shutterstock_362565074-750x563It’s that time of year again.  Each year I compile this list of films for those that do not have the time or inclination to scour the web for all the various films nominated by the Academy, Various Guilds, Unions, Reviewers, Critics, Journalists, Websites, etc. . So – I do it for you.  I usually do it on Facebook, but few pay any attention.  However, I believe there is an audience out there that cares, so I created a new blog for this very purpose . . . and to start posting film reviews & recommendations year round.

Why? Because I fervently believe that the stories, themes, characters & conflicts presented via film & theatre are essential to our understanding of the wider culture, history, psyche, morality and civilization in the US and abroad. They are a visual, literary, intellectual, emotional, psychological & spiritual overview of the human race, comprising our collective zeitgeist on any given year and allowing us to analyze ourselves, our culture, our intelligence, our spiritual state, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

By watching, observing and analyzing these films I gain a much greater understanding, sensitivity, empathy and compassion as to the broad human condition around the planet – as well as mankind’s stark need for redemption, purpose, meaning, love, faith, hope & change. These films, when seen as something other than a guilty pleasure or pointless pastime, can be a transformational experience that allows one to view life from a different perspective, allowing one to walk in the shoes of others and see through foriegn eyes – leading to greater empathy and less judgment.

Those that think “Hollywood” is destroying the fabric of society may not understand that Hollywood is not a cabal, and doesn’t have a unified agenda of any sort – it is a loosely connected group of artists all over the planet creating art through the use of actors, directors, writers, cinematographers, editors, etc.  Most people involved in films will tell you that their hope is to facilitate positive change – not cultural or moral destruction.

Films are often the only source of art available to the wider public (no matter where they live or how insular their communities may be) that challenges the casual & heinous sins we commit against ourselves, our families, and each other. Film can deal with themes & issues much more directly & personally than most teachers, preachers or counselors.  The stories are often analogies & metaphors for a much bigger picture than the story itself.

Many might find a lot of these films offensive . . . but  I find that those that cause the most offense are often morality tales meant to challenge & confront the root cause of such offenses rather than glorify them.  Films hold up a mirror, so that we can see our own actions, reactions & rationalizations in a new light . . . and thus be challenged to change, or be the change that others need.

My wife & I try to watch all the films given any kind of kudos, mentions or award nods from around the world (or at least rate above 60% on the Rotten Tomato meter). We do not do so simply be “entertained” – we watch to be challenged, educated, edified and enlightened, or to further our understanding & expand our frame of reference.

I don’t enjoy all the films each year, I often wonder why they are acclaimed, and sometimes I really hate them . . . but when viewed as a collective morality play full of analogies & metaphors reflecting themes we ignore, or do not know how to discuss in polite company – films can provide a mosaic of our zeitgeist in its most visceral form.

Thus, here is the list of all the critically acclaimed and award nominated films for 2016. I confess to only having seen a few thus far, and many haven’t even had wide releases (and are thus difficult to even find) – but I will do my best to seek them out and see them all.

So . . . get to watching – and if you have an opinions on any of the films mentioned, or neglected – please chime in and let me know!  The films listed are not necessarily my choices – they are simply those that appear on the roster of others.

++ – nominated for an Academy Award, or were included in the BEST FILM category of another film award.

+ – nominated for something (best actor, actress, cinematography, editing, sound, etc.) by one of the many organizations, guilds, unions, etc. that give out such awards.

The films that include an * (before or after the + or standing alone) are the only films I’ve actually seen.

oscars-2017-nominationsMUST SEE FILMS



++13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of  Benghazi

++20th Century Women


++American Honey


++Birth of A Nation


++Captain America: Civil War

+*Captain Fantastic

++Certain Women


++Couple In A Hole


++Deepwater Horizon

+*Doctor Strange

++Don’t Think Twice

++Edge of Seventeen


++Embrace of the Serpent (El Abrazo De La Serpiente)

++Everybody Wants Some!

+*Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find  Them


++Finding Dory

++Fits, The

+*Florence Foster Jenkins

++Free State of Jones


++Green Room

+*Hacksaw Ridge

+*Hail, Caesar!

