Each year it’s fun to publish some lists of favourite films and reactions from the wider Spooool.ie community and 2016 is no different. Thanks to everyone for reading and listening throughout the year, and for taking the time to compile and share their lists. It’s one of our favourite posts of the year!
By my count there’s one winner…. All hail SING STREET!
Mick McGovern’s Top 10
10. Hail, Caesar! – Essentially a Coen Brother’s Greatest Hits Vol.1 which is fine by me
9. The Nice Guys – Shane Black does his thing, uneven but very enjoyable
8. Midnight Special – Close encounters of the very cool kind, Jeff Nichols continues his good run
7. The VVitch – Super moody, supernatural period drama with an amazing performance from Finch from “the office”
6. Mustang – Compelling film about five young sisters dealing with being oppressed by their strict family
5. Paterson – A week in the life of a laid back bus driver with a sideline in poetry, one of Jarmusch’s best
4. Anomalisa – Very odd animation dealing with one man’s alienation and boredom, not for everyone
3. Spotlight – A very unshowy reminder about how much we need good journalism
2. Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Taika Waititi nails it again with this larger than life New Zealand set comedy
1. Room – Most captivating film of the year….
Eithne Shortall’s Top 10
10. Weiner – Utterly fascinating documentary about a politician who is surely a psychopath, and his wife who warrants a whole film of her own.
9. Dheepan – I loved Dheepan, the man and the movie, even if it turns into a bizarre action film at the end.
8. A Bigger Splash – Delicious escapism. This film, minus the death, was basically my inspiration for my holidays this summer. I wanted to eat little you drink (in the evening) and drink like you eat (all day), whilst dressing like Tilda Swinton.
7. Room – I’m cheating by having this film in this year and last year’s list, which is why it’s only at number six. Brie Larson got the Best Actress Oscar, but I remain convinced Lenny Abrahamson should have gotten it for Best Director.
6. Date for Mad Mary – I loved everything in my top five, which I think makes it a good year for films. This film was a quiet revelation. I am so glad it was made.
5. Sing Street – I loved this story, these songs, the cast and the setting. I really hope this wins some awards. Go Now was my favourite tune, “whiting up” for the music video my favourite gag and the redhead kid my favourite character. Swoon.
4. Arrival – A smart film that did sci-fi and save-the-world drama without turning into Independence Day. Definitely a film for “these times”.
3. Spotlight – a classy ensemble piece in which nobody was a bigger star than the story. Also a good reminder of the importance of serious journalism.
2. Mustang – I was deeply invested in this story of young sisters trapped in a strict Muslim household in Turkey from the very beginning. It’s about sisterhood, being female, hypocrisy and growing up.
1. American Honey – Usually, I think everything is too long but this film was almost three hours and I yearned for it to continue. I wanted to live in Andrea Arnold’s world forever. And my god, the music.
Colm Russell’s Top 10
Dave Higgins’ Top 10
3. Green Room
5. Son of Saul
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
8. The Witch
9. The Revenant
10. Pete’s Dragon
Colin Boylan’s Top 10 Most Memorable Cinema Trips of 2015
1. Sing Street – I fist pumped at least once during this movie in the Lighthouse, I may have been drinking. Joyous fun feel good movie with a killer sound track. Girls & The Riddle of the Model will be stuck in your head for weeks.
2. The Revenant – The bear scene was one of those big-screen-jaw-on-the-floor moments while the dead horse scene was one of the grimmest things I’ve seen in the cinema screen.
3. The Hateful 8 – I watched this twice for good measure, wonderful characters especially Jennifer Jason Leigh. Her face covered in blood with no teeth is an image that will never leave you, terrifying.
4. Everybody Wants Some – Feel good hilarious 80’s feel movie.
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane – Creepy and unpredictable, the movie warps into something completely different as it progresses.
6. Midnight Special – Screen glare galore and a wonderful soundtrack best heard on cinema surround sound.
7. Green Room – So much gore and some uncomfortable viewing – wonderful!
8. Viva – Life a drag in Havana, not so glamorous. The movie has a spectacular emotional outro that (almost) made me cry.
