5. The Nice Guys
Directed by Shane Black.
Starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Keith David, Beau Knapp, Lois Smith, Murielle Telio, Jack Kilmer, and Kim Basinger.
It may have went virtually unnoticed at the box office, grossing just $57.3 million, but Shane Black’s buddy action comedy The Nice Guys proved a hit with Flickering Myth writers, featuring prominently on half of our writers’ lists (and topping one) to comfortably take fifth place in our countdown.
This hugely entertaining riff on both noir and the buddy movie is full of chemistry between the two leads, great set pieces and whip-cracking dialogue. And, in case I haven’t said it before, it’s extremely funny. And even if Crowe and Gosling aren’t always nice guys, they’re certainly nicer than the bad ones – and far better company.
4. La La Land
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Whitrock, and J.K. Simmons.
Damien Chazelle followed up 2014’s Whiplash with the musical romance La La Land, which sees Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone falling in love in Los Angeles as they each pursue their dreams. La La Land topped five of our writers’ individual top tens (only one other film managed that, and it tops the list), and had more of our UK writers had a chance to see it, then surely it would have been challenging for first place itself.
La La Land has a rich visual language and is bursting with iconography that demands multiple viewings and readings. It’s offers commentary on Hollywood, not just its white-washed past but its diverse hopeful future. It’s an attack on modern cynicism and a call to reach for the most outlandish of goals and the pursuit of happiness. It will be remembered as one of the GREAT American films. Damien Chazelle has restored genuine magic back to cinema. There is love and there are dreams, and in La La Land you can’t have both.
3. Captain America: Civil War
Directed by Joe Russo & Anthony Russo.
Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, William Hurt, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Martin Freeman, Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Brühl, Paul Bettany and Frank Grillo.
Marvel Studios launched Phase Three of the MCU in style this year – and tore the Avengers apart – with Captain America: Civil War. The year’s biggest box office hit featured highly on 15 of our 26 writers’ individual top tens, topping one, and was also voted our fourth favourite entry in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier in the week.
A lot could have went wrong with Captain America: Civil War, but once the teams are assembled the movie falls into a groove. The action quickly becomes the most impressive we have seen in a film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while also trekking down some unpredictable emotional beats that fill out the extravaganza as the total blockbuster package. If we can continue to get movies as good as Captain America: Civil War, comic book adaptations are not a bubble about to burst; we’re entering a golden age where everything is firing on all cylinders.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve.
Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O’Brien and Tzi Ma.
For a while, it looked as though Denis Villeneuve’s acclaimed sci-fi drama Arrival would comfortably walk away with top spot, appearing on 17 of our writers’ individual lists, more than any other film this year. As it happened, a late surge in the voting meant it had to settle for second place, but only by a whisker…
Arrival is a film of absolute power, the sort of film that hits like a great freight train and continues to linger. It’s taken a month for its full power to hit, and at any moment it seems to slip from the mind, it only further cogitates. Those lavish arch ideas of time marinade and become all the more dizzying and fateful.
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Directed by Gareth Edwards.
Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Jimmy Smits, Mads Mikkelsen, and James Earl Jones.
Yes, Flickering Myth’s favourite movie of 2016 is Disney and Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first spinoff movie from the galaxy far, far away, and the movie that means “prequel” is no longer a dirty word when it comes to the Star Wars saga. The film shrugged aside any concerns regarding its extensive reshoots to deliver an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride and a final act that’s up there with the very best of them. Rogue One appeared on 15 of our writers’ individual top ten lists, topping five of them, and just managed to pip Arrival to top spot by the narrowest of margins (we also voted it our fifth favourite Star Wars movie in our ranking of the saga earlier this week).
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story starts off good and gradually builds and builds into a force to be reckoned with. The relentless nonstop action occasionally does a disservice to character development, but the entire last hour of the movie is so flat out insane, filled with chest-beating moments of spectacle and crushing emotional losses, it’s one of the most immersive Hollywood blockbusters in recent memory. It’s also one of the best movies of 2016. The ending is filled with both a bittersweet tragedy and hard-fought victory; ‘ a new hope’ is earned, and so is this film’s place in the upper echelon of Star Wars lore.
Click the link below to continue on for the films which just missed our on a place in the top ten, and our writers’ individual favourites of the year…