Whereas Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” reminds me why the cinema exists, the various mainstream films are determined to please everyone and anyone. Too many films demonstrated cinema is dead during the 2016. I provided several films with the grades – C to F – deficiently meeting my lofty standards.
I would like to emphasize the positives, regarding film. Yes, the independent fare saved the day in the midst of the mainstream movies providing underwhelming results. Without further ado, the ten worst films of the year.
Number One: “The Wild Life” (also known as “Robinson Crusoe”)
Number Two: “Warcraft”
Number Three: “Now You See Me 2”
Number Four: “Hardcore Henry”
Number Five: “Suicide Squad”
Number Six: “Ben-Hur” (2016)
Number Seven: “X-Men: Apocalypse”
Number Eight: “Assassin’s Creed”
Number Nine: “Ratchet & Clank”
Number Ten: “Ice Age: Collision Course”
The 2016 provided countless films that allowed contemplation – cinema is dead. Did all the good movies suddenly disappear? The brilliant motion pictures were discovered supporting the modest budgeted or independent fare. It was rare to discover greatness in the underwhelming mainstream movies.
You may observe two significant patterns in the following list: One) I adore movies that depict some aspect of my life in some shape or form. Two) I love films that recover the magic of the movies. Motion pictures tell stories and resonating with the narratives is essential in my film criticism.
I am providing the Ten Best Films of 2016 prior to the Ten Worst Films of 2016 and the Best Male Performances of 2016 because – I recognize all my lovely readers are anxious to read the list. I am alleviating the damn wait here. Be thankful.
Number One: “La La Land”
Damien Chazelle’s third feature film is the exquisite tribute to the dreamers, the musicals, the romance, the vintage Hollywood, and everything else in between. “La La Land” is why we visit the cinema: rejuvenates the magic of the movies and – revitalized my love for the movies.
Number Two: “Arrival”
The language and the communication are vital to the life. Dr. Louise Banks (the spectacular Amy Adams) examines the alien language. “Arrival” is the communication character study at the core. The impersonal and the interpersonal relationships are crucial, regardless of the circumstances. We variously interact, depending on the situation – family, friends, colleagues, and the like. The relationships are able to change us as human beings – for better and for worse.
Number Three: “Manchester by the Sea”
The death of a loved one is difficult and then some. Kenneth Lonergan masterfully depicts life as it is without the sugarcoating. Patrick Chandler (Lucas Hedges) freaks out opening the freezer because the father Joe (Kyle Chandler) remains in the freezer until the funeral and the burial. The mourning endures several months; however, the loved one will always remain in the heart.
Number Four: “The Edge of Seventeen”
Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is my girl – almost precisely behaves akin to me in terms of extremely shy around the various people and enjoying at least three friends. Kelly Fremon Craig understands that the teen angst is terrible (avoids the typical stereotypes). I may bury myself in the motion pictures to avoid friendships – but the cinema is my best friend (metaphorically).
Number Five: “Midnight Special”
Jeff Nichols abandons the typical science fiction narrative and establishes his own voice – constantly surprising the audience. In simple terms, “Midnight Special” is one of the best original science fiction films in recent memory.
Number Six: “Elle” (foreign language film: French with English subtitles)
Michele LeBlanc (Isabelle Huppert) is raped. She does not report the incident to the police – learns how to shoot and purchases pepper spray. “Elle” demonstrates the woman is able to advocate for herself without the man rescuing her in the process – flawless in spite of the misery.
Number Seven: “Christine”
Led by the incredible performance provided by Rebecca Hall, “Christine” examines the media and the medical depression. The media still expects perfectionism. I am a perfectionist, akin to Christine Chubbuck. The perfectionism is the blessing and the curse, regardless of the circumstances.
Number Eight: “Café Society”
I love movies that depict the good ol’ days of Hollywood. Woody Allen did not abandon his signature touch during this instance. “Café Society” is a classical tribute to the talkies and – shows the middle finger to the current film industry that is attempting to destroy the magic of the motion pictures.
Number Nine: “The Meddler”
Marni (Susan Sarandon) is always in her daughter Lori’s (Rose Byrne) business. The parents are protective. Marni respectfully resembled my mother and my late Grandma. “The Meddler” demonstrates it is fine to provide individual space – but always support the daughter or son through the trials and the tribulations. I am extremely thankful, regarding the awesome family.
