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aabattery

AABATTERY's Top 25 of 2016 and Top 15 of 2016 of 2017 | Two lists for the price of one!

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So, it’s New Years Eve for us down under. A time to reflect and shit. That means it’s time for my annual (not really this is the first time) top 25 of 2016!

This was probably the first year I’ve really watched a ton of movies, mainly because I started university and ended up with 5 hour gaps between classes. It's really the first year that I even watched enough to justify a top 25. Nothing too controversial (I don’t think so anyway) but hopefully there’s a couple on here I can convince people are good enough to go see (lepoepredliW eht rof tnuH hctaW) or maybe just appreciate my hopefully-not-too-shitty writeups.

On to the show!

 

TOP 25:

Spoiler

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In text form:

25- Deepwater Horizon

24- Elvis & Nixon

23- Kubo and the Two Strings

22- Sully

21- Weiner

20- Love and Friendship

19- Into the Inferno

18- Star Trek Beyond

17- Doctor Strange

16- Finding Dory

15- Sing Street

14- Zootopia

13- Your Name

12- Moana

11- Tickled

10- 10 Cloverfield Lane

9- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

8- Everybody Wants Some!!

7- Hell or High Water

6- The Nice Guys

5- Captain America: Civil War

4- Hacksaw Ridge

3- Hunt for the Wilderpeople

2- Arrival

1- La La Land
Letterboxd List

 

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These are the movies that didn’t quite make the list or probably would have made the list if they goddamn released them already.

The Jungle Book:

I really liked this movie when I first watched it but on rewatch, I was a lot more ambivalent on it. Hence why it lost its place in my top 25. I still think it deserves a mention because the CGI in this movie was astonishing. The animals were almost photorealistic and for that it deserves recognition.

Swiss Army Man:

This one I really liked when I first watched it, but the more and more I think back on it the less I like it. I haven’t rewatched it so maybe that would help me cement my feelings, but I think it deserves a mention because the premise is so ridiculous yet they made a movie that entertained me so much (at the time).

Eye in the Sky:

This one would have been on my list but I realised it was technically released in 2015. Not much I can do about that, but I did really enjoy it. I could have included it, since I’m pretty sure that the only place it screened in 2015 was TIFF, but I’m keeping this list clean. Only including stuff that premiered in 2016.

Moonlight:

This one looked really good and I was looking forward to seeing it, but it has no set release date here. There is a single screening scheduled on a Monday night at 9PM. If I didn’t have work the morning after I’d be all over it but alas. I can’t say for certain that it would make the list without seeing it, but it probably would have.

Manchester by the Sea:

In cinemas January 26! Same story as above. Such is the struggle of living in a small island nation.

A Monster Calls:

The same old story. This one doesn’t have anything scheduled so fuck me I guess. It’s a shame because this was one of my most anticipated but I’m not the one who gets these movies released here.

Now on to the list!

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Trailer 

IMDB

Release Date: September 30

RT: 84%

Box Office: 118.7M

 

 

A chronicle of how dumbass decisions lead to one of the most damaging environmental disasters in history, with a heavy coating of true blue American hero Marky Mark. This movie wasn’t perfect and it’s pretty clear at this point that nuance is not Peter Berg’s forte, but hell. I enjoyed it a lot. The ridiculous budget was put to good use. Watching the rig bursting into flame was super cool to watch. Mark Whalberg does his thing, and it kind of fits. John Malkovich hams it up playing what is pretty much a cartoon villain. The plot itself is cliché and cheesy. They probably should have made it a bit more issue orientated rather than a standard hero’s tale but hey, it’s fun. I like it. I wish it had done better because what happened was goddamn shameful, and I don’t think BP has gotten enough shit for it. The budget is hilarious though. Lionsgate sure do make some questionable decisions.

 

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Trailer

IMDB

Release Date: April 22

RT: 76%

Box Office: 1.4M

 

 

Ah ha. Bet you weren’t expecting this one. Elvis & Nixon is the story of when Elvis met Nixon. Shocking, I know. Let me start this off by saying Michael Shannon is a fucking treasure. So yeah. I didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did, but it made me laugh. Like I said, Michael Shannon is great. Kevin Spacey was… interesting. The movie itself was kind of absurd. Elvis and Nixon are played as caricatures of themselves. The premise was interesting and even though I know they made 90% of it up, I choose to believe that it happened.

