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The 30 Best Movies of 2016

03 January 2017 | Features, Film Lists | by Shane Scott-Travis

Now that the sun has set on 2016, Taste of Cinema offers up our favorites from the exciting year that was. Admittedly, I was somewhat under the impression that 2016 had been a modest, even disappointing year for cinema. But, even a cursory glance down the list, and seeing such a miscellany of approaches, particularly in the top ten choices, is very promising.

To anyone of the opinion that 2016 was a mediocre year at the multiplex, you just weren’t looking hard enough. Even just narrowing the titles down to a workable 30 titles was no small feat – I cringe at the many worthy films that didn’t make the cut.

The films on this list show a wide-ranging assortment including auteur-driven films, populist fare, plentiful arthouse gems, genre films, and many magnificent female-led projects, too. May this be a refreshing and restorative sign of things to come.

One quick note, and this is bound to cause a bit of a stir but yet it’s an important relation that needs addressing. Two films in particular, each highly acclaimed, have been omitted from this list for rather consequential reasons.

Both Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation and, to a lesser extent (and this no doubt owing to Casey Affleck’s white male privilege) Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, have both met much critical adoration while simultaneously courting controversy stemming from gross acts of misconduct and sexual assault from key creators of these respective projects.

The details to these scandals are easily found in an online search, the specifics of which are terribly distressing, and since the victims and/or their families deserve whatever allowance and assurance can be allotted them, I’ll not be mentioning these films again on this list.

Without further ado, let the roundup commence, shall we?

 

30. Another Evil

Another Evil, the debut feature from writer-director Carson Mell, is an eccentric, original, and gut-busting horror-comedy. Shot on a micro-budget this low-key comedy unravels like a mumblecore Ghostbusters.

After encountering a pair of gross J-horror-inspired ghosts in their cottage, a married California couple, Dan (Steve Zissis) and Mary (Jennifer Irwin) along with their teenage son, Jazz (Dax Flame) take action the only way they can.

They track down a supposed expert on ghosts, an odd exorcist named Os Bijourn (Mark Proksch). Soon Dan and Os are doing really wild things to rid the entities and all the while Os seems determined to overshare his inner desires, grooming a reluctant Dan to be his new BFF.

The cast, particularly Dan Bakkendahl and Proksch, are hilarious, and Another Evil presents a steady stream of awkward laughs, creepy kicks, and heaps of droll subtlety. If you like cringe-y uncomfortable comedy combined with your horror, Another Evil is all you need.

 

29. Hell or High Water

hell-or-high-water

A deliberately listless West Texas setting is ideal for director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) and writer Taylor Sheridan’s (Sons of Anarchy, Sicario) neo-Western crime-spree thriller. Jeff Bridges is in fine form as a worn out Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton, hot on the heels of small-time bank robbing brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner Howard (Ben Foster).

An elegiac and intricate character study, marvellously buttressed by solid performances and stunning cinematography from Giles Nuttgens (The Deep End, God Help the Girl), Hell or High Water is a fatalistic tale of sincerity, mishap, and, ultimately, atonement.

 

28. Love & Friendship

love-friendship

Cultured satirist Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona) offers perhaps his highest endeavor yet, and arguably one of the greatest Jane Austen adjustments ever with this adaptation of her 1774 epistolary novel, “Lady Susan”. A period comedy full to burst with Stillman’s signature wordplay, this period comedy is a greathearted gift for lovers of witty dialogue and playful verbal sparring.

Reuniting with his intelligent leads from 1998’s The Last Days of Disco, Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny are perfectly at home in Austen’s world of liaisons, misleads, and manipulations. As the scheming, sardonic and manipulative Lady Susan Vernon, Beckinsale is note-perfect, fleecing even her bestie, the rather unsophisticated American Alicia Johnson (Sevigny),

if it means assuring her daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark) find the right wealthy suitor. That’s an oversimplification, to be sure, as the large ensemble cast and many twists and unveilings reap numerous whoops and poetic rewards. Innuendo, argument, and conniving is rarely so entertaining. Bonus points to a comic turn from Tom Bennett as Sir James Martin that all but steals the show.

Love & Friendship is a warm and witty comic romp that’s as clever as it is quick, and an absolute pleasure for language lovers and catnip for Austen fanatics alike (who am I kidding, they’re often the same crowd!).

 

27. The Eyes of My Mother

The Eyes of My Mother

From its opening frames through to its bleak finish, Nicolas Pesce’s directorial debut The Eyes of My Mother is perhaps the most disturbingly formidable horror film of the year.

