millarworld.tv Comics Creators

Millar's Top 10 movies of 2016!


#1

This was really hard.

Most years because it’s hard because we go to the cinema once or twice a week and it’s hard to whittle down, but this year it was hard to find ten films I really loved. So I’ve settled for LIKED for the most part and the big surprise for me is that the movies I liked best were outside the genres I adore. After the creative high-point of 2014 this is such a shame. I never thought a movie where Superman and Batman met Wonder Woman wouldn’t be in my top ten and was so bleak I couldn’t take my Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman obsessed children. But we’re living in strange times, the greatest consolation being that pretty much everything in 2017 looks incredible and this year (and most of last) just a creative blip in Hollywood I suspect. After almost two decades of awesome genre pictures the creative people of Los Angeles are entitled to a few that didn’t quite work out.

So my top ten is - in order -

1/ ZOOTROPOLIS - Cool, funny and ORIGINAL. I went in expecting nothing and came out texting all my friends to go and see it. Disney ruling the world again this year and as all eyes are on Marvel and Star Wars and Pixar let’s tip our hats to Disney Animation who I genuinely think have far surpassed modern Pixar and where the action truly is again.

2/ NOCTURNAL ANIMALS - Amy Adams makes us instantly forgive her for Batman Vs Superman and reminds us that she’s pretty much the best actress working in Hollywood right now with a range that runs from Disney Princess to the darkest shit imaginable.

3/ THE JUNGLE BOOK - Live action Jungle Book? I wasn’t interested. Directed by Jon Fav? I’m 100% in. This was really brilliantly made and charming and just a kinda perfect movie. Live Action Lion King next? Not interested. Directed by Jon Fav? Count me in.

4/ HACKSAW RIDGE - Mel Gibson is plain and simple one of the greatest living directors and Garfield is one of the best actors of his generation. I can’t wait to see this again in the UK.

5/ 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE - Established Dan Trachtenberg as the new director to watch. Excellent. i don’t even mind the tacked on ending because it’s bonkers enough to be completely unexpected. Let’s hope there isn’t a sequel though as it just becomes another franchise then whereas this is like a great little Twilight Zone.

6/ DON’T BREATHE - Fede Alvarez nails it again. A lot of movies in recent times seem to be set in a confined space with someone kidnapped and trapped in a cellar, but these two are absolutely the cream of that crop.

7/ STAR TREK BEYOND - This movie didn’t get enough love and I suspect it was paying for the crimes of Star Trek Into Darkness because it was a far, far superior movie and deserved to do a lot better. A hugely likeable film with really fun characters. Probably the only blockbuster from this year I would watch again.

8/ HELL OR HIGH WATER - The Chris Pine movie we’ve been waiting for since the first Stark Trek.

9/ THE NICE GUYS - Sub the leads for Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone and this ridiculously fun Shane Black movie could have been made word for word 25 years ago. But that’s what I loved about it. I just sank into the warm bath that this movie was and enjoyed myself for two hours. Really, really, really fun and this is a reminder that I need to pick it up on DVD.

10/ DR STRANGE - Just a nice, fun Marvel movie. The only comic-book flick to hit my top 10 this year, which feels weird, but the Marvel formula is a solid one and this was a nice hark back to before they went a little too dark and serious and had lots of nice jokes and asshole-learning-to-be-a-hero leads. Marvel’s genius is the casting and like Hemsworth and Downey Jr, Cumberbatch holds this movie together with his terrific presence. The American accent I think was a mistake in the same way giving Colin Firth a Kentucky accent would seem weird on film as it’s an actor we understand to be quintessentially English. But it’s a minor quibble and a nice film with a good third act (where Marvel’s origin movies in particular usually stumble a little).

BUBBLING UNDER:

I liked Deadpool and it had some really nice action sequences, the third act especially impressive give they had about 10p to make this movie. X-Men: Apocalypse was also good. After 16 years and 8 pictures, we’ve seen a lot of these characters, but I’m still invested and after a lot of comic-book flicks that just feel part of a wider, not that interesting story that never ends I kind of liked the sense of completeness this movie had. The Prof X turning on Apocalypse stuff at the end was pretty good and overall it had some good moments. Not up there with DOFP, but still enjoyable. Midnight Special was fantastic. I’m a huge fan of Jeff and we’d talked to him about Huck earlier this year. It was great seeing him tackle this genre. So many fantastic wee details. The Shallows was also a great surprise. I love a good shark movie and this was a good shark movie.

