I will publish my top ten favourite films of the year on Christmas Day. Below, in no particular order are a few films that just missed out:
The Neon Demon: Nicolas Winding Refn films always divide opinion, this one more than any other. Existing in an almost dream like trance for most of its running time, it never feels real. As a viewer you never feel like a voyeur looking in on the characters lives, it always feels one step removed, like a dream, or a nightmare. The film oozes with influences of other directors, possibly: Lynch, Jordon, Mann, Schrader and Carpenter. More a work of art than a movie, I can see why many people hate it, I loved it.
Anthropoid: True story of Operation Anthropoid, the plan to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich in Czechoslovakia. The first half of the film is a dark and tense thriller, the second a bolt and brash war movie, both work supremely well in an enthralling movie.
The Girl with All the Gifts: British zombie is probably the best and most original of the genre since 28 Days Later. It works on a surface level as an exciting and enthralling film but also explores themes of humanity, ecology and morality.
One More Time With Feeling: Documentary exploring the recording and creative process of the album Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Made at a time of great personal tragedy for Cave it is a more sombre than 20,000 Days on Earth but still has funny moments and is totally engrossing. Shown in 3D that is occasionally effective but largely pointless, like 3D in most movies. And the album is fantastic too by the way!
A Bigger Splash: Remake of La Piscine (1969). The cast (Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson) are all excellent, particularly Fiennes. Intriguing but doesn’t reach the level it is aiming for.
Train To Busan: How do you do anything original with a zombie movie, it’s all been done, hasn’t it? The setting on a train offers some really interesting scenarios, but there are a few new characteristics to the zombies that also work to great effect. To top all this of it is a genuinely good story with compelling characters.
I, Daniel Blake: Ken Loach explores the inequities and bureaucracy of the welfare system from the point of view of a single mother and working man who has recently suffered a heart attack. A powerful story with all the gusto of Loach’s best work if not it subtlety.
I would also recommend: The best B movie of the year: Blood Farther. The beautifully understated Paterson. The years other intelligent sci-fi: Midnight Special. The leftfield and unexpected sequel: 10 Cloverfield Lane. The thoughtful: The Witch. The new take on the comic book movie: Deadpool. The underrated: Morgan. The surprisingly good addition to a franchise: Creed. The best animation: Zootropolis. The mesmerising: Louder Than Bombs. The gruesome horror thriller: Don’t Breathe. The superior supernatural thriller: Lights Out. The fitting conclusion to a trilogy: Brotherhood.