Pesce, who also wrote and edited the film, sustains a precise and extremely well-defined narrative clarity throughout even though he regularly strives for and achieves a nightmare logic that would make the likes of David Lynch drool with approval (and the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography from DP Zach Kuperstein adds to this otherworldly effect).

Francisca (Kika Magalhaes) has a thorough understanding of human anatomy thanks to her mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, as well as a rather laissez-faire attitude towards death due to this discomfiting upbringing. After a particularly tragic event shatters her bucolic family life, Francisca grows up more than a little fucked up, disconnecting from the world in astonishing ways.

The disquieting journey that Francisca takes the audience on attains a strange plateau between American Gothic and German Expressionism with shards of Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy in there, too. This is a startling and unforgettable film that signals the start of an impressive career from Pesce, and from the fearless Magalhaes as well.

 

26. The Girl with All the Gifts

the-girl-with-all-the-gifts-film

Colm McCarthy, of Peaky Blinders fame, offers up a tense, intelligent, chillingly provocative, and exciting British horror film in The Girl With All The Gifts.

The zombie film that World War Z should have been, this film takes the overdone undead genre and resuscitates it, while also revamping a handful of well-established genre tropes––apocalypse premise, creepy kids, mad scientists––and tweaks them in eccentric, imaginative, and awesome new ways.

Newcomer Sennia Nanua is wonderful as the titular heroine, Melanie, a second generation “hungry” who could hold the key to humanity’s future. The Girl With All The Gifts is a sharp synthesis of George Romero, Children of Men and 28 Days Later with it’s own biting revelations. Genre fans rejoice!

 

25. Personal Shopper

personal-shopper

Expertly told, Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper is an eccentric ghost story. Gauging by the polarizing reactions it’s been amassing, it’s fair to say that this film is something of a misunderstood masterpiece, destined for celebrated cult standing and probably near universal plaudits when it’s reassessed a few years down the road.

Maureen Cartwright (Kristen Stewart, excellent) is a young American in Paris where she’s gainfully employed as a personal shopper to Kyra (Nora Von Waltstätten), a demanding fashion designer and supermodel always on the go. Maureen is also a medium, grieving the recent death of her twin brother Lewis, with whom she is resolved to contact beyond the grave and find out if he’s at peace.

Hitchcockian nods and genuflections abound, containing some genuine chills, and buoyed by a brilliant performance from Stewart, this film is an unpredictable enigma. Comparable to Assayas’ best work, this film often recalls the left field delights of Irma Vep (1996), this is an unnerving and adventurous subtlety. Pleasingly provocative and vigorously cool, Personal Shopper is something of a showpiece.

 

24. Cosmos

Cosmos

Polish filmmaker Andrzej Żuławski, whose unmistakable brand of OTT exorbitance, as in his best known film from 1981, the extreme psychodrama Possession––where Isabelle Adjani’s hysterical meltdown and miscarriage in the subway is pure nightmare fuel––inspired film critics to coined the term “Żuławskien”, sadly shuffled off the mortal coil in February, 2016, having fought a long battle with cancer.

Cosmos, his valedictory film, is an ominous thriller that fearlessly explores desire, identity, and so much more in a surrealistic discombobulation of great beauty, even greater confusion, and bucolic poetry.

Żuławski’s screenplay, which echoes the likes of Luis Buñuel and Jacques Rivette, is based off the 1965 novel “Kosmos” by Witold Gombrowicz and kinda sorta details the happenings as two friends, Wiltold (Jonathan Genet) and Fuchs (Johan Libéreau) discover mysterious items in a countryside guesthouse run by every so often paralytic Madame Woytis (Sabine Azéma).

Dream logic dominates the ill-fated duo as a storm of histrionics, mental strain dominate this unclassifiable arthouse odyssey. Cosmos is a fitting, fucked up and funereal swansong from a cinematic legend.

 

23. Everybody Wants Some!!

Everybody Wants Some (2016)

Writer/director Richard Linklater’s “spiritual sequel” to his 1993 coming-of-age cult hit Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! eschews the 1970s stoner high school milieu for the Me Decade. It’s September 1980 and Jake Bradford (Blake Jenner) is a freshman and star pitcher who has just arrived at Southeast Texas University to live in residence with his teammates.

Everybody Wants Some!! (a reference to the Van Halen hit single that was released that same year) tracks Jake and his BFFs the weekend before school starts as they cruise for babes, wax nostalgic, ruminate, romance, dance, and also slyly riff on frat house comedies and Americana.

