-- Falling behind on your movie viewing? Now is the time to catch up! Can you believe we’re already halfway through the year? And you’ve probably missed out on a few great gems. But don’t fret, film critic Peter Travers has put together his list of the Best and Worst Movies of 2016 "so far." It’s your guide to all the must-see films and to those you should skip.
Travers kicks his list off with “The Fits” starring newcomer Royalty Hightower. It’s a movie about a young tomboy who tries to fit in with her peers after joining an all-girl dance team.
“The movie is symbolic about what that feeling is when you’re exhilarated by life,” said Travers, who is host of “Popcorn With Peter Travers.” “And this young actress, she’s sensational.”
And then there’s another unknown must-see which will likely leave you shaking in your boots. It’s called “The Witch.” The film centers on a family in 1630s New England, torn apart by witchcraft.
“I know a lot of people went to this thinking they were seeing a cheap horror movie,” said Travers. “They didn’t get that. The director of this movie said, 'I want to do 1630 and the witches and I want no special effects. I want to show how that looked at the time.' This is so scary and it’s so small.”
A slew of animated features have hit the big screen this year. And they are bringing on the heat ... including director Jon Favreau’s remake of the 1967 animated Disney classic “The Jungle Book” produced by Walt Disney Pictures.
“He did what you would call a live-action version of it because the little boy that’s in it is a real little boy. But what we see in these animals is something new in the way the world can be created on a screen,” Travers said. “The movie was a huge success and deserved to be.”
Also from Disney, the wildly successful animated original “Zootopia.” It’s a cartoon about a newly appointed rabbit police officer who teams up with a con-artist red fox as she struggles to enforce the law.
“But within that cartoon, we’re seeing something about life and how we live life, how predators are and how people feel when they want to be safe and they don’t feel safe,” explained Travers. “It just had, especially with Jason Bateman playing the sly fox and doing the voice of that, something I haven’t seen. It’s an original, an original animated movie.”
Then there’s “Finding Dory,” the sequel to Pixar Animation Studios’ “Finding Nemo.” The film follows a forgetful blue tang fish when she is reunited with her old buddies Marlin and Nemo. This time a new character played by Ed O’Neill is introduced. He’s Hank, the "septopus."
“It’s a movie that stops still and lets us get to know the characters,” Travers said. “And you feel something for them. And to me that’s something rare. And this is that kind of rare sequel that really works.”
There are a couple of films that caught on that even the most devoted moviegoers may have missed. And they are definitely worth the watch.
“Sing Street” is the latest from director John Carney. It’s about teenagers in Ireland in the '80s trying to create a band. “It’s as simple as that,” said Travers. “And yet within that confine, it made a movie that I could see again and again, still find things in it and makes me feel good from watching it.”
Director Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some” also makes the list. The film, set in 1980, is about a bunch of baseball jocks having their first week in college.
“Such a minimalist movie that still hits you hard,” said Travers.
And topping off the list of best films of 2016 so far are two big blockbusters which, according to Travers, are almost a tie for No. 1.
“Why this works so well for me is that this character is hilarious at the same time is he cynical,” Travers said. “He’s cynical about what life is and what it says. And I never thought that Ryan Reynolds could give a performance this good. If they make 2 or 3 or 4 ‘Deadpools,’ I’m gonna be there ‘cause it was just that good.”
But it's “Captain America: Civil War” that tops out Travers’ list.
“This is a sequel that actually does work for many reasons. We still like the Avengers and you don’t get the feeling that everybody’s in it for the money,” said Travers. “There’s still a feeling in this movie that the Avengers have something to say. But we can’t fool ourselves, this isn’t really just a Captain America story. It’s an Avengers movie. And it’s a damn good one. So Captain America gets my special popcorn trophy.”
Pixar is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Pictures, which is the parent company of ABC.
If you’ve missed any of the films on Peter Travers’ Best Movies of 2016 list, no worries. Check out this link on where to see them now:
WORST MOVIES OF 2016 ‘SO FAR’
So now that you know what you should see, here are some of movies Peter Travers says you should avoid. Despite huge financial success at the box office, raking in more than $800 million dollars, “Batman v Superman” makes the list.
“It certainly doesn’t work. You could see things falling apart,” said Travers. “But at the same time it had ambition.”
The inside story of Benghazi “13 Hours” also finds its place on the "worst" list.
“Michael Bay always, always makes a movie that makes me want to throw up and he’s done it again,” said Travers.
“The Huntsman: Winter's War,” “Warcraft” and “Zoolander 2” are all among Peter Travers’ "worst" so far of 2016.
“When you look at 'Zoolander 2,' it’s as if all inspiration somehow died,” said Travers. “And you could see it on their faces. You could watch all these actors and people from the fashion industry coming in, looking at the camera and saying, 'Help me.' That’s what I saw. They were all going, 'Help me, get me out of this,'" joked Travers. “And I felt the same way sitting in the theater.”
Save yourself time and money. Watch the video above to see Peter Travers’ complete list of all the movies you’ll want to see and those you’ll want to avoid.