Rollo Tomasi’s Top Ten Films of 2016
The 2016 film season was a year of infrequent highs and deep, dismal lows. Like any film year, not every film met our expectations (Star Trek Beyond and Deepwater Horizon). Some films far exceeded what we thought they would be (The Witch). Some films were hidden gems (I Am a Hero). Other subtle surprises (Morgan). A few were tragic disasters (Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk).
The films that I have listed below are films that were fulfilling to me in some way, shape, or form. I like in films what I like in a great book: creative narrative, three dimensional characters, character arcs, and all the other regalia of thoughtful creation.
Rollo Tomasi’s Top Ten Films of 2016:
10. I Am a Hero
Filled with quirky characters and an atypical lead character on the losing end of a relationship and job search, I Am a Hero sets a melancholy stage before mayhem ensues. I Am a Hero was one of the best looking horror films of the year, imbued with precise direction and crisp cinematography. It is rare to see a horror film that looks this good. I Am a Hero takes the zombie genre and adds multiple new elements. This is an extremely difficult feat because of the presence of The Walking Dead in the horror landscape but I Am a Hero did so.
9. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War was the most entertaining Captain America film-to-date. Captain America 3 benefited from all of the Captain America films that came before it. It wasn’t the strongest Captain America film, though, narrative-wise. The first film holds that title. What Captain America: Civil War did have was an extremely surprising third act between Winter Soldier and Iron Man. Because of that and the monstrosities that DC regurgitated into theaters during 2016, Captain America: Civil War stands head and shoulders above the pack.
What started out as a assassination film set during World War II evolved into a is she / isn’t she thriller. The romance and intrigue in Allied were good and the action was brutal (fitting for war film). It was the spy versus domestic existence that became the most compelling aspect of the film.
Fences was a film that stood out immediately because of its dialogue and the amount of history told to the audience through normal conversation between characters. Dysfunctional family stories are a dime a dozen. What sets this one apart is how rich everyone’s background is. The main characters have Tarantino-style histories, full of joys and sadness with the latter dominating their formative years.
6. Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures was a retrofitted David and Goliath story set within the walls of NASA during the Jim Crow era of America. Taraji P. Henson‘s performance was fantastic as she eventually railed against the inequalities hampering her, her work, and her work environment. The Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) / Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) on-screen moments were especially noteworthy (they showed Johnson’s skill or something Harrison should have been doing as her boss. Cream rises to the top of the box office and within people’s awareness. Hidden Figures is an example of it.