++Handmaiden, The (Ah-Ga-Ssi)

++Hell Or High Water

+*Hidden Figures

++Hunt For the Wilderpeople

++I Am Not Your Negro

++I, Daniel Blake


++Jim: The James Foley Story

++Jungle Book

++Kubo and the Two Strings

+*La La Land

++Land Of Mine (Under Sandet)

++Life, Animated


++Little Men

++Lobster, The

++Love & Friendship


++Man Called Ove, A (En Man Som Heter Ove)

+*Manchester By The Sea


++Monster Calls, A


++My Life As A Zucchini


++Nice Guys, The

++Nocturnal Animals

++Notes on Blindness

++O.J. Made in America



++Patriots Day

++Red Turtle, The

+*Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

++Salesman, The


+*Sing Street

++Son Of Saul

+*Star Trek Beyond

++Suicide Squad


++Swiss Army Man


++Things To Come (L’avenir)

++Toni Erdmann



++Under The Shadow

++Wailing, The (Goksung)


++Witch, The





*10 Cloverfield Lane

+Adult Life Skills

+All The Way

+Almost Christmas

+Amanda Knox


+April and the Extraordinary World


+Ardennes, The

+Audrie & Daisy

+Author: The JT LeRoy Story


+Beatles: Eight Days A Week

+Before The Flood

+Between Sea and Land

+BFG, The

+Bigger Splash, A

+Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

+Black Mountain Poets

*Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

+Blood Father

+Born To Be Blue

+Brand New Testament, The

+Bridget Jone’s Baby

+Café Society

+Cartel Land

+Cemetery of Splendor

+Central Intelligence


+Childhood of A Leader


+Command and Control

+Confession, The


+Conjuring 2, The

+Creative Control


+Darkest Universe, The

+De Palma





+Don’t Breathe

+Dressmaker, The

+Eagle Huntress, The

+Eddie The Eagle


+Everything Is Copy

+Eye In The Sky

+Eyes Of My Mother, The

+Free Fire

+Free In Deed

+Ghoul, The

+Girl On The Train

+Girl With All The Gifts




+Greasy Strangler, The

+Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki

+Hard Stop, The

+He Names Me Malala

+Hello, My Name Is Doris

+Holy Hell

+Hooligan Sparrow

+Hunter Gatherer

+Hunting Ground

+I Am Not a Serial Killer

+In A Valley Of Violence


+Innocents, The (Les Innocentes)

+Into The Inferno

+Invitation, The

+Ivory Game, The

+Jason Bourne

+Jean of the Joneses

+Josh Kriegman & Elise Steinberg


+Kate Plays Christine



+Kung Fu Panda 3

+Illinois Parables, The

+Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

+Levelling, The

+Light Between Oceans, The

+Listen To Me Marlon

+Little Prince

+Live By Night

+London Has Fallen

+Long Way North


+Love Witch, The

+Ma’ Rosa

+Maggie’s Plan

+Magnificent Seven, The

+Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures


+Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

+Miles Ahead


+Miss Hokusai

+Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

+Miss Sharon Jones!

+Miss Sloane

+Morris From America

+Mother (Eme)

+Mountains May Depart

+Mr. Church


+My Beautiful Broken Brain

+My Feral Heart

+My Golden Days


+Neon Demon, The

+Oasis: Supersonic

+Off The Rails

+Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

+Other People

+Our Kind Of Traitor

+Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary)


+Pass, The

+Passing, The (Yr Ymadawiad)

+Patch of Fog, A

+Pete’s Dragon

+Popstar: Never Stop Stopping


+Queen of Katwe

+Racing Extinction


+Rules Don’t Apply

+Sausage Party

+Secret Life of Pets

+Shallows, The






+Southside With You

+Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

+Spa Night

+Stairs, The

+Sunset Song

+Team Foxcatcher


+Trepass Against Us

+Under The Sun

+United Kingdom, A

+Urban Hymn

+Versus: The Life & Films of Ken Loach


+War Dogs

+What Happened, Miss Simone?

+Where You’re Meant To Be

+Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

+Witness, The

+Women Who Kill

+Your Name

+Zero Days




13 Cameras




Abortion: Stories Women Tell

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

According To Her

Accountant, The


After The Storm

Age of Shadows

Alchemist Cookbook, The

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Almost Holy (Crocodile Gennadly)

Always Shine

American Side, The

Anatomy of Violence

And Nothing Happened

Angry Inuk

Arabian Nights

Armenia, My Love

As Without So Within

Assassin, The

Assassin’s Creed


Ava’s Possessions

Bad Hurt

Bad Moms

Baden Baden

Barbershop: The Next Cut


Beautiful Planet, A


Being 17

Best Worst Thing That Could Have  Happened

Blackcoat’s Daughter (February)

Blair Witch

Bleeding Edge

Blood on the Mountain

Born In Flames

Born To Be Wild

Boy and the Beast (Bakemono No Ko)

Brahman Naman

Buddy Solitaire

Burning Dog

Casanova Was A Woman

Chasing Asylum


Children Of The Mountain

City Of Gold

Clan, The (El Clan)