DIDN’T REALLY DIG:

Civil War had a good opening twenty mins, but then I honestly can’t remember what the movie was about. It’s interesting the Russos have a background in comedy because it’s really missing in these otherwise well-made pictures and very, very missed. I really hope this bleakness doesn’t extend into their two Avengers pictures because what made that first Avengers work was the light as well as shade and I’ll be sad if that’s all lost like it was in this picture.

Finding Dory I was tough going. Finding Nemo, like Cars, was the moment I realised Pixar could be iffy, but the most annoying character in the movie getting their own picture meant my kids had to practically take me there at gunpoint (they loved it, btw).

Hail Caesar was The Coens at their self-indulgent worst. This movie was a long night out and Cassiday in Preacher is 100% right. They can be great when they try, but they need someone to tell them when they’re going off the rails. A third brother maybe?

Ghostbusters I wanted to love because all the bad guys hated it. The weirdest people on the Internet didn’t want it to exist because the picture had female leads, which only made me want to love it just to annoy them. Sadly, however, it was the worst kind of comedy in that it just wasn’t funny. I didn’t laugh once, even when I was trying really hard to.

Batman Vs Superman I think we should just leave alone. Like Suicide Squad, WB has just decided to go a certain way with these movies and their logic is that they don’t want to look like Marvel films. It’s not how I feel these characters work best and sadly my DC-obsessed kids (I’m a DC guy way more than I’m a Marvel guy) can’t see their favourite characters in the cinema. Their TV and animation departments are working beautifully. I’d love to see some of that same light applied to their theatrical division.

Rogue One I think had a really, really brilliant concept at the heart of it. A flaw in Star Wars, which struck me even as a kid, was that a giant kill machine like the Death Star should never have been built with a colossal design flaw that let’s you blow it up. The idea that a man had been forced to build this and had structured it to have this weakness as his revenge is fantastic. I love it. I also like the idea of a Dirty Dozen style bunch of renegades sent on a mission too. But sadly, the movie itself didn’t really work for me. The plot (by Gary Whitta) I’ll bet was bloody brilliant, but all those other names in the credits makes me think this was hurt by rewrites and the two lead actors had huge charisma problems, completely miscast for a big adventure movie, which was a shame as I’m the biggest Star Wars fan in the world. I’m glad people are digging it though because some nice people involved in the making of it.

WORST OF THE YEAR: No contest. Independence Day 2. It was actually jaw-dropping. I went with two of my brothers and fell asleep for 10 mins. One brother said he envied me for missing those ten minutes, another brother saying that after seeing this film he envied THE DEAD. It was cool seeing the guy from Taxi outracing a tidal wave though.

2017:

High hopes for Episode 8. Rian Johnson is a genius and it’s got MARK HAMILL in it. Also can’t wait for Thor 3 and Guardians 2. James Gunn has established himself as pretty much my favourite director in Hollywood at the moment and every single thing I’ve seen and heard on Thor looks incredible. 2017 is the the new 2014. Oh, and let’s not forget Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a first cut of which I should hopefully see at Christmas when I’m up at Matthew’s place for grub. Spider-Man I’m excited about. That kid is great and the clips so far are all really fun. Logan I’m hoping is good. Pirates (to my absolute shock) I’ve heard is amazing and up there with the first one. Wonder Woman looks like it could be good and Lego Batman looks like it’s going to steal the year for me. Can’t wait for all this!

MM


#2

No love for Arrival? :open_mouth:


#3

Important note: Off to see Arrival tomorrow night :slight_smile:

MM


#4

Not to get your high hopes up, but be prepared to make concessions on your list there! ;D


#5

Since you are “more of a DC guy” do you have any more DC stories to tell down the line? (Loved Red Son)
And you work with ICON between IMAGE a lot. Now that VERTIGO is for creator owned stuff?


#6

No Vertigo plans, but have talked to Dan Didio and other pals at DC about one special project in the next year or two. It’s just about the timing. But they’re great guys and I LOVE LOVE those characters.

MM


#7

Good list Mark. My top 3 = Eye in the Sky, Zootropolis and Allied. Arrival must also get an honourable mention. No superhero films there, which, in a year when we had Captain America facing off against Iron Man and Batman against Superman, is a sorry state. Particularly when the latter was so horrendous. I’m surprised you can talk so impartially about the X-Men films - I thought you were still quite tied over there?


#9

Try to catch Manchester By The Sea.

It’s a fantastic film.
Alongside Hacksaw Ridge for sure.


#10

Chief - you should see Kubo and the Two Strings (if you haven’t already).

I saw it recently and it probably jumped to my top 3 movies this year.

I’m also surprised no mention of The Shallows - which was v. well made.


