The Cinema Corner – June 10th

It’s a poor week for movies at the cinema, and with distributors avoiding clashing with Euro 2016, June is set to be a rough month for cinemagoers. So this week, seeing as we’re just about at the halfway point of the year, I’m going to look back at the 10 best movies of 2016 so far.

10. The Survivalist
It’s nice to be able to include an Irish production in a ‘best of’ list, and this low key post apocalypse drama thoroughly deserves its place. The plot sees a survivor of a global collapse finds his routine disturbed by the arrival of two women. Debut director Stephen Fingleton delivers a textbook lesson in low budget filmmaking, racking up the tension and paranoia like a veteran.

9. The Assassin
Hsiao-Hsien Hou’s Chinese period drama is a martial arts movie that emphasises the art. Some found its languid pace a turn off, and I have to admit I struggled with some of the plot intricacies, but the film is a sensual feast that transports you to its specific time and place in a way few others have managed in such intoxicating fashion.

8. Creed
Not too many had high hopes for yet another Rocky sequel, but you’ll find Creed on many a critic’s list at the end of 2016. Stallone returns to the iconic role but hands over the spotlight to the son of his one time nemesis, but ultimate friend, Apollo Creed. Michael B Jordan is excellent in the title role and the final fight will have you jumping up and down on your sofa.

7. Victoria
This German thriller follows a bored and lonely Spanish waitress as she becomes swept up in two hours of crime in the early hours of a Berlin morning. Shot in real time in one unbroken take, it’s a technical accomplishment of the highest kind, but also a compelling and gripping drama.

6. The Jungle Book
I never imagined this CG heavy remake of the Disney classic would make my list, but this is a real gem. The visual effects break new ground, giving us life-like animals without resorting to making them human-like. As such, some of the animals are downright scary, and so lifelike it’s hard not to think of them as actors in their own right.

5. Knight of Cups
Many critics would disagree, but I feel director Terrence Malick is in the best form of his career. His latest took a critical pounding, but I found it an incredible piece of cinema. Sure, it’s often preachy, but Malick’s always worth listening to.

4. The Measure of a Man
Actor Vincent Lindon gives a taut portrayal of a man struggling to maintain his dignity following the loss of a lifelong job. The movie illustrates the bureaucracy of a welfare system that reduces people to numbers. Heartbreaking but essential cinema.

3. Green Room
A punk band fight for their lives when a gig for a crowd of Neo-Nazis ends in murder in this old school spam in a can horror flick. Patrick Stewart is subdued but masterful as the manipulative leader of the violent skinheads. You can still catch this one on the big screen, and it’s best seen with a crowd.

2. Bone Tomahawk
Western meets horror as Sheriff Kurt Russell gathers a posse and sets off to rescue the townsfolk kidnapped by a tribe of mutant cannibals. As crazy as it sounds, it’s essentially a very old-fashioned western, and one of the best examples of the genre we’ve seen in many a year.

1. Our Little Sister
Japan’s Hirokazu Koreeda may be the finest filmmaker working today, certainly when it comes to creating engaging and real characters. His latest is a real tearjerker, the story of three sisters who invite their teenage step-sister to stay with them following the death of their father. I’d gladly watch these characters in a new story every week, but the two hours here pack in plenty to make this the year’s standout movie.

By Eric Hillis of