I cannot believe that we are already over half way through 2016. Where has the time gone?
For me, a large part of the year has been spent in the cinema. I have Odeon's new Limitless card to thank for that!
So what have been 2016's best movie releases? My favourites, based on the films I have seen that have been released in the UK this year, are ranked below:
10. Bridge Of Spies
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance
Story: In the midst of the Cold War, American insurance lawyer, James Donovan (Tom Hanks), is recruited to defend captured Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance).
No one expects or wants Donovan to do more than an adequate job. In the eyes of the courts and society in general, Abel is guilty and should be sentenced to death.
However, Donovan believes that it is his duty to uphold the American constitution and defend Abel to the very best of his ability.
Verdict: A powerful, relevant tale told by a master storyteller.
9. Green Room
Directed By: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Macon Blair, PatrickStewart, ImogenPoots and the late Anton Yelchin
Story: When struggling punk band, The Ain’t Rights, are offered a last minute gig in a remote Oregon roadhouse, they accept despite having serious reservations.
Their audience is full of neo nazis and white supremacists and the atmosphere is tense. However, they desperately need the money.
Things go from bad to very much worse when they stumble upon a brutal murder
Verdict: A tense, darkly humorous and brutal thriller.
8. Son Of Saul
Directed By: László Nemes
Starring: Géza Röhrig
Story: Saul Ausländer (Géza Röhrig), a member of the Sonderkommando, is forced to herd Jewish prisoners into the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. He then has to dispose of their bodies.
One day, a young boy survives the gas chamber. Within minutes, the boy is suffocated by the camp’s German doctor. Saul risks a closer look - could this be his son? Believing that it is, Saul desperately tries to find a rabbi in order to give the child a proper burial.
Verdict: A profoundly upsetting masterpiece.
7. The Revenant
Directed By: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson
Story: Hugh Glass (superbly played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his group of hunters find themselves under attack by deadly Arikara warriors.
Forced to hide their pelts and flee, Glass is then attacked by a grizzly bear. He sustains brutal injuries from which he looks unlikely to recover.
Group leader Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) leaves Glass behind in the care of a younger trapper called Bridger (Will Poulter) and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) a tough, cynical hunter whose only interest is money.
Henry demands that the three men take care of Glass and give him a proper burial when the time comes. However, Glass soon finds himself buried alive and abandoned.
Rising from his grave, Glass begins to track down those who left him for dead.
Verdict: A visually stunning cinematic experience.
6. Notes On Blindness
Directed By: Peter Middleton and James Spinney
Starring: Dan Renton Skinner and Simone Kirby
Story: In the early 1980s, theologian, John Hull, lost his sight. He knew that if he didn’t try to understand his blindness it would destroy him. In 1983, Hull started an audio diary.
Over three years, Hull recorded over 16 hours of material - creating a story of loss, rebirth and transformation.
Documentary film, Notes On Blindness, combines these original recordings with interviews with John and his wife Marilyn. Actors lip-synch to the voices of the family alongside stunning cinematography (by Gerry Floyd) and wonderful sound design.
Verdict: A fascinating and extremely moving documentary.
5. Our Little Sister
Directed By: Hirokazu Koreeda
Starring: Haruka Ayase, Kaho, MasamiNagasawa and SuzuHirose
Story: When their estranged father dies, sisters Sachi, Yoshino and Chika Kôda journey from their seaside town south of Tokyo into the countryside to attend his funeral.
There, they meet their teenage half sister, Suzu. The four sisters form an immediate bond. As a result, when Sachi invites the orphaned Suzu to live with them, she eagerly agrees.
Suzu’s arrival has a deep impact on each sister - taking them all on a loving journey of self discovery.
Verdict: A gorgeous vitamin boost for the soul.
4. Love & Friendship
Directed By: Whit Stillman
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Tom Bennett and Xavier Samuel
Story: Fleeing a scandal involving a married man in London, beautiful widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) finds refuge at Churchill - her brother-in-law’s estate.
Lady Susan has designs on her sister-in-law’s brother, the handsome and eligible Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel). Meanwhile, she persuades her horrified daughter, Frederica, of the need to marry the wealthy but ridiculous Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett).
However, Lady Susan’s plans are at risk. Can she avoid the denouement of denouements?
Verdict: A whip-smart and extremely funny Austen adaptation.
Directed By: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Starring: Günes Sensoy
Story: School’s out and it's the beginning of summer. In a small village in northern Turkey, five sisters are on their way home. En route, they stop for an innocent game on the beach with some local boys.
Unbeknownst to them, prying, disapproving eyes are watching - viewing their games with suspicion and sparking a potential scandal for the family.
Once home, they are beaten by their grandmother while their uncle turns their home into a prison. Forced to wear drab clothes and kept away from school, all they have to live for is an arranged marriage.
However, the sisters are not about to lose their freedom without a fight - testing their family to breaking point.
Verdict: A wonderful, spirited and thought-provoking debut.
Directed By: Tom McCarthy
Starring: Stanley Tucci, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber
Story: Spotlight tells the true story of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into allegations of child abuse in the Catholic Church.
The year-long investigation by the newspaper’s Spotlight team of reporters would find a cover-up at the very highest levels of Boston’s establishment.
For as the film states: it may take a village to raise a child but it also takes a village to abuse one.
Verdict: An important, extremely powerful and dramatically gripping film.
Directed By: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen and William H Macy
Story: It is Jack’s fifth birthday and he is eager to start celebrating. His Ma has promised him a special day with a real birthday cake - he just couldn’t be more excited.
The cake is a success. But there are no candles. And there are no presents. Frustrated, Jack lashes out at his Ma.
There are severe limitations to Jack's world. Many things are just not available to him. The reason? Because he and his Ma live within the confines of a small shed - a place that he calls Room.
Verdict: A stunning, moving and ultimately uplifting drama.
What Do You Think Of My Top 10 Films Of 2016?
I would love to know what you think of this list of 2016's best movies so far.
Why not let me know by leaving me a comment in the box below?