The Collegian’s top movies of 2016

IAN LACK Reporter

Editor’s Note: This is a list based on the 2016 films the reporter was able to see within their available free time. The list takes into account all qualities of film making and personal taste, as well as audience appeal.

1. “Arrival”

“Arrival” was advertised as a showdown between humans and aliens — just another sci-fi flick with impressive visuals. What was delivered was a well-written, extremely nuanced film about a mother coming to terms with the loss of her daughter and the quiet realization that some things are simply out of our control.

2. “La La Land”

Having now seen “La La Land,” I can say that the film lives up to its hype. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have magnetic chemistry together and Damien Chazelle’s excellent direction creates some of the year’s best sensory experiences.

3. “Rouge One: A Star Wars Story”

Easily the best “Star Wars” film to date, “Rogue One” boosts the franchise to new heights. Sweeping starship fights, a talented, diverse cast and a beautiful ending bring this new “Star Wars” chapter into a new era.

4. “Moonlight”

It’s never easy to watch a character suffer on screen and combat their inner demons, but watching the struggle and growth the main character, Chiron, goes through is eye-opening as well as beautiful.

5. “Jackie”

Natalie Portman’s performance as one of the most iconic first ladies in U.S. history was greatly anticipated, and not without reason. “Jackie” lives or dies by Portman’s performance and, in this case, it lives with grace and breathtaking poignancy.

6. “Captain America: Civil War”

Of any superhero film this year, Marvel’s “Civil War” stands out as the true leader. Complicated, exciting and grand in scope, this film not only elevates the emotional stakes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also superhero flicks overall.

7. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

It’s easy to question the quality of a film that is attempting to follow in the footsteps of the “Harry Potter” franchise, but “Fantastic Beasts” is the exception. This film breathes new magic into the franchise and ups the emotional stakes for everything.

8. “Zootopia”

Tackling subjects like race relations, gender politics and drug abuse, “Zootopia” is a children’s film with a lot to say. This commentary on important social issues lands with poignancy and heart while providing a witty, fun story.

9. “Manchester by the Sea”

On the surface, “Manchester by the Sea” seems like a slow-paced film that doesn’t have a whole lot to say. However, once you understand the emotional turmoil this film’s characters have gone through, the subtle brilliance is revealed ten-fold.

10. “Kubo and the Two Strings”

Any animated film that makes you question the nature of your own mortality is special in its own right. However, “Kubo and the Two Strings” does more than this with biting humor, a talented voice cast and a story that pulls heart strings.