Row Three Favorite Films of 2016

Here are all of RowThree’s contributors top lists for 2016. You are welcome.

Each contributor is listed below – just start scrolling – or you can jump directly to any individual member of the group with a click of their name provided below.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by the site, listened to any of the great podcasts hosted here and/or took the time to leave some comments in a post somewhere and some time throughout the year. We really appreciate each and every one of you. See you all in 2017!

Andrew James
Kurt Halfyard
Marina Antunes
Corey Pierce
Matthew Brown
Bob Turnbull
David Brook
Matt Gamble
Bryan Dressel
Matt Price



10. Demolition
Earlier in the year, this was at number one on my list. Over time (and after a rewatch) it got a little too… hipster(?) for my taste. Still, it’s got wonderful performances, looks great and actually has interesting things to say about life and death (and a unique way of exploring those themes while other films rely on cliché) – even if they are a bit on the nose at times. It’s still a lovely addition to the drama department at RowThree. “Fuck.”
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. Everybody Wants Some
Go in understanding that for the most part this is a story about a bunch of muscle heads playing grab-ass for a week and you’ll be perfectly at home in Linklater’s capable hands. It’s a laugh riot that (unlike Apatow, Feig, Phillips et. al. comedies) is really well grounded in a reality. The decision to set at the dawn of the 80s is a master stroke and kind of allows the directer, screenwriter and characters to pretty much get away with anything. I look forward to watching this many time in the forever.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. Moonlight
While for me, the second act does wander dangerously close to the Hallmark channel, the rest of this emotional and troubling film is heartfelt and exciting and gorgeous and complicated and sweaty and gut-punching and lovely. The accolades and awards being bestowed upon Moonlight are not unwarranted.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. Triple 9
Reminds me of those gritty, 90s, cop films (think Heat with a meager budget). Affleck is outstanding as is most of the rest of the cast. I enjoyed feeling superior to the film with its predictable nature, yet somehow still having the feeling that anything might happen.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. Eye in the Sky
Alan Rickman found an outstanding and thought-provoking (on many levels) film for his final farewell – strangely he almost seems to know it as he exits the final act. This could be the most tragically underseen film of the year while also being a wonderful thriller/actioner with moral and ethical questions looming all over the place from all over the (literal and figurative) map. Your heart might break from all the pounding.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. The Neon Demon
Some will dismiss The Neon Demon as just style over substance; and they wouldn’t be completely wrong but the style is the substance here. Meaning the style helps to perfectly encapsulate a large portion of the essence of the film, which is surface aesthetic or facade. While I’m not sure the film will hold up on repeat viewing after repeat viewing, it’s easily the best looking film I’ve seen this year as I felt a hypnotic daze wash over me both visually and aurally. There is some stuff in here about materialism and blind ambition and doing what it takes and blah blah blah, but mostly it just looks and sounds awesome (“awesome” is almost an understatement) doing it. And then someone eats a half regurgitated eyeball.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. Jackie
Possibly the best example of pure film-making perfection you’ll get in 2016. We talked about it for nearly an hour.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. Manchester by the Sea
Is it a sad bastard movie? Well yeah, kinda. But it’s strangely funny and chock full of wonderful characters and their intensely personal moments. It turns out death can be really complicated; for a lot of people.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. Sing Street
I realize that everyone is going ga ga for that other musical this year, but that one pales in comparison to the honest joy that’s on display here in Sing Street. John Carney’s film is earnest, heartfelt, empathetic, really funny, atmospheric and wonderfully shot (“The Riddle of the Model”). And best of all the soundtrack is delightfully catchy and primed for an 80s sing-a-long.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

1. Hell or High Water
Damn near a perfect film (for me personally). I would’ve eliminated a couple of minor quibbles I have (e.g. just get rid of the ex-wife and kids scenes – referencing them through dialogue is just the right amount). But otherwise this is a slightly more subdued and (believe it or not, less glossy) version of No Country for Old Men. Pine, Foster and Bridges are superb as are all of the supporting cast.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

Zootopia, Elle, Deepwater Horizon, The Shallows, Nocturnal Animals, In Order of Disappearance

