Without further ado, these are my top films of the year:
Sci-fi films these days are mostly focused on the action sequences to see which films can pull of a better moves or cooler weapons. Arrivals went against the status quo, by having characters race against time to find common ground with the aliens by using critical thinking skills and intelligence, something to remind of the current social issues of action first, think later. With Arrival and Sicario, Denis Villeneuve is starting to be my favourite director.
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
At this pace, my list have to be a Top 6 to accommodate Star Wars in its yearly release, or else it could be unfair to other strong movies out there. Rogue One presents a great risk for Disney, as the success of this film will decide how Disney will plan its Star Wars expanded universe films in the future. Luckily for them, Gareth Edwards managed to pull off another gem in Disney library in their quest for cinema dominance in recent years. Rogue One managed to tell a tale well-known by all the fans and presented in ways that still managed to entertain both fans and casual movie-goers alike.
Another gem from Disney, currently Disney animation division have a stronger run compared to Pixar in the past two or three years. Zootopia is a solid entry to Disney animation library by telling a great story yet serves a very good lesson for the young audiences that it targeted, by replacing human problems with animals. Not to mention that it was full off animal puns and amusing from start to finish.
4. La La Land
La La Land is an old-fashioned movie, very old-fashion. It feels like it was made in 1950s and then was remastered for 2016. Yet, the film use this to its advantage. The story itself wasn't that great, the singing of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling aren't that fantastic (good but not amazing) to make the film more "realistic", but the cinematography was well-timed, the camera directions, choreography and the colours did pop out in dark scenes. La La Land is imperfectly perfect.
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane
One of the major surprises of 2016. This is because Paramount and J. J. Abrams deliberately hid the release of 10 Cloverfield Lane until it was close to release, surprising the audiences and critics alike. Presented as a spinoff to Cloverfield, it has very little connection to the film. Instead of a found footage alien invasion movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a closeted psychological thriller focusing on unstable relationships of three people stuck in a bunker. I enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane for its simplicity and the amount of intensity throughout the short film and the small bunker space.
There are a few films that I think are great and should be shortlisted as well, but due to the fact that I plan to do only Top 5, the rest ultimately had to be cut from the initial list.
Here's the honourable mention: Deadpool, Marvel's Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Sully, The Jungle Book.
That's all for my Top 5 films of 2016. Let's hope 2017 is gonna be good.