2016 is coming to an end, which means it’s time for the SpicyPulp crew to reveal their top films for the year. Check out my list below, and head to our Facebook page to let us know what your favourite films of the year were.
10. The Legend of Tarzan
The sheer epic-ness of the world’s original pulp hero was brought back to the big screen with immense scope and scale thanks to the grand vision of director David Yates. The Legend of Tarzan was fierce and uncompromising, and took audiences back to a long forgotten time and a mythical jungle landscape. Alexander Skarsgard was in full hero mode as the legendary Tarzan, and carried a physique of god-like proportions, while Margot Robbie was no damsel as his beloved wife Jane. The chemistry between these two was sizzling and not for one moment did my adrenaline stop pumping in this all-action adventure.
9. The Magnificent Seven
The west sure got wild thanks to this high-octane gunslinging adventure from director Antoine Fuqua that took one of cinema’s greatest ever films and re-imagined it for a whole new generation. Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke and Chris Pratt were all quick on the draw and steadfast in their actions, while Haley Bennett proved that she could wrangle the bad guys just as much as the boys, and was a crack shot with a long rifle. The Magnificent Seven was a thumping ride from beginning to end and was a terrific ode to the grand old westerns of the past.
Heart-wrenching love and terrible secrets kept me guessing every second in this ticking time bomb of a movie that delivered big bangs and even bigger shocks. The tension never eased for a moment in Allied, and director Robert Zemeckis sure knows how to keep his audience on edge. Stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard had undeniable chemistry together and brought incredible focus to this tightly wound thriller. Allied’s production design and costuming also brought back memories of Hollywood’s golden era, and I certainly did not anticipate that shocking ending.
7. The Light Between Oceans
Love is the most powerful force of all, and director Derek Cianfrance explored its ecstatic highs and heartbreaking lows in this emotionally evocative piece of drama. Michael Fassbender was at the top of his game, but it was Alicia Vikander who stole every scene as a woman and a mother who could not bear to let her child go. The tears certainly flowed while watching The Light Between Oceans, and Cianfrance also gifted us with the beautiful cinematography of Adam Arkapew, which made this film even more emotionally heartfelt.
6. Doctor Strange
The Marvel Universe’s greatest ever magician finally found his way to the big screen this year thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch, and man-o-man was Doctor Strange a mind trip! Director Scott Derrickson brought the hallucinogenic images of Steve Ditko’s art to life in all their vivid detail, and threw his audience head first into the astral plain. And as for Cumberbatch, the British thespian was all we could have wanted and more as the snarky, pretentious know-it-all who falls to historic lows before finally rising up and becoming the Master of the Mystic Arts. Wild, entertaining and very, very cool, Doctor Strange proved that Marvel certainly has plenty more surprises in store for its legions of fans.
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The force was indeed strong with Gareth Edwards’ standalone galactic adventure Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which told the hard-won battle of the Rebel Alliance’s fight to steal the Death Star plans, and turn the tide of the war against The Empire. A stunning ensemble cast lead by Felicity Jones provided plenty of terrific new characters, along with lots of heroic actions. But the real power of Rogue One came from Edwards’ ability to put his audience deep into the heart of the film’s climatic battle scenes, as the Rebel Alliance stormed the beaches of Scariff to put an end to The Empire’s super weapon in a desperate do-or-die mission.
4. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
This instant Kiwi classic was sheer laugh-out-loud hilarity thanks to the combined talents of Hollywood veteran Sam Neill and the charm of hell raising teenager and ‘bad egg’ Ricky Baker, who was played to perfection by newcomer Julian Dennison. This good’ol tramping movie struck out deep into the untamed bush of New Zealand, and followed the misadventures of these totally unique characters as they rebelled against a society that had given up on them, before eventually finding strength and a sense of family with one another. Once again director Taika Waititi’s comedic timing was incredible, and his surprise cameo appearance had me in stitches. You simply couldn’t find a better comedy this year.
3. The Nice Guys
There was no better team up this year than Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as mismatched hoodlum Jackson Healy and inept private investigator Holland March, who find themselves way over their heads in this laugh-out-loud black comedy from Shane Black. Packed with cracking dialogue, and tough guy swagger, The Nice Guys was a classic noir tale that sucked you into Hollywood’s seedy underbelly of the 1970s as these two ‘amateurs’ did everything they could to right a terrible wrong, along with turning a tidy profit in the process. The Nice Guys was a thoroughly entertaining watch and one of the best films I saw all year.
2. La La Land
The cinematic experience didn’t get more magnificent than Damien Chazelle’s lavish musical sensation La La Land. This throwback to the grand musicals of Hollywood’s golden era was packed with a terrific jazz-infused score and was bursting at the edges with pop energy. While Ryan Gosling channelled Fred Astaire’s dance moves and Frank Sinatra’s laid back cool, Emma Stone brought a great deal of heart and soul to this thumping movie. If ever there was a film to champion the magic of those who dream then it most definitely was La La Land.
But it all it comes down to this. My favourite film of the year was undoubtedly the ultra-violent and incredibly crazy superhero action adventure love tale that was Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds knocked it out of the park as the Merc with a Mouth and proved that his snazzy one-liners were just as lethal as his sword skills. Reynolds, along with director Tim Miller held nothing back in this love letter to the cult comic book character, and it really showed on screen. Deadpool was pure, crazy, cinematic fun at its best.