Sunday, February 19, 2017

Favorite Films: 2016

These are the films that I watched and most  enjoyed in 2016 and would like to view again.  The first group are those films I watched for the first time, and probably not for the last time either.  As you can see, there were 20 film which I would like to view again some time, but only four of them were films I had viewed for the first time.  Sixteen of the twenty were films I had already viewed in the past, viewed again in 2016 and would like to watch again some time in the future.

First Viewings:

Symphonies of Beethoven 
a Teaching Company set of 48 lectures on Beethoven's symphonies.  The only downside was that they were too short.  It's on my "must watch again" list.
The Martian   
a very realistic depiction of being marooned on Mars.  

 Love and Friendship  
a marvelous transformation of Jane Austen's novella, _Lady Susan_.  It is the best adaptation of a work by Austen that I have ever seen.  Why they changed the name, I don't know.
Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl  
Ken Burns' usual production, which would be extraordinary for anyone else--a great and moving documentary on a sad period in our history.  

Repeat Viewings:

THX 1138
George Lucas' first film, directed when he paid attention to character and plot and kept the action sequences at the appropriate level--but, as usual, he just had to get a car chase sequence in there.

Museum Hours
a great film, simple plot and two main characters.  The sights and scenes of Vienna are matched by the dialogue and paintings in the Kunsthistorisches Museum.  This is a link to my post on this film.

Man from Earth
one of my favorite SF films--John Oldman tells his friends that he's over 10,000 years old.  What follows is their attempt to determine if he is lying or deceiving them.  They of course rule out the possibility that he's telling the truth.  This is a link to my post on this film:

The Name of the Rose
a limited but excellent adaptation of Umberto Eco's great novel of the same name--a mystery set in an isolated monastery in Italy?  moody and dark, an interesting mix of religion and politics, and religious politics. 

Witness for the Prosecution
my all-time favorite  courtroom drama film: strangely, I liked the film better than the Christie story it was based on.

The Qatsi Trilogy
all photography, with no dialogue or plot; the  sound track of music composed by Philip Glass is an integral part of the overall effect.  Must be seen and heard to be appreciated.

pure graphics, no computer cgi, time lapse photography is the only special effect: -a contrast between wilderness and urban settings--the viewer decides

again, pure graphics, no computer cgi, time lapse photography is the only special effect:  the contrast is between the developing parts of the Southern Hemisphere and the still undeveloped parts

--Life as War is a rough translation of the title.  Released some 14 years after the first two--the technology wasn't available at the time.  This is almost all digitized photography. 

Brideshead Revisited
an excellent adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel.  Seeing this on PBS Masterpiece Theatre got me to go and read the novel.

Wages of Fear
one of the most tense and nerve racking films I've ever watched.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Smiley's People
two great BBC adaptations of the Smiley novels by John le Carre'
Alec Guinness is in top form here

The Big Sleep (Bogart and Bacall)

It's Bogart and Bacall in a film adaptation of a novel by Raymond Chandler.  What else need I say?.

If you're in the mood for a film and don't have anything particular in mind, try one of these, and let me know what you thought.  They are all great films and well worth the time spent.


  1. I enjoyed The Big Sleep for the first time this previous year, and saw a few clips from Brideshead. The novel has beautiful writing!

    1. Stephen,

      The film is excellent, as is the novel, even with the one unexplained murder. As for Brideshead, I try to watch it regularly and also read the novel.

  2. they sound interesting: the Navajo trilogy should be right up my alley. i recently acquired "the martian", by george du maurier... he was daphne's grandfather; i haven't had a chance to read it yet; it was his last book and is supposed to be semi-autobiographical... i just recently finished "peter ibbetson", his first book... i liked it...

    1. Mudpuddle,

      Not familiar with du Maurier's The Martian, as the film is based on Andy Weir's SF novel of the same name.

  3. Wait for my film list. Will be up soon.

  4. Speaking of which, have you seen anything by Kieslowski?

    1. Di,

      Not that I remember. Anything in particular you would like to recommend?

    2. Three Colours trilogy, especially Blue and Red.
      And The Double Life of Veronique.
      I'd like to hear what you think.

    3. Di,

      The local public library has The Double Life, so I put it on my futures list.

    4. Di,

      The library also has all three of the Colors trilogy.

    5. Good. You should watch the trilogy before Veronique. Start with Blue.
      I think you'll like it.

  5. I saw The Martian also, Fred. I had read the book earlier and absolutely loved it. I doubt I'll watch the movie again, if anything, I'll reread the book.

    Two all time favorites of mine which I've watched multiple times are Capricorn One and Altered States.

    1. madamevauquer,

      I will probably read and view The Martian again, OOTD. I've never watched Capricorn One, but I did see Altered States, another oldie I think.

    2. Yes, they're both oldies. As the also old Jethro Tull song goes, I'm "Living in the Past. Oh, well, lol.

      Capricorn is a fun movie with some great chase scenes too - men on foot vs everything else including aircraft. I also especially enjoyed Elliot Gould as a journalist.

    3. madamevauquer,

      Gould as a journalist--hard to imagine him as a journalist.

  6. madamevauquer,

    "living in the past"? Did you notice the number of new films I listed and the number of films that I had viewed again?