Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Five best films of 2016...

I'm a huge fan of going to the movies and seeing a film on the big screen, and these days appreciate watching uninterrupted by text messages, social media and other distractions. In 2016 I was fortunate to see almost 40 movies at the cinema, some multiple times, and after some consideration here are my top picks from the past twelve months.

HIDDEN FIGURES
Hidden Figures movie billboard
These days I'd rather go watch a great movie on New Year's Eve than stand around waiting for some fireworks, a ball to drop, or pay over the odds for a mediocre meal or venue party. On December 31 our choice was Hidden Figures and it was the perfect uplifting feel-good movie to end a horrific 2016.
Hidden Figures movie poster
A story about intelligent, confident women taking on social conventions of 1960s sexism, racism and discrimination to help NASA's space program through mathematics, engineering and computing was the perfect antidote to the hateful Trump world we're currently facing.

EDDIE THE EAGLE
Eddie the Eagle movie billboard
Earlier in 2016 Eddie the Eagle was another film that really delivered a heart-warming and uplifting story. Based on the British underdog ski jumper, Eddie Edward's, journey to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, it has great performances by both Taron Egerton in the titular role and Hugh Jackman as his coach given a fresh chance at Olympic glory.
Eddie the Eagle film poster
The mix of nostalgia, having grown up in Britain and remembering all the publicity at the time, and a superb soundtrack and accompanying original collection of new songs created by 80s pop artists on the album, Fly, made for a fun, light-hearted and feel-good 106 minutes.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Captain America Civil War movie billboard
Considering adapting a comic book hero that's the perfect boy scout wrapped in the Stars and Stripes flag was always going to be a challenge, Marvel Studios have down a fantastic job of delivering not just one, but three amazing solo Captain America cinematic outings (although let's face it, Civil War is more like an Avengers movie with all the superheroes).
Captain America Civil War poster wall
Not only did it deviate from the usual all powerful super-villain showdown, pitting Cap against Iron Man and having their friends choose sides, but it also introduced the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of Spider-Man and brilliantly brought Black Panther to life on the big screen for the very first time.

If you loved all the action, moral dilemmas and super-heroics as much as I did, then you'll probably enjoy checking out all these movie costumes from Captain America: Civil War too.

DOCTOR STRANGE
Doctor Strange film billboard
And speaking of super-heroic debuts, 2016 introduced cinema goers to the Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange, played with wonderful wit and conviction by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Not only did we get to explore another aspect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we also got to see some spectacular Jack Kirby-esque visuals in the movie, helping to differentiate the film from comic book stories that had come before.
Doctor Strange movie billboard
I for one can't wait to see what other aspects of magic and supernatural characters we'll get to see in future Doctor Strange cinematic installments, especially as they effortlessly made a levitating cape and astral projection seem so easily believable.

BRIDGET JONES'S BABY
Bridget Jones Baby movie billboard
I usually don't like going to watch outright comedies at the movies, especially sequels, but with great fondness I went along to watch the new Bridget Jones movie in which Renee Zellweger's titular heroine finds herself pregnant, with the father's identity a bit of a drunken mystery.
Bridget Jones Baby movie poster
Not only did the feel have a serviceable plot, great performances and a very British feel with its locations, but it was also great fun in a year where we constantly required much-needed laughs and levity to lift our spirits. It may never win any Oscars, but it was well worth the ticket price.

What do you think of my choices for 2016? Be sure to also check out what my five best films of 2015 and stick around in the days to come for the films on the other side of the spectrum which failed to excite.

Here's hoping 2017 will supply another collection of hilarious, action-packed, spellbinding and inspirational movies for our amusement...

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