was the final act of the film. This is the part where you see the battle on the beach that was shown in the trailers and it’s everything you want it to be and more. It’s truly some of the best action the series has ever given us and if this represents what we’ll see from the series in the future then I am beyond excited. Darth Vader himself even shows up in a few scenes throughout the film and he has two incredible scenes that show how scary he is as a villain and how badass he truly can be. I have seen a lot of excitement flowing around this film and from an audience point of view it’s fun and adventurous and exciting but from a critical standpoint there’s some definite gaping flaws that take away some of the quality but not necessarily the excitement. I will say that if you enjoy “Star Wars” you will definitely enjoy the film and I would also recommend it to anyone just don’t go in expecting a film on the same caliber as “The Empire Strikes Back”. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” wasn’t exactly everything I think it was capable of being but it made up for that in memorable scenes and an ending that can rival any in the entire series.

Rating: 8.5/10

Film Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” (2016)

“Fantastic Beasts..” is an entertaining adventure with memorable characters despite having it’s share of problems

Review of newest installment in the massive “Harry Potter” series, but this time it shows us the wizarding world of America

By Carter Bagley

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Having grown up on the “Harry Potter” movies, I’m very familiar with the hype surrounding them. Personally I’ve never been as big of a fan as many of my peers but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching some of them. In fact I really love about half of the series, but the other half doesn’t thrill me enough to not consider myself a big fan. However a couple years ago JK Rowling announced she was making a film series based on the small guide book titled “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them” and considering at the time the final “Harry Potter” film had already come out and marketed as “the last installment”, so I thought it was a little bit of a sell out. Though just about a year ago fantastic-beasts-where-find-them-movie-poster.jpegdetails started sprinkling in about the movie saying it was about the wizarding world in America and it took place in the 1920’s both of which we haven’t seen before in the franchise. Also I’m a fan of a lot of the actors in the film like Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, and Colin Farrell and David Yates returned to direct it. Yates was definitely the director who consistently made the best films in the series and he does a great job at directing this one as well. The visuals and the editing and directing are the highlights of this film, it’s in the writing where the flaws become apparent. Not necessarily writing the characters as many of the characters were great especially Redmayne’s Newt Scamander who is a very likable and human protagonist. It’s the pacing and story of the film that I found to be disappointing. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay herself and despite crafting a cool storyline and mostly fascinating characters I don’t think she did the best job. The main antagonist of the film didn’t catch me the way the “Harry Potter” films did even though the idea of an “Obscurus” was very fascinating. The main idea is that if a wizard’s powers are suppressed long enough, their power manifests itself as a parasite that becomes dark and evil. Despite the idea being surprisingly cool and original it comes off as cliche and tired in the final product, almost like those scenes were shot as a cliche modern horror film. Ezra Miller does a great job with the material he’s given and so does Colin Farrell who seems very seedy the entire film. I’ve heard a lot of praise for this film and I have to say I can’t share it but I will say I enjoyed watching it and found it very entertaining. If you’re a fan of the franchise you’ll probably have a very great time watching but if you’re not there’s not really any reason to go rush out and see it. Overall it was a decent set up for a new saga filled with interesting characters and fresh ideas and I’m still curious to see where the next films take it.

Rating: 7/10

Film Review: “Doctor Strange” (2016)

“Doctor Strange” is original and true to its source material while being an exciting and entertaining film with amazing visual effects.

Review of the latest MARVEL blockbuster based on the classic sorcerer supreme himself, Doctor Strange

By Carter Bagley

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It seems that just a few years ago everybody’s minds were blown when MARVEL announced they were making an Avengers movie. Being a younger kid at the time and an avid comic book reader I was beyond excited because nothing like that had ever happened before. When I was younger the closest thing I had to that sort of experience was an animated direct-to-DVD Avengers film. Since then it seems that comic book characters doctorstrange4.jpgleft and right have been adapted into feature films although the most surprising one yet is Doctor Strange. Created by Steve Ditko in the mid-60’s he’s always been a wildly unique character that brings in original and psychedelic storylines. It definitely must have been extremely difficult to bring it to life but yet again MARVEL has done it. Scott Derrickson who made two impressive horror films with “Sinister” and “Deliver Us From Evil” was hired as the director which was a very interesting move and showed they really wanted a great tone for the mystical elements. Benedict Cumberbatch does a fantastic job portraying Dr. Stephen Strange who’s a very skilled neurosurgeon. He’s a very selfish and conceded man but when he gets into a brutal accident and gets irreparable nerve damage in his hands his beloved profession is taken away from him. After hearing of alternative ways of healing himself he travels to the far east to seek new ideas when he comes in contact with The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who are both masters of the mystic arts and he soon starts training to be healed. Though when a mysterious threat is determined to destroy their world, everything they know is put at risk as Strange is put to the test of defending his planet. Being more of a focus on the character of Doctor Strange the film works very well and sets up a character you start to really like and the film definitely leaves you wanting more. They didn’t forget to give Strange a sense of humanity as his old life and sweetheart Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) are often pulled back into his life and gives more depth to his character. However the only big fault I have is that the villain played by Mads Mikkelsen wasn’t very fleshed out and didn’t have the clearest of intentions. Overall though It managed to stay true to it’s source material while still being an original complete film that anybody who hasn’t read a comic book can enjoy. Many of the film’s action sequences were fantastic also and there’s many times when scenes are completely psychedelic and many of them I won’t soon forget. “Doctor Strange” is an entertaining, exciting and original film that you should definitely check out.

Rating: 8.5/10