Friday 30 December 2016

Review of 2016: The second annual 'Resties'...

The As Human As The Rest Of Us film blog is two years old today, and it's therefore time to dish out some awards - let's call them the 'Resties' - reflecting my favourite and least favourite movie moments from the past 12 months. Films released in the UK on any format between January 1 and December 31 are eligible...


BEST ACTING PERFORMANCE (MALE): Vincent Lindon (The Measure Of A Man) - a perfect storm of wounded pride and quiet fury Honourable mentions: Ralph Fiennes (A Bigger Splash) and Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins).

BEST ACTING PERFORMANCE (FEMALE): Isabelle Huppert (Things To Come) - scarily, the veteran French actress is even better in Elle, which is out in February Honourable mentions: Kate Beckinsale (Love And Friendship) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight).

BEST ACTOR WHO WON'T GET AN OSCAR NOMINATION BUT SHOULD (MALE): Tom Bennett (Love And Friendship) - his Sir James Martin is the finest screen fool since Hugh Laurie's Prince George, in Blackadder The Third.

Oulaya Amamra (Divines) - a raw, explosive force of nature.

Simply Divine: Oulaya Amamra is a real find

BEST DIRECTOR: Pedro Almodóvar - the Spanish auteur was at the height of his powers on the powerful, heart-breaking Julieta, one of the year's very best dramas Honourable mentions: Nicolas Winding Refn (The Neon Demon), László Nemes (Son Of Saul), Mia Hansen-Løve (Things To Come).

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Emmanuel Lubezki's use of natural light in The Revenant was incredibly powerful, especially when viewed on the big screen Honourable mentions: Embrace Of The Serpent (David Gallego), Cemetery Of Splendour (Diego Garcia), Arrival (Bradford Young), The Neon Demon (Natasha Braier), Café Society (Vittorio Storaro) - there have been a lot of beautiful-looking films this year.

Remain in light: Lubezki's sterling work elevated The Revenant

BEST SCREENPLAY: Love And Friendship (Whit Stillman, from Jane Austen's novel): Caustically witty and frequently hilarious Honourable mentions: I, Daniel Blake (Paul Laverty), The Big Short (Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, from Michael Lewis's novel), Spotlight (Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy).

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: The Jungle Book - possibly the most immersive CG cinema experience I've ever had. Honourable mentions: Captain America: Civil War and The BFG.

BEST SCORE: The Girl With All The Gifts - I didn't love the movie but Cristobal Tapia de Veer's score was hauntingly brilliant. Honourable mentions: Arrival, The Neon Demon, and High-Rise.

BEST SONG: Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song) - Conner4Real (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping) Honourable mentions: Let Me Think About It by Ida Corr and Fedde Le Grand (Nasty Baby), While My Guitar Gently Weeps by Regina Spektor (Kubo And The Two Strings), The Riddle Of The Model by Sing Street (Sing Street).

Keeping it Real: Not Safe For Work (really!)

MOST IMPRESSIVE TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT: Sebastian Schipper's German crime thriller Victoria was 138 minutes long - all done in one take. An incredible feat.

BEST RESEARCH: Not only did Robert Eggers, writer/director of The Witch, dig deep into 17th Century sources to get his puritan lives, costumes and superstitions right, he also studied their vocabulary and grammar structure to make his film's dialogue as accurate as possible.

BEST DVD/BLU-RAY: The BFI's years-in-the-making restoration of Abel Gance's silent-era classic Napoleon.

HIDDEN GEM OF THE YEAR: Look Who's Back - Adolf Hitler is back from the dead in David Wnendt's caustically witty black comedy about the rise of modern-day fascism. Virtually ignored in the UK, it didn't get a cinema release but is available on Netflix Honourable mentions: Couple In A Hole, Remainder.

Reich here, Reich now: Hitler returned in Look Who's Back


BEST FILM MAGAZINE: Sight & Sound continues to be authoritative, thought-provoking and rigorous. Honourable mentions: Film Comment and Little White Lies.

BEST FILM CRITIC: Amy Taubin - her piece on Chantal Akerman, which followed the director's death, was the best thing I've read all year. Her unalloyed opinions on the Film Comment podcast are always a treat too Honourable mentions: Ashley Clark (writer and film programmer), Anthony Lane (writer, The New Yorker) and Danny Leigh (writer and broadcaster)

WORST FILM CRITIC: It's a toss-up between dreary right-wing contrarian Camilla Long (Sunday Times) and, er, dreary right-wing contrarian Dave Sexton (Evening Standard). Still, at least Long can write a bit, which is more than can be said for Sexton, whose work reads like it was bashed out by a work experience kid.

BEST FILM PODCAST: Still not the biggest podcast fan but Film Comment's, presided over by the magazine's digital editor Violet Lucca, is entertaining, rigorous and never pulls its punches. It has introduced me to a lot of good stuff this year, too.

BEST YOUTUBERS: The Screen Junkies' Honest Trailers continued to delight, especially their exhaustive but inspired take on Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

MOST AMUSING COCK-UP: Total Film's The Huntsman: Winter's War cover feature/puff piece, which managed to very visibly misspell the word 'Huntsman' as 'Hunstman' on five of its 10 pages.

Dire and Ice: Does nobody check this stuff? 