Linklater joyously meanders, navel gazes, and amuses with this amicable and sweet sidestep of relatable, realistic, and wistful film. The cast is talented, sweet-natured and engaging, with a similarly sentimental soundtrack of classic rock from the era. This likeable, light touch shaggy dog is hard to resist, so don’t even try. In the caterwaul warble of David Lee Roth; “Everybody wants some, everybody needs some…”

 

22. Things to Come

Things To Come

French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve is marvellously impressive and fully deserving of the Silver Bear for Best Director award bestowed upon her at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival for the powerful and poignant drama Things to Come. So assured is Hansen-Løve’s direction, and so profoundly pragmatic is her screenplay that she simply must be regarded as one of the most shrewd, understanding, and intelligent cinematic storytellers of her generation.

Much of the film’s sterling success must be shared with star Isabelle Huppert, who is superb as Nathalie Chazeaux, an academic philosophy professor bound back on her own unsure reserves after her husband leaves her, her adult child leaves the nest, her book deal collapses, and her high-maintenance mother passes away.

On the surface they may sound like a cheerless dirge but both Hansen-Løve and Huppert are too talented and gracious to allow such contrivance. The results are gorgeous, fine-grained heroic, and radiant. Things to Come is never maudlin, frequently funny, and never less than engaging. Not to be missed.

 

21. Sing Street

Sing Street

One of the finest feel good films of the year, Sing Street is a valentine to brothers, young love, and the power of pop music amidst a wonderfully realized Dublin in the 1980s. John Carney, writer/director of similarly charming fare such as Once (2007) and Begin Again (2013) imbues this musical comedy-drama with esprit and panache as seen through the adolescent eyes of 14-year-old Conor “Cosmo” Lalor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who’s adjusting to his new inner-city public school, where he’s something of an outcast.

Cosmo, smitten by the stunning, “über-cool” and ultra-chic Raphina (Lucy Boynton) decides to start a band to woo her and get her to star in his music videos. From this simple premise results an irresistibly charming, light on it’s feet and anecdotal adventure, buoyed by great performances –– Jack Reynor’s turn as Cosmo’s big brother Brendan is particularly indelible –– and great music from the likes of A-ha, The Clash, the Cure, Duran Duran, and more add to the allure. If Sing Street doesn’t get you humming, chuckling, and tearing up, you might be made of stone. A delight.

 

 

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  • Jack action

    IMPERIUM (with Daniel Radcliffe , Toni Collette ….),
    great movie it teached me a lot.

    • sailor monsoon

      It’s ok but nowhere near the best of the year

  • Ivan Džaja

    Why noone mentions Captain Fantastic or the Nice Guys?!?!?!?

    • chrosTV

      The Nice Guys is one of the Top 50 best reviewed movies of 2016, as you can read here: criticstop10.com

    • Ted Wolf

      Good call on Captain Fantastic.

  • Tom Smith

    It’s a good list, but I’m baffled by some omissions (Hacksaw Ridge, Nice Guys, for example). Also, while The Neon Demon is a solid film, I don’t think it can be regarded as anything better than that. Same goes for Everybody Wants Some!! and Hail, Caesar! (which I still thoroughly enjoyed). I’m glad Arrival and Paterson got the recognition they deserve.

    • D Train

      Ugh… Hacksaw Ridge was just patriotic zeal/American agitprop. Not good.

      • Tom Smith

        As an Europan who rarely sympathizes with ”patriotic” movies, I still really enjoyed Hacksaw Ridge. This is coming from a person who doesn’t even like Braveheart. I think Gibson got away with sentimentalism by telling a true story about a hero who strangely was very ”unreal”, I would say. Also, I was surprised that the movie wasn’t really preachy, it only told its tale through a protagonist who has firm religious beliefs. Gibson found the perfect balance. I didn’t even mention the brilliant and gripping direction of war scenes.

  • Nocturnal Animals??

    • Abhishek

      How could it be missed? Even I am wondering. It might not be best but it is certainly in the top 30 movies of the year!

      • D Train

        It’s a pretty strong list, it would be hard to know what to drop in place for Nocturnal Animals—a fine but flawed film.

        • Abhishek

          Yeah could say that. Haven’t seen all the 30 so can’t really say.

    • Simone Bionda

      tom ford movies are fake movies, about fake people. formally flawless, basically empty. a real bluff

      • What do you mean fake people, fake movies? Like all the movies out there deal with reality. Dude, have you even seen the film yet? & BTW, Tom ford barely made films other than NA and his 2009 flick “A single man” which was pretty decent.

