Top 5 Films 2016

THE WITCH

Behold as Two Stars are Born: Production Designer-turned-Writer/ Director, Robert Eggers, making his stunning feature debut and Lead Actress Ana Taylor-Joy, in a star-making role, who plays 'Thomasin.' Notice how the word "sin" is attached to her character's name? (I did not until I typed it just now). But that is just the level of detail Mr. Eggers puts into this work. The whole film doesn't feel fabricated or constructed at all. It feels like a glimpse into the past. As if Mr. Eggers and his crew took a time machine back to 17th Century New England and documented what they saw. Although distributor A24 sold the film as a Horror movie, it is actually more of a Psychodrama with genre-leaning horror elements. I feel the film is more metaphor than literal, which is solidified by the ending scene. While it can be argued that the film could in fact be categorized as a "Glorified Short," the world in which the story takes place is just too rich in detail and authenticity to be dismissed. The tone, structure and pacing are too strong not to be sucked in. That coupled with Miss Taylor-Joy's absolutely riveting, fearless and unselfconscious performance makes this a feature debut for the ages. 

GREEN ROOM

While technically Writer/ Director, Jeremy Saulnier's 3rd feature film (MURDER PARTY being his first), this is his follow-up to his 4 Bones masterpiece, BLUE RUIN. And wow what a ride. Not only is this film as brilliantly constructed and impeccably directed as his last one, it is also astounding that after the success of his previous film, Mr. Saulnier chose to make this as his next project. It truly shows his loyalty and integrity to his ideas and vision, as I am sure he could have probably made something a bit more ambitious or grand in scale and scope. Instead, he chose to make a tightly constructed, taut, single-location suspense thriller that not only creates convincingly real characters and situations but also shows the audience for the first time since Quentin Tarantino just how casual, mundane and swift violence really is. That is what is so striking and what stays with you long since you have left the theater. While one of the late Anton Yelchin's final performances, the real star and scene-stealer of the show is ingenue Imogen Poots, who goes completely unrecognizable and fully inhabits her character to the point that I was sure I was watching a locally-casted Oregon discovery. Imagine my surprise during the end credits when I saw her name and it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks.   

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

I have to admit that I was hooked off of the very first teaser: "What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight what will you become?" With Forest Whitaker dialed into 11? Still gives me chills whenever I watch it. I can say with complete confidence that there is nothing like this film in the entire STAR WARS canon and I highly doubt there ever will be again. I have even heard rumors that after this, there will never be anymore "standalone" spinoff films. Luckily, the only one we got turned out to be absolutely stunning. I knew I was "in" the moment Diego Luna's character killed that 'Panicky Rebel Spy' in cold blood. And the fact that they delivered on FINALLY showing us Darth Vader just killing Rebels left and right was the cherry on top. However, I felt the casting of Felicity Jones was too derivative/ similar to Daisy Ridley's casting in EPISODE VII. Felt 'Jyn Erso' should have been a person of color and that her team should of had at least 1-2 more female characters (although I loved Donnie Yen & Wen Jiang, who stole the show). I also felt strongly that the opening prologue should have been scrapped and instead should have opened up with Riz Ahmed's character defecting. Not only would that have given the story more urgency and excitement, it also would have given Riz Ahmed more to do as he is just too good an actor not to be utilized correctly. The brilliance of this film is with its ending, which from what I understand, all came about because Kathleen Kennedy called in Tony Gilory for some help after having issues with original director, Gareth Edwards, who I believe mainly focused on the VFX once Mr. Gilroy came aboard.   

4.

No selection. 

5.

No selection. 

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FILMS THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE LIST:

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (Misfire) 

20TH CENTURY WOMEN (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

ALLIED (Not Yet Reviewed) 

AMERICAN HONEY (Glorified Short) 

AMERICAN PASTORAL (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

ARRIVAL (Glorified Short) 

THE BFG (Inert)

BILLY FLYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK (Misfire) 

THE BIRTH OF A NATION (Not Yet Reviewed) 

BLOOD FATHER (MOW) 

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (Self-Indulgent) 

DEADPOOL (Insufferable) 

DEEPWATER HORIZON (Portentous) 

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (Clunky) 

ELLE (Not Yet Reviewed) 

FENCES (Portentous) 

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

THE FOUNDER (MOW) 

GOLD (Misfire) 

HACKSAW RIDGE (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

HAIL, CAESAR! (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

THE HANDMAIDEN (Not Yet Reviewed) 

HELL OR HIGH WATER (Overrated) 

HIDDEN FIGURES (MOW) 

HIGH-RISE (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

JACKIE (Portentous) 

JANE GOT A GUN (Not Yet Reviewed) 

KEANU (MOW)

KNIGHT OF CUPS (Pretentious) 

LA LA LAND (Overrated) 

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (Misfire) 

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (Not Yet Reviewed) 

LION (Not Yet Reviewed) 

LIVE BY NIGHT (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

THE LOBSTER (Glorified Short) 

LOVING (Not Yet Reviewed) 

MAN DOWN (Glorified Short) 

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Portentous) 

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (Glorified Short) 

MOONLIGHT (Glorified Short) 

THE NEON DEMON (Insufferable) 

THE NICE GUYS (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Pretentious) 

PASSENGERS (Misfire) 

PATRIOT’S DAY (Portentous) 

RULES DON’T APPLY (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

THE SHALLOWS (Glorified Short) 

SILENCE (Portentous) 

SUICIDE SQUAD (Misfire) 

SULLY (Portentous) 

SWISS ARMY MAN (Glorified Short) 

TRIPLE 9 (Misfire) 

WAR DOGS (Flat or Tone-Deaf) 

THE WAVE (Glorified Short) 

ZOOLANDER 2 (Misfire)