Full Ranking of 2016:
on LetterBoxd

Notable misses:
Hacksaw Ridge, Paterson, Fences, Lion, Love and Friendship, Toni Erdman, Personal Shopper, The Girl with all the Gifts, The Love Witch

Just the Worst:
Morgan, The Conjuring 2, Ghostbusters

Biggest Surprises:
Weiner, The Jungle Book

Biggest Disappointments:
Independence Day: Resurgence, X-Men: Apocalypse, Jason Bourne, Magnificent Seven

Most Underrated:
Eye in the Sky

Most Overrated:
Swiss Army Man, The Little Prince, Kubo and the Two Strings

Favorite Scenes:
The raid (Triple 9)
Roadside altercation(Nocturnal Animals)
Sloth DMV (Zootopia)
Both school concerts (Sing Street)
The exorcism (The Wailing)
Last five minutes (Rogue One)

11) 11.22.63 (got bored, gave up about 2/3 through the series)
10) The OA
9) Vinyl (s1)
8) BBC Life Story
7) Mozart in the Jungle (s3)
6) Marco Polo (s2)
5) Westworld (s1)
4) Stranger Things (s1)
3) Game of Thrones (s6)
2) Silicon Valley (s3)
1) O.J. Made in America (best thing I saw all year)


10. Hail, Caesar!
The Coen’s have a history of under-appreciated masterpieces, at least when it comes to mainstream acceptance. Particularly when they follow a ‘serious’ film with a farcical one, as has been their rhythm for the past decade. To an enthusiastic cinephile, this always seems unfortunate and shortsighted. Add Hail, Caesar to the pile! I unabashedly loved the recreation of 1950s era
studio pictures, from musicals to toga & sandal epics, contrasted with the behind the scenes foibles of the actors and artisans, combined yet again the with the notion of the communists nfiltrating Hollywood. The coup de grace was making the ‘hero’ of the piece, the managing studio head, which is a role generally reserved as the villain in this kind of story. Josh Brolin brings a lot of his hard-to-define talent in making a centre of gravity to all the movie stars and comic vignettes in the film. The film will remain brilliant and
under-appreciated for a decade like many of the Coens ‘sillier’ pictures.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. Sierra Nevada
Cristi Puiu, the Romanian director probably most famous in arthouse film circles for his 2005 bureaucratic nightmare The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, offers this formally dazzling 3-hour long family meltdown. The film is not a comedy per se (and is certainly not for all tastes) but it sure is funny at times. He uses the long-take and a unique roving camera strategy as an unblinking portrait of a discomforting family proximity.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. Chi-Raq
This was the first film I saw in 2016, one that was released in most of the United States in the fall or winter of 2015. Spike Lee’s aggressive mix of contemporary crime problems Chicago and
classical Greek comedy, Lysistrata, with the flowery, over-the-top and colourful tropes of the musical has the intended effect of making complex problem entertaining, and simultaneously increases the rage that this sort of situation exists in one of the greatest cities in the United States. It’s fun and terrifying and socially contextual in ways that seem impossible, and Lee makes it look easy, without a whiff of exploitation of the situation.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. Elle
Paul Verhoeven goes full ‘french arthouse’ with his signature violence and controversial sexual image systems. Isabelle Huppert gives one of her best performances (and that is truly saying
something for the prolific and incredible actress) as a woman who is raped in the ‘comfort and security’ of her own home, and then deals with the situation in a way that has never been done on screen before. The film has a very unique rhythm that is both ghastly in terms of social behaviour, but also, oddly comedic – if you have a very dark sense of humour. Verhoeven never lets up with adding new angles and details to the main character, and Huppert makes sure it never gets repetitive or prone to easy Psyche-101 style answers.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. Paterson
Jim Jarmusch’s ode to the ‘small’ picture is a wonder to behold. No real plot, conflict, or stakes exist here, but it is nevertheless one of the best films I have seen this year. Adam Driver
plays a bus driver named Paterson in Paterson New Jersey. He writes poetry inspired by William Carlos Williams on his breaks, and he walks his wife’s dog (and has a pint at the local bar) at night. That’s it, and it is astounding.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. Moonlight
This marvellous exercise in empathy and experience is exactly to sort of reason why something like a CGI Peter Cushing in Rogue One is dumb. Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders an Alex Hibbert
form a compelling and continuous portrait of a poor black kid in Florida named Chiron, coming of age; both sexually, and emotionally. Everything in the film allows the viewer to walk in Chiron’s shoes. Marvellous supporting performances from André Holland, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali make this one a film everyone should see, as the audience for this film is simply, “all of humanity.”
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. The Nice Guys
Shane Black harnesses the powerful chemistry of Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe (arguably, by me, as more powerful than his with Emma Stone), drops in a noir-ish and smoggy backdrop of LA in
the middle of a tail-pipe pollution crisis, and lets the bullets and foul-mouthed howlers fly. The Nice Guys has the distinction of being the best physical comedy I saw in 2016 as well. In short, I laughed more while watching this film than any other (although Takia Watiti’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople was a close second!) this year.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. The Lure
I watched Agnieszka Smoczynska’s Mermaid Horror-Musical THE LURE, more times than any other film in 2016. Made with an acute sense of how to stage-dress, light, and shoot a period picture akin to a Blondie video on steroids, in a way that is not off-putting or even controversial. But the filmmaking is as a whole, the films style and sensibility. Somewhere in Iceland, Bjork is going to see this movie, slap her forehead and say, “Shit! How did I never make this movie?!” It’s getting a limited theatrical release in 2017, check it out.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. The Neon Demon
Through a delightful alchemy of influences – David Lynch, Ridley Scott, Stanley Kubrick and Dario Argento are all distinctly quoted – one of the many striking things about Nicolas
Winding Refn’s, The Neon Demon, is how heavily it builds itself on the fusion of soundtrack and imagery. The film, along with Nocturnal Animals, The Nice Guys and LaLa Land, re-establishes the relevance of Los Angeles as a time and place and dream and nightmare of the cinema. First and foremost a mood piece, one that keeps amplifying the energy and the stakes to a conclusion that straddles the line of cathartic and self-parody. To dance on that line is a dizzying act of grace. Here is a filmmaker being both earnest and ironic, smashing politics and convention with aplomb. To live in the recent films of Nicolas Winding Refn is to live in a world that is too intense and too abstract to be real. A character at one point asks, “Are you food or
are you sex?” This becomes the mantra for Los Angeles and by extension, show-biz, the carnivorous entity that eats bright young things for breakfast. The Neon Demon is tasty and exhilarating
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

