Top 10 best movies 2016
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Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Notes: Well, even though it was maybe not completely flawless, it wasn't far from it and I can't remember the last time I saw a movie combining so perfectly drama and comedy. Seriously, this movie was so funny, it was very often much more hilarious than most of your average comedy. And yet, it was dealing with a really tragic story but, somehow, this mix worked miraculously well. I think that, even though the acting was quite impressive, I enjoyed most of all the writing. Indeed, the two main characters (an uncle and his nephew) were just so fascinating, with so many layers, and their dialogues were just pure gold. The ending was also very effective without forcing these characters into a more traditional happy-ending. More than 15 years ago, I was lucky enough to see 'You Can Count on Me' when it was released, it was just great to see Kenneth Lonergan making such an impressive come-back and the guy displayed once again that he has a gift to show the complex relationships within a family.
Notes: Since I kept hearing some really good things about this movie, I was really eager to check it out. Well, eventually, I wasn't disappointed, that's for sure. Basically, it was pretty much a flawless drama that worked on all levels. Indeed, I was at first quite impressed by its visual style which was sober but also so effective and, yet, they managed to make some rather simple scenes like a character smoking beautiful to look at. Then, you had the score which was a perfect mix between classic and modern. So, the directing was really strong but the performances were just really fine as well from all the actors involved. Another thing I really appreciated in this movie was how deep and complex all the characters were displayed. Eventually, there was something really hearbreaking about this tale and it displayed how merciless such environment can be, especially if you show any kind of weakness. It raises such questions like should we always be true to ourself even it will probably result in our own destruction or should we adapt in order to survive?
Notes: In this age, when we are getting closer and closer towards a major super-hero overdose, this movie was actually what this genre needed. Indeed, basically the makers rejected both the dark and gloominess delivered by DC and the brainless popcorn entertainment produced by Marvel and they went for something really different delivering one of the most messed-up and entertaining super-hero features out there. Sure, there was indeed an origin story, also a rather generic romance and even some pretty badass action scenes, but, at the end of the day, they hardly cared for the plot, neither was I, and instead, they focused on the hilarious jokes and oneliners delivered by the Merc with a Mouth which was a great move.
Notes: Well, eventually, this movie really did hit me like a truck. Indeed, my own life was just so similar to what was going on with the main character, it was just uncanny. Basically, more than 12 years ago, I left France to go living in the Netherlands where my father was born and raised and I usually go only once a year back to France to see my parent, my brother and my sister so I pretty much knew what the guy was going through. Indeed, from the moment Louis gets inside, all hell breaks loose, you understand right away why the guy decided to take off without looking back and this situation was just so damned recognizable. I can understand that many viewers would find these characters borderline unwatchable, especially Antoine played by Vincent Cassel at the top of his game but, in my opinion, it was one of the best depictions of a dysfunctional familly I have ever seen.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Notes: Since I really loved 'A Single Man', I was really glad that Tom Ford was finally coming up with a follow-up after 8 long years and I was really eager to check the damned thing. Well, I wasn't disappointed, that's for sure. I think the thing I enjoyed the most about this movie was how completely different it was from its predecessor. I mean, both films were visually really neat but that was pretty much the only thing they had in common. The next thing I really enjoyed was the way he managed to perfectly mix the different time lines and storylines. Indeed, it is something really tricky to do, in fact, it can be a useless and annoying gimmick but it worked here so well and I'm pretty sure that these different tales wouldn't have worked so much if they would have been told separately.
Hell or High Water (2016)
Notes: Well, I always had a weak spot for the heist genre but the most common mistake they make in these movies is that the actually heists are very often just way too convoluted and, as a result, it is rather difficult to take them seriously. Fortunately, it wasn't the case here as everything made sense and seemed doable which made the whole thing so much more interesting to watch. Of course, it wasn't only about showing a realistic heist, it was also about showing some interesting characters and also their environment. Indeed, the makers delivered a bleak and fascinating view of West Texas showing how life has been hard on the folks down there and, eventually, the bad guys didn't seem to be the bank robbers but the banks pushing some average people to take such drastic measures.
Notes: Of course, I knew already a lot of what they told but they went so much in depth in the subject and they chose some really interesting, well-spoken and knowledgeable speakers. It was really interesting that the problematic came all the way back from the end of the slavery but I was mostly shocked by the privatisation of the prison sector in the USA. I already saw something similar in ‘Sicko’, another very strong documentary delivered by Michael Moore, in which they displayed the damage done by the privatisation of the health sector. As a result, you get to see that there is so many money involved in the process, it can never be good that someone would open a prison and take care of prisoners in order to make some profit. Anyway, it was a really strong documentary.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Notes: I have to admit that it actually took me a while to really get into this story. Indeed, before watching the damned thing, I didn't watch a trailer and I didn't even read a synopsis so, at first, I thought it would be another rather straightforward tale of a young man going to war like so many others I have seen before. Obviously, it was really pleased that, for once, it was actually dealing with a medic, a guy who refused to even hold a rifle. Indeed, we never talk about them but those guys are just crucial in a battle and most of them are just heroes, even maybe more than all these soldiers trying to kill as many enemies as possible. For Andrew Garfield, 2016 was quite a banner year after his already impressive performance in 'Silence'. To conclude, Mel Gibson has made a name as a director after making some really violent movies and, this time, even if he still delivered some gruesome but impressive battle scenes, he decided to focus on the least violent soldier but also the most courageous and inspiring man ever witnessed on a battlefield and the end-result was just really impressive.
The Red Turtle (2016)
Notes: First of all, the whole thing was just gorgeous to look at but I wouldn't expect less from a Studio Ghibli production. Same thing about the soundtrack, it was just mesmerizing, and I always enjoyed a movie without any dialogue. Eventually, it was one of the most poetic movies I have seen for a very long time. And, yet, I have to admit that the whole thing kind of lost me when the turtle became a woman. I do understand that the makers had to do something otherwise it would have been just another tale about a stranded guy on a desert island but I wasn't completely sold. I mean, just before that, the guy actually killed this red turtle which was the only violent act through the whole movie but, somehow, even though what he did made sense (who wouldn't react like this in such a situation?), I wasn't so sure about the outcome though. I mean, it felt to me as if this man was somehow rewarded for killing this turtle by getting some really nice-looking red-haired woman which was slightly awkward. Still, it remained a rather fascinating animated picture.
Notes: Since I'm a huge of fan of Martin Scorsese, of course, I was really eager to check this flick but there were a couple of things that worried me about this project. First of all, even though Scorsese had announced that he will direct this movie, he kept pushing it indefinitely to release something else and, when it finally seemed that he would finally get it done, I had the feeling that it was partially because he was contractually obligated and also to finally getting done with it. On top of that, it wasn't exactly a huge critical success when it was released so, to be honest, I had lowered my expectations and I thought it might turn out to be a minor effort for this great master. Well, even though it was definitely one of his least accessible movies, the damned thing was actually quite spellbinding to behold. The fact that I have always been fascinated by the subject of religion certainly did help and I thought that this movie was a really interesting study on faith and on how, at the same time, it can be completely misguided but also really inspiring.
Other movies which almost made the list :
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