Top 10 BEST Movies of 2016

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I always wait until at least the first week of January before I made my top 10 list of the year prior, and this year is no different. Now, last year I combined my top 10 best and worst in a single post. This year I will just focus on the BEST list and do a WORST (or I’d say disappointing) list in a separate post. Fortunately my worst list is far less extensive than the best one, as I can only count with one hand the worst movies I saw this past year.

Now, I selected films released between January – December 2016, including the limited releases (i.e. Hidden Figures) which opened in select cities in December. Some of these might’ve opened internationally prior to 2016, but I’m using the USA release dates or the fact that they opened at a local film festival. As customary, this list is a cross between a ‘best of and favorite’, so the criteria is that these films made an impression on me, combining the virtue of being entertaining, deeply-moving, thought-provoking, and indelible.

So without further ado, I present to you my TOP 10 list (in reverse order):

10. The Lobster (full review)

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One of the strangest films I’ve seen last year and it’s also one of the most original concept I’ve ever seen. Greek writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos who co-wrote the script with Efthymis Filippou created an intriguing commentary on love and relationship that’ll make you ponder about it for days. I’ve loved sci-fi concepts that’s more grounded in its presentation and the world the characters inhabit in this movie certainly looks plausible. It’s not a perfect film, but still a brilliant one that earns top marks for originality and thought-provoking ideas.

9. Love & Friendship (full review)

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Most of you already know I love Jane Austen’s work, though this one is unlike her most famous work like Pride & Prejudice or Sense & Sensibility. This one is based on Austen’s lesser-known work where we have a saucy protagonist who is as deviously-cunning as she is impeccably dressed. It’s the first film by writer/director Whit Stillman I’ve seen so far and it’s a delight! I really enjoyed Kate Beckinsale‘s in the title role and a delightfully-hilarious turn by Tom Bennett, one of my fave discoveries of 2016. Funny, witty, and so gorgeous to look at, this is another Austen movie I could watch over and over for years to come.

8. Captain Fantastic (full review)

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When I saw the trailer for the first time I knew this is a role perfect for Viggo Mortensen who plays an intellectual free spirit, a Renaissance man who’s set in his ways. It’s a fascinating slice of an unorthodox family of seven, Viggo as the unconventional dad and his six kids, following the sudden death of his wife.Set in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, themes of parenting and coming-of-age blend seamlessly. Certainly a film that subscribe to the old adage that it’s the journey, not the destination, that really matters. Like The Lobster, it’s one of the most eccentric films I’ve seen this year, one that definitely left an indelible impression on me.

7. Hidden Figures

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I haven’t got a chance to review this one as I just saw it last week. As soon as I’m done watching this historical drama, thought to myself that I’m glad I waited to post my top 10 list! Since this one had opened in limited release in December, it’s still technically a 2016 movie. Starring a trifecta of terrific Black actresses, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe (who was also great in Moonlight), it tells a pivotal moment in American history in a heartwarming yet poignant manner. There are moments throughout the women’s journey that made me angry and sad, but the film is brimming with such uplifting optimism and hope. La La Land isn’t the only film that spoke about dreaming big, but the difference is, the visionary trio crossed race and gender lines to achieve what’s seemingly impossible. The quintessential inspirational film that every person, young or old, should see. As some critics put it, it’s a cinematic nourishment for the soul.

6. La La Land (full review)

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Ahhh, the critical darling of the year. It might’ve been around TIFF time last Fall when the buzz surrounds this modern musical started gaining steam. It never let up since that by the time I sat down to see it in mid December, I was a bit worried it won’t live up to such a potent hype. Well, thankfully it was indeed an enjoyable experience, with fun musical numbers, gorgeous cinematography and lively music. An unabashedly dreamy and stylish affair, I could see why it swept many off their feet. For me though, the romance wasn’t exactly swoon-worthy, but it’s the ‘fools who dream’ theme that resonated with me emotionally. It’s that key audition scene performed wonderfully by Emma Stone that I remember most about this film, the one that got me bawling as I felt as if the movie was speaking to me directly.

5. Zootopia (full review)

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In a year full of animated features, Zootopia is the only one that deserves to be on my top 10 list (note: I haven’t seen MOANA yet). Disney is sort of catching up to Pixar in terms of storytelling. Its themes of overcoming prejudices feels as timely as ever, whilst still being an enjoyable ride from start to finish. I also love the fact that Zootopia is NOT an animated musical that occasionally burst into songs. The plot is more of an action mystery thriller that is as clever and quick-witted as the smart rabbit Judy Hopps, the movie’s adorable protagonist. It’s also chockfull of wonderful characters that are easy to root for, which made for a fun, enjoyable ride of a movie that’s also smart AND has a big heart. I always appreciate animated features that can cater to adults as well as kids, and Zootopia is certainly a great example of that.

