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?


Bye bye 2016! End of year recap & musings on favorite things we saw this year

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Whaddayaknow… it’s the last day of 2016. It’s been a tumultuous year to say the least… definitely a hectic one for obituary writers. I know many people have said that 2016 is cursed because so many famous people died. Well I certainly don’t believe that. Yes, many of those celebs passed away too soon, and some might think it’s the most death we’ve had in the year, but no, I don’t think any particular year is ever cursed. Still, I am saddened by the death of those who’ve made an impact on me… the likes of Alan Rickman, Prince, Charmian Carr, Alan Thicke, Carrie Fisher, and George Michael 😦

I guess I’m an optimist as I’d rather not dwell on the negatives and try to see the good side of things. There are things I’m thankful for, some I’ve mentioned here… I don’t know how much longer I’d keep on blogging but as of right now, I’m still thankful for being a part of the film blogging community and the fun & privileges it’s afforded me.

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Speaking of which, it’s as good a time as any to thank my fellow bloggers who’ve commented on my blog for their support…

Jordan, Cindy, Margaret, MarkMichael, Steven, CourtneyKeith, Brittani, Getter, Allie, Nostra, Tom, Chris E., Esther, Eddie, Dan, WendellVinnie, Jay/Sean and Katy.

I usually post my top 10 list of the year later in January, but I did make a top 10 list of favorites from the first half of 2016… out of that list, Love & Friendship and Captain Fantastic will likely be on my final top 10 BEST list. As for worst, well, I’ve been fortunate to avoid a bunch of stinkers this year, so right now I can only think of two abominables that deserve to be on my WORST list… London Has Fallen and Passengers.

Just for fun, I thought I’d do a top 10 random favorites from the past year, like I did for my 2014 Farewell post:

Favorite leading female performance: Amy Adams (Arrival)


Favorite supporting female performance:
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Favorite leading male performance: tied – Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) & Ralph Fiennes (A Bigger Splash)

Favorite supporting male performance: Mahersala Ali (Moonlight)

Favorite 2016 TV series: Westworld

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Favorite performance by kid actors (under 15): tied – the kids in Stranger Things & Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople)

Favorite film posters: La La Land


Favorite filmmaker discovery:
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Favorite talent(s) discovery: Ruth Negga (Loving) & Dominic Rains (Burn Country, Funeral Day)


Favorite director/writer duo
: Remy Auberjonois and Kate Nowlin for Blood Stripe

Favorite film setting: New Zealand in Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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Favorite film/tv soundtrack: Sing Street and Westworld

Favorite cinematic crush: Sam Riley (natch!)

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Can’t wait to see BBC’s SS-GB and Free Fire next year!!


Now, I thought it’d be fun if this year I ask my blog contributors to do a brief recap of some of their favorites. I can’t thank them enough for being a part of my wee blog, so check out what they have to say…

Laura’s recap

I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to write for this blog. It’s been fun having an excuse to write (outside of my mostly-neglected personal blog), I’ve gotten to see movies I might not have chosen to go to otherwise, and it’s provided multiple cheap date nights. It’s also given me a few of my favorite movies for the year, from major blockbusters to indie films from up-and-coming talent.

  • Ouija 2: Origin of Evil. As a lot of my readers know, I love horror, and while I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this one at all (because the first one was super boring), I was so pleasantly surprised when it turned out to actually be really good. It was legitimately scary, which hasn’t been the case with a lot of horror movies released over the past few years, and it was well-done overall, from the acting to the cinematography. Its score on Rotten Tomatoes was incredible, especially for a horror movie sequel, and it was well-earned.
  • The Eyes of My Mother. Keeping with the horror theme, this Twin Cities Film Fest submission was excellent. It was stylistic and unnerving and I could not believe that this was writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s first film, especially at the ridiculously young age of twenty-six. After such a strong beginning, I can’t wait to see more in what will hopefully be a long, illustrious career.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Yes, I had issues with this movie. The writing could have been much better, especially from such a normally talented individual. But as a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I was still so happy to hear the first few notes of Hedwig’s Theme played over the WB logo, and getting to see all of these incredible creatures I’d been imagining since childhood so beautifully rendered on the big screen was so satisfying.

As for my favorite discovery, it’s definitely Nicolas Pesce, the writer/director of Eyes of my Mother. I was amazed that this was his debut as a filmmaker and especially blown away by how young he was to have such an incredible first movie. Considering how much I loved Eyes of My Mother, I can only imagine what else he’ll come up with as his (hopefully illustrious) career progresses.