1. Nocturnal Animals
Tom Ford’s sophomore film is no slump! He assembles Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon and gets pure cinematic tinder. A woman reads a book written by her ex-husband, gets
caught up in its violent narrative, and reminisces on the collapse her first idealistic marriage while in the middle of her empty second marriage. It’s all about the art of filmmaking with this one, matching objects, ideas, and emotion with editing and framing. If you love cinema, this is a must see.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

Hunt For The Wilderpeople, The Red Turtle, The Wailing, Arrival, Manchester By The Sea, Personal Shopper, Angry Inuk, After The Storm, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Hell or High Water, Train To Busan, Graduation, The Little Prince, Kubo & The Two Strings, Knight of Cups, Triple 9.

Regrettably missed:
Toni Erdmann, Sing Street, Sea of Trees, Made In America: The OJ Simpson Story, A Bigger Splash, Allied, Lion, Fences, Hidden Figures, 20th Century Woman, Solace, Hacksaw Ridge, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Birth Of A Nation.

Dishonourable mentions:
Trash Fire, Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey

Favourite Performances, Top 10:
10. Ruth Negga, Loving
9. Kiki Kirin, After The Storm
8. Kate Mackinnon, Ghostbusters
7. Lily Gladstone, A Certain Woman
6. Andre Holland, Moonlight
5. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
4. Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea
3. Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals
2. Isabelle Huppert, Elle
1. Rebecca Hall, Christine