#11

I have a terrible memory on when things like this are released but some favourites that felt like this year: Green Room, Civil War, Neon Demon, Big Short.

If movies I watched for the first time this year counted, it’d be The Raid all day long.

Glad to see the Star Trek love here though I’ve gotta say. That was such a fun movie


#12

Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is a lot of fun. The first third is a somewhat odd but mostly standard romance story, but in the final two chapters it just goes nuts.

I also liked Mamoru Hosada’s The Boy and the Beast, which is the definition of overstuffed but is also beautiful, visually and emotionally, every second of the way.


#13

I kind of want to see Independence day 2 now.


#14

I think this was a phenomenal year for movies, but the blockbuster weren’t really good. I expect 2017 to be much stronger in that regard. Bringing over from Facebook here are my top 15:

15 Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier)

With its themes of a lack of safe DIY spaces to play music, and the rise of white supremacy, Green Room definitely captured the zeitgeist of fall 2016.

14 Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Koreeda)

I love Kore-Eda, and this movie was very sweet, a manga come to life.

13 The Invitation (Karyn Kusama)

On a shoestring budget, this was a very well-made little thriller in which we can’t be sure of the protagonist’s sanity.

12 Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater)

Highly watchable mix of party doofus antics and philosophical thoughts about the passage of time. Plus it has a scene where they all smoke a joint and listen to Pink Floyd’s “Fearless.”

11 Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)

It’s a three part story and some were better than others but she is one of the most gifted American directors.

10 Midnight Special (Jeff Nichols)

The first of two movies that show this was a boom year for science fiction.

9 Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

The best straight character study in ages, and also invokes a real sense of place. Brutal.

8 The Nice Guys (Shane Black)

There needs to be more movies like this, for grown-ups. The soft PG-13 nature of most modern movies is so corny by now. Plus, this one had great acting and writing.

7 Being 17 (André Téchiné)

Some similar themes as Moonlight, coming out as a gay man in a macho subculture, but the writing and acting felt so authentic. It’s rare to see teenagers portrayed so accurately.

6 Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)

The second brilliant sci-fi film.

5 Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

Probably my favorite living director. His movies are entire worldviews, often about death. This wasn’t as good as some of his, but still very good.

4 Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Extended Cut (Zack Snyder)

As Mark said, there’s nothing left to be said about this film, good or bad.

3 The Witch (Robert Eggers)

My favorite horror movie in years.

2 Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

Lots of thick Massachusetts accents, working class, super depressing…this is basically my kind of movie. It’s brilliant.

1 Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)

In my estimation, the most cinematic movie of the year.

Runners Up: In terms of blockbuster films, after BvS I would have Zootopia, Dr. Strange, Moana, and Kung Fu Panda 3…maybe in that order.

Worst: I won’t dwell on worst too much but for me I think it was Sausage Party. I love Rogen and all of them, but I found this outing to be extremely unfunny and lame. Sometimes it’s OK to reject ideas that seem hilarious when you’re high.


#15

Sometimes…


#16

I didn’t felt that way about Civil War. I think it had a lot of joy for the kind of plot it had. I personally loved it. I agree with BvS though, it’s not what I want to see, but I didn’t think it was a good movie beyond that either.

Rogue One was a well-made film, but the lack of memorable characters brought it down.

Anyway, it’s always interesting to read the Chief.


#17

Looks like this thread already made CBR. :wink:


#18

Sensationalist headline on CBR but it isn’t like the movie bore any resemblance to his book, nor could it have.


#19

A certain’s character 80th anniversary maybe? :wink:


#20

Thanks for the lists, Mark and Robert. I don’t get to the cinema much (heck, I don’t get out of the house much) so I’m seeing things as they hit cable.

Now, I’ve become quite fond of the ultimate BvS cut, and I think Snyder would have made a fine four-hour movie. If it does nothing but generate a truly fine Batfleck piece, it’ll be worth it. No Skwad as yet; but I feel it will be the exact same situation as BvS with a bigger cast. I truly enjoyed X-Men Apocalypse which I did NOT expect to do. Thought it would be an overpowered time-traveling Apocalypse with threadbare plot, instead it was a straightforward X-Men tale, which I’m sure surprised folks. Well done. And with forty bucks and a credit card for a budget, Deadpool cemented itself nicely in place. We would all have been much happier had Ryan played Wade instead of Hal.

I finally made a decision on The Killing Joke. I like Moore. I like Bolland. I do not like this story and hereby exorcise it from canon. So there.

One that may be last year’s or earlier that I caught up with was Charlie Wilson’s War. Very well done.