        • Simone Bionda

          all the characters are fictional, every representation is fictional.. but tom ford characters are also a fake representation, they are golems made with metrosexuals essence, journalistic expectations, aesthetic aspirations
          . Yes I saw it, it’s a good movie, but not enough to be on tasteofcinema 😉

  • Lika Imerlishvili

    Tony Erdmann is an example of how a worlwide beloved film can be a pure cinematic garbage

    • D Train

      Shows your ignorance and misunderstanding of comic cinema. Comedy’s always get the shaft, especially when they’re written and directed by women. Toni Erdmann was great.

      • Lika Imerlishvili

        There is no such thing as women’s cinema or men’s cinema by direction. As for the comedy(I’d rather it be an irony), I agree that comedy is an essential part of a good film, but cinema is an artistic field whether you like it or not and when you have an ambition to be in this field, your film has to carry if not a great deal of art then at least a bit of art.. This comment shows YOUR ignorance in cinema, Sir/Madam.

  • Tiago Couto

    Eyes of My Mother and Personal Shopper are garbage,Toni Erdmann being a good film is massively overrated(At least the other overrated one from this year,Manchester By the Sea wasn´t present) and putting Love Witch at nº2 just shows the need to be ”different”…
    Remarkable films missing:
    -Graduation
    -The Salesman
    -Nocturnal Animals
    -Christine(not the John Carpenter movie)
    -The Nice Guys(probably the most entertaining movie of the year)
    -Raw(for some it maybe a 2017)

    • D Train

      “Eyes of My Mother” was garbage? Are you even a genre fan? And can I please see your directorial debut to tell you what flavor of shit it tastes like??? hahaha! You suck.

    • Afrikoka

      opinions.

    • Vincenzo Politi

      I don’t know about Eyes of my mother, Personal Shopper and Toni Erdmann, as I haven’t seen them yet. But Nice Guys is simply an awesome, awesome, awesome movie! 🙂 And Nocturnal Animals is spectacular.

  • sailor monsoon

    20th century women
    Nocturnal animals
    The nice guys
    Green room
    The vvitch
    Belladonna of sadness (reissue)

    • D Train

      Green Room came out in 2014 didn’t it? And Belladonna of Sadness is like 40 years old, hardly a 2016 release. Great film though.

      • sailor monsoon

        Green room came out this year
        2016 that is and belladonna of sadness is 40 years old but it never got released in North America till last year

        • D Train

          According to wikipedia in May 2015, and I saw it that Fall at TIFF 2015 so it’s debatable. I know it’s on the Taste of Cinema list for Best Films of 2015: http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/the-30-best-movies-of-2015/

          • sailor monsoon

            Fair enough
            I was referring to it being commercially available but I’m glad it made 2015’s list

          • D Train

            Green Room was great. Did you see his two earlier films? Blue Ruin and Murder Party, also excellent.

          • sailor monsoon

            I have.
            I knew he was going to be something based on murder party and I’m glad i was right.
            He’s an immense talent

  • Love to see The Neon Demon in here but where’s 10 Cloverfield Lane??

  • colonelkurtz

    After a certain number (10, maybe), counting top films is just piling on the best of the bad.
    Following that, Arrival was not great. It was good, yes, but not great. Random first-person narration was out of place and mood, the speed at which she learns a language (seemingly days with the military’s pressure) was completely unreal, and, as a language specialist, her first approach to teaching language was to pat her chest and write “human” and “Louise” on a whiteboard, which creates so many assumptions it’s silly (are Louise and human synonyms? Does patting the chest show self, dominance, submission, pride, etc.). If they can tell the future, why don’t they know English from the start and write using our letters before teaching us their language? Also, to the circular language and it’s “timelessness”—everything they spelled out were simple one-idea concepts. It falls apart when telling any kind of story that requires following events. Also how could Louise have “flashbacks” before she met the aliens/learned their language (at the beginning of the movie) when the flashbacks (I suppose flashforwards) were a result of the language? Then there’s the whole spiel with the Chinese general (who doesn’t truly have that power; it’s the chairman who does) and his wife’s last words. Were they really that riveting? And don’t get me started on that dumb negative space equalling 1/12 and what the hell was that? The music was good, but the story had too many small mistakes to be great. If asked for something better, my tastes would place Handmaiden, La La Land, and Hail Caesar! before Arrival. (Beautiful movie; simple story told well with rare interesting music—and the first adult musical in years; and one of the most intelligent funny films in a world where stereotyped/cliché funny films are the norm).

