The film industry continuously works to create stories that will amaze and inspire for generations. This year, we've already been introduced to plenty of popular blockbusters that have warmed our hearts or made us laugh until we can't breathe.
Unfortunately, some of the most amazing stories are missed by movie-goers and aren't fully appreciated by a worldwide audience. Here are four great films from 2016 that you might have missed.
"Kubo and the Two Strings" (PG)
Set in ancient Japan, this film follows Kubo, a young boy living with his ill mother atop a mountain overlooking a quaint village. Every day, when the sun rises, Kubo heads to town and entertains the locals with his magical shamisen (a three-stringed instrument) that makes pieces of paper dance around while he tells a story about his late samurai father, Hanzo. Although his mother warns him that he must not stay out in the night because of the dangers that he could face, one day Kubo loses track of time and finds himself alone in the darkness. Peril ensues and Kubo must go on a journey with some new friends (voiced by Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey) to find his father's magic samurai armor to defeat the villains that are closely following him. The stunning animation paired with the beautiful music makes for quite the sensory experience while the heartwarming tale will have you hugging your loved ones by the end.
"The Lobster" (R)
Colin Farrell impresses critics in this quirky film about a man named David, who is taken to a special hotel for single adults, after he discovers his wife has left him for another man. But this isn't your ordinary speed-dating setup. The hotel is a façade for a facility that transforms single folks into animals if they don't find a partner within the designated 45-day timeframe. Residents of the hotel must choose an animal they would prefer to be turned into and then must attempt to find a mate while following the hotel's many strange rules. Concerned about the well-being of everyone in the hotel, David escapes and calculates a plan with other former residents to expose the wretched place and its practices. As a winner of the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, this film is definitely worth seeing if you're into dystopian comedy-dramas.
"Pete's Dragon" (PG)
This remake of the 1977 animated Disney classic takes viewers on quite the emotional adventure as Pete, a boy who lost his parents in an accident during a road trip, discovers and befriends a magical dragon hidden in the woods near a small town. Six years after the accident, Pete is discovered in the woods by Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), a park ranger, and her boyfriend Jack (Wes Bentley). Taken under the wing of the family, Pete struggles with adjusting to normal life and being without his best pal, Elliot the dragon. In a dramatic turn of events, Jack's brother Gavin decides that he is going to find the dragon and capture it so that he can become rich. As Pete becomes distraught from the news, he must work with his new family to help Elliot before it's too late.
"Deepwater Horizon" (PG-13)
Possibly the most A-lister film included, this creation has gone under the radar after being released in mid-September. The plot is based on the true events of the BP oil spill in 2010 aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich and Kate Hudson all contribute to this suspenseful disaster film that recounts the story of what is known as the worst oil spill in the history of the United States. Throughout the film, viewers learn of certain safety precautions that were disregarded by BP officials, which led to the rig's demise. From there, the story follows the arduous struggles of the crew members who were attempting to escape the burning vessel. The poignant film hits close to home as it depicts the events of real people that were affected by the tragedy and concludes with a memoriam for those who were lost.
Films will continue to send us on adventures and discover feelings we never knew existed, so be sure to get out there and watch as many as you can.