vrijdag 30 december 2016

Top 20: Favorite Movies of 2016

2016 was a great year for film. It was that great, that I decided to make a top 20 this year, instead of a top 10. I ranked my 20 favorite films that were released in 2016 (based on Dutch release dates).

20. Captain America: Civil War
This was probably the biggest movie, in terms of scope and number of characters. The film brought Captain America and Iron man head to head, but also introduced us to Black Panther and a young Spider-Man.

19. Zootopia
The first animation on this list. What makes “Zootopia” so special? It’s a satirical, political animation, but it still manages to entertain the entire family and add a message of acceptance and peace. Oh, and it stars a bunny charracter!

18. X-Men Apocalypse
In my opinion the best of the newer X-Men film. It's clear that Bryan Singer directed it, because it was just as good as the first "X-Men" film.

17. Green Room
A cracy accident took the life of actor Anton Yelchin this year, but he left us with this great thriller. A punk rock band has a gig at a neo-Nazi club. From there things go from bad to worse. It’s a pretty disturbing film, that really left me breathless at the end.

16. Finding Dory
We all knew that this sequel wasn’t going to top “Finding Nemo”. “Finding Dory” is a sweet fable about finding your place in the world. We were introduced to some cool new characters, but also learned more about the creatures that we already met in the first film. The best kind of sequel, one that expands the world of the original.

15. Deadpool
Probably the most surprising film of the year. The first attempt on Deadpool, also by Ryan Reynolds, in a Wolverine film wasn’t a success. We were all afraid this was going to repeat that. But were we wrong. “Deadpool” is one of the funniest and most unconventional comic book adaptations. And Ryan Reynolds nailed it.

14. The Revenant
The story isn’t all the special, but it’s the cinematography that amazed me so much. This film is shot so beautifully, it enhances the movie going experience. Best watched on a big screen, with the heat off for maximum effect.

13. The Neon Demon
Nicolas Winding Refn has directed “Drive”, one of my all-time favorite movies. “The Neon Demon” is definitely the strangest and most disturbing film I have seen in 2016. It’s not a film for everyone, but it’s very stylish and memorable.

12. Nocturnal Animals
The film gets under your skin, it is intoxicating. It follows several storylines, that suck you in. The cast is fantastic, with Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as the leads. Michael Shannon’s performance is Oscar worthy and Aaron Taylor-Johnson portrayed one of the most awefull characters I have seen recently. “Nocturnal Animals” also had one of the greatest endings of the year.

11. Captain Fantastic
I love this kind of movie. A comedic drama film, a road movie of such. It’s a pretty unconventional story, yet heartwarming and endearing. Viggo Mortensen deserves an award for his performance.

10. Hell or High Water
Why is nobody talking about this film? “Hell or High Water” is a movie that flew under the radar and that’s a shame. It’s an old school yet modern western. And the performances are what make this film so strong.

9. Creed
Nobody wanted a seventh Rocky film, but damn are we happy with “Creed”. It’s a great surprise to find this was actually a successful and good reboot. “Creed” is smart, surprising, entertaining, emotional and powerful. Sylvester Stallone should have won that Oscar.

8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Whatever we thought “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was going to be, it’s not. It is in fact a brutal war film about what it took to steal the plans for the first death star. The return of Darth Vader to the big screen was just an epic moment for us Star Wars nerds.

7. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Another film that nobody saw. The story of an orphan and his adoptive uncle and a whole lot of misunderstandings. It’s truly a joyful cinematic masterpiece. It makes you laugh the entire runtime.

6. The Jungle Book
Disney’s uncanny adaptation of their own beloved animation from 1967. It was a blockbuster, it was a technical film. Besides Mowgli, all the sets and characters were computer generated. The visuals are stunning. “The Jungle Book” was one amazing movie experience.

5. The Nice Guys
I already loved Shane Black’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. Teaming up Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe was probably one of the best ideas of 2016. They are an irresistible pair. Energized by a dry wry cynicism. It’s crime comedy at its best.

4. Arrival
“Arrival” is an unusually intimate science-fiction epic, that takes the story of humankind’s first contact with an alien race and turns it into a downright poetric meditation on fate, time, love and the limitations and essential universalities of communication. Amy Adams gives a fantastic performance, she carries this film. Director Denis Villeneuve has a flawless record so far.

3. Room
Brie Larson earned all the headlines for her role as Joy, her Oscar winning performance is so convincing and heartbreaking. But her movie son Jacob Tremblay very nearly steals the show. It’s through his eyes we experience the traumatic set of events.

2. Spotlight
“Spotlight” is driven purely by the simplicity of its story. A group of journalists exposing a scandal in the Catholic Church. The film had my attention from start to finish, it has great performances and I loved everything about this film. It deserved that Oscar.