9. Tickled – I was on the edge of my seat at one stage ready to run out of the cinema. So unbelievably unsettling and creepy.
10. Arrival – Seeing this on the big screen was pretty special, gripping visual feast from the get go.
Carol M’s Top 10 (It goes to 12)
1. I, Daniel Blake
Wowza! A powerful and moving film that highlights the lives of he people who fall between the cracks of a broken welfare system. It slowly narrates the stories of two interwoven lives with nothing in common but the welfare system which has let them both down. This is a heartbreaking but beautiful story about human kindness and goodness in the face of adversity. Loved it.
Also a heartbreaking film, that traces a broken mother daughter relationship back through time and searches for the moments that caused the cracks. Parallel stories of what is happening now and what has happened up to this point run throughout the film and are instrumental in how Almodóvar creates dramatic tension in this story. This film really is the brainchild of two sensational story tellers; based on an Alice Munro short story (love her) and dramatised by Almodóvar, he takes you with him right up to the very end, and leaves you wanting more. Genius.
3. Nocturnal Animals
A dramatic, eery tale of personal revenge told very beautifully by fashion designer come film director Tom Ford.
Who knew this lad could tell a good story! Another film that makes excellent use of parallel storylines to create suspension and tension to great narrative effect.
4. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
A feel good film about an unikely human connection between a foster child and his newly widowed and unlikely foster father. An adventure through the New Zealand bush. The trailer looked truly awful, but the story was touching with plenty of gentle laughs along the way.
5. Little Men
I liked this film for its exploration of a childhood friendship that survives class difference but that is almost fated to not survive into adulthood. Le sigh. This film manages to tell one story whilst hinting at a thousand others. It is an astute story about the entrenchment of the class system, that will leave you thiinking We need more stories like this!
5. Sing Street
A film that makes excellent use of nostalgia for the music of the eighties, of the days when mixed tapes were how you communicated emotions and feelings. This film seeks to highlight the vulnerability and the hidden sweetness of teenage boys in what is essentially a coming of age story. Great tunes throughout. Who didn’t want to start a band as a teenager! Not totally sold on the ending but I was so on board for the whole journey, that I was happy enough to suspend disbelief and indulge the totally illogistical fairytale territory.
7. The Young Offenders
Hillarious romp of a film. Hard to say whether I enjoyed this for the Cork accents alone. It’s possible.
8. Everybody Wants Some
Richard Linklater excells at creating slow moving but engaging worlds and this is no exception.
It’s no Boyhood, but I still enjoyed being in the world.
Maybe it’s because I’m curious about Cuba in general, but this is another film where I really enjoyed being in the world created. An Irish film set in Havana that explores the life of Viva, a Cuban orphan (sort of) who turns to the world of transvestite lip synch performance for survival but also, because it appeals to him. Many interesting and complex relationships explored in this film and I always enjoy that.
10. A Date for Mad Mary
Great, Irish film set in Drogheda (never thought I’d be typing that!), this film recounts the story of Mary, getting out of prison, rejoining a world that doesn’t always have that much time for her. This whole film rests upon Mary, a strong if defensive character who has a problem with aggression but who is also fiercely loyal. The intricacy of Mary is the film. Liked the narrative device of a childhood friendship struggling to survive into adulthood.
11. The Jungle Book
Joyful! A classic retold with style!
12. The Girl with All the Gifts
A surprisngly good and smart Zombie movie! Very worth watching!
Conor Bent’s 10 Best Films (& Honourable Mentions)
A life affirming film that doesn’t shy away from ugliness of the story.
• The Witch
A psychological horror that makes the torment of the characters p
• Green Room
Relentless pressure cooker of a film.
• Son of Saul
Amazing depiction of the holocaust that is all the more terrifying for what it leaves to the imagination with it’s decision to shoot entire in close up.
An enthralling Polish wedding ghost story full of Satire and creepiness in equal measure.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film despite my lack of love for the Rocky franchise.
A bleakly beautiful film an animation with more humanity that most live action films.
A harrowing story of sisters fighting against social and family constraints. Some great music supplied by Warren Ellis.
