The Best Films I Watched Last Year

I know it's a bit late now, but I thought I'd share a list of some favourite films that I watched in that long lost time we call 2016. Quite a few of these films are from the 2013 - 2015 period, because that's just the staggered rate at which I tend to see a lot of films, but there's also some earlier gems. Let's take a look at them.

Rogue One (2016)

This was the last film I saw, just a couple of days before the end of the year, and it was one of the most satisfying films I saw all year. Almost every component of this one just really hit the spot for me - a great story, a perfect sarcastic robot, Mads Mikkelsen being incredible as always, and an ending that felt gratifying and appropriately bittersweet.

Spy (2015) 

In Spy, there's a running joke about the possible romance between Miranda Hart and 50 Cent, and it's amazing. That's all I'm going to say about this one.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

This is such a unique, surreal, and darkly funny story. Al Pacino is a bank robber who ends up on live TV news coverage. The bank ladies are probably my favourite element of the film (they are gleeful hostages). It's just... good.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

I'm not sure how I managed to go so long without seeing this film, but I watched it in 2016 and it is a stunning piece of film-making. The humanity of each character is so expertly shown through various directorial choices, and the whole film is so touching.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

This is another film which has lots of shots and sound design and use of visuals that you can pick out and marvel over. The post-apocalyptic world feels very real and dense thanks to lots of tiny, well thought out design elements that build a strong sense of culture within the film's universe. It's a film that touches on a lot of interesting concepts concerning society, community, and liberation.

Obvious Child (2014)

This is a heart-warming story about one woman's abortion. I watched a few films that dealt with this topic last year (including one that featured Cher as a doctor - If These Walls Could Talk), but this one deals with it in a really interesting way. Comedy is central (the protagonist is a comedian), but the film knows exactly when to be serious, and to express vulnerability and fragility. It's a very hopeful story, and I really enjoyed its approach to its themes.

Badlands (1973)

Sissy Spacek is the perfect shell-shocked and suggestible teenager in this brilliant film about a Bonny and Clyde-esque escapade which feels very sleepy and wide and sunkissed.

Dead Leaves (2004)

Lastly, Dead Leaves. How do I explain Dead Leaves? It is a wonderfully fast-paced, angular animated film about two characters who attempt to break out of prison. It's crass in a clever way and the whole thing feels like a long dream in the way that things loop and erupt continuously. It's very weird, kinda short, and a bit magical.

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