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Movies in backwards order 2016 (the thick of things)
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Things are being nominated and awarded. Movie Count – 67. Worst is first as usual. New ones in this color. Spoilers in white

Knight of Cups – Did Terrence Mallick hit his head underwater a few years ago? That’s the only thing that could explain this and the almost as bad fake philosophy tripe Tree of Life. Gimme a freakin’ break. And he keeps casting all my favorite people in his movies. STOP IT!!!!

Everybody Wants Some Why do movie wigs look so bad? They were the only entertaining part of this. From the master of bore, you have a movie set in the 80s with people who act nothing like people did in the 80s. Plenty of memberberries like Space Invaders, foosball, Disco, country line dancing, and a great soundtrack that he’s peddling to get you to think the movie made you happy. But it’s just nostalgia. Again.

Gods of Egypt – It’s entirely possible I’ll watch this again someday solely to watch the Kingslayer be all golden. And its shininess is really it’s only redeeming quality. It could have been fun for the sake of it if there wasn’t this horrible young actor in a bad dye job ruining everything.

Money Monster – I dunno is everybody dumb now? This was a stupid actionish movie that wasn’t even fun. And convoluted beyond belief. Can we fire George and Julia for good now?

Cell – lol what? I mean I think it was supposed to be bad. Like they meant it. And it had three endings. I don’t know which was the real one. At least it wasn’t trying and failing. 

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – I mean it’s so on the nose. I’m saying that as someone who loves Andy Samberg’s face. It could have been awful but it wasn’t. Mildly amusing. The cameo gimmick was not there for someone of my generation. Watchable.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie – I mean Pats and Eddie. You can’t go wrong but this almost did. There was one unfunny chick in it in the beginning which is one of those British things where seeing someone recognizable is supposed to be funny on its own. But when you don’t know who the hell they are? Ehhh… Otherwise it was sort of funny, sometimes.

The Magnificent Seven – Mostly crapola. I could not buy most of this cast as cowboys except D’Onofrio and Lee. They’re just too modern. Sarsgaard made a good villain. But when your cowboy hero won’t even make the effort to stand up straight, there’s nothing to see here. The chick was okay.

Triple 9 – lol I don’t know what that ending was. What is so hard about ending your movie? I literally don’t understand why the one character was walking toward the other character gun drawn then freeze frame, the end. lolololol This should have been good.

Hail, Caesar! – Now I tend to like movies that have an exclamation point and this is no different. But I don’t exactly love it. I think I might have if it was longer. Ralph Fiennes needed to come back and I’m not sure Jonah Hill’s role even qualifies as a cameo. But Josh Brolin was great as always. Channing Tatum I’m getting sick of. He looks half asleep the whole time. Here and in The Hateful Eight I thought he did damage to the movies. I get that he’s the flavor of the month, but how about someone more delicious in the future? The plot was cool in that it included all the types of classic Hollywood movies and how some of it probably was instead of how it seemed. I really can’t help but think this was supposed to be a longer story though. I can’t say it’s great for that reason, but it’s really good.

X-Men: Apocalypse – I mean, a lot of it was off. I mean why style Xavier like an 80s version of Robin Gibb instead of giving him a perfect mullet? And no one had a mullet. Or leg warmers. IDEK. Anyway, I saw it earlier today and I’m already straining to remember anything I really liked about it. It wasn’t bad but, maybe I should let it sit. I usually don’t like to read other reviews before I do this, but in this case, I think it will probably help. I debated putting it last. Maybe I should have. Anyway, the inclusions to the cast were good. Sansa, of course. But I don’t know it all had a ‘been there, done that’ feel to it. Days of Future Past was so good that it makes this seem like weaksauce. But maybe it is weaksauce even without comparing it. I don’t know. It feels a little phoned in. They probably should have cast someone taller for Apocalypse. If he’s all powerful why can’t he turn his head in his suit? Maybe the tubes? Am I supposed to know what that was about? Anyway, yeah. I’m leaving it here for now. But it’s not looking promising that it will stay here.

The Program – Ben Foster did a decent job of playing Lance Armstrong. But this seemed really too heavy handed in the idea that Armstrong was a constant prick every minute with every word that came out of his mouth. It looked kinda cheap too.

Florence Foster Jenkins – Well, it’s a one joke movie. Unfortunately for this woman her whole life was a big joke. Which makes it mean, if you think about it, but she also got to be a star and sing at Carnegie Hall. So who knows if it’s right or wrong to lie to someone like that? I wouldn’t. As far as the movie goes, it’s a ‘watch it once and smile’ affair. I do think the Helberg kid was the standout.

