Tag Archives: Arrival

Denis Villeneuve Films Ranked

Denis Villenueve Ranked

With the release of Dune: Part One, I wanted to share my list ranking the films of director Denis Villeneuve.

Ever since I watched Prisoners, I’ve been interested in Denis Villeneuve as a director. Over the past decade, he quickly established himself as one of the most acclaimed, visionary and sought-after directors. He has a fantastic body of work and has excelled at any genre he attempted from gritty crime thrillers to grand sci-fi epics.

With a few exceptions, most of Villeneuve’s films are truly excellent and as such, ranking his work is not easy. Here’s my best attempt at it.

10. August 32nd on Earth

August 32nd on Earth is a very obscure and hard to find movie, and one that even most fans of Denis Villeneuve probably haven’t heard of. Even though I’m glad I watched it, it’s by far his worst movie. It isn’t riveting and it takes a while for things to happen. It is Villeneuve’s first movie, and the direction definitely feels like it’s from someone making their filmmaking debut. It is rough with the editing, music and cinematography and isn’t exactly what you would call polished, with not much of a style.

With all that being said, August 32nd on Earth is a competently made movie, and it is solid as a directorial debut. It’s a decent romance dramedy that’s written well, especially with the dialogue between the two leads. Pascale Bussières and Alexis Martin are good as the main characters, and they share some great chemistry which drives and carries the movie, which is just as well since the movie relies on them so much. Without them, it wouldn’t have worked as well. Overall, it’s directed, written and acted well enough to make it entertaining to watch. With that said, it’s not anything special, and I wouldn’t recommend it to many people outside the most curious of Villeneuve fans.

My review of August 32nd on Earth

9. Maelström

If August 32nd on Earth was a standard movie for a directorial debut, Maelstrom is Denis Villeneuve getting experimental and creative. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t, but overall, I think it’s an admirable early effort from him.  There’s a lot going for Maelstrom with it being a dark character study of the troubled lead character, and the movie tackling the themes of guilt, grief and regret. Some of its aspects are strong, Marie-Josée Croze acts very well as this complicated protagonist, and Villeneuve’s direction certainly helps the film. It’s not as polished as his later work and he’s still crafting his own distinct style, but the technical aspects like the cinematography and editing fit the movie quite well. You can even detect aspects of his filmmaking style here which would make its way into his future movies.

Although there are some interesting elements to it, the film is held back by its shortcomings. The film is very slow moving and unfortunately doesn’t really keep your attention all the way through despite the strong character focus (not helped by the unsatisfying ending). I appreciate the movie for a lot of its ideas, though not all of them work. The narration of the film is delivered from a talking fish as it’s being chopped up by a butcher over the course of the film. It’s certainly memorable and probably meant to be symbolic given that fish play a symbolic part of the film but distracts more than anything, and is just one example of decisions in the film not really landing. Despite its issues, Maelstrom is still a solid and intriguing enough movie, and it does have some interesting aspects to make it worth a watch even if not all of it works.

My review of Maelström 

8. Polytechnique

It’s a huge step up in quality from this point in the list going forward. Polytechnique is definitely Denis Villeneuve’s least rewatchable movie, this drama focuses on a very difficult subject, that being a real life tragic shooting. It is a harrowing and haunting experience of a film, yet is beautifully shot, acted, and written, and respectful to the victims of the tragedy. The runtime is less than an hour and 20 minutes, but Denis put so much into it and does so much with it.

At this point with his third movie, Denis Villeneuve has honed his skills and has become a very capable filmmaker. The black and white cinematography complements the raw brutality of the scenes, giving it an eerie feeling. At the same time, these brutal sequences never feel glorified. Along with the excellent direction, the film is also helped by the acting, which felt authentic and real. Again, Polytechnique is not an easy movie to watch at all, but it is a great and important film.

My review of Polytechnique

7. Enemy

Enemy is one of Denis’s more confusing and experimental movies. A hypnotic, brilliant and thought-provoking psychological thriller, it definitely requires more than one viewing to really appreciate it. I know that personally as soon as it ended, I looked into online theories and videos to see what everyone else thought and interpreted from the movie. The premise is initially simple, and you are pulled into this intriguing doppelganger story. Throughout there’s an eerie and unnerving feeling that grips you. Enemy is incredibly complex and layered with so much to look into and think about as it plays with perceptions of reality.

