ScreenAnarchy's Top Movies Of The First Half Of 2016

Editor, Europe; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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One year ago, we arrived at the mid-year point in high spirits. We all marveled at the new Mad Max, got turned Inside Out by Pixar, and were seduced by Ex Machina. So we published our favorites as a nice list (which you can look back on here).

So now that we are at 2016's halfway point, what films have managed to impress and touch us most? We put the question to the editorial staff, and 21 replied with a top 5, from which we cobbled together a top 10, and a list of 10 runners-up.

Mind, not all titles travel fast, so some films may be from last year, or will be released later but have been screened at festivals already. All in all, every contributor had at least some films on his/her list which were exclusive to that person. In total, we have 74 titles, and I would lie if I said I've seen most of those. Therefore, a complete list of all those titles can be found at the end of our countdown.

Click through the images, and check if your own favorites are on our list! Speaking of which, HAVE YOUR SAY and chime in, in the comments!


Jaime Grijalba Gomez, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Daniel Rutledge, Dustin Chang, Christopher O'Keeffe, Andrew Mack, Stuart Muller, Eric Ortiz Garcia, Loïc Valceschini, Ernesto Zelaya Miñano, James Marsh, Brian Clark, Martin Kudlac, Hugo Ozman, Kurt Halfyard, Benjamin Umstead, Jim Tudor, Peter Martin, Pierce Conran and Kwenton Bellette contributed to this story.

Let's start with the runners up: all these films would have shot into the top-10 if even one more contributor would have voted for them... and some did, last year already. So take the order of these with a grain of salt, and just see this as a big batch of notable titles:

20 - Raw
19 - The Alchemist Cookbook
18 - Our Little Sister
17 - Hail Ceasar!
16 - Deadpool
15 - Mountains May Depart
14 - High Rise
13 - Trivisa
12 - Chi-Raq
11 - Son of Saul (pictured above)

And now, on with the top 10!

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More about Have Your Say

rustdogJuly 1, 2016 12:19 PM

I'm still trying to figure out if I like The Witch or not. There were many components of the film done very well including: the sets, cinematography, practical effects, but then I found myself laughing at the bad acting and the goat. I had a hard time taking the horror seriously. It is a movie I should watch again, but don't want to.

Ben UmsteadJuly 1, 2016 12:43 PM

I'm actually right there with you on The Witch. It's a movie I can admire for much of its craft, but my time with it as a cinematic experience yielded very little. Since watching it's only faded further into the ether. Though I'm sure seeing my number 1 of the year later that same day certainly doesn't help its case.

Got Luger'dJuly 1, 2016 3:36 PM

Wow, I actually found the acting quite brilliant, especially the boy and his big moment in the film, which alone is worthy of an Oscar nom.

JahsoldierJuly 1, 2016 5:52 PM

I was actually a little disappointed in the Nice Guys. Although funny in places, it never felt as funny as it could have been. Normally I like Ryan Gosling but his character just didn't click with me. Kim Basinger seemed to have phoned in her performance. Was hoping for more from Black after his other great buddy films :(

l3reezerJuly 1, 2016 7:35 PM

Haven't had the chance to catch most of these (though I can't wait to delve into a handful of them - Our Little Sister, Son of Saul, Hail Caesar!, High Rise, etc.), but of the ones I have seen:
-Surprised Deadpool is on the list, even as a runner-up; I was fairly disappointed in it as I felt the refreshing lax and meta approach still couldn't save it from ultimately having the tired framework and format of the typical superhero movie in the end.
-Loved The Nice Guys; saw it the weekend it came out because the trailers left such a great impression on me. Ryan Gosling's performance made me laugh harder than I ever have in a long time. Though admittedly, I'm also a bit surprised to see it take the No.2 spot (ironically that's probably the same spot it takes on my own personal list currently but that's only because I've seen less than 10 movies altogether this year).
-Completely forgot The Hateful Eight qualifies as a 2016 release, but yeah, it's probably No.1 or 2 for me at the moment. Huge Tarantino fan. Watched it in theaters at 1 in the morning and was wide awake the whole time, thoroughly entertained. Watched my favorites scenes once or twice more when it came out on Bluray.

Daniel smithJuly 1, 2016 7:38 PM

Not the Nice Guys! It just wasn't as funny as the makers thought it was. I didn't think Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowell had any chemistry which is crucial for any buddy cop movie. If it was meant to be anything 'meta' I didn't get it.

Ard VijnJuly 1, 2016 8:38 PM

You're clickbaiting me into looking it up, aren't you? (Must... resist...)

One-EyeJuly 2, 2016 2:52 AM

I like THE WITCH but it was the second hugely-hyped horror movie I was a bit disappointed in this year. The other being GOODNIGHT MOMMY.

Ben UmsteadJuly 2, 2016 3:45 AM

Cuff me.

Suck My BaalJuly 2, 2016 10:10 AM

Three of your top 10 are from 2015.

Ard VijnJuly 2, 2016 12:28 PM

We used the year of theatrical (or festival) release in the country of the contributor. Meaning films can indeed turn up in different years in different countries, for different writers.

Unflinching_EyeJuly 3, 2016 9:38 PM

It's a bummer when little movies get spoiled by hype. Another example for me was WE ARE STILL HERE. I was expecting the ultimate Fulci homage and it fell a bit flat for me.

Unflinching_EyeJuly 3, 2016 9:41 PM

Although I personally thought the acting was good, I agree with everything else you say. I have a feeling that when I do get around to watching it again I'll like it a lot more with my expectations in check.

Unflinching_EyeJuly 3, 2016 9:43 PM

I'm surprised that SWISS ARMY MAN hasn't turned up on anyone's list. I thought it was pretty amazing.

owenJuly 3, 2016 10:07 PM

The wailing believe the hype

One-EyeJuly 3, 2016 10:34 PM

I have no problem believing the hype for THE WAILING, since I loved the director's previous two movies.

marshy00July 3, 2016 11:19 PM

I'm pretty sure it's only been released in N.America so far, so probably not enough of us have seen it yet.

Ellington LassiterJuly 4, 2016 2:15 AM

I completely agree. Past offenders on my list are It Follows and The Babadook. I can separate a movie from its hype but those were both treated as if they were genius when I found them super underwhelming. There are many other interesting metaphorical horror films that never got the attention or wide release as those previously mentioned.

Ben UmsteadJuly 4, 2016 9:10 PM

It was only just released in NA the week this poll was due. Also had near zero fest play after Sundance so... Though for the record it was just shy of my top 5 at number 6.

cjohnstonJuly 6, 2016 3:31 PM

agree about Swiss. ......it was (from start to finish), - quite, Impressive, Crude, Obscene, and Thought-Provoking; ..all at maddeningly once...
*probably the ONLY film i've Ever sat thru that can qualify for this..

~
...unless i'm getting some minutiae of detail regarding exact (vod) release mixed up, with regard to Anomalisa - i'm definitely surprised that that one's not on any lists here either.

..if i mis-speak and mis-step with that one though.
.Apologies..

itrollidiotsJuly 8, 2016 5:34 PM

Big yay for Green Room!