by Lolo & Big J
We all know about “Captain America: Civil War” and “Zootopia” because these are the movies that have made over a billion dollars this year. On the flip side, there are often films that deserve recognition, but come and go from theaters without much notice. We feel it’s our duty to promote these little known gems just as much as the big box office smashes. Here’s our list of 10 movies from the first half of 2016 that are worth your time, the ones you might have missed!
10) “The Lady in the Van” – A touchingly humorous film, “The Lady in the Van” technically came out last year, but didn’t get a wide release here until 2016. Though we do admit the film is slowly paced, Maggie Smith’s performance is an absolute must see. She displays her dramatic and comedic chops as a bitter but funny transient woman who forms an unlikely friendship with a writer. Smith just keeps getting better with age. 8/10
9) “Eddie the Eagle” – Even the star-power of Hugh Jackman wasn’t enough to make “Eddie the Eagle” a box office hit. It feels like a subject that has been tackled before, but this inspirational sports film will most likely make you smile, break your heart, make you cry, perhaps all of the above. The performances are great, and it’ll make you feel like you’re back in the 1980’s with its outrageous costumes and fun score. 8/10
8) “The Witch” – Methodically paced for dramatic effect, “The Witch” is a different kind of horror movie, one that banks on you staying invested until the end credits. Its unsettling nature coupled with its use of lighting and ambient sound is full of psychological thrills and paranoia. Some graphic imagery. 8/10
7) “Elvis & Nixon” – Michael Shannon as Elvis Presley and Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon. Let that sink in for a moment. This oddball comedy is ripe with brilliant, ridiculous dialogue and spectacular, outrageous performances. A true surprise! 8.5/10
6) “Maggie’s Plan” – An anti-romantic comedy, “Maggie’s Plan” is witty, cunning, and full of precision-point dialogue. This isn’t the kind of movie for wide-eyed, idealistic lovers of love, but we appreciate its different outlook on life and relationships. 8.5/10
5) “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” – This crude, raucous parody starring Andy Samberg and the guys from The Lonely Island brings the laughs from start to finish, provided you’re not offended by foul language and nudity. It also works best if you’re not a Justin Bieber fan. It’s not just funny, it’s also smart with its dialogue about today’s celebrity-obsessed culture and the music industry as a whole. 8.5/10
4) “Hello, My Name is Doris” – A quirky, darling, slightly cringe-worthy film, “Hello, My Name is Doris” showcases Sally Field at her best. It also says a lot about growing older in a culture that often turns its back on the elderly while simultaneously appropriating the vintage aspects of aging. Sally Field for all the awards. 9/10
3) “Green Room” – Simple and slow-burning, “Green Room” is terrifying, but not for the faint of heart. It’s a freaky, twisted, graphic, very unnerving, macabre, mildly vomitous horror thriller based on real life situations, not alien invasions or haunted houses. Dim, dark, and seedy. 9/10
2) “Eye in the Sky” – An extremely tense and intense film, “Eye in the Sky” exhibits the moral, political, and ethical issues concerning modern warfare. Starring the late, great Alan Rickman, it might be jargon-heavy, but it gets more and more suffocating as the seconds click slowly by. Powerful, engaging, and heartbreaking all at once. 9/10
1) “Sing Street” – One of 2016’s best movies, “Sing Street” is fantastically acted by mostly newcomer actors, gorgeously directed, and exquisitely mixes new, catchy music with an 80’s synth-pop soundtrack. It’s all about finding yourself, pursuing your passion, and expression through music. It will most likely leave you smiling. 9.5/10
LoloLovesFilms is comprised of Lauren and Josh Rains, lifelong San Diegans and current residents of Clairemont. As avid cinephiles, they began their quest to see and review as many movies as possible beginning in 2013, and can often be found at any one of San Diego’s fine cinemas watching newly released films each week.