Elevating the movie are the incredible dual performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, he really delving deep into the personalities of these two roles and again does some outstanding work. Another critical part of the film is of course Villeneuve’s direction, which is amazing as always. It’s an absolutely stunning looking movie, distinct with the yellow-ish tint and with moments of scary and unforgettable imagery. There’s also a general vibe of strangeness and wrongness, helped even further by the unsettling score. Even though it’s not a horror movie, this is probably the closest that Villeneuve has made to one. There are some unnerving scenes with some great tension building, keeping you on edge from beginning to end. As I said before, Enemy is very confusing at first, but its more satisfying on repeat viewings. It’s really an unforgettable experience that is well worth checking out if you have the patience for it.

My review of Enemy

6. Sicario

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Sicario is a captivating, intense, dark and gritty crime thriller, it takes it time with its pacing and plot and is nonstop suspenseful. It has a very dark tone and feels appropriately unpleasant and uneasy throughout. There’s always an undercurrent feeling of tension and danger, you never really feel that the characters are completely safe. There’s also some stellar performances from the likes of Josh Brolin and Daniel Kaluuya, but it’s both Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro who are the standouts, delivering strong and powerful acting work in their parts.

Denis’s direction is fantastic as expected, and this film is outstanding on a technical level. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is phenomenal as usual, framed and lit perfectly and capturing the tension. Johann Johannsson’s haunting and ominous score is a presence throughout the entire film and helps maintain this unnerving and uncomfortable feeling for the movie. Overall Sicario is a tightly directed, bleak and memorable thriller that accomplishes just about everything it sets out to do.

My review of Sicario

5. Incendies

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I remember hearing about Incendies being one of Villeneuve’s earlier movies. I went in fairly blind, and I was not prepared for what I would be watching. Incendies is a brutal, harrowing and uncompromising film. The storytelling is fantastic, a mystery with a plot containing a lot of twists and turns focusing on twins fulfilling their dying mother’s last request. You are locked in from start to finish as the plot unfolds. There are some truly devastating moments and reveals, and it’s very bleak even by Villeneuve standards.

The acting is great from everyone, from the twins played by Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette, to Lubna Azabal as the mother. Everyone acts their role well, but it really is Azabal’s film, and she carries the movie excellently. Denis Villeneuve’s direction is fantastic as usual, it’s a stunning looking movie with so many memorable and emotional impactful images that are burned into your memory. Much of the movie is quiet and subtle, only making everything feel all the more real and raw, and there is a tense feeling throughout. Incendies is an unforgettable and truly remarkable film. It’s constantly engaging, greatly acted and packs an effective emotional punch when it needs to be. Not an easy watch by any means but nonetheless really worth checking out.

My review of Incendies

4. Arrival

Amy Adams as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

Arrival was the first Denis Villeneuve movie I was able to watch in the cinema, and it was an unbelievable experience. It is a thoroughly griping, intelligent, and thought-provoking science-fiction film that deserves multiple viewings, and is worth going into not knowing anything about it. I was satisfied with all the twists and turns, and the story by the end felt complete. While it is on the surface level a first contact/alien invasion movie with worldwide stakes at play, it is still a very human and soulful movie, presenting some interesting and thought-provoking ideas.

The performances are great, but it really comes down to Amy Adams in the lead role, giving one of her all-time best performances. She is spectacular here, this really is her film. Villeneuve’s direction is also outstanding. There is some spectacular cinematography from Bradford Young with the use of gorgeous wide shots, and the CGI is fantastic and never looked overused or fake. The score from Johann Johansson is euphoric too, eerie, suspenseful and ominous, yet very beautiful and it really added to the tone of the film. Overall Arrival is one of the best science fiction films from the past 10 years and is one that gets better the more you think about it and revisit it.

