There are still lots of movies I want to see that came out in 2016 but haven’t had a chance to, or haven’t gotten around to yet, but here are my ten favorites out of what I’ve seen. And I’m just glad that there were some damn good movies that came out this year because holy shit was 2016 shitty. Jesus fucking Christ what an awful, awful year from hell.
Barry Jenkins’ film adaptation of the play written by Tarell Alvin McCraney is incredibly powerful stuff. It’s one of those movies you see popping up on everyone’s best-of lists and you wonder, “Is Moonlight really going to be that good?” Yes. The answer is yes. It’s stronger in parts than as a whole (some of it doesn’t congeal together from one segment to the next), but some moments of the film are so strikingly beautiful, or just so absolutely perfectly written that it more than makes up for some of its very, very minor shortcomings. Mahershala Ali’s performance, in particular, is the stuff that super-stardom is made of.
There are some fictional events that I think are irresistible to filmmakers, simply because there’s a million and one ways to tell that story, and you can tell it so personally and make it so your own. There’s the “end of the world” scenario, where it can either be a personal apocalypse or something troubling on a theological level. It all depends on what the passions of that storyteller are, what drives them.
And then there’s the “first contact with aliens” scenario, which has all the wiggle room in the world available to tell a story as rooted in optimism as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or as capitalistically cynical as Independence Day. Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival has it both ways. It sees the opportunity and the meeting as an important meeting of the minds with fantastic implications for advancement for both species, but one with disaster looming in every moment, because humans are, by nature, a distrusting bunch.