This year hasn’t been the strongest (so far) when it comes to a year of films and visual entertainment. Sure, there are some good flicks on the menu worth having again, no doubt about it, but when you try to look at what the chefs are cooking and find none of them appetizing is when you scoff. I am that customer at the restaurant of films and I want to tip my servers plenty, but they just haven’t all earned that 20-35% I want to give.
With all that talk about cinematic feasting, it wasn’t nearly as hard to pick out my favorites of this year (so far) simply because I either came home disappointed or didn’t get a chance to see a lot of the smaller ones, the curse of not living directly in a big city. With that said, I’m sure me leaving off Green Room, The BFG, Midnight Special etc., but I’ll see them eventually! Without further ado…
10. Hail Caesar!: I’m sure all the flack I was getting for liking this movie was warranted after putting it number 10 on my list of favorite Coen Brothers films (ever), but there’s a reason for that. It’s over the top, call back to old Hollywood genres like romances, musicals, noirs, and comedies made for a fun theater experience with classic Coen dialogue and zany characters. It also introduced me to the new Young Han Solo Alden Ehrenreich and that’s a solid reason to give this film a chance, he’s great.
9. 10 Cloverfield Lane: I waited to here confirmation on whether or not this was directly tied to the found footage film that shared a name in the title, but there was no point. I was given a claustrophobic, one room setting for a film that had a terrifying John Goodman and splendid writing and acting. It was unique and suspenseful, but not so aggressive in it’s horror or sci-fi genre tropes to get away from what it really wanted to be and that’s a follow along thriller of the best type.
8. The Boy and the Beast: This is arguably one of the best films I’ve seen in quite some time. After getting it on blu-ray this year and seeing it in a small arthouse theater with some buddies of mine, the three of us were hooked. From the beautiful Japanese animation to the central themes of the film, The Boy and the Beast proves that Pixar and America aren’t the only places to get great animated features. It goes in some unique directions with it’s plot that further along an already heartwarming and action packed tale of family, fathers, and acceptance.
7. The Witch: I don’t even like horror movies all that much, but while I was cowering in fear during this film’s runtime, I could help but to keep watching the carnage and weirdness that is The Witch. Movie fans whom are also horror fans know that this is a masterful work from a young director, but I think the old English and period drama dialogue and setting turned the lesser knowing movie fans off because they’re used to gore fests and overused story tropes. For me, this is what I want in horror as well as all films, and that is for them to tell a great story that will keep even the most hesitant of fans wanting to come back for more.
6. Zootopia: Animation always tends to be the lone bright spot even in a lame movie year (so far) and Zootopia was a film that had people walking in with low expectations, but like most Disney properties, people including myself, were blown away by the charm and deeply cutting topics the film presented to us through talking animals. It was funny, quite serious at some moments, and the word I’ve been using through this whole list, original. I think Finding Dory is a really good movie, but this should be the favorite to take home the Best-Animated Feature Oscar this year.
5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Rated-R Cut): Notice the words in parenthesis and realize the difference before you yell at me. I was immensely disappointed with the theatrical cut the studio decided to release. The poorly edited, non cohesive storytelling from the theater cut didn’t help the film flow like we had hoped, but after seeing the cut that fans will get to see on blu-ray, you are going to have to swallow your words. Sure, it’s still not a perfect film, but you will definitely realize how much smoother a watch it is, and I think you will appreciate the film for what it is after seeing the longer cut.
4. The Lobster: At first, I was very unnerved after seeing this film for a few reasons, but the more time went by, the more I realized how much I found myself enthralled by the original story and the dry, unapologetic performances by the actors. It hits on really significant points surrounding the world of online dating, relationships, and finding love, but through the lens of a satirical director’s vision that boasts an arthouse style that is hard to miss. Should be interesting to see where it ends up during awards season.
3. Deadpool: One of the biggest hits of the year and for good reason, Deadpool proved that not all comic book movies need to be for children and teenagers and can be successes anyways. Ryan Reynolds was born to play this role and takes shots and any and everything you can think of in the best ways possible. It’s got raunchy humor you fall in love with immediately and brings life into a genre that is often too bloated with explosions and end of the world scenarios.
