Sunday, January 29, 2017

2016 Films I Saw

My number of 2016-movies seen in 2016 hits the same as last year -- 20. (Since I technically saw the last two on the list in 2017.) I only went to the theater 10 times this year though, compared to a whopping 17 times from 2015. Only seeing one movie twice helped a lot with that, but there also simply weren't many big releases that interested me enough, and to make up for it I wound up watching a whole bunch of (mainly) sub-par films at home. That resulted in my average rating of the year to be a 3.2 -- compared to 3.6 of 2015.

Still, right now I'm not feeling let down; 2016 gave me four 5-star movies, plus Star Wars which I adore in spite of not being able to swing giving it a perfect score. (And don't forget the TV series Stranger Things which may have been the highlight of the entire year!) I have two regrets: Arrival and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I'm sure I'll see them soon enough. I did wait to post this until I'd seen La La Land though, because I got the feeling that I would want it to be included, and I think I made the right choice; it was a perfect close for the year.

So here's the 22 I've seen to date, with brief summaries of thoughts and star-ratings. Click the links to read my full reviews! And drop by the comments section to leave your thoughts on the films of 2016! Were you satisfied with the movie year, or no?

* = the ones I went to the theater to see.
** = watched it using Vidangel. I really enjoyed using that service this year, even to watch films that didn't need anything edited out!

10 Cloverfield Lane* - My first of the year, and my favorite of the year! This is not the sort of movie that needs dozens of viewings, but it was immaculate and powerful and stunning, and I love it. 5 stars!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice* - I had no plans to see it in theaters but went with a group of friends. I'm glad I saw it on the big screen, because its visual feast distracted nicely from its narrative stupidity. 3 stars.

Captain America: Civil War*- My love/hate relationship with this film is still going strong. On one hand, Bucky and Steve and Spider-Man and those action sequences! On the other, irritating political plot lines and "because you gotta" reasoning. 4 Stars.

Deadpool** - Stripped bear to its basic plot by my liberal application of Vidangel, this one wasn't able to shock me into believing it was actually original. A perverted shadow of the wacky comic character. 1.5 Stars.

The Boy** - As far as cheap horror films go, not complete waste of time. Rupert Evans's face and the ridiculous twist ending made things memorable. 2 stars.

Midnight Special - A special film indeed. A sci-fi genre film that I wish more sci-fi genre films would aspire to be like. Beautiful, heartfelt, imaginative, and excellently acted. 5 stars.

Star Trek Beyond* - A cheaper but fun space caper for the crew of the Enterprise. Decent attention to character. I wouldn't mind them continuing this way, but the franchise won't be the same without Chekov. 4 stars. Second viewing brought it down a bit.

Hail, Caesar!** - A very unusual movie, entertaining in unique and unexpected ways. Not the best from the Coens, not a waste of time either. 3.5 stars, settled to a 3 by now.

Warcraft** - Even worse than I thought possible. I was bored and too confused to bother trying to review it. My brothers understood it well enough though. They didn't like it either. 1.5 stars.

The Magnificent Seven* - Modern blockbuster meets classic cowboy flick. There's really nothing special about this one, but it was a fun ride. 3.5 stars.

X-Men: Apocalypse** - Not at all apocalyptic. But the younger versions of characters were well cast. But Oscar Isaac was completely wasted. But it's decent if you're a fan. 3 stars.

ARQ - A Netflix original that takes the Groundhog Day gimmick and runs around with it in an enclosed sci-fi setting. Small, but worthy. 3 stars.

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty - A low-budget creeper that utilizes smart technique to be an effective supernatural thriller... until the ending messed everything up. 2.5 stars.

Retreat - Fran Kanz joins a cult on Netflix. Weird, creepy, and not exactly rewarding in the end. 2 stars.

Doctor Strange* - An extremely satisfying step outside the box for Marvel. Entertaining, smart, compelling, and appropriately psychedelic. 5 stars! ...but I still haven't seen it twice.

Love & Friendship - Jane Austen's unfinished story get the lazy treatment. The words are sharp; everything else is dull and dry and uninspired. 2.5 stars.

Independence Day: Resurgence** - Pathetic and utterly useless. I'm only glad I didn't pay ticket prices for it. 2 stars. (Because I did enjoy making fun of it.)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them* - A surprisingly enjoyable spinoff adventure. I already like this series more than Harry Potter, although it's not entirely without flaws. 3.5 stars.

Jason Bourne** - It's not terrible, but it is bad enough that I regret seeing it for the previous ending it ruined. No real reason for it to exist. 2.5 stars.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story* - The only movie I saw twice in theaters. Beautiful story, lovable characters, fun and moving. It's not quite perfect, but it lives up to its potential better than seems possible. 4.5 stars!

Zootopia - I didn't expect I'd love it, but I was surprised at how little I enjoyed it. On the surface it looked cute and good enough for a kid's movie, but I may or may not have just offended it by calling it "cute." 2.5 stars.

La La Land - I'm so glad I waited for this one. Superbly moving and wonderfully enjoyable, deeply thoughtful, gorgeous, creative, and everything it should be. 5 stars!


  1. Looks like a great collection of movies you saw last year! I hope you get to see many more in 2017.

    1. It was surprisingly satisfactory! :) Thanks! Here's to 2017!