14 Dec 2016

At the Movies: the best of 2016

From At The Movies, 7:30 pm on 14 December 2016

Simon Morris looks at the year's big themes – inclusiveness, business and the year 1952 – and crowns Comeback of the Year, Star of the Year and, not one but, three Movies of the Year.

Simon Morris

Simon Morris Photo: RNZ

In 2016, the movies went retro, says Simon, with filmmakers seeming to agree on 1952 as the last year America was great.

Another big theme was business, including the business of Hollywood. But unlike the usual formula, none of the go-getters got any sort of obvious comeuppance.

After only white actors and actresses were nominated in the top four categories at the 2016 Academy Awards, there were bids for diversity from many quarters. The studios did their best, but didn't come up with much, he says.

Although several women-led R-rated comedies asked why men should have all the foul-mouthed fun, the best comedies of the year, as always, were less obvious and joke-based.

One of the best westerns of the year was set in Jordan, the best WWII film was Hungarian and the best wilderness story featured not Leonardo DiCaprio, but a tribe of kids and their survivalist father.

And after last year’s disappointing trickle, 2016 was a bumper year for New Zealand movies.