A F T E R  T H E  C R E D I T S

10. Personal Shopper
I’m still completely perplexed by Olivier Assayas’ thriller in which Kristen Stewart appears to have a 30 minute text conversation with a ghost… or perhaps she’s going crazy? However you cut it, this continues to be one of the biggest head scratchers of the year and yet… when I least expect it I find myself thinking about some small moment from it. It is, hands down, the movie that I’ve thought about the most all year – and I only saw in early October.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. OJ: Made in America
Is it a movie or is it a TV show? However you cut it, Ezra Edelman’s documentary isn’t only a brilliant observation of the rise and fall of Simpson but in the process, proves to be one of the most fascinating and important explorations of race relations in America. Brilliant, poignant and entertaining.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. Arrival
Denis Villeneuve is in top form with this delicately balanced alien invasion movie that is far more memorable for what it says about human determination.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. A Bigger Splash / Hello, My Name is Doris
Admittedly these two movies have very little in common but they share a theme of living in the moment and simply enjoying life and though A Bigger Splash has a much more dramatic finale, both films left me feeling a little bit elated and ready to dance.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. Kate Plays Christine
One of the most powerful experiences I had at the movies this year came in the last 5 minutes of Robert Greene’s documentary/drama in which Kate Lyn Sheil pretty much loses her shit and calls out the audience. It was such a shocking moment that everyone just sat in a wash of shame and reverence. The fact that Sheil and Greene manage to pull it off is a spectacular achievement.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. American Honey
Admittedly this is a road trip movie without a destination but I loved every moment of Andrea Arnold’s movie which follows the ups and downs of Star and her brethren of lost souls on the mag crew. I could easily have watched another 3 hours.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. Manchester by the Sea
I laughed, I cried – sometimes at the same time. Kenneth Lonergan continues to prove his understanding of the human condition and how we deal with grief and perhaps most importantly, is able to communicate that knowledge in an accessible way.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. Moonlight
From the opening moments it’s clear that Barry Jenkins’ second feature comes from an artist who clearly understands the medium and the impact of the technicality but more than that, Moonlight is an emotionally deep and resonating story of self discovery and perhaps most importantly of self acceptance.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. Jackie
If you want an argument in favour of seeing arthouse movies on the big screen, look no further than Pablo Larraín’s latest. Natalie Portman is in nearly every scene and the film is shot so tight that at moments, her face covers the entire screen. It’s disarming and powerful and Portman is well deserving of every award for her performance. Brilliant.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

1. Lion
On paper this has the makings of all the most cliché of movies but leave it to a ridiculously talented director with an eye for the naturalistic (Garth Davis did a lot of work on “Top of the Lake”), a great cast of actors and a touching story and you get a powerful drama that infuses depth and fear into the story, manages to avoid melodrama and doesn’t feel manipulative in any way. I’ve seen it three times. I’ve cried uncontrollably all three times. This movie was made for me.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

Honorable Mentions:
The Witch, Hell or High Water, The Fits, Kubo and the Two Strings, Pete’s Dragon, The Girl with all the Gifts, Love & Friendship

Regretfully Haven’t Seen:
Silence, A Monster Calls, Captain Fantastic, Christine, Nocturnal Animals

S O U N D T R A C K  O F  Y O U R  L I F E

10. La La Land
After this, Whiplash, Grand Piano and his contributions to 10 Cloverfield Lane, it’s safe to say Damien Chazelle is my guy.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. Hail Caesar!
Cotton Candy Coens
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
One of the only truly satisfying big studio blockbusters of the year. A cut above the Harry Potter films as it avoids the trappings of an adaptation, integrates with its time period beautifully, and has a level of discovery and wonder that I never felt in Chris Columbus’ first wizard movies.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. Kubo and the Two Strings
Every new Laika film instantly becomes the most impressively crafted stop-motion animated feature ever made.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Taiki Waititi cements himself as one of my favorite working directors (and he’s doing the next Thor movie?) in this odd mix of Moonrise Kingdom, Bad Santa, LOTR, Up, and Flight of the Conchords.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. The Nice Guys
Inifinitely rewatchable, refreshing buddy comedy the way only Shane Black can deliver. Discussed at length on the Matineecast episode 158:
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. Credit For Murder
An ex-military man and a former sniper take on the job of director and cinematographer to stunning results, posing undercover as Neo-Nazis in Russia looking to solve a murder. An intricate detective procedural with many jaw-dropping confessions and stomach churning implications. The best documentary of 2016 and even more relevant in the wake of Putin’s increased interference in foreign affairs.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. The Edge of Seventeen
By all rights should be a genre landmark, with an incredible lead performance by the most relatable teen character in several years. Watch it with a parent or a sibling.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. Swiss Army Man
The best music video director(s) to feature film director jump since Being John Malkovich. Deliberately alienates from the beginning only to win you over. Also farts.
( | IMDb)

