40. Window Horses
Proof that Kickstarter can actually do some good every once in a while.
Okay, for those unaware as to what this is (which I assume is most people), Window Horses is an animated adaptation of a Canadian Graphic novel of the same name about Rosie Ming, a half-Chinese, half-Iranian girl from Canada invited to a poets festival in Iran, that was crowdfunded through an $80,000 indiegogo campaign. It’s also really quite good.
I will confess that I’m really not much of a poems sort of guy, and this movie didn’t do much to change that, but it is an interesting look at Iranian culture and history with some genuinely good drama in there too regarding Rosie and her turmoiled relationship with her absent Iranian father. The animation is certainly simplistic, as you might imagine for a crowdfunded movie, and it might seem offputting at first, but it really starts to grow on you and there are some genuinely beautiful looking moments.
Overall, this was a very pleasant little discovery. Admittedly, the simplistic animation did drop it down a bit combined with the fact that, as mentioned, I’m really not a poems guy, but there’s plenty to like regardless. It’s not the biggest or my favourite animation this year, foreign or otherwise, but it’s definitely worth a watch if you’re interested.
39. The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales
So, in case the last entry didn’t tip you, I’ve kinda been getting into foreign/indie animation in the past few years. And sure, that mostly tends to take the form of Japanese stuff, but every so often I try to get the chance to watch something from another country. After all, that was how I found may favourite movie of 2016, the beautiful and criminally underwatched Long Way North. So when I got a chance to go see this French Animation (from the makers of Ernest and Clementine (which I’ve not seen)) at the London Film Festival, I decided to give it a shot. And, honestly, yeah, it was fairly good.
The movie itself is basically an anthology, made up of three distinct segments. In the first, a Pig, a Duck and Rabbit try to deliver a baby for an injured Stork, in the second, the titular Big Bad Fox tries to raise three baby chicks who mistake him for their mama and in the third, the aforementioned Pig, Duck and Rabbit try to deliver presents for Santa. And you know, for the life of me, I don’t get why this movie is called the Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, because the Big Bad Fox tale is easily the worst by far. It was predictable as all hell and I hated almost every single character. The Fox was whiny, the chicks were annoying little shits, even the mama hen who the chicks were stolen from was a bit of prick, honestly. The only likeable character was that one big bad wolf who is clearly sick of the fox’s shit, but he’s also supposed to be the villain, so… Like I said, it’s really not that good a story.
However, while I was unimpressed with the titular Big Bad Fox, what really made the movie for me was the Pig/Duck/Rabbit comedic trio and the two stories they stared in. It wasn’t at all surprising to me that 2/3 of the stories involved starred that trio, because they had a really great comedic dynamic going and it was just tons of fun watching their antics. I definitely really enjoyed both of their stories and the hilarious twists and turns and if the Big Bad Fox story had been just as strong, this’d probably be a fair bit higher on the list.
Overall, even if I didn’t particularly like the titular Big Bad Fox tale, this is a still a pretty fun kids film that I’d recommend if you’re interested. It’s simple, but it’s fun and funny and timeless and the animation is pretty nice too. Not anything amazing, but it’s fun enough.
38. Batman vs Two Face
Aka, the sole DC Animated Movie from this year that I didn’t think was kinda awful?
Now, if you were following my list last year, you probably know that I enjoyed the previous 60’s Batman homage movie, ‘Return of the Caped Crusaders’. And, honestly, I actually think this one was actually even better.
The first movie was fun and all but it felt like it had to make room for all the 60’s easter eggs and villain cameos and the like which I thought kinda made it feel a bit overstuffed. This is a slimmer story, certainly, but it’s also much more straightforwardly told and easier to enjoy and honestly even funnier than the first movie. All the actors do an excellent job (especially Adam West RIP) and overall it was just a delight to watch. As far as Adam West’s last Batman movie is to be concerned, this is a pretty dang good note to go out on.
Man, what is it this year with all the movies with ‘Wonder’ in their titles being surprisingly good? I mean, sure, I’ve not actually seen Wonder Wheel (because I’m not much of a Woody Allen fan even before you take into account the creepy pervert crap), but I can count at least three movies this year (including this one) with Wonder in the title that I’ve really enjoyed. And just because this is the lowest ranked doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserves its fair share of praise.
Honestly, I really don’t have much bad to say about this movie. It’s a sweet little kids film. I just have a bunch of other movies I preferred this year is all.
36. Baby Driver
Boy, the Kevin Spacey stuff in this movie sure aged well, didn’t it, ehehehe….
Elephants in rooms aside, I’ll admit I’ve kinda cooled on this movie a fair bit since I last watched it. Don’t get me wrong, I still like it plenty, but it feels a bit substance-less in hindsight. The romance was badly underbaked and it really should’ve ended a fair bit before it did. Plus, I have a bunch of minor quiggling problems here and there that have just kept with me over time.
That said, in spite of all that, there really is a lot to like about this movie. Because for all that it may lack substance, this film certainly has style in droves. Edgar Wright is the sort of director who can make a guy going down the street for coffee interesting and fun to watch (hell, it’s arguable a stable of his directorial style) and he’s clearly pulling out all the stops in the action for this movie, providing some seriously fun car chases timed perfectly to match with the songs and music. Ansel Elgort was a bit bland (not entirely his fault since the character was written to match), but that’s easy to forgive when you have people like Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm hamming it up (pun unintentional) and clearly having a ball with their roles.
But, as mentioned, it’s mainly about the style here and in that regard the movie more than delivers. It’s not perfect, but it has a toe-tapping quality all of its own.