Journal: 2016 in film Jan 2, 2017 13:55:39 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jan 2, 2017 13:55:39 GMT -5
John Gallagher, Jr., Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane.
My Favorite Films of 2016:
1. Nocturnal Animals: Nocturnal Animals is a film of many magnificent attributes, from powerful performances across the board from actors like Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams to creating genuinely frightening atmosphere for much of the picture. Despite juggling two incredibly different and separate storylines, the film is as cohesive as any other drama or thriller released this year, with a terrifying supporting performance by Michael Shannon that ties it all together to be an immensely effective film on all cylinders.
My full review of Nocturnal Animals, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5361/nocturnal-animals
2. Hell or High Water: Hell or High Water is a contemporary Western in the best possible way, and it's a modern example of how the idea of protagonists and antagonists in film have shifted from being clearly dichotomous to being many shades of gray. Much like in 99 Homes, my pick for favorite film of 2015, the ones you root for in Hell or High Water are a pair of bankrobbers, despite also watching the deputies trying to apprehend these men as the film goes on. The beautiful thing about the film is how director David Mackenzie is cognizant of this, and he blurs the lines while making a high-octane drama/action with gorgeous, Roger Deakins-esque cinematography that creates a pulsating life for the film.
My full review of Hell or High Water, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5264/high-water?page=1&scrollTo=26762
3. Manchester by the Sea: 2016 not only saw Casey Affleck finally get a terrific film he could sink his teeth into and make his own personal tour-de-force, but the best character study of the year in Manchester by the Sea. A humble but memorable picture about grief, sorrow, loss, and coping, the film has Affleck at his most impressionistic since Gus Van Sant's Gerry, with a vignette-structure that tells the story in a way that's more than effective for this kind of material. We are allowed an uncompromising, if painful, look into the life of a man who is completely broken, to the point where waking up seems like an insurmountable task at times, and writer/director Kenneth Lonergan delivers a film that's nothing short of remarkable.
My full review of Manchester by the Sea, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5362/manchester-sea
4. 10 Cloverfield Lane: 10 Cloverfield Lane is a throwback to the classic monster movie formula of an unseen but massively feared "kaiju," except it's far more minimalist than even many of those films were. It's a film that makes you fear what you can't see, don't know, and don't fully understand, with the narrative largely being fueled by that of an unreliable character (John Goodman) you're not entirely sure if you trust. With that in mind, John Goodman delivers his character as convincing as any other he's ever played, with the trio of writers effectively establishing a breathing world in this congested but cozy underground bunker. It's the rare film that retains suspense for the entirety of its one-hundred minute runtime, and even helps fully craft a world in a newly formed franchise you probably initially thought was one-dimensional and flat.
My full review of 10 Cloverfield Lane, influxmagazine.com/10-cloverfield-lane-2016-review/
5. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is likely the most experimental American film of the year, shot entirely in 3D with IMAX cameras in utterly immaculate 4K resolution. This allows the film to assume a quality other critics have dubbed "hyper-realism," and while this kind of filming obviously works well for large-scale action sequences and battles, it's amazing what it does for close-ups of facial expressions. The clarity and the imagery is what makes this such an emotional moviegoing experience, as the story is a war-drama that essentially shows that the second soldiers return home, even if it is on a brief stay, there are always opportunists looking to exploit their story and members of the public who act like they understand the trials and tribulations when they, quite frankly, have no idea.
My full review of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5346/billy-lynns-long-halftime-walk
6. Moonlight: There has been some criticism for Moonlight of late in regards that its minimalist storyline and dialog doesn't offer much in the way of depth. This is certainly a valid complaint, as it also pertains to the strengths of the performances (how much were the actors really challenged in conveying characters that are pretty scant when it comes to their own personal development). However, I find Moonlight beautiful in that respect. It doesn't want to spoonfeed us with details, and instead, gives us the outlines of troubled characters that allows us to resonate and empathize with them in a way that's almost entirely human. With that in mind, the performances are indeed tender, as they are based on carnality to some degree, in the sense that they exist to show emotions and convey them appropriately more than they do conversation and dialog, and the overall effect is ethereal and freeing thanks to lush, mellow cinematography that makes this film very vibrant.
My full review of Moonlight, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5349/moonlight-2016
7. La La Land: Time and time again I've said that La La Land is for those stupid enough to dream and even stupider when it comes to following those dreams. It's the sincere picture for those that took their parents and grandparents' advice to "follow their dreams" seriously and are now seeing the rough-road ahead when so many are telling them to quick. The way writer/director Damien Chazelle has no difficulty transporting us to a world that suspends both our disbelief and our reality shows you what the boundless realm of film can do, and classic Hollywood never looked so good as it did in glorious, widescreen Cinescope. Chalk up two memorable and meaningful ballads - Ryan Gosling's "City of Stars" and Emma Stone's lovely "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" - and you have a thoroughly complete homage to musicals, dreams, and dreamers.
My full review of La La Land, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5377/la-land-2016
8. Gleason: I stated back when I saw Gleason in August that it was one of the most emotionally painful films I've seen in my young life, and several months later, I return with the same sentiment. This is an utterly heartbreaking, devastating film, with a goal to reveal and deconstruct the malicious and incurable disease known as ALS in a way that shows an able-bodied man become an immobile, mute fraction of himself. Nonetheless, former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason tremendously overcomes adversity, even as his wife works herself to the bone trying to care for him, by establishing a foundation and fighting for those that don't have the privileged access to healthcare like he does. Gleason is 2016's most impressive documentary.
My full review of Gleason, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5258/gleason-2016?page=1&scrollTo=26756
9. Fences: August Wilson's play is a bold character study that effectively articulates the struggles of the black community while narrowing its focus on the disillusioned patriarch of a small family that owns his title of being a king over the tiny space he can still call home for the time being. Denzel Washington does Wilson's play a great service, not only adapting it to screen in a similar way it was conceived on the stage, but by making this a powerhouse display of acting from everyone involved. Viola Davis brings a tender, emotional core to the film while Mykelti Williamson brings his mentally handicapped character to great emotional life without ever being too overwrought. This is a complex character study that shows the contrasting and often contradictory way a man's emotions and actions can operate at the expense of himself and his family.
My full review of Fences, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5385/fences-2016
10. The Bronze: I've gushed about the Melissa Rauch starring vehicle The Bronze far more than anyone this year, and I stand by that it's the most overlooked, underseen comedy of the year. The film is a brilliant showcase for Rauch's brand of vulgar but devilishly funny humor, and she plays her crass character with a refined and notable sense of regret that is communicated through a screenplay that turns deceptively meaningful by the third act. This is a film that shows how and why the contemptible can also be sympathetic, and how we can manifest ourselves to be larger-than-life figures in our own niche bubble even as glory fades and time marches on.
My full review of The Bronze, influxmagazine.com/the-bronze-2016-review/
Honorable Mentions: Everybody Wants Some!!, The Neon Demon, and Zootopia.