Arts

Favourites and coming attractions: The best movies of 2016 and a look forward to 2017

David Roy offers his five favourite films and biggest box office turkey from 2016, plus a selection of next year's most anticipated releases...

Martin McCann stars as The Survivalist

Green Room (18, 95mins)

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Patrick Stewart, Macon Blair

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

WRITER/director Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room offered one of the most visceral cinematic experiences of 2016: a high-concept, low-budget thriller about a punk band trapped in a remote venue staffed by murderous neo-Nazis that never pulls a single one of its continuous barrage of punches.

Green Room begins in a misleadingly slow manner. However, once Saulnier (who also directed 2014's excellent revenge thriller Blue Ruin) has established his setting and characters – which include the late Anton Yelchin as a shy guitarist forced into a terrifying fight for his life against Sir Patrick Stewart's ice cool bad guy and skinhead minions – he quickly revs up the tension to almost unbearable levels.

Peppered with moments of explosive violence, Green Room is a gory and darkly humorous watch that's guaranteed to shred your nerves.

The Young Offenders (15, 85mins)

Starring: Chris Walley, Alex Murphy, Dominic MacHale, Hilary Rose, PJ Gallagher

Director: Peter Foott

THERE weren't many great comedies released in 2016, but thankfully Irish indie The Young Offenders finally gave audiences something to laugh at when it was hit cinemas earlier this month.

Writer/director Peter Foott's offbeat road movie about two wayward Cork city teens who set off for the coast on stolen bikes in search of a capsized cocaine shipment is a hoot from start to finish, as the two-wheeled tearaways fall foul of bike crime-obsessed copper and an angry, disabled drug dealer.

Well worth catching on demand or on DVD if you missed it at the cinema.

The Survivalist (18, 103mins)

Starring: Martin McCann, Mia Goeth, Olwen Fouere

Director: Stephen Fingleton

IF YOU'RE all laughed out after watching The Young Offenders, Derry-born writer/director Stephen Fingleton's bleak post-apocalyptic thriller would be an excellent palate-cleanser.

Starring Martin McCann as loner living off the land in a remote woodland cabin, his life is complicated when he reluctantly takes in a mother (Olwen Fouere) and daughter (Mia Goeth).

Fingleton pulls no punches with his largely dialogue-free film's graphic depiction of a broken world where it's every man and woman for themselves.

 

Victoria (15, 138mins)

Starring: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, Burak Yigit, Max Mauff, Andre Hennicke.

Director: Sebastian Schipper

SEBASTIAN Schipper's indie thriller about an unsuspecting Spaniard (Laia Costa) who becomes embroiled in a night of crime in Berlin was shot all in one mammoth un-broken take.

This considerable technical feat gives the mostly English language film a palpable nervous energy which increases in intensity as the slow-building film evolves from its romantic drama-inclined opening act into an unpredictable heist movie.

Costa makes a big impact as the innocent title character in over her head, and the entire cast of young unknowns valiantly play off each other without any noticeably flubbed lines as Schipper's hand-held camera follows the course of their increasingly wild high-stakes evening.

Now available on Netflix, Victoria is definitely one of the year's most memorable movies.

Mustang (15, 97mins)

Starring: Gunes Sensoy, Doga Doguslu, Elit Iscan, Tugba Sunguroglu, Ilayda Akdogan, Nihal Koldas, Ayberk Pekcan.

Director: Deniz Gamze Erguven

THIS Oscar-nominated Turkish-language indie from first-time director Erguven revolves around a group of orphaned sisters who are grounded by their uber-religious grandmother for playing with a group of boys on the last day of school.

Lale (Gunes Sensoy), Nur (Doga Doguslu), Ece (Elit Iscan), Selma (Tugba Sunguroglu) and Sonay (Ilayda Akdogan) quickly become bored with being house-bound and begin plotting a 'jailbreak'.

When things don't quite go according to plan, granny begins plotting arranged marriages for the eldest sisters – but young Lale becomes determined to escape once and for all.

Sweet, funny and unexpectedly shocking, Mustang gradually builds from a gentle canter to a desperate fate-worse-than-death-evading gallop, as teenage wilfulness boils over into full-scale, outraged rebellion.

:: TURKEY OF 2016

Point Break (12a, 114mins)

Starring: Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Teresa Palmer, Ray Winstone

Director: Ericson Core

'POINTLESS Break', morelike. This painfully bad remake will leave you longing for the enjoyably absurd fun of the vastly superior Keanu Reeves original.

Like, totally bogus, dude.

:: THREE TO SEE IN 2017

NEXT year's release schedule is dominated by sci-fi sequels/prequels and superhero franchises – here's three of the most promising offerings coming to cinema near you over the next 12 months.

The Lego Batman Movie

Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes

Director: Chris McKay

WHILE 2014's The Lego Movie taught us that "everything is awesome," the up-coming Lego Batman Movie is sure to throw the Will Arnett-voiced caped crusader into a succession of crime-fighting situations as he takes on The Joker (Zach Galifianakis).

After Christopher Nolan's super-serious Dark Knight movies and the disastrously dull Batman V Superman, Bat-fans are long-overdue a fun-filled film which actually sends up the most ridiculous aspects of the beloved DC character and superheroes in general.

"You can't spend the rest of your life alone, dressed in black and staying up all night," advises Ralph Fiennes's Alfred in the trailer for the animated feature, which teams up Arnett's caped Lego-ised crimebuster with his young ward/side-kick Dick Grayson/ Robin.

"Does Batman live in Bruce Wayne's basement?" enquires Grayson upon discovering the Batcave.

"No! Bruce Wayne lives in Batman's attic!" growls the superhero.

:: The Lego Batman Movie will be released on February 10.

Mute

Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux

Director: Duncan Jones

DUNCAN Jones will deliver this 'spiritual sequel' to his excellent 2009 film Moon next year: a 'sci-fi mystery thriller' set in the near-future that's apparently 'heavily inspired' by Blade Runner.

Taking place in the same 'world' as Moon (which starred Sam Rockwell as a lunar worker who discovers he's an endlessly re-generating clone), Mute follows mute bartender Leo Beiler (Alexander Skarsgard) as he searches an immigration bloated Berlin for his abducted partner – Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux also feature as the film's bad guys.

:: Mute will be simultaneously released in cinemas and via Netflix next year.

Alien: Covenant

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Naomi Rapace, Danny McBride, Guy Pearce, Katherine Waterston, James Franco

Director: Ridley Scott

RIDLEY Scott is involved in two of 2017's most anticipated films; he's executive producing the Dennis Villeneuve-directed Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049 and will himself helm Alien: Covenant, the sequel to his 'don't call it an Alien prequel' flick, Prometheus.

As its title suggests, this one actually is intended as a direct prequel to Scott's classic 1979 sci-fi horror and will chart the evolution of the HR Giger designed acid-for-blood xenomorphs which gave Sigourney Weaver and co such a hard time in the Alien series.

:: Alien: Covenant is set for release in May.

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