Explore
 Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
Categories
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Avatar
Added by jpzembower on 11 Feb 2017 11:54
106 Views No comments
3
vote

30 Favorite Films of 2016

Add header image

Choose file... or enter url:
Sort by: Showing 30 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 192 Average listal rating (123 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Sumptuous and sensuous, twisty and twisted, insanely erotic. The Handmaiden is all these things and more. Starting out as an engrossing period piece before taking a turn and flipping all expectations and what we’ve learned atop its pretty head, this is a dream film for true lovers of cinema. From the dazzling cinematography, extraordinary camera work, lavish set and costume design, and enticing storytelling, this is a cinematic feast served on a shimmering platter. Park Chan-Wook has outdone himself with this film, one I couldn’t peel my eyes away from, every new development completely had a hold on me. A completely original work of divine beauty and wicked insinuations, it also works as a powerful feminist statement. A work of staggering art, I could have devoured it more had it run past it’s lengthy nearly 3 hour run time. This is a new masterpiece of indulgently addicting filmmaking. Some may find a few developments in the third act excessive, but I never once felt bored, and was eagerly awaiting to see how this story would unfold. The Handmaiden is a true love letter to compelling and ravishing filmmaking. One would do themselves a disservice by letting this one pass them by.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
Christine (2016)
What could have been potentially offensive and exploitation, Christine is instead a powerful character study, while also showing the difficulties that arise when you are hiding a war within yourself and just can't seem to maneuver through life as easily as others. In the middle of all of this is Rebecca Hall, who has impressed me in the past, but did not prepare me for how truly astonishing she is here. She so accurately captures a woman struggling to keep it together, to live up to her potential before it's too late, and of course, begins to unravel. There is a sequence near the middle of the film involving an argument between Christine and her mother that I had to replay more than a few times. She's THAT good. Shame she didn't get any recognition at all this year, it's almost irritating. Director Campos and his writers, along with Hall, approach this difficult subject with sensitivity while also refusing to soften the blow. Mental illness is one of the hardest things a human can deal with, and by the end you mostly understand why she did what she did, and yet it's never exploitative. I identified so much with Christine the individual, I've been through the darkness she battled, and I survived something she did not, and this is 100% accurate, never taking manipulative cheap shots. Christine gets everything right.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 303 Average listal rating (183 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.2
The first film I saw in 2016 that blew me away was Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon. A phantasmagorical, seductively stylized, buffet for the senses. A wicked take down of a shallow L.A. landscape, which appears like a neon hell through a prism. I was glued to the screen, giddy to see how this would all play out. Where it goes is bonkers and batshit crazy, becoming all the more stranger, sinister, and mysterious with every moment that passes. Some have criticized it for being thinly written and a case of style over substance. In the case of The Neon Demon, the style becomes the substance, and some scattered clues give the film a sense that there's more going on than we can see. Elle Fanning, currently one of my favorite working actresses, is magnetic in the central role. Is she as shy and naive as she appears to be? Or does she also have some ulterior motives. Jena Malone, on the other hand, didn't receive any attention for her performance here, which is a shame, because she's fearless and charismatic and mysterious and almost steals every scene she appears. Also, the soundtrack by Cliff Martinez doesn't disappoint, it's works just as well as a standalone album. It's a work of art. The Neon Demon will polarize audiences, this is not your typical horror film. It's a Nicolas Winding Refn horror film, and for more adventurous filmgoers, cinematic nirvana. I still can't get enough of it. And those ending credits!
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 113 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.6
Toni Erdmann (2016)
Sadness and humor practically dance together in Toni Erdmann. Lengthy for sure, but it justifies it, as every sequence is a step up from the last and crucial to the themes and central relationship. Simultaneously hilarious and beautifully poignant. Maren Ade has created a film that feels truly transcendent and some kind of cinematic miracle. Sandra Huller, who impressed me greatly in Requiem, is nothing short of flawless here. Like Huppert, she makes great acting look like second nature, a particular moment where she belts out Whitney Houston's Greatest Love of All is one of the highmarks of the entire year. Peter Simonischek matches her every step of the way, and their evolving relationship and personal dynamic is lovely to watch unfold. Toni Erdmann is a film for the books, one of the very best films of last year, and probably one of my favorites of all-time. Just pure bliss.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 355 Average listal rating (268 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.8