4. Loving (full review)

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There are few films that came out in 2016 that couldn’t have been more timely. One is my number 7 pick, and the other is this one. Unlike the more sensational Birth Of A Nation, which was plagued by rape allegations of its creator and star), the beauty of Loving is how personal it feels. It doesn’t come across as a ‘film with a message’, though it certainly contains a stinging commentary of race in America. The story is even more powerful because filmmaker Jeff Nichols focuses on the journey of Richard and Mildred Loving, instead of being concerned about making a political statement. Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton portrayed the Lovings with such quiet grace and sincerity. Theirs is a story that must be told, and the script, direction and performance all work beautifully to bring that to life.

3. Arrival (full review)

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Jeff Nichols and Denis Villeneuve are two emerging filmmakers in the past decade who have continually churned out excellent work. So it’s no surprise their latest work end up on my top 10 list. With any great science-fiction, the best ones are those that remind us of our humanity, and that is the case with Arrival. It’s rare to see a film that treads a familiar ground, aliens visiting earth, yet still manages to be original and truly thought-provoking. The linguistic aspect is something I haven’t seen before in a sci-fi movie, and it’s even more compelling when the core of the story is a deeply personal one. Amy Adams ought to have swept every award this year, I think she deserved it more than Emma Stone in La La Land. Her quiet yet affecting performance is superb here, she is truly the heart and soul of the film. The contemplative nature of the film is far from boring, in fact it makes it even more haunting and enigmatic. It won’t be a hyperbole to call it one of the best sci-fi dramas ever produced, and I think it will stand the test of time.

2. Hunt For the Wilderpeople (full review)

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One of the biggest travesties of this year’s Golden Globes, and there are many, is that this film was NOT nominated in the Best Comedy/Musical category. Boy, I’d be hard pressed to find a funnier film than this one, made by yet another emerging filmmaker who’s a force to be reckoned with. Written and directed by Taika Waititi, it’s a riotous adventure movie I could watch over and over. Pairing a veteran actor, Sam Neill, with 13-year-old newcomer Julian Dennison made for a brilliant duo, I’d welcome a sequel with those two in another zany journey through New Zealand wilderness! It’s uproariously funny but also has a huge heart, not relying on crude gags masquerading as *comedy* Hollywood churn out these days. This is the only one of two films I gave a 5/5 rating this year, and it’s destined to be a comedy classic.

1. Moonlight (full review)

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This is the second movie of 2016 that I gave a full 5/5 rating to. A poignant coming-of-age story of a young boy living struggling with his identity and sexuality, this film is masterfully-directed by Barry Jenkins. I have no qualms calling it a masterpiece, considering the challenge of using three actors to portray a single character, Chiron, in three different stages of his life. The transition between the three time periods is handled well, it never feels abrupt or jarring. The combination of newbie actors and established ones make up one of the strongest ensemble cast of the year, led by the charismatic Mahershala Ali. 

Few films hit me as hard as Moonlight did. I was so emotionally-invested in Chiron and I often have tears in my eyes when I think about his arduous life journey. The films also deftly broke stereotypes, challenging our perceptions of what we think of masculinity, especially amongst the Black community. I was also in awe by the poignant, elegant and graceful storytelling style of a subject matter rarely depicted on screen. A triumphant film through and through.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Pretty much every movie that made my BEST list of the first half of 2016 would count as honorable mentions. So combined with those that were released in the latter half of the year, here are the 20 films released last year that I was impressed with (in alphabetical order):

  1. Anthropoid
  2. A Bigger Splash
  3. Blood Stripe
  4. Captain America: Civil War
  5. Deadpool
  6. The Eagle Huntress (doc)
  7. Equity
  8. The Fencer
  9. The Jungle Book
  10. Lion
  11. The Magnificent Seven
  12. Midnight Special
  13. Pete’s Dragon
  14. Pride + Prejudice + Zombies
  15. Prison Dogs (doc)
  16. Queen of Katwe
  17. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  18. The Shallows
  19. Sing Street
  20. Sully

What I missed in 2016

There are still some highly-rated films that came out last year that I haven’t seen, yet… Elle, Manchester By The Sea, Fences, Jackie, Kubo and the Two Strings, 20th Century Women, Neruda, Silence, amongst others.


