Yes, yes, it’s been 2017 for a couple of days now but that doesn’t mean 2016 is entirely forgotten. As weird a year as it was, some interesting things happened – several of which were on the big screen. (How’s that for a segue, eh?) So, without further ado, here’s what some of the Lizard Lounge team thought of the best movies to make it into theatres in 2016.
Neil – Life on the Road
It might be a little strange that amid the usual explosions, CGI, deep, twisting and often fantastic tales churned out in a year of film, that it was something a lot more mundane that left me the most delighted.
David Brent: Life on the Road, delivered everything I had hoped for, and then hit me with a few more details I didn’t see coming at all. The latest chapter in the life of the one-time office manager, turned travelling salesman, turned wannabe rockstar, is a truly wonderful mix of comedy genius and touching moments.
I watched this a little after its initial release, sat in a cinema with my wife, one other couple and a middle-aged lady. Within the opening minutes I was ferociously biting my lip so as not to unleash an earth-shattering belly laugh that would have put me firmly in the spotlight in such minimal company. By the end of the film I had gnawed away at my lip to the point I no longer felt the need for any dinner.
Life on the Road is genuinely funny, but it also manages to be genuinely sad in parts, it has a heart and at times it tries to break your own. I admit to being a fan of Ricky Gervais. I find his films by and large to be quite warm-hearted, harking back to an era long since lost and embracing the art of telling a story worth being told. The big screen debut of Slough’s finest office manager is the jewel in the Gervais crown.
Trevor – Arrival
Arrival. There isn’t even another contender for the best movie of 2016, to my mind. Everything about the movie completely blew me away. I’ve already waxed eloquent about how much I loved the movie and yet I can’t help but repeat myself.
Whenever I recommend the movie to someone, I make it a point of stressing that there was just one gunfight, just one explosion, and that the protagonist of the movie was a professor of linguistics. I can’t stress that enough. Movies these days seem to be focused on more ‘splosions, more gunfights, more special effects, more … everything except story and character, it seems.
Arrival, despite being a movie about aliens visiting earth, is as far from an Independence Day/War of the Worlds clone as it’s possible to get. It approaches the question of why aliens would want to visit earth and how we, as a species would probably be react, with incredible thoughtfulness, owed in great part to its source material.
Amy Adams makes for a strong, wonderfully compelling protagonist, wholeheartedly embracing a role that I cannot imagine another actor being able to pull off with such consummate conviction. If you have not seen it, you assuredly must – how did you let 2016 go by without watching it?