30 Must See Films Of 2016 (So Far)
The first leg of the year is gone. Here are a few films that need you instant attention :
30. The Invitation | Director: Karyn Kusama | Language: English
The Invitation invests you into a housebound scarce which builds up exponentially until the reveal of the final image. It’s one of those films that not only plays with one of it’s character’s head but it also occasionally underplays and overplays just to keep you bewildered. The greatest achievement of the film is how it makes all the characters seem more human than they actually are. Something that makes you doubt each one of them and none of them at the same time. In Kusama film we see people reacting to each others words with utter calmness. But isn’t the earth still just before its shattered by an earthquake? The Invitation hides most of it’s characters behind mysterious shadows which don’t peel off layer by layer but are slowly scratched until they are completely ripped-off from their existence. Read Complete Review.
29. Hush | Director: Mike Flanagan | Language: English
The restricted premise of Hush doesn’t give into a lot of grander ideas that can be manipulated into a film. But there are two things that work in its favour. Firstly, Maddie being deaf and mute gives it that incredibly advantage of setting up all the things to give you an effective, bone chilling thriller. Secondly, it doesn’t bother the audience with most of the cliches that are found in home-invasion films. Jump scares being one of them. The film mostly indulges in the back and forth between the two opponents. It plays like a cat and mouse game, where the cat chases down the mouse showing the occasional concern or dis-concern about being trapped out of the house. Hush is probably the best home invasion film since Adam Wingard’s You’re Next. Mike Flanagan, who previously made another interesting, although not entirely satisfying film in Oculus, doesn’t leave any stones un-turned this time around. He completely brings you into a solitary house in the midst of a hefty wood-stock, before everything starts in full throttle. Read Complete Review.
28. The Family Fang | Director: Jason Bateman | Language: English
Is art more important than family? Should a family be the same in spite of their differences? Are difference needed? When do you draw a line to your family? Is your family dysfunctional too, and you just don’t know it yet? These are some questions that The Family Fang hovers over and occasionally answers. It a richly layered performance piece about familiar territory. With strong central performances by Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman, The Family Fang is yet again, a neatly performed well crafted effort from Jason Bateman (who previously directed his first film, Bad Words).
27. Udta Punjab | Director: Abhishek Chaubey | Langauge: Hindi
Udta Punjab sets the right foot at the right time. The set condition in Punjab is desolating into one that doesn’t seem to wake up from the overdose of snippets of drugs of all kinds and creeds. From people who work at general stores to rockstars who write involuntary anthems about how cool it is to intake worthless substances has gradually increased to a wholesome number. The film commutes on this very problem that is indecently ruining the youth of a state know as the land of the five rivers. But, the film is not just about the state or even the country. It is about a general idea which doesn’t seem to help people in any way. The way Chaubey shows his vulnerable characters; some being forced to substance abuse, whilst some forcing themselves into it, makes it all the more authentic. Read Complete Review.
26. Nil Battey Sannata | Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari | Language: Hindi
Nil Battey Sannata shows how important it is to have an ambition in life. How important it is to believe that something that’s hard for you, might not be that tough after all. Its a rather unconventional, realistic and brilliantly acted film. The charm of the film lies in the chemistry between the mother-daughter duo. They fight, love, hug and spite each other and in spite of it all, they understand when things get out of hand, even though it takes them few moments to truly light up. The film doesn’t re-hash the need of girl education but focuses on ambition and ambition alone, which makes it all the more convincing.
25. Neerja | Director: Ram Madhvani | Language: Hindi
Being brave and scared are two very closely intertwined feelings. Ram Madvani’s Neerja tells us that no education can teach you to be brave. It just takes that extra bit of human spirit that needs the right trigger at the right moment. While Neerja does undergo the typical melodramatic turn, the emotions seem more real than they are made out to be. Thanks to a wonderful cast of performers and equally balanced team behind the camera, the film never fumbles and mostly hits all the right notes. Neerja is a true biopic that portrays bravery in the time of dire need. It shows how a 23 year old girl saved the lives of over 300 people while facing both – the wrath and the guns of the Palestine terrorists. Read Complete Review.
24. Southbound | Directors: Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath & Radio Silence | Language: English
A regretful hound that slashes the wrists of all the B-horror film cliches and smarts out all of them with occasional speed bumps. It’s fascinating to see how Southbound takes up everything from home invasion to shady town fascism, wraps them in a cloak of blood soaked and partly terrifying tales of guilt with such finesse. The chapters in this anthology film unfold one after the other, as you hear them following the light in the darkness. There are instances where the black humor intermixes magnificently with the gore that is to follow and you just sit there enjoying this tale that doesn’t overindulges itself into explaining every single bit that comes out of its mouth. Southbound brings incredible talent of intermixing 5 stories into one with an anti-climax that leaves you in the same state as most of the film’s characters. It’s the type of horror film that makes you wish that you never find or see the regrets running after you. Yes! Even when your car works on all cylinders. It’s that rare kind of film that leaves you hanging around the characters who know that going round in circles isn’t going to help because the highway will bring you back and the devil will chase you down, no matter what. Read Complete Review.