Number Ten A (10A): “Hidden Figures”
The diversity and the inclusion are difficult to discover in films. “Hidden Figures” demonstrates that the diversity and the inclusion are beneficial for everyone involved. Katherine Goble-Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) calculate the launch and the landing, regarding John Glenn (Glen Powell) orbiting the Earth – the lesser known narratives are equally powerful as the well known narratives.
Number Ten B (10B): “Loving”
Lin-Manuel Miranda once said: “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside.” Mildred and Richard Loving (Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton) were unlawfully married yet altered the Constitution (allowing the interracial marriage) in the process. Love is everything. The laws, let alone the color of the skin cannot abandon love is a magical component during the life.
Films That Almost Attained A Spot On The List
~”Hell or High Water”
~“Hello, My Name Is Doris”
~“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”
~“10 Cloverfield Lane”
I am discussing the best female performances, featured in the films during the 2016. The following actresses fully embodied the characters depicted in a particular film. Without further ado, the best female performances of the year, in no particular order.
Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”) – Michele is a resilient businesswoman and thus, understands how to stand up for herself. No man appears to rescue her in the midst of the rape. Huppert suddenly surprises and subsequently, your mind is blown, rinse and repeat. “Elle” is just incredible (get over your subtitle phobia) and Huppert’s performance is even better. By the way, Huppert’s performance is my absolute favorite of the year, no ifs ands, or buts. (I mean, don’t argue with me, haha.)
Natalie Portman (“Jackie”) – Ms. Kennedy-Onassis is a historical figure (defines the U.S. history) and Portman respects and honors the first lady with grace and poignancy. You may swear she is the first lady. But once the credits roll, you realize it is Ms. Portman.
Rebecca Hall (“Christine”) – The news reporter Christine Chubbuck faced depression and lofty expectations in the journalism industry. Hall respectfully manifests the character and advocates depression is real through the perfect mannerisms and facial expressions. “Christine” easily could be told through nonverbal communication and remain the brilliant film. Just devastated that Ms. Hall will be ignored, regarding the Awards consideration.
Michelle Williams (“Manchester by the Sea”) – Williams depicts Randi, Lee Chandler’s (Casey Affleck) ex wife. Most of Williams’ scenes are told through flashbacks and thus, lacks the sufficient quota of screen time. However, Williams dominates the screen with abundant emotion that you may desire to hug her through the screen.
Emma Stone (“La La Land”) – Stone personifies the aspiring actress Mia, but happens to be a successful actress herself (the ideal combination). “La La Land” is why we visit the cinema, let alone why the cinema exists. Ms. Stone is magical – dancing, singing and you might as well be dreaming, too.
Ruth Negga (“Loving”) – Mildred and Richard Loving were unlawfully married; however, the couple altered the Constitution in the process. The interracial marriage is allowed today. No one cannot deny love is love. Negga provides the most restrained performance – but be patient, digs under your skin causing you to ponder “Loving” several days following the screening.
Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”) – Harris portrays Chiron’s abusive mother Paula. “Moonlight” did not sneak up on me; however, Harris’ performance remained with me following the screening. Abusive mothers are depicted stereotypically and yet, Paula is far from the stereotype.
Viola Davis (“Fences”) – “Fences” is the actor and character driven film and here, Davis just nails it, portraying Rose Maxson. You’ll gasp with joy. Adios to #OscarsSoWhite.
Amy Adams (“Arrival”) – “Arrival” examines the language and how we interact. Adams is flawless, depicting the expert linguist deciphering the alien language. Powerful and resonant, Ms. Adams will most likely receive the Academy Award nomination – but will lose to Viola Davis (“Fences”). Your time will come soon, girlfriend.
Hailee Steinfeld (“The Edge of Seventeen”) – Nadine is my girl – almost behaves similar to me, shy and fussy in terms of friends. The Best Actress category is crowded and hence, Ms. Steinfeld’s performance may be ignored.
Kate McKinnon (“Ghostbusters”) – Geez, we may have not requested the female “Ghostbusters” – regardless, the film is pretty awesome in terms of female empowerment (we need more of that in movies). McKinnon consistently steals the show. Sassy and cool, don’t you just want to hang out with Jillian Holtzmann?