So that’s my BEST list of 2016. Thoughts on my picks here? I’d be happy to discuss ’em with you 😀

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2017 Golden Globe Awards: Thoughts on the Winners + Fave Moments of the Night

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Well it’s time for the obligatory award post of the year. I just tuned in right when the award presentation started, skipping the red carpet stuff. I quite enjoyed the La La Land themed opening, that was fun and that bit with Ryan Reynolds on top of the piano as Jimmy Fallon is impersonating Ryan Gosling is a hoot!

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If you missed it, here’s the video of that opening montage:

Fallon isn’t an edgy host, and the fact that the teleprompter wasn’t working properly within the first few minutes didn’t help. Overall he’s simply boring with puny attempts to be funny.

Heh could we just have Deadpool er, Ryan Reynolds to host next year? At least he’s self deprecating which I always find funny. He might not be the shrewdest actors out there but I think award hosting duties might be right his alley.


Thoughts on Winners/Losers

Best Motion Picture – Drama:

“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Lion”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight” (WINNER)

This tweet says it all…

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

“20th Century Women”
“Deadpool”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Sing Street”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea” (WINNER)
Joel Edgerton – “Loving”
Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington – “Fences”

These two tweets capture the sentiment of how I’ve been feeling this week about the stark treatments of Nate Parker and Casey Affleck, both embroiled in horrible sexual assaults accusations.

Viggo Mortensen is who I was rooting for, with Joel Edgerton as my second fave. Ah well…

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Amy Adams – “Arrival”
Jessica Chastain – “Miss Sloane”
Isabelle Huppert – “Elle” (WINNER)
Ruth Negga – “Loving”
Natalie Portman – “Jackie”

I still haven’t seen ELLE yet but I have no problem with Isabelle Huppert winning as I heard her performance is astounding in the provocative thriller by Paul Verhoeven. Plus her speech was quite moving, it’s clear she didn’t think she would win. We’ll see if her win translate to the Oscars as well, if not then I think Amy Adams has a major shot at winning this.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Colin Farrell – “The Lobster”
Ryan Gosling – “La La Land” (WINNER)
Hugh Grant – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Jonah Hill – “War Dogs”
Ryan Reynolds – “Deadpool”

In case you haven’t read my La La Land review yet, well I said Gosling has such an inexpressive face devoid of emotion, and he’s no different in this movie. I’d rather see Reynolds win for his hilarious performance for Deadpool, but I think Farrell deserves to win!

That said, I thought his speech thanking his sweetheart Eva Mendes and dedicating the award to Mendes’ late brother, awwww, that wins major points in my book regardless of how I feel about him as an actor. That’s why his speech is one of my fave moments of the night…

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Annette Bening – “20th Century Women”
Lily Collins – “Rules Don’t Apply”
Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”
Emma Stone – “La La Land” (WINNER)
Meryl Streep – “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges – “Hell or High Water”
Simon Helberg – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Dev Patel – “Lion”
Aaron Taylor-Johnson – “Nocturnal Animals”  (WINNER)

Mahershala Ali is the one I championed! I hope he’ll be one of the Oscar pics for Best Supporting actors. It’d be cool to see Patel being recognized for his rare dramatic performance come Oscar time.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Viola Davis – “Fences” (WINNER)
Naomie Harris – “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman – “Lion”
Octavia Spencer – “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”

I’m glad to see three sublime Black actresses nominated in this category!! I had just seen Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures, it’s tough to pick between her and Naomie. Both are brilliant, so is Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures.

Best Director – Motion Picture:

Damien Chazelle – “La La Land” (WINNER)
Tom Ford – “Nocturnal Animals”
Mel Gibson – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan – “Manchester by the Sea”

I’m #TeamMoonlight (read my 5/5 review) this year so of course I’m bummed Barry Jenkins didn’t win this.

Best Screenplay:

“La La Land”
“Nocturnal Animals”
“Moonlight”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Hell or High Water”

Wait, what??!! Fine, Chazelle can keep his Best Director statue but Best Screenplay??? Come on HFP!!

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language:

“Divines” – France
“Elle” – France (WINNER)
“Neruda” – Chile
“The Salesman” – Iran/France
“Toni Erdmann” – Germany

Sadly I have not seen any of these, hope to rectify that situation soon!

Best Motion Picture – Animated:

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“Sing”
“Zootopia” (WINNER)

Best Original Song – Motion Picture:

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – “Trolls”
“City of Stars” – “La La Land” (WINNER)
“Faith” – “Sing”
“Gold” – “Gold”
“How Far I’ll Go” – “Moana”

City of Stars is a lovely song but after a while it’s getting on my nerves. Even that melody was a bit tiresome by the end of the movie.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture:

Nicholas Britell– “Moonlight”
Justin Hurwitz – “La La Land” (WINNER)
Johann Johannsson – “Arrival”
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka – “Lion”
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch – “Hidden Figures”

This is the one category I don’t mind La La Land winning.

