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Archives for : December2016

Top 10 Best Films of 2016

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10. The Edge of Seventeen

As a fan of John Hughes and really any High School teen angst film, this movie was always going to be my cup of tea. But, what’s so refreshing about The Edge of Seventeen is its more realistic take on an extremely socially awkward girl who’s struggling to get through High School. As embarrassing and uncomfortable some of the scenes might be, they never veer into non-genuine territory.

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9. La La Land
I’m always a sucker for a story that is about following your dreams. La La Land is a whimsical movie that takes an overused plot and turns it into a vibrant and colorful musical. It is a wonderful reminiscence of the once popular classic musical genre. But it’s the always magnetic chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who nail their on-screen romance for a third time that makes the film what it is–A True Hollywood Delight.

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8. Sully
Initially when I heard this film was being made, I thought, “Why?! What’s the point?” Given, that this is the story of Chelsey Sullenberg, the pilot who landed his damaged plane in the Hudson River and saved everyone on board. It hardly seemed like an exciting story to tell. Well, thank goodness, this film was made! Clint Eastwood (My favorite director of the year) brilliantly recounts the events by scattering the plane’s crash throughout the film using flashbacks. Through this edit, the film never feels slow or boring. But more importantly, it’s uplifting to see a movie based on a true “almost tragedy” where no one dies, there’s no shooting, and no explosions. Sully is a reminder that there are heroes, and believe it or not, there is positive news in the media.

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7. 20th Century Women
Annette Bening truly shines as a leading lady in this film. Along with this amazing ensemble cast, 20th Century Women is another great addition to the coming-of-age genre. A tender, introspective film about a young boy and the three women who influenced his life.  

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6. Deadpool
Let’s put aside the fact that this was Ryan Reynolds passion project, and it’s the first R-rated Marvel movie. What’s so great about Deadpool is how self-aware it is (i.e. the opening credits). He is the only Marvel character who breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience, allowing him to make fun of the film. And oh, how funny this film is.  Deadpool was a risk that fully paid off and thoroughly entertained.

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5. Nocturnal Animals
Designer Tom Ford’s shockingly deep and clever screenplay still amazes me. Featuring some of the best performances by Jake Gyllehaal, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Ford uses his gift of striking visuals to create a sexy, mesmerizing story about past loves, regrets, aspirations, and revenge.

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4. Zootopia
For those who haven’t seen Zootopia yet, the film is much more than the trailer perceives. Though the big picture theme of going after impossible goals will have kids entertained, adults young and old can appreciate the message of fighting stereotypes and other social issues of today that are so well represented in this charming animated feature. 

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3. Captain America: Civil War
There is so much to admire about Captain America: Civil War. There are many layers to this thought-provoking story, which still has me debating whose right and whose wrong. Should superheroes be above the law?  Is defeating a villain worth an innocent life? The execution of this premise brilliantly told through a smart script, and a well-focused direction is why Captain America: Civil War stands out above other superhero movies.

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2. Manchester by the Sea
Though we’ve seen a few films take on the subject matter of someone becoming the guardian of a kid after their parents’ passing, we have yet to see it done so masterfully. Manchester by the Sea is a gut-wrenching story about painful losses, that’s cut with elements of humor and laughter. The film is enhanced by its rich and well developed characters. Casey Affleck gives his best performance yet, which is sure to earn him an Oscar nod and a very likely deserving win. 

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1. Don’t Think Twice
It was tough to pick this top spot, but ultimately, I went with the film that hit close to home and had me crying during and after the movie was over. Don’t Think Twice is a dark comedy about a group of best friends who preform improv together at a popular New York City comedy club. They are all chasing after the same goal, to become part of New York’s hit sketch comedy series, Weekend Live. But when only one of them lands a spot on the TV show, it not only changes the group dynamic but also puts everyone else’s life in perspective, questioning whether or not everyone in the group is capable of achieving their dream job. It’s a relatable story for anyone who struggles to have a career in what they are passionate about.

The Rest of the Films that Deserve Recognition:

11. Captain Fantastic
12. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13. The Handmaiden
14. The Jungle Book
15. Moana
16. A Monster Calls
17. The Invitation
18. The Magnificent Seven
19. My Blind Brother
20. Arrival

Top 5 Worst Films of 2015

5. American Honey – Too long and too much of nothing.

4. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Vin Diesel’s performance alone made this film beyond cringe-worthy.

