Friday 30 December 2016

Cinema Year in Review: 2016

This year I saw seventeen films in the cinema, slightly over a 50% increase on last year. Looking after a toddler continues to restrict my movie-going, although I wouldn't have it any other way.

The excellent Arts Picturehouse Cambridge, venue for many happy cinema visits.

Top 5 Movies

  1. Arrival: A highly intelligent and visually spectacular science fiction film, with believable characters I could really care about.
  2. Rogue One: An exciting, witty, and action-packed Star Wars adventure. Disney shows once again the galaxy far, far away is in safe hands.
  3. Embrace of the Serpent: The story of a shaman in the Amazon and his contact with the outside world over a period of decades. Brilliant, fascinating and challenging cinema.
  4. Doctor Strange: The Marvel Universe visits the realms of magic, as arrogant Benedict Cumberbatch learns to battle evil under the tutelage of mystical Tilda Swinton.
  5. Tale of Tales: Adaptations of three interwoven fairy tales, with all the nasty bits left in. Great storytelling, and a rich feast of sensual detail.

Guilty Pleasure

Central Intelligence: Kevin Hart plays a man whose mediocre life is disrupted by the arrival of an old classmate (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), who has transformed himself from lonely, bullied fat kid to fearsome secret agent. The results are reminiscent of Grosse Pointe Blank, from the point of view of John Cusack's pal who stayed home and became a car salesman. It's not as clever as Grosse Pointe Blank, but there are plenty of laughs to be had.

Honourable Mention

Ran, Akira Kurosawa's transferal of King Lear to feudal Japan, which we saw on re-release in the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. Magnificent in every way.

Wooden Spoon

I'm leaving this slot empty. With limited opportunity to get to the cinema, I try and be discerning, and I honestly can't say I've seen a bad film in 2016. Current events may be distressing, but we are living in a good time for movies.

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