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The Top 12 Film Scenes of 2016

14 Feb

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Others Considered: Dead body (The Nice Guys), Ending (The Witch), Would That It Were So Simple (Hail, Caesar!), First encounter (Arrival), Final scene (Aquarius), Sabotage (Star Trek: Beyond), The fire (Divines), Final battle (Hardcore Henry), Horseback ride (Certain Women)

Honorable Mentions: The arm (Green Room), William Carlos Williams (Paterson), Diner ending (The Lobster), DMV (Zootopia), I Am Moana (Moana), Airport battle (Captain America: Civil War), Limo scene (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping), The party/Whitney Houston (Toni Erdmann)

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Get Out Review

12 Feb

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Every so often, a film comes along that is so bold in its ideas, so unrelenting in its intensity, that you just have to allow yourself to be swept up in its grasp. Even given its flaws–mainly an occasionally shaky setup and an over-abundance of jump scares–Get Out is that type of film. It’s a deliriously entertaining ride through comedy, horror, action, and social commentary, and it knows exactly how to blend the four without detracting from any. Via a creative form of social critique, Peele does what horror filmmakers do best: draw from the everyday fears of our times and take them to the extreme. However, he also has a knack for transitioning between tones, and that’s where the beauty of the film lies; for instance, the comedy that oftentimes breaks up the intensity in various scenes actually contributes in a way to the overall intensity. That’s the only way I can describe it, as it’s best experienced firsthand.

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The Lego Batman Movie Review

7 Feb

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Doesn’t quite sustain its high energy, rapid-fire delivery throughout, but the quick-moving parts contribute to a very enjoyable story. The script is witty, the voice performances are stellar–especially Cera–and the self-referential humor actually means something with regards to the central character. Compare the humor and the social commentary to that of the movie’s predecessor all you want, but this one still deserves a lot of credit for engaging with and understanding its main character. This is an analysis of the Caped Crusader filtered through history, comedy, and a simple but resonant thematic base about ego and loneliness. At the same time, it’s also an infectious kaleidoscope of color that recognizes the fun of its premise: a bunch of legos running around fighting each other.

GRADE: B

A Cure for Wellness Review

3 Feb

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A Patient Report on “A CURE FOR WELLNESS”

Quick Background: Patient was presumed to live a relatively healthy lifestyle, with normal vital signs related to cinematography, score, and production design. Patient exhibited effective atmosphere building. Patient cast Jason Isaacs. However, also directed by Mr. Gore Verbinski. Mr. Verbinski’s films have grossed 3.72 billion worldwide, therefore allowing him to make both the “highest grossing directors” list and the “overpaid directors” list.

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The Top Film Performances of 2016

1 Feb

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Honorable Mentions (20): Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane), Amy Adams (Arrival/Nocturnal Animals), Emma Stone (La La Land), Jena Malone (The Neon Demon), Ralph Fiennes (A Bigger Splash), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Stephen Lang (Don’t Breathe), Adam Driver (Paterson), Viola Davis (Fences), Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz (The Lobster), Gillian Jacobs (Don’t Think Twice), Kate Beckinsale and Tom Bennett (Love and Friendship), Peter Simonischek and Sandra Huller (Toni Erdmann), Sonia Braga (Aquarius), Kim Min-Hee and Kim Tae-Ri (The Handmaiden), Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Words cannot describe how difficult it was to honorable mention Jessica Chastain and Amy Adams, two of my favorite actresses. And then the long overdue Annette Bening, Ralph Fiennes, and Viola Davis? And then an Emma Stone career best? A tough task, these year end lists.

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Split Review

20 Jan

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I like it when films commit to a particular style or premise rather than trying to be an amalgamation of half-baked ideas. Films like Green Room or Don’t Breathe worked (for the most part) because they dispensed with extensive exposition in favor of letting the scenarios drive the stories. I’m not necessarily saying I always want minimal character development and thematic depth–nor am I implying that certain filmmakers can’t juggle multiple elements extremely well–but if your focuses as a filmmaker aren’t those things, then that’s 100% fine with me. However, if I get the sense that a film is trying to explore them, then part of my evaluation will include the level to which it succeeds. So, while Split deserves credit for going below the surface to unpack the effects of trauma on individuals, it also deserves some criticism for its reliance on thinly drawn characters, flashbacks, and parallels in order to make its point. Shyamalan might’ve been better served going all out on the horror element or the thriller element or the character element. Pick one.

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Silence Review

11 Jan

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Ocean waves break on the shore. It’s a regular occurrence, a state of tranquility, nature’s way of passing time. However, any period of time can feel like an eternity. Hunched in the bushes, two priests watch as that act of nature slowly becomes an unthinkable act of torture, a commonality becoming an atrocity as their foundation of faith is questioned. And at its core, this is the purpose of Silence. It questions. It challenges. It wades into the contradictions and the dualities and turns inward on itself. It is a director’s musings, a self reflection on one’s life and career. It is an extension of and an overt expression of the moral quandaries of the director’s previous epics. Crime, transgression, repentance.

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