The Witch (2015)
If this is Dave Eggars' first film, I can only imagine the greatness that awaits in his future of filmmaking. With impeccable pacing, the dread and foreboding atmosphere builds to a suffocating degree. The sense of time and place rings with authenticity, as if we have literally been transported back in time. It's almost flawless in what it sets out to do, and doesn't compromise-- audience comfort be damned. Then of course there is Black Philip, if ever an animal deserved awards recognition, it's this damn goat. Watching the hysterical madness and paranoia slowly destroy the doomed family burrows its way under the skin and brands itself upon the psyche. The Witch is a new milestone in horror, an instant classic that only gets better with each subsequent viewing. Who knows how Eggars will top this one, but I eagerly await his follow up.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 98 Average listal rating (65 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Wailing (2016)
Like a horror novel you find impossible to put down, devouring every page, The Wailing is something of an epic for the genre. Starting off as a somewhat oddly humorous horror/comedy, the film eventually takes a turn and by the end is unsparing in its dread and emotionally draining. I was not expecting to be so shaken and overwhelmed when this was over. It's also an incredibly well-crafted film, thick with an ever oppressing atmosphere, genuine surprise, startling tension and developments that I won't spoil here. The Wailing simply works on every level, and for the horror genre, it's a towering achievement.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 191 Average listal rating (122 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
Elle (2016)
When developing into a serious cinephile around 13 or so, I came across Isabelle Huppert and was immediately taken by her. Blown away by her performance in The Piano Teacher, which is legendary when it comes to screen performances, I sought out all of her films, and discovered it was damn near impossible that she could ever put out a bad performance or even a mediocre one. In short, I love the woman, and Elle is Huppert at the peak of her powers. Who would think Huppert and Paul Verhoeven would be a match made in cinematic heaven? What could have been a run of the mill rape-revenge story is anything but. Verhoeven smashes conventions and instead serves up a deeply twisted, deliciously dark, and penetrating character study. Huppert's Michelle is no ordinary protagonist, as she holds some dark and unsavory secrets herself. The rape becomes secondary, as we study this women who may be just as dangerous as her attacker, only in a more calculated way. Elle will rub a lot of people the wrong way, but it is undeniably fearless into the places it goes, while surprisingly avoiding exploitation. And of course, there's Huppert, who once again makes it look so easy. She carries the entire film, and you can't get enough of her. For adults looking for some challenging,provocative, darkly comedic drama, look no further than Elle.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 350 Average listal rating (240 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
Well, here's another film that makes the thought of being in a relationship terrifying. Tom Ford's follow up to A Single Man, Nocturnal Animals is a huge step forward for the fashion-designer-turned-filmmaker. Initially, I felt that maybe it was a case of style over substance, until a second viewing showed just how complex and devilishly intense it actually is. A piercing, brutal, and bitter exploration of cruelty in relationships. How certain decisions we make, especially when it involves another person, can cause shattering consequences. The jumping back and forth between the imagined novel being read by Amy Adam's Susan, running parallel with the present as Susan faces the mess of a bed she must sleep in, makes for compelling juxtaposition. The more you think about it, the clearer the meanings and implications become. If Pedro Almodovar wasn't a huge inspiration for Tom Ford when making this, I'd be surprised. A love it or hate it experience, Nocturnal Animals is hard to shake. Also, why the hell has Jake Gyllenhaal not received an Oscar yet?
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 5.7
Always Shine (2016)
From Alex Ross Perry's Queen of Earth, David Lynch's classic Mulholland Drive (also my favorite film of all-time), all the way back to Ingmar Bergman's Persona, to The Handmaiden. Female-centric psychological thrillers/dramas have somehow always served up some of the best, most intriguing, films. What now should be added to this the top portion of the list is Always Shine. A thrillingly unpredictable, wholly original, endlessly engrossing and downright addicting. It also works as a showcase for two flawless performances by Caitlin Fitzgerald and especially Mackenzie Davis, who is an absolute force of nature here. Though it leaves more questions than answers, the film is beyond satisfying and one I can't wait to go back to over the years. If only to dissect it's multiple layers and unconventional story structure. An unsung triumph, by all means seek this one out.



jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Every sociopath or maniacal dictator was once a small child, which brings us to The Childhood Of A Leader. Who would have guessed that actor Brady Corbet (Mysterious Skin, Funny Games U.S.) would turn out a directorial debut as impressive and original as this one is? Aided by Scott Walker's thunderous score, extravagant set design, head-spinning camera work, and thick atmosphere, this is an amazingly confident first feature and completely took me by surprise. Though the supporting cast are all never less than convincing, it is the performance by child-actor Tom Sweet that among the greatest acting by a child I've seen. Not just a one-note spoiled brat (though there is some of that too) his quiet and calculating demeanor is on another level. Though it requires patience at time, this shockingly good film sneaks up on you and its implications stay in your head for days after. I loved it. Bravo Mr. Corbet!
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 356 Average listal rating (269 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.5
Moonlight (2016)
Sometimes undeserving films get incredibly overwhelming praise and hype. As for the nearly unanimously praised film Moonlight, the hype is entirely warranted. An achingly symphonic, deeply moving, work of art. Barry Jenkin's direction is sensitive and mesmerizing. Ending on a note of such beautiful compassion, Moonlight is truly magnificent.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7
There are a lot of indie/arthouse queer films out there, Closet Monster deserves to be considered one of the best ones that somehow transcend the cliches. A bit of Xavier Dolan here, some Greg Araki there, and even some Cronenberg body horror, but this film stands strongly as one of a kind. It's fresh, touching without going into full blown depression/downer mode like a lot of lgbt cinema. And I'm gay, so I've seen a lot. It's nice to see one that stays true to itself and is emotional, yet still ending on a note of hope and bittersweet optimism. Connor Jessup is also fine in the central role, he showed great promise on Season 2 of American Crime, and continues to shine. I loved every identifiable moment with it, minus the talking hamster voiced by Isabella Rosselini (trust me, it somehow works.)
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 147 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
I love good slowburn, and Karyn Kusama's The Invitation is one of the best I've seen. Kusama slowly but surely ratchets up the tension and paranoia before bursting it in the third act. It all leads to one of the best final shots of 2016, the implications of it made my jaw drop, and added a completely new layer to the film. Beyond the effective suspense, though, is an emotional core felt throughout that increases the films depth even more. The Invitation is one of the best thrillers of last 2016. I can't wait to see what Karyn Kusama does next.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 650 Average listal rating (476 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
Arrival (2016)
Another masterful film from Dennis Vilenouve who just seems to get better with each film. He's absolutely one of my favorite filmmakers working today. Sicario was as flawless as films get, and Arrival isn't too far behind. Amy Adams is without fault in her performance, speaking so much through facial expressions, and raw heartbreak. The nonlinear story structure makes for a fascinating puzzle box, the more pieces you put together, the more Arrival continues to impress and deepen on many levels. A truly great work of science fiction for those who would like an alien invasion with more depth and humanity and ideas than explosions, one-liners, and product placement. Johan Johansson's score only elevates the tense, otherworldly, atmosphere and the cinematography and editing is incredibly textured and marvelous. A new scifi classic has arrived. (Couldn't help myself with that one.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 77 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7
Ambitious, lengthy, and indulgent in all the right ways. American Honey has a firecracker energy and sense of vitality in every moment. Andrea Arnold's camera finds beauty in the strangest of places and at times the smallest of details. Newcomer Sasha Lane is a true find, having to carry the entire film on her shoulders, she holds your attention throughout. And hate on LaBeouf all you want, but as an actor he has a go-for-broke charisma that has a fresh unpredictability that makes him intensely watchable. Shot with a closed in aspect ratio, similar to Xavier Dolan's mommy, this is a lit snapshot of a young woman still learning about herself and those around here. An unconventional film where it's minor flaws only seem to accentuate the final impact.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 567 Average listal rating (411 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.2
La La Land (2016)
I still may have some issues La La Land, and it could easily be labelled overrated at this point, but I can't deny what a dynamic, born-filmmaker, Damien Chazelle is proving to be. Whiplash was a great film, and there are moments here that even best that film. Do I wish it had some more musical numbers? Perhaps. But even with it's faults it is totally redeemed by a bittersweet, wonderfully cinematic, final act. It may not be one of the greatest films of the year, but Damien Chazelle shows what a visionary he can be, and I don't see him giving up any time soon. Also, kudos to Emma Stone for her captivating performance, and Justin Hurwitz incredible music, which is a character in itself and one of the films strongest aspects.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 80 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.7
Other People (2016)
Independent films dealing with mother/son relationships, and especially those of families going through the struggle of watching their mother/wife shut down because of cancer has been done to death. But Other People is something special, finding that hard to capture middle ground of humor and sadness. The laughs stemming from situations any person can nod their head in acknowledgement. It also doesn't focus on the morbidity of the death of a loved one, but instead treats the subject as realistic as possible. Because even when we are going through the hardest times in life, we still have those moments of light that balance the darkness. Other People captures this with absolute precision.