Vince’s recap

Vince shared his top 5 films he saw in 2016:

  • Cleo from 5-7 (1962): I’m still mourning the absence of the Criterion Collection from HULU. This was one of the last I saw from Criterion that made me ask myself, “Why hadn’t I seen this before?” More engaging than the usual French new wave and a lot less pretentious in my opinion. A great intro to the work of Agnes Varda.
  • Arrival (2016): I was very impressed with this low-key gem. As a devout fan of Amy Adams (minus her forgettable Lois Lane roles) this did not disappoint. Already looking forward to Villeneuve’s Bladerunner sequel.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings (2016): I wrote a review of this earlier this year for Flixchatter and it gave me some hope for the state of animation for the coming year. Good story, some creative risk-taking and beautiful design are standards to live up to.

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  • Storm in a Teacup (1937): One of the few classics remaining in HULU, this one stars Vivien Leigh (who is gorgeous as usual) and a young Rex Harrison in an everyman role as an idealistic journalist meddling in small town politics. No Henry Higgins here but this light comedy has some things to offer in film world full of melodrama and skepticism.
  • Sing (2016): I screened this with my two young boys (courtesy of Flixchatter) and even though it is full of the usual song and dance populating most average animated films these days, they managed to do it right this time without the annoying shadow of American Idol or the Voice. Not too heavy but quite entertaining. My boys loved it. (Full review to follow)

Ted’s recap

2016 was kind of a disappointing year for me when it comes to entertainment. I love seeing big summer blockbuster films at the cinemas but for the first time in many years, I’ve skipped quite a few of them this past summer. With the exceptions of Captain America: Civil War, Jason Bourne and Star Trek: Beyond, I didn’t bother with other big summer releases. Thankfully those three big summer films were very entertaining to me. I hope next summer; Hollywood will release quality summer blockbusters instead of just lame sequels. I’m glad I saw a couple of smaller films at the theater that were quite good, Hell or High Water and Don’t Breathe came out of nowhere and were very successful with both critics and audiences.

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While the summer season was forgettable to me, the fall/winter movies were much better. I really enjoyed Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Sully and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I have yet to see my most anticipated movie of the year, Martin Scorsese’s Silence, I hope it won’t be a disappointment like this year has been so far.

Television shows have been quite good the last few years and with the popularity of Netflix original shows, I thought both DareDevil and Luke Cage were some of the best shows on TV this year. Another show on Netflix that I can’t get enough of is House of Cards, season 4 was an improvement because I was very disappointed with how season 3 turned out.

Blog Plans for 2017:

52FilmsByWomenWell, I made a pledge to watch 52 FILMS By Women, part of WomenInFilm.org but I’m about 10 films short, and that includes rewatches of films by women, i.e. Belle, Bride & Prejudice and You’ve Got Mail. So I definitely plan to watch more films written and/or directed by women in the new year and beyond!

I don’t know if I’ll participate in Blind Spot series again this year, but I might take part in Wandering Through The Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks more often to give me a break from reviewing films. I also want to do more Music Break posts next year.


Well that’s FlixChatter’s year-end recap folks! Here’s to a more joyful, blessed & prosperous NEW YEAR… cinematically and otherwise.

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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”

moonlightmovie
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”

barryjenkins
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”

Zootopia_judyhopps
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”

strangerthings
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”

rhysamericans
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”

russellamericans
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”

hiddlesvsahmed

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.


gg2017livestream

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!

FlixChatter Review: Moonlight (2016)

moonlightmovie

It’s been nearly a month since I saw Moonlight, yet I still constantly think about it. I had heard the buzz coming from Sundance and TIFF prior to its regional premiere at TCFF, and the premise of a coming-of-age story spanning three time periods intrigues me. The film is written and directed by Barry Jenkins, adapted from Tarell McCraney‘s unproduced play titled In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.

In terms of story-telling, Moonlight is certainly one of the most unique as well as challenging. Some might think it’s similar to Richard Linklater Boyhood (though I haven’t seen it yet) with the protagonist played by two actors. In Moonlight, the life of black-American Chiron is portrayed by three actors, from young adolescence (Alex R. Hibbert), mid-teen (Ashton Sanders) and young adult (Trevante Rhodes). The casting is impressive as all three actors, despite not looking that much alike, somehow shares a certain quiet grace about them and ability to conveys much with so little.

moonlight_chironjuanswim

As a young boy, Chiron (called Little) lives in Miami with his single, drug-addicted mother Paula (an intense Naomie Harris), while being bullied at school and struggling with his sexual identity. It’s whilst he’s being chased by a group of kids that he meets a crack dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) who takes him to his girlfriend Teresa’s (Janelle Monáe) house and gives him food. I love the scenes between Little and Juan, teaching Chiron how to swim, in the water as well as in the rough waters called life.

“…you gotta decide for yourself who you’re going to be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.”

