X-Men: Apocalypse – “At least we can all agree the third one is the worst” quips Jean Grey, totally unaware of the irony she would create in being able to review the movie she is in. The worst movie in the new X-Men trilogy by a mile.
Suicide Squad – A true Frankenstein’s Monster of a movie with absolutely no class or subtlety. For all the buzz and heavy-handed marketing and press, there is nothing to write home about. It just plain sucks. Also that Twenty One Pilots song can fuck off.
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice – Zack Snyder continued his one man crusade against fun in superhero movies with the single biggest disappointing comic book movie of all time. It consistently fucks up its own story before proceeding to fuck up the setup for the entire DCEU. Garbage in every sense of the word. I liked Batman, though.
Worst Film - Warcraft
10 - The Jungle Book / Creed
A small boy navigates a dangerous jungle in one, whilst an older boy navigates an urban jungle in the other. Only with more boxing.
Jungle Book is a testament to how GCI can make experiences like no other. The animals being brought to life are truly a work of art and the fact that it takes centre stage alongside the ONLY person in the entire movie (Neel Sethi) and somehow looks believable the whole way through, even when they start singing, is pure Disney magic. Creed on the other hand takes a franchise that I would have been happy to see end and brings it back in a way that makes me crave so much more. I’ve never been the biggest Rocky fan, but the legacy is real and Stallone was genuinely robbed and a well-deserved Oscar.
Best Bit –
The updated dual training montage in Creed and the Baloo/Shere Khan throw-down in Jungle Book is all kinds of awesome.
9 - My Scientology Movie
Louie Theroux makes a movie about making his own movie about scientology, whilst some scientologists make a movie about Louie Theroux making a movie about making his own movie about scientology.
Admittedly, I am totally biased here, but Louie Theroux documentaries are always a treat, so there was no way this wasn’t going to be in the top 10 the second I knew it was getting a limited theatrical release. However, it’s the pure atmosphere of terror that the scientologists create, backing up the years of rumours of their ultra-militaristic scare tactics, and them going up against an always inquisitive and polite British filmmaker that make for some of the scariest and equally laughably fascinating watches of the year.
Best Bit –
Theroux killing with kindness by making a Scientologist camera woman lose her shit and leave by asking her simple questions.
8 - Doctor Strange
Hand-ular cripple Stephen Strange trips huge balls in Kamar-Taj and magics his way into becoming a badass interdimensional wizard hero.
Visually the most impressive thing we’ve seen this year, Doctor Strange genuinely finds a way to integrate magic into the grounded but fun Marvel Cinematic Universe. Benedict Cumberbatch does the best impression of House I’ve ever seen and Tilda Swinton is an absolute delight to watch and somehow manages to one-up even the Sorcerer Supreme himself. The age old Marvel Villain Problem keeps this movie from true greatness, but whilst the formula is wearing thin, it sure is still a template to tell some amazing origin stories.
Best Bit –
The 5 minute acid trip when Strange has his mind opened to the magical multiverse. THAT is how it feels to chew 5 Gum.
7 - Zootopia
It’s racial commentary… for kids!
I hated this movie when I first saw it. Hold on, hear me out! I hated it… but, it’s a smart movie that made me think. And I thought and I thought and I thought some more about the themes, the characters and the storytelling in this movie. Then I watched it again and I loved it. Sure, it’s easy to feel like this movie panders to a certain crowd here by getting all social justice-y and throwing in furry animals (*CoughTumblrCough*), but honestly, if we’re going to have children learn morals and values, I’d rather it be the ones shown in this movie. And it’s all bolstered by animation and voice work that puts the mighty Pixar to shame. Top notch.
Best Bit –
Mr Big, the Shrew Godfather, always had me in stitches; his daughter’s wedding scene was hysterical as well.
6 - PopStar: Never Stop Never Stopping
A mockumentary crew follow the rise and fall of a Justin Bieber parody act, whilst the irony is lost on several real life music artists and about 50% of the audience.
The Lonely Island made a movie and it totally doesn’t suck! Ignoring the seemingly impossible task of an SNL alum making a good movie, Samberg, Schafer and Taccone deliver the best mockumentary since Spinal Tap. It’s not laugh a minute for everyone, but the straight-aim shots at today’s vapid music industry is more than appreciated. Also, the music is just straight up brilliant and is worth owning in whatever format pleases you. Seriously, I want Equal Rights (I’m Not Gay) in the charts without a hint of irony right this second.