My original review of Arrival

3. Dune: Part One

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The most recently released film from Denis Villeneuve, Dune: Part One is currently his most ambitious film, especially considering that its adapting one of the most iconic piece of science fiction literature ever. While we have only half of the adaptation to judge at this point, needless to say his work on this one movie was fantastic. The world of Dune is very detailed, and he conveyed it incredibly well with outstanding world-building. I grasped the story and lore surprisingly well and I really wanted to know more about it. While Part One is essentially used as a way of delivering exposition about the world, characters and lore, it felt incredibly natural and worked seamlessly with the unfolding story. It is a slow movie with a steady pace, but this helped to tell the story effectively, and still felt reasonably accessible to most audiences. Villeneuve does a fantastic job at conveying the high stakes of the story, while still having a strong focus on the lead character’s journey and internal struggle.

There are some outstanding performances from the excellent cast as these memorable characters, especially with Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and Stellan Skarsgard. Unsurprisingly, Denis Villeneuve’s direction is magnificent, and Dune is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen, you really feel the sense of scale throughout. The cinematography from Greig Fraser is amazing, the production design, set pieces and wardrobe are unique and detailed, and the score is operatic and outstanding. Dune: Part One is an immersive experience and spectacle of a film and while it definitely needs Part 2 for me to judge Villeneuve’s adaptation on the whole, I have high hopes for it. Part 2 just can’t come soon enough.

My review of Dune: Part One

2. Prisoners

Film Review Prisoners

Prisoners was the first movie I watched from Denis Villeneuve, and it’s his first English language movie. 8 years on, it remains a tense, well crafted and relentlessly grim thriller. Mystery thrillers following a kidnapping have been pretty common but this is incredibly well executed. You are completely invested in this the whole time, and despite the many disturbing twists and turns you can’t turn your attention away from it. It’s helped by its engaging characters and thought provoking questions that it poses.

The spectacular performances from the cast also are a big reason why it works so well. Hugh Jackman gives his best performance as a father desperate to find the missing children, Jake Gyllenhaal is phenomenal as a detective searching for the children, and Paul Dano sticks in your head the entire time as a possible suspect. Other performances from Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo were amazing and add so much to it. The direction from Denis Villeneuve is amazing as expected. Roger Deakins’s cinematography was incredible, really appropriate for the dark atmosphere and constantly feeling dark and damp. There is an effective sense of dread throughout, helped by the mesmerising score from Johann Johannsson. Prisoners still remains an outstanding mystery thriller film, and is still one of my favourite movies from Villeneuve.

My review of Prisoners

1. Blade Runner 2049

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Potentially a very predictable pick for number 1, but my favourite of Villeneuve’s films nonetheless. Blade Runner 2049 is a grand sci-fi spectacle and one of the best science fiction movie of recent years. Living up to the Ridley Scott directed original Blade Runner, 2049 isn’t just a continuation that remains true and faithful to the original, it also expands upon its world and crafts its own unique story that improves upon it. The fantastic script tells an intimate story for the lead character played by Ryan Gosling, and his compelling journey over the course of the film. It is a long movie and moves at a steady pace but not a single second felt wasted.

The performances were fantastic from everyone. Ryan Gosling is perfectly cast as the lead role of K, effectively carrying the whole film really well. Harrison Ford reprises his role of Deckard from the first Blade Runner and is incredible in his screentime, and Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks are very memorable in their parts. Denis Villeneuve’s work on 2049 is spectacular, with so much attention to detail. The cinematography from Roger Deakins is nothing short of breathtakingly spectacular. The world is incredibly well realised with the visual effects, physical sets and the production design working together incredibly well. Blade Runner 2049 remains one of the most impressive films I’ve seen, and is currently my favourite film from Denis Villeneuve.

My review of Blade Runner 2049

What is your ranking of Zack Snyder’s movies?

Top 15 Best Movies of 2016

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2016 was an interesting year for film. This year was full of movies that were incredibly divisive, blockbuster or not. I find it weird that at one point, people were actually saying that 2016 was the year that films died. While there were a few films that were terrible, and a couple which disappointed, I do consider 2016 a good year for film, not that much different from previous years. It’s just that 2016 had more divisive movies than most years. The following films are my favourites of the year. And of course there will be a worst of the year list, which will be fun.