    • colonelkurtz

      And since I’m in a mood to gripe, Neon Demon was not good. I heard it was a shallow film about shallowness before I saw it, but as a fan of Nicholas Refn, I was baffled by how dull it was. It had good atmosphere, color, and music, but the pacing was poorly designed. It felt like he was trying for the slow approach of Tarkovsky and Wong Kar Wai, but without their artful touch. What truly turned me off, though, was how dumb the dialogue was. It wasn’t even dialogue, it was just the director telling us, the audience, “this is the theme, this is what I think of modern society, this is how it is.” That’s not art. That’s assuming he’s above us and has to pander to us, look down on our puny ways. It was a pedantic attempt to scorn the shallowness of consumerism, but his mind’s depth went no farther than the end of his nose.

    • Vincenzo Politi

      Actually, I think Handmaiden is overrated too. Wonderful direction, wonderful cinematography, but the psychology of the characters is so flat, so mono-dimentional. They don’t seem to have motivations on their own, they are just puppets in the hand of the plot. Apart from the love story they have, I don’t feel like I “know” anything else about the two girls – what they like, what they want from life, who they really are outside of their sapphic relations. I don’t feel I know about the two men either. Lot of girl-on-girl sex scenes, but since they are beautifully shot everybody say they are touching and poetic, and believe that the movie is a masterpiece – which is not, in my opinion. It is also uselessly long: the director could have dispensed with a a good 20 minutes.

      • colonelkurtz

        I can see that for sure. And I agree on the length, though I do enjoy slow-paced films.

        • Vincenzo Politi

          Don’t get me wrong: I like slow-paced films myself, but only if the slow-pace is appropriate to the film. In the case of Handmaiden, I think that some things could have been faster and kept shorter. Also, ‘pace’ and ‘length’ are not the same thing and my main problem with that movie was more with the length that with the pace. Curiously enough, watching Handmaiden made me re-evaluate Stoker, which received very mild reviews and is considered as one of Chan-wook’s ‘minor works’, almost the extravagant result of an ill-planned Hollywood adventure. In reality, the psychology of Stoker is more sophisticated and tridimensional, the characters are complex, the cinematography is superb, the movie says everything it wants to say in 90 minutes and Nicole Kidman’s performance is absolutely superb!

          • colonelkurtz

            I had to rewatch it to remind myself fully of the film, and I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree. What kept the interest for me was an acute use of musical cues on top of an interesting plot, plus the retelling from the mistress’s perspective wasn’t dull—some films that pull the rewind effect (Rules of Attraction) I find dull because not enough new info is given, whereas here we get the whole other side of the story, and the multiple levels of con. Obviously the cinematography was beautiful; music well used. The pace I found good, and I couldn’t have cut too much from the length on the rewatch: I didn’t find myself thinking “this shot is just cinematography porn, hurry up!” I do see some spots where others may disagree, so I understand your perspective.
            On the psychology, I think you’re mostly right: the mistress is naive, the uncle sadistic, Sook-hee sweet and charming (though a con-artist), and Fujiwara a con-artist (though his goals I found most interesting). I think what held me, though, was not fleshed-out characters, but how each character’s intentions battled with the others, especially knowing who is conning who. For me, it still beats Arrival, hahaha.

          • Vincenzo Politi

            For me, Handmaiden does not beat Arrival, although I don’t think Arrival is the best movie of 2016. I would have put both Handmaiden and Arrival on the top 30, they are both good movies (both better than Neon Demon, for instance, where the characterisation is not flat, it’s just absent!), they both give visual experiences which tend to stick with the viewer, but in the end I was expecting more from both and my expectations were a bit disappointed. Also, I think that perhaps I tend to forgive some things to Arrival and not to forgive other things to Handmaiden… and you look like you do exactly the opposite, ah ah!

          • colonelkurtz

            I was more critical of Arrival to begin with, but it gave me more to pick apart on brief viewing. But give me a night to sleep on Handmaiden and I might find another thing or two. 😀

  • Hernan Paz

    I am yet to see many of the films listed. I loved “Elle” and “The Wailing”. I think that “Hail Caesar”, “Everybody Wants Some” and “Midnight Special” are a bit overated, specially if we consider the great movies those directors gave us in the past. One of my favourites, “Green Room”, didn’t make the list. I also liked “Indignation” and “The Good Guys”.

    • D Train

      Green Room topped the list of “Best Films of 2015” right here: http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/the-30-best-movies-of-2015/

      And seeing as Hail! Caesar and Midnight Special didn’t perform well at the box office, I’m not sure what you mean by “overrated” as audiences largely ignored them (really only the foreign press praised these films).
      What is “The Good Guys”?

