The Official Review Thread of 2016

ITALIANO
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:02 am

anonymous1980 wrote:There are films that people despise that I champion, Showgirls for example


I see. Mmm... Ok, well, don't worry then - go on as before.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:22 am

ITALIANO wrote:
anonymous1980 wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:Anonymous, you are definitely a great guy and very intelligent - but really, the moment you write something which is even vaguely against the "general consensus", which doesn't feel just like a summary of what mainstream critics say about a certain movie, which flows naturally from your life experiences rather than from something you and everyone else have read - well, I swear that I will open a bottle of champagne. I'm not joking - the bottle is ready and for years now I've been reading your reviews day after day looking forward to finally open it. It's still closed, but who knows...


What do you want me to do? Hate the movie when I loved it and was moved by the film?


Of course not. I'm sure that you are very honest - as you must be. It's not that. But maybe one day you could hate a movie which others love, or the opposite. I mean - it CAN happen. Just this.


It has been known to happen on occasion. There are films that are considered classics by a lot of people that I did not care for: John Hughes's teen movies for example. There are films that people despise that I champion, Showgirls and Tim Burton's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for example.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:49 am

anonymous1980 wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:Anonymous, you are definitely a great guy and very intelligent - but really, the moment you write something which is even vaguely against the "general consensus", which doesn't feel just like a summary of what mainstream critics say about a certain movie, which flows naturally from your life experiences rather than from something you and everyone else have read - well, I swear that I will open a bottle of champagne. I'm not joking - the bottle is ready and for years now I've been reading your reviews day after day looking forward to finally open it. It's still closed, but who knows...


What do you want me to do? Hate the movie when I loved it and was moved by the film?


Of course not. I'm sure that you are very honest - as you must be. It's not that. But maybe one day you could hate a movie which others love, or the opposite. I mean - it CAN happen. Just this.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:08 am

ITALIANO wrote:Anonymous, you are definitely a great guy and very intelligent - but really, the moment you write something which is even vaguely against the "general consensus", which doesn't feel just like a summary of what mainstream critics say about a certain movie, which flows naturally from your life experiences rather than from something you and everyone else have read - well, I swear that I will open a bottle of champagne. I'm not joking - the bottle is ready and for years now I've been reading your reviews day after day looking forward to finally open it. It's still closed, but who knows...


What do you want me to do? Hate the movie when I loved it and was moved by the film?

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:58 am

anonymous1980 wrote: Amy Adams gives one of her career-best performances in this film. Yes, I think she was robbed of an Oscar nomination. This is a film I won't soon forget.

Grade: A.


Anonymous, you are definitely a great guy and very intelligent - but really, the moment you write something which is even vaguely against the "general consensus", which doesn't feel just like a summary of what mainstream critics say about a certain movie, which flows naturally from your life experiences rather than from something you and everyone else have read - well, I swear that I will open a bottle of champagne. I'm not joking - the bottle is ready and for years now I've been reading your reviews day after day looking forward to finally open it. It's still closed, but who knows...

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:25 am

ARRIVAL
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma.
Dir: Denis Villenueve.

After a group of mysterious aliens land on various countries of planet Earth, a linguist is tasked by the U.S. government to try and communicate with them. Yes, it's one of the best movies of the year and also one of the most surprising. I've heard people who said they were moved by the third act revelations which I will not spoil and they were right. It is one of the most intelligent, engaging and moving science-fiction films of recent years, an antidote really to the loud, obnoxious versions of this genre of recent years. Amy Adams gives one of her career-best performances in this film. Yes, I think she was robbed of an Oscar nomination. This is a film I won't soon forget.

Grade: A.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:58 pm

LITTLE SISTER
Cast: Addison Timlin, Ally Sheedy, Keith Poulson, Peter Hedges, Barbara Crampton, Kristin Slaysman, Molly Plunk.
Dir: Zach Clark.

A young nun about to take her vows goes back to her estranged family after three years when her brother comes back from the war horribly disfigured. This film has many of the bad habits I see from modern day American indie films. But the film has a heart and there's really a sweet sincerity about it that makes it difficult to dislike. Addison Timlin is terrific as the young woman about to be a nun. She actually makes her into a believable, interesting character including the revelation that she was a Goth girl as a teen. Ally Sheedy is kind of hit and miss though as the mom. Overall, still a pretty good film.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:20 pm

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer, Karl Glusman, Isla Fisher, Laura Linney, Michael Sheen, Robert Aramayo, Andrea Riseborough, Ellie Bamber, Jena Malone.
Dir: Tom Ford.

A woman receives a manuscript of a novel written by her ex-husband. As she reads it, we find out it's about a man who loses his family and goes on to seek revenge. I've always wanted to see this film because of the reaction towards. For every person that thinks it's a masterpiece, there's someone who thinks this is a heaping pile of garbage. To be honest, I can sort of see the argument for both which lands me somewhere in the middle with this. It is a well-made, well-acted and intriguing neo-noir with melodramatic elements. It's as if a Douglas Sirk script mashed together with a Tarantino script. However, its rampant cynicism and largely two-dimensional characters do leave a bad taste in one's mouth. No wonder Michael Shannon got the nomination. He feels like the only fully human character in the film. You kind of wish it was about him.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:58 am

LION
Cast: Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, David Wenham.
Dir: Garth Davis.