MOST ANNOYING PERSON IN CINEMA: The Odeon's cheeky chappie voiceover bloke: "And now it's time for the bit everyone loves... the trailers - ooooh yeahhh, I love the trailers, all specially chosen for this film actually." Shut it, you smug git...

MOST HORRIFYING FANDOM: Ghostbusters – the persistent squawk of entitled misogynists has been 2016's most unpleasant noise. 

ODDEST TIE-IN: Wayne Rooney and his Manchester United team-mates battling to save Earth in bizarre ads for Independence Day: Resurgence and X-Men: Apocalypse.

X marks the spot: Rooney's bizarre mutant mash-up


FILM I LIKED BUT EVERYONE ELSE HATED #1: Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. The Guardian recently called Zack Snyder's movie "a deafening, illogical nonsense of random plot threads and miscommunicated motivations", which pretty much covers all the things I enjoyed about it. Sometimes you just have to embrace the chaos...

FILM I LIKED BUT EVERYONE ELSE HATED #2: Grimsby. Not only very funny and much misunderstood, but the only film I saw this year that actually had a cinema audience gasping in disbelief at the take-no-prisoners nature and glorious tastelessness of its best jokes.

Not so Grim: Sacha Baron Cohen's film is tasteless but fun

BEST ON-SCREEN COUPLE: Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis (Sleeping With Other People). Brie should be a superstar, she really should.

WORST ON-SCREEN COUPLE: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard (Allied). It wasn't that they didn't have any chemistry, more that Pitt seemed so uninterested in the entire enterprise.

BEST ENDING: Arrival - Denis Villeneuve's smart sci-fi didn't put a foot wrong in its bravura last 10 minutes Honourable mentions: Rogue One, The Witch.

WORST ENDING: 10 Cloverfield Lane - smart psychological thriller becomes clumsy sci-fi landfill in the space of a few painful minutes. Dishonourable mention: Nocturnal Animals.

BEST SCENE: A toss up between Ralph Fiennes and Alden Ehrenreich's hilarious 'Would that it were so simple' exchange from Hail, Caesar!, and Channing Tatum's brilliant 'No Dames' song and dance number from the same movie. Honourable mentions: The Arikara attack on the trappers' camp that opens The Revenant, Amy Adams' first encounter with 'Abbott and Costello' in Arrival, Shia LaBeouf applying suntan lotion to Riley Keough in American Honey, and the stomach-churning 'ashes in the river' sequence from Son Of Saul.

Fiennes and dandy: Ralph rules in Hail, Caesar!

WORST SCENE: Paul Dano using Daniel Radcliffe's farts to propel his raft through water in Swiss Army Man Dishonourable mention: The final battle in Suicide Squad.

BEST ANIMAL: Black Phillip (a goat), in The Witch Honourable mentions: Pandora (a cat) in Things To Come, and The Bear (a bear) in The Revenant.

WORST ANIMAL: The Shark (a rubbish CG one), in The Shallows.

MOST GRATUITOUS NUDITY: We saw rather too much of Morgan Saylor, in Elizabeth Wood's otherwise-excellent White Girl.  

MOST PUNCHABLE CHARACTER: Christian Bale as Rick, in Knight Of Cups. Dishonourable mentions: Greg Kinnear as Brian in Little Men, Paul Dano as Hank and Daniel Radcliffe as Manny, both in Swiss Army Man.

MADDEST FILM I SAW ALL YEAR THAT I'M STILL NOT SURE I LIKED: Miles Ahead - Biopic of Miles Davis, which quickly morphs into a knockabout buddy caper, as Don Cheadle's jazz legend teams up with a Rolling Stone reporter (played by Ewan McGregor) to retrieve the stolen tapes for his long-awaited new album.

All that jazz: Don Cheadle plays Miles Davis

ACTOR MOST IN NEED OF BETTER ROLES: Penélope Cruz - deserves so much better than the likes of Zoolander 2.

CATCHPHRASE OF THE YEAR: "Bullshit artist!" - The Greasy Strangler.

INSULT OF THE YEAR: “Your syntax is shit and your penis is very, very small" - relationships become ever more strained in Greek film, Chevalier.

'WHAT THE FUCK!?' MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong hide out in an elephant's vagina in Grimsby Honourable mentions: The eyeball-vomiting scene in The Neon Demon, and pretty much all of The Greasy Strangler.

In the pink: The Greasy Strangler boys

GAFFE OF THE YEAR: New York Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner allowing a film crew to exhaustively document his campaign and life, just as both were about to go to hell in a handcart. That said, the resulting film - Weiner - is perhaps the year's finest documentary.

ON SECOND THOUGHTS... OF THE YEAR: Resurrecting the late Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin for Rogue One must have seemed like a great idea on paper. In reality, the CGI creation was profoundly unconvincing and spoiled every scene it was in.

**Next up: My Top 10 straight-to-DVD/VOD films of the year***


  1. Oh gosh, the Odeon chappie is awful. Someone should drown him in the cola they advertise every thirty seconds.

    I also think it's a bit weird when they say "these trailers are suitable for this presentation"; well, they're not going to be unsuitable, are they? No one is going to deliberately stuff a bunch of porn just before the latest Pixar film.

    Happy new year, Andy!

  2. Glad I'm not the only one who Odeon Git drives mad! Happy New Year, Kelvin!