La La LandYou…Doing that thing you do…. breakin’ my heart into a million pieces…. And that is the song I came out of La La Land singing. And what a lovely and enjoyable and rewatchable movie musical that was. This thing? Not so much. You know I knew it was overrated from the initial responses way back when it premiered but I honestly have no idea what they were gushing about. When you watch a judged sport like figure skating or dancing, you’re supposed to withhold the top scores just in case. So the first “Oscar movies” that get released shouldn’t really get 10s in September. Because no matter how great it is there could always be something better. There was a lot better than this. All. Year. Long. Look, I think they meant well. I could tell right off the bat that the storyboards must have been amazing. Maybe they started with that, got together some songs and then tried to write a story around it. Because the story was weak. Everything about the execution of this was weak. They aimed way too high and fell far short of the stars. I’m not one for giving ‘A’s for effort. But even if I was, in this case, I wouldn’t. I don’t think the effort was there. This was the quietest musical I’ve ever seen/heard. Even in the opening number everyone was singing like they were frightened to sing. Until John Legend showed up. He’s not scared. But then he went away again. I think it was a tactic by the director to make the couple seem timid so when they finally sang in full voice toward the end it would make it seem impactful. What it did was make you think about doing your laundry and wonder how much snow had fallen for the two hours you were in there because this was some boring shit. Once again, I think they meant well. I think this is on the director. He didn’t coerce better performances out of them. Might have even allowed them to be small because he was so focused on his sets and things that looked like a great musical. Didn’t sound like one. But I don’t even think that it was that they couldn’t sing. I really think he didn’t let them. And it was obvious that they could dance, especially Ryan Gosling. But again, this was like kindergarten choreography. I think there was actually a better movie in there if they’d spent more time on what the actors were doing. But the story is still nada mucho. I don’t know. I thought Whiplash had a chance of winning Best Picture and might have deserved it. If this does, it will be about the advertising.

Star Trek Beyond – Well, I’m not a “Star Trek” fan but I have seen a few of the movies. This wasn’t my favorite of them. That was Generations, basically because I like Malcolm McDowell. But it was better than a lot of Star Trek stuff I’ve seen. I don’t like Zoe Saldana. At all. But Chris Pine I’m becoming a fan of. Let’s say I’ve grown accustomed to his face. But ask me the plot a day later and I’ll be iffy. It’s a shame they covered up Idris Elba’s face. But I liked that lady’s makeup and a couple of the action sequences were really well done.

The Young Messiah Little kid Jesus looks like my friend Karen from when I was a kid. Had to get that out. Anyway, I thought it was pretty good. At first I thought it was going to be goofy with some new director trying out all his camera angles, but it settled down. I mostly went to see this for Sean Bean. He had more of a role than I expected. I thought he was just the “name” attached. But he plays a centurion who has to hunt down young Jesus. Of course he doesn’t want to but it’s his job. See, Herod died and Herod, Jr. wants to get rid of the threat. And then basically we see what it might have been like for the young Messiah. I thought it was a nice story. Everyone stayed away from the regular hammy biblical acting. I don’t think this movie should bother anyone and it has a nice little explanation what His Life, and life in general, is probably about.

Zootopia – Yeah. This was cuter and smarter than I expected. I don’t know why I’m saying that I wasn’t expecting anything. I only went to see it because I had time to kill and nowhere else to go. But it was the story of following your dreams no matter what. I’m not exactly sure that I still believe that’s the best advice. Maybe I was meant to be a carrot farmer all along. But there’s a lot going on here and I think you can interpret what it’s trying to say in a couple of different ways. I’m not going to bother spoiling it since there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t see it yourself. The voice actors were great and I appreciate the Disney style of animation better than that other stuff. One thing I don’t get is why Shakira when that clearly should have been Lady Gaga.

Moana – This really couldn’t hold my attention for some reason. I couldn’t remember what her mission was and she kept saying it. I was hearing “My name is Moana and blah blah blah blah…” lol. I don’t know I think there wasn’t a lot of jeopardy there, because the ocean was putting her in place every step of the way. Who was the villain? I think that’s why they made up the coconut pirates but then they suddenly were gone. The songs didn’t seem to weave in and out naturally either. The Rock got only one song and it wasn’t very good which is a shame because he’s a talented guy. There was the one good song. The animation was fine for the ocean and sky and all that but the “people” looked like Shrek. I don’t like Shrek but at least he was a monster of some kind. These are people. It’s time to go back to realistic people animation I think.

Jane Got A Gun – Good western. I really wanted to see it in the theater but it didn’t play here. Probably would have been higher on this list if I had. The cast were all good. Nothing really to remark on that much. A fine effort by all.

Deadpool – It was okay. Ryan Reynolds has always bothered me for some reason. But I could deal with him here. There were a lot of quips just to get cheap laughs amongst the dumber crowd who just laugh when they recognize a reference. And they tried to use the goodwill of songs that are 20+ years old. So using the nostalgia card the way they did in Guardians of the Galaxy seems to be working for them but it would have been a better movie if they used new songs. remember when movies used to have their own great soundtrack albums. Now those were the good old days. Anyway, the plot made sense. I laughed a couple of times. And I liked Colossus.

The VVitch – It was really well made. It seemed historically accurate. The acting was really good. I just personally wasn’t that into it. I’m not my thing. I like good horror when it’s flashy. This wasn’t that. I’m not even sure how the things were happening. But sometimes it’s good to not show everything. I guess that makes it more artsy-fartsy. I assume horror fans love it but it’s not the garbage horror crap that been coming out lately.

