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Baumer's best 42 films of 2016 (and 12 worst) and Ruk's breakdown of 2016 films (Finished!)

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1. Long Way North




Yup. And, like I said, at Number One comes a film most of you have probably never even heard of. Surprise!


I’ll be honest, I ran into this movie more or less by accident. I remember seeing it on a list of nominated animated films for some award or another and since a) I was looking to catch up on missed 2016 movies and b ) I’d already seen every other entry on the list, I decided to check it out. And it surpassed my every expectation. I was engrossed from start to finish and while there weren’t many moments that openly blew me away like a lot of movies this year had, the more I thought about it, the more I looked back on it, the more compared it to other films I’d seen this year, the more I realised just how goddamn much I loved this movie.


The story, about a young Russian girl searching for her grandfather’s lost ship, is pretty simple. But it’s told so earnestly and so well that it’s hard not to fall in love. The animation style and storytelling has this timelessness feel to it that I so rarely see in animated films these days or, well, animated films period. There was never a moment I felt spoken down to or that an out of place pop-culture thing/character was shoved in to appeal to a certain dynamic (*cough* Moana twitter joke *cough*). There’s no glim or polish or shiny keys thrown in your face. It just took a story and told it really really well. It honestly kinda reminded me of Disney’s Renaissance movies at their best, if you took out the annoying and out-of-place comic relief those movies often had.


Everything about this movie just works. The characters, their arcs, the pacing, the journey, the utterly gorgeous yet simple animation that captured my attention in the way The Red Turtle could only dream of. It’s like the anti-Up. Rather than just having one scene that was noticeably outstanding and the rest of the movie being okay, this entire movie is outstanding in a delightful, low key way. By the end of the movie I wanted to see more, not because of any kind of sequel hook, but because I wanted to keep following these characters and this story, even knowing that there’s not much more they can tell. And that’s the sort of thing few stories can ever accomplish.


So yeah, Long Way North is my No 1 pick of 2016 and I hope more people go and check it out. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a long drink to celebrate finally finishing this damn list. And then go to bed. Because I am tired as fuck. Ruk out.

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Train to Busan has been on my radar for a while but I never got around to it because of the reason you mention, I am sick and tired of zombie movies.


I did not like Under the Shadow. It felt like a poor man's Babadook.


I loved The Handmaiden. The score of the year, imo.


Need to see Hacksaw Ridge asap, especially now after Gibson's Oscar nom, and since I consider Apocalypto one of the best action movies of the last ten years.


Haven't seen The Nice Guys either. Shame on me!


Great job, man. :)


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The Accountant

Directed by Gavin O'Connor

Starring:  Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons

Box office:  153 million


Christian Wolf (Ben Affleck) is an Accountant who has autism. He provides financial advice to criminals who can't use the normal channels to invest their money. He is told to offer his services to a legitimate business as Ray King (J.K. Simmons) of the Treasury Department is hot on his trail. Christian offers his services to Living Robotics who claim to have lost $61-million. Christian with the help of another accountant, Dana (Anna Kendrick), discover how the money was lost, but not really lost, but just reinvested into other company accounts to make the business look more successful to attain more investors. Living Robotics now believe Christian and Dana have succeeded in discovering how the money was "lost" and now their lives are in danger. They hire The Assassin (Jon Bernthal) to take them out. 


This is told via flashbacks to Christian's childhood with his autism and the present day with autistic ticks he tries to control. There are a lot of bits and pieces that seem unconnected, but stay with this because it will all make sense later on. The acting throughout is of the highest caliber and in some ways Christian Wolf will make you think of John Wick (the movie with Keanu Reeves) as he goes about killing bad guys. 


This is a thoughtful and very suspenseful story and Ben Affleck does, perhaps, the best job of his career.  IMO, he should have been nominated for best actor for this role.  


Notables: Jeffrey Tambor as Francis, a prison cell mate of Christian; John Lithgow as Lamar Blackburn an owner of Living Robotics; Jean Smart, sister of Lamar; Jake Priestly as Brax, Christian's younger brother in childhood scenes; and Cynthia Addai- Robinson as Marybeth Medina the young Analyst Ray gets to find out exactly who The Accountant is.


