Top Five Films of Summer 2016

Posted: September 6, 2016 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists

Written by Daniel Simpson

It was not a very good summer for movies. There was a lot of crap and I don’t think any film really rose above as something significant like Mad Max: Fury Road did last year, but there were still a handful of solid films, and these are the best I saw. For the purposes of this list, I’m counting any films released in theaters between May and August.

5. Jason Bournejason-bourne-movie-poster

Most critics dismissed Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass’ return to the series that made them super stars, and in truth it isn’t a film that has stuck with me as much as I’d hoped, but I still think this is a great execution of the Bourne formula. The stylistic hallmarks which define the series are used well here, there are some great action set-pieces, and it’s refreshing to see a summer movie that commits to a serious tone.

Original review here.

4. Captain America: Civil WarCaptain America Civil War Poster

When you think about it, it’s pretty impressive that the Russo Brothers were able to juggle as many elements as they were with Captain America: Civil War. This is a film that manages to function way more effectively as a superhero battle royale than actual Avengers film Age of Ultron – complete with great action scenes and an effective balancing of characters – while also working pretty well as a follow-up to Captain America’s previous solo effort, The Winter Soldier. Of course, the screenplay isn’t as strong as it was for The Winter Soldier and certain elements do feel forced, but I admire the film’s ambitions and it’s also just really fun to watch.

Original review here.

3. Kubo and the Two Stringskubo

This was the last film I saw this summer in theaters and it left a pretty strong impact on more. Though not on the level of a Hayao Miyazaki fantasy epic, Kubo is still an animated adventure yearning to be more than the typical family animated film. The animation here is tremendous, the designs are largely excellent, and there are some really cool set-pieces to be enjoyed, but what really strikes me is the sense of wonder the film creates and the endearing trio of misfits we follow. This is a film with a lot of heart, and with a stronger ending it would be a serious contender for my year-end top ten list. As is, I still enjoyed Kubo a whole lot.

Original review here.

2. Sausage Partysausage_party_ver2

Yes, I am surprised that this seemingly silly film about talking food items swearing is one of the best films of the summer. Of course, that description is curt and not really accurate either; there’s a lot more going on in Sausage Party. You go in for the clever take on the Pixar formula, but you stay for the film’s targeted attack on religious belief and fanaticism. That’s a lot headier than I expected and it’s also surprisingly on-point, at least for the most part. The film is also very funny.

Original review here.

1. The Nice Guysnice-guys-poster-600x889This is actually one of the least ambitious films in my list. It’s a pretty straight-forward mystery film that plays into your typical tropes of noir/buddy films which also falls well within writer/director Shane Black’s oeuvre. So why is it topping this list? Execution. Simply put, this is far and away the most entertaining and fun movie I saw in theaters over the summer. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling make for a great pair, and Gosling in particular steals the show with an awesome comedic turn. As a comedy, this also works really well. It may lack the deep belly laughs of Sausage Party, but it’s perhaps more consistent. Black’s screenplay is littered with witty banter and funny lines that seldom miss their mark. The mystery aspects of the film don’t work quite as well, but the film does maintain a strong tonal balance between the danger at the core of the story and the comedy. It also has a great pace and has a lot of fun recreating 1970s L.A. It’s the most humble film listed here, and also the most entertaining.

Original review here.

Comments
  1. le0pard13 says:

    Good to see THE NICE GUYS topping this list. :-)

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