The Nice Guys – I think it belongs here. Um, so, it suffers from a mild case of inthecommercialitis. You’ve seen the funny parts. It’s still good though. It’s very close to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, except without Val Kilmer which if you pay close attention it seems he should have had a cameo but I’m assuming he wasn’t there because he was sick. His son actually plays the projectionalist, which I didn’t realize until I read the credits. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make a natural pairing. Kim Basinger seemed like she didn’t want to look at Gosling, which is weird, but I remember her being super nervous in interviews and I want to blame that, but it’s odd for a seasoned actress. Anyway, I lost the plot a few times but I was distracted by Gosling’s pants. Bomer was gorgeous as always. People who love KKBB should like this almost as much. I want Crowe’s jacket. Sad to say, I think it’d fit.

Doctor Strange – Pretty good. Mostly the Shadow. I don’t know enough about comic books to understand the Marvel or DC history of things but this seemed like a similarly metaphysical situation. I had known that Joaquin Phoenix was in talks to play the lead role so when Cumberbunch was cast I was disappointed. So for a while I watched it thinking how Phoenix would have been better. Then they come across Benjamin Bratt who would also probably have been a sexier Doctor Strange. But what do I know? The story was pretty cool. The effects probably should have been seen in 3D which I didn’t. Anyway, another good Marvel movie.

Arrival – It wasn’t even that good, I’m sick of movies being hyped for months and months and then you see it and realize the people hyping it must be dumb. I mean it was okay. But geez Louise, it wasn’t all that. And it ended up reminding me of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure but nowhere near as entertaining. More spoilers…. guess what people, time isn’t real. Don’t we all know this by now, so the twist in the end is so not twisty that it’s almost just a squiggle, and you know for like an hour before the movie’s over who the kids dad is and when. Unless you’re as stupid as a crayon. And if you’re worth half your salt you would know to just try to use the Force to communicate instead of writing words down for months. Give me a break. And obviously the Chinese and Russians would figure it out first because of their writing systems. And then and then our hero is a selfish bitch for having a kid she’s knows will die from a horrible disease. Selfish cow!!! Just because you wanted to be a mother. Boooooo…. booooooo….. But it was a well made movie with the effects and cast and all that. But the story needs a flush or two.

Jungle Book – If your biggest claim to fame is your CGI, then it better be flawless. It ain’t. The young actor was fine. Super Hollywood type kid, but that’s okay. He needed to carry the movie. Billy Murray and Christopher Walken were also great. But you know, you can’t improve on the animated classic film. Not a huge fan of the anti-individual dogma either.

Midnight Special – I mean, I don’t know. I’m putting it here because I just forgot to include it all this time. I liked it but I do remember thinking it was overrated as well. Great cast but I could have used more. Maybe I’ll add to this if I watch it again.

DemolitionWell I only went to see it because Jake. I had expected it to be either the same thing as Moonlight Mile, or Jake smashing a house for two hours. It’s more the former than the latter and it’s got a pinch of Ordinary People thrown in. It’s a little more avante garde than those movies. I’m still left with questions though. For example, I don’t know why but when I originally saw the trailer, I thought it seemed pretty obvious that she purposely crashed the car. Now after having seen the film, I don’t know where I got that from but it’s still totally possible. Naomi Watts and Jake and the kid make a great team. It’s nowhere near as depressing as I thought it would be and there’s lots of quirkiness to entertain you but then Chris Cooper really grounds the thing. There’s a lot going on and it turns out to be unpredictable. I feel like Her fans will like it.

The Finest Hours – So I saw this on Netflix. Which is weird. It’s totally a movie theater type of movie but I really did like it. I’m getting very used to Chris Pine. I thought he did a great job here, especially with the accent. I think it would make a good companion picture to last year’s Brooklyn. Casey Affleck was good as well. I’m not sure what’s wrong with Eric Bana but you always feel like he should have been someone else. I saw this a while ago, but remember thinking it was really well done and should have had more of an audience. It was suspenseful and almost kinda creepy. It was a much better movie than The Perfect Storm which you can’t help comparing it to.

Deepwater Horizon – Really good. Like the epic disaster movies from the 70s but this really happened. It’s a shame how money has turned people into victimizers, which is basically what the movie shows. People need to see what really happens behind the scenes in these news stories that they ignore while being busy with their own lives. I’m happy that Wahlberg makes movies like this that are entertaining but are also about something. Peter Berg is getting good at this. Can’t wait to see Patriot’s Day.

A Bigger Splash – Well this was different. And then not, it seems like Europeans always go to some seaside location to get up to stupid trouble. Ralph Fiennes was top notch in this and pretty naked. I don’t want to do spoilers but suffice it to say it’s one of those ‘people get old so they act the fool and mess up everything’ type of films. If you’re into that sort of thing, you should like it.

Keanu – This kitty. Such a cute kitty. And that will sway your opinion of the film. There were some bland spots and it’s fairly obvious that the template for this was Raising Arizona. If you recall Nathan Jr. was so adorable that all the criminals wanted to steal him. It became about more than money. Same thing here with little Keanu. I think it’s a genius thing to give him the disease that he has to allow for future sequels. I’m not really a fan of these guys. I always thought they did that kind of ‘trying too hard’ comedy. But they were decent in “Fargo” so I gave it a chance. Fun, cute movie.