~Lupita Nyong’o (Nakku Harriet, “Queen of Katwe”)
~Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark-Sherbourne, “The Light Between Oceans”)
~Tika Sumpter (Michelle Robinson, “Southside with You”)
~Helen Mirren (Colonel Katherine Powell, “Eye in the Sky”)
~Susan Sarandon (Marnie Minervini, “The Meddler”)
~Rachel Weisz (Deborah E. Lipstadt, “Denial”)
The 2016 is rapidly concluding. It is time to announce the Personal Film Awards, the Best Films of 2016, and the Worst Films of 2016 – to be published within the forthcoming month, January 2017. The Personal Film Awards will provide some hints to my Best Films of 2016 list. Obviously, the independent film sector dominated, in my perspective. Yes, absolutely, the mainstream live action fare extremely underwhelmed that I frequently contemplated cinema is on the deathbed. You’ll experience a glimpse of hope once you witness Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” (my favorite film of the year).
The Personal Film Awards
Best Picture: “La La Land”
~Runner Up: “Arrival”
Best Director: Jeff Nichols, “Midnight Special” and “Loving”
~Runner Up (tie): Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” and Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
~Runner Up: Rebecca Hall, “Christine”
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis, “Fences”
~Runner Up: Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
~Runner Up: Joel Edgerton, “Loving”
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
~Runner Up: None
Best Original Screenplay: “La La Land”
~Runner Up: “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Arrival”
~Runner Up: “Elle”
Best Animated Feature: “Zootopia”
~Runner Up: “Moana”
Best Original Score: “La La Land”
~Runner Up: None
Best Original Song: “Another Day of Sun”, “La La Land”
~Runner Up: “Someone in the Crowd”, “La La Land”
Best Sound Editing: “La La Land”
~Runner Up: None
Best Sound Mixing: “La La Land”
~Runner Up: None
Best Production Design: “La La Land”
~Runner Up: “Café Society”
Best Cinematography: “La La Land”
~Runner Up: “Arrival”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: “Jackie”
~Runner Up: None
Best Costume Design: “Jackie”
~Runner Up: “La La Land”
Best Film Editing: “Manchester by the Sea”
~Runner Up: “La La Land”
Best Visual Effects: “Arrival”
~Runner Up: None
The 2016 is nearing to the holidays – Christmas and New Year’s Day. It is time to discuss the films as the awards potential and recapping the year in various perspectives. 2016 is the year that the mainstream movies consistently underwhelmed and yet, the family oriented cartoon movies saved the day.
“Norm of the North” did not properly introduce what was about to come – the likes of “Kung Fu Panda 3” (a decent sequel!), “Zootopia”, “The Jungle Book” (mixture of live action and animation), “Finding Dory”, “The Secret Life of Pets”, “Sausage Party”, “Storks”, “Trolls”, and “Moana”. The final cartoon is Illumination Entertainment’s “Sing” – debuting during Wednesday, December 21, 2016. Based on the marketing campaign, “Sing” is animals meeting American Idol and The Voice.
“Sausage Party” is the adults’ only animated film that chronicles the various foods discovering the “Great Beyond” also known as the folks consuming them. Hilarious and poignant, “Sausage Party” demonstrates the mainstream cinema demands the additional films that travel beyond the stereotypes. However, unlikely to receive the Best Animated Feature nomination due to the fact it is mindless entertainment.
“Moana” and “Zootopia” are the couple personal favorite films. Whereas “Zootopia” delivers a potent message without adding “being politically correct” component, “Moana” surpasses the smash hit “Frozen” (2013).
“The Jungle Book”, “The Secret Life of Pets”, and “Trolls” are delightful cartoons. It appears the moviegoing public is receiving “The Secret of Life Pets 2” in a couple years – uh, okay and yay. The minions alone sell Illumination Entertainment in my perspective. “The Jungle Book” provides the visual spectacle that left many of us in awe. It is one film that the Academy will ignore due to the fact it is partially live action (boo!).
“Finding Dory” miraculously received the perfect grade – A via yours truly. Who does not love the Pixar Animation Studios? It is the perfect sequel; however, Pixar should stop producing the sequels to retain their excellent reputation. Like, did we really request “Cars 3”? Uh, no. Produce a cartoon that will knock our socks off, such as one of my all time favorite films – “Inside Out” (2015).
The kiddie flicks stunned this film critic. Indeed, the few mishaps include “Ratchet & Clank” and “Ice Age: Collision Course”. Nonetheless, the adults moderately resorted to the brilliant animation to receive the finest cinema available. I constantly begged that the mainstream live action movies matched the cartoons’ awesomeness. Let’s hope the 2017 revitalizes the mainstream cinema as a whole. Not just the kiddie films shine, but the adult oriented fare provides the plenty smiles.
Review Structure Key
Regular reviews ~ Word count varies.
Mini reviews ~ Positives and negatives (+/-) analysis.
Brief reviews ~ One hundred words, more or less.