Closet Monster

Club, The (El Club)

Colliding Dreams


Complete Unknown

Contemporary Color


Dance Kahani

Dark Horse


Death of Louis XIV



Diamond Tongues

Disorder (Maryland)

Do Not Resist

Dog Eat Dog

Don’t Call Me Son

Dying of the Light, The

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

Ebo Grease

Eisenstein In Guanajuato

Elvis & Nixon


Everything Else


Family Fang, The


Films Confiscated From a French Brothel

Fireworks Wednesday

First Monday In May

For The Love Of Spock

For The Plasma

Fort Buchanan




From Afar

From The Notebook Of . . .

Front Cover

Fundamentals of Caring

Gimme Danger

Girl Asleep



Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu

Golden Treasure

Gone: VR 360


Guns and Grams

Guys Reading Poems

Hallow, The (The Woods)

Happy Hour

Hardcore Henry

Hateful Eight, The



Heaven Knows What

Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party

Hermia & Helena

High & Low: The Movie


High Stung



Homo Sapiens

Hot Water

How To Be Single

Hunter’s Club. The



I Am Not Madame Bovery

I, Olga Hepnarova


In Order of Disappearance

In The Shadow Of Women

Infiltrator, The

Intervention, The

Into The Forest

IP Man 3

Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar

It’s Not The Time Of My Life

It’s Only The End Of The World



Kaili Blues




Kids Aren’t Alright, The

Kind Words, The

King Cobra

King Jack

Kiragoorina Gayyalingalu

Knight Of Cups

Koneline: Our Land Beautiful

Le Bois Don’t Les Reves Sont Faits

La Loi De La Jungle


Land Of The Little People

Last Cab To Darwin

Last Days in the Desert

Last Man On The Moon, The

Les Cowboys

*Lights Out

Like Cattle Towards Glow

Little Sister

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

Lo Siento Laura

London Road

Lost Arcade, The

Lost City of Z, The

Louder Than Bombs

Love Witch, The

Lovers and the Despot, The

Lux In Tenebris




Me Before You

Measure of a Man (Lo Loi Du Marche)

Meddler, The

Men & Chicken

Men Go To Battle

Mermaid, The

Mia Madre

Michael Moore in TrumpLand

Microbe & Gasoline (Microbe et Gasoil)

Midnight Special

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates

Miracles From Heaven

Mob Fathers: Permanent Rehab

Moments From A Sidewalk

Monster Hunt

Monster With A Thousand Heads, A

Monty Comes Back


Mountain Men

Multiple Maniacs

Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea

My Father’s War

My King (Mon Roi)

My Love, Don’t Cross That River


Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Neither Heaven Nor Earth (Ni Le Ciel Ni La)

Neon Bull



No Home Movie

No Panic, With A Hint of Hysteria


Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You



Old Stone

On Meditation

One More Time With Feeling

Only Yesterday

Operation Avalanche

Ornithologist, The

Other Side, The

Ouija: Origin of Evil

Paint It Black

Pashupati Prasad

Paths of the Soul (Kang Rinpoche)

Pearl Button, The

Pee Wee’s Big Holiday

People Vs. Fritz Bauer (Der Staat Gegen Fritz Bauer)

Personal Shopper

Pervert Park

Peter and the Farm

Phantom Boy

Phenom, The

Presenting Princess Shaw

Punter’s Prayer, A

Purge, The: Election Year

Quiet Passion, A

Quizas Hoy

Rabid Dogs (Enrages)

Rabin, The Last Day

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

Rams (Hrutar)


Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan


Requiem For The American Dream

Right Now, Wrong Then

Road Games


Sand Storm

Saturn’s Rings

Scarred Hearts

Selling Stupid

Set Me Free Vol. I
Set Me Free Vol. II

Seventh Fire, The

Sinner In Mecca, A

Slack Bay

Son Of Joseph, The

Songs My Brothers Taught Me



Starving The Beast

Staying Vertical

Stevie D

Street Cat Named Bob, A

Summertime (La Belle Saison)

Sweet Bean (An)

Take Me To The River

Tale of Tales (Il Racconto Dei  Racconti)



Tenth Man, The (El Rey Del Once)


Three Screen Ray

‘Till Madness Do Us Part

Time To Choose

Train To Busan (Bu-San-Haeng)


Treasure, The


Valley Of Love

Vigilante III


War, A (Krigen)

Wave, The (Bolgen)


Where To Invade Next

White Girl

Woman Who Left, The


X-Men: Apocalypse

Yourself and Yours