Blood Father – Yeah this was a good movie. Much like Get the Gringo, it would have been a box office hit, if it didn’t come out only on video, because sugar tits. Well my problem with it is actually the actress who plays his daughter. She was really bad. I would think he’d still have his choice of costars, so I dunno, maybe he just has bad taste in women. Everyone else I liked though, even Parks, who I’ve always been meh about. So yeah, highly recommended.

Fences – Yeah. It was very play-like but the performances were good. I thought it was a very truthful story until that strange ending. You set up a bad guy as a despicable person for a whole movie and then he dies and goes straight to heaven. WTF? I dunno. A lot of the plays I’ve seen have strange endings that don’t seem to fit with where the story was going. It’s like the writers jump off their own track. Anyway, like I said, the performances.

Hello, My Name Is Doris – Not as cute as it thinks it is but still quite good. I prefer the performance of Tyne Daly over Sally Field but they both did fine work. There were many points when I watched it through my fingers due to secondhand embarrassment. But I am glad that it treats old people like people.

Batman V SupermanIf you recall I hated the abomination we called Man of Steel. So I sort of surprised myself that I got to this on opening weekend. I’m even more surprised at how much I liked it and honestly almost loved it. I don’t read the comics but I’m familiar with a lot of the villains from hearsay or other animated TV, maybe that helps. Anyway, Ben Affleck was fine as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Clooney remains the worst Batman ever. Here Bats is older and more like the grumpy thicker Batman from more of the animated stuff. Superman makes more sense here than he did in Man of Steel. They didn’t toss the idea that he’s a jackass alien. They built on it. I think what we have to understand as older folks is that we were dealing with Kal-el in the first movie. I don’t know that we ever really dealt with him before MoS. Then at the end of MoS he took on the mantel of Superman and only now toward the end of Batman V Superman does he become Clark Kent, human. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is just window dressing and moves around to fill in plot points. It might have been that she was miscast but there isn’t a lot for Adams to do here. Jesse Eisenberg, who I normally don’t like, was actually quite good as Lex Luthor. Maybe a little like the Joker here, it seems he wants to watch the world burn. And they stole a lot from other things, but that’s the way of this hodge podge/mod podge world we live in. Otherwise I enjoyed it. I loved Wonder Woman’s wardrobe cues to who she would be. And as much as I was dumbfounded at why she has a sword and shield ala Xena, the magic lasso showed up right when it should have. I almost cheered when it did, tbqh. The storyline was fine as long as you take it as Snyder’s new thing that he’s doing. You can’t look for our old Superman anymore. He’s gone.

Love & Friendship – Kinda really funny. It’s Jane Austen, who I never really took to. I guess it depends on the adapter. This had a great cast as well. But the standout was this guy I’ve never seen before, Tom Bennett. What a hoot! I really enjoyed every moment he was on screen. The costumes were to die for and I also liked how they had subtitles explaining who everyone was at the beginning. Extremely helpful.

Central Intelligence – Better than I expected. Mainly because I’m afraid of Kevin Hart. But Dwayne Johnson I expect to be super funny and generally great and he was here. The plot was pretty good too. Even if I got confused about who the villain was.

The Infiltrator – I’ll probably need to rewatch this because I didn’t follow some of the transactions exactly, but this was a really good movie. The cast was great. Bryan Cranston of course, and Leguizamo is a reliable pest, but Benjamin Bratt stole the show here for me. He out charisma-ed Ol’ Heisenberg. The thing is I wish they’d let their relationship grow a bit more. That’d make the movie longer but I don’t care. I like long movies. Anyway it seemed a bit rushed that they would be that close. Michael Paré who I’ve been a fan of since forever has a cameo here and I was super happy to see him in it, even now that I’ve realize he blocked me on twitter. WTF? lol I really don’t know why. Anyway, for half the movie it seemed like the same old undercover cop/drug trafficking thing ala Donnie Brasco but this went a different way because of the banking.

Collateral Beauty – Yeah I’d love to see this without having seen the trailer. Here be spoilers why it ruined it. The trailers tell you that he’s writing to Death, Love and Time and that Death is an elderly white woman. You go into the film believing that these are the rules. You get there and you find out that it’s not the case and his co-workers actually hired actors to play Death, Love and Time to prove that he’s a crazy person so that they can sell their stock, or company, or whatever. But it turns out in the end that the “actors” actually were Death, Love and Time all along. So if you think that going in because of the trailer there is no twist, or reveal. But if you’re dumb enough to forget what the trailer’s been telling you for months then you’ll just get flim-flammed by the script. Those trailer should have never happened. They just should have shown Will Smith being crazy in NYC, talking to air or something. There also are a few pay offs that they seemed to be setting up that didn’t happen. Someone wimped out. It was that close to being great.

 

War Dogs – Right off the bat, I have to say I really liked the nods to Scarface, especially that wall. Scarface is not one of my favorite movies, but it’s the favorite movie of the kind of people who would get themselves into a mess like this. I love Jonah Hill, which is why I went, and I’m really starting to like Miles Teller. Teller is the star playing a young man whose life has already sort of crapped out on what it was supposed to be even if he’s still young. Well, in true Johnny’s mother fashion his life requires him to turn to a life of crime in order to handle his financial responsibilities. That’s where his old BFF from junior high comes in. Honestly if we grew up at all, we shouldn’t still be friends with the people we chose in those years. Could you imagine having to have your junior high hairdo all your life? Of course not. But. Of course his friend leads him on a path to riches and where the path to riches leads. It’s a dramedy I think. Anyway, it’s got lots of yucks but it’s really a cautionary tale about people who want to think that ‘the world is yours’. Hopefully you know how that turns out. Good movie. You might be reminded of Buffalo Soldiers, but it’s not really like it except the way they make money.