3. Independence Day: Resurgence – Overflows with cheesy lines and just so, so stupid.

2. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – A HORRID father/daughter subplot that overshadows the entire film.

1. Zoolander 2 – How dare this movie be made!

Best of 2016 from the NTFCA – North Texas Film Critics Association

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NORTH TEXAS FILM CRITICS NAME LA LA LAND” AS BEST FILM OF 2016

The North Texas Film Critics Association voted the romantic musical LA LA LAND as the best film of 2016, according to the results of its annual critics’ poll. Completing list of the top 10 films of the year were MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (2), MOONLIGHT (3), HACKSAW RIDGE (4), LOVING (5), ARRIVAL (6), CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (7), NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (8), JACKIE (9) and THE BIRTH OF A NATION (10).

For Best Actor, the association named Casey Affleck for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. Runners-up included Ryan Gosling for LA LA LAND (2), Denzel Washington for FENCES (3), Andrew Garfield for HACKSAW RIDGE (4) and Don Cheadle for MILES AHEAD (5).

Natalie Portman was voted Best Actress for JACKIE. Next in the voting were Emma Stone for LA LA LAND(2), Amy Adams for ARRIVAL (3), Emily Blunt for THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (4) and Ruth Negga for LOVING (5).

In the Best Supporting Actor category, the winner was Michael Shannon for NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. He was followed by Mahershala Ali for MOONLIGHT (2), Dev Patel for LION (3), Jeff Bridges for HELL OR HIGH WATER (4) and Lucas Hedges for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (5).

For Best Supporting Actress, the association named Michelle Williams for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. Runners-up included Viola Davis for FENCES (2), Naomie Harris for MOONLIGHT (3), Octavia Spencer for HIDDEN FIGURES (4) and Janelle Monáe for HIDDEN FIGURES (5).

Damien Chazelle was voted Best Director for LA LA LAND. Next in the voting were Barry Jenkins for MOONLIGHT (2), Mel Gibson for HACKSAW RIDGE (3), Denis Villeneuve for ARRIVAL (4) and Kenneth Lonergan for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (5).

The association voted ELLE as the Best Foreign Language film of the year. Runners-up were THE HANDMAIDEN (2), THE HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (3), TONI ERDMANN and THE SALESMAN tied for the last spot (4).

GLEASON won for Best Documentary over 13th (2), TOWER (3), WEINER (4) and THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (5).

ZOOTOPIA was named the Best Animated film of 2016, over KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (2) and SING (3).

The award for Best Cinematography went to Linus Sandgren for LA LA LAND, followed by James Laxton for MOONLIGHT (2), Bradford Young for ARRIVAL and  Simon Duggan for HACKSAW RIDGE tied for the next spot (3) and Stéphane Fontaine for JACKIE (5).

This year’s awards were dedicated to the memory of our past president, Gary Murray. In his honor, next year we will designate an award in perpetuity. The Gary Murray Award will honor the Best Newcomer in a film.

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Interview: Jovan Adepo talks “Fences”

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Jovan Adepo portrays Corey in Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama, “Fences.” I got a chance to talk with Adepo about the new film. We discussed how much someone’s career can affect their personal life, daily movie references and more!

“Fences” opens in theaters December 24.

Click Here to Watch Jovan Adepo Interview

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“Sing” Plays a Familiar Tune

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Prepare yourself for American Idol with pigs, elephants, gorillas and many more animals.

Illumination Entertainment’s newest film, “Sing” follows a koala bear, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), who’s on the verge of closing down his beloved theatre after back-to-back production flops. He then decides to produce an amateur singing competition in hopes that it will draw in an eager audience. To his luck and a misprinting of the prize money, a long line of hopeful talents come to audition for the show.

Eventually, Buster narrows down his choices to some surprisingly great singers; which include a gangster gorilla, Johnny (Taron Egerton), a housewife pig, Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a backup singer Porcupine, Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a con artist mouse, Mike (Seth MacFarlane), and an extremely stage frightened elephant, Meena (Tori Kelly).

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Unfortunately, this production does hit a few bumps along the way.  Performers drop out, technical issues arise, and funding seems to be a continuous struggle.
 
