Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

I've toyed with the idea of doing a "most anticipated" list for years, but I've always stopped myself, knowing the sad fact that at least one of them was bound to end up a massive disappointment. I didn't want to over-hype myself. But... sometimes the hype can be fun, so what the hell.

10. Coco
Dir. Lee Unkrich
Release Date: November 22

FINALLY Pixar will have another non-sequel coming out after the brilliant Inside Out, though it's unfortunately surrounded by sequels on all sides (Cars 3, Toy Story 4, and The Incredibles 2). Coco is sure to be a beautiful tribute to Mexico's Day of the Dead tradition, following a young boy who develops a secret passion for music in a family that's banned it - kind of sounds to me like a Mariachi-themed Footloose. With Toy Story 3's Lee Unkrich acting as director, sounds like it will be a fun, emotional ride.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Top Ten of 2016!

I don't know what the hell 2017 is going to look like for our country with a reality TV star at its helm, but if the year's movies are half as good as they were this year, I'll welcome it with open arms. 2016, by far, has been the most difficult year I've ever had cultivating a "Top Ten" list since I've started making them. I've left off certain movies that in any other year would've easily made the list, but 2016 was just brimming with an amazing froth of films. It's movie musical chairs, and there's only ten seats available. So let's start the music and see what flicks secured a seat on my list!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The "Talkies": 2016 Superlatives!

The Oscars are fun and everything, but I know that all you really care about are which lucky movies earn the gold on my annual superlatives list! Wrapping up the movie year of 2016 was not easy, as there was so much greatness on display - making these picks was a real Sophie's choice at times. So, without further delay... here are the "Talkies!"

BEST ACTOR - Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

One of my favorite eras of film history that I explored in film school was the Italian Neorealist movement of the post-WWII period. In contrast to their Hollywood counterparts, often "real," non-professional actors were cast in the lead and supporting roles, lending these films an unprecedented level of truth to the story, melting away at the artificiality of movie-making. A similar feeling of human authenticity washed over me while watching Manchester by the Sea, but somehow director Kenneth Lonergan was able to capture that same level of realism with Hollywood actors like Casey Affleck. In the most devastating performance of the year, Affleck doesn't play Lee, an emotionally complicated Boston handyman, he just is Lee. I might be at risk of sounding hyperbolic in my praise, but I was reminded of Brando's performance in On the Waterfront - it's seriously that good, and it would be a travesty if he lost the Oscar this year!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rogue One, La La Land, Miss Sloane, The Brand New Testament Reviews

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Dir. Gareth Edwards
Watch Trailer

Among my biggest problems with The Force Awakens were its over-use of winking nostalgia and its slavish relationship to the original trilogy. In fact, the entire film pretty much exactly mirrors A New Hope in its characters, locations, and plot structure. But I feel for J.J. - he had a ridiculous amount of elements to juggle in bringing back the Star Wars franchise, and he accomplished what he set out to do: setting the stage for future adventures that can live and breathe on their own. Rogue One, the first live action Star Wars movie not set in the "main" Skywalker timeline, had the opportunity to be something completely new and fresh for a change. Unfortunately, this film not only pulls the same veil of throat-cramming nostalgia over our eyes, but it does so with dull characters and the drabness of an actual war film.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Manchester by the Sea, Nocturnal Animals, Jackie, Elle Reviews

Manchester by the Sea
Dir. Kenneth Lonergan
Watch Trailer

The log line for Manchester by the Sea seems to be: "Grief-stricken Boston janitor is sad for 2.5 hours." While it's true that this film deals with heavy subjects like death and grief, and has several of the most tragic gut-punches in a movie this year, the real reason why it's so great is that it's actually hilarious! Manchester by the Sea works because it doesn't stick to a single melancholic groove - its characters experience life as it really happens, with both its unfathomably, almost operatically terrible moments as well as its small funny details. This film feels so natural and authentic to the human experience that it's hard to think of a comparison. It's a tough watch at points, but Manchester by the Sea is a fantastic character study and one of the best dramas of the year.

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