20th Century Women – I know. It’s not as high as it would be if this was an objective list. But this is my favorites and it’s a chick’s movie so this is where it belongs. Billy Crudup stole this movie in my opinion. Yeah Annette Bening is great and she should be nominated and all that but Crudup is the fun here. It’s like his character from Almost Famous got older and is living in this woman’s house. So she’s a single mom. And she has tenants who make up a sort of family. It’s heartwarming. it’s Oscar-y. But also it’s got some quirky directing choices that I enjoyed that make it slightly different from the Woody Allen-ish Hallmark channel movie that it could have been.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – What do you know? I liked it. For the first half I was trying to get around looking at it too hard even though I saw it in a regular theater. Then I was trying to figure out why Ang Lee chose to do it this way. I knew there had to be a reason beyond wanting to play with a new toy. He’s not the Cameron type. Then I realized he was doing it to immerse you into their world. The world of the soldiers that we ignore. That’s why all the POV shots. You had to look them in the face after all you’ve done to them. And you also had to get an idea of what it’s like from their vantage point. The story was actually good. Not the Coming Home redo we were expecting. The actors were fine and I think the technique got you to get used to them like they’re your buddies even though we’re not that familiar with them. I only knew of Hedlund previously. The girl from “The Slap” was a good choice to play a wholesome/skank looking cheerleader. I did think Steve Martin did a good job as the Texas moneybags who’s head of the players. I think this should teach people to finally hate the player. You can’t have a game without them so remember that if you are them. (One thing I wished a couple times was that they’d been able to do the split diopter thing that Brian De Palma does. Especially when the football players in the background were all fuzzy.)

Café Society – Mild Woody. He does a more subdued film here with two stages in a young man’s life. I thought Eisenberg did fine. One small problem is you can really see why Bruce Willis was cast in the role Steve Carrell ended up playing. And you can’t help but think Bruce would have fit the role better even if he’s a worse actor and a twit. The movie looks amazing. Not the usual ending.

Mr. Church – Really good movie. Eddie Murphy plays against type as a cook for an ailing mom and her daughter. The chemistry between Murphy and Robertson. You actually can’t tell where this story is going. But it winds up being a very heartwarming family story. Have tissues in hand.

Hidden Figures – I didn’t know this story either. It was inspiring yes but also very entertaining. Even though you should know the history of the space missions it still grips you when it’s all on the line. Great performances by Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae.

Army of One – Nic Cage puts in one of the greatest performances of the year the way that only he can. Here he plays a man who is given a mission by God to kill Osama Bin Laden. It’s crazy, It’s heartfelt. It’s pretty damn awesome. Russell Brand plays himself. ;)

The Brothers Grimsby – Okay that one scene is as gross as you’re going to get without gore. But, this movie is actually really well done and entertaining. And smart. I’m going to go ahead and do medium spoilers to explain a film I think a lot of people might mistakenly skip. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Nobby, a family man from Grimsby who although blessed with many children still misses his long lost brother Sebastian. By happenstance he finds that Sebastian’s going to be at a big to-do because he’s an MI6 agent. And from there the wackiness ensues. In the meantime what we find out is what’s really important, what family means, and that everyone is important in the larger human family. You weren’t expecting that were you? Sacha Baron Cohen is some kind of a genius. Although I liked Mark Strong before, I was super impressed with his straight man abilities. I mean the stuff he went through in this movie with a straight face. lol And he was brave to do it, in my opinion.

Race – Such a great film. Released at a different time of the year, you’d think it’d be Oscar bait. But somehow it’s fighting it out the weekend before Oscar with last year’s movies. I don’t get it. Now truth be told it seems like a Disney type movie from 20 years ago, which if you understand what I mean by that, is a good thing. I don’t really know Jesse Owens’ story but for the bits and pieces you get as a sports fan or in history documentaries about something else. Here you see a cinematic telling of the time and just really about how important his actions were in the course of history. And I really wish that Jewish people and black people would watch this together. Seriously. The performances were great. It was easily digestible and it’s incredibly timely. I can’t imagine anyone disliking it. Some of the cinematography stops you like when he’s about to enter the stadium and he separates from his coach in silhouette. Really great stuff.

