Top 5 Film of 2016

The year 2016 presented moviegoers with a diverse array of films. While theaters certainly saw some low lows, the high highs truly hit. From blockbusting superhero movies to quieter indie films, filmmakers crafted both visually stunning and emotionally resonant pieces of cinema for fans of every genre to enjoy. The Daily Cardinal Arts desk submitted its top films of this year.

~ Sam Marz

  • “Moonlight”

“Moonlight” is a film that takes your breath away. In a world where action movies and sequels reign supreme, “Moonlight” is an engagingly soft-spoken film that sheds a severe light on the importance and struggles of identity by finding, keeping and figuring out what to do when these identities intersect. The plot, divided into three chapters, follows the life of a young boy through adulthood as he grapples with the drug culture that surrounds him, a destructive home environment, his blossoming sexuality and how to navigate the centuries of oppression that have been placed on his shoulders due to his skin tone. No brief synopsis could begin to explain how critical it is for as many people as possible to see this film. —LV

  • “Arrival”

The power of sci-fi storytelling has always been to use the extremes of human development and technology to provide a lens through which we can look back at the inadequacies of our own world. In “Arrival,” a linguist, played by Amy Adams, works with government investigators to translate alien language following the aliens’ arrival on Earth. The film remains grounded in real linguistic practice, offering a realistic take on international affairs. “Arrival” bucks the trend of recent sci-fi action adventure romps to reconnect with the roots of its genre in a restrained, contemplative film about the broadness and value of the human experience. —CL

  • “Sing Street”

“Sing Street” is a little-known gem that truly encompasses the spirit of 1980s film. Written and directed by John Carney, “Sing Street” is set in Ireland in 1985, where protagonist Connor Lalor started a band, Sing Street, to impress Raphina, the mysterious girl who hung out every day across the street from Connor’s school. This film truly has the entire package. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Lucy Boynton shine as the two leads, playing off one another with natural chemistry. With a tight narrative, lively music and performances to match, Carney makes a raw, affecting film that feels like it was taken right out of the 1980s era of cinema. —SM

  • “Captain America: Civil War”

“Captain America: Civil War,” the 13th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is one of the most innovative and genre-defying superhero movies to ever be released. Featuring an ensemble of superstars from Scarlett Johansson to Robert Downey Jr., nearly every superhero from previous films makes an appearance. The movie seamlessly introduces new characters—Black Panther and fan-favorite Spider-Man—into the already massive universe.With an extremely unconventional villain, “Civil War” keeps audiences on their toes. For better or worse, “Civil War” permanently changed the rules of the cinematic universe, disproving the idea that superhero movies cannot have great action and a thrilling plot. —LR

  • “Zootopia”

“Zootopia” leaves viewers with a newfound sense of hope for animated films. Perhaps all of them are churned out cash cows enticing six-year-olds to beg their parents to see colorful cartoons with neither substance nor originality. “Zootopia” breaks this convention through its multidimensional approach that appeals to every audience. On the surface, a fox and a rabbit become involved in a mysterious conspiracy theory straight out of a film noir, but beyond this lie clever commentaries on social discrimination and political injustice. The powerful message to unabashedly be yourself despite social pressures is something audiences young and old can get behind. —BG

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