1. La La Land
Damien Chazelle’s first film was “Whiplash”, an Academy Award winning film. He’s back with a music movie of an entirely different variety. “La La Land” is a heart-eyed musical about two lost Los Angelinos who find each other. I’m seriously in love with this film. This one’s for the classic movie fans.


Honorable Mentions: The Hateful Eight, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The BFG, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Top 10: Worst Movies I Watched for My 2016 Challenge

Sadly enough I was also exposed to some terrible films, crap piles, shitty flicks, snooze fests and simply ‘why did they make this’ – films. Here are the 10 worst films I watched for my challenge.

10. Last Tango in Paris
People call it a classic, but I think this was a terrible film. And besides that, this film creeped me out. Especially after reading about that ‘rape’ story. Not Marlon Brando’s best work.

9. Black Christmas
Do horror remakes ever work. “Black Christmas” at least doesn’t proof that. All you want is for all those annoying frat girls to get slashed. That’s never a good sign.

8. Knock Knock
I’m always defending Keanu Reeves when people call him a bad actor. He isn’t. But even I couldn’t protect Reeves from this pile of shit. What a dumb film, which looked so promising. I hated this movie. And I still can’t understand how two idiot girls could outsmart Reeves’ character so easily.

7. The Ape
As much as I love James Franco, I hope he erases this from his resumé. Not a good film, not interesting, weird, it makes no sense.

6. Point Break (remake)
As much as I love the original with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, that’s how much I hated the remake. It was like I was watching one long extreme sports commercial. The movie sucks and is not memorable whatsoever.

5. Little Nicky
I know we shouldn’t take this movie to seriously, but it’s such a ridiculous movie. I can take a lot from Adam Sandler, I forgive him for a lot just because I think he is so funny. But “Little Nicky” is just too much ridiculousness for my liking.

4. Neighbors
It sounded like so much fun, especially with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd involved. But this was such an unfunny film, I can’t remember laughing even once. No, “Neighbors” was really bad.

3. Sharknado
Although I love shark movies, this was just too stupid. Especially seeing how serious the actors are in this film. I secretly always love to watch bad shark movies, just to laugh at them.

2. Cube
Someone lend me this film, she was so excited about this film. But “Cube” is the second worst film I have seen this year. I haven’t seen acting this bad in a while. What a crap fest.

1. I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
Another sequel to an already not that great franchise. This movie has nothing to do with the original stories and there is no reason or explanation why the hook man is following these people. When the killer turned out to be a supernatural being, I just couldn’t bear to watch it. I sat it out though.


Dishonorable Mentions: The Lone Ranger, He Knows You’re Alone, Absolute Beginners, Unfriended, Pixels, Hush, New York Stories, Nine, Vacation, Runner Runner, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Secret in Their Eyes

Top 10: Best Movies I Watched for My 2016 Challenge

The great thing about the 100 Movie Challenge is that I sometimes watch films that I would normally not even pay attention to. It’s a time to rediscover classics or see the movies you missed in the 2000s or 2010s. I watched a bunch of fantastic films, I narrowed it down to this top 10 list. Here are my favorite films I watched for my 2016 challenge.

10. Lars and the Real Girl
This was such a weird story, but it was so heartfelt and honest. And we got Ryan Reynold’s amazing performance to thank for that. He proofs that he doesn’t always have to play the sexy charmer, he can play a lonely geek as well.

9. The Jungle Book
Disney’s uncanny adaptation of their own beloved animation from 1967. It was a blockbuster, it was a technical film. Besides Mowgli, all the sets and characters were computer generated. The visuals are stunning. “The Jungle Book” was one amazing movie experience.

8. The Nice Guys
I already loved Shane Black’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. Teaming up Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe was probably one of the best ideas of 2016. They are an irresistible pair. Energized by a dry wry cynicism. It’s crime comedy at its best.

7. Arrival
“Arrival” is an unusually intimate science-fiction epic, that takes the story of humankind’s first contact with an alien race and turns it into a downright poetric meditation on fate, time, love and the limitations and essential universalities of communication. Amy Adams gives a fantastic performance, she carries this film. Director Denis Villeneuve has a flawless record so far.

6. Room
Brie Larson earned all the headlines for her role as Joy, her Oscar winning performance is so convincing and heartbreaking. But her movie son Jacob Tremblay very nearly steals the show. It’s through his eyes we experience the traumatic set of events.

5. Spotlight
“Spotlight” is driven purely by the simplicity of its story. A group of journalists exposing a scandal in the Catholic Church. The film had my attention from start to finish, it has great performances and I loved everything about this film. It deserved that Oscar.