Captain America: Civil War – Yeah well, the Russo brothers have done it again. Now mind you it’s the weakest of the three. But the other movies were so freakin’ amazing that it’s barely a criticism. I think some of the other Avengers’ lack of awesome dragged it down a bit. Mainly Iron Man and the witch girl. I’m still not sure what her red energy balls are doing. But if it weren’t for them this would be a ten. Olsen I don’t like, but there’s nothing wrong with Downey. Iron Man is just not that wonderful of a character. I love that they continue to make Hawkeye useful. They must love Renner as much as I do because there’s really no good reason for him to be there except to round out the cast. The new guys, Black Panther and Spider-man were a great addition. And new-to-the-team Ant-man was a scene stealer. But the emoting part of the film goes to Sebastian Stan even if he’s still half robot. Now that I think of it the other emotional one was Vision. Weird. But yeah, it’s great. Cap is still our greatest hero. Falcon is our bestest friend and the hits just keep on coming. Let’s hope this goes on forever.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – WHY THE HELL COULDN’T THEY JUST RECAST THE ROLE???!!! My God. What sacrilege. He’s not just some old guy, he’s Peter Cushing. I have no idea if everyone else is okay with it. I’ve just gotten home and haven’t read reviews. I personally love Peter Cushing. Because of his exquisite shade throwing in ANH, I made a point to watch his other movies as a kid. He’s the coolest of the cool. The snobbiest of snobs. But sturdy af. That cartoon was cross-eyed and sounded like some random English bitch. I will never get over that. What’s worse is this could have been a great great movie. But these stupid unnecessary mistakes. Also in the wimp department, Vader walked like a dandy. Talk about not fitting the suit. The first thing that aggravated me though was the locations being written on the screen. Are we stupid? Do we need help? That’s not necessary. If we didn’t now where they were on first viewing we’d figure it out on repeat viewing. That just seemed so ghetto. Like from some SyFy series. So what was great about it? Almost everything else! The cast was great, especially Diego Luna. The only problem I had with Ridley Jones was her trying to emote to that hologram. Which just makes me question another seemingly stupid situation. You get the vibe that she was getting this message from a tennis ball. As they often have actors act to nothing in green screen heavy movies. But if that was the case why couldn’t they just have Mads Mikkelsen there and just change it to be a hologram in post? If he or some other human actually was there, then that was a horrid take or she sucks at her job. Ben Mendelsohn, great actor that he is, also served up a few ham sandwiches. But I have to think they were so busy concentrating on effects that they let this stuff slip. That’s all on the director. Another take and we might not be talking about that at all. I liked the story. I liked the effects. They were pretty amazing. All the scenes of the Star Destroyers and the Death Star. That was actually great fake cinematography. The action toward the end really charged like it should. The score by Giacchino was great. I mean so much of it was absolutely fantastic. I’ll calm down some day. I won’t like it better but I won’t be losing my shit like this. Hopefully, I’ll be able to enjoy the great parts, because they were very truly great. But if they can recast Porkins, they could have gotten Ralph Fiennes to play Grand Moff Tarkin the way he did in Kubo and the Two Strings.

Manchester by the Sea – I love Kyle Chandler but his accent was awful. Tate Donovan’s was pretty good. But the kid, his accent was passable, but I didn’t like him. I feel like a cooler kid needed to be cast in that role. He didn’t look like his family either, so, I dunno maybe he was adopted before. Anyway, other than that it was really good. Michelle Williams, who I strongly dislike, did a really good job here. But of course, it’s really the Casey Show and he puts in a great performance. The movie had some wonky bits and there was a song that stuck out like a sore thumb but there was enough greatness to override that. It does seem Oscar worthy in what so far is a weak year, and it’s getting late.

Allied – This could have been really great but something was slightly off about Brad. He’s looked like he had a migraine for the last decade but maybe after the divorce he’ll stop looking like that. It also looked like they did something to the area under his eyes, either too much concealer or they fixed it in post, which, leave it alone. People are supposed to look like people. Otherwise, I liked the story quite a bit. I felt like he was holding back and maybe a better director would have gotten more emotion out of him. Or convinced him to go all the way for Marion (without worrying that Vampyra would pitch a fit) And the very first shot looked like Jar Jar Binks was parachuting into the desert. The scene in the car would have been much hotter if you’d been able to think that that sandstorm was real. But that’s all on Zemekis. I like the spy genre. I like the noir mystery to this one. The partisans and all that. I just wish I didn’t have the visual issue. It’s the second time recently I sat in the theater wondering what scenes would have looked like had De Palma directed them. (See also Billy Lynn)

Sully – Great. Fantastic work again from Clint Eastwood, master director. Hanks and Eckhart had a great chemistry. As much as Hanks mostly looked and sounded like himself save for the white hair, I was properly brought into the movie by his performance especially when I braced myself in my theater seat for impact. lol Very cinematic.

The Lobster – what a brilliant piece of fuckery. I mean really. What was this? lol You know the premise and if you don’t, watch it first. Colin Farrell has been a hoot for a long time but here oh em gee is he a beauty. lol Only he could be that winkingly wry. You know this from In Bruges. I guess I have to deal with Rachel Weisz. She’s becoming a permanent fixture. I don’t hate or anything but I could do with someone else pretty much every time I see her. Here it’s the overall premise and how it plays out that are the real winners. A+ for originality and A++ for balls.