Best Television Series – Drama:

“The Crown” (WINNER)
“Game of Thrones”
“Stranger Things”
“This Is Us”
“Westworld”

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

“Atlanta” (WINNER)
“Black-ish”
“Mozart in the Jungle”
“Transparent”
“Veep”

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Haven’t seen any of these but wow, what a big night for Donald Glover for winning TWO awards as creator and best actor on the show, congrats!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama:

Rami Malek – “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk – “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys – “The Americans
Liev Schreiber – “Ray Donovan”
Billy Bob Thornton – “Goliath” (WINNER)

Another show I haven’t seen yet, but Thornton is a good actor.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama:

Caitriona Balfe – “Outlander”
Claire Foy – “The Crown”
Keri Russell – “The Americans”
Winona Ryder – “Stranger Things”
Evan Rachel Wood – “Westworld”

I’ve got so many shows to catch up on right now. I might watch The Crown after I finish Black Mirror.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish”
Gael García Bernal – “Mozart in the Jungle”
Donald Glover – “Atlanta” (WINNER)
Nick Nolte – “Graves”
Jeffrey Tambor – “Transparent”

Can’t comment here as I haven’t seen any of these shows.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

Rachel Bloom – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep”
Sarah Jessica Parker – “Divorce”
Issa Rae – “Insecure”
Gina Rodriguez – “Jane the Virgin”
Tracee Ellis Ross – “Black-ish”

Ditto in this category, but it’s cool to see such a diverse collection of people being nominated AND won this year. Let’s hope this isn’t just a trend.

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

“American Crime”
“The Dresser”
“The Night Manager”
“The Night Of”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (WINNER)

Definitely need to see The Night Manager, it’ll be a good break in between British monarch dramas The Crown and Victoria.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Riz Ahmed – “The Night Of”
Bryan Cranston – “All The Way”
Tom Hiddleston – “The Night Manager” (WINNER)
John Turturro – “The Night Of”
Courtney B. Vance – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Hiddles looks good tonight but what’s with that *short* story he told about South Sudan?? It certainly isn’t a um, swift acceptance speech 😉 Christian Slater‘s expression during his speech is EVERYTHING!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Felicity Huffman – “American Crime”
Riley Keough – “The Girlfriend Experience”
Sarah Paulson – “The People v. O.J. Simpson”(WINNER) 
Charlotte Rampling – “London Spy”
Kerry Washington – “Confirmation”

I really have no interest in seeing this OJ Simpson TV Movie, but Sarah Paulson is a good actress so congrats!!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Olivia Colman – “The Night Manager” (WINNER)
Lena Headey – “Game Of Thrones”
Chrissy Metz – “This Is Us”
Mandy Moore – “This Is Us”
Thandie Newton – “Westworld”

As I have just seen Thandie in Westworld, I was rooting for her. But I do love Olivia Colman so I’m glad she won!

Colman & Laurie in 'The Night Manager'
Colman & Laurie in ‘The Night Manager’

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Sterling K. Brown – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Hugh Laurie – “The Night Manager” (WINNER)
John Lithgow – “The Crown”
Christian Slater – “Mr. Robot”
John Travolta – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Wow, Slater again for Mr. Robot? Yes it’s a good performance but is it that good? He already won one for the same show last year, so I would like to see someone else win in this category.


Random Commentaries

First let me say I’m flabbergasted it’s taken SO long for Meryl Streep to get her Cecil B. Demille award!! I mean how many nominations does the woman have to get before she deserves such an accolade. Heck, I bet most of the men who have gotten their awards haven’t been nominated for even half as many as Streep!

But hey, I absolutely LOVE Viola Davis’ speech introducing the award…

That speech by Meryl definitely brought down the house …

And this gif made me laugh!

Five Favorite Moments

 

 

 

 

… oh and no doubt THIS will be the kiss everyone’s talking about tomorrow 😉


So, what are YOUR thoughts on the 2017 winners & favorite moments of the night?


FlixChatter Review: La La Land (2016)

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Written/Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Runtime: 128 minutes

Rarely did I respond so strongly to a film’s tagline. In fact, I mostly barely notice them. Here’s to the fools who dream… well, La La Land‘s tagline speaks to me in a profound way, as essentially, I am one of those fools. Unabashedly.

Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress who works at Warner Brothers lot, serving lattes to movie stars with googly eyes. Any free time she gets she spends it on auditions. And like many other aspiring actresses like her, she gets constant rejections, and treated like dirt by casting directors. Meanwhile, there’s Ryan Gosling‘s Sebastian, a jazz musician who scrapes by playing gigs at dingy bars and Hollywood pool parties. Whilst Mia dreams of movie star greatness, Sebastian dreams of opening his own jazz club that celebrates the kind of jazz music he thinks is a dying music genre. These *fools* meet serendipitously, during a rousing opening number that harkens back to classic musicals where the actors burst into song and start singing and dancing in the midst of L.A.’s traffic jam.

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With a title like La La Land, this musical dramedy is unabashedly dreamy and stylish. It’s hard not to smile during these energetic musical numbers, though I have to admit at times my mind did wander off and my heart craved for something meaty to hold on to. Well, Damien Chazelle did give us some moments with deep emotional resonance, but it’s not necessarily from the romance. Despite the dreamy-ness of the Mia/Sebastian love story, I think the musical numbers actually take place of the emotional weight. I just didn’t quite feel the oomph of their romance, that intense longing to be together a la Romeo & Juliet or Jack & Rose (hmmm, I just realized these two stars Leo DiCaprio, I guess the guy can really sell romance!) In any case, the moment that truly got me is the audition scene where Mia sang ‘fools who dream.’ I will definitely do a Music Break of this film, though the only song I remember most is this one. I was practically sobbing watching that scene, and Emma Stone deserves all the kudos for her performance just on this scene alone. Perhaps because she identified so well with Mia’s journey, having moved to L.A. at 15 to pursue acting, that her emotion in the film feels authentic.

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As for Gosling, I think many of my blog regulars know I’m not fond of the guy. This film doesn’t exactly change my mind about him. I do think he’s good, though not nearly as strong as Stone as his co-star. I just think Gosling’s face isn’t the least bit expressive and devoid of emotion, and so to this day I still don’t get what the fuss is about him. This is the third time Emma/Ryan are paired together as lovers, and I suppose they do have chemistry, though not quite the Bogey/Bacall variety.

The movie consist of pretty much the two of them from start to finish, J.K. Simmons and singer John Legend both had small roles that are basically cameos. The talented Rosemarie DeWitt is grossly underused as well as Sebastian’s sister. Some critics point out the lack of Black characters in the movie, which as a non-White person I think it’s not always fair to expect every race is represented in every film.

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As for that ending…  SPOILER ALERT (highlight to read) It’s clever for Chazelle to have his cake and eat it too. The last 20 minute or so of the movie happens about 5 years after Mia and Sebastian parted ways. Essentially they achieved their dreams, at the cost of their romance. But it ends with a dreamy sequence of the two getting together and living happily ever after, which is what the audience would hope to happen. But for me, I’m glad they didn’t end up together, just like Roman Holiday, sometimes a bittersweet ending is one you remember most.

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The critics went wild for this movie, and I agree with some who thinks this film is way overrated. I’ve had people ask me what I think of it, as I have the poster hanging outside my office at work. I’d say it’s a frothy romance with a moving story about chasing your dreams. Emotionally speaking, it’s not exactly profound and it doesn’t quite reach the poignancy of Moonlight, but there are plenty of things Chazelle did here that deserve praise. It’s stylish and beautifully-shot, with a dreamy-like quality to it that sweeps your feet away.

The music by Justin Hurwitz is certainly one of the strongest aspects of the film, one I’d remember for years to come. Some sequences, especially that opening number, is truly lovely. I also love the creative use of props for locations such as Paris, which enhances the fantastical nature of the story. It’s also nice to see such a gorgeous film that is not just style over substance.

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Have you seen La La Land? What did you think?

Award season chat: Musings on 2017 Golden Globes Nominations

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Award season is in full swing! There are a plethora of awards already announced, but in years past, I normally only talk about a few of them, SAG, Golden Globes and of course, the Oscars. By the time I got to Twitter on Monday morning, people were already chiming in on their thoughts on the noms. It’s no surprise that La La Land and Moonlight are frontrunners, with seven and six nods, respectively.

Well, I had planned on going to see Jackie tonight but I had to cancel as it’ll snow again this afternoon… and my week has been filled to the brim so tonight is the only night I could actually be home and do some household chores. But I am seeing La La Land tomorrow night, followed with Rogue One on Wednesday.

The head-scratching nom last year was The Martian being nominated under Musical/Comedy category. This year, it seems like the nomination of Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Nocturnal Animal (whilst Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon were both snubbed) seems puzzling to me, just based on the reviews I’ve read so far.