There was one review I read about this that kind of stuck with me; “As a surreal slice of history served up nearly half a century later, it feels oddly satisfying: A reminder not just of simpler times, but of all the other wild untold stories we may never know, just because no camera was there to capture them.” I think that’s a cool way to look at it. It's a fun little film. I'm not going to pretend that it's gonna win any awards but I really did like it.

 

 

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Trailer

IMDB

Release Date: August 19

Box Office: 69.9M

 

Kubo is beautifully animated. Stop motion stuff usually blows my mind regardless; the patience required is incredible. But Laika takes this art form above and beyond. I wasn’t huge on the story or voice acting but the strength of the animation alongside a great soundtrack elevated the whole film for me, and earned it a spot in my top 25. Regina Spektor's cover of "My Guitar Gently Weeps" was one of my favourite songs of the year. Still, this wasn’t as great a film to me as it was to others because I didn’t feel particularly engaged with the story. At times it felt like the whole thing was just jumping between (beautiful) set pieces. Nevertheless, I did, for the most part, highly enjoy watching this. I can't state enough how beautiful the whole thing is. It sucks that this wasn’t a box office success, because Laika sure as hell work for their money.

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Trailer

IMDB

RT: 85%

Box Office: 233.1M

 

Sully was a nice surprise. I didn’t expect much of it but it did pretty much everything right. It was a solid movie about an everyday hero. I actually found the film really engaging. The plane scenes were thrilling and intense and the rescue scene was inspirational. Tom Hanks does a great job as the titular character and humanises Sully. Aaron Eckhart does a good job alongside him. My only issue was how they antagonised the NTSB, but that’s Clint Eastwood’s beef I guess. The last act was definitely the movies strongest point and elevated the whole film in my mind. I also liked the shorter runtime; it felt well-paced and I'm glad they didn't feel the need to pad it out anymore than they did. My dad liked it as well, which isn’t surprising. Pretty sure Bridge of Spies was his favourite last year.

A cool thing about the rescue scene is that they actually used some of the people involved in the real rescue. Like the captain of the ferry and the NYPD scuba team. The involvement with everyone involved in the accident was neatl. It was really nice to see the real Sully with the passengers during the credits.

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Trailer

IMDB

RT: 96%

Box Office: 1.7M

 

I feel so, so, so bad for Huma Abedin. You can pretty much see her internally screaming at some points. Anthony Weiner is an… interesting guy to say the least. This documentary shows how he was actually a pretty great politician before he messed it all up. The film paints his downfall as something of a tragedy. It’s clear that Weiner does truly care about the people but the guy just has zero self-control. You’d think it would be easy to just not do the dumb shit he does but I guess his inner Carlos Danger cannot be contained. I’m super glad that he let the documentary crew stay even after his collapse because it’s a fascinating watch. He probably regrets it now, but I think this kind of humanised him. It’s easy to make fun of Weiner (the jokes literally write themselves) but this documentary did genuinely make me feel bad for the guy.

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Trailer

IMDB

RT: 98%

Box Office: 14M

 

I’m not huge on period films like this, but once again I got caught out by surprise. I didn’t expect this to be as funny as it was. Sir James Martin is probably the goofiest character to appear on screens in 2016. Kate Beckinsale is amazing in this and the supporting cast are equally as delightful. The sets and costumes are impeccable. Still, it is very much a period film through and through. If that’s not your jam, I don’t think this is a film for you. My mum loves this kind of movie though and she loved it, so if you have a mum like mine it could be fun to sit down and watch it with them.

Look at James' goofy ass smile. He's a treasure.

 

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9 hours ago, AABATTERY said:

I wasn’t huge on the story or voice acting but the strength of the animation alongside a great soundtrack elevated the whole film for me, and earned it a spot in my top 25. Regina Spektor's cover of "My Guitar Gently Weeps" was one of my favourite songs of the year. Still, this wasn’t as great a film to me as it was to others because I didn’t feel particularly engaged with the story. At times it felt like the whole thing was just jumping between (beautiful) set pieces.