Based on a true story of Saroo Brierly, who as a boy in India is separated from his older brother, gets lost and placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by an Australian couple. As a young adult, he uses Google Earth to try and locate his Indian family. Okay, at the hands of a lesser filmmaker this would've been just a plain formulaic "inspiring" true story. However, by spending almost half the film's running time on the early life of little Saroo and the scary experience of being lost, the film actually earns its emotional heft. The sequences in India truly makes this film quite special and better than you'd expect it to be. Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and newcomer Sunny Pawar all give beautiful performances. It's not quite a masterpiece but it's lovely, heartfelt film that can move even the most hardened cynic.

Grade: B+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:02 am

WHY HIM?
Cast: James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Megan Mullally, Zoey Deutch, Keegan-Michael Key, Cedric the Entertainer, Griffin Gluck.
Dir: John Hamburg.

A straight-laced middle-aged man is horrified to learn that his daughter's foul-mouthed internet millionaire boyfriend is about to propose to her. There was nothing else in the theater I was aching to see so I just saw this as a time killer. I came in with low expectations. Surprisingly, I did find myself laughing in a few parts and I was reasonably entertained. This is thanks to the good cast who actually did their best to sell the material the best way they can. Still, this is far from a great comedy. It's overall it's just okay at best. There was definitely potential there but the film is way too long and needed tightening.

Grade: C+

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:36 pm

JACKIE
Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant, John Carroll Lynch, Max Casella, Beth Grant, Caspar Philippson.
Dir: Pablo Larrain.

This is a film that chronicles First Lady Jackie Kennedy as come to grips with the assassination of her husband. There have been numerous films and dramatizations of the Kennedys and the assassination of JFK. What makes this any different? Well, this film zeroes in on that first week or so after the assassination in how Jackie comes to terms with her grief and her trauma. This film does not feel like a traditional historical biopic at all (I could go so far as to say that i's an anti-biopic). Instead, it feels more like a character study about a woman whose husband got violently taken away from her and the fact that she has to go through this in the public eye. Natalie Portman gives one of her career best performances in this. I almost forget she's not Jackie at times. A fine piece of work from Chilean director Pablo Larrain.

Grade: A-

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:54 pm

The weakest thing about Toni Erdmann is the overriding theme -- it kind of amounts to "parents should teach their kids to enjoy life rather than strive for material success", with a side order of "we don't appreciate life enough as it's passing by" (articulated by Winfried in a late speech eerily close to Emily's in Act Three of Our Town).

The beauty of the film is, Maren Ade's field of vision is so vast and idiosyncratic, and offers so much nuance, that this reductive summary of the theme doesn't begin to give an idea of what the movie's about. The film's narrative trajectory is constantly surprising -- introducing more and more characters, taking us unexpected places (culminating in the hilarious brunch scene). And it gives us a compelling, complex, contradictory central character in Ines, who loves her father, and obviously, on some level, wants to be the free spirit he pushes her to be -- but who, in the final shot, appears to be unable to make the leaps of faith he'd like her to make.

This is probably a discussion for the Foreign Language Film thread when it appears, but I have some doubt this film will waltz off with the Oscar. I know the trend of late has been for the critically endorsed big bopper to win, rather than the sentimental efforts that had won in the previous decade or two. But don't think The Great Beauty or Son of Saul were quite the challenge to voters that Toni Erdmann will be -- the petits fours scene alone will alienate some significant portion of oldsters. They might prefer to honor The Salesman, as tribute to Farhadi's anti-Trump boycott...

...or they might go for A Man Called Ove. This film is based on an apparent big best-seller, and it FEELS like a best-seller, of the sort Wally Lamb turns out. It's a brisk enough watch, with a few juicy incidents and colorful characters. But none of it feels like it means very much -- the events are inventive enough, but random: I don't feel like they add up to defining the central character in an interesting way. However, the film gives much more of a warm hug to its audience, and it might just appeal to those who can't make sense of Ade's oddball universe.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:55 pm

FENCES
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Mykelti Williamson, Russell Hornsby, Saniyya Sidney.
Dir: Denzel Washington.

A working class African American man who was once a rising baseball star from the 1950's tries to raise a family while butting heads with his teenage son and wife. Based on the play by August Wilson, this film has been criticized for feeling a bit too...stagey. And it is. It does indeed feel like a filmed play at times in both the way it's shot and acted which prevents this for being a completely successful stage to screen adaptation. But, daaaamn, the acting that is in it is superb. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis truly shine and worthy of all the accolades that come their way. And though stage-y the original August Wilson text doesn't lose much of its quality and power.

Grade: B.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:11 am

dws1982 wrote:A Monster Calls

I know it's gone from theaters now, but I loved this. It deals with some thorny issues, and I love that it never really shies away from the messiness of the whole situation. It doesn't pretend that there are any easy fixes, it draws some characters--the ones played by Toby Kebbel and Sigourney Weaver--with a lot more depth than a lesser film would have. The fantasy sequences--particularly the animated stories--are truly excellent. And just think--Focus essentially dumped this in favor of Nocturnal Animals, which got a lone Supporting Actor nomination. At a minimum, Supporting Actress and Score could've been easy gets, along with a few tech nominations (I'd give it Sound Editing, easy), and maybe even Best Picture. I feel like if Hugo or Beasts of the Southern Wild could get Best Picture nominations, there's no reason why this one couldn't have.


Agreed. I think it should have been released a lot earlier to build momentum. Some films need that, particularly difficult art house or genre pictures.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2016

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:51 pm

I think A Monster Calls was easily one of the best films of the year. I'm also disappointed that it was ignored.
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