It’s been a fantastic year for Kenyan cinema. Movie fans got a new and shiny addition to their cinema options at Garden City. And there is confirmation of yet another movie theatre coming soon at Diamond Plaza, which is going to be Africa’s highest cinema.
In terms of movies, 170 titles showed in our cinemas in 2016, an increase on the 140 of 2015. Which makes picking out the 10 films that most impressed our critics that much harder.
Note: The KenyaBuzz annual Best Of list comprises only movies that opened in Kenyan cinemas.
(*See our 2015 list here)
10| Barbershop: The Next Cut (by Tim Mworia)
Any skeptic going into The Next Cut with a seed of doubt after the franchise’s long hiatus was not prepared for the great surprises it held. It turned out to be one of the most hearty and incredibly satisfying movies of the year. Full Review
9 | Moana (by Kanzayua)
Beautiful coral blue oceans and soft green backdrops characterize Moana. That coupled with fun, magnetic characters and an infectious soundtrack make it a timeless animation. Full Review
8 | Captain America: Civil War (by Andrew Onyango)
It introduced a new Spiderman who is young and chatty like the Spiderman I know and love. He’s a live action Disney XD Spiderman. I like the Disney XD Spiderman. Other big wins for this movie were the action sequences and opening the door for an official black Marvel movie in Black Panther. Full Review
7 | Arrival (by Kanzayua)
Arrival is simply brilliant. It’s a fresh and delectable perspective on the exhausted "alien invasion" script. Amy Adams is fantastic. She is a shoo-in for an Oscar nom for her performance here. Full Review
6 | Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (by Kanzayua)
Rogue One hits all the right notes and tells a dark story deserving of the big screen. It slots in nicely into the storied Star Wars franchise. Full Review
5 | Zootropolis (by Lisa Mugera)
Zootropolis has SO much going for it. It’s hilarious, the imagery is impeccable, and the female characters are powerfully portrayed. The phrase, “Real life is messy” hits home hard, and made me feel like, yes it is… but, real life is also beautiful. Full Review
4 | The Nice Guys (by Andrew Onyango)
In the age of superheroes and CGI, this movie did not get the recognition it deserved. It was funny and the story is fundamentally told- with a clear beginning, middle and end. Plus the casting of Crowe and Gosling in humor roles was a masterstroke. We rarely see them be purposely funny. Full Review
3 | Queen of Katwe (by Tim Mworia)
Mira Nair and Lupita Nyong’o team up to tell a refreshing African story that centres on an African heroine. A Hollywood movie that is devoid of white saviour complex is as rare as one with an all African cast. And Queen of Katwe is both those things. That alone makes it a great film. But the remarkable performances of David Oyelowo and the Katwe kids pushes it to stratospheric heights.
2 | Doctor Strange (by Andrew Onyango)
Marvel really outdid themselves in terms of visuals. This movie is a spiritual experience, truly mind expanding. More so when seen in IMAX. A two hour excuse to believe that the world is bigger than just what we see on the surface. Full Review
1 | Deadpool (by Tim Mworia)
Deadpool stood at a fork in the road and took the one less travelled by. It respects no rules and detests superhero movie conventions and tropes. It has shown us a different way of executing the superhero movie. Full Review
The Jungle Book
Star Trek Beyond
The Magnificent Seven
Eye in the Sky