First, I have to start by saying I had an incredibly busy fall which prevented me from getting out to the theater as much as I would have liked to. Unfortunately, I have not seen many of the films which have garnered the most oscar buzz including Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or Highwater, Manchester by the Sea, La La Land, Arrival, Silence, The Edge of Seventeen, and Moonlight. Therefore, this list will be vastly different from the lists of many others although I’m sure it would be comprised of much of those titles had I seen them.
5. Kubo and the Two Strings
From Laika studios and first-time director Travis Knight comes a passionate love letter to storytelling itself. The film is an absolute must-see for all movie lovers and writers. Kubo features an incredible blend of CGI and stop-motion animation that will most likely be overlooked at the Oscars but deserves all the awards and praise it can get.
After a decade of championing the project, Ryan Reynolds finally brought Deadpool to fruition with director Tim Miller. The film which ended up becoming the highest grossing Rated-R film of all time was made on a modest budget of 58 million dollars and felt just as large as any Marvel or DC feature thanks to Miller’s VFX house Blur Studios doing much of the visual effects for free.
3. Sing Street
An incredible coming of age story of a young boy who finds his voice (pun intended), leading him to become a man and conquer his world. The film set in 1980’s Dublin features an incredible soundtrack of original songs written by director John Carney and singer-songwriter Gary Clark, sung by the film’s star Ferdia Walsh-Peelo.
2. Captain America: Civil War
The Russo Brothers once again prove themselves as the best Directors in the MCU. They do an incredible job balancing out both Team Cap and Team Iron Man throughout the film. The motivations are clear and the characters are provided equal screen time to support their sides of the argument. It doesn’t matter whether your Team Cap or Team Iron Man, you can absolutely understand the opposing side. What makes it so compelling is that both sides are right.
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
No, Rogue One isn’t perfect. It suffers from a lack of characterization and some pacing issues but it still manages to come together in the end and serve as an incredible lead into A New Hope.The third act is a borderline masterpiece which delivers some of the greatest moments in Star Wars history. Never again will we look at the original Star Wars nor the Rebellion in the same way. The film itself opens the door to the limitless potential Lucasfilm has with standalone Star Wars features separate from the Skywalker saga.