The Wills 2016

(That doesn’t really work as a title compared to Oscars, does it?)

Yours truly on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as close as I'll actually get to the real Oscars (I thought there was a picture of me with an Oscar, but can't find it)
Yours truly on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as close as I’ll actually get to the real Oscars (I thought there was a picture of me with an Oscar, but can’t find it)

Last year I posted a list of the films I’d seen in my personal order of preference, and I thought I’d do the same again. I saw 31 films, seven (!) more than last year – so here’s my top 31 of the last 12 months. Some were awful, some were very good, and a large proportion were somewhere in the middle.

There’s no way I’m going to go the whole hog and say ‘Best Actress’, ‘Best Soundtrack’ or whatever – I don’t think anyone reading this would want to sit through that, and I would rather just judge the films, because that’s what we all do, at the cinema or in front of the TV! So…

First, we have the truly terrible and mediocre:

31. Triple-9 – an unbelievable waste of some great talent, and glaringly boring to boot

30. Fantastic Four – behind-the-scenes drama + a terribly cut final film = this disaster

29. Batman V Superman:Dawn of Justice – poor Ben Affleck is the best thing about an otherwise dour disappointment

28. Macbeth – yes, it’s accurate to the play; yes, it looks good; no, it was not a good film

27. X-Men: Apocalypse – I think it might be time to just start anew with the X:Men after this shocker

Next, the “OK but could have been better”, or “I liked parts/was pleasantly surprised, but it wasn’t anything amazing”:

26. Trainwreck – I wanted to enjoy this comedy more, but a lot fell flat and I didn’t like that it reverted to romcom type

25. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part Two – after a good start, this final part seems to rush and then stuff up the conclusion

24. Black Mass – Johnny Depp is good in a  film that otherwise ambles along (I still can’t get over how good he was)

23. The Visit – a true shock – not the best horror, but far more enjoyable (not in the correct sense) than I expected!

22. Spectre – a Bond film that, for all its pluses, falls down on a sad need to copy older plots rather than innovate

21. Legend – twice the Tom Hardy in a film is always good, though the movie begins to drag at times

20. Ghostbusters – only spottily funny, I was expecting much more, though Chris Hemsworth’s performance is a highlight

Now, the “I very much enjoyed these”:

19. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – a far superior spy film, with a slightly “meh” ending after some great action

18. Suffragette – a well-done, clever dramatisation of the fight for women’s rights and the vote

17. The Nice Guys – this great ’70s caper is boosted by great casting and a snappy script

16. Deadpool – filthy, knowingly funny superhero madness (and unicorns)

15. Spotlight – a slow-burning, excellent dramatisation of some fantastic investigative journalism

14. The Danish Girl – Eddie Redmayne once again transforms in a touching, interesting drama

13. Bridge of Spies – Hanks? Spielberg? Rylance? Cold War? Excellent

12. High-Rise – Ballard on the big screen, with Ben Wheatley perfectly adapting a grotesque novel

11. Eye In The Sky – an excellently-made thriller musing on the use of drones, with a surprising conclusion

Seems a good place to divide between the “enjoyed” and “new favourites”:

10. Captain America: Civil War – Marvel manages to make a multi-character superhero film intelligent, thought-prov0king and still exciting

9. Green Room – a gruesome, razor-taut thriller that stands as a testament to the late Anton Yelchin

8. Room – Brie Larson deservedly won an Oscar here, for a film touchingly presenting life inside and outside captivity

7. The Revenant – I think I slightly love this film, which is like the greatest ever nature doc just happening to star a wounded DiCaprio

6. 10 Cloverfield Lane – a real surprise and a revelation, only slightly tainted by the Cloverfield connection

5. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – for all its faults, I truly loved and enjoyed this film – Star Wars is back

4. The Martian – MATT DAMON! A great adaptation of a great book, with Ridley Scott back on sci-fi form

3. Inside Out – Pixar once again outdoes itself, with a fantastic but emotional focus on a child’s mind and emotions

2. The Hateful Eight – a foul-mouthed Tarantino classic, showing that a talky film can be

1. Sicario – tense, gripping, foreboding and masterfully made drug war thriller – one of my favourites from the last few years

If you agree or disagree, let me know!

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