Anyway, here’s the full noms of the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards… and my short commentary on who I’m rooting for (in bold)… mostly on the FILM categories as I barely watch any TV (hoping to catch Westworld soon!):

Best Motion Picture – Drama:

“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Lion”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

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As you’ve read in my glowing review, Moonlight is the one I’ll be rooting for all the way to the Oscars! I’m so 100% behind that film. A masterpiece of filmmaking, tackling a subject rarely seen in such a graceful, elegant and emotionally heart-wrenching way. It’ll be tough to beat that one as of now, even with a handful of other award contenders I have yet to see.

I so want this film to win not because it’d somehow *make up for* the #OscarSoWhite controversy last year, but because the outstanding work absolutely merits it.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

“20th Century Women”
“Deadpool”
“La La Land”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Sing Street”

Where is Hunt For the Wilderpeople?? I’d nominate that over Florence Foster Jenkins or Sing Street. I’ve finished my review of Wilderpeople and that’s one of the rare 5/5 rating I’ve given in a long time. I don’t know which from the list I’d root for, I’ll update it after I see La La Land tomorrow night.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
Joel Edgerton – “Loving”
Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington – “Fences”

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This is Viggo’s third Globes nomination. Boy I can’t believe he hasn’t won a single one!! I sure hope his well, fantastic performance in Captain Fantastic finally earns him one this time around. I’m sure glad Edgerton’s got recognized for his quiet, soulful performance in Loving.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Amy Adams – “Arrival”
Jessica Chastain – “Miss Sloane”
Isabelle Huppert – “Elle”
Ruth Negga – “Loving”
Natalie Portman – “Jackie”

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This is Adams’ seventh Globes noms and she’s won two. There’s some tough competition here, especially from Natalie Portman, but I’d love to see Adams nabs the statue. Glad to see Chastain being recognized for her confident, powerhouse performance in Miss Sloane.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Colin Farrell – “The Lobster”
Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
Hugh Grant – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Jonah Hill – “War Dogs”
Ryan Reynolds – “Deadpool”

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Wow Jonah Hill again?? I like Reynolds, Grant and Farrell out of the ones I have seen, but I’m definitely rooting for Farrell for his understated but hilarious performance in The Lobster. I’d have loved to see the film recognized, and it could pretty much fit in either drama or comedy.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Annette Bening – “20th Century Women”
Lily Collins – “Rules Don’t Apply”
Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”
Emma Stone – “La La Land”
Meryl Streep – “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Heh, I have only seen Streep’s performance so far, which I knew for sure will nab a nomination. After all she’s gonna pick up the Cecil B. Demille award. Now I don’t know if that means it lessens or increase her chance of winning in the individual award category, but I don’t really care for her winning again to be honest.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges – “Hell or High Water”
Simon Helberg – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Dev Patel – “Lion”
Aaron Taylor-Johnson – “Nocturnal Animals”

Mahersala Ali
Mahershala Ali is one of my fave talent discoveries of 2016, so you bet I’m rooting for him!! I also adore Helberg’s and Patel’s performances, nice to see Patel being recognized for his rare dramatic performance.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Viola Davis – “Fences”
Naomie Harris – “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman – “Lion”
Octavia Spencer – “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”

Naomie Harris
I’m so impressed w/ the entire ensemble cast of Moonlight, so I’m glad Naomie got a nod! To think that she did this role during the undoubtedly glamorous press tour of the mega-budgeted Bond flick Spectre. She’s virtually unrecognizable (who’d believe she’s Money Penney!), but it’s not just the looks, but it’s a deeply-emotional performance that makes this indie gem shines.

Best Director – Motion Picture:

Damien Chazelle – “La La Land”
Tom Ford – “Nocturnal Animals”
Mel Gibson – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan – “Manchester by the Sea”

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Ah, so it seems Gibson’s officially back on Hollywood’s good graces again? Well, I think based on how I feel about Moonlight, it should be no surprise who I’m rooting for. An impressive sophomore feature film effort from Jenkins, I sure hope he continues to make movies.

Best Screenplay:

“La La Land”
“Nocturnal Animals”
“Moonlight”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Hell or High Water”


I’m gonna sound like a broken record here but I’m rooting yet again for Moonlight. It’s a coming-of-age drama with a real emotional punch. That revelation of adult Chiron in the end killed me… I literally gasped and sobbed in that scene. A great screenplay has the ability convey strong emotions with little words spoken. I aspire to be able to write that well one day.

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language:

“Divines” – France
“Elle” – France
“Neruda” – Chile
“The Salesman” – Iran/France
“Toni Erdmann” – Germany

Sadly I have not seen any of these 😦 I missed the press screening of Elle as it was at 10 o’clock in the morning. It’s too dark a film to see so early in the day anyway, but I’m so curious to see it.