It's also one of the greatest depictions of homosexuality I've seen, right down to those sometimes very awkward sexual encounters with a past love who you still share a connection with whether or not you are 'boyfriends'. Again though, this is not to say that this is a gay film, it's simply another part of the tapestry that is our lives which makes the movie so damn near perfect.

Gentle and transcendent of obvious cliches, this is among the best of the year, pure and simple. Earning it's tears and never forcing one to laugh. Really, it's quite a therapeutic and comforting film to watch. Some may dismiss it as typical Sundance-indie check list, but in the case of Other People, they are absolutely incorrect.

Molly Shannon shows yet again why she is such an underrated actress and in a perfect world, would be getting accolades across the board. Same goes for Jesse Plemons who just keeps getting better and better.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 212 Average listal rating (140 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.7
Café Society (2016)
Woody Allen's best film since Blue Jasmine, Cafe Society also finds the director at his most charming, warm, and luminous. The period setting and costumes make for a welcome environment to get lost in. The cast is no small order, but Kristen Stewart is by fire the standout. One of her least affected performances that shows just how great of an actress is. Visually gorgeous, romantic, and a lovely entertainment. As light as a souffle, but rich in its various rewards.
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 186 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Jackie (2016)
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 435 Average listal rating (295 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Lobster (2015)
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 90 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 231 Average listal rating (83 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.7
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 5.9
Wiener-Dog (2016)
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.1
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 273 Average listal rating (219 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Don't Breathe (2016)
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
Certain Women (2016)
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 155 Average listal rating (118 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
Hush (2016)
jpzembower's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom

My picks for my favorite or most notable films of 2016. For the most part in order. Especially the top 15. I couldn't decide on number 1, thus there is a tie. Documentaries included.

Added to




Related lists

25 From 87: My Favorite Films Of 1987
25 item list by The Mighty Celestial
4 votes
25 From 89: My Favorite Films of 1989
25 item list by The Mighty Celestial
2 votes
Top Favorite Films of 2016
8 item list by Agent Kermit D. Fonz
2 votes
25 From 88: My Favorite Films Of 1988
25 item list by The Mighty Celestial
2 votes
25 From 85: My Favorite Films Of 1985
25 item list by The Mighty Celestial
8 votes
30 From 91: My Favorite Films From 1991
30 item list by The Mighty Celestial
3 votes
25 From 86: My Favorite Films Of 1986
25 item list by The Mighty Celestial
4 votes
30 From 95: My Favorite Films From 1995
30 item list by The Mighty Celestial
4 votes
30 From 94: My Favorite Films From 1994
30 item list by The Mighty Celestial
4 votes
20 From 76: My Favorite Films Of 1976
20 item list by The Mighty Celestial
9 votes

View more top voted lists


Post comment


Insert image

drop image here
(or click)
or enter URL:
 link image?  square?

Insert video

Format block