Now I do think I should state that I will be releasing updated versions of these lists later on. This is because many movies such as Lion, Silence and Jackie will be released here in Janurary and Feburary. So I’ll do an updated list, same will go for the worst of the year list. This will also allow me to catch up on the best/worst films of 2016 that I missed.

EDIT: An updated list never ended up happening. Keep in mind that in retrospect my list has changed a lot (especially after seeing more 2016 movies) so take this list as my opinion at the time. In the future I may do another updated list.

Honourable Mention

Zootopia

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Zootopia really caught me off guard. I expected an animated kids film, which would just be forgettable or annoying. To my utter surprise, not only was the film entertaining, it was actually a great film. The characters are so likable and memorable (and are voiced well), the animation was great and the story was surprisingly well written and developed. Zootopia was really one of the most surprising films of the year.

Although I will admit I like a certain other animated kids film more (which I will get to later in the list), I will credit Zootopia for having the best written animated movie story in 2016, due to how well it integrates its themes with the story. I didn’t expect this film to tackle issues like race, prejudice, etc, and for it to all work in its story. Even if the movie doesn’t look that appealing to you (believe me, it initially didn’t look good to me), I implore you to at least watch it. This movie is a lot better than you might think it is.

My review of Zootopia

15. 10 Cloverfield Lane

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Mary Elizabeth Winstead, left, and John Goodman in a scene from "10 Cloverfield Lane." (Michele K. Short/Paramount Pictures via AP)

10 Cloverfield Lane had a lot of hype from a lot of people (mostly because it had Cloverfield in the title), I admit I wasn’t as hyped as everyone else. I went in not sure about what to really expect, I hadn’t watched Cloverfield, but I still had such a great time with it. This film is very effective as a thriller, it really surprised me how tense I felt throughout the movie.

This movie was very suspenseful, you don’t know what’s going on in the film until the very end. It was slower paced but it felt very appropriate. The acting was great, especially from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman. Aside from a couple of aspects near the third act of the movie, this film was great. Honestly, just go into this movie without looking into it. And don’t have any false expectations, this isn’t Cloverfield 2. This is a contained, suspenseful thriller which will keep you guessing and guessing to the very end.

My review of 10 Cloverfield Lane

14. Don’t Breathe

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Don’t Breathe is a breath of fresh air into the horror and home invasion genres. Despite it’s simple premise, the film executes that premise brilliantly, and never lets up in building suspense, and creating effective scares. It’s unfortunate that this movie hasn’t gotten quite the attention it deserves, it really needs a lot more praise.

Don’t Breathe is a very contained horror/thriller which is actually scary. There’s not false jumpscares to ruin the tension, and when jumpscares are there, they are used effectively. The tension never lets up and is consistent throughout the whole film, you can never tell which direction this film is going in. The acting was great, particularly from Stephen Lang who makes for a very effective and scary antagonist. There were a couple of aspects in the final act that I thought could’ve been better but aside from that, there aren’t really many problems with this movie. If you are a big horror fan, go see Don’t Breathe as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.

My review of Don’t Breathe

13. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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The Hunt for the Wilderpeople was a movie that was so entertaining from start to finish, with never a dull moment. This movie is very unique, it isn’t a movie that you can compare to any others. It was so easy to watch this movie and to be entertained by it.

The script of the movie is very entertaining and hilarious but at the same time had a lot of heart. The characters were so easy to love, the leading actors, Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, had excellent chemistry and were fantastic. The direction by Taika Watiti, also excellent. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople was just such a surprising movie. I wasn’t expecting this movie to be so great. If you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out.

My review of The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

12. The Accountant

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The Accountant was a movie that sadly didn’t get a huge amount of attention for some reason. It’s a shame because it was such a great movie from its story, to its direction to the acting, most of the elements of the film are done really well.

There were a few problems I had with the story, and it didn’t always interest me in the first act but aside from that, I loved everything about the movie, from the story, to the cast (particularly Ben Affleck) and to the overall direction. By the end of the movie, I wanted a sequel, and I actually do hope that we get a sequel. Definitely check out The Accountant when you can if you haven’t already.