1. The Little Prince
Tati and Gilliam influences are everywhere, as are sensibilities seen in other animated films like Coraline and Osborne’s own (first) Kung Fu Panda. It avoids pop culture references entirely in favor of something more fantastical, whimsical, even poetic. And it’s a tearjerker. Quite frankly, as a total package, I think it might be the finest animated film I’ve ever seen. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, including – maybe especially – young children, but this is going to be a beloved film for a lot of people.
Discussed as guest on Row Three Cinecast episode 433.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

HM: Sing Street, Arrival, How To Build A Time Machine, The Jungle Book, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Zootopia, Weiner, Doctor Strange, Holy Hell, Moana, Everybody Wants Some!!

M A M O !

10. A Bigger Splash
Luca Guadagnino makes movies I want to fuck, then take out for an enormous dinner, then fuck some more.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. Kubo and the Two Strings
There are whole days when I can’t believe anything in the world could be this beautiful.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. The Boy and the Beast
So. Fucking. Beautiful. Insightfully animated with a lot of lovely things to say about parenting, particularly in non-traditional circumstances. Animated Toshiro-Mifune-as-a-bear is SUCH a great idea.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. The Neon Demon
The MAD MAX: FURY ROAD of 2016 – Abbey Lee is 2 for 2. I feel like I’ve just downed a pint of hot blood and followed it with a chaser of Pink Pussy nail varnish.
Elle Fanning still has the best teeth in the business.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. The Little Prince
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. Lemonade
Like Nic Cage said in THE WICKER MAN… “God… DAMMIT!!!” Only this is the knee-slap of elemental, wet satisfaction.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. The Fits
Black. Girl. MAGIC.

Incredibly impressive debut by director Anna Rose Holmer, recalling both FRUITVALE STATION and WATER LILIES in its precise, meaningful control of the frame and the storytelling engine, at a tiny, but manageable, budget. Lighting and use of colour by Paul Yee are both extraordinary, and the score might be the best of the year.

And a thunderous standing ovation for Royalty Hightower, who now officially has the best name in pop culture (sorry, Finn Wolfhard), and gives a performance that must be seen to be believed. Amazing film.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. O.J.: Made in America
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. Chi-Raq
Well, that’s a god damned masterpiece. Encyclopedic, virtuosic, rich and real. Slips effortlessly between cinematic, musical and rhetorical modes like a concert pianist changing keys. See it on the biggest, loudest screen you can. Angela Bassett is my hero. Teyonah Parris should be the biggest star on the planet.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

1. Moonlight
Yeah, this is the best movie of the year.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)


10. Divines
Divines would make a great companion piece to Girlhood as it weaves in little magical moments into the lives of young girls who struggle to see any paths forward. The film has the additional benefit of secret weapon Oulaya Amara’s exceptional performance at its core.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. Arrival
While this thought provoking idea-filled sci-fi was providing a phenomenal view of the difficulties we face as humans in communicating with each other, it snuck up behind the scenes and hit me with one of the more bittersweet endings of recent memory. Amy Adams continues to be remarkable.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. Certain Women
The struggle of several women to connect, communicate and find real companionship is emphasized in how their individual stories and lives just glance off each other. Finely detailed and subtle performances all around, but especially by Lily Gladstone who is heartbreakingly great.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. The Salesman
Asghar Farhardi’s latest is somewhat akin to wrapping elastics one-by-one around a balloon. Slowly but surely the tension builds as things progress and you know everything will burst soon, but you just don’t know when…It’s tantalizing, nerve-racking and wonderful.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. Zootopia
The analogies of the Predators and the Prey are thick (and pretty damn apt), but the joys of Zootopia can be found in numerous other places like the beautiful worlds created, the focus on story & character (and not just topical quips) and the very real relationship of two friends.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. Hell Or High Water
I knew after seeing David McKenzie’s Starred Up a few years ago that he would become a director I’d follow anywhere. Hell Or High Water validates and strongly reinforces that thought. McKenzie seems to have an ability to juggle plot, action and character development in perfect complementary portions.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. Toni Erdmann
The film’s set of father-daughter interactions takes its time to build up to two of the absolute finest scenes I saw all year (the duet of “The Greatest Love Of All” and the hotel room party). As funny as both scenes are, the real emotion that pours from both springs directly from everything that came before.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. O.J.: Made In America
Even if you lived through the early 90s, remember the L.A. riots and followed O.J. in that white Bronco all the way through his murder trial, this documentary will leave you speechless – out of surprise, sheer dumbfoundedness and even seething anger. I suppose that may not sound like fun, but the film’s view on the last 50 years of race relations from different perspectives is vital.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. Manchester By The Sea
The funniest soul-crushing experience you’ll ever have. It’s staggeringly well-acted with an incredible feel for how people relate to others and talk at & over each other.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

