Collaboration: Films of the Year

Review of the Year 2016As promised last week, my friends and I are back again with another review of the year.  This weekend we’re taking a look at some of our favourite film releases of 2016, and it hasn’t been an easy task for any of us.  Over the last year there have been some pretty epic releases, from action to animation, fantasy to romance…the list is endless.

What I love about our collaborations is that we’re always able to come up with films or albums or whatever without having any clashes, because our interests are diverse enough that we can talk about different things.  I’m not into superhero films as much as the girls are, but I have a greater enjoyment for thrillers and comedies.  What we wanted from these reviews is to give a variety in the voices that are presented to show off more than one viewpoint for the year.  Although it’s only been a few weks, I feel that we’ve done that pretty well.

A Writer in Sight

IMG_7306I remember back in sixth form that I only seemed to go to the cinema once or twice a year.  Aside from the ever-rising ticket prices, there just wasn’t a great deal of films that I wanted to see.  That definitely hasn’t been the case this year, especially having had a cinema discount for the first few months.  There are probably some films released this year that definitely would have made the list if I’d seen them, but I just haven’t made the time to sit down and watch them yet.  Hopefully I’ll be able to one day, although by that point there will probably be a whole load of new films I need to watch.  It’s a never-ending cycle!

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

A Writer In Sight (5)Normally  turning a popular TV show into a movie is frowned upon because the majority of those adaptations fail to recreate the magic of the original series.  Although not perfect, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ proves to be an exception to that rule with its highly-enjoyable big screen debut from earlier this year.  Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley prove that they’re still very much in touch with their comedic roots as they bring Edie and Patsy back to life with as much ease as they did when the show first started in the 90s.  The mix of extravagance and style is woven wonderfully with the rude and absurd to create the film that is both modern and nostalgic, keeping the franchise just as current as it always has been.  Within the first half an hour of the movie hardly a minute goes by without at least one celebrity cameo, but whilst this is normally the downfall of these sorts of movies, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ uses it to its advantage.  After all, fame and celebrity has always been one of the core focuses of the sitcom.  Whilst this film might not be winning any awards, it’s done itself justice after being in the pipeline for so long, and put a touch of unashamed joy on an otherwise sombre year.

Finding Dory

A Writer In Sight (4)It was a sequel that didn’t need to happen, but in many ways I’m glad it did.  Released 13 years after the original, ‘Finding Dory’ uses the same basic premise as the first film yet manages to tell a story that is emotive and gripping in its own right.  The film follows Dory as she searches for the parents she’d forgotten, but in the process she gets separated from Marlin and Nemo who then have to, as the title suggests, find her.  Several of the new characters introduced in the sequel have just as much comedic value as those from the first film, and not in the way that makes it only appealing to children.  ‘Finding Dory’ is a great film for people of all ages who want a laugh and a cry, after all who doesn’t get emotional about a family being broken apart and then reunited.  I just hope that this is where they end the line because they run the risk of making unnecessary sequels. Finish the franchise on a high you guys!

The Girl on the Train

A Writer In Sight (3)I was a bit late to the party when it came to ‘The Girl on the Train’ because I only read the book once the film had been released.  I never like to watch adaptations before I’ve read them because I know that once I’ve seen it on the screen I won’t pay the book any attention.  With that in mind I made sure to get through the novel first, and I’m glad because the book kept me thoroughly engrossed right through to the end, spurring me on even more to go see the film.  The highlight of the adaptation is without a doubt the casting of Emily Blunt who almost portrays Rachel better than the book does (if that is even possible)!  Her character felt real and relatable, and hid some of the films shortcomings, such as the transition of setting from England to America.  Even though I already knew the story, the film was still incredibly gripping and a rollercoaster ride of emotions, proving to be one of the more enjoyable adaptations that I’ve seen in recent years.

Bad Neighbours 2

A Writer In Sight (2)I’d not seen the first Bad Neighbours film before I went to watch the sequel, but I was assured by friends that it wasn’t vital to know everything that had happened in the first one.  I understood the jist of what had occurred before and that proved to be enough because it didn’t hinder the sequel for me.  I don’t tend to watch comedy films in the cinema but I’m glad that I made the exception for ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ because it had me in stitches.  The partnership of Seth Rogen and Zac Efron was brilliant, especially for the elements where the latter’s character was struggling to mature outside of the college environment.  The humour was kind of to an acquired taste as there were definitely moments when I was thinking ‘did they actually just say that?!?’, but the trailers and casting was a giveaway that this film wasn’t for the easily offended.  I personally thought it made a great addition to a sequel that managed to make a somewhat predictable story feel surprisingly fresh.