There are 2-twists you won't see coming. You may figure out one of them, but not both. Ray practically tells you one of them but the other one is a complete shock, at least it was for me.  


This film did everything right and it's the kind of film I knew nothing about walking in and then upon leaving I couldn't stop thinking about it.  It's a fascinating story with terrific acting and some of the best action scenes of the year.


Image result for the accountant movie  

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The Neon Demon

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring:  Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves, Jenna Malone

Box office:  1.3 million


Refn has made a beautiful horror film and satire all at the same time that takes a look at the fashion model world in Los Angeles. It's as if he took what we were all thinking and actually filmed it. Kubrick would have been proud of this film, as Refn perfectly framed and captured every single moment on film that told a story and meant something. The film follows a very young model named Jesse (Elle Fanning), who ends up in Los Angeles by herself, with no friends or family. She is a natural beauty and has just landed a top agency.


Elle is worried that she is too young and people won't believe she is actually 18.  Her agent replies with a coy, sardonic smile, "Sweety, people will believe what they are told to believe."  I was hooked on this film right at this point.  The script is just one of the strong points of the film.  It has a litany of observations about the human condition and most of them don't paint us with the best brush.  Humans, at least in this film, are cold, calculated, beauty obsessed and will fuck each other over if it means you get a bigger slice of the pie.  


Jesse seems like a timid girl, but she has more up her sleeve than she lets on, and not always in the most positive of ways. Due to her natural beauty and innocence, she wins the gigs of all the top magazines, which causes the other older models to lose out on the spotlight and make them bitter and jealous, including Gigi and Sarah (Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee). A makeup artist by the name of Ruby (Jena Malone) takes young Jesse under her wing, but there is always something off about her in her presentation and demeanor.


Through this visual paradise of elegance and ugliness, the story unfolds in a direction that you really won't see coming. When it does happen, Refn goes all out and never stops or flinches away with any of it. 'The Neon Demon' is truly a beautiful yet horrifying film for all the right reasons. The score by Cliff Martinez is fantastic as well and always adds to each moment of the movie's unpredictability and suspense.


Elle Fanning is simply fantastic here too, as she portrays someone you really never root for, but at the same time want her to succeed. Keanu Reeves provides some great entertainment and comedy too with Malone, Heathcote and Lee delivering top notch supporting performances. Refn has made an visually stunning film with one hell of a story that could be all too real in this day and age. Again, Refn would have made Kubrick proud with this one-of-a-kind movie experience.


Image result for elle fanning neon demon

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Independence Day Resurgence 

Directed by Roland Emerich

Starring:  Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Mika Monroe

Box office:  389 million


"We had twenty years to prepare. So did they."


What we have here is one of the best tag lines of the year.  It really got me excited.  What we actually got was perhaps the dumbest movie ever made.  And I've seen some dumb-ass Z horror movies.  

Here's a quick breakdown and then we'll move on:

The script is horrible.

Maika Monroe is so hot but so bad in this.

The dialogue cannot be saved by Goldblum, which makes it really bad.

The effects are horrible.

The logic is horrible

And Maika Monroe gets through the shield put up by the aliens because she really really wants to (sorry @CJohn...I know this isn't true but it really plays out that way)


There's no charm like the first.  No chemistry with anyone and it's one of the few films that I truly and utterly hated.


Well, here's a great picture of Maika, at least.


Image result for independence day resurgence maika

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Directed by James Bobin

Starring:  Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Borat

Box office: 299.4 million


I have no idea what I watched.  None of it made sense.  It was special effects upon special effects.  That's all.  A truly putrid piece of dung.


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Directed by Justin Kurzel

Starring:  Fass, Cotillard, Irons

Box office:  203 million


I've never played the game.  Therefore I have no idea if this is a faithful adaptation of it.  That shouldn't matter.  I shouldn't have to have played Pole Position either to understand a good car racing film.  