      • Vincenzo Politi

        Perhaps he meant “The Nice Guys”… which is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tiago Nunes

      “Everybody Wants Some” and “Midnight Special” are so bad

      • D Train

        You spelled “awesome” wrong, Tiago.

  • JRoc

    I personally believe film critics should be able to separate art from life. I think that even some of the victims would be able to keep that in mind. Excluding Affleck’s performance because of his personal life seems a tad ludicrous.

    If you committed to that philosophy even more, you’d have to exclude Hail, Caesar as well considering Brolin’s domestic battery charges. If you outright refuse to watch such movies because of various celebrity allegations, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

    As for Affleck’s alleged white privilege, I’ll say that while I do believe white privilege exists, I think you fail to recognize the the difference between the allegations between the two. Parker was flat-out accused of rape – no nice way to put it. Affleck was, as far as I’m aware, accused of sexual misconduct. This certainly doesn’t mean he’s a saint, but I do think there’s a reason Parker got more attention. Frankly, his crime is worse.

    I don’t believe these stars deserve admiration for their personal lives. I’m under the impression that often, these allegations for true. However, as a film enthusiast, it’s unfair of to ignore films because of the people involved.

    • Vincenzo Politi

      Also, it is amazing that no one ever seems to care about the allegations to Woody Allen… Shouldn’t we watch Woody Allen anymore then?

      • D Train

        Woody Allen is a complicated mess but enough evidence suggests he’s potentially a victim, too. If you’d said Polanski, that’s different.
        In either case, it’s one thing to see their films, before or after their scandals, and debate them, and something else to find a platform and encourage others to support these filmmakers. I’ve seen most of Allen and Polanski’s films and I’m pretty sure they didn’t earn a cent from my viewing. Just sayin’.
        And for any victims of abuse that want to boycott these or any filmmakers, they have my full support and I won’t descry them their reasons or discredit their experiences. Neither should you, Vincenzo.

        • JRoc

          Okay, now you’re coming off as immature – and I’m a bit disappointed. I consider myself an open-minded, liberal person. Hell, I’d even say to some extent I’m a feminist. Obviously the above post may not come across that way, but hear me out (though I imagine I’ll get personally attacked again, I’m hoping for maybe a reasonable reply. Fingers crossed).

          My post never once said I support these people. And it never, EVER said I don’t give a shit about the victims. That is a horrible, ruthless attack on my character based on ONE personal opinion of mine. Sexual abuse is heartbreaking to me, and just because I’ve never personally experienced it does not mean I “don’t give a shit.” Just because I’ll pay $10 to see a movie doesn’t mean I’m saying “go ahead, sexually assault all you want.”

          Nope. Not even close. This is a ‘best of’ list, though. The point is to make a list of the best movies. Authors are doing readers a disservice by excluding movies that they could potentially fall in love with because of the personal life of one. single. person. involved. I’ll even throw a bone and say that I can understand Birth of a Nation as Nate Parker was such an integral part of the film. Casey Affleck is just an actor in Manchester. He didn’t direct it, he didn’t write it, he didn’t produce it. Someone chose to cast him, so the whole movie is now plagued by him.

          I’ll say that the first part of my post was beyond ridiculous. I’ll give you that. Specifically where I said that the victims could also separate art from life. I’m not one of the victims and I shouldn’t speak for them. I sincerely apologize for making assumptions. I’ll even conclude that yes – I was probably mansplaining.

          Beyond that though, I think lists that are made to talk about films should be all inclusive. I’m sorry I have disgusting, immoral opinions about film viewing. I don’t like Casey Affleck as a person, but I’ll watch his movies. I don’t like Kanye West as a person, but I’ll listen to his music. I mean no harm to the author of the article – or to any of the victims. I just think the movies should be fairly viewed.

          Whew, sorry about that.

        • Vincenzo Politi

          When and where, exactly, did “I decry the victims of abuse” or even “discredit their experience”? Seriously, are you totally out of your mind???? Please, do not start putting in my mouth things which I haven’t said! As for Woody Allen, my point was NOT to give a verdict on him, but simply to stress the fact that some cases get more attention and are more publicly discussed than others. I didn’t say Polanski because everybody always speak about Polanski, while in the case of Woody Allen there is this sort of collective forgetfulness going on. (Then you go on saying that evidence suggests that Allen may be actually a victim… and it is ME the one “discrediting the experience of the victims”? Honestly!)

    • D Train

      Says the MAN who has never been the victim of sexual violence and will never admit to his own misogyny. Thanks for letting abused voices know you don’t give a shit and mansplaining your brilliant reasoning. Pfft!!

