Here’s my personal list of the top movies of 2016. But before I get to the list, a few quick caveats:
- There’s more than one reason for a film not to make my list. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I thought it was badly done, though that’s entirely possible. Some are fine, but fairly forgettable. Others I simply haven’t seen. Sometimes that’s by choice (due to lack of interest, subject matter, etc.). And sometimes it’s because I just haven’t had the chance to catch that particular movie yet (such as a few well-reviewed late year releases like La La Land, Loving, and Manchester by the Sea). I wish I had the opportunity to see more films close to their release than I do, but such is my stage of life.
- While I think all these films are worthwhile, it doesn’t mean I think they’re perfect or that I endorse everything about them. For example, a movie might have an engaging story and be well acted, but feature a worldview that’s muddled or otherwise problematic. But in the short descriptions I include below I’ve mostly focused on strengths rather than any shortcomings the films might have.
- Finally, just because I like a movie doesn’t mean that you will, or that everyone should see it. It’s always wise to do a little research into the subject matter and content before you choose to watch.
Without further ado then, in alphabetical order:
It’s not exactly unusual to go to the movies on a Friday night. But why would you want to start your weekend by going to a church—and specifically The Crossing—to watch a film on the big screen and then stick around for a discussion afterward?
I ask because, if you live in or near Columbia, you have a chance to do just that a handful of times each year, including this Friday, when we’ll be screening the under-the-radar but compelling thriller “Midnight Special” (84% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes) at 7 p.m. as a part of our ongoing Talking Pictures series. Given busy schedules and lots of options, why choose Talking Pictures? There are a handful of good reasons:
The summer season usually brings no shortage of well-advertised, crowd-pleasing choices at the local movie theater. But having three young kids means I’m much more likely to scan what’s available for rent than check out current show times. In this case, it meant that I came across “Eye in the Sky,” a film released on video a few weeks ago that I might otherwise have overlooked. On a basic level, it’s a tightly executed thriller that steadily increases the dramatic tension for the viewer. But focusing as it does on the role of drones in the global conflict against terrorism, “Eye in the Sky” also proves to be a timely, thought-provoking, and surprisingly human film. I think most will find it well worth the watch.
Here’s a few (spoiler free) reasons for my recommendation:
This past week, one of my friends shared with me how annoyed he was when an older, mature believer referred to him as “a baby Christian.” Although he would be the first to admit that for most of his life his outward lifestyle manifested precious little in the way of Galatians 5 Spirit Fruits, he
Why would a church become a major sponsor of a documentary film festival?
An excellent write-up by Alissa Wilkinson in this month’s issue of Christianity Today helps to demonstrate a few of the important reasons why The Crossing has been happy to partner with the True/False Film Fest for the last several years.
For those not familiar, True/False screens many of the best documentary films from all around the world each year. Not only has the Fest become a highlight of Columbia’s cultural calendar, but it’s also earned a great reputation in the larger film community in the process. Wilkinson, one of CT’s primary film critics, attended this year’s Fest and sat down for a joint interview with The Crossing’s Dave Cover and True/False co-director David Wilson.
The entire article (which also details significant Christian engagement at the Sundance Film Festival) is worth a read, but one quote in particular stuck out to me:
In director Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman, there is a terrific scene in which Jack Nicholson’s character, The Joker, laments his inability to follow through on all of the evil schemes he has planned. As Joker dances around merrily, he chants a familiar mantra – “So much to do…so little time!” – and the camera
“Pay attention to whatever it was you were doing when you last lost track of the time.” Just this morning, I received another great blog post from Chris Spooner, an extremely-talented UK-based visual designer, one that was simply breathtaking. (And I don’t use that adjective very much, just FYI.) When I finally scanned through the