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Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Top 10 Best Films of 2016

10) Allied
Starring: Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
STARS: 3 out of 4

Check out my original review of the film here

9) Moana
Voices Of: Auli'i Cravalho & Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Directed By: Rob Clements, John Musker, Don Hall, & Chris Williams
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: Moana was not a film I had on my original list in 2016, but time has been incredibly kind to it thanks to the fabulously catchy songs, mainly written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the fact that I've had a kid between when the films first aired and it's current principal residency atop of my Netfliz queue. I don't know that the film is an effective critique of previous Disney tropes that it wants to be (especially not compared to a later film on this lost), but it's still a fun movies nonetheless with songs that'll gleefully get stuck on your head for days. And in the era of the #MeToo movement and the fact that we're now being honest about how terrible the former Disney princess movies really are, Moana is a great film that I think will stand the test of time.

8) Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Starring: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam Devine, & Aubrey Plaza
Directed By: Jake Szymanski
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: During a time where films need to compete in the global market causing comedies keep getting broader and dumber, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates has become one of the last great big budget studio comedies. Critics can talk all they want about point and view and characters and whatnot, but the only concern I have of my comedies is: is it funny? Having seen the film twice, I can confidently say that it is. If you're like me and find yourself scrolling endlessly through the film available to stream on Netflix and HBO, make you you seek out Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

7) The Jungle Book
Starring: Neel Sethi
Voices Of: Bill Murray, Idris Elba, & Lupita Nyong'o
Directed By: Jon Favreau
STARS: 3 out of 4

Check out my original review of the film here

6) Captain America: Civil War
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., & everyone else in the MCU
Directed By: Joe and Anthony Russo
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: "The most fun I've had in theaters" is a euphemism I'm normally sick of hearing in TV commercials, but is oh-so true when it comes to this Marvel flick. I tend to see almost all MCU films in theaters because I fall into the hype, and more often than not I feel disappointed. Not true with Civil War. The airport hanger scene where all of these superheros are fighting is one of my favorites movie scenes of recent memory. Sometimes it's okay to watch Big Dumb Popcorn movies, and Captain America: Civil War is one of my favorites.

5) La La Land
Starring: Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone
Written and Directed By: Damien Chazelle
STARS:  3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: "You either die a hero or see yourself become the villain". These are the famous words uttered by Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight that I think fit perfectly with the backlash of this film. Damien Chazelle never set out to make this monster runaway success of a movie; he just wanted to make a movie close to his heart that he's wanted to make for years. Because he's Damien Chazelle, La La Land not only turned out to be a legitimate Oscars front runner, but a moneymaking machine. And when you become too big, the haters love to knock you down. I feel bad for people who don't like this movie because I think it's a modern day Singin' In The Rain that's full of Hollywood escapism.

4) 10 Cloverfield Lane
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead & John Goodman
Directed By: Dan Trachtenberg
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: Speaking of Damien Chazelle, we get to a film he wrote that should have earned John Goodman his first Academy Award nomination (isn't it crazy he's never been nominated?!). One of the worst parts about today's movie industry is the incessant need for IP, and the moments where 10 Cloverfield Lane need to fit into the Cloverfield Expanded Universe are some of the worst moments of the film. However, the cat-and-mouse game between Winstead's character and Goodman's character, which is the vast majority of the film, is pure thriller delight. Turn off the lights and sit close to the screen if you want pure entailment to get your heart race pounding.

3) Zootopia
Voices Of: Gennifer Goodwin & Jason Bateman
Directed By: Rich Moore & Bryan Howard and Jared Bush
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Check out my original review of the film here

2) Arrival
Starring: Amy Adam & Jeremy Renner
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: I loved Arrival, but I find myself having a difficult time discussing at length what makes it so good. At its core, it's a linguistics lesson with aliens, but it is extremely compelling and interesting. The film defies all aliens-come-to-Earth tropes, all thriller, tropes, and basically anything else cliche you can think. It's a smart, adult science fiction movie that keeps you riveted. I don't always find Denis Villeneuve films that interesting or entertaining, but when they hit like Arrival does, it shows why he's one of the most respected filmmakers currently working today.

1) Hell or High Water
Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, & Jeff Bridges
Directed By: David Mackenzie
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: For a film starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, written by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Wind River), and nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Hell or High Water certainly has fallen out of the zeitgeist. That being said, track this film down immediately so we can bring it back into it! I am not normally into Westerns, but when they're done right, like only Taylor Sheridan knows how to do, it's a masterful viewing experience. Hell or High Water tells the story of two brothers (played by Pine and Foster) robbing banks in West Texas and the policeman (Bridges) hot on their tale. This cliche's story is elevated by the phenomenal performances by Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges, and the incredible sense of place that Sheridan and Mackenzie bring to life. I really dig this film.