Happy New Year and (advanced) Kung Hei Fat Choi!! Before we head back into the theaters for 2017’s upcoming films, let’s take a look back at the rest of what last year had to offer.
- Suicide Squad – As mentioned in my previous post, this film wasn’t exactly a masterpiece but it definitely was not the disaster critics claimed it to be. It’s another comic book movie made for the comic book fans. Although unlike Batman v Superman, I prefer (and recommend) the Theatrical Version to the Extended Cut.
- Finding Dory/Sausage Party – With Finding Dory, we get to feel that familiar Pixar magic we grew up loving. Sausage Party, on the other hand, is the first R-Rated CGI-animated film due to its insane profanity from the guys that gave us This is the End and The Interview. Two opposing types of animated films but both absolutely fun to watch.
Everybody Wants Some!!
Richard Linklater‘s latest film after his recent Oscar-nominated film Boyhood. A comedy about a group of college boys in 1980 — It’s funny, nostalgic and has a killer soundtrack. It’s been tagged the ‘Spiritual Sequel to Dazed and Confused‘ so if you’re unfamiliar with that 1993 cult classic, I highly recommend seeing that star-studded film as well.
- The Jungle Book – This live-action adaptation of the animated Disney classic is admittedly the biggest surprise of 2016. One of those rare remakes that actually improved upon its predecessors. A magical trip for both kids and adults.
- The Magnificent Seven – This remake makes its way on the list due to its beautiful scenery, stellar cast and impressively choreographed shootout scenes. This film unfortunately won’t stay long with you after watching it but it’s nevertheless recommended.
Train to Busan
The hype is real for this first-class South Korean zombie movie. It’s everything World War Z wasn’t.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Based on the fantasy novel of the same name; and like every Tim Burton film, a gothic beauty of a film.
Don’t Breathe – The intense thrill this movie’s simplicity delivers makes this undoubtedly the best horror film of 2016. A definite must-see if you haven’t yet.
- The Girl on the Train – This film (and book) has been frequently compared to Gone Girl due to its similar theme. But if you get passed the shallow comparison, you’ll find this suspense thriller to be exceptional in its own right.
- The Accountant – What makes this Ben Affleck film stand out is how it starts out as an American drama but ends up becoming a bad-ass action thriller ala John Wick.
And my #1 Film of 2016…
La La Land – Every once in a while, we come across a film that’s truly extraordinary — and that’s exactly what this romantic musical comedy-drama is! As soon as the film opens with “Shot in Cinemascope” and immediately jumps into a huge musical number, you know you’re in for an enchanting experience.
La La Land has already won Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) at the 74th Golden Globe Awards; and if this film doesn’t win Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars, there’s something truly wrong with the world.
** Special Mention:
- Batman: The Killing Joke / Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders – Two significant animated Batman features: One is based on the critically-acclaimed graphic novel while the other sees Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar reprise their roles from the 1960s Batman series.
- Ordinary World – A story about a former punk rocker who undergoes a mid-life crisis as a husband and father on his 40th birthday. It stars Greenday frontman Billie Joe Armstrong in his first leading role.
- Denial – A thought-provoking historical/courtroom drama about a Holocaust scholar being sued by a Holocaust denier for libel. A film based on true events.
An acquaintance recently said to me: “Why do I have to go to a theater? I can just download movies online.”
“Some movies deserve to be experienced in a cinema.” I replied.
Cinematic experiences are one of the few remaining things we have to briefly escape the harsh realities of the world. Watching a movie on your laptop or mobile phone in your bedroom destroys the impact of a film and we owe it to humanity to give our theaters reason to stay open and not make movie-going a dying art.