We’ve reached the midway point of 2016, with most of the year’s most exciting films still to come, and it’s time to reluctantly reveal the 5 best (or, more honestly, least terrible) films we’ve seen so far this annum…
Note: At time of writing, Finding Dory and The BFG have not yet been screened in Ireland, and are excluded from the list.
5. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Shoutout to the recently released extended “Ultimate Edition”, a superior film to the theatrical cut that propels Zack Snyder’s superhero epic to a slot on this list. An immensely stupid film, but one with admirably big ideas and ambitions. Jesse Eisenberg is a treat as Lex Luthor.
4. INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
An inferior Roland Emmerich disaster vehicle, but an engagingly bombastic one nonetheless. Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman evoke maximum 90s nostalgia reprising their roles from the ’96 original, while the younger cast members are disappointedly wooden. Still, this is what summer movies should look like more often.
Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion drama is a strange, strange film that exists without any real purpose. It is, however, suitably peculiar in all the right ways. But there isn’t a good word to say about Jennifer Jason Leigh’s surprise mid-film rendition of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.
2. JAMES WHITE
Christopher Abbott is a revelatory leading man in this New York-set family drama. Cynthia Nixon is the mother who takes ill, and whose son (Abbott) must care for her. Tense, quiet and quietly heartbreaking, this is as engrossing as US independent cinema gets.
1. THE JUNGLE BOOK
Bill Murray singing “The Bear Necessities” and Christopher Walken crooning “I Wanna Be Like You” were pretty good indicators that Jon Favreau’s live-action (apart from, y’know, all the animals and landscapes) Kipling adaptation would be something very special. This is a visual marvel, with CGI animals as realistic as you’ve ever seen and terrific homage to the classic Disney animated Jungle Book (namely the aforementioned performances of Sherman Brothers songs). The definition of a family film, and a very good one at that.
Do you agree with our list of the 5 best films of 2016 so far? We look forward to the next 6 months, which will deliver such exciting projects as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Suicide Squad, Pete’s Dragon and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. The second half of the year is always better anyway!