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Movie Reviews of 2106

By Spectator, 2017-01-04

I am, by nature, not a list maker so never do a Top Ten or Top anything.  As soon as I do, I say to myself, "Hey, wait-a-damn-minute, how 'bout so and so" or "why did I add that one," etc. But having said that I enjoyed your film list and decided to scribble a few observations with no particular ranking or order, other than alphabetic. I am one old fogy who is not against everything new - in fact, I think 2016 was a pretty good film year. Here are a few comments

Arrival was quiet, no "star wars" flashiness but fine SF about our first contact with aliens.. Amy Adams was - per usual - brilliant.

Denial, about denying the Holocaust. It was a tale about truth and history that needed to be told. Tom Wilkinson enhances any movie that he is in

The Eagle Huntress about Mongolian nomads, was beautifully filmed and easily one of the best films of the year. Although billed as a documentary, it was more of a documentary-fiction hybrid.

Florence Foster Jenkins was a great refuge from the super-heroes that populate so much Hwd. Meryl Streep can likely walk on water (and even portray Abe Lincoln). She was, once again, marvelous as the famous, uh, singer. 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople was a memorable road "trip" through the NZ bush. It was an adorable coming-of-age dramedy.

The Jungle Book is about a 10-year old man-cub raised by a family of wolves - this overlooked film had many moments of great beauty and playfulness.

La La Land is sweet - a word no longer in vogue. it is openly romantic in an age that favors crassness and irony. It was a breath of fresh air in 2016. Emma Stone is cute, she is a great actress, she has a smile to warm your heart.

Little Men didn't get much attention but was arguably one of the best movies of the year. Two young boys friendship is threatened by their warring parents.  Intelligent and moving. It starred Greg Kinnear.

Loving - certainly one of the better movies of 2016. It is sensitive, deeply affecting and wonderfully acted. Just to remind you it deals with the landmark 1967 Supreme court decision that wiped out America's ugly Jim Crow laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Maggie's Plan - "Maggie (Greta Gerwig) reveals her plan "I want a baby." This movie with bright dialog has a Woody Allen feel. Julianna Moore is also in the film and should get a Supporting Actress nod.

A Man Called Ove - This Swedish movie is heartwarming and a likely candidate for Best Foreign film Oscar.

Manchester by the Sea is sad but not a downer. It is intelligent and should receive numerous Oscar nom's, particularly Michelle Williams whose final scene is one of the greatest in recent years..

Moonlight is about lost youth and is powerful and personal. The movie is sometimes touching, often disturbing and inarguably one of the best of the year.

My Love Don't Cross That River was likely not seen by many of you and that is unfortunate. It is about a Korean couple who have been married for 75 years and are still very much in love. It is a sweet, slow, reflective documentary.

Queen of Katwe is a movie that makes chess interesting Ten year old Phiona who lives in the slums of Uganda becomes a chess champion. It is an inspirational movie based on real events.

Sully.  Like most people I loved this movie. Hanks turns in a sympathetic  performance, never burrowing too deeply into Sullenberger's psyche. I was also impressed with Laura Linney's small role as his far-away and worried wife.

Lion.  young Indian boy gets lost and eventually adopted by an Australian family. Nicole Kidman is marvelous as the adoptive Mom, delivering her lines with honest emotion. But kudos to the untrained newcomer who portrays the boy. Lion is a 3-tissue tear jerker but the tears come honestly.

Fences - I haven't seen this one as yet but I cannot imagine any movie that features Viola Davis not being most worthy. And of course we have that brilliant August Wilson play as the basis.




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