This is a continuation of my Favorite/Standouts of the Year, this time focusing more on the genre side of things with my favorite fights/action sequences, cinematography, score/soundtrack, visual effects and trailers.
Assassin’s Creed: Run Through the City
Assassin’s Creed’s best moments where set in the past, and a majority of them were action sequences. The standout sequences was the run through the city that involves Aguilar (Michael Fassbender) and Maria (Ariane Labed) on the run from Ojeda (Hovik Keuchkerian) and his men. Along with small fights in tight quarters or on rooftops, the scene may be the best scene in the whole film.
Captain America: Civil War: Airport Battle & Captain America/Winter Soldier vs. Iron Man
Okay, this is a copout since this these are most of the action sequences, but let’s face it, Civil War, was filled with great action sequences. Of course, the biggest highlight was the Airport Battle that was unbelievably nerdy. The second big fight is Captain America and The Winter Soldier vs. Iron Man in a fight that is much more personal that I think anyone could have imagined being in a comic book film.
Deadpool: Deadpool Takes Out Convoy
While the scene is just a modified version of the “leaked” footage that came out the year before, the convoy sequence stood out to me because it happens in such a confined space and it still allows Ryan Reynolds to give us very Deadpool like lines.
Doctor Strange: The Ancient One vs. Kaecilius/Zealots & Strange vs. Kaecilius and Zealots
The fight scenes in Doctor Strange brought a new style to fight scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Magic. Not only that, that opening fight scenes between The Ancient One and the Zealots and Kaecilius showed the MCU isn’t scared of going a more martial arts route.
Ip Man 3 – Ip Man vs. Frank & Ip Man vs. Cheung Tin-chi
The Donnie Yen Ip-Man films are always filled with great fight scenes and Ip-Man 3 was no different. The two standout fights for me was the heavily promoted fight with Mike Tyson – who plays a mob boss named Frank – and the final fight between Ip Man and Cheung Tin-chi (Jin Zhang). The fight with Frank is actually good, and while arguably a stunt fight (they could have easily casted someone else), it doesn’t disappoint too much. As for the final fight with Cheung Tin-chi, this one was building almost from the beginning of the film, and when it finally happens, you can totally feel the emotion behind every punch and movement they make.
Moana: Moana and Maui Escape Kakamora
Another animated sequence that stood out to me was this Mad Max: Fury Road-inspired chase scene in Moana. Right down to the beating drums, and weirdly dressed Kakamora’s, the chase was something I’m sure George Miller would be proud of.
Rogue One: Chirrut Imwe vs. Stormtroppers, Final Battle, Vadar Boards
I’d be surprised if this doesn’t end up on other peoples lists. Personally, seeing Donnie Yen mess up some Stormtroopers was awesome. However, the final battle on Scarif was what the film was building up to, and it did not disappoint. Finally, the Vadar scene. I won’t give it away too much if you haven’t seen it, but wow!
Storks: Junior and Tulip vs. The Penguins
Animated “fight/action” sequences usually involve comedy and aren’t really taken seriously, and you know what? Sometimes that’s okay. Storks did that with their fight scenes that involves are heroes, Junior and Tulip, going up against penguins. What makes it standout – besides the homage to Aliens – all of it happens as they try to make the least amount of noise possible so they don’t wake up the baby.
The Revenant – Opening Ambush
The opening ambush scene was really something to watch unfold. The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is done in the classic Lubezki trope in that it’s done in shot continuous take. Not only that, it happens very fast and is so chaotic, that it makes it a standout scene.