Here's the plot (or at least what I think was the plot): There's some kind of secret cult named the Assassin's Brotherhood that for centuries have opposed the Templar Order. These two groups are fighting because of a magic stone that they call "The Apple of Eden" created by an ancient civilization, which contains the genetic code for free will (yeah, it's that stupid). The Templars want to locate this stone in order to put an end to the disease that is violence and subjugate the human race (huh... how?). The Templars' head scientist, Dr. Sophia Rikkin, saves an inmate named Callum from the death penalty faking his execution. She reveals that he is a descendant of a member of the Assassin's Brotherhood (who looks just like him!) and conscripts him to the Animus Project, in which Callum is connected to a Matrix-like machine that allows him to relive his ancestor genetic memories (yeah, it's that stupid) so that they can learn the current whereabouts of the Apple.


Aaaaand then I checked out. Life is too short. This one made me think: "I'm wasting my time". And I know that you're thinking "Well... it probably isn't that bad... After all I just want to see some action, explosions, funny jokes...". No. This movie has the most unbearable, pompous and just joyless tone. Every actor is sleepwalking through this mess and the action scenes (which mainly consist in hooded guys jumping from rooftops and poor Michael Fassbender doing karate alone in a little grey room while strapped to a silly contraption) are as exciting as staring at your washing machine. Oh, and there are endless shots of birds flying. I'm sure they had a purpose.  Then at the end there is a double cross.  The problem with this is I had no idea who the bad guys were so someone double crossing someone doesn't seem like a double cross when you don't know who is being double crossed.  Sound stupid and confusing?  That's the entire movie for you.


This is one of the worst films I've ever seen.


Image result for assassin's creed

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Back to the final two...the two best films of the year.


Before I get into that, i just have to say that I finally found a way to see Jackie and Silence.  These two films would certainly make my list, both would be in at around a 8.5/10 which would put them in the top 15.  But beyond how good they were, Natalie Portman and Andrew Garfield give the two best performances of the year.  There is no other female performance this year that comes close and as much as I'm truly loved Affleck in Manchester, Garfield is just that good.  The academy is once again to reward the wrong film and wrong performers this year.  But just for the record, Portman and Garfield are simply stunning.


Image result for jackie natalie portman



Image result for silence andrew garfield hair


Speaking of Andrew Garfield......

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Hacksaw Ridge

Directed by Mel Gibson

Starring:  Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving

Box office:  163.6 million


Mel Gibson shows and proves once again why he is one of the best directors working in Hollywood.  This very well could be his crowning achievement.  Braveheart was excellent, this one is just a bit better.  


The true life story of Desmond Doss is finally brought to the big screen, Doss was a US Army medic who served during WWII, but coming from a family with a strong religious beliefs and a father that struggled with the aftermath of WWI (a veteran himself) it lead him to be a Seventh-day Adventist, refusing to bare a firearm and the use of violence against another. His personal choice would affect his country's army and persuaded a court hearing to charge Doss for his personal beliefs and objection to bare arms but despite this, he is given the chance though to fight alongside his 'brothers' in the Battle of Okinawa, a battle which the American forces fought against the invading Japanese in an intense and brutal battle. It is here in this key battle that Doss was recognised as a true hero for his country, as he managed to rescue the lives of 75 soldiers wounded in battle.


Gibson returns to the director's chair to helm this true story, giving his touch of humanistic quality, anti-war themes and brutality to the horrors of war to much great detail. The direction is pretty much on point throughout and never goes dull or loses itself during the 2 hour running time. The first half of the film is about character and what establishes Doss to become a legend that he is known for, while the 2nd half of the film focuses on his role during the Battle of Okinawa and the brutal battle itself. The violence here is given so much detail, not holding back on the horrors of war and the devastating effect it carried on both sides. The production design, sound mixing, editing and scale of the battle is as intense, horrifying and respectful to the details and real life experiences to what we've read in history books, but it is yet filmed with beautiful and yet brutal detailing that echoes much to Saving Private Ryan's D-Day battle sequence. The 2nd half of the film is much darker than the first half and people will need a strong stomach to handle the graphic depictions of violence and deaths we see throughout, but it does get emotional at times and in the last few minutes of the film, though overall the film is emotional with Doss's back-story, his personal lifestyle and the brotherhood that Doss and his army experience and share on the battlefield.


