2016 Year End Movie Cramming

As our planet completes its orbital cycle, most critics and publications have already published their “Best of 2016” lists and other such reminiscences. Here at Kaedrin, we love movies, but we’re beholden to no one and do not conform to your silly timelines. Also, I’m like, just a guy who likes movies a lot. I don’t have critic credentials, have access to screeners, or any other such luxuries. So my top 10 movie lists tend to come out in February, not long before the Oscars. This gives me time to catch up with some movies that only had qualifying runs in NY/LA theaters or some indies that are only now coming to streaming availability. It has nothing to do with laziness, I swears. Anyway, my January tends to be chock full of the previous year’s movies. As of Christmas*, I had seen about 45 movies that would be considered a 2016 release (are you on Letterboxd? We should follow each other.) This might be a hair behind the past few years’ pace, but it’s basically on par. By the end of January, I’ll probably have seen 70-80 movies from 2016 and have a pretty solid top 10. There’s still lots of ground to cover, so let’s create a list of films I want to see. As per usual, much of this is dependent on availability, so I most likely won’t get to every one of these, but it’s a good place to start:

  • Tickled – A documentary where a journalist delves into the rough and tumble world of… online competitive tickling? This is exactly the sort of documentary that normally gets me, so it’s at the top of the list (and yes, I’ve now seen it, and it’s about much more than, uh, tickling; it’s also fantastic). (Available for purchase, should be rentable soon.)
  • Weiner – Documentary covering Anthony Weiner’s rise, fall, attempted comeback, and additionally collapse. Apparently notable for the amount of access the filmmakers had during his run for Mayor, especially when the scandals broke. (And yes, it’s an astounding document.) (Available on Showtime’s various streaming channels, I was able to watch it on Amazon with a 7 day free trial that I canceled the next day.)
  • Moana – Disney’s latest animated musical has been getting rave reviews and they’ve been on a bit of a hot streak recently, so this goes on the list. (Totally worth it, it’s a lot of fun…) (In theaters now.)
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople – I didn’t know much about this except that it was the next film from Taika Waititi, who made one of last year’s favorites, What We Do in the Shadows, which is enough to make me want to see it. (And it’s great!) (Available for rental. Streaming on Hulu.)
  • Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World – Werner Herzog’s exploration of the Internet and technology, what’s not to like? (It’s decent, a bit unfocused, but interesting.) (Streaming on Netflix.)
  • La La Land – Director Damien Chazelle’s throwback musical about an aspiring actress falling for a jazz musician in LA. I am not much of a fan of musicals, but this looks to be a front-runner for this year’s Oscars and I’ve heard people say things like “This is a musical for people who say they don’t like musicals”. This makes me skeptical, but I’ll give it a shot. (And I really enjoyed it! Not sure if it’s top 10 material, but it’s fun!) (In theaters now)
  • Love & Friendship – So I’m not particularly into Jane Austen costume dramas and I’ve actually never seen a Whit Stillman movie, but I’ve heard good things about this from folks I trust, so on the list it goes. (And it’s quite good! It took me a bit to get into it, but by the end I was quite taken with it…) (Streaming on Amazon Prime.)
  • The Handmaiden – Chan-wook Park’s latest film about some sort of, um, handmaiden who is seeking to defraud her employer. Or something. Who cares, it’s Park Chan-wook, I’m in. (Releases on DVD/Streaming sometime late January)
  • Kill Zone 2 – AKA “SPL 2: A Time for Consequences”, this is a Tony Jaa action movie with some buzz behind it. I will watch this. (Available on Netflix Instant)
  • Swiss Army Man – Ah the Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie. Despite that pitch, it’s apparently a very good film, so I will be checking it out. (Available for rental or purchase on most services)
  • Finding Dory – Never saw Pixar’s latest in the theater, which needs to be rectified. (Available for rental on most services)
  • Pete’s Dragon – Live action remakes aren’t usually my jam, but I’m told this is worth checking out so I probably will… (Available for rental on most services)
  • The Jungle Book – Again, live action remake of an animated movie that I was never particularly in love with in the first place, but then, I hear good things… (Streaming on Netflix)
  • The Mermaid – Stephen Chow’s latest was apparently a huge hit in China… but it’s American release was suspiciously quiet. I will watch. (Available for rental or purchase on most services)
  • The Autopsy of Jane Doe – I know nothing about this except that it’s supposed to be one of the better obscure horror releases of the year. Sold. (Available for rental or purchase on most services)
  • Kubo and the Two Strings – Another animated movie that I skipped in theaters, but people keep raving about it, so I guess I should give it a shot… (Available for rental or purchase on most services)
  • De Palma – A documentary about Brian De Palma? Ok, sure, why not? (Streaming on Amazon Prime.)
  • The Fits – I don’t know much about this other than that it starts a young actress named Royalty Hightower, which is the best name ever. Also, it’s supposed to be good, so there’s that. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)
  • Elle – Paul Verhoeven’s latest and probably worth checking out solely because of that, but then, this has been getting mixed reviews, so there is that. Might not get to this one… (Availability unknown, which doesn’t help)
  • Moonlight – Critical darling of the year, it’s only playing in Philly and I’m not sure if I can get down there before it leaves theaters. Does not sound like my cup of tea, but seems worth the stretch. (In theaters now.)
  • Three – The latest from Kaedrin favorite Johnnie To, this one doesn’t appear to be available anywhere just yet… (Availability unknown)
  • The Love Witch – I have no idea what this thing is and I’ve read about it a few times but I still don’t have a clue, which does make me want to watch it, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. (Availability unknown)
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer – I’ve heard good things about the book, so why not watch the movie? (Streaming on Netflix)

Phew, that’s 23 movies, which should keep me busy. I’m sure I’ll see some other things not on this list, and I most certainly will not get to all of these, but it’s a good start.

* I started writing this post a little before Christmas and meant to post it earlier last week, but this is a busy time of the year and yes, laziness was probably involved too. As such, a goodly portion of the above have already been watched – I’m now at 52 movies from 2016 and counting.

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