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MonsterStomp's top 8 films of 2016

Before we get started, I'd like to let it be known that these are my personal favourite films of 2016. They aren't all going to be box office successes, nor are they all critically acclaimed masterpieces. They are simply the films that stood out to me this year as enjoyable. And also, I obviously haven't seen EVERY film that was produced in 2016. There are still a few films such as Fences, Silence and Manchester By The Sea that haven't even been released in my country yet.

Anyway, without further ado, lets kick it off with number...

8. The Magnificent Seven

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This is the ensemble we never got in 2016. I'm not going to throw around big words like "fantastic" or "beautiful", but I did find it very entertaining. There is a decent amount of depth to the seven characters, that by the time we reach the final set-piece, I was somewhat emotionally moved by the path that was taken. The only drawback I would note is that introducing the characters (travelling from point A to point B, just to meet the next guy who shows off his combative talent to prove why he'd be a valuable asset to the team) felt minimally like a grind. Although, with some well placed comedic scenes, a great eye for action and one of the most suspenseful standoffs I've seen in a while, that grind becomes less and less taxing on the film as a whole.

For me, The Magnificent Seven is a fun time, with tremendous playback value.

7. The Conjuring 2

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Out of the other four horror-flicks that I managed to watch last year, none managed to send a chill up my spine like The Conjuring 2. It was suspenseful from beginning to end, for me, and it never allowed for a moment of pause - a moment to catch my breath. I simply didn't want to lose the momentum I had while watching this film. Like the first, The Conjuring 2 follows paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine, in their mission to evict a demon from a struggling family in London. The film stays within familiar territory most of the time, but doesn't stray from introducing new subplots that I found invigorating. One thing the first film lacked, was the reality of non-believers jumping into the equation and trying to debunk the work that Ed and Lorraine procured. In addition, director James Wan introduces a new antagonist that puts Ed and Lorraine to the ultimate test.

The execution was fantastic. Even for a guy who typically doesn't appreciate horror films, The Conjuring 2 gave me something to respect about the genre.

6. Deepwater Horizon

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This film had no hesitation when it came to hooking me in. There's just something about Mark Wahlberg that's so charismatic. This story reveals the events that happened on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010. This film had me on the edge of my seat through and through. We see the dilemma the rig workers are faced with when receiving sketchy test readings with equipment that were overdue for a service. I became so engrossed amongst the decision-making that I was yelling at the screen. Then everything goes south, and it is brutal. A lot of emotions were rippling through me, which were only enhanced when we're put in Kat Hudson's characters' shoes. It was an honourable experience to see how the heroes worked to save as many lives as they could.

5. Eddie The Eagle

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I'm 98% sure I'm the only one on the Vine to see this movie. Only three names stood out when I did my research on this film: Hugh Jackman, Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service), and when I heard Matthew Vaughn will be part of the production team, I knew I had little to worry about... and my hopes were confirmed. This is one of the most heartfelt sports drama films I have ever seen. I mean, for a director to take a sport as unorthodox as Ski Jumping is one thing, but to shape it into a very well executed panorama is deeply satisfying. Eddie The Eagle tells a story of one man's dream to compete in the Olympics, followed by the extreme mortification and disapproval he receives along his journey. Taron's character was well portrayed, and I definitely sympathised with him. It was a realization for me.

If you haven't already seen it, I'd highly recommend it.

4. Nocturnal Animals

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I went into the cinema with an open mind. I thought the trailers were confusing asf, and I only forked out money because Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favourite actors. And I gotta say, this is the most unique form of storytelling that I've ever seen. The film as a whole is all about writer's expression. Gyllenhaal's "real life" character (so to speak), Edward, writes a novel to his ex-wife, Susan, who is played by Amy Adams, and we get to see this novel played out like another movie. Quite literally - a film inside another film. And inside this other film, we get Nocturnal Animals which is a brutal thriller of one man's quest for revenge. See, at first, I thought "why not just make this the movie? Its 100% better". But coming out of the cinema, its much more than the story told by the novel. There's a subliminal message in there for Susan. A message that becomes a little more clear when Susan starts recalling their past relationship.

As one of the most thought-provoking, unique thrillers of last year, I'd also highly recommend this. Do it to see Gyllenhaal at the least!

3. Captain America: Civil War

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I'm pretty certain this film will be on nearly everyone's top 10 of 2016. I tried avoiding putting a comic book film on my list, but Civil War is one that was necessary. I don't think I can say much that hasn't already been said, so lets keep this one short and move along, yeah?

2. The Jungle Book

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I did a bit of a shitpiece review on it which does it no justice, but my feelings on the film are still the same. I pretty much love everything about this retelling. Idris Elba, in particular, is still one of the greatest antagonists of 2016 as Shere Kahn. Every line he spoke sent a cold chill down my spine. Likewise, I never expected this film to be one of the highest grossing films of 2016. Check it out.

1. Hacksaw Ridge

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"I don't know how I'm going to live with myself if I don't stay true to what I believe."

As a person aspiring to join the military, it should come as no surprise that Hacksaw Ridge is my number one favourite film of 2016. The film is filled with dialogue and themes that simply resonates with me to the highest frequencies. Stellar performances, great music and sound, cinematography that captures war brutality, all precisely implemented in an awe-inspiring film. I felt like a man given a purpose again. This is a story based on real events, so I appreciated it when they gave the actual hero, Desmond Doss, a post-credit respect.

Alright, that's it.. Peace out!