23. Brahman Naman | Director: Qaushiq Mukherjee | Language: English
An amalgamation of John Hughes’s Weird Science and the notorious ogling snare of American Pie. Q’s Brahman Naman is a coming-of-age sex comedy that surrounds itself around sex-obsessed Nerds from the college alleys of 80s India. The trivial way in which Q has presented his comic-strip like humor uplifts it from the usual, raunchy trash that has been presented as sex-comedies for generations in the Indian cinema market. The social-sexual-anxiety, the surreal-alcohol-drenched wet dreams, the unfortunate-love-scenes have all been represented with a very grounded yet perspective manner. Q nails the wit needed for a sex comedy to perspire and the leading men rightfully uplift all the writing issues with their terrific performances. Read Complete Review.
22. Nina Forever | Directors: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine | Language: English
The Blaine’s Nina Forever takes ‘Dying is easy, but living with death is way more complicated’, quite literally. Its a weirdly entertaining film that dissimulates its tones in the proactive bed sheet filled with blood. A totally distant and engaging look at love, loss & the feeling of latching on to someone. Under all its darkly hilarious premise, Nina Forever subverts audience expectations with its singular vision of what a date-movie should be like. It presents itself in a cloak of blood, upending expectations with how deep it can actually be.
21. High-Rise | Director: Ben Wheatley | Language: English
Whenever you feel you’ve figured out Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, it pushes more boundaries & tells you more and more about the hierarchy we are living in. It’s really tough to go along with the weirdness that surrounds Wheatley’s film that plays like an orgy in the world of possibilities. But there’s so much to grasp here that even when things slide off your fist it doesn’t really matter much.
20. Demolition | Director: Jean-Marc Vallée | Language: English
Jean-Marc Vallée’s film works as a character study of a man tripping on acid after his wife dies. He can’t cry, he can’t get emotionally invested but he can hit hard, dance harder & shred everything that needs fixing to the last nut and bolt.There are so many fascinating things in Demolition that the fun never ends. A film that’s mostly about a hollow man whose suffering doesn’t really wish to come to him easily, preps up hilarious dark humor as more broken characters come together. Demolition has a unearthly urgency in its story-telling arc, one that both works, and doesn’t work in its favor. While, Jake completely embodies the character & Jean-Marc Vallée’s vision shadows most of the random cliches, a larger part of the message is left to be grasped with a rather abrupt end. That being said, Demolition is one of the most entertaining films of the year. One that you need to sit back & fathom with all its glory.
19. Eye In The Sky | Director: Gavin Hood | Language: English
Gavid Hood’s Eye in the Sky is a taut thriller that questions morality and decision making at the time of absolute necessity. I can say that Hood’s film is way more effective than most of the political-military thrillers because it somehow makes you feel like a part of the various frames that the film moves through. Somewhere half past the film, I was so glued to what was happening that I could see how difficult it could be when lives of people are involved. Eye in the Sky opens you up to the various side effects of War while dealing with just a portion of war at hand. Hood’s direction while dealing with so many characters is stunning. It almost feels like a Paul Greengrass movie occasionally.
18. The Survivalist | Director: Stephen Fingleton | Language: English
Consider if Mad Max was a drama that featured a picture perfect, clean shaved, razor-sharp survivalist with a harmonica instead of a doof-warrior with a flaming guitar. Instead of trucks, cars & all the shenanigans there were sexual desires for the memorabilia & only two shells that could favor the one who wishes to get saved. Three people can never be two, and two people can never be one. For something that is about the descend into the end of civilization, Stephen Fingleton’s tale of survival has a very powerful, at times haunting, message of trust and loyalty. The Survivalist uses it’s silence to speak volumes about what needs to be kept at bay, and what should be kept locked in the closet. Fingleton makes looking at a graph of the end of times – scary. His stark look into a place where poison & traps are something out of a creature in a dilemma is painful.
17. Midnight Special | Director: Jeff Nichols | Language: English
Pretty much like Take Shelter, that used fear to commute about marriage, Nichols’s 4th film simulates fear-faith together and blends in a father’s worry to take his child to the safest possible allegory. Nichols’s film is so restrained in it’s convictions that the mystery that piles up in Alton’s sight would never have a fitting end. But the ambiguity that we saw in Take Shelter, follows us here when we see the world through Micheal Shannon’s eyes. A father who doesn’t really know what his child is, but a father who knows that his duty is to keep his child safe; even if he turns out to be Superman’s soul brother. Midnight Special is a parable that pays tribute to fathers, to lovers and to people who wish to witness a miracle; even when the results have a devastating followup.
16. Deadpool | Director: Tim Miller | Language: English
The latest gimmick by the superhero bandwagon was a completely bonkers, hilarious and excessively-meta rundown of the superhero genre itself. More than being a superhero movie Tim Miller’s Deadpool was a black-comedy that hits nails after nails with its urgent gags and superfluous writing credibility. While it can lose itself to its own self-referential cliche, there is so much fun to be had that no one complains. And if you do, well choke on your own vomit you filthy-dick-less-schmuck. Read Complete Review.