Every 2016 film I watched in 2016 from my least favourite to my favourite, 80-71

80 – The Witch


While not nearly as original and groundbreaking as claimed by many, and far less subtle than it might have been (it is literally thirty seconds into the film before the detuned violins start up) The Witch is a smart, atmospheric, creepy-as-fuck debut. Robert Eggers is director to watch, especially if he is tempted away from horror. (Sorry, horror fans. Just an opinion, yeah.)

79 – Embrace of the Serpent

Yeah, it’s one of those films made specifically for a certain type of Guardian reader, but it’s still good.

78 – Star Trek Beyond

Brexit in space. The Starship Enterprise, young, dumb, and full of referendum, fighting alien ukippers. Not demonstrably brilliant, I probably liked this more than I should have. But while others lamented the death of a dream, I just saw another daft romp in space from a franchise that has given us close to a thousand already. And, unlike the actual EU referendum, the good guys won this one.

77 – Julieta

There is a moment about halfway through Julieta which is so magical that it makes you grin like an idiot about ten minutes. If you’ve seen the film you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then go watch it.

76 – Swiss Army Man

A man and a corpse. A catalogue a fart and knob jokes. And yet, by the end, weirdly profound. It took me a little while to warm to this film but by the end I was totally swept away by it. By taking a ridiculous premise very very seriously, Swiss Army Man becomes sublime.

75 – Money Monster

Tense in the right places, funny in the right places, a tight script, good acting and a lot of heart. A film like they used to make, or something – it’s even 90 minutes long – smashing.

74 – Sour Grapes

Lovely documentary about forgery in the wine trade. It is such a winning story. Even the bad guys come across as the sort of people you wouldn’t mind sharing a glass of knock-off prosecco with.

73 – The Big Short

The Big Short plays out like a sports movie, the story of a team of plucky underdogs. Only, the big team at the end of the film they are trying to beat are not the perennial cup champions but the actual American economy. It shouldn’t be funny but it is. Banking was, and is, so messed up that you find yourself rooting for the people who made a profit from people’s lives being ruined. And then you realise, oh yeah, this all happened, and the banks got away with it… and then austerity… and then Brexit… and then Trump…

72 – Sonita

This documentary about a young rapper from Afghanistan, now a refugee in Iran, trying to make her way as a musician, asks as many questions of the form as it does its subject. Great stuff.

71 – Janis: Little Girl Blue

It’s the footage that does it. Nobody sings like that. Best. Vocalist. Ever.