There has been a disturbing trend in recent years to proclaim each year as the death of cinema, and 2016 was no exception.
This is an annual misconception, which tends to coincide with the critical or commercial failings of a major studio tentpole movie. It’s nonsense of course, this year more than ever.
A cursory glance at 2016’s films runs up an impressive tally: La La Land, Arrival, Midnight Special, Sing Street, Nocturnal Animals, Kubo and the Two Strings, Loving, The VVitch, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Green Room, The Neon Demon, The Conjuring 2, Don’t Breathe, Moonlight and many more.
With just two months left in this year’s cinematic calendar you would be forgiven for thinking that 2016 is over in terms of must-see films. This, too, is a something we’re happy to argue against.
So here, in chronological order of release, we have the films you’ll want to be noting in your 2016 film calendar.
This one needs no introduction. The expansion of J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World beyond the story of Harry Potter and Voldermort was an inevitability. With The Cursed Child showing us the future, David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series looks to the past.
Eddie Redmayne looks the part as the Magizoologist Newt Scamander, and with a fine cast surrounding him including Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston and Ezra Miller this will be the start of something magical.
We liked the film a lot, read our review here, and it’ll be interesting to see how Rowling and Co. go from here. On that note…
This thrilling and beautifully animated film from Makoto Shinka has won a handful of awards across the festival circuit and for our money it’s one of the best animated films of the year.
The body swapping conceit brings a sci-fi aspect to the proceedings, along with a host of teenage angst and the evergreen theme of discovery of identity. The visuals are stunning, the story sweeping – if you’re not usually a fan of big screen anime – this is a great place to start.
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The trinity of Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard and director Robert Zemeckis should be enough to pull in the crowds, but from what we’ve seen so far of the World War 2 espionage drama the film will stand on its own.
Set during The Blitz the continent-crossing story has two box-office powerhouses at its core, and the love story with its hidden identities and huge stakes could make it one of the biggest films of the year.
Billy Bob Thornton returns as the foul-mouthed Father Christmas along with Kathy Bates, Tony Cox and Christina Hendricks. He also reunites with Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) to turn the festive air blue.
Though this is one sequel no-one has been beating a door down for there’s something almost necessary about a bit of nastiness during the holiday season. The plot to rob a charity on Christmas Eve is Scrooge-like in its Anti Claus sentiment and Thornton’s titular character has enough vitriol to go around.
From the wonderful Jim Jarmusch we have a genuine masterpiece. It stars Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani as a young couple working out their lives in the small New Jersey town. The daily routine and the revelations that come with it are a love song to the unseen beauty inherent in the world.
Though it won’t get a Star Wars-level release this is one film you need to see this year.
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Based on the romance between Sir Seretse Khama and his wife Ruth Williams Khama the film is adapted from Colour Bar by Susan Williams. The central performances from David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike are captivating and the film comes highly recommended.
Hailee Steinfeld broke big with her role in The Coens’ True Grit and since then has taken a number of decent roles, with turns in the flawed Ender’s Game movie, The Keeping Room with Brit Marling and a recurring role in the Pitch Perfect films.
The Edge of Seventeen is far more typical fare for Hollywood’s young stars, though the debut film from Kelly Fremon Craig has enough talent to help this rise above the others in the coming of age genre.
Steinfeld is a genuine talent, and if The Edge of Seventeen has enough bite in its script it’ll be well worth your time.