My review of The Accountant

11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Eddie Redmayne in a scene from, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. via AP)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was so enjoyable to watch as a Harry Potter fan. I will admit before watching the movie, I wasn’t as anticipated for the movie as much as I thought I would be. Maybe it’s because I had no idea what to really expect. However, it fits perfectly in the Harry Potter universe and it is in itself a very entertaining movie to watch.

The story was entertaining and was more complex than I expected it to be. The cast was great, with Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell being personal standouts to me. And as to be expects the special effects and action sequences were great to watch. The biggest thing for me is that this movie worked at setting up sequels while being a good movie in itself. As a Harry Potter fan I loved it. Even though I have some concerns over future instalments in the franchise (especially with one certain casting decision), I’m excited to see them.

My review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

10. Doctor Strange

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I wasn’t expecting to love Doctor Strange as much as I did. I liked all the MCU movies, so I already knew that I would probably end up liking it. But I didn’t know that it would end up being one of my favourite MCU movies. Doctor Strange was incredibly fun to watch, investing, entertaining, felt different from all the previous Marvel movies and was overall such a surprise.

The world created was so fascinating and interesting, probably more so than in other MCU worlds. The cast was on point, with Benedict Cumberbatch leading the film as now one of my favourite main characters of the MCU, and actors like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams and Benedict Wong adding to the film greatly. Even the villain managed to be good (though having Mads Mikkelsen play him definitely helped elevate the villain’s quality). And the action and special effects… mind blowing, and so different from what I’ve seen before. While there may be a few flaws that I had with the movie, they weren’t very significant and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie. Doctor Strange brought back my anticipation for the future MCU movies, I’m now really looking forward to seeing what is to come in future instalments.

My review of Doctor Strange

9. The Conjuring 2

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I was hesitant about a Conjuring sequel, I really liked the original Conjuring and as most of us know, horror sequels can be really bad. The only potential I found that it could be even half decent was that Conjuring director James Wan was returning for this sequel. After seeing The Conjuring 2, I can say that James Wan really is the best director working today. I didn’t expect this movie to be as great as it was.

Unlike most horror movies today, you actually care about what’s going on. It has a story, with characters that feel real. And the scares used wasn’t just scares for the sake of it being scary. It was used when it was most suited, and the scares are actually effective. The acting was great from everyone. The direction was absolutely excellent. I loved The Conjuring 2, if you love horror movies and you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out when you can. It’s now one of my all time favourite horror movies.

My review of The Conjuring 2

8. Kubo and the Two Strings

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The film already had my interest with the talented voice cast with actors like Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey involved. This movie ended up surprising me however. Out of all the animated movies I’ve seen so far this year, this is my favourite.

It was just so easy to get wrapped up in the story. Not only that but the story itself was a little more mature and darker and more challenging as a children’s movie, it took risks which I love. Everything from the characters, to the perfectly cast voice actors and the beautiful animation just hit all the right notes for me. The animation in particular played a huge part in the movie working well, with a perfect blend of Claymation, stop motion and CGI. It is such a beautiful movie, and the animation is worth the price of admission alone. I can’t wait to see more from Laika, and I hope that Kubo gets enough attention from mainstream audiences so that we can get more of these kinds of animated movies.

My review of Kubo and the Two Strings

7. Nocturnal Animals

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Nocturnal Animals was such a great movie. It was such a different and special movie which had me interested and gripped from start to finish. No matter what you think of the movie, there’s no denying that the movie is definitely unique, and it deserves a lot more praise.

The story was pretty intriguing with deeper hidden meanings, with the storylines well implemented (however I will admit that one storyline was much more interesting than the other), the direction of the film was excellent, with perfect cinematography. However the stand out to me was the fantastic cast, with actors like Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor Johnson delivering some of their finest performances. Overall, I can’t wait to see more movies from Tom Ford. This is a movie that I won’t be forgetting for a long time.

My review of Nocturnal Animals

6. The Neon Demon

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The Neon Demon is another fantastic film from Nicolas Winding Refn. Before seeing this movie, I had only seen Drive but because I loved it so much, I was excited to see Refn’s upcoming film. As to be expected, it was polarizing for the general audience, because Nicolas Winding Refn makes divisive movies. However there is a group of people who loved it, and I’m happy that I’m part of this group.