But the big picture of this story is really about the usual “following your dreams and taking chances.” Buster followed his dream a long time ago, and with help from his dad was able to own a theatre. All the contestants play it safe in their personal lives, almost playing back up to everyone else in their families. This competition is a chance for them shine and do something that makes them happy. However, the film doesn’t go any deeper than this message.
 
Though the coexistence of different animals might remind you of Disney’s “Zootopia” from earlier this year, it is nowhere near as complex or intriguing. “Sing” is just a much simpler, easy to follow film that should have kids engaged by the music alone. There are plenty of songs to sing along to. Just to name a few, Katy Perry’s Firework, Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and Paul Anka’s My Way. But, my personal favorite may have to be Taron Egerton’s rendition of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me. Who knew the “Kingsmen” star had such an amazing voice?
 
It’s hard to say if “Sing” will make the cut come nomination time for the award season. The film has some tough competition with “Zootopia”, “Kubo and the Two Strings”, and the likely front runner, “Moana”. That being said, you cannot discredit this lovable cast and the toe-tapping song choices that makes this film a fun time for the whole family.

Rating: 3/5

“Sing” opens in theaters December 20.

“Sing” Official Trailer HD

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74th Annual Golden Globe Nominations!

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Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • 20th Century Women
  • Deadpool
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • La La Land
  • Sing Street

 

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
  • Lily Collins – Rules Don’t Apply
  • Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen
  • Emma Stone – La La Land
  • Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

 

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • Colin Farrell – The Lobster
  • Ryan Gosling – La La Land
  • Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jonah Hill – War Dogs
  • Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool

 

Best Motion Picture, Drama

  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

 

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

  • Amy Adams – Arrival
  • Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
  • Isabelle Huppert – Elle
  • Ruth Negga – Loving
  • Natalie Portman – Jackie

 

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

  • Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
  • Joel Edgerton – Loving
  • Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
  • Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington – Fences

 

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Viola Davis – Fences
  • Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman – Lion
  • Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

 

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
  • Simon Helberg – Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Dev Patel – Lion
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals

 

Best Director – Motion Picture

  • Damien Chazelle – La La Land
  • Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
  • Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

 

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • La La Land
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Moonlight
  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Hell or High Water

 

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • Sing
  • Trolls
  • Zootopia

 

Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language

  • Divines
  • Elle
  • Neruda
  • The Salesman
  • Toni Erdmann

 

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

  • Moonlight
  • La La Land
  • Arrival
  • Lion
  • Hidden Figures

 

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

  • Cant Stop The Feeling – Trolls
  • City Of Stars – La La Land
  • Faith – Sing
  • Gold – Gold
  • How Far I’ll Go – Moana

Best TV Series, Comedy

  • Black-ish
  • Atlanta
  • Transparent
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • Veep

 

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy

  • Rachel Bloom – Crazy Ex Girlfriend
  • Sarah Jessica Parker – Divorce
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
  • Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin
  • Issa Rae – Insecure
  • Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish

 

Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy

  • Anthony Anderson – Black-ish
  • Gael Garcia Bernal – Mozart in the Jungle
  • Donald Glover – Atlanta
  • Nick Nolte – Graves
  • Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent

 

Best TV Series, Drama

  • The Crown
  • Game of Thrones
  • Stranger Things
  • This Is Us
  • Westworld

 

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama

  • Matthew Rhys – The Americans
  • Rami Malek – Mr. Robot
  • Billy Bob Thornton – Goliath
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
  • Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan

 

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama

  • Caitriona Balfe – Outlander
  • Claire Foy – The Crown
  • Keri Russell – The Americans
  • Winona Ryder – Stranger Things
  • Evan Rachel Wood – Westworld

 

Best TV Movie or Limited-Series

  • American Crime
  • The Dresser
  • The Night Manager
  • The Night Of
  • The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

 

Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie

  • Riz Ahmed
  • Bryan Cranston
  • Tom Hiddleston
  • John Turturro
  • Courtney B. Vance

 

Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie

  • Felicity Huffman
  • Riley Keough
  • Sarah Paulson
  • Charlotte Rampling
  • Kerry Washington

 

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie

  • Sterling K. Brown – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Hugh Laurie – The Night Manager
  • John Lithgow – The Crown
  • John Travolta – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Christian Slater – Mr. Robot

 

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie

  • Olivia Colman
  • Lena Heady
  • Chrissy Metz
  • Mandy Moore
  • Thandie Newton

The 74th Annual Golden Globes will air on NBC January 8th, hosted by Jimmy Fallon.

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