Best Motion Picture – Animated:

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“Sing”
“Zootopia”

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I missed Kubo and the Two Strings and gonna miss the press screening of SING as well, as it conflicts with another film. But I adore Zootopia, so I guess right now that’s what I’m rooting for. Judy Hopps FTW! 🙂

Best Original Song – Motion Picture:

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – “Trolls”
“City of Stars” – “La La Land”
“Faith” – “Sing”
“Gold” – “Gold”
“How Far I’ll Go” – “Moana”

Hmmm, where’s Shakira’s Try Everything from Zootopia? It’s actually written by SIA and it’s a really fun, catchy tune that fits nicely w/ the film’s topic. I have a feeling I’d enjoy the music of La La Land though, just based on some of the featurettes and trailers I’ve seen so far.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture:

Nicholas Britell– “Moonlight”
Justin Hurwitz – “La La Land”
Johann Johannsson – “Arrival”
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka – “Lion”
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch – “Hidden Figures”

Wow, I had no idea Hans Zimmer is one of the co-writers of Hidden Figures! I can’t wait to see that in January. Well, my fave here that I remember most is Moonlight. For some reason I didn’t really remember much of Arrival‘s score, I should definitely take a listen again as I LOVE Johannsson’s work in Sicario.

Best Television Series – Drama:

“The Crown”
“Game of Thrones”
“Stranger Things”
“This Is Us”
“Westworld”

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Can’t really comment on any of these as I’ve only seen Stranger Things. I don’t know if it’s the BEST of the bunch but sure glad it’s got a nod.

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

“Atlanta”
“Black-ish”
“Mozart in the Jungle”
“Transparent”
“Veep”

Haven’t seen any of these.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama:

Rami Malek – “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk – “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys – “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber – “Ray Donovan”
Billy Bob Thornton – “Goliath”

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I actually have only seen a handful of episodes of season 1 of The Americans. But I was so impressed w/ Rhys’ performance and he’s generally a massively-underrated actor anyway. So even though I think Malek’s terrific in his breakout role in Mr. Robot, I feel like Rhys’ work as a Russian spy deserves equal recognition. Malek’s won an Emmy already though, so he probably wins this one as well.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama:

Caitriona Balfe – “Outlander”
Claire Foy – “The Crown”
Keri Russell – “The Americans”
Winona Ryder – “Stranger Things”
Evan Rachel Wood – “Westworld”

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Wow, talk about a comeback role for Winona Ryder! I feel like she’s either scared or worried in the entire show though, but I guess it’s a memorable performance. I personally would like to see Keri Russell win in The Americans. How awesome would it be if the pair playing married KGB spies win ’em this year!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish”
Gael García Bernal – “Mozart in the Jungle”
Donald Glover – “Atlanta”
Nick Nolte – “Graves”
Jeffrey Tambor – “Transparent”

Can’t comment here as I haven’t seen any of the performances. Never even heard of Graves before, either.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

Rachel Bloom – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep”
Sarah Jessica Parker – “Divorce”
Issa Rae – “Insecure”
Gina Rodriguez – “Jane the Virgin”
Tracee Ellis Ross – “Black-ish”

Ditto in this category, though I have seen a few episodes of Veep and Louis-Dreyfus is such a hoot!

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

“American Crime”
“The Dresser”
“The Night Manager”
“The Night Of”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Gah, I really want to see The Night Manager and The Night Of!! Been hearing great things about both.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Riz Ahmed – “The Night Of”
Bryan Cranston – “All The Way”
Tom Hiddleston – “The Night Manager”
John Turturro – “The Night Of”
Courtney B. Vance – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

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Again no comment here, but nice to see Brits Hiddles and Ahmed in the same category (their shows’ titles sound so similar too!). I’m really glad to see Ahmed getting more recognition (especially after Rogue One). Been a fan of his since The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Felicity Huffman – “American Crime”
Riley Keough – “The Girlfriend Experience”
Sarah Paulson – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Charlotte Rampling – “London Spy”
Thandie Newton – “Westworld”

Can’t comment on the performances yet, but I find it baffling that Newton is nominated here under the ‘Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television’ category, whilst Evan Rachel Wood is nominated under ‘Television Series – Drama’ Huh?? Again, bonkers categorization of the HFPA.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Olivia Colman – “The Night Manager”
Lena Headey – “Game Of Thrones”
Chrissy Metz – “This Is Us”
Mandy Moore – “This Is Us”
Kerry Washington – “Confirmation”

oliviacolman
I haven’t even seen The Night Manager yet but I’m already rooting for Olivia Colman! She’s another underrated actor I wish would get more recognition. I LOVE her in Broadchurch in which she won a BAFTA for Best Leading Actress.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Sterling K. Brown – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Hugh Laurie – “The Night Manager”
John Lithgow – “The Crown”
Christian Slater – “Mr. Robot”
John Travolta – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Wow, Slater again for Mr. Robot? Yes it’s a good performance but is it that good? He already won one for the same show last year, so I would like to see someone else win in this category.