 

This is actually a better summary of how I feel about Kubo than I think I could have written. (Aside from the top 25 part, I haven't watched enough to have a top 25.)

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Trailer

IMDB

RT: 90%

Box Office: N/A, it was a Netflix release

 

Into the Inferno is technically about volcanoes, but it’s really about people. Werner Herzog does his usual thing; I think David Ehrlich put it best when he said “Every Werner Herzog documentary is ultimately about the same two self-contradictory things: The impermanence of human existence, and the myth of Werner Herzog."  On that note, I’m convinced that Werner Herzog is the most interesting man in the world. Just reading about him and you can see how unique a life he has lead. Anyway, the documentary itself is deeply fascinating and somewhat humbling. The scenes in North Korea were chilling and Herzog’s take on that country is probably one of the most interesting that I’ve seen. The shots of the volcanoes are mesmerising. I’m an earth science student so maybe it interests me more than most but watching those volcanoes with the long sweeping shots was one of my favourite things I’ve seen this year. The rest is also incredibly interesting. Seeing the lives of people who live so differently to me is something I’ve always found fascinating and Werner Herzog is one of the best at showing this.

 

 

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Trailer

IMDB

RT: 84%

Box Office: 343.5M

 

I’ve really enjoyed NuTrek. Even Into Darkness. Beyond was no different. Justin Lin did a great job taking the reins from Abrams and came out with what was probably the most Star Trek-y of the new films. And it’s a lot of fun. Expanding the roles of Bones and Chekov was great move while Jaylah is a solid addition to the cast. Seeing Anton Yelchin was bittersweet; I'm glad he got such a large role in this one. Starbase Yorktown was dope and reminded me a lot of Mass Effect, which was cool. Probably the best part though was how self-contained it was. This felt just like an episode of the old Star Trek and I think the movie benefitted for it. The Sabotage scene was dumb as hell but it was super cool at the same time. The villain was kind of lame but the strength of the cast made up for it. My favourite part though was right at the end. They had a time-lapse of building the Enterprise and I found that bit really neat. In fact, Justin Lin shot the Enterprise pretty well the entire time. Lots of cool shots of it like the warp-cone thing and the mounted Go-Pro style shot when it shoots out the Yorktown. I hope Paramount does go forth with a sequel, because this Enterprise crew is rock solid and it would be a shame if this was the last we got to see of them.

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Trailer

IMDB

RT: 90%

Box Office: 657M+

 

I’m a sucker for Marvel movies. And Doctor Strange was no different. Benedict Cumberbatch did a predictably good job and the supporting cast was great to boot. The visual effects were super cool, especially on an IMAX screen. Sure, it treads a path well-trodden but dammit, I was entertained throughout. The soundtrack is actually one of my favourites of the MCU thanks to Giacchino’s excellent work. Derrickson did a good job injecting his own style into the movie; This is definitely one of the prettier Marvel films. My only gripe is that there wasn’t enough Rachel McAdams because she is perfect and there is not enough of her in the world. Doctor Strange is a great addition to the MCU and I for one am excited to see where he gets taken. I'm especially excited to see what happens with Chiwetel Ejiofor. I think he's been set up really well and could end up being one of the MCU's greatest villains.

 

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Trailer

IMDB

RT: 94%

Box Office: 1.028B

 

Finding Nemo has a special place in my heart. One of my first memories at the cinema was looking at a poster of Finding Nemo and crying because I couldn't watch it yet (I think we saw Sinbad that day). Then I watched Finding Nemo on DVD many, many times. It got so bad that my mum ended up selling the DVD. Finding Dory is a great sequel to that movie. Sure, it doesn’t reach the heights of Pixar’s best but it is far from a weak entry to their filmography. It has some nice messages about disability and ends up being a pretty sweet story from start to finish. I’ll admit I choked up a little when Dory found her parents again. The truck scene was a little far out for me, but not enough to drag the movie down. Also, Gerald is hilarious. He made laugh so hard along with the Stringer Bell and McNulty reunion. I respect that some people had issues with Gerald, but he was seriously one of the funniest characters in any Pixar movie. His goofy little face, man. Bless him. I’m also glad that this came out this year if only because it prevented the hot trash that was Secret Life of Pets being the highest grossing animated film (domestically anyway) of 2016.

 

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