Best of 2016 – Cinema

Bit of a quiet year, only saw 63 films at the cinema this year, in part due to being away during the New Zealand International Film Festival. In no particular order here are my top cinema picks of 2016.


Follow up to the brilliant The Great Beauty, this was a cinematic tour de force, filled with poetic imagery, unexpected delights, and a stellar cast including Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel.

Son of Saul
The most powerful film of the year by some margin. A first person account of Auschwitz in all it’s banal, inhuman horror, focusing on one face for the entire film. Once seen, hard to forget.

High Rise
A pitch perfect adaption of J.G. Ballard’s classic novel of the dystopian high rise, with a brilliantly cast Tom Hiddleston and plenty of dark humour. Bonus points for the haunting ABBA covers on the soundtrack, suitably subversive.

Captain Fantastic
One of those quirky American family road movies, filled with humour, drama and eccentric characters. Hugely enjoyable.

Steve Jobs
Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle. They’ve all got pretty impressive track records, which come together perfectly on this three act story of Apple’s charismatic late founder.


A brilliant judged adaption of Colm Toibin’s tale of an Irish immigrant heading to New York in the 1950s. Hugely evocative and heart breaking in places.

Sing Street
A real feel good film, particularly if you’re well acquainted with 80s British pop music. Nothing ground breaking but sweet and clearly made with a lot of love.

Unusually the only documentary on my list (seen lots of good but not great ones this year at the Documentary Edge festival), and the only New Zealand film. If you like Louis Theroux, you’ll love this. It starts off quirky and fun, but soon takes a dark turn. Gripping stuff.

Eye in the Sky
No classic but a quality piece of highly topical suspense, featuring a brilliant final performance from the late, great Alan Rickman.

A Bigger Splash
A complete mess of a film that I found highly frustrating in places, but boy can Ralph Fiennes act. His performance alone is worth seeing the film for.


Nocturnal Animals
A quite devastating tale of loss and revenge, which sticks in the mind long after seeing it. The whole cast is strong but Michael Shannon was the standout for me.

Star Trek Beyond, Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange
Superior blockbusters – Star Trek Beyond for recapturing the sense of wonder and optimism of the originals, Captain America: Civil War for the action scenes, and Doctor Strange for the (very Inception like) surrealist action.

Author: jontycrane

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