It’s also the first time the issue of sexuality is explored, with Little asking Juan ‘what’s a faggot?’ and Juan’s answer certainly one that’d leave a mark in the young boy’s life. Juan is definitely not the typical drug dealer, or who we often think of someone in that profession. But then again, this film never resorts to oversimplification.

moonlight_chiron_teen

The transition between the three different periods in Chiron’s life is handled well, it never feels abrupt or jarring. As with many young boys in their teens, this time period is crucial in shaping their lives. The scrawny teen is still bullied at school, Chiron’s only friend is his Cuban-American friend Kevin (André Holland). I honestly have never seen Black sexuality/masculinity depicted in this way and it struck me just how beautiful and nuanced the story was. Forgoing explicit scenes, Jenkins’s way of depicting the sexually-charged scenes is far from gratuitous. In fact, it’s one of the most heart-wrenching scenes that really took my breath away.

moonlight_chiron_adult

In his adult life, Chiron now goes by the name “Black,” a nickname given by Kevin as a teen. He’s now a tough, muscular young man who now treads the same life as his childhood hero Juan, right down to the kind of car he drives. There’s an emotional exchange between him and his mother, but nothing quite as the reunion between him and Kevin. I won’t spoil it for you but that ending really hits me hard emotionally.

On top of the three actors portraying Chiron, the supporting cast is solid. Harris deglamorized to play the role of Chiron’s junkie mother, amazing that she filmed her role in between her busy press tour schedule for Spectre, a film that couldn’t be more different from this one. I love Monáe as the sympathetic mother figure to Chiron, and Holland did an affecting turn as the adult Kevin. But I’m most impressed with Mahershala Ali, I hope to see more of him in prominent roles, he’s got the screen presence and confidence of Denzel Washington. Moonlight deservedly earned the Robert Altman Award at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards that honor the entire ensemble cast.


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. It won’t be a hyperbole that Barry Jenkins has created a masterpiece in his sophomore effort. I’m impressed that It made me curious to check out his debut, Medicine for Melancholy. I will be really ticked off if this film or Barry Jenkins isn’t nominated for Oscar this year. I’m so glad to have seen this in the big screen. I have to mention the music by Nicholas Britell as well as cinematography by James Laxton, excellent on both fronts that adds much to this beautifully-crafted film. I rarely give a full score but this film absolutely deserves it.

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Have you seen MOONLIGHT? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this film!

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A Thanksgiving Post: 24 cinematic things I’m thankful for in 2016

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To all my friends celebrating Thanksgiving today… I hope that you’re all enjoying yourselves, whether it’s time spent together with family/friends or just chillin’ with your loved ones (like my hubby and I). It’s nice to be able to sleep in today and going to dinner/movies later today. To those in other parts of the world, I bid you happy-almost-weekend day 🙂

This has been quite a tumultuous year to say the least… but I always try to focus on the positive side of things. As this is a film blog, I thought I’d take the time to express my gratitude for blogging/cinematic-related things I’ve been blessed with this year… so naturally I have to start with…

1. My blogging friends who’ve supported my blog and comment regularly… Jordan, Keith, Cindy, Steven, Michael, Margaret, Jenna/Allie, Courtney, Nostra, Dan, Jay/Sean, Brittani, etc.

2. Living in a city with not one but TWO robust film festivals… TCFF and MSPIFF!

3. Being a part of TCFF staff as the official blogger, which allows me to meet wonderful filmmakers and talents.

4. Discovering indie gems at film festivals (esp. Blood Stripe and Moonlight at TCFF, and Beeba Boys and The Fencer at MSPIFF)


5. The wonderful opportunity to meet Lea Thompson and director Jim Hemphill during the MN screening of The Trouble With The Truth.

6. Discovering awesome new actors I’d love to see more of (I’ll be blogging separately on this later next month), special shout out to Kate Nowlin & Dominic Rains!


7. Getting an interview with the composer of Age of Adaline, Rob Simonsen, one of my favorite soundtracks I recently discovered.

8. The breathtaking New Zealand scenery in one of my fave films of the year, Hunt For the Wilderpeople.

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9. The amazing trifecta performance from the actors portraying Chiron in Moonlight

10. Wonderful classic films like Casablanca, which I rewatched on Thanksgiving eve.

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11. Female filmmakers in Hollywood & beyond…  here’s hoping to see even more of them in years to come!

12. Amy Adams’ performance in Arrival

13. Sam Riley‘s wonderfully-amusing performance as Mr Colonel Darcy in Pride + Prejudice + Zombies

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14. Aneurin Barnard‘s soulful performance as Richard III in The White Queen miniseries (that spurred my obsession on the last Plantagenet King.

