Believe it or not, there have been plenty of standout films released so far this year—and from some very unlikely places. Here are the best of the best.
THE DAILY BEAST – People whine ad nauseam about the flaming bags of dog shit that the major Hollywood studios leave on their proverbial doorstep every summer (OK, most of winter and spring, too). They’re not wrong. Your typical first-half movie boasts more dodgy storylines and stunted logic than a Trump rally, and 2016 has been no exception. We have been sadistically subjected to laugh-free comedies like Zoolander 2, Dirty Grandpa, and Adam Sandler’s The Do-Over; the bloated disasterpieces Batman v Superman and Gods of Egypt; and whatever the hell Nina was. Sad!
But it hasn’t been all bad. Yes, many fine films have seen the light of day in the months before Oscar season kicks off—you just had to look hard to find them.
So without further ado, here are The Daily Beast’s best movies of 2016 so far.
6. The Invitation (Dir. Karyn Kusama)
Since her thrilling indie debut Girlfight, Karyn Kusama has been chewed up and spit out by Hollywood (Aeon Flux, anyone?), but with The Invitation she reminds us how gifted a filmmaker she is. The setup is simple enough: Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his new girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) are, along with other close friends, invited to a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills hosted by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and new hubby David (Michiel Huisman). Eden has been off-grid for two years, as both she and Will struggled to come to terms with the death of their child. Over the course of the evening, Will becomes increasingly suspicious of Eden’s erratic behavior, and convinces himself that this invitation was not to a dinner party, but something far more disturbing. Kusama is a master-builder of tension, upping it inch by inch until it hits its breaking point, culminating in a finale that will leave you breathless.