Every 2016 film I watched in 2016 from my least favourite to my favourite, 50-41

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50 – Ghostbusters

Ironically, given all the toxic brouhaha about broken childhood boy memories, it was deference to the original that undermined this reboot. The improvisation within scenes, that has worked so well for Paul Feig, Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig in previous films, was often funny but left a framework that struggled to support so many references and call-backs (including half-a-dozen unnecessary, and often awkward, cameos). Every time the plot of Ghostbusters starts to move along, Bill Murray or someone slows things down and we have to start back in first gear.

But…

A less respectful cut of this film, cameo free and allowed to follow play purely on the skills of its director and five leads, that might have been the film of the year. When this is good, it is really good. The cast are great. Kate McKinnon is electric. A sequel could have been amazing. But there will be no sequel because of boys on the internet. Boys on the internet ruin everything.

49 – Paterson

I was a bit cool on this to begin with – the lead character’s wife seems a bit manic pixie dream girl and I wasn’t sure where things were going, philisophically. But, (minor spoiler) by the end of the film it is clear that actually Laura is perfectly capable of achieving what seemed like dreams and it is Paterson who has his head in the clouds. He’s a manic pixie dream boy. This flipping of perspective really worked for me, though obviously there are other ways to read the film, obviously. The dog? Meh. I can take it or leave it. It’s a dog innit?

48 – Elvis & Nixon

Michael Shannon plays Elvis and Kevin Spacey plays Nixon. What more do you want? Blood?

47 – Sully

The true story of how Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart had some amazing moustaches right there. I think. I watched this on 2D IMAX, and boy, those moustaches. As big as a man. Blimey.

46 – The Danish Girl

Tom Hooper has come a long way since Byker Grove, series 9, episodes 17-20. He is becoming one of those directors who become associated with quality. In-inverted-commas quality. ‘Quality’. He makes good films.

45 – The Hateful Eight

I had begun to think I would never like a Tarantino film again. I mean, yeah, scenes, fine, I like scenes in all of them, but a whole film? It seemed unlikely. This is great though.

It was probably confining the shoot to one location that gave the film the focus his work has missed for a long time. Yes, there are long rambling soliloquies and off-topic conversations but that is kind of the point of Tarantino, isn’t it? And unlike something like, say, Inglorious Basterds, which feels like a series of interesting sketches, this plays as a whole, tense and compelling.

44 – Ip Man 3

Donnie Yen doing what Donnie Yen does best, being awesome.

43 – The Little Prince

This is not a film version of the novel, but a re-imagining. A girl moves house to get into a better school and ends up living next door to the pilot from The Little Prince, who is now an old man, specifically Jeff Bridges. A story about a prince is told and life lessons are learnt, just as you might expect, but this is also a brilliantly subtle and beautifully told meditation on death.

42 – Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Ninety percent of the dumbest (and best) jokes of 2016 are to be found in four or five songs from this movie. Like totally NSFW with the swears and that.

41 – Baar Baar Dekho

A romantic comedy with a sort-of Groundhog Day-ish premise (this time the male lead is transported decades forward in time each day instead of reliving the same day). While director Nitya Mehra states the film is not science fiction, several sections of the film are set in the future and the vision of it she creates is brilliant, tweaking our present lives instead of creating silly hats or what-have-you. Visually brilliant and emotionally affecting. A great film.