1. Everybody Wants Some!!
Beyond the simple pleasures of just hanging out with these characters, my favourite aspects of Richard Linklater’s latest film are his mild philosophical musings. When delivered by his slew of young male sports jocks, the whole enterprise becomes a wonderful conflict-free embrace of the uncertainties ahead and a recommendation to engage with and explore them when they arise.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

Honourable Mentions:
La La Land, Cameraperson, The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Maki, The Edge Of Seventeen, The Long Excuse, After The Storm, Moonlight, Amanda Knox, Sing Street, Love & Friendship, Graduation, Personal Shopper, Prevenge, Elle, The Red Turtle, Loving, Old Stone, The Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Regretfully Haven’t Seen:
Christine, Fences, Hidden Figures, Jackie, Little Men, Nocturnal Animals, Paterson, Silence


10. Finding Dory
This sequel to the great Finding Nemo (possibly my favourite Pixar film) had quite a few detractors, but I loved it from start to finish. It helped that it was all about family and I watched it with my wife, two daughters and parents, but I blubbed my way through most of the running time. A sweet and enjoyable adventure, even if it borrows most of its plot beats from the first film.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. Arrival
Denis Villeneuve continues to prove he’s one of the finest directors working today. Thought-provoking, beautiful and emotionally satisfying, it’s a modern day Close Encounters, crafted with the great care we’ve come to expect from Villeneuve.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. Rams
This is one that took me by surprise. I didn’t know anything about it, but watched it at my local film society and loved it. Emotionally devastating, but quietly so and blackly funny at times, it’s a unique drama looking at tumultuous sibling rivalry and isolation in the barren Icelandic farm lands.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. The VVitch
Now this is my kind of horror film. Sparse, classily presented, hugely atmospheric and well paced. It often cuts away from some of the more brutal violence, but effectively so, letting your imagination do the rest and uses shrill intense music and oppressive cinematography to unsettle.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. A War
This, like the other great war drama from 2016, Eye in the Sky, takes a look at the complex moral dilemmas prevalent in war. Perfectly balancing the home and battle front sides to the story, it’s a fascinating and gripping watch which lingers long after the credits have rolled.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. Paterson
This took me by surprise as I was expecting not to like it. I’m not always a big fan of Jim Jarmusch and had heard that the film was very slight and slow, but I found it utterly captivating and quietly funny throughout. It felt like an original take on the subject of creating and being inspired to create art. Wonderful stuff.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. Manchester by the Sea
This was another one I caught before its UK release date. I loved the way it took a unique view of the grieving process. Rather than wallowing in tear-jerking melodramatics, it shows the vaguely surreal and bewildering aspects of dealing with the practicalities as well as the emotions involved with losing someone close to you. It also has a vein of dark humour that I wasn’t expecting. Beautifully performed and elegantly directed with quiet confidence, it’s an exceptionally well crafted drama.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. Anomalisa
I saw this twice and the second viewing knocked it further up my list of favourite films of the year. I have a minor niggle with the final act, finding it a little rushed, but overall the film is astonishing. It’s unique, funny, thought provoking, moving and visually inventive whilst maintaining a warmth and humanity despite the unusual style and occasional flights of fancy.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. Graduation
I was lucky enough to catch an early screening of this, Cristian Mungiu’s follow up to the excellent Beyond the Hills, and I thought it was nigh on flawless. It’s full of fascinating moral questions and examines a darker side to the role of the parent in bringing up children. Slow moving yet captivating, it’s a subtly powerful film that I hope gains a lot of praise when it’s fully released early this year.
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

