THE CLAIRESTBEAREST AWARDS a.k.a. A Very Subjective Best of 2016 in Cinema

It’s time for the annual (but not really seeing as I didn’t do it last year) clairestbearest awards. Entirely subjective of course, and I didn’t see everything but nevertheless, here goes:

Best musical: La La Land
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_lalaland_alovelynight
Damien Chazelle is an absolute gun. This and Whiplash are probably my two favourite films of the last 15 years. I LOVED THE MUSIC. I LOVED THE DANCING. I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT IT.
Runners up: Moana, Trolls, Sing Street

Best thriller: 10 Cloverfield Lane
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_10cloverfieldlane_up
Even watching this a second time and knowing where it was going, it was STILL awesome! Damien Chazelle can even write thrillers! (or co-write at least). With J.J. Abrams producing, it had a strong Lost vibe which I loved.
Runners up: Eye in the Sky, The Girl on the Train, Money Monster

Best action film: Deadpool
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_deadpool_note
I can take or leave the usual Marvel stuff, but this was so much better. Hilarious and wrong in all the right ways, it leaves all other comic-book movies in the dust.
Runners up: Suicide Squad, X-Men: Apocalypse (I wouldn’t call either amazing but I didn’t see many action films this year because they generally suck).

Best animated film: Moana
moana
While I did actually give this a lower rating than some of the other animated films from this year in my review, it significantly improved on rewatch. I’m putting this down to being sick when I first saw it and having to wear those stupid 3D glasses that make the screen darker and hence ruin the quality of the picture. Outstanding animation, a strong lead, good message (of course), and Lin Manuel Miranda’s music oh my god marry me.
Runners up: Trolls, The Secret Life of Pets, Anomalisa

Best foreign film: Victoria (Germany)
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_victoria_fleeHardly anyone has heard of this but it blew my mind. And most of it is actually in English so you can’t complain about subtitles. Shot in one take which I can barely fathom. Catch it on Netflix or Stan now and don’t read much about it. It’s about a Spanish girl on exchange in Berlin – that’s all you need to know.
Runners up: Mustang, Son of Saul

Best comedy: Zoolander 2
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_zoolander2_teamYes it was pretty stupid (and of course deriative) but even on rewatch I laughed all the way through this. Ten years on and they haven’t changed a bit. No doubt I’ll get criticised for this choice.
Runners up: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Deadpool, The Nice Guys, Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Best chick flick: How to Be Single
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I wish this had been around when I was single and felt worthless without a man. Light and yet also empowering in its statement about singledom. YOU DON’T NEED NO MAN!
Runners up: Sisters, Mr. Right, Me Before You

Best sci-fi film: Arrival
OH MY GOD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS GO AND SEE IT NOW. But don’t complain that there wasn’t enough action or you’ve clearly missed the point. Incredible direction by Denis Villeneuve, a terrific performance by Amy Adams, and an ending that had me struggling to hold it together, this is the best science fiction film in years. Maybe ever.
Runner up: I don’t think I saw any others! There’s one, but its sci-fi element should be hidden for those that are yet to see it.

Best horror: The Shallows
the-shallows
I tend to avoid horrors and so I really have no idea what the year’s best was but I was keen to see this one. I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoyed it but Blake Lively vs a shark makes for pretty exciting viewing.
Runner up: Ouija: Origin of Evil (this is the only other horror I saw)

Best documentary: Where to Invade Next
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_wheretoinvadenext_moore
Michael Moore’s doco presents a fairly utopian view of how America could be, but is fascinating nonetheless. The final line of my review makes me want to cry now. (I wrote it back when I naively believed that the world wasn’t going to shit).
Runners up: Embrace, Wide Open Sky, Tickled

Best Australian film: The Daughter
the-daughter
An engaging family drama all about secrets and regrettable choices. An ambiguous ending was perfect in this case.
Runners up: Hacksaw RidgeA Month of Sundays

Best teen film: THERE WERE NONE, WHAT IS THIS?
Runners up: NONE.

Best family film (non-animated): Pete’s Dragon
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_petesdragon_tail_newclothes
Standard Disney fare but they know how to make ‘em.
Runner up: The Jungle Book

Most gorgeous film: The Light Between Oceans
nullNot only because of Alicia Vikander, but the whole thing is beautiful from start to finish, – the performances, the film’s emotional core, the setting and the cinematography.
Runners up: Carol, The Danish Girl, Brooklyn, Mustang

Most affecting film: Room
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_room_pair
The bit where he first sees the sky… oh my god. But I probably shouldn’t say any more. This one pulls at the heartstrings on multiple occasions and is a touching story about the relationship between mother and son. Brie Larson won an Oscar for her performance and little Jacob Tremblay was absolutely divine.
Runners up: The Light Between Oceans, Arrival, Me Before You

Weirdest Film: Nocturnal Animals
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
But not as weird as IMDb message board contributors are. Some of their theories for this film are ridiculous. Better not to know too much going in. Amy Adams kicks arse again.
Runner Up: Swiss Army Man (weirder in fact, but not as good)

Best film based on a true story: Spotlight
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_spotlight_work
This won the 2016 Best Picture Oscar and should make everyone’s blood boil. Inspiring in terms of the good that journalism can actually do (for a nice change) but god it made me angry.
Runners up: Hacksaw Ridge, The Danish Girl, Steve Jobs, Sully, The Founder

Best film of 2016: La La Land
I’ve covered this. Read my review in full to understand my love better.

Top 10 Films of 2016:
1. La La Land
2. Arrival
3. Room
4. Victoria
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane
6. The Light Between Oceans
7. Mustang
8. Spotlight
9. The Daughter
10. Carol

And…

Worst of 2016: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_batmanvsuperman_die
Maybe there were worse, but I tend to avoid many of the films that clearly look terrible. Given how good the Dark Knight trilogy was I wanted to see more of Batman. But this was actually the most boring film I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen The Loneliest Planet.
Runners up: Jason Bourne, The Accountant (boring and boring – I only saw these for my girl crushes, Alicia Vikander and Anna Kendrick).

Onwards and upwards to 2017! What were your favourites for the year?

*Selections based on films released in Australia from 1st January – 31st December 2016.

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