The Best of 2016 in Film – Dreamers, witches and nice guys.

It seems that the events of 2016 have birthed a new generation of cynics, and at the turn of the new year, all one can hear around are people crying over the horrible year that has passed. However, being one who prefers to count gifts over curses, I consider ourselves blessed to have received a stellar list of films, taking various different genres to stranger waters, and realizing the full potential of some others. Now while the movies that big franchises and studios have churned out were more in the form of financial investments than works of art, 2016 has witnessed masterpieces from global filmmakers and the independent categories. The following is the list of films that I think made the most of their run-time this year, and deserve to be seen by one and all. (This year, I’ve added suggestions of old movies similar in some way to each film on this list, so the doubtful ones can decide what to watch.)
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‘Hell or High Water’ review – A perfect Western for these imperfect times.

The reason why movies that came to be known as the ‘old west’ genre came to be so popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s was the tense, dangerous atmosphere which elevated a simple story of people pitted against each other by circumstance or desire. In Hell or High Water, David Mackenzie tells such a simple story of two brothers and a cop on the hunt, their motivations and tenacity made to resound in our minds through the bleak environment and the discomforting tension pouring out of every scene. Embracing the formidable setting and the sepia palette that comes with it, it is an exercise in restraint, never flinching in the face of the terror it creates, and not allowing you the use of more than the edge of your seat.
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‘The Hateful Eight’ review – Yep, Tarantino’s done it again.

Lock up a bunch of wordy characters in close quarters with a mystery to be solved, and you have a pressure cooker in your hands already. Add the sharp tongue and morbid wit of the kind that only Tarantino can write, and you’ve got something truly special, something to bite your nails off for. The Hateful Eight belongs to that unique Tarantino brand that is a dark comedy, a period piece and a spaghetti western at the same time, all working together to create a symphony of atmosphere and character. Intentionally harking back to a time when overtures, intermissions and stage-like theatrics dominated the screen, the film is Tarantino’s love letter to Sergio Leone and John Carpenter, with a blood-soaked twist. Breathtaking visuals and delightfully ‘hateful’ characters filling every moment of its long runtime, this is one that ranks right up there with the artist’s best work. Continue reading