I swear, this will be the last part of the long list of films I’ve enjoyed in 2016. This is the list I came up with and I’m sticking with it. If I rewatch any of the honourable mentions, even they might make it on the list, so no changes! Again, none of these are in any particular order.
21. HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
Now this was one of most fun experiences I’ve had while watching a film this year. It’s just unfortunate that I did not watch this in the cinema. Alongside The Nice Guys, this is the best buddy comedy duo of the year. Sam Neill is just a grouchy delight while Julian Dennison is so cute as the rebellious Ricky. And I will always cherish the presence of Rima Te Wiata in anything due to my love of Full Frontal. Alongside Sausage Party, the film contains one of the best references to Terminator 2 ever.
22. THE AGE OF SHADOWS
Kim Jee-woon’s Korean comeback was long-awaited since his venture into America with The Last Stand and it was worth the wait. Technically masterful, fine performances, thrilling setpieces (the train sequence is one of the best scenes of the year) and such an assured hand from Kim that he melds genres of action film, period drama, espionage thriller with ease. Gong Yoo had a fantastic year in 2016 while Song Kang-ho proves once again that he is one of Korea’s best actors.
Read the full review here.
23. GIRL ASLEEP
A lovely comedy, a great coming-of-age film and a wondrous fantasy, Girl Asleep is a hard one to categorize and yet it was so easy to enjoy. I was giggling and dancing like a lunatic in the film’s infectiously funny first half and I was thrown off and hooked in the fantastical and surreal second half, appreciating all the depth and surrealism the film entailed. I also appreciated the practical effects during the fantasy sequences, which gave the film a refreshingly rustic approach.
Bethany Whitmore is incredibly appealing and likable in the leading role while Harrison Feldman is a hoot as the hilariously pure-hearted love interest.
24. GREEN ROOM
If I ever watch this film and The Wailing as a double-bill, my nails would never grow back after the searing tension and gripping suspense. With enough claustrophobia that you would need an oxygen tank; with enough gore that you would need a shower afterwards; with enough acting/directing chops that it would make you stay, Green Room is an experience that is both amazingly repulsive and rapturous.
25. TONI ERDMANN
For a film with a story that sounded cliched and quite annoying, I wasn’t really looking forward to the film that much. But thankfully, Toni Erdmann lives up to the huge hype. The film achieves a perfect balance of humour and poignancy while providing wonderful characters guided by incredibly game performances, but what really impressed me was despite the ridiculous antics and hijinks, there is always a palpable throughline of realism that immerses the audience into relating to these characters, leading to great payoffs in the final act which I didn’t expect.
Well, that’s the end of the list, everyone! Hope you like my choices and if you didn’t, you can have your choice of my worst films of the year; maybe those would be to your liking.