  • Did I misread this or was Manchester By The Sea omitted?
    Maybe the topic was the 30 Best Movies of 2016 NOT Named ‘Manchester By The Sea’?

    • D Train

      Read the intro, the writer omitted Manchester By the Sea and The Birth of a Nation in respect to the victims of sexual assault by the creatives of those films.
      Myself, speaking as a victim of sexual abuse, seeing these men’s names being praised everywhere with a largely unacknowledged slant of their crimes must be very triggering and harmful to those who haven’t yet had the courage to challenge their abusers, flee violent partners, etc.,.
      I for one applaud Taste of Cinema for opting out of praising those films here. Besides, you can read about those films and their merits on every other movie website (and other articles here, too).
      As a gesture and a political statement, it is a good one. Bravo and thank you TOC!!

      • HLLH

        I think a film’s merits shouldn’t be plastered together with the scandals of the creatives. That’s quite the opposite of art. I’m not saying TOC should praise those films, but I’m saying they should if they see it fit, if they honestly think those films are also some the year’s best. The private lives of the creatives are one thing and their work is other. If we’re talking cinema, we should judge the movies, not the private lives of the people involved in them.

      • John W. Thackery

        First off, the allegations against Casey Affleck were not sexual assault. It was sexual harassment, that’s a huge difference. Nate Parker’s allegations dealt with sexual assault, namely rape. And another thing, Affleck settled his case out of court in 2010. So, why the hell does this sh-t matter for a film he made 6 years later? I mean, seriously. Should I not watch or praise Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist because of the allegations against Roman Polanski? Never watch another Woody Allen movie? Mark Wahlberg blinded a man in one eye in his youth, so I guess I should never watch The Departed again. Seriously, put the politics and personal lives out of mind when watching films. Otherwise, how the hell can you enjoy anything? The author of this article is also an imbecile for this decision.

        • D Train

          “First off,” he writes, mansplaining his case to defend abhorrent behaviour, attempting to highroad those who choose to defend women and believe them against a largely uncaring public.
          Guess what John W. Thackery, one can watch films by Polanski, Allen, Affleck, Parker, and they can do so and then NOT write about them in a blog for personal reasons for VERY valid reasons.
          Ask yourself; “why do I apologize and make excuses for rapists and sexual harassers? Why am I hostile to anyone who might suggest that these filmmakers get enough publicity already so skipping passed them somehow makes them an “imbecile”?
          And comments like “put the politics and personal lives out of mind when watching films” proves your ignorance. The best filmmakers make personal statements and films have been political since Eisentstein and the silent era.
          You’re who’s pathetic.

          • John W. Thackery

            Wow, you sure love dishonesty, don’t ya? Please highlight the section in my previous post where I defended their actions. I was not defending them or making excuses on their behalf. I stated a FACT that Casey Affleck was not accused of sexual assault. Nate Parker on the other hand WAS accused of much more serious charges like rape. And to lump Affleck in with Nate as if their actions are equivalent is dishonest, immoral and slanderous. If you’re gonna call the private lives of these actors into question, then at least be honest about it and not equate one’s misdeeds with those of an entirely different person.

            “And comments like ‘put the politics and personal lives out of mind when watching films’ proves your ignorance. The best filmmakers make personal statements and films have been political since Eisentstein and the silent era.”

            Oh thank you for informing me cuz I had no f-cking idea that art can serve as self-reflection. But just because a director/actor holds certain societal views at a given moment does not mean those views are always present in all of their work (and thus we should refrain from publically discussing or praising the work so as not to offend others). Example, Clint Eastwood at this point seems to be a Trump supporting, right-wing nutjob however the themes explored in “Letters from Iwo Jima” seem to suggest that he was a filmmaker with more liberal sensibilities. The Japanese soldiers in that film were humanized (conservatively slanted war films are jingoistic and tend to stereotype all foreign combatants as evil scum), and the film’s underlying message is that war is a battle of competing symbols and ideologies that have no meaning. And that the artificial divisions we’ve created hide the fact that we are all the same under the skin, with the same hopes, fears and desires. Beautiful message, sounds like the views of an obvious liberal but alas, it was directed by Eastwood. But I guess we shouldn’t praise and discuss the merits of Letters from Iwo Jima with its liberal message of understanding because Eastwood now publically supports Trump and praising his work might offend current liberals. Yea, lumping in all of a person’s work as being a complete reflection of their personal beliefs and defects sounds totally reasonable! Yea, we shouldn’t actually think critically and critique films on their own accord.

