KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yes, 2016 is a wrap. Was it a good year? Well that’s debatable depending on each individual person. In terms of movies it was alright. In terms of movies about the black experience it was exceptional. Historical in fact. Now the term best is so subjective but here are my Top 5.
5) THE BIRTH OF A NATION (R)
Nat Turner finally got his movie. And this long over due mostly unknown episode of American history exploded on screen. This Sundance Film Fest darling directed by Nate Parker about a slave revolt crackled with authenticity. Unfortunately a personal issue with the director derailed the film. But cinema shouldn’t be judged by the ills and sins of the filmmakers or actors. Films by Woody Allen, Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski aren’t. And movies starring Robert Downey Jr., and Casey Affleck aren’t shunned.
4) CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (R)
Original and unpredictable best describe the whimsical and fun “Captain Fantastic,” which also features one of the best acting ensembles of the year.
3) LEMONADE (Not Rated)
Not a movie in the traditional sense. However, Beyonce’s long-form video released to help promote her new album “Lemonade” was just about the most intoxicating piece of cinema released in 2016.
2) HIDDEN FIGURES (PG-13)
The message alone makes “Hidden Figures” the best movie of the year. Three black women working as scientist and engineers for NASA during the Civil Rights era is an “Amen moment.” Watching Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Kansas City, Kansas homie Janelle Monáe bringing all to life is a “Hallelujah moment.”
1) MOONLIGHT (R)
The best movies take you to new places you would never visit. “Moonlight” brilliantly introduced audiences to Liberty City. In case you aren’t aware that is a seriously hood section of Miami. However, “Moonlight” managed to beautify an area considered horrifically ugly and scarred. The movie also brilliantly tackled black masculinity, crack addiction and bullying with an honest and fresh approach. Director Barry Jenkins pulled elements from his real life to deliver a brazenly different type of coming of age story. The results are astonishing and “Moonlight” is truly unlike anything you have ever seen.
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