• Mountains may Depart
A epic melodrama about a love triangle set against the backdrop modern China. It reminded me of the best of Douglas Sirk.
• A Date for Mad Mary
A gritty and well acted romantic comedy that makes you forget that it’s a rom com.
Honourable mentions: Allied, Arrivals, Viva, évolution, Pete’s Dragon, Rams, Paterson, Weiner, Eye in the sky, The Nice Guys, Captain America: Civil War, Nocturnal Animals.
Lisa McGeough’s Three Perfect Movies
You wait for ages for a perfect film to come along and then three come along in one year:
I don’t think it would be possible for someone to not like this film. The music is great, the young actors are great and our house had a cameo role! What more could you want?
A Date for Mad Mary
This film took a turn that I was not expecting, which is rare in this era of tell-all trailers.
It looked amazing, had two great story lines weaving seamlessly throughout and Michael Shannon’s performance was flawless. Definitely the better of the Amy Adams double bill.
Niall Sheerin’s Top 5
A Date for Mad Mary – well written, well acted, well edited, funny, honest, moving, loved it!
Captain Fantastic – a sweet movie with a great cast and premise; comes to a very satisfactory conclusion
American Honey – Robbie Ryan’s cinematography and a perfect blend of actors and non-actors. demonstrates the importance of casting the right faces in the right parts and also staying true to director Andrea Arnold’s style and vision
Victoria – one-shot movie that mermerizes from start to finish. you can almost feel the excitement of everyone behind the camera as Victoria (*spoiler alert*) walks away in that final wide shot.
Son of Saul – captivating and uses a similar frame to American Honey. again a demonstration of the merits of a very clear vision from the director. didn’t necessarily enjoy it at the time but it stays with you; always the mark of a great film.
Zoë Saunders Top 10
Moonlight – I cannot recommend this highly enough! So beautiful and moving.
Ghostbusters – I had some problems with this film (namely, it’s tone-deaf treatment of race, especially in the context of such a strong feminist message) but still laughed my butt off and can’t get enough of these funny bad-ass ladies! Hollywood, please keep ’em coming with a long franchise of sequels!
Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Very funny and cute comedy from New Zealand
I am not your Negro – an unconventional documentary based on James Baldwin’s writings
13th – Ava DuVernay’s important documentary about race and mass incarceration in the United States
Embrace of the Serpent – voyage up the Amazon with unique perspective from an indigenous protagonist
Cemetery of Splendor – I look forward to every new film by Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee), and this one did not disappoint!
Lo and Behold – Herzog on the internet. What more can you ask for? This man has become a living meme.
Paterson – Jim Jarmusch’s meditative character study of a bus driving poet in Paterson, New Jersey
Hail Caesar! – I got plenty of laughs from the Coen’s brothers’ new musical comedy and am surprised it didn’t get more love from the critics.
Ged Murray’s Top 10
1. Green Room
This story of punk rock kids fending off murderous skinheads is the most thrilling, unpleasant and God damn intense film I’ve seen in a long time. The characters act as cleverly as the script does while sadistically throwing them into the grinder. A perfect movie mosh pit. RIP Anton Yelchin.
Another one with ‘Room’ in the title. You’ve probably heard of this one. It doesn’t need any more praise. Let’s all just agree it’s fantastic.
3. Hunt For the Wilderpeople
It’s a gorgeous follow up to ‘What We Do in the Shadows’. This will make you laugh more than most comedies and feel more than most dramas. The performances are wonderful and overall the whole movie is almost note perfect.
4. The VVitch
Think ‘The Shining’ set in Puritan, proto America. The greatest achivemnet in Robert Eggers’ confident, ballsy debut isn’t the great performances or period detail. It’s in everything combining to make witches seem scary again.
5. A Date for Mad Mary
Seana Kerslake lights up the screen in this dramedy about the life of a ‘local header’. The setup (Mary, just of of prison, needs a date for her best friend’s wedding) may sound sitcom-y. This really isn’t. It’s a great, boozy, sweary, delayed coming of age story. Nice soundtrack featuring EMBRZ and other Irish acts, too.
