I've already given you a rundown of the ten worst films of 2016 but don't worry guys, there were more than enough films of better quality to make up for them. This year, I've actually found it harder than ever to whittle the films of 2016 released in the UK down to a top twenty.

Before I get started, here are some honourable mentions the just missed out on making my list:

A Bigger Splash
American Honey
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Swiss Army Man
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Big Short
Eye in the Sky

I'm surprised that Rogue One didn't make my list as it was the film I was looking forward to the most this year but that just goes to show, for me, how good a year 2016 was for film. Here are my top twenty films of 2016...

20) Everybody Wants Some!!

Richard Linklater's spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! was one of the most fun-filled experiences I had at the cinema in 2016. It was just so good to watch as we followed this college baseball team just hang out and have a good time in the 80s, all thanks to a fine ensemble cast and Linklater's writing.

19) Don't Breathe

Fede Alvarez's Don't Breathe shredded my nerves and left me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. It did it's job extremely well and Alvarez directed the film brilliantly, ensuring Don't Breathe played a major part in making 2016 such a strong year for horror.

18) Zootopia 

2016 was such a fantastic year for animated films, Disney in particular having three massive hits. My favourite animated film of the year was Zootopia, a film that focused its plot on prejudice, using a vast array of animals to tell such a necessary tale in today's climate. As expected with Disney, the animation is breathtaking and the vocal performances are top quality.

17) Green Room

Claustrophobic and tense, Green Room is the latest film from Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier, who is certainly gaining a reputation for delivering such brutal films in such an admirable way. Written and directed by Saulnier, Green Room pits a punk rock band against a group of neo-Nazi skinheads as they witness something they wish they hadn't. It's a great little thriller that leaves me excited for where Saulnier goes from here.

16) Sing Street

John Carney returned with another musical in Sing Street, a coming-of-age film that delivers a touching story through the power of music. With a killer soundtrack, a number of good performances and memorable scenes, Sing Street is undeniably one of the feel-good films of 2016.

15) 10 Cloverfield Lane

A blood relative to Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane strays away from the found-footage method of storytelling altogether to become a sci-fi thriller shrouded in mystery. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr. and John Goodman, in a powerhouse of a performance, provide 10 Cloverfield Lane with a captivating heartbeat that will keep you guessing right up until the final moments. 

14) Captain Fantastic

As Captain Fantastic began, I just knew it was going to be quite a special film. Matt Ross' film beautifully captures the journey a father and his six children go on as they are forced to stop their usual way of life and start living in the real life, which both the father and children find challenging. Viggo Mortensen gives a fantastic lead performance and I hope we see him get a lot of awards recognition in the coming month.

13) The Jungle Book

Disney's live-action remakes continued in 2016 with their best yet, The Jungle Book. Jon Favreau tapped into the adventure of the story while making it a bit darker in tone to match the live-action format, and it's all brought to life through amazing visual effects and great vocal performances. If Disney can continue in this manner with their live-action remakes, Beauty and the Beast this year could end up being a very special film.

12) Hell or High Water

The strength of a partnership, whether it be brotherly or occupational, comes to the forefront  of David Mackenzie's Hell or High Water, a small scale blend of crime and Western that possesses brilliant writing from Taylor Sheridan and some great performances from the likes of Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, who just effortlessly personifies the word 'cool'.

11) The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys well and truly met the high expectations I had for it at the start of the year. Shane Black writing and directing a film pairing Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as a couple of private eyes always had the potential to be great, and it ended up being exactly that. Both actors are on top form with the comedy, Gosling's knack for physical comedy in particular offering a number of big laughs throughout. 

10) The Girl with All the Gifts

I'm a sucker for a zombie film and when the zombie film is as good as The Girl with All the Gifts, it well and truly deserves a spot on this list. I was totally gripped by the story, loved the production design and thought the breakout performance from Sennia Nanua was one of the year's best.

9) The Revenant 

Led by an absolutely superb performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro G. Inarritu's The Revenant is a compelling tale of man vs nature (in the form of the elements, a bear and Tom Hardy). Earning Inarritu a consecutive Best Director Academy Award and Leonardo DiCaprio his first Best Actor Academy Award, The Revenant is also home to some stunning cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki.

8) Nocturnal Animals 

Nocturnal Animals had me totally transfixed from start to finish thanks to Tom Ford's expert craftsmanship, the incredible performances from Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and the gorgeous cinematography from Seamus McGarvey. The film could have become a mess with the multiple storylines it has going on but when the film is this well made, that was never going to be an issue.

7) The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino's blend of The Thing and Reservoir Dogs was an absolute pleasure to sit through, even with its three hour runtime. When a cast this good get to perform the words written by a master such as Tarantino, were the results ever going to be any different? I think not.

6) Creed

Pound for pound my new favourite film of the Rocky franchise, Creed is an outstanding example of how to respectfully breathe new life into a flagging franchise while not copying everything that has come before. Ryan Coogler continues to impress as a director, Michael B. Jordan showed he has both the acting ability and physique to take the torch from Sylvester Stallone, and Stallone proved to everyone that he can be a very good actor, having the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award stolen from him by Mark Rylance.

5) Captain America: Civil War

Marvel showed their DC counterparts how to do it with Captain America: Civil War, their biggest and most ambitious film to date. They pulled it off brilliantly, concise storytelling and incredible action set-pieces, as well as Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans giving their best performances within the MCU so far, making it happen. For a film with so much going on, they managed to introduce Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU so magnificently well.

4) Hunt for the Wilderpeople 

Takia Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople perfectly combines quirky comedy, clever writing, solid performances and some glorious shots of the New Zealand bush to become one of the best films of the year. Seriously, this film will have you howling with laughter one minute and then welling up the next. I can't talk about this film without mention Julian Dennison who, to me, gave THE breakout performance of the year.

3) Room

Room is a harrowing film to watch at times but it's certainly one of the more special films released in 2016, intimate and powerful in equal measures. Brie Larson rightfully won the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance as Joy and newcomer Jacob Tremblay delivers a brilliant performance as Jack, her son who's been raised in captivity. Lenny Abrahamson splits the film into two clear halves, each half just as effective as the other. 

2) Arrival 

Denis Villeneuve's Arrival is one of the most engaging pieces of sci-fi filmmaking I've ever seen, with its story focusing on wanting to learn about visitors from another planet rather than just engaging in conflict with them. The themes of language and communication are ever present and the performance from Amy Adams, who had a very impressive year, is one of the best of the year, making this essential viewing. 

1) Spotlight

My favourite film of the year comes in the form of Spotlight, a film that tells the story of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe who uncovered the cover-up by the Catholic Church of the child abuse that had taken place in Boston. This film actually filled me with rage, not at the film itself but at the staggering truths that were uncovered by the team during their investigation. It's a very sensitive subject and I think Tom McCarthy did a brilliant job in delivering such a powerful and damning film in a professional manner, his direction and writing on the film both of the highest standard. Spotlight features an impressive ensemble cast and they all play their part in making this my favourite film of the year, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams in particular standing out. It took people by surprise when it won the Academy Award for Best Picture, not me though, as I was rooting for this film the moment I saw it. Superb.


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