December 29, 2016

My Top Ten of 2016

It's that time of year. Let's do this.

10. The Founder
This should be the movie Michael Keaton finally wins the Oscar for. But the distributor's have fumbled the release of a really stunning film about the dark side of the American Dream.
Review coming soon...

9. Moana
I've had the warm and whimsical songs of this Disney princess pic playing in my mind, on a loop for weeks now. And I'm still singing happily along.

8. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
I can't get enough of this a majestical coming-of-age comedy, full of humor and heart.
Review. Interview with director Taika Waititi.

7. Always Shine
This was a surprise and treasure of the Tribeca Film Festival, unfurling a slick and sexy thrill ride that took on sexism in Hollywood, and the woman-versus-woman environment it fosters and festers.
Review. Pullquoted.

6. Don’t Think Twice
Somehow Mike Birbiglia's dramedy about improv comedians in NYC felt so intimate and true to my own experience as a writer and thirtysomething, that I was shaking when the lights came up. This incredible cast killed me softly with their bittersweet song, and captured my chosen home in vivid color and breathtaking authenticity.
Interview with cast members Keegan-Michael Key, Kate Micucci and Gillian Jacobs.

5. Nina Forever
"Come for the WTF, stay for the wicked humor and shockingly compelling romance." This movie about a love triangle between a girl, a boy and his dead ex was sick, smart and sensational.

4. Moonlight
I've been an admirer of writer/director Barry Jenkins since his debut, 2008's black hipster romance Medicine for Melancholy. But even all the buzz brewing around his Miami-set drama about a Black gay man's coming-of-age couldn't prepare me for the raw wonder and fearless vulnerability of Moonlight. It's luminous.

3. Lemonade
I didn't review or write about Beyonce's astonishing, groundbreaking visual album, because I didn't know where to begin. Instead, I watched it over and over. Absorbed it, and read everything I could from female critics of color. It was an experience and education I'm grateful for and in awe of.

2. Swiss Army Man
It's not just the tale of boy means flatulent magical corpse. It's a love letter to weirdos. And I loved it right back.
Review. Interview with Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano. Bus ride report. And why Radcliffe deserves a damn Oscar.

1. The Handmaiden
I've never seen a film quite like Park Chan-Wook's immaculate romance. I described this churning tale of love, deception and patriarchy-smashing as Old Boy meets Jane Austen. But that's the tip of this insane and awe-inspiring iceberg. It's not just my favorite of the year, it's one of my favorite films of all time.

Special mentions to War On Everyone and The Lure, which would have made my Indiewire list if only they'd scored US theatrical releases this year.

Find more of my end of year picks on my IndieWire critic's survey. 

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