The Girl on the Train – I’m writing this a couple of weeks after I saw it so I’m fuzzy but I really enjoyed this movie. I didn’t see where it was going but as things wrapped up I hope that it would go a certain way. It’s a mystery kinda thriller but it’s more old school. It’s almost noir-ish in the sense that throughout you’re looking for a femme fatale and you have a few choices. Luke Evans is so hot in it. I’m sorry but he is. He’s not necessarily supposed to be. Maybe a little scary but I’ll go ahead and call him scary hot. Again I wish they were singing. I keep seeing casts who should be singing. But here we are with a whodunit around a missing woman. Gone Girl this ain’t. It’s not a shock value thing. It’s just a mystery surrounding a woman who can’t really help us because she’s a drunk and can’t remember important parts of what happened. Blunt plays this troubled woman without being a caricature. One problem with the mystery of it all is that if you know the filmographies of our cast you can guess the villain based solely on that. lol But without spoilers I can say it’s definitely worth the money. I’ll go ahead and say it’s for fans of movies like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle or Hitchcock movies.

fyi, I saw Miles Ahead last year, but if I’d seen it this year, it’d go about here.

Kubo and the Two Strings – I knew little about this going in which is the way I like it. This is one of those movies where as you’re watching it you think ‘Yeah it’s good and stylish and all that, but I’m not sure about all the hubbub’ and then the ending. I started crying like I was hiccupping. Yeah it’s like that. It’s darker than I was expecting because I guess I was expecting a kids’ movie, which it is but then it also isn’t. I wouldn’t bring small fries who don’t know about death already. But if they do know, it should be great for them. It had a couple of wonky spots and was sort of predictable until the very end which really packs a punch. But I’d really like to know why the character Ralph Fiennes voices looks like Peter Cushing.

Snowden – Yeah. This got overlooked on purpose. People don’t want to know. They want to think this guy's a traitor instead of the world hero that he really is but about the movie. I thought Joseph Gordon Levitt did a great job actually. At first you don’t get if the voice works but it does. It’s nice to see Nic Cage in a real movie. Stone is also a great hero for making movies like this and of course he’s a master at his craft. Woodley is becoming someone okay now that she’s in something other than those Detergent movies. I wish more people had seen it. It’s not just a redo of the documentary.

Patriots’ Day – I remember this too well to be objective. I think I would have made it more nerve-wracking with news reports cutting in all the time. But that’s the way it was to me living close enough but not really near Boston. Otherwise the movie was great. I don’t think it’s too soon. I think people needed to see what happened, how people stood together and why it mattered. I’m so sick of always hearing about the race problems in this country. This movie showed how people of all backgrounds came together to get it done. And that’s exactly what it’s like up here. I think it send the right message. You never can be completely protected. You just have to fight against it. But we’ll never be completely safe. That’s just not what life is. I’d be curious to see how people from other places react to the film. I hope everyone sees it. 

Swiss Army Man – Wow. Talk about original. I knew it was about a guy and a farting corpse going in, but it’s so much more than that. It’s just a really hopeful movie about life and not giving up or selling yourself short. I’m sure idiots will think it’s stupid by I think it’s brilliant. Dano and Radcliffe would get recognition if we lived in a just world.

The Light Between Oceans – So I wasn’t sure about this one but I ended up really liking it. I guess any bad reviews have to do with the younger folks thinking everything has to be immediate and not at all emotional. I’m not really a Fassbender fan. He sounds so much like Bono that whenever he starts talking I start looking for a dude in wrap around shades. But he was quite good here. I believed him in his Catholic guilt and decent husbandness. Alicia Vikander has yet to suck. This is a story about how life just makes everything a tragic ball of shit for everyone everywhere at all times. Heart wrenching it is but it sort of peters out at the end. I would have had the kid walk right into the ocean trying to get to the lighthouse and that be the end of it. But this went on into a not-so-gruesome but still unhappy and messed up ending. Still the rest of it made up for what it rolled into in the end. It’s Oscar-y. Don’t know how the rest of the year will turn out though.

Captain Fantastic – Really liked it. Viggo was the perfect person to play this Mosquito Coast type dad. It’s very hippy-dippy and sensible all at the same time. It’s a shame our ideals don’t pan out. Maybe it’s because we’re crazy. But then again maybe it’s because the world is. Watch it.      

Hacksaw Ridge – Really fantastic war picture. I’m usually not a fan since I don’t support war. However, this movie was about a pacifist who went to war to save his fellow soldiers because his conscience forced him too. He’s tested often and never gives in, which is a great message. I really think people have lost any kind of convictions. They just do whatever their facebook friends are doing. This on the other hand is the story of a truly good individual. The cast were great. The battle scenes were outstanding and brutal without being unnecessarily traumatizing like the cowardly film Saving Private Ryan. Anyone worth their salt will think this is a great film. Hopefully people will give Mel Gibson the kudos he deserves. I doubt it, but it would be nice.

Why Him? – Yeah. I know it’s supposed to be stupid but it’s not. It’s really well done. You know we get to this time of year and people start talking about Best Picture and every time the Academy chooses lately I feel like we have to accept the winner, warts and all. They always have flaws and you have to make concessions. Well, this silly comedy has no flaws. Not a false note for anyone or the movie itself. So I’m putting it up here. Cranston and Franco have a great chemistry and I’ll go ahead and say that Key, or Peele, whichever one he is, did an actual great acting job. Yeah. I mean he’s like German or something. lol There’s a certain disco song from the 70s that I love which features prominently in it. When I get stuck in a youtube loop in the middle of the night I usually end up listening to it. Well it’s just the gravy on what was already a very funny and well made motion picture.

