2016 was a great year for film. It was that great, that I decided to make a top 20 this year, instead of a top 10. I ranked my 20 favorite films that were released in 2016 (based on Dutch release dates).
This was probably the biggest movie, in terms of scope and number of characters. The film brought Captain America and Iron man head to head, but also introduced us to Black Panther and a young Spider-Man.
The first animation on this list. What makes “Zootopia” so special? It’s a satirical, political animation, but it still manages to entertain the entire family and add a message of acceptance and peace. Oh, and it stars a bunny charracter!
In my opinion the best of the newer X-Men film. It's clear that Bryan Singer directed it, because it was just as good as the first "X-Men" film.
A cracy accident took the life of actor Anton Yelchin this year, but he left us with this great thriller. A punk rock band has a gig at a neo-Nazi club. From there things go from bad to worse. It’s a pretty disturbing film, that really left me breathless at the end.
We all knew that this sequel wasn’t going to top “Finding Nemo”. “Finding Dory” is a sweet fable about finding your place in the world. We were introduced to some cool new characters, but also learned more about the creatures that we already met in the first film. The best kind of sequel, one that expands the world of the original.
Probably the most surprising film of the year. The first attempt on Deadpool, also by Ryan Reynolds, in a Wolverine film wasn’t a success. We were all afraid this was going to repeat that. But were we wrong. “Deadpool” is one of the funniest and most unconventional comic book adaptations. And Ryan Reynolds nailed it.
The story isn’t all the special, but it’s the cinematography that amazed me so much. This film is shot so beautifully, it enhances the movie going experience. Best watched on a big screen, with the heat off for maximum effect.
Nicolas Winding Refn has directed “Drive”, one of my all-time favorite movies. “The Neon Demon” is definitely the strangest and most disturbing film I have seen in 2016. It’s not a film for everyone, but it’s very stylish and memorable.
The film gets under your skin, it is intoxicating. It follows several storylines, that suck you in. The cast is fantastic, with Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as the leads. Michael Shannon’s performance is Oscar worthy and Aaron Taylor-Johnson portrayed one of the most awefull characters I have seen recently. “Nocturnal Animals” also had one of the greatest endings of the year.
I love this kind of movie. A comedic drama film, a road movie of such. It’s a pretty unconventional story, yet heartwarming and endearing. Viggo Mortensen deserves an award for his performance.
Why is nobody talking about this film? “Hell or High Water” is a movie that flew under the radar and that’s a shame. It’s an old school yet modern western. And the performances are what make this film so strong.
Nobody wanted a seventh Rocky film, but damn are we happy with “Creed”. It’s a great surprise to find this was actually a successful and good reboot. “Creed” is smart, surprising, entertaining, emotional and powerful. Sylvester Stallone should have won that Oscar.
Whatever we thought “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was going to be, it’s not. It is in fact a brutal war film about what it took to steal the plans for the first death star. The return of Darth Vader to the big screen was just an epic moment for us Star Wars nerds.
Another film that nobody saw. The story of an orphan and his adoptive uncle and a whole lot of misunderstandings. It’s truly a joyful cinematic masterpiece. It makes you laugh the entire runtime.
Disney’s uncanny adaptation of their own beloved animation from 1967. It was a blockbuster, it was a technical film. Besides Mowgli, all the sets and characters were computer generated. The visuals are stunning. “The Jungle Book” was one amazing movie experience.
I already loved Shane Black’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. Teaming up Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe was probably one of the best ideas of 2016. They are an irresistible pair. Energized by a dry wry cynicism. It’s crime comedy at its best.
“Arrival” is an unusually intimate science-fiction epic, that takes the story of humankind’s first contact with an alien race and turns it into a downright poetric meditation on fate, time, love and the limitations and essential universalities of communication. Amy Adams gives a fantastic performance, she carries this film. Director Denis Villeneuve has a flawless record so far.
Brie Larson earned all the headlines for her role as Joy, her Oscar winning performance is so convincing and heartbreaking. But her movie son Jacob Tremblay very nearly steals the show. It’s through his eyes we experience the traumatic set of events.
“Spotlight” is driven purely by the simplicity of its story. A group of journalists exposing a scandal in the Catholic Church. The film had my attention from start to finish, it has great performances and I loved everything about this film. It deserved that Oscar.
Damien Chazelle’s first film was “Whiplash”, an Academy Award winning film. He’s back with a music movie of an entirely different variety. “La La Land” is a heart-eyed musical about two lost Los Angelinos who find each other. I’m seriously in love with this film. This one’s for the classic movie fans.
Honorable Mentions: The Hateful Eight, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The BFG, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them