2. The Nice Guys: This was the film I wanted people to go out and support, but even though people love to bitch and moan about “the lack of originality” in films these days, no one went out to see this masterwork by Iron Man 3 director Shane Black. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are hilarious in this comedy crime noir set in the 70’s in Los Angelas. The performances are hysterical from everyone and it never has a dull moment or scenes that don’t fit. It was close to a perfect film as far as entertainment goes, but alas, no one saw it.
1. Sing Street: One of the few A+ scores I gave to a film this year and it was no contest as to why I gave it that score. It sucks you into this world that is the 80’s in Dublin Ireland in a time where poverty and rebellion are running rampant, but in a John Hugh’s style musical-comedy-drama-romance telling of some kids who want to make a band, it provides one of the most original bits of coming of age storytelling I’ve seen in years. The music (original and non-original) are perfectly added ingredients to this film and make you believe in chasing dreams, falling in love, and doing what no one thought you could do. It leaves you joyous and endlessly inspired.
I don’t about you, but I can’t imagine Kanye going broke after all the songs he has had in these movie trailers, but unlike his song in Assassin’s Creed this one fits. Emily Blunt stars in the adaptation of the novel of the same name that plays as a missing persons case which will obviously have twists and turns and shocking reveals galore if this trailer doesn’t lie to us, and it looks like addicting cinema.
The cast is superb from Blunt to Luke Evans look terrific, as performers and as beautiful people. I haven’t read the book and that makes me all the more ineterested in seeing the film because the tone reads as something David Fincher did with Gone Girl and many of his prior works.
We don’t get lots of good mystery films mainly because they aren’t in style in the mainstream, but hopefully we can get a light resurgence of good mysteries and dramas like this. Heck, there’s loads of books to choose from.
I admit to my lateness on this musical darling of a film, but the wait was clearly worth my while. Directed and written by Irish filmmaker John Carney (Once and Begin Again) and is about a young boy’s life in the 80’s in Dublin Ireland where family life is falling apart, school sucks, and there’s still a girl he wants to impress. It’s a coming of age story that narrates itself through perfectly timed and hand picked songs from the 80’s as well as some original music from the young stars that lead us through their world of music, friendship, and hardship.
I haven’t been fortunate enough to see some of these indies on time due to their minimal showings in local theaters, but if I was to implore audiences to go out and see a smaller budget film, this would be it. It stands as a humorous and endlessly heartwarming comedy/drama/romance/musical like we don’t get to see often enough and it will transport you into a small fraction in history where letting your individuality out was not as easy as you think it is. With relatively unknown talents, who are all musically gifted in one way or another, this is the classic tale of boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy makes a band to impress her. What differentiates this film from it’s predecessors are those Irish brogues and some seriously believable chemistry between the whole cast.
You would have never guessed this film starred mostly newcomers, but that goes to show that casting is so important. The young actors seem to perform their musical numbers without restrictions and the music will get you jazzed up with teenage angst and sex drive like no other. It taps into the center of what is really a story about family and following dreams and a path that only you can pave and it’s something hit me at the core in moments I didn’t fathom reacting to. It will also make you hiss at angry Catholics, but that’s for you to decide (don’t promote hate!).
There isn’t much else to say except for you to see the film yourself. It is a splendid leap back in time to an era that is full of big hair, make-up, and Duran Duran, but rather setting it in a classic American setting like most audiences are used to seeing it, we see it through the eyes of the Irish in a time of poverty, rebellion, and escapism. The change in location as well as perspective is what brought the film over that hump of cliched indie comedies about coming of age. It’s green, it’s refreshingly original, and it makes get up from your seat and grab your crush in hopes she kisses you. If she isn’t the one that kisses you, at least you will know you can rely on your friends and family to bring you back up, and that’s what you should get out of this film in the end.