Comedies have only become more repellent, as have most entertainments aimed at children, which always seem to have horror and child abuse as a root. Do the people who write these things actually have children, or do they just simply hate children?

Television is a whole other story!


#21

This is pretty much all I managed to see from this year, so it’s not a particularly comprehensive list, just a comparative ranking.

  1. Arrival: I raved about this when I saw it and still think it holds up as a great piece of intelligent sci-fi that manages to be intellectual without being boring, marries its plot to some very affecting emotional beats, and features some great surprises. One or two nitpicks aside, I loved it. Amy Adams is fantastic and even Jeremy Renner isn’t terrible. I can see why some people took issue with some of the twists and turns of the story, and I think a film like this only really works if you fully buy into the emotional journey of the movie. Which I did, but I can see why some didn’t.

  2. Civil War: tons of fun, with a real sense of providing superhero spectacle on a level that we’ve never quite seen before in one of these movies (which is pretty impressive at this point). It has a decent plot that manages to justify the in-fighting better than I expected, and makes the morality of the two opposing sides more balanced that I was expecting too. It’s been interesting to see the fun bits of this movie fade in the memory of some viewers (there’s some great humour throughout the film, and every scene Spidey is in is gleeful), which makes me wonder whether a more unashamedly clean-cut good-versus-bad cosmic adventure like Infinity War will satisfy those viewers better. Either way, Marvel continue to stay a step ahead of everyone and offer plenty of different flavours to keep everyone watching their movies, and this was one of the better ones for me.

  3. Deadpool: Narrowly beaten by Civil War, this scored highly because it was fun and fresh and came at the point where the superhero genre was perfectly ripe for being made fun of like this. I’ve said before that I think some movies like Watchmen and Kick-Ass were in some respects ahead of their time in terms of audiences being familiar enough with superhero tropes to effectively subvert them, and I think Deadpool was a case of the right take on the right character coming at just the right time. Rewatching it on Blu-Ray at home didn’t recapture the original experience for me, though - it’s definitely a Friday-night-with-your-mates-at-the-pictures kind of film.

  4. Moana: elegant, beautiful, uplifting, and featuring some wonderful designs, I enjoyed this more than I expected. The music is great too.

  5. The BFG: this scores higher for me than most because I was a big fan of the book, and the movie captures its spirit very well. A curiously old-fashioned feeling film that probably won’t work for a lot of people brought up on faster-paced, more high-concept kids movies, but I really enjoyed it.

  6. Rogue One: good in places but flawed in others. Important parts of the story seem to be missing, it’s a bit nostalgia-heavy and aside from a few moments, there isn’t really very much about it that I would describe as fun. But despite that there was some smart dovetailing with the other Star Wars movies (particularly ANH) and some exciting sequences.

  7. Doctor Strange - mixed feelings about this one too. It’s a successful new character introduction for the MCU, and some of its cast are fantastically watchable (particularly Swinton), but it sticks too close to what is now quite an obvious Marvel origin formula, and plays a bit too slapstick for my tastes in places. Plus, I just never really felt like there was a moment where the hero became likeable or sympathetic. But it lays good groundwork for the future, and I’m still looking forward to Strange showing up in other upcoming movies.

  8. Batman v Superman

  9. Ghostbusters: I had more fun with this than most people seemed to, but I had been drinking a bit when I watched it, and even then I didn’t think it was that great. (They can have that for the DVD cover.)

  10. X-Men: Apocalypse: A bit of a mess really, with a void of a villain (wasting a great actor into the bargain!) and a weird ‘greatest hits’ approach to the X-Men franchise that made the whole thing feel a bit tired and somehow made it feel like an overstuffed movie in which not much actually happened.

  11. Finding Dory: I’m still a big fan of Pixar but this was a misfire. Like the straight-to-video Disney sequels of old. Pixar only seem to have ever got the sequel thing right with Toy Story, so I’m a bit concerned about the forthcoming Incredibles follow-up. Hopefully it can buck the trend.

  12. The Secret Life Of Pets: imagine if they remade Toy Story, but it was about animals, and nowhere near as good? Well now you don’t need to imagine.

And that’s all I managed to see. Still loads of movies I want to catch up on though. I missed The Nice Guys and Nocturnal Animals (both of which I really wanted to see), have only managed to watch the first half of Zootopia/Zootropolis so far (I love what I’ve seen, but the kids keep walking away bored, which is interesting), want to see Jungle Book and Neon Demon and Star Trek Beyond and Hell Or High Water and Kubo and Jason Bourne and… loads more besides.