In terms of acting, the cast as a whole is incredible with Andrew Garfield, Hugo Weaving, Vince Vaughn (who imo should have been nominated for best supporting this year) Luke Bracey and Teresa Palmer giving the best key performances of the film. Garfield has come a long way to prove himself as a worthy actor, breaking away from his well known role as Spider-Man prior to HR. To describe his role as Doss, he gives a quality that defines him as a simple man with values in his life while facing a few struggles that form his belief of not bearing violence or firearms. Garfield must have given much study and preparation for the role, as his character's journey from a wise simple man to a hero of his army is given so much heart, emotion and bravery to make the journey of Doss so believable.


Overall, Hacksaw Ridge is a film that will leave audiences in state of emotion that describes the horrors of war, the bravery of Doss and his army and a sense of thankfulness to our past ancestors who had lived in a time to fight for freedom and peace when the world was divided. An incredible film that is up for six Oscars.  A must see film if you have studied history at school, have an interest in history or if you love a solid war film that's true to its core. A masterpiece that will probably go down as one of the best modern war films.


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3 hours ago, Ethan Hunt said:

The Accountant :mellow:


BTW I thought both of the twists were fairly obvious


I didn't.  I didn't see the very last one coming at all.

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Directed by:  Some overpaid Tool

Starring:  God's perfect idiot, some hot chick, a British villain, comic relief and a moody teen

Box office:  783.1 million


I knew nothing about Deadpool.  Nothing.  Niente.  Nada.  Zilch.  I, like many others, thought it would do Green Lantern like numbers because it was a rated R super-hero movie which effectively eliminates most of your audience.  I, like everyone else, was wrong, we were so very wrong.


I started to get interested in this film, like most other people, when the marketing took off.  They even had some great marketing for just Canada and just Australia and so on.


Image result for deadpool marketing canada


Without the marketing, I don't think it would have done nearly as well as it did.  So then that brings us to the movie.  The clever marketing got us into the theater, but if the movie suckeed, it would die a quick death.  Fortunately, Deadpool is unlike any other superhero film I have seen.  Deadpool mocks his creators, he makes fun of its star, criticizes Marvel and Fox and rips apart pop culture in general.  And at the very end, just when you are ready to leave, we are given the best post credit scene since Ferris Bueller's Day Off.


Here it is.




For those of you too young to have seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off (and it came out 30 years ago), here is the end credits scene from that movie:




There are about 100 pop culture references in Deadpool.  I'm not going to name all of them of course, but here are just a few:


All of the Wham references

Kevin Feige is mentioned on the pizza box

Wade reads the memoirs of Mario Lopez.  

He makes fun of Taken (the trilogy)

He uses a line straight from X-men Origins Wolverine

He makes fun of his status as sexiest man alive

He rips into Green Lantern

McAvoy or Stewart, he says, when he is told he is being taken to meet Professor X

Agent Smith

127 Hours reference


And many many others.


This doesn't make it the best film of the year, but it contributes.  For me, personally, I like going to the movies to be entertained.  I see more movies than most so sometimes things can get stale.  I've grown tired of Marvel for the most part because it seems that Stark and the gang have gotten stale.  DC is good, but not great as they are still trying to figure things out.  Then along comes Deadpool, a completely original idea about a superhero who really is one but also knows that he is a creation.  This is obviously breaking the fourth wall and it allows us, the fans, the people paying money to see this stuff, to feel like we are in on the joke.  Ryan Reynolds has long been my favourite actor and there is no one, absolutely no one who could have done to Deadpool what he did.  This is a triumph from the opening shot of the film to the end credits.  Everyone knows this is a labour of love as it took them 11 years to get this onto the screen.  Fox had no interest in doing it because it was R-rated and they felt it would be a losing venture.  When some footage finally leaked over the internet and people loved it, Fox threw Reynolds and Miller a bone and gave them 60 million to make the movie, or what accounts to the salary of RDJ for Iron Man.  It was low risk for them and it didn't really seem like they cared one way or the other if it did well or not.  783 million dollars later, Deadpool is the highest grossing R rated film of all time world wide and the second highest grossing in NA.  It has received Golden Globe nominations, got a PGA nomination and is now on track for a sequel in 2018.


Deadpool is up there with The Dark Knight as the best super hero film ever created, imo.  Reynolds and Miller and the writers brought to life something that they worked on for more than a decade and that labour of love showed.  This is the comedy of the year, it's the best film of the year and I can't wait for the sequel.


Here's just some of the video's for the marketing campaign



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