Jake’s Top Films Of 2016

Following on from Keith’s Favourites from 2016 I commented and including my own list, here it is again in case you didn’t see it.

1. No Home Movie
Belgian artist and film maker, Chantal Akerman, revisits familiar themes here. A tough, yet beautiful piece of documentary self portraiture, that ranks with her greatest work.

2. The Assassin
A rigorous experiment with the themes of classical Chinese Wuxia films. Contemplative, with sparks of blunt aggression. The film Refn’s Drive (2011) wishes it could have been.

3. Fire at Sea
Verité document of Lampedusa (setting of this years La Piscine riff, A Bigger Splash, there couldn’t be a more different film). The cinematography and editing here is top notch, and highlights a fascinating microcosm reflecting larger global issues.

4. Court
I was completely knocked out by this Mumbai-set absurdist gem. An elderly dissent poet/singer is brought into court on trumped up charges of inciting a sewage worker to commit suicide. The resulting case, and the efforts of both the defence and prosecution to bring it to a conclusion, creates a film that brings to mind the films of Ruben Östlund or possibly Roy Andersson.

5. Cemetery of Splendour
An ex-nurse and young soldier suffering from a mysterious sleeping sickness become friends as he drifts through different states of consciousness. Another wistful and gently funny magical realist masterpiece from Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

… and the rest:
6. Little Men
7. Love and Friendship
8. American Honey
9. The Pearl Button
10. Louder than Bombs

Mid Year Report

The Summer Solstice has passed which means the days will start getting shorter and we’re about to enter the second half of the year. It seems like a good time to look back over the last six months and remember how many great films there have been. The Guardian have already published an alphabetical list of their highest rated films including Arabian Nights, Dheepan, Hail, Caesar! and Our Little Sister. Over on Twitter Little White Lies counted down their top 30 films of #2016SoFar with Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! coming out on top and also mentioning Court, The Pearl Button and Mustang.

We’ve put together a list of all the films shown at the Picture House this year and would like to know what your highlights have been so far. The films from the first half of the year are often forgotten at the end of the year when award season madness takes over so it would be good to hear what people think at this point. Tell us what you’ve liked (or disliked) in the comments below.

My personal favourite so far is still Room which I saw the first half of at the film festival and had to wait until it was shown at the Picture House to see the ending. Bone Tomahawk was another festival film that I only saw on general release but shocked and delighted in equal measure and I rated it much higher than The Hateful Eight or The Revenant which received far more attention at the time. Chicken is a really impressive debut film and it was great to hear director Joe Stephenson talk about the film in the Q&A when he visited Hyde Park. I’m disappointed that I haven’t seen any foreign language films that have made my list yet, perhaps Mustang would’ve made it but I didn’t get chance to see it. And yes I really did like Joy that much although I doubt it will stay at number 2 on my list when I come to reshuffle it.

So, over to you, comment below and tell us what you make of 2016 so far.

March Poll

We’ve put up a new poll to find out what you liked the most during the month of March. With the Young Film Festival taking place and a couple of big releases there weren’t many films that got multiple screenings so there are only three choices. You can always vote for other (we can see what you enter but can’t find a way of easily sharing this with everybody – perhaps clicking through and adding comments on the results page would be the best way). It’s interesting that all three of those films  Hail, Caesar!Anomolisa and High-Rise have proved to be divisive with both audiences and critics, which surely only make the films much more interesting. Mark Kermode discussed this and aggregated review scores in one of his recent video blogs.

January Poll

We’ve added a Poll section to the website, you’ll see it in the sidebar (or at the bottom of the page if you’re looking on your mobile). For the first question we’re asking you to look back at January and pick your highlight. Was it one of the award season contenders such as The RevenantRoom and Joy or catching up with Sunset Song or The Lady In The Van or the sold out screenings of Labyrinth made even more poignant by the sad death of Bowie. You can also vote “Other” for anything else such as one of the great Tuesday Wonders (Forbidden Room, Taxi Tehran, Güeros).