As a devout member of the Wittertainment church (Hi Jason), I thought it was only right to do a brief round up of all the films I’ve seen and fallen in love with this year – from the mainstream to the smaller, less noticeable stuff that you might have missed.
Alongside these choices, there were loads of other movies released in 2016 that I just haven’t got round to seeing yet – namely, Zootropolis, Ghostbusters, High Rise, I, Daniel Blake, Son of Saul, and Nocturnal Animals.
I’m also going to see Moana on Saturday and Rogue One on Monday (YAY) – both of which I imagine would be ranked highly on my list were I writing it at a later date. That said, this blog has already suffered without new content for almost two months, so best crack on.
A United Kingdom
This biographical tale has a fascinating political backdrop that conspires to break apart an interracial marriage in a post-war world. I love Rosamund Pike in absolutely everything she’s in, but it was David Oyelowo who really blew me away in his role as Seretse Kharma, the black chief-in-waiting of Bechuanaland who dares to fall in love with a white woman from South London.
There’s one incredible, almost tear-jerking scene in which Seretse appeals to his tribe, asking them to consider what it means to separate a husband and wife simply because one is black and one is white – emphasising that by ‘giving in’ to racist regimes and pressures from the British Government and South Africa, they are accepting segregation rather than fighting for equality. I found this film incredibly moving and powerful, and I encourage everybody to see it.
The plot of Arrival follows Amy Adams, a linguist who is sought out by the American military to assist in translating alien communications. I had very few expectations when I sat down to watch this film – I had heard it was better than The Accountant (which I had originally planned to see that day) – and I’m pleased to say I wasn’t at all disappointed.
Aside from finding the time-jumps slightly confusing (probably my own fault for being slow, not necessarily the film’s), Arrival was absolutely mesmerising. The big ‘reveal’ of the aliens played out especially well and was handled far better than as is usually the case in other sci-fi movies. The score is equally eerie and haunting, and actually stays with you even after the film has finished. Finally, Amy Adams is GREAT and definitely deserves to pick up a few awards for this come February.
If you know and love John Carney’s Once and Begin Again, you will LOVE Sing Street. In fact, even if you don’t know John Carney’s back catalogue, you will LOVE Sing Street. This 80s-tastic coming-of-age flick follows the tale of Conor, a 14-year-old Irish kid who starts a band to impress a girl. The soundtrack is magnificent – you’ll hear the likes of Duran Duran, The Cure and Spandau Ballet, and there’s plenty of catchy original music featured, too. All in all it’s just an incredibly uplifting film, and I challenge you not to fall in love with Eamon (pictured far right), the musical maestro/bunny collector who I think is the true hero of this piece.
The Jungle Book
Like many, I won’t deny feeling ever so slightly nervous upon hearing that The Jungle Book was being remade, but Jon Favreau’s adaption was genuinely very enjoyable.
Despite the star-studded cast, it’s actually the young lead, Neel Sethi, who totally steals the show as Mowgli. It’s also no surprise that the stunning visual effects has led to The Jungle Book receiving high praise from critics, and they really are outstanding. The only thing that left me less than convinced was Christopher Walken’s ‘King Louie’ and his rendition of ‘I Wanna Be Like You (oo oo)’. Bit weird. Other than that, a great film.
I went to see The BFG with an eight-year-old who didn’t know the story at all, so it was especially enjoyable seeing her reaction to this film. Spielberg clearly pulled out all the stops when it came to creating the visual elements of his latest flick – particularly during the dream-catching sequences in and Sophie’s visit to the ‘dream tree’.
But what really impressed me the most was the chemistry and bond between Mark Rylance’s ‘BFG’ and Ruby Barnhill’s ‘Sophie’ – there was clearly a real friendship there and they gelled together perfectly.
This film was a true delight, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it again.