Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016: The Year In Film - Part One


At the end of the year when it came time to consider my best movies of the year I almost decided on one film:

Doctor Strange

The last couple of weeks I did my homework and have added plenty of movies. These are my highest recommendations, those most uplifting.

Furthermore, since Hidden Figures and 20th Century Women didn't get a wide release until 2017 they won't appear here, they may very well appear on next year's list.  

Doctor Strange

Finally we get an astral projection film. This film is filled with distinctive imagery to be cherished by film lovers for years to come. Mads Mikkelsen was most enjoyable as the no-nonsense villain with an absurdly cool hairstyle and a fiercely purposeful strut. I also enjoyed Rachel McAdams for the first time in a while. I can't wait to see it in 3D, which I hear was quite good. 

Edge of Seventeen  

I saw this movie quite late at the ultra-bargain, second run theater at Mainplace Mall in Santa Ana. It was a lively night at the theater. This is my favorite Hailee Steinfeld movie to date. Woody Harrelson continues to be comedy gold. This is definitely one of the best movies of its kind. 


Another film that seemed to come out of nowhere. This is Oliver Stone's best film in years. Joseph Gordon-Levitt rarely disappoints, he's just a really likable guy. I honestly didn't follow the Snowden headlines very closely or seriously, so this film was quite a revelation. My feelings about this film can be summed up with the following: I enjoyed this real life spy movie more than Jason Bourne.

Kickboxer: Vengeance

I'll probably take lots of crap for this one but... this is the great movie of the year that nobody is talking about. This is one of the first martial arts films I've seen where the trainer kicks as much ass as the pupil, which is the way it should  be. Jean Claude Van Damme is the kick-ass trainer (never thought the day would come) and in once scene it seems like he's wearing the black tank top from Double Impact. As far as such films go, this film has beautiful photography and a truly intimidating, nightmarish adversary. This is a tribute to the original Kickboxer and will probably be one of the few films still being watched decades from now when La La Land is relegated to the reality of its title.

De Palma

Brian De Palma with John Travolta on the set of Blow Out.
I love an engaging documentary. I love film, and film documentaries are truly inspirational when done right. All the great highlights, all the behind the scenes revelations, all the exciting music, all the slower stuff cut out: these kinds of documentaries always remind me never to take great films for granted. It's films like these that restore my faith in movies and my collection when it starts to fade.

Sing Street

This is from the same director behind Begin Again, a favorite from a prior year. Like Edge of Seventeen and Snowden, I almost completely missed this, but I'm glad I didn't. I love movies where bands are formed and the creative process unfolds onscreen. I also love teen movies, even Dublin teens, it seems. This film pumped me up on a Monday night, of all things. 


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