Today is the day, folks! As of today, ANewDish.net is two years old! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything (believe me, I’ve wanted to post more), so I decided today was as good a day as any! What I did last year for A New Dish’s birthday was post something I wouldn’t usually post. Last year, I posted a review of my favorite movie of all time, The Dark Knight. I briefly thought about doing another review for a movie I really like, but decided instead to talk about the movies I think you should see before Oscar Season gets fully under way.
The movies that I list below may not be some of the “best” movies of the year so far, but they’re the ones that have stuck out as the most unique movies I’ve seen this year. To me, Oscar season doesn’t *really* kick off until November, and after that point, all people can really talk about are those Oscar-worthy movies. Before that happens, I thought it’d be nice to give these gems some love, so let’s take a look!
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, this movie focuses on an undercover CIA agent infiltrating a gang of white supremacists in order to investigate a terrorist threat. What makes this movie so special is not only its unsettling tone and its ability to drag you into the tension of the story. Imperium also boasts of a career-best performance form Daniel Radcliffe. Personally, it’s been hard to shake Daniel Radcliffe from my mind as anyone other than Harry Potter, but this movie helped him solidify his place as someone who has well-exceeded his work in his most popular role. Also, here’s a bit of foreshadowing: this isn’t the last time you’re going to hear me talk about Radcliffe. Imperium is available to rent on Amazon Prime.
5) Deepwater Horizon
Deepwater Horizon takes place in the hours leading up to the BP oil spill of 2010 and follows the story of the crew members aboard the BP Deepwater Horizon as one of the worst environmental disasters of all time began unfolding. This movie is extraordinarily impactful thanks to spot on performances by Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez and John Malkovich. All of these parts are woven together in a script that helps the viewer understand the magnitude of the disaster that occurred that day, and as such, helps us feel the importance and relevance of this subject more than ever before. Deepwater Horizon is now playing in theaters.
4) The Shallows
The Shallows follows the story of a surfer (Blake Lively) as she dares to surf unknown waters alone. After she’s attacked by a shark and stranded on a rock just off shore, she must find a way to return to land alive. This is one of those movies that wasn’t on my radar at all, and frankly, I didn’t even want to see it that much. However, The Shallows turned out to be a pulse-pounding movie that felt a bit like a cross between 127 Hours and Jaws in the best way possible. The script was smart, the director knew how turn turn the smallest movements into high-octane situations, and as silly as the ending might be, it feels like a fitting one for such a simple yet entertaining story. The Shallows is now available on Digital, DVD and Blu-Ray.
3) Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water tells the tale of two brothers in Texas who go around robbing banks and the two deputies who set out to catch them…and that’s it. Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges are all fantastic in this movie, but their performances are only tools in which they bring to life the real focus of this story: the characters. I’m usually not one to get hyped about character-driven movies as those usually let stakes and story take the back seat in a movie, but Hell or High Water uses its clever characters to tell a clever story, and it’s one of the most enjoyable pseudo-westerns I’ve seen in a long time. If you’re a fan of No Country for Old Men, then this movie is absolutely for you. Hell or High Water is still playing in select theaters, but will also be released in Digital HD on November 8 and on DVD and Blu-Ray November 22.
2) Swiss Army Man
Stranded on a desert island and left without hope of survival, Hank (Paul Dano) comes across the body of a dead man named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe). Hank soon befriends the corpse and discovers that it (he?) can be manipulated like a Swiss Army knife in order help Hank survive. Yes, I understand how weird that sounds. Yes, this movie absolutely belongs on this list. It’s definitely an odd movie, but it’s a surprisingly heart-warming modern fairy tale that’s pushed along by spectacular performances from both Dano and Radcliffe and bolstered by the coolest indie soundtrack of all time. It’s a movie that has to be seen to be believed, and will inspire long discussions about the purpose of the movie between you and your friends. Swiss Army Man is now available on Digital HD, DVD and Blu-Ray.
1) 10 Cloverfield Lane
Serving as a “spiritual successor” to 2008’s found footage hit Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane follows the story of a young woman named Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who crashes her car and wakes up to find herself in a fallout bunker with two other men. One of the men claims that the U.S. has been hit by a mass casualty incident and refuses to let Michelle and the other man leave. I really struggled with whether or not this movie was my number one choice on this list over Swiss Army Man, but this film is just such a high-intensity thriller with a twist ending M. Night Shyamalan would be jealous of that I couldn’t help but put it as my number one choice. All the performances in this movie are great, but it’s the detailed story and sheer unique experience of watching this movie for the first time that makes it such a standout. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you’re not doing yourself any favors. 10 Cloverfield Lane is now available on Digital HD, DVD and Blu-Ray.
Are there any movies you think I left off this list? What’s the most unique movie you’ve seen so far in 2016? Sound off in the comments below, and if you have a topic you’d like me to cover, let me know!