The Neon Demon is a very different film from most. It relies more on visual storytelling, and it has many layers and meanings that Refn expertly injects into the movie. His direction was excellent, the soundtrack was amazing and the cinematography was so beautiful, it’s one of the best looking films of the whole year. Also the acting from everyone was great, particularly from a supporting performance by Jena Malone, who really deserves more praise. The Neon Demon overall is a movie that’s not for everyone. Some love the movie, some hate it, others don’t really know what to think of it. I’m glad that I’m in the group of people that love it. I can’t wait to see more films by Refn, both his older films and his future films.

My review of The Neon Demon

5. The Nice Guys

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I had a feeling this film would be great, with great actors Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling involved, as well as talented writer and director Shane Black leading the film. The film had a lot of potential. But I didn’t expect to love this movie this much. This and Hunt for the Wilderpeople are probably the funniest most quotable films of the year. The Nice Guys is non stop entertaining from start to finish, and has a well written and put together story.

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe were great, hilarious and perfectly cast in their roles, the writing is well written and all the jokes hit hard. Shane Black’s direction was also excellent, perfectly stylished and fitted well in its time period in the 70s. I can’t think really of any problems with this film. More people really should’ve seen The Nice Guys. I loved this movie when I first saw it and I loved it even more the second time. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, stop what you’re doing and go out and watch it right now. It is truly brilliant.

My review of The Nice Guys

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Rogue One had a lot to live up to. It was a Star Wars film taking place between Episodes 3 and 4, a prequel (which we all know don’t have that great of a reputation) and this film is released one year after the release of The Force Awakens, so it had a lot to live up to. I had such high hopes for this movie. Still, this movie managed to surpass those expectations, which really is such a surprise.

It was a darker and grittier story than most of the Star Wars movies. The movie had me completely invested from start to finish. The third act is simply perfection, especially with the last moments of the movie (no spoilers here). The acting was great, I loved the characters (highlights were Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO and Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Krennic). The direction of the film overall was fantastic. Aside from a couple aspects of the movie, I loved everything about this movie. I will say that I personally love this movie slightly more than The Force Awakens, which is such a huge achievement, because I loved The Force Awakens. Rogue One is definitely one of the biggest highlights of 2016.

My review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Now these next three picks could honestly be arranged in any order.

3. La La Land

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La La Land truly blew me away, I wasn’t expecting how excellent this movie would be. However, I shouldn’t really be surprised that I loved this movie because Damian Chazelle’s (director of Whiplash) was involved. Every element in the film worked well and delivered a fantastic, entertaining, and overall great film.

The main leads, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were fantastic and worked perfectly together, their chemistry is excellent. The direction of the movie is quite simply perfect. Everything fitted together whether that was the cinematography, the use of colour, the music, the choreography, everything fitted so well together. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go out and see it as soon as you can. It is truly a fantastic movie.

My review of La La Land.

2. Arrival

Amy Adams as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

Arrival was one of my most anticipated films of the year, mostly due to the cast (with Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker) and director Denis Villeneuve. I knew that it would be great, as Villeneuve has made some truly great films with Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario. However, Arrival surpassed my expectations on every single level, I absolutely loved it.

I don’t want to reveal too much for those who haven’t seen it yet so I’ll try to keep my description of the movie vague. The performances were excellent, especially from Amy Adams, who gives one of her all time best performances. The direction (as to be expected from Villeneuve) was incredible, everything technical in this movie fits perfectly into place and the cinematography is beautiful. Most of all, the story was great, the mystery is drawn out incredibly well and everything ties up well at the end. I know that a lot of people are divided by the ending, but I for one loved it, and thought that it was perfect for the movie. There’s not one flaw I can find in this movie. It is a movie you need to know what you’re getting into before seeing it, it’s slower paced, it’s not action packed, but all that benefited the movie overall. If you haven’t seen Arrival yet, I implore you to see it as soon as you can. It is truly an excellent movie.

