We’ve passed the end of July, so that means it’s time for the top 10 best films of 2016 so far. In the first seven months of the year, we’ve had four superhero blockbusters, small indie dramas and a whole host of hilarious comedies, but only ten can make into the half-year list.
10. Everybody Wants Some!!
According to director Richard Linklater, Everybody Wants Some!! is a ‘spiritual sequel’ to his cult hit Dazed And Confused, and in my mind, it’s far superior.
This is one of those films that does a stunning job at capturing its time period. From the music to the clothes, the cars to the moustaches and the short shorts, Everybody Wants Some feels distinctly 70s, and makes for a hugely immersive watch. Its central characters may be a little vapid at times, but the film features strong and lively performances across the board, giving the film a great comedic energy that makes it a real joy to watch.
9. Finding Dory
Over the past 20 years, Pixar have become cinematic legends, with some of the most intelligent, powerful and still delightful movies in the world.
This year, Finding Dory picks up where its classic predecessor left off, now following Dory as she searches for her parents. Is it as good as Finding Nemo? Not at all. However, Finding Dory is still a delightfully enjoyable family movie, with yet more stunning animation from Pixar, and one of the most entertaining voice casts of the last few years.
You won’t be taken on an emotional rollercoaster like the best of Pixar, but Finding Dory will definitely give you the chance to smile and laugh away your troubles for two hours, which isn’t so bad.
Given the next entry on this list, Ghostbusters may not be the film I get the most flack for. Anyway, the hugely controversial and widely disliked reboot of the 1984 classic genuinely entertained me.
It’s by no means the greatest comedy of all time, but from Paul Feig, who directed Spy and Bridesmaids, comes a film full of some of the liveliest and funniest performances I’ve seen in a good few years. Most notably, Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth had me almost in tears laughing at some points, whilst the rest of the cast were hugely entertaining to boot.
It’s a film with a few problems, largely considering its story that is both too similar to the original, and not that engaging anyway. However, as a Paul Feig comedy, it’s a right laugh, and I definitely believe it deserves its place on this list.
7. Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
Yeah. Pride And Prejudice And Zombies is a film that should, in theory, be nowhere near the top 10 films of the year, but I just can’t forget about it.
It’s an insanely funny parody of two genres that typically don’t appeal to me, and is packed with laughs from start to finish. I’ve seen it twice as of writing, and I’m convinced that it’s one of my all-time favourite guilty pleasure movies, but only because of other people’s dislike of it, not that I think it’s bad.
It may languish a little in the final act, but when it’s at the top of its comedic game, Lily James, Sam Riley and Matt Smith put in some hilarious performances, whilst director Burr Steers does a fantastic job at making some genuinely exciting and impressive action sequences.
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies is a film you need to have the right mentality to enjoy. If you see it for what it is, a stupid parody movie, then you can have an absolute whale of a time.
Delighting comic book fans and sweary 13 year olds across the globe, Deadpool was a massive hit back in February that still stands strong as a thoroughly entertaining film.
Not only mixing up the superhero genre with an unorthodox main hero, Deadpool was a hugely enjoyable raunchy comedy, with fourth wall breaks galore, a thrilling central performance by Ryan Reynolds, and some brilliant and bloody action that gave us the first R-rated superhero movie in over half a decade.
It’s a hugely funny film, and one that many will remember as the first R-rated superhero movie to get it all right, and even though many feel it could have gone even further with its comedy, it’s a film that will delight anybody looking for a laugh-a-minute action extravaganza, and a strong entry on this list.
5. Eddie The Eagle
Of all the films on this list (yes, even PPZ), I would never have imagined Eddie The Eagle would land in a solid number 5 spot.
However, it’s quite simply a brilliant film, bringing to life a British legend with glee. Filled to the brim with great humour, and even impressing with a few emotional moments, Eddie The Eagle is a film that will make your spirit soar as high as Eddie’s ski jump, and had me smiling ear to ear from start to finish.
Taron Egerton an Hugh Jackman are massively entertaining, with Egerton brilliantly capturing Eddie’s mannerisms, and Jackman pulling off probably the funniest performance while seemingly constantly drunk I’ve ever seen, and it all comes together to pull off the surprise of the year, and what a nice one it is too.
4. Captain America: Civil War
Marvel have been on a mighty roll for 8 years now, and their latest entry, Captain America: Civil War, shows no signs of them slowing down.
Pitting Earth’s mightiest heroes against each other in a titanic battle, Civil War is possibly the most high-stakes superhero movie ever made. With ten different Marvel heroes battling it out against each other, the film does very well to introduce some very serious and important tones to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whilst always retaining the fun-loving jokes that have made it such a success.
With quipmeisters Ant-Man, Spider-Man and Iron Man all teaming up, big laughs are inevitable in Civil War, and they manage to sustain strongly over the course of the 144 minute runtime, making this one of the funniest blockbusters in years.
It’s a film that will thrill any fan of the MCU, but with its tense story so brilliantly mixed with fantastic comedy, it will surely bring in anybody just wanting a good time at the movies, representing what is in my opinion Marvel’s best entry ever.
3. The Nice Guys
It seems that 2016 has been a pretty good year for comedies so far, and my favourite of all is Shane Black’s The Nice Guys.
A brilliant take on 70s crime movies and neo-noir, The Nice Guys is not only a genuinely interesting and exciting mystery, but a film that will have you laughing your socks off at every moment. With three hugely funny central performances by Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Angourie Rice, there’s barely a moment where this film isn’t going all out to make you laugh, and that’s what makes it such an impressively enjoyable watch.
What’s more is that the story isn’t half-bad too. At times, it’s a little convoluted, but it’s by far one of the best homages to 70s cinema, taking a very slick and vibrant portrayal of the time period, and adding an intriguing mystery to make one of the most entertaining films of the year.
2. Eye In The Sky
There very rarely comes a film nowadays that really makes you think. Eye In The Sky is that film, and it does exactly that to ingenious effect.
Right from the word go, the film is a fast-paced, suspenseful and pulsating thriller. Introducing fascinating perspectives of the validity of war, as well as the behind-the-scenes activities that go into something as seemingly simple as a drone strike, it hooks you into a deep thought process as you contemplate what side you’re on.
That’s by far the biggest compliment I can give the movie. It’s truly thought-provoking, and it gives you space to think about what’s happening on screen, all the while developing a rapid-fire and cinematic thrill-ride set largely in the boardroom, away from the battlefield. It’s an ingenious movie that I was thinking about for days after I saw it, something that doesn’t come along too regularly at all.
1. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Nobody knew 10 Cloverfield Lane existed at the beginning of the year. However, after a stellar secretive marketing campaign, the claustrophobic thriller didn’t disappoint when it came to cinemas.
Directed expertly by Dan Trachtenberg, 10 Cloverfield Lane is one of the most suspenseful, unpredictable and uncomfortable movies you’ll ever see. It tells the story of a young woman who finds herself kidnapped by a man and placed in an underground bunker with him, only to be told that she has been saved from a devastating attack on the surface.
The film is set almost entirely inside the bunker, and Trachtenberg makes for some exceptional claustrophobic thrills, whilst John Goodman gives one of the scariest and most unnerving performances you’ve ever seen. It’s a hugely exciting thriller, but the genius of 10 Cloverfield Lane is that it remains totally unpredictable right up to the last.
Throughout, you’re wrestling with the dilemma that there indeed could have been an attack, or that the man is lying and is a true threat to this young woman, making for a uniquely mysterious experience. Whatever happens, the final reveal is stunning, and cements the film as one of the ballsiest and most original in years, making it my best film of 2016 (so far).