Bleed For This – Yeah. I figured I’d like it. Miles Teller was great as Vinny Paz. He got the essence of the guy without doing an impression. I think that Paz is probably a more annoying character than he was portrayed here. More rascally. But I thought you got the feels part of it from Teller’s performance. Aaron Eckhart also got the idea of Kevin Rooney and the fact that he is so far from what the real guy is like, it’s pretty amazing. But he’s done that kind of ‘wait, that was him?’ acting before. I got used to Ciaran Hinds eventually at first I couldn’t buy him as Italian or from Rhode Island. It does make you wonder where all the Italian actors went though. I know some people will think it’s just another boxing movie which is unfortunate because this is a true story. My mom commented that it’s not all flamboyant with music like Rocky”. That’s totally true. It’s a Ben Younger movie and you can tell. It’s a hell of a lot quieter which might make some people miss out on the triumphantness. But it’s so well done. I do hope it gets some Oscar attention.

Live By Night – Nothing like waiting until the last minute. I saw this today which is the last day for nominating ballots for the Oscars to be in. Of course, Academy members see these things in advance and get screeners and all that, but still it would be nice if we could be in on it. And I do think word of mouth can help even among the great unwashed. I thought the movie was brilliant. I have no idea what idiot critics think. I thought Affleck was going to be playing some kind of tommy gun wielding thug in this. Well, yeah it’s a lot more than that. He convincingly play a guy who through circumstance finds himself with a gloomy disposition and a need to become a gangster. All the while being quite the lover of the ladies. He’s actually a good guy despite what he does and that’s a new take on this sort of thing. Smart. Beyond what’s probably his best performance he actually wrote and directed the thing. Which again is pretty amazing. The rest of the cast also does an amazing job. He picked the right actors I think. And the look of it and it’s got a lot going on, was top notch. More and more I’m coming out of movies wondering what everyone else is missing. I’m going to give regular people time to see it and we’ll see if they like it better than the shills who write reviews for a living.

Hell or High Water – Our newsmen don’t seem to know what’s going on in this world but our movie makers do. That’s sad. Especially when you think about how long it takes to make a film. This is about America and her formerly pink houses and what happens to their inhabitants. And it’s a classic western at the same time. I mean it’s here, in the now. But it’s also a shoot ‘em up with bank robbers and even a cattle drive. Chris Pine has grown on me. He’s definitely a great singing talent, but in this movie I finally feel like he can be a great actor. Ben Foster always has been. I hope he gets some buzz out of this. The Dude continues to abide. I really enjoyed it. Taylor Sheridan is quite the storyteller. After this and my favorite from last year, Sicario, I’ll be showing up for his films by default. This is movie is America 2016, watch it and weep but also cheer.

Sing Street – Such a great movie. As a child of the 80s and a lifelong Duranie, I can say that this was so spot on. Firstly, we all tried to dress like the people in the TV. I even once put together an outfit from Kmart that was meant to copy what JT wore on SNL when The Power Station were on. So the thing I absolutely loved was how their styles changed everytime they got into a new song. JT’s hair, to Robert Smith to Spandau. Man was that great. And these kids’ songs were great. It was a good story. It seemed like real life. It just makes you wonder again why we ever left the 80s. I want this soundtrack because of the kids. Best musical in a while. If the Academy had any sense, or taste, this would be the musical getting all the nominations. I’m going to be rewatching this many times over, I hope.

Nocturnal Animals – That opening credits sequence. Now I’ve got movie-watching skills but I was thinking OMG what is he doing? Knowing that he’s going to alienate a big junk of his audience immediately. But if you wait for it, it pays off into something. I’m sure plenty of people will still hate it though. But it’s also pointing a finger at us. First of it’s pretty noir-ish I love noir. A lot. Second the cast is just great. Spoilerish… It’s a story within a story. Amy Adams is given a manuscript to read. So you see the version of it in her mind, within the movie. Then you she her present day life along with flashbacks. So I suppose it could get confusing for some but I just thought it was multi-layered awesome. It was gorgeous to look at. Of course. Everyone did a great job acting. Everyone. But of course our Jake was super amazing. The score was fantastic. I just really would like to see this in the Oscar race. It probably won’t be. Whatever. I might do a whole post on it when I get it at home.

Eddie the Eagle – I really think this is going to end up in my all-time top 100. That’s saying something because I’ve been trying to redo my list for a while and not a lot has been happening there. Firstly, I came to love the Olympic Games as a fourteen year old watching the Calgary Winter Olympics. I remember it as such a happy time in my own life. Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards was such a huge part of those wonderful games. This movie captures the spirit and hope that those games held better than I could have ever hoped for. The cast does an amazing job. Of course Taron Egerton as Eddie is award worthy in my opinion. I mean the actor looks nothing like him. But he became him in the most adorable and glorious way. Jackman is steady in his role but it’s not about him. It’s really about the spirit Eddie carried through his whole life and a level of optimism I don’t know that anyone else ever had. Could you imagine if we were all like that? How great the world would be. But the way the film is executed especially the jumps and the tension and the great use of bullet time to catch their emotions in the moment. What a great treasure this is. It at least holds up to the standard of other great sports and more specifically Olympics movies like Miracle, Chariots of Fire and Prefontaine.


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