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The Chimes' Top 50 Movies of 2016: 50-36

Even though 2016 has passed, the Oscars still loom and will reward 2016's year in cinema. Today, The Chimes' releases numbers 50-36 of the top 50 movies of 2016.   |   Photo Collage by Kyle Kohner

 

Film has become exponentially instrumental to spread propaganda against deplorable political regimes or ideologies intending to disenfranchise minority groups in the United States. Despite being swept beneath the rug of political conundrum, 2016 introduced brilliant masterpieces while an infusion of talent broke through the silver screen into the public’s heart, providing hope for those discouraged about the direction of this nation.

I have seen 156 of the possible 336 films entered for this year’s Academy Award category for best picture, from politically and socially profound independent gems to big Hollywood blockbusters. This top 50 list comprises some of the best dramas and documentaries of last year, where the horror genre saw a glorious revival and beautifully constructed animated features made their mark. Without further ado, here are the top 50 films of 2016.

Notable 2016 Films I Did Not See: Cemetery of Splendor,” “Certain Women,” “Chevalier,” “Neon Bull,” “Denial,” “The Eagle Huntress,” “Elle,” “Fire at Sea,” “The Founder,” “Gleason,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “Miss Sloane,” “20th Century Women,”The Salesman,”Patterson”

Films that Just Missed the Cut:Jackie,” “Hello, My Name is Doris,” “ Patriots Day,” “Keanu,” “The Handmaiden,” “Deadpool,” “ Weiner-Dog,” “Tower,” “Sully,” “Queen of Katwe,” “The Red Turtle,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Lights Out,” “King Jack

50. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” - “Rogue One” finds itself blatantly departed from usual Star Wars form, as it presents a unique vision of the Rebellion and the Star Wars universe. The set pieces and visions of wars are successfully and brutally realized and the Death Star establishes itself as the intended menacing force. Oh, and the scenes involving Darth Vader more than satisfy.

49. “Don’t Breathe” - This horror flick carries a simple premise where a group of teens break into a blind man's house to steal his money. To the teens’ horrified surprise, the old man’s heightened remaining senses lend to this films horrifying nature. While the plot exposition remains a bit trite in its prudence, the film shows no mercy when its brutal thrills kick into high gear.

48. “Florence Foster Jenkins” - Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg provide heartwarming comedy in this charming late summer release. This film’s glory belongs to Meryl Streep, who again warrants that no role is beyond her ability. Each believable line she speaks as the horrible, opera singing Florence Jenkins feels authentic despite delivering a comedic charisma as the world's worst singer.

47. “A Hologram for the King” - In a career unrivaled, this film will unfortunately go relatively unnoticed in Tom Hanks’ illustrious filmography. A Hologram for the King is a simple love story while paying homage to living an open-minded life as a 60-year-old lonely traveler.

46. “Zootopia” - Although incredibly enjoyable as a Disney film, Zootopia hits harder and deeper than most animated features. Disney cleverly delivers social commentary through the symbolic roles and comparisons of animals to social and racial groups and the discrimination brought against them.

45. “Tallulah” - A Netflix drama about motherhood, it highlights the extraordinary flair of Ellen Page. Tallulah’s character development from a low-life teen to a motherly figure accomplishes Page’s best on-screen performance since Juno.

44. “Louder Than Bombs” - Criminally under-seen, “Louder than Bombs” avoids the coming-of-age clichés by telling a complex and fractured tale that more closely resembles a thriller than a teen-drama. Adolescents who tightly clam up to exclude the world while they catch up with its emotional challenges are common stories. However, this one defies those nuances by displaying a haunting tale of a father and his two boys who must cope with the sudden death of their traveling journalist mother and wife played by Isabelle Hubbert.

43. “Doctor Strange” - In a year where blockbusters squandered huge opportunities, Biola alumnus Scott Derrickson broke the year’s downward trend and lifted Marvel ahead of their faltering competition with this visually transfixing adaptation of the beloved Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. “Doctor Strange” immerses audiences in a nimble and beautiful world, forgetting the Marvel Cinematic Universe during this breath of fresh air outside the money-mongering norm.

42. “Little Men”- Rising director Ira Sachs flaunts his nuanced sense of sentimental realism in this beautiful drama depicting a childhood friendship tattered due to the gentrification that plagues Brooklyn.

41. “Maggie’s Plan” - Actor Ethan Hawke experienced a strong year in 2016. He dazzles as a swooning anthropology professor, the center of a screwball love triangle in Rebecca Miller’s fifth directorial project. This subtle and witty comedy has an unexpected twist in the middle of the plot that keeps its viewer engaged where competitors lose steam.

40. “Creative Control” - Benjamin Dickinson proves his chops as a rising force in the film industry. He and cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra concoct commanding visual motifs, all in black-and-white. With “Creative Control,” many will harken back to the recent sci-fi, art-house successes of “Her” and “Ex Machina.” However, “Creative Control” contains more comedy than its predecessors in a provocative way. For a film underlying technology's growing dehumanization, this stylistic piece will sure bring life when seen.

39. “The Nice Guys” - Director Shane Black affirms his ability with the utmost underrated comedy of this decade. "The Nice Guys" is a smart comedy with action, violence, slapstick humor and exceptionally executed choreography. Unlike most modern comedies, “The Nice Guys” has no tonal problems. It molds so many elements into one cohesive package crowned by Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling’s on-screen chemistry.

38. “The Phenom” - Director Noah Buschel takes his viewers through the head case study of a major league pitching phenom Hopper Gibson. This sports drama unveils itself through psychological pain rather than a tied ball game in the bottom of the ninth. Once again, Ethan Hawke makes his tantalizing mark as Hopper’s alcoholic and abusive father, who brings a whole new meaning behind the phrase, “There is no crying in baseball.”

37. “The Witness” - Documentaries saw an influx of success in 2016. The first one on this list, “The Witness,” traces the lifelong efforts of Bill Genovese in finding the truth behind the folklore-esque murder of his older sister, Kitty Genovese. James D. Solomon’s unfeigned investigative piece simultaneously highlights issues concerning the media’s occasional tendencies to manipulate the truth.

36. “Morris from America” - The alluring factor of this film stems from its simplicity. “Morris from America” employs itself as a well-rounded, and well-intended, coming-of-age comedy. Craig Robinson delivers some of his best work yet — yes, better than his portrayal of Darryl in “The Office” — and Markees Christmas as Morris provides a perfectly humorous and amiable performance. The combination of the two leads makes for irresistible on-screen chemistry. Despite some cliché moments seen in other coming-of-age films, this one has enough to go along with it, such as its mix of comedy and hip-hop music along with racial themes that made it stand out in 2016.

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