It’s great news that Star Trek Beyond is getting such good early buzz and with that comes the full ride of momentum from the studio in green-lighting the sequel that already has it’s writer, stars, and synopsis. The recent film, which I haven’t seen yet, is directed by Justin Lin who took over the directing duties from J.J. Abrams who went on to direct The Force Awakens.
The big news from Paramount Studios is the return of Chris Hemsworth’s George Kirk, Chris Pine’s fictional father of Pine’s James T. Kirk. Beyond the Marvel films portraying Thor, Hemsworth hasn’t actually had the best critical career like we’d all hoped. He alone is usually a standout in his movies, but for whatever reason, Hemsworth has fallen victim to the “good actor, average movies” category, but this could change if this rebooted Star Trek series can keep up like it seems to be doing.
Here’s the official Star Trek 4 synopsis:
In the next installment of the epic space adventure, Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk will cross paths with a man he never had a chance to meet, but whose legacy has haunted him since the day he was born: his father. Chris Hemsworth, who appeared in 2009’s Star Trek, will return to the space saga as George Kirk to star alongside Pine.”
Not only are both Chris’ talented beyond the credit they’re given, but they also have perfect charisma to carry a film that would have them meet for the first time. What the plot is and who will join them is unknown, but the only way you’d make this better is if you cast Chris Pratt and Chris Evans in some role.
This trailer brings our main characters to the forefront and presents us with the all star cast led by Denzel Washington in this western remake of a remake. It chronologically shows who will be a part of our “magnificent seven” and their mission during the film. Antoine Fuqua, director of films such as Training Day and The Equalizer that also star Denzel, are pretty good films in their own right, but it’s the disappointing showing of Southpaw that concerns me.
Sony Pictures also hasn’t proven to be the best studio to be a part of in recent years thanks to all the crap they’ve been through and churned out with that Spider-Man fiasco. With that said, this looks like a blast. The action seems to be excellent and fun without being too over the top and the characters, if fleshed out like we’d hope, seem to be equally as enthralling.
Fuqua is no slouch of a director and I am rooting for him like feminists were for the new Ghostbusters, but I won’t be blind to the recent faults of the director. If anything, we can say he gets great performances from his actors and this cast is not missing any ounce of talent across the board. Let’s hope it’s good!
La La Land (2016): Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone Star In What Seems Like The Next Great Musical – Trailer Review
The fact this is just a teaser trailer and I clapped to myself should be a telling sign of what is yet to come. Gosling and Stone had great chemistry in Crazy, Stupid, Love and it appears to have returned in the way of a romantic musical directed by Whiplash’s Damien Chazelle.
Whiplash is one of my favorite films in recent memory and had more of an impact that I thought it would and Chazelle seems to be recapturing that magic with another music based film that has some ridiculously gorgeous cinematography. I knew Gosling could sing, but wow this is going to be something special.
The film comes out this December and may just be a gift for all religions and lack thereof. Musicals are not as common as other genres mainly because they are not just something you can throw yourself into without some serious dedication and heart wrapped around it. This looks like the best of indie cinema meeting theater during the sunset of a “city of stars”. This is now one of the most anticipated films I have this year.
I didn’t know this was going to be a film, but it’s that level of surprise that excites me, and the trailer didn’t disappoint at all. With a young boy dealing with the illness of his mother (Felicity Jones), he falls into a world of magic and imagination to escape issues at home as well as at school. The cast also includes Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell, and Liam Neeson as the monster.
It feels like this movie had sex with The BFG, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Bridge to Terabithia. My only fear is that it does what Bridge to Terabithia did in it’s trailers back in the day and play off the monster aspect of the film only for it be strictly a metaphor for loss and anger. Don’t get me wrong, that is likely what we’ll get and that’s cool, but I want the Monster to be in the film a good amount.
It also has the tone of The Iron Giant at some scenes which also excites me. Kids and giant creatures and beings is usually a heartwarming time at the movies, but you never know with films these days. The director is not a huge name, but is respected his circles as a visually splendid storyteller and directed the indie hit The Impossible