A Writer In Sight (1)I wasn’t overly-excited about ‘Zootropolis’ before it’s release, not more than I normally am about a new Disney film anyway.  I’d seen online that basically every review for the film was exceptional, so I went into the cinema with high hopes.  I’m very happy to say that those hopes were not dashed.  ‘Zootropolis’ conveys a very important, very current message that is embedded wonderfully into the colourful wonder of an animated film.  It’s brilliantly subtle and does not come across to kids like it’s just trying to educate them about the negatives of being prejudiced.  The main characters are lovable, whilst still being noticeably imperfect, and, despite following a classic Disney story structure, I couldn’t predict a great deal of what was going to happen as I was watching it.  ‘Zootropolis’ is a film that can easily please kids and adults alike, and is a wonderful addition to a filmography whose greatest moments used to only come from the past.

Give It Some Geek

SarahI was so excited when we decided that we were going to talk about our favourite films for one of these collaboration posts. I love films and I think 2016 has been a good year for producing some major blockbusters…a lot of which haven’t actually made my list. That’s not to say they weren’t good, just that they weren’t my favourites. I didn’t want to clash with what the others were putting either, although that wasn’t a big issue in the end.  I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to TV and film so some of the choices on my list won’t come as a big surprise. Here they are – my top 5 films of 2016.

Star Trek Beyond

Give It Some Geek (5)Up first I have Star Trek Beyond, the third film in the rebooted franchise. As with its predecessors, the film boasts a beautiful soundtrack and absolutely stunning CGI as the crew of the Enterprise continue their voyage through the stars. It follows a gripping tale of misinterpreted betrayal, and, as would be expected from a film written by Simon Pegg, the immensely intense scenes are counterbalanced with heart-warming and comical moments wherever possible. I was also very pleased to see a lot more involvement from the late Anton Yelchin’s character, Chekov. He was so lovable in the first two films, but he wasn’t given much chance to shine until now. Sad, then, that this was his final film. Star Trek Beyond plays homage not only to Yelchin, but also to the great Leonard Nemoy who starred in the original series. He is written out of the film, and the alternative Spock grieves fittingly. Yes, I did cry. The ending is bittersweet, particularly once the credits roll.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Give It Some Geek (4)This film is a beautiful piece of storytelling, set to a lovely soundtrack with stunning visuals. Stop motion animation has come a long way and it’s so evident in Kubo. From the moment young Kubo appeared on the screen, I was gripped. The relationship between him and his mother is tragic, but beautiful. I felt for him; he lives a life that is bleak but loving and if that’s not a great watch then I don’t know what is. Then, of course, his world gets flipped upside down and he has to venture off on a quest to save himself, accompanied by a talking monkey and beetle. Yup. If you can deal with that weird factor, the rest of the film is fabulous. It’s really moving and exceptionally bittersweet, and if you watch it, it will definitely make you want to hold your family close to you.

The Boy and the Beast

Give It Some Geek (3)When I first stumbled onto this film, I had my doubts. Compared to other animated films like Spirited Away and Children Who Chase Lost Voices, the style of animation seems simplistic and the colours basic upon first glance. For me, visuals can make or break a film. However, once I actually decided to watch it, I was so happy to be wrong. It’s such a beautiful film, both in narration and depiction.  It looks at fatherhood and belonging from such an unexpected viewpoint. Kumatetsu, a half bear, half monkey beast must take on a disciple in order to fulfill his dreams of becoming the next grandmaster of beasts.  His choice of disciple is Ren, the human boy who has run away from home. Kumatetsu is loud, violent, lazy and hot-tempered. In most films, he would be the bad guy. So this juxtaposition makes him all the more loveable as he attempts to train and raise Ren, somehow finding that he can learn a lot himself from the boy. The storytelling is heartwarming and bittersweet, and even if cartoons aren’t your thing, The Boy and the Beast is worth the watch. I swear.

P.S. I’m aware the initial release in Japan was 2015, but it wasn’t released in English until 2016 so it still holds a place in my favourites.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Give It Some Geek (2)I have so much love for the latest release in the Harry Potter franchise. The film is so unlike the others in the series, and in all honesty I’m glad. It looks at a much darker time, when witches were still feared and killed by humans. The film is riddled with Easter Eggs that you will only find as a true Harry Potter fan, but to newcomers it’s just as enthralling. I mentioned before that visuals are a big thing for me, and Fantastic Beasts certainly delivers. The moment that the audience first see inside Newt’s suitcase is unforgettable. Rowling knows how to write a screenplay, too. Her characters are just wonderful and the film never panders to anyone. There were a couple of moments where she could have written it differently to appeal to the masses, but she wrote it how it was meant to be. There is no happy, fairy-tale ending but it’s still so satisfying. Fantastic Beasts is whimsical and beautiful and fun, and I can’t wait to watch the next instalment (which has already been written, YAY)!


