Monday, January 23, 2017

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2016

2016 was filled with so many great films, too many to list here unfortunately. So all of us here at Merc With A Movie Blog got together to pick our Top 10 of last year.  Some you may agree with, others you may not, but that's the great thing about film, it's all subjective.  So, without any further ado, here's our list of the Top 10 Films of 2016! Enjoy!


Reviewed by: Joshua Williams

Captain America: Civil War changes the conversation about superhero films place in cinema. Channeling a much more serious and heartfelt story, Civil War brings a lot to the table in terms of a superhero film. When a political group interferes with the Avengers, this causes once friends Captain American and Iron Man to be pitted against each other.

Civil War has everything a superhero needs to be masterful. From spot on acting from its ensemble cast, to the wonderfully written screenplay and perfectly told story, to the almost "George Miller" style directing of the action scenes. Civil War takes all of the chops for a great superhero film and then even mixes in some powerful, emotional moments. Making it not only a perfect superhero piece, but a rather incredible piece of cinema.


Reviewed by: Sammy Murphy

Sing Street is a joyful, infectiously fun gem of a film, that has sadly been overlooked this awards season, apart from a Golden Globe nomination, which is, you know...Pointless.

John Carney's sweet, crowd-pleasing music movie deserves more than that, for Carney manages to balance a comedic and dramatic tone seemingly effortlessly, and he creates characters that are unique, fun to watch and fun to sing along with, for the original songs are great, notably "Drive It Like You Stole It" and "Riddle Of The Model".

The film's ending may puzzle some, and maybe the Irish accents may force some viewers to stick the subtitles on, but hey, that way you can play karaoke! 


Reviewed by: Sammy Murphy

Moonlight is an intimate, poignant, and an eminently moving film, that will stay with you for a long time after you have watched it, and while the cast is extraordinary, with everyone on their A game, it is Barry Jenkins, the writer/director, who is the true star of Moonlight.

Jenkins's direction is meticulous, focusing on the finite details such as emulating three different film stocks, for the three chapters of the film. Also, his remarkable ability to tell an important, poignant story about what it is like to grow up as a gay, African American boy in Miami, but still manage to make Chrion's story universal, is a major accomplishment. The uniqueness of this film is stunning, from the structure, to the mix of classical music and hip hop, to the unique group of actors who bestow great talent here, from Mahershala Ali, front runner for the best supporting actor Oscar, and Naomi Harris, who is a shoe-in for a nomination, from the six actors who play Chrion and Kevin, ( I can't name them all here, since this is a short review, but google them, they are great! ) and a surprisingly excellent Janelle Monae.

Barry Jenkins has written and directed an incredible piece of art, that will, even if it doesn't win Best Picture at the upcoming Academy Awards, be remembered as one of the very best films of the 2010s.


Reviewed by: Khizer Khani

When we hear of the term war, we automatically think of violence. So what Mel Gibson does in Hacksaw Ridge is center the film around Desmond Doss, a person who refused to take up arms and joined the military to work as a medic in World War 2. Don't get me wrong, Gibson doesn’t shy away from the violence, as this film is one of the most violent films of the year. This film also has some of the best war scenes that really make you feel like you are there with the soldiers. 

The cinematography and editing blend extremely well together. The directing and acting are the two things in the movie that really stand out. Andrew Garfield has one of his best performances as Desmond. Playing a courageous medic who has to stick to what he believes yet doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines and let other people go fight in the war in his place. Mel Gibson crafts a real grounded story about a man against the world. 

I think overall this is an incredible film, one that is a must watch for everyone. In a time where every man is out to kill, watching the perspective of a man who refuses to kill really makes this film unique and powerful.


Reviewed by: Josh "The Merc" Raynor

Swiss Army Man was one of, if not THE strangest film of 2016.  But that isn't shocking coming from a film dubbed "the farting corpse movie".  The thing that was shocking, however, was level of pure heart and emotion that this film somehow captured.  I was blown away by just how much I enjoyed this film.  So much so, that it has stuck with me over the last several months, becoming one of my favorite films from indie studio A24.

From the beginning, you think this is just going to be a weird, indie flick, which it is, but it's so much more.  It's a story about love, survival, and the need for friendship.  It tears down the walls of normalcy to show us that something unconventional can still touch your heart in a way you never would have or could have expected.


Reviewed by: Tony Hernandez

Laika are the last torchbearers for the stop motion/claymation style, and Kubo and the Two Strings is the fruit of their labor. Telling the story of Kubo, a young boy sought after by evil forces, the film follows his journey as he seeks out mystic artifacts that are the key to defeating a great evil and maybe even learn the secret of his family history.

