Happy New Year everyone!
As is customary at this time, I like to poll all of you to see which of the year’s cinematic offerings were your favourites. It was a record year for Disney, which you all clearly played a part in, while the summer months produced one of the direst processions of lacklustre blockbusters we have seen in many years.
While there’s a notable lack of Asian offerings in this list, there are some reassuring surprises. Many thanks to everyone who voted. Your ballots have been counted and here, where the popular vote reigns supreme, are the results:
10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Despite one vote as Worst Film of the Year, the love was strong for this first foray into a new era of Potter-esque magic. Eddie Redmayne stars, but for me, supporting players Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler were the highlights.
9. Captain America: Civil War
Marvel and Disney just keep on truckin’ and the 13th (yup) entry kickstarts Phase 3 with a bang. Caps and Iron Man go head-to-head over the Sarkovia Accords, turning Avengers against one another, while introducing Black Panther and an all-new Spider-Man into the mix.
8. The Nice Guys
This makes me very happy. Shane Black’s 70s detective story was criminally under-seen in the US and unceremoniously dumped in Hong Kong. But Gosling and Crowe make for a fantastic double act and Black’s script is as witty and convoluted as ever, so well done for seeking this one out.
7. Sing Street
Playing like The Commitments for 80s kids, John Carney’s ode to his adolescence is packed full of classic pop tunes from the era as well as some cracking original songs of its own. The young cast acquit themselves admirably in this shamelessly feel-good flick.
Brie Larson won an Oscar but it’s young Jacob Tremblay who steals the show in Lenny Abrahamson’s impressive drama. While the pitch is pretty grim – an abducted young woman determines to raise the child her captor sired – the resulting film is far more life-affirming.
5. Captain Fantastic
You got me. I’ve not managed to see this one, although word has been strong about it all year. It’s currently playing in Hong Kong so I’ll be sure to catch it asap – see this works both ways.
4. Doctor Strange
Marvel again. Benedict Cumberbatch joins the MCU as the Sorcerer Supreme, a crippled narcissistic surgeon wrestling with newfound magical abilities across numerous dimensions. While the origin story was somewhat formulaic, this proved one of the franchise’s most visually adventurous outings to-date.
An unexpected monster hit, Ryan Reynold’s meta superhero movie breaks the fourth wall and spews puerile one-liners from start to finish. Not quite as smart and subversive as it thinks it is, but bags of fun nonetheless.
Disney could do no wrong in 2016 and this Chinatown-esque tale of a plucky young bunny who who signs up to be a big city cop, only to uncover high level corruption, was fantastic. Smart, funny, gorgeous to look at, Zootopia delivered on all fronts.
1. Rogue One – A Star Wars Story
Overwhelmingly, the latest offering from an invigorated Star Wars franchise was your favourite film of the year. Buoyed up no doubt by the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher, the film succeeds where last year’s The Force Awakens failed – presenting new characters in a whole new mission, rather than simply pandering to fans and rehashing a well-worn formula.
Regarding the worst film of the year, there was no consensus among you as no film received more than one vote. Many of you resisted the temptation to rain down the hate, but those of you who did choose to name and shame opted for these:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Gods of Egypt
Independence Day: Resurgence
London Has Fallen
My New Sassy Girl