There were a lot of very good movies released in 2016 and many of them were smaller movies that might be lesser known or completely unknown to the average moviegoer. I never pretend that I can tell people what the “best” movies of the year are because movies are such a subjective experience. The best I can do is share the movies that were my favorites and hope that one or two of them will catch the fancy of others So without any further ado, here are my favorite movies released wide in 2016.
Not so Legendary
The saying goes that “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” We all know the legend of author Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan novels, about the boy raised in the jungle by gorillas. The new film adaptation, The Legend of Tarzan, opens after the legend has already been printed and now the character must return to the jungle and re-establish the fact. Whether or not he will be able to do that is never really in doubt.
You Got to Move It Move It
Those zany fugitives from the Central Park Zoo are back and still trying to find their way home in Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. They escaped to the titular country way back in 2005 and then escaped to mainland Africa three years later. Each of the previous movies definitely had their charms and the third film proves to live up to—if not surpass—its predecessors, but will our castaways finally find their way back to New York? No matter what happens in possible future chapters, it will not change the fact that this is a thoroughly entertaining flick. The animation is phenomenal, especially during the movie’s two impressive action sequences.
Do Yourself a Favor: See It
Miss Representation royally pissed me off, and in the best possible way. Bear in mind that I’m the lone audience member who walked out on a packed commercial screening of Risky Business because I was so incensed at that film’s portrayal of women. From the first time I saw Joe Francis’ ridiculous Girls Gone Wild commercials on cable, I’ve lamented how the misguided women who buy into Francis’ fetish are traitors to their own gender. And no, Halle Berry’s sex scene in Monster’s Ball was not empowering; she merely sold her integrity for the sake of artistic “respect.”
A “Manifesto to God”
The frustration in Corrine’s life culminates when she leaves a characteristically stilted “house church” meeting. Those in attendance talk to each other in muted catch-phrases and euphemistically-couched expressions of spiritual denial. Outside in the car, Corrine cries out to God in an honest fashion that should rend your soul—and when she asks God to reveal Himself to her, who should appear but her husband? He is so alienated from her at this point, and their love for each so dead, that all he can coldly suggest is that she no longer bother coming to the meetings since her “heart isn’t in it.” Oh, but her heart is so much in it! And that’s the problem in Higher Ground.
A Talk With Charles Martin Smith
“Ultimately what moves us is people,” says Charles Martin Smith, the director of Dolphin Tale. “Having grown up with an artist as a father, I was always fascinated by the Impressionists and the post-Impressionists—and the difference between the ones who concentrated on landscapes, and the ones who felt like there was nothing worth painting except humans. You know, the people who did portraits: Toulouse Lautrec’s studies, and Degas: how they would study people, and what they were like, as opposed to the others who were doing landscapes, largely. Which is more valid? I don’t know; they’re both valid, I suppose. But it’s the connection between the two that I find the most interesting.”