Not only is Kubo a showcase for the brilliant animation and fast paced action, but it's also a heartfelt tale with memorable characters leading the way. Steeped in classical storytelling tropes but finding ways to make them feel fresh again, Laika brings these characters to life with great writing and fantastic performances from the likes of Charlize Theron and Matthew McConnaughey. They say that, when you master an art form, you then make your masterpiece. Kubo & the Two Strings is Laika's attempt at a masterpiece, and it's a joy to behold.


Reviewed by: Ryan McKenna

Deadpool is the superhero film that we all needed in 2016. The film is a totally unconventional, R-rated take that was brilliantly written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, directed by new director Tim Miller, and starring Ryan Reynolds in the titular role. This film is absolutely the adaptation fans of the Merc with a Mouth have been waiting for for years and, after X-Men Origins: Wolverine, thought they would never get.

Deadpool is a special film because it is both a totally straightforward origin-story and something completely divorced from the comic book genre. Relentlessly funny and shocking, this film does it all. It managed to appease huge fans of the property, as well as critics clamoring for something new from the now-massive superhero genre. It is also a very cool action film on top of it all. The film was greatly rewarded at the box office and is now reaping the fruits of its labor in getting awards recognition by the Golden Globes, the Writer’s Guild of America, and the Producer’s Guild of America. This is absolutely one of the best of the year and one of the best superhero/comic-book films period.


Reviewed by: Khizer Khani

The beauty in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is how Zack Snyder takes really iconic characters and creates a story where these characters are placed in scenarios we aren’t used to seeing. Batman convinced he’s a criminal, and Superman not sure if the world needs him. Then, within the story he creates an arc for these characters, driving them to end up the way we more commonly know them as. The brilliance in that is it makes it easier to pit Batman against Superman, and when they do come together in future films the history between the two will make us, the audience, more emotionally invested in the film. 

What this film does so well is it successfully makes you realize how the world would react if in fact Superman did come down to Earth. Henry Cavil does an excellent job at showing a conflicted Superman who just wants to help people but is being treated like a terrorist. However, by far the best thing about this film is Batman. Played downright perfectly by Ben Affleck, you get to see the twisted mind of Bruce Wayne who just doesn’t believe in his old crusade. Instead of being the one to save people, he sits and acknowledges that he is a criminal. 

Snyder directs action incredibly and we see it here with the infamous warehouse scene as well as the final showdown. Both make the film as a whole incredibly entertaining and one that fans have been waiting to see for ages. 


Reviewed by: Josh "The Merc" Raynor

For the last four decades, Star Wars has been a big part of many people's lives.  And in 2005, we all thought we'd never see another film again.  But 10 years after Revenge of the Sith was released, a new chapter in this amazing saga came out, The Force Awakens.  And one year later we were graced with the very first Star Wars spinoff film, titled Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  And it was one of the best Star Wars films I have ever seen.

It gave us a fantastic look at the events that lead up to the film that started it all.  It was a true war film, and it didn't rely on lightsaber duels to make great action.  In fact, only one person held a lightsaber at all, and that was the infamous Darth Vader, who gave us one of the greatest scenes in all of 2016.  

From the great story, amazing cast, and beautiful cinematography, Rogue One has become one of my Top 3 Star Wars films of all time.

And the top film of 2016 is...


Reviewed by: Jonathan Youngblood

La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, has stolen the hearts of film lovers and award voters this year. On a grand scale, this cinematic masterpiece hearkens back to musicals of old with a charming nostalgia. Gosling and Stone’s chemistry cements them in the halls of film history as one of Hollywood’s greatest leading couples. Audiences across the world are finding themselves drawn into both the gorgeous spectacle and the simple story of love and dreams. Years from now, as film lovers are examining classic films of the 2010’s, this beautiful work of art will definitely be a large part of the conversation.

However, on a small scale, this film impacted me in such a deep way. Every single note and every single lyric falls perfectly into place in Chazelle’s grander story. Every time I sat in the theater, I laughed and cried like I had just seen Stone and Gosling’s performances for the first time. It is rare that we are gifted with genuinely perfect movies like this one. La La Land, a movie made for every person who has ever dreamed of better days and happier lives, is a must-see of 2016.

Well there it is, our Top 10 films of 2016.  Let us know what you thought in the comments.  What would you have changed on the list?  Let us know!

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