Best Bit –
Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song) and it’s full music video. The Lonely Island are back on top form here.
5 - Your Name
Japanese Freaky Friday breeds one of the most heart-wrenching romances of all time.
Jesus Christ, I don’t think my heart has been put through the wringer this badly since Toy Story 3… or possibly my latest bereavement. Either way, Your Name is a truly magical anime movie that even people who don’t like anime should check out. The body-swap formula is played with in such a modern and beautiful way that has you feeling every bump in the road on the way toward the movie’s climax. Mover over Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai should be the next big name in anime movies for this stellar effort.
Best Bit –
I really can’t spoil the specifics here, but the emotional gut punch shared between our two main characters on a mountaintop before the movies final act is simultaneously beautiful and totally unbearable. Literally ALL of the feels. ALL of them.
4 - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
“It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armoured space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”
Star Wars isn’t at number one? WHAT YEAR IS THIS?! Well, the year a main episode isn’t out, obviously. However, don’t let this spoil your expectations, Rogue One is a great, great movie entirely because it is a contain story with no hanging threads with character that are 100% expendable. The overall visual design is a welcome trip into the grimy, whilst the collective moral direction of our characters is a wonderful collection of grey tones. It’s held back from greatness by squandering Forrest Whittaker and adding a tentacle monster in the first 15 minutes, but it’s pulled up by the boot-strings by an otherwise stellar cast and very smart, very entertaining and overall exhilarating war filmmaking.
Best Bit –
Darth Vader’s deadly catwalk of genocide.
3 - Kubo And The Two Strings
A one-eyed magic shamisen-slinging child, a maternal monkey and a 6 foot tall armoured samurai beetle go armour shopping and fight the moon.
This film is such a potent combination of everything I love; a Japanese folklore inspired, stop-motion animated adventure story that feels like a Legend of Zelda movie. If that description isn’t enough for you, clearly you are too hard to please. The movie is beautiful on so many fronts, it’s genuinely difficult to separate them and talk about them in isolation. The blend of it all is pure magic. This is easily the best movie produced by Laika Studios, yes, even better than Coraline. It’s equal parts touching, wondrous and exciting, with wonderful voice work from both Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey, That’s right people, it’s a McConaughey performance I don’t hate! Rejoice!
Best Bit –
I do love all things Origami Samurai, but when the movie turns into Wind Waker for 20 minutes, I couldn’t have been having more fun.
2 - Deadpool
Deadpool plays Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool who proceeds to brutally murder the fourth wall, a large number of people with guns and all the cynicism of overbearing comic book nerds like me.
IT DOESN’T SUCK! IT’S GOOD! IT’S SO GOOD! Seriously, this could have gone bad on almost every front, but thanks to a fantastic marketing campaign and a no-compromise approach to bring this R-Rated hero to life made this one of the biggest accomplishments in both comedy and superhero movies in recent years. Reynolds was born to play this role and he does it with equal parts grace and crass. This movie has a love subplot that actually felt believable, in the same movie in which an unkillable self-aware soldier cuts his hand off to serve as the ultimate flipping of the bird. It’s lewd, crude, bloody and conscious, and I genuinely couldn’t have imagined a better way to make this movie. Plus, my sides split so hard, I still hurt when I giggle.
Best Bit –
Every goddamn thing about the freeway fight, from counting bullets to “McAvoy or Stewart?”
1 - Captain America: Civil War
Captain America and Iron Man play the ultimate game of “Who would win in a fight between…?” with their friends and co-workers. Meanwhile, genuine political shit hits the fan that makes you forget Ultron ever dropped a city anywhere.
It’s the best superhero movie ever made. Period. Draw a line under it folks, it’s the truth. Dark Knight? Sucks compared to this. Avengers? It’s way bigger and has more realistic stakes. Guardians Of The Galaxy? I’m playing with fire here, but I just think that Civil War is objectively better in every regard. But I think the reason this movie works so well is because of the collated success of the MCU so far. This movie really only works because we’ve has so many years tracking these characters that we ultimately do care which side of the coin they end up on. And to track the continuing motivations of 12 main characters is just about the biggest feat ever pulled by any movie studio to date. They had to somehow juggle a Captain America sequel, an Avengers 3 setup, an introduction to both Black Panther and Spider-Man, a closing chapter to the current Avengers and lead in to the third phase of Marvel movies. And yet, it succeeds in every regard. I’m in awe. I really am.
Best Bit –
Airport scene. Only the airport scene. Always the airport scene. The airport scene is all.