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Best Movies of 2016

December 5, 2016

12. Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange
“Civil War” successfully balanced a massive story with numerous characters and the perfectly executed action sequences. “Doctor Strange’s” breathtaking visuals and outstanding acting escaped the trappings of the typical Marvel origin story, while also adding a layer of spirituality into the Marvel Universe.

11. Nocturnal Animals
Director and fashion designer Tom Ford delivers an extremely sensual and violent revenge thriller matched only by Jake Gyllenhaal’s powerful and vulnerable performance. “Nocturnal Animals” breaks free from the standard linear form of storytelling with finesse and grace.

10. The Invitation
Indie filmmaker Karyn Kusama creates film that oozes with tension with its impressive sound design, tight editing and a truly disturbing ending. This is one invitation you can’t refuse.

9. 10 Cloverfield Lane
With its self-contained set and tense pacing, “10 Cloverfield lane,” the audience is trapped in a state of claustrophobia that is heightened by an Oscar-worthy performance by John Goodman. Breaking the shackles of the found footage styling, “10 Cloverfield Lane” is both unexpected and suspenseful.

8. The Handmaiden
Chan-wook Park is known for making violent and disturbing films. Here, the director offers us a film that is unlike any of his previous works. “The Handmaiden” is elegant and intoxicating. This queer erotic thriller is like Park’s love letter to Alfred Hitchcock, filled with unexpected twists and red herrings.

7. Zootopia
“Zootopia” boasts beautiful animation and a clever and humorous script that also appeals to adults, with topical and serious subject matter. The film offers a beautiful message of inclusion and advises viewers to pursue their dreams.

6. The Lobster
Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ dystopian film paints a vivid picture of the importance society places on finding a soulmate through offbeat humor and absurdity. Colin Farrell gives his most tender and honest performance. This is most unique and absurd film of 2016.

5. Arrival
Communication is the central theme of “Arrival,” It is beautiful that “Arrival” was released during a time when our country and many of its people are incapable of communicating. Stunningly photographed and imbued with sensible CGI, this cerebral film is grounded by its smooth pacing and subtle yet commanding acting.

4. The Witch
Director Robert Eggers’s attention to detail truly encaptures the time period of “The Witch,” the costume and set design all add up to an immersive experience. Eggers’s smart script and lush cinematography make for a truly unnerving experience. “The Witch” is the most chilling religious based horror film since “The Exorcist.” Hail Black Phillip.

3. Manchester by the Sea
Kenneth Lonergan’s film of a man confronting his past and forging his way into the present is both beautiful and heartbreaking. The film’s accurate portrayal of death and grief and Casey Affleck’s commanding and complex performance sets this film apart from most dramas.

2. Hell or High Water
Director David Mackenzie exceptionally guides his creative team in executing the technical merits while also bringing out stellar performances from his cast; Jeff Bridges gives an Oscar-worthy performance in one of best modern day westerns.

1. Moonlight
Barry Jenkins’s ethereal masterpiece is a character study that centers on the struggles with coming to terms with sexuality and contextualizing masculinity within black culture. “Moonlight” manages to be devastating, yet unplifting. Beautifully scripted, photographed and acted, “Moonlight” is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking and the best picture of 2016.

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