Give It Some Geek (1)In a world filled with generic superhero films, Deadpool is a great big breath of fresh air. Bring on the gore, bring on the anti-hero and bring on the sass. Deadpool is a film so aware of itself and its genre conventions that it takes the piss. At the same time, it can hold its own with moments of gripping suspense. Watching the asphyxiation torture scene still makes me uncomfortable, but it’s manageable because soon before and soon afterwards, Wade (Deadpool) throws out enough sass to keep you laughing. Even when he’s shooting bullets through people’s heads! His love story is wonderful too. ‘Your crazy gets my crazy’. I can deal with the occasional cutesy romance, but I love characters who are arseholes and not all fluffy, and that’s exactly how Wade and Vanessa are. It makes it all the more heartbreaking when he becomes Deadpool and feels thT they can’t make it together anymore. Also, let’s not forget the X-men cameos and the constant breaking of the fourth wall. I have so much love for Deadpool. So much.

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Holly Quills and Ivy

HollyHi, it’s me again! This week we are talking about our Top 5 films of 2016 and I have to say I’m excited.  I feel like over the last twelve months I’ve been to the cinema more often than I have in previous years, thanks to family, friends and a few dates. Overall, I’ve genuinely been really impressed with the films that I’ve been to see. There has been a great variety with the releases this year, so there has always been something for everyone to watch and enjoy. You’ll have to bear in mind with my list that there are still films being released that may have made my top 5 if they’d come out earlier, but that can’t be helped.  So without further ado, shall we dive straight in?

Me Before You

Holly Quills and Ivy (5)Without a doubt, one of my favourite films of the year. I first saw the trailer for this film at the beginning of the year and immediately knew I wanted to see it, so of course I bought the book and read in a day. It was so good. When the film was released I bolted to see it and absolutely bawled my eyes out! It was so emotional (and it didn’t help that I knew exactly what was going to happen). It is such a beautifully heart-breaking film. The cast is filled with an array of amazing British actors, with the protagonist portrayed by Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) They depicted the characters perfectly. I wholeheartedly recommend this film to literally anyone!

Captain America: Civil War

Holly Quills and Ivy (4)I honestly think I saw this film about four times and that is not an exaggeration. I saw it that many times. Can you tell I enjoyed it? I have been a fan of Marvel films for a very long time and Captain America is my favourite Avenger, so another instalment of his own story was right up my alley. The plot is filled with action, drama and tension between the two teams, and even after seeing it repeatedly I never got bored. The story is so compelling that it’s possible to stay entertained with every viewing. If you like the Marvel Universe please give this a watch if you haven’t already. Also, if you haven’t seen it, where have you been ?

Bridget Jones’ Baby

Holly Quills and Ivy (3)Yes, she is back! I love Bridget Jones! I only watched the first two Bridget Jones films last year…I know, I’m ashamed of myself too! But when I found out that this was coming out I knew I had to see it, especially because it stars Patrick Dempsey which is always a bonus. The film picks up many years after the second film, but it didn’t feel like any time had passed. It kept the same sense of humour whilst including modern language and references, and it even included a cameo from Ed Sheeran! If you ever want a film that you can laugh along to and have a nice time with, it is this. Also, in my opinion, it’s the best Bridget Jones film yet!

X-Men: Apocalypse

Holly Quills and Ivy (2)Okay, I’m going to say straight off the bat that I am not that big of a X-men fan! However, I’ve really enjoyed the new McAvoy and Fassbender revamps, so with the newest instalment I thought I might as well see how it was. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it! It was good to see the different kinds of mutants that are introduced in this film (especially Sophie Turner and Evan Peters). The story was enjoyable for someone who doesn’t avidly watch X-men films. If you like superhero movies, or if you haven’t seen an X-Men film, then I’d definitely suggest that you check it out.  It’s great fun to watch, even if you know nothing about that universe.

Doctor Strange

Holly Quills and Ivy (1)Is it clear that I like Marvel films?  …Ooops. I never planned on going to see this in the cinema, but hey ho it was a nice surprise. I did actually enjoy the film from the beginning to end, although there was one thing that I found a little questionable. Benedict Cumberbatch with an American accent? I’m not sure how I feel about that. The story flows well with the already established Marvel universe and it is a welcome addition to the much-loved franchise. It is a great film if you want the fun and magic that the Marvel Studios do so well.

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