10. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
A pop culture parody almost on par with Spinal Tap. Like Tap, this film balances exaggerated comic moments with characters who have deep backstories and are brought to life by committed performances. While this is The Lonely Island’s show, their supporting players deliver some of the best moments, especially Tim Meadows and newcomer Chris Redd.
Earlier this year, Marvel Studios gave us what is arguably their most ambitious film ever. Captain America: Civil War built on almost every previous Marvel film to tell a story filled to the brim with superheroes. Doctor Strange, Marvel’s second offering for 2016, at first seems to give us something of a breather by returning to the familiar structure of an origin story. But with its commitment to novel visuals and complex supporting characters, this may be the most ambitious superhero film of the year.
At one point in Denial, a few characters are gathered at Auschwitz and one character refers to it as “a shrine.” Later on in the film, another character refers to Auschwitz as the scene of a crime, and how it needs to be investigated as any other. These incongruous, almost sacrilegious, dual definitions are at the heart of the internal and external tensions face by Denial’s main characters. Director Mick Jackson, screenwriter David Hare, and the film’s stars find the right tone and balance to examine the turmoil of having to navigate the perceptions and legacy of the Holocaust.
Ross Adam and Robert Cannan’s documentary The Lovers and The Despot is about love, but many kinds of love. The romantic love between South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee are at the center of the story. But the loves for self-expression, power, country, and family also figure into the story. It makes for both an amazing romantic adventure and spy tale.