My review of Arrival

1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition

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I know what you’re probably thinking, why is Batman v Superman at number 1 and especially over all these other great movies? While Batman v Superman might not be the best film of 2016, it is my favourite movie of 2016. Honestly, I’m surprised that this movie is so high up on my list. This movie had a lot to accomplish: it had to establish Batman, Wonder Woman, many of the Justice League members and the possible future. I was scared for how the movie would turn out but it managed to pull it off greatly. The film however didn’t feel overstuffed, it was balanced out well. Certain aspects like other members of the Justice League and future enemies are hinted at but don’t distract from the main story. Also, instead of going with the predictably action route, this movie for at least the first two acts is a political thriller, with some action in it (and then the last act is full on action). This movie goes to some places that I’ve not seen most comic book movies go. It challenges these iconic superheroes and gives them compelling character arcs (well, Superman’s is shown in the Ultimate Edition). Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition achieves all of that, and it’s a miracle that it has done that.

Ben Affleck’s Batman was just perfect to me and had a great character arc, Henry Cavill’s Superman was sympathetic and likable and even Jesse Eisenberg impressed me with his interpretation of Lex Luther. Not to mention Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman stole the show. However, I must stress that the Ultimate Edition is the version I’m ranking this movie. If it was the Theatrical Cut, this movie would be down some places. The Ultimate Edition fills any holes that I had with the film and makes the film feel more complete overall. I will not lie, this is in my top 2 favourite Comic Book Movies of all time now. Bold statement, I know.

My review of the Theatrical Cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

My review of the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Well, up next is my worst of the year list. That should be fun. It will take a little while as I haven’t seen too many bad 2016 movies, when I get 10 of them I’ll make a list (and then possibly make an updated list later).

What are your favourite films of the year? Comment below and let me know.

Arrival (2016) Review

Amy Adams as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

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Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast
Amy Adams as Dr. Louise Banks
Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly
Forest Whitaker as Colonel Weber
Michael Stuhlbarg as Agent Halpern
Tzi Ma as General Shang
Director: Denis Villeneuve

Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extra-terrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.

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Arrival (originally called Story of Your Life) was one of the most anticipated films of 2016. With the cast which consisted of Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner and especially Denis Villeneuve’s involvement, I was excited to see what movie we would get. I have to be completely honest, Arrival is one of my favourite movies of the year, and that’s saying a lot considering the movies I’ve seen this year. The story was great, the direction was flawless, the acting was absolutely fantastic, everything fitted nicely into place. Not everyone will love Arrival, you do need to know what sort of movie they are going into. But I personally loved it, and it really deserves a lot of praise.

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From start to finish, Arrival had me completely riveted. I had no idea which direction the story would go in, and I was satisfied with all the twists and how the story turned out. I think it’s a lot better to not know a lot about this movie before seeing it. With this movie, you need to really pay attention to what is going on, especially when it comes to the last act. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say, its very mind bending and cleverly done. The film is also slower paced and you do need to know that going in. I personally liked the pacing, it is quite slow and steady but I think it personally helped tell its story in a much better way. There’s one other thing I should mention: the ending will divide people. I won’t spoil what happens but I personally loved it. It’s the kind of ending that you really have to think about, and it is absolutely perfect. I have no problems with the ending.

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Amy Adams is absolutely spectacular in the movie, this is really her movie. I won’t reveal what happens with her in the story, but she’s absolutely great. This is really one of Amy Adams’s best performances, and that is saying a lot. She definitely deserves a lot of praise. Jeremy Renner was also really great in a supporting role, and added a lot to the movie. The other supporting cast, consisting of actors such as Forrest Whittaker are also great. The acting from all the talented cast was excellent.

Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

The cinematography is absolutely beautiful, this is Denis Villeneuve’s best looking movie, and that’s saying a lot, considering that he directed Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario. The CGI was fantastic, at no point was it overused or looked fake. The design of the alien beings and the way it was done was so great and effective, the aliens as a whole were created quite original. The soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson is absolutely beautiful and added a lot to the movie.

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You do need to know what you’re getting into, don’t go into Arrival expecting a fast paced, alien encounter sci-fi movie. It takes the alien encounter story we’ve seen so many times before and takes it to whole new levels. Even though you need to know what type of film you’re watching, the less you know about the film itself the better. There are so many surprises that you won’t predict. I can’t really find any flaw with this movie honestly. Arrival is one of those movies that gets better and better the more I think about it. Go out and see Arrival as soon as possible.