            “Oh, Nate Parker in real life is an alleged scumbag rapist so that must mean all his movies reflect his deviant desires and thus we should refrain from critiquing them on public websites because it might offend some readers.”
            –Yea, that sounds totally rational.

  • Jordan

    Nocturnal Animals
    The Lobster
    The Nice Guys
    20th Century Women

  • HLLH

    The Witch!

  • Mortimer

    Replace ‘Arrival’ with ‘Jackie’ at the top and I agree 100% with the list. ‘Jackie’ is for me the most fascinating movie of the year and Natalie is here even better than in ‘Black Swan’.
    Glad to see ‘Patterson’ in top 10.

  • Jerome Johnson

    Arrival was terrible and made no sense I would not say it was one of the best movies this year! On the other hand I was surprised that they didn’t mention The Accountant or Girl on a train!

    • D Train

      Uh, yeah, certainly Arrival wasn’t very good considering the creatives behind it and the awards it has been nominated for it. Duh doy.

      • Toby Smith

        A lot of films which get awards are dull and pretentious, Arrival is a prime example of that. It’s the most overrated film since Citizen Kane.

        • Phil Surtees

          The fact that you 3 are ignorant imbeciles who wouldn’t know good science fiction – or a good movie in general – if it slapped you in the face does not make Arrival a bad film; it just makes you 3 complete idiots. I mean … Toby Smith thinks Citizen Kane is overrated – not just overrated, but the MOST overrated film until now no less – and obviously someone who is THAT uneducated, THAT stupid, and THAT ignorant isn’t going to enjoy another brilliant film like Arrival.
          It’s alway interesting to me, the way completely and utterly idiotic people like you 3 think you know better than everyone else. What’s it like to be so delusional and so out of touch with reality? What is daily life like with such an incredibly low intelligence level? Surely being such monkey-brained morons makes day to day life difficult? Or do you just get used to EVERYONE else being smarter and more knowledgeable than you? Surely it must be difficult and embarrassing when someone with Down Syndrome corrects your maths or grammar though?
          I guess when you’re so stupid and so ignorant that you’ll voice your moronic opinions here in ‘public’ on the Internet, without realising or caring how stupid they make you look, then you’re probably too thick, and too delusional, to realise that you’re constantly being shown up in real life too. I guess your ignorance in that instance truly is bliss…

          • Toby Smith

            What a silly hissy fit, are you embarrassed by it? Citizen Kane was watchable but far from memorable, nothing significant happened, it was a bit of a non event. Can we remember any of the characters in it? What characters? There were none of any significance. Arrival was mainly half a dozen people in special suits standing in front of frosted glass holding up boards with symbols drawn on them and showing them to octopuses from space. The novelty of that wears off after a while and would only impress simple folk such as yourself.

          • Tommy T-tone

            Yes, even more proof positive of what a clueless, contrarian twat you are. I shudder at the thought of what crap shite you think is great. Oh let me guess, they’re those films or series that only 2% or less of the general public have ever heard of, so you and your sad little ilk cling to them cuz it somehow makes you feel unique and somehow special when the rest of the world sees you for the miserable bit of carbon you truly are. Probably a Hal Hartley fan.

          • Toby Smith

            Another silly hissy fit. Are you related to Mr Surtees by any chance? And who on earth is Hal Hartley?

  • Toby Smith

    Not much in the way of action films. We shall therefore agree that this is not a good list, especially as Arrival is at number one, it’s rather dull.

    • Phil Surtees

      No. Actually we’ll agree that you’re a moron who has no idea what they’re talking about…

      • Toby Smith

        Well yes i do actually as i have seen Arrival and it was very dull. There is nothing exciting about people holding up boards with symbols on them and showing them to octopuses through frosted glass.

  • Javi Blanco

    I miss Hacksaw Ridge in the top 10 (or even in the top five) and also Nocturnal Animals, wich was absolutelly beautiful. I would aslo add 10 Cloverfield’s Lane, one of the most surprising (and great movies) of the 2016.

  • Kosta Ilić

    It is highly commercial and pro-american list, this may be best of Hollywood but I really doubt in that too (with exception of few like Toni or Aquarius…which are pretty popular in USA too). Personal shooper is just a good example of the bad side of Hollywood (wherre Movie is an industry and not the seventh art). Also Manchester at sea, where is it? Graduation (from Romania) or some film from Iran (Salesman, Malaria) and so on. Top ten list is relatively fine, but I’m afraid that you missed much more than just good american movies.

  • SandFe

    Was Hail Caesar better than Nocturnal Animals, Captain Fantastic, Lion, The Nice Guys??? Really???