15. The delightful Love & Friendship & discovering the droll Tom Bennett as the scene-stealing Sir James Martin.

16. Awesome Marvel series on Netflix: Daredevil + Jessica Jones (hoping to catch Luke Cage soon!)

17. The Wonder Woman trailer… which I’m feverishly anticipating to see come Summer 2017!

18. The fun cast of The Magnificent Seven remake

19. The wonderful,  music of Sing Street… a love letter to the 80s and the power of music.

20. Viggo Mortensen‘s bravura performance in Captain Fantastic.

21. The arresting beauty of Jeff Nichols’ film LOVING, and the affecting performances of Ruth Negga + Joel Edgerton.

22. The wonderfully uplifting Queen Of Katwe, featuring wonderful performances of Lupita Nyong’O + David Oyelowo.

queenkatwe_lupitadavid

23. The originality and thought-provoking concept of The Lobster

24. Last but not least… I’m thankful that I finished my script this year… plus having the opportunity to do a script reading later in January! 🙂

 


What are some of the things you are THANKFUL FOR this year? 

Five for the Fifth: November 2016 Edition

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Hello everyone! As I’m posting this, I’ve just finished packing for a quick trip to Zion National Park, UT and Las Vegas! I’m in desperate need for a break after a super busy October, so suffice to say I’m taking a bit of blogging break as well.

Well, I occasionally like to highlight my vacation destination on my blog, and there are tons of movies set in Las Vegas. Here are just a sampling of some of memorable movies set in Sin City:

So what’s your fave film(s) set in Vegas? 

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2. One of my most-anticipated movie of 2017 (if not THE most) is Wonder Woman. Well the second trailer just wet my appetite even more!! Seriously, it’s been over 120 years since the invention of the motion picture and FINALLY we get a feature film of a female superhero!

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I know this is just a trailer, but it’s enough to get me all verklempt on Thursday when I first saw it… thank you Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot, who looks phenomenal as the bad-ass Amazonian princess!! This movie is poised to be the BEST DC superhero movie to date… but not the worst part is the wait! The movie will be released in June, 2017.

 

Now, switching gear to a fun Honest Trailer on BBC’s Sherlock, which is perfect timing considering Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Doctor Strange opens this weekend.

I had a good chuckle watching this, it’s pretty spot on! Watson as the original cumberbitch, ahah! I used to like Benedict before he became ultra-famous, as you know I have a penchant for the more unknown, underrated actors. Not saying Benedict isn’t talented but really Hollywood, there are a plethora of equally talented Brits out there too [hint: Sam Riley] 😉

Anyhoo, thoughts about either one of these trailers?

3. We’re just about three months away from Oscar telecast on Feb. 26, 2017, and award season has pretty much started with TIFF, so it’s never too early to talk about Oscar contenders! Since I just came out of Twin Cities Film Fest, I’ve mentioned on my recap post that one of the films that resonated with me most is Moonlight. I had read several reviews as well as interviews with writer/director Barry Jenkins, particularly this one in Esquire.

… Moonlight is neither a black film nor a gay film. “We’re not reaching for this great statement about [race or] sexuality,” Jenkins said. “What we’re reaching for is a portrait of people who are just trying to get through life.”

It’s so refreshing that Moonlight isn’t a big political/social agenda, it feels grounded and personal and that’s why it resonates so much with me. I think anyone of all races who loves great storytelling should absolutely see this and THIS is the film I’ll be rooting for on Oscar night!

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Mahershala Ali in ‘Moonlight’

I’d be seriously miffed if this film wasn’t at least nominated, I mean if there is justice in this world, Barry Jenkins should be getting multiple noms for writing & directing, and it’d be a bonus to see Mahershala Ali up in the Best Supporting Actor category! I remember seeing him in the last Hunger Games movie and groaned to see an actor of his talent so wasted. It’s great to see him in a meaty role for once.

So guys, which film(s) are you rooting for this award season?
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4. I grew up watching Disney Princess animated films and lately we’ve got an endless supply of live-action versions. Well, out of those Princess movies, Beauty & The Beast is one I’d think would be challenging to film. But so far the casting and production stills have only made me anticipate it all the more. Behold…

beautybeast_dance

I was swooning hard looking at these pictures… surely on the visual front, it looks absolutely gorgeous and magical. I love how spot-on the casting are, esp. Belle, Beast and Gaston, which I’ve talked about here. Emma Watson looks like she’s born to play this role. Sounds like they’re going to be faithful to the animated version, and I sure hope they use the same music by Alan Menken!

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Images courtesy of EW.com

Updated 11/14: Now we’ve got its first full trailer!!

Are you as ready as I am to be swept away by this fairy tale?

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is Khalid from The Blazing Reel! His question couldn’t be more timely considering this coming Tuesday, November 8 is US election day and this has been, shall we say, a most unusual election year!

election

So here’s Khalid’s question:

With the 2016 Presidential Election nearing close, what is in your opinion is the best election movie? Your choice doesn’t necessarily have to be about a film that focuses on a Presidential election.

Well, I’m sure you have an opinion on this topic, So let’s hear it!


Well, that’s it for the NOVEMBER edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Take part by picking a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all!