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Quick thoughts on Snubs and Surprises:

  • Surprised to see Martin Scorsese‘s SILENCE got snubbed. It sounds like one of those films the HFPA and Academy would be into, especially given it’s a Scorsese’s picture, too. I guess one of the biggest surprises is seeing Mel Gibson‘s name… and Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s (as I’ve mentioned above).
  • Seeing Simon Helberg‘s name up there is a pleasant surprise though, he’s such a hoot in Florence Foster Jenkins!
  • Boy I feel like it’s been ages since Deadpool came out, but I’d think it warrants its nom in the comedy category. It sure has been a good year for Ryan Reynolds!
  • I know lots of people are dismayed not seeing Tom Hanks nominated for Sully, but really the man has won numerous accolades over his career. I’m not saying he wouldn’t be deserving it, but sounds like there are some really strong performances in that category as it is.
  • Hmmm, no Michael Keaton in The Founder? There’s virtually zero buzz for that film, too.
  • Based on what I’ve seen even in the trailers, Taraji P. Henson killed it in Hidden Figures. Looks like an extremely different role from her hit TV show EMPIRE.
  • Last but definitely not least, as Vulture astutely pointed out, where’s the female-led films?? They’re all pretty much snubbed in the drama categories… I mean, not even Arrival?? I’m no Gibson hater but is Hackshaw Ridge better than Arrival? Really?Snubbing both Jackie AND Hidden Figures… I agree w/ this sentiment “For the HFPA to snub two films that center on pivotal women in American history, in favor of hypermasculine narratives, feels especially icky this year.” 😦

Well, what are your thoughts on the Golden Globes nominations? Let’s hear it!

Everybody’s Chattin + Most-Anticipated Movies from TIFF 2016

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Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you’re all in good health. Well, my Rheumatoid Arthritis flared up again earlier this week that I had to stay home Monday as I could barely lift my water bottle, let alone drive. My left hand is still swollen which makes typing a pain but thank goodness for Aleve!

In any case, I did have a blast watching Bridget Jones Baby last night…

 

Ok how about those links!

Well if you’re paying attention to film festivals like me, you’re likely been following Toronto International Film Festival that’s going on this week through this Sunday.

Lucky Jay & her crew have been covering TIFF this year, check out her blog for reviews, including La La Land!

Courtney just posted her thoughts on the highly-anticipated The Birth of A Nation, one of those films that I still want to see and judge for myself.

Another Torontonian Ryan also attended TIFF, check out his review of Andrea Arnold’s American Honey

Margaret is back with her phenomenal visual parallel posts, this time on Neon Demon vs. Black Swan

Meanwhile, Nostra just caught up with Kevin Costner’s crime flick Criminal 

Jordan just reviewed the YA thriller Nerve, whose composer Rob Simonsen I’ll be featuring later this week!

Allie reviewed an early 2000s comedy that I happened to enjoy quite a bit, Napoleon Dynamite

The Sea of Trees has been completely lambasted by critics, well looks like Khalid agreed w/ them

Paul just talks about the classic rom-com The Philadelphia Story 

Hey it’s back to school season, so check out Michael‘s answers on his Back-t0-School Movie Quiz!

Last but not least, check out Cindy‘s latest Lucky 13 on the topic of Al Pacino the Mentor


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So, speaking of TIFF, I’ve been reading a bunch of TIFF reviews the past week. There are some I’ve been anticipating (i.e. Free Fire which sounds like a blast), but some new ones I just heard about that intrigued me (Korean crime drama The Age of Shadows, British WWII drama Their Finest). ELLE starring Isabelle Huppert sounds brutal but then again what do you expect from agent provocateur Paul Verhoeven. It’s also one of the films my crush Sam Riley saw at Cannes last May 😉

Of course the buzz surrounding the musical La La Land and sci-fi drama Arrival have been incredible, I sure hope they both lived up to the hype! So if I were to list my top 10 most anticipated movies out of TIFF, this is what it’d look like:

You can check out IMDB’s TIFF mini guide or The Hollywood Reporter‘s coverage for a list of movies screened at TIFF.
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So what’s YOUR most anticipated movies out of TIFF 2016?