X-Men: Apocalypse: Quicksilver’s Rescue & Wolverine Breaks Free
While Quicksilver’s Rescue was awesome to watch, seeing Hugh Jackman unleashed a bit of Berserker Rage on Stryker’s men was an even more awesome sight to see. Especially knowing that Jackman is on his way out the door as Wolverine/Logan
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Batman vs. Knyazev’s Men
Deadpool: Deadpool vs. Ajax (Finale)
Ghostbusters: Ghostbusters vs. Times Square Ghosts
Hacksaw Ridge: First Attack
Headshot: Ishmael vs. Tano & Ishmael vs. Lee
Kill Zone 2: Chatchai vs. Kit (Prison Riot) & Chatchai/Kit vs. Ko Hung aka The Warden
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Skeletons vs. Hollows
Star Trek Beyond: Enterprise Takeover
Suicide Squad: Suicide Squad/Katana/Rick Flag’s Unit vs. Monsters (Streets)
The Magnificent Seven: Finale Shootout
Warcraft: Durotan vs. Gul’dan
Emmanuel Lubezki – The Revenant
Emmanuel Lubezki has already made himself a well-known name amongst cinematographers, so it came as no surprise that his work in The Revenant was amazing and beautiful to watch.
Jarin Blaschke – The Witch
I’ve never heard of Jarin Blaschke, but I will be on the lookout for whatever he does next because his work in The Witch was equal parts creepy, eerie and gut-wrenching scary as hell. I’m not usually a fan of quotes in movie trailers, but the quote in the trailers that basically said it feels like something you shouldn’t be watching it completely true.
Linus Sandgren – La La Land
La La Land feels like an ultimate homage to old timey Hollywood films right down to cinematography during the musical sections of the film. Also, the fact that they used real location around Los Angeles is an added bonus (says the man from outside Chicago).
Pedro Luque – Don’t Breathe
One of the reasons that Don’t Breathe worked – at least for me – is the look of it all. The creepy house with the overall dark look made the film a more effective horror thriller. Pedro Luque really had a great eye for it all, and lets add the surprisingly good blackout sequences using night vision to show the pure terror of our main characters was great.
Zach Kuperstein – The Eyes of My Mother
The Eyes of My Mother is probably one of the creepiest films cinematography-wise. The film is shot in black and white, and for some reason, it made it a hell of a lot more creepier. It makes you imagine what the colors would look like, but even its nature shots and more distributing shots, the film is still beautiful to look at.
Bradford Young – Arrival
Don Burgess – The Conjuring 2
Marc Spicer – Lights Out
Natasha Braier – The Neon Demon
Pasha Kapinos/Vsevolod Kaptur/Fedor Lyass – Hardcore Henry
Roman Osin – The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Stephane Fontaine – Jackie
Dario Marianelli – Kubo and the Two Strings
Kubo and the Two Strings is already a great film, but one of the main reasons is because of the music. The music connects to theme they’re going for, and Regina Spektor’s cover of “My Guitar Gently Weeps” is beautiful.
Justin Hurwitz – La La Land
Easily one of, if not, the best soundtracks of the year, La La Land’s soundtrack is as vivid as the set-pieces it plays over. You can easily be addict to the soundtrack, I know I was, because as soon as I walked out of the theater I bought the soundtrack.
Mark Korven – The Witch
The Witch is already eerily creepy with its cinematography, but add on the music that was created by Mark Korven, you have yourself an all around horror film of nightmares.
Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda – Moana
Come on, let’s face it – you’ve been singing songs from Moana since you’ve seen it, right? Okay then.
Musical Department in Sing Street
Sing Street doesn’t have one specific person attached for the music. Some were covers, but Drive it Like You Stole It, is one of the best new songs of the year.
Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL – Batman Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Johann Johannsson – Arrival
Lukasz Pawel Buda/Samuel Scott/Conrad Wedde – Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carsten Nicolai, and Bryce Dessner – The Revenant
Marvel introduced us to the magical realm and other dimensions, and I don’t know if anyone other than Scott Derrickson could have introduced us to that. The visuals were just amazing to see, even with the Inception-style effects, that aren’t as dominate as you would think, the visuals made Doctor Strange a standout Marvel film.
The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is a film that probably should have failed, but it didn’t – at all. The film is bursting with phenomenal visuals, that even after you find out that almost everything was created with visuals, you watch wondering, was that real? Honestly, The Jungle Book was arguably some of the best CGI we’ve ever seen.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Captain America: Civil War Trailer 2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman Comic Con
First Official ‘Suicide Squad’ Trailer
The Birth of a Nation Teaser
First Sausage Party Trailer
So that’s it ladies and gentlemen.
What are some of your favorites, and be on the lookout for the big lists next week!