1. Victoria
This was the film that most blew me away this year. Much has been talked about how it was elaborately filmed in one long shot, but it’s great in so many other ways. I already wrote a full review, so I’ll just rip a bit from that to describe why I picked it for the top spot – “it’s an incredible film. Technically astonishing but also emotionally satisfying, intense, thrilling, utterly engrossing and wonderfully performed.”
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

The Revenant, The Closer We Get, La La Land, Spotlight, Eye in the Sky

Notable films not yet seen or not released in the UK in 2016:
Moonlight, Everybody Wants Some, American Honey, Toni Erdmann, Elle, Jackie, I, Daniel Blake and more…

W H E R E  T H E  L O N G  T A I L  E N D S

10. Love & Friendship
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. Tickled
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. Hunt for The Wilderpeople
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. Hardcore Henry
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. The VVitch
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. City of Gold
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. Hello My Name is Doris
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. Sing Street
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. Hell or High Water
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

1. Midnight Special
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

A F T E R  T H E  H Y P E

10. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

9. The Witch
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

8. La La Land
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

7. The Lobster
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

6. The Nice Guys
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

5. Green Room
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

4. Hell or High Water
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

3. The Handmaiden
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

2. Moonlight
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

1. Sing Street
(LetterBoxd | IMDb)

HM: Kubo and the Two Strings – STORY!

M A M O !

Favorite movies of 2015 (in order of screenings):


For a consensus list, it was fairly unscientific. Assigned a score to each title in a list (#1 film = 10 pts, #2 film = 9 pts, etc.). Added them up and made this list in a descending order. Caveat: a film that appears on more lists trumps a higher overall score (e.g. Everybody Wants Some scored 12 points and Arrival scored only 7 points; but because Arrival is on three lists and Everybody Wants Some is only on two, Arrival gets the edge).

10. Arrival

9. The VVitch

8. Jackie

7. The Nice Guys

6. OJ Simpson: Made in America

5. The Neon Demon

4. Sing Street

3. Manchester by the Sea

2. Hell or High Water

1. Moonlight


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Darcy McCallum

La La land, number one, no mugging for the cam lime other musicials

Ok chi raq is a 2015 film but awesome. And 99 HOMES, the Big Short, the Lobster

Gotta give love to:

Everybody wants some (2)
Hunt for the wilderpeople
Sausage party (10)
The handmaiden (9)
Swiss army Man (7)
Operation Avalanche
Kubo and the two strings
Juliet (6)
Sing Street (8)
Midnight Special
Hail Ceasar
I Daniel Blake
The Nice Guys (4)
Manchester by the Sea
Silence (5)
American Honey
Hell or high water

Very good:

Money Monster
De Palma

Episode one of THE GET DOWN (3)

In bracket by numbers 1-10 of The year, may to see most notably probably A Man Called Ove and How to Build a Time Machine or is that a 2017 film?

Andrew James

Nice to see someone commenting on this epic list!

Interesting that you have SAUSAGE PARTY on your list. It was way funnier than I thought it was going to be – the though of those nachos melting and screaming in pain still crack me up, as does the Saving Private Ryan scene. Not a top ten of the year, but for a stupid comedy it had a lot of laughs.

I’m so mad I missed JULIETA in theaters. It was here for two weeks (when I was super busy with other stuff) and then just disappeared. Oh I’m mad at myself for not seeing it! And still need to get to THE HANDMAIDEN since Stoker was my favorite movie from a few years ago.

Good list man!


Julieta is very good. Stoker was my favourite film of that year as well. The Handmaiden comes out in the UK in a couple of weeks, it’s been really hard to resist downloading the HD copies that have been around for a month or so!

Might try and rewatch the Vengeance trilogy beforehand too.

I also got to see a preview of Moonlight two weeks ago (it still hasn’t opened in the UK yet),and while it’s good, I do think it’s being way overrated. It definitely suffers from Ali disappearing a third of the way in. Of all the Oscar films I’ve seen so far, it’s the one I found the least engaging.