6. Everybody Wants Some!!
As portraits of masculine behaviour go, this story of jocks hanging out is as hopelessly rose tinted as a drunk Dad talking about his youth. It’s so amiable, though, that you won’t want it to end. John Waters (the good one) also, I believe, says it’s the best unintentionally gay movie of the year. Bonus points for that I guess?
7. Rogue One- A Star Wars Story
In a year of terrible tentpoles it was great to see Star Wars ride to the rescue with a glossy, big adventure that matures its property by means other than scowling and monologuing. The first half might jump around a bit and I have no idea what Forest Whitaker is trying to do. However, the movie’s second half and climax is a big, colourful home run.
8. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Andy Samberg seems doomed to starring in comedies that flop before being hailed as cult classics. This updates ‘Spinal Tap’ for a post reality TV, viral video world. It’s the standard rise and fall and rise narrative but manages to be constantly funny and surprising. For example, it jokes at the expense of both Macklemore and Jan de Bont
9. Weiner Dog
This story about a stray dog’s adventure through a selection of miserable lives is pretty much what you’d expect from the guy that made ‘Happiness’. As ever, you get the sense that Solondz’s nihilism breaks his own heart. In this vale of tears solace comes in the form of lots of sad laughter and lovely production design.
10. Under the Shadow
A woman minding her child alone. An evacuated apartment block in Tehran during the Iran Iraq war. A wonderfully atmospheric ghost story.
11. Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising
First, this is very funny. Second, it’s wonderful to see a big, bawdy, gross out comedy engage with feminism earnestly. Zac Efron as the newly woke frat boy is a scene stealer
Steve Neville’s Top 10
As usual in no particular order,
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
10 Cloverfield Lane
Ian Wright’s Top 10
1. Green Room
5. A date for Mad Mary
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane
7. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
9. Hail, Caesar!
10. American Honey
Note: List compiled post release of Rogue One, which was very bad.
Best Irish Films of 2016 from Niall Jackson & Kealan Duignan’s (The Irish Jam)
So we’re gonna go for top 5 Irish films of 2016.
A DATE FOR MAD MARY
THE YOUNG OFFENDERS
I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
With the latter 2 getting a special nod for superb soundtracks. Tips for 2017 are Twice Shy and Emerald City.
Mícheál Ó Meachair’s Top 5
In no particular order, my picks of the year are:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In my eyes, prequels are frequently HORRENDOUS. If you’ll allow me pop it in that category then I hold it as one of the best prequels I’ve seen in long time.
Deadpool. It was as cheeky as I had hoped it would be and it was great that they stuck with the central Deadpool storyline
Arrival. Horray for all the linguists… kinda!
The Revenant. Great to see a solid grizzly …Western! And the CGI for the bear was cool too!
The Lobster. This is bananas film is definitely worth watching and thinking about. Then think about it a bit more
2016’s Best & Worst from Dave & Cathy (The Cinemile)
Arrival – I cried three times.
Kubo and the Two Strings – I cried two times.
Sing Street – I cried Once.
Hell or High Water – I did not cry.
Captain Fantastic – I thought about crying.
Biggest Let downs
Rogue One – Made me want to cry
Batman v Superman – No use crying over broken universe
Sing Street – Drive it Like You Stole It
Moana/Zootropolis – Girl power
Room – Intensely brilliant
Arrival – Smart and inspiring
Hell or High Water – Post-Trump Western
Biggest let downs
Hail Caesar – Would That it Were So Simple
Star Wars – So average
Independence Day – See below
Everybody Wants Some!! From Boyhood to this?
Independence Day – I only watched half and then walked out. TERRIBLE! And I was so pumped for it.
Jack Ryan’s Top 10
Yet again I’ve decided not to include films part of the 2016 “awards race”. Still a lot to see (I’m looking at you I, Daniel Blake and Embrace of the Serpent) but this will be rectified over Christmas.
In beautiful alphabetical order:
Captain America: Civil War
Hell or High Water
Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Kubo and the Two Strings
Swiss Army Man