70 – Bleed for This
The best boxing film (based on a true story) of 2016. Maybe the best boxing film. Who knows? There is so little to divide this and Creed in terms of quality and fun-per-minutes that, any difference in placings between them really just highlight the arbitrary nature of lists of favourite anythings. Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?
Anyway, Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart are fantastic.
69 – Enlighten Us
This is on Netflix, and you really should watch it so I’ll try to avoid any plot points. The amount of access the makers of this film about motivational speaker James Arthur Ray got is remarkable, the framing of the story is masterful and the actual events portrayed are mind-bending.
68 – Pete’s Dragon
This reboot of the almost-forgotten 1977 film about a boy and his dragon is already almost almost-forgotten itself, which is a shame because this is a solid piece of film making. Squarely aimed at a family audience, and arguably more traditional in structure than much of Disney’s output in 2016, it is proof that neither of those things need to be a negative. A modern fairy tale, beautifully realised.
67 – Creed
This film was a montage away from greatness. That’s all. Just one fights-leading-up-to-the-title-fight montage and this would have been nearly perfect. Stallone is, as has been universally noted, brilliant – his reaction to the news from his doctor is one of the scenes of the year – but Michael B. Jordan also deserves praise for a performance that is smart enough to make the transfer of a starring role in a long-running franchise so smooth. More Creed films please.
66 – Marguerite
You wait ages for a film based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins and then two come along at once. It’s like Deep Impact and Armageddon again, except this time neither of the films suck. The French take is a completely fictionalised story with added layers of plot and art-school sophistication. Catherine Frot is remarkable.
65 – Airlift
Shamelessly patriotic flag waver that is almost totally redeemed by the fact that the act being celebrated is the evacuation of civilians from a war zone. I say almost totally, because some of the redeeming is done by the film itself which is very good, and the songs, which are great.
64 – Hitchcock/Truffaut
A documentary about the book of the conversations between the directors about their films. Makes you want to buy the book but when you look online it is really expensive, but then you think, wait a minute didn’t I see that in Kelsall’s, Littleborough’s premier second hand book shop, and then you are all, yes, yes I did, and you go and buy it, at a very reasonable price. Thanks, George, you’re a legend.
63 – Trolls
Thanks to a particularly enthusiastic young human living in my house, I have now seen Trolls three times. And while not of all it stands up to so many viewings in such a short space of time, there does always seem to be something in my eye at the True Colours bit. Anna Kendrick and Christine Baranski are the highlights of an excellent voice cast.
62 – Spotlight
Won me some money when I backed it at 3/1 to win the Best Picture Oscar. It’s a great film too. Win-win.
61 – The Jungle Book
I didn’t suspect for a second when I was walking out of the cinema humming Bear Necessities that this would divide audiences, but it did. I am firmly in the ‘for’ camp. Jon Favreau is not really given the respect he is due. Despite making the best Christmas film (for all the family) of all time, and arguably drafting the blueprint of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he is still seen as you-might-know-him-as-Monica’s-boyfriend-from-Friends Jon Favreau. It’s ludicrous. The man is a giant. Kneel before him. Kneel!!!