4. The Apartment
I discovered Billy Wilder films this year and I came to the conclusion that I really love this director. “The Apartment” is such a fun film, great acting and it’s basically set in only one location.

3. Some Like It Hot
This is the other Billy Wilder film I watched this year, and loved! It was hilarious. It’s such a funny story, two men disguising as women so that they can play music in an all-women’s group. And although it’s clear that they are two men, nobody sees it. This is one fo the best comedies of all time!

2. La La Land
Damien Chazelle’s first film was “Whiplash”, an Academy Award winning film. He’s back with amusic movie of an entirely different variety. “La La Land” is a heart-eyed musical about two lost Los Angelinos who find each other. I’m seriously in love with this film. This one’s for the classic movie fans.

1. The Princess Bride
This movie has everything and know how to combine all those genres in the most perfect way. Adventure, action, romance, comedy, drama, it’s all there. It’s one of the best fairytales ever told, with humor, mockery and heartwarming moments. Definitely a new favorite on my all-time list.


Honorable Mentions: The General, City Lights, Beasts of No Nation, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Little Shop of Horrors, We Bought a Zoo, Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Soloist

donderdag 29 december 2016

Top 5 Thursday: Movies I Watched for My Challenge (2016)

My last top 5 of the year is of course dedicated to the last month of my 100 Movie Challenge. I ranked the five best movies I saw this month. (Stay on the lookout for the best movies of the year 2016, best films I watched for my 2016 challenge and the worst of my 2016 challenge. )

5. Captain Fantastic
I love movies like this. A feel good mix of drama and comedy. It’s such an unconventional story, yet so heartwarming and endearing. This film has a lot of heart. And Viggo Mortensen is sublime.


4. Creed
A spin-off Rocky movie, that’s what this is called. But it’s so much more. What a fabulous film! Michael B. Jordan is so good and Sylvester Stallone should really have won that Oscar.


3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I didn’t expect to love this move as much as I did. The build up to “Star Wars: A New Hope” is great and that last scene with Carrie Fisher has an extra load now that she has passed. And the return of Darth Vader to the big screen is just epic. Thoses were the best moments for me.


2. Some Like It Hot
My mom loves this movie and I was so ashamed that I have never seen it before. And this movie was so funny. Especially because the men dressed as women are obviously men, but nobody sees it. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are a hilarious duo.


1. La La Land
I’m in love with this movie. Sometimes you just want to see a movie, you know you’re going to love it and you actually do. That’s what happened with “La La Land”. It’s been a while that I walked out of the theaters with such a big smile on my face. It’s a joy for every classic musical movie lover.


They Almost Made the Top 5: Nocturnal Animals, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Ghost World

woensdag 28 december 2016

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 170: Captain Fantastic

Director: Matt Ross
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 118 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell, Trin Miller, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Elijah Stevenson, Teddy Van Ee, Erin Moriarty, Missi Pyle, Frank Langella, Ann Dowd, Galen Osier, Hannah Horton, Res Young, Thomas Brophy, Mike Miller, Greg Crooks, Louis Hobson

Description: In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father (Viggo Mortensen) devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Review: In a time that superheroes rule cinema, the title of the tragi comedic road movie “Captain Fantastic” can be a bit misleading. Director Matt Ross delivers a heartwarming comedy and family drama. A film that pretty much flew under the radar, but has to be watched by lovers of Indie films.
Ben and his wife Leslie turned their back on modern society and moved into the North American nature. They passed their ideals to their six children, all with a unique name, together with crucial skills to survive in the wilderness. They get lessons in philosophy, history, physics, biology and literature, on a level that is far above their age category. When Leslie is haven’t health issues, she is admitted to a hospital far away from mother nature.
The plot reminded me of a mix between “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Into the Wild”. “Captain Fantastic” manages to create a good balance between comedy and drama.
The center of this film is the amazing performance by Viggo Mortensen, as father Ben. His way of raising his kids may look like a commune, but at the same time his children are much smarter and more fit than the kids that go to school or play videogames all day. The question is: is Ben crazy or is it the world around him?
The film gives you a lot to think about. “Captain Fantastic” is such an endearing film, a film with a lot of heart. And that conclusion, with the song “Sweet Child O’Mine” is simply beautiful.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 169: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Director: Frank Capra
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 129 minutes
Year: 1939
Starring: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H.B. Warner, Harry Carey, Astrid Allwyn, Ruth Donnely, Grant Mitchell, Porter Hall, Pierre Watkin

Description: A naive man (James Stewart) is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Review: Frank Capra has his own style and his stories are often about the everyday man against the system. This is also the case for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. We follow Idealist Jefferson Smith who is going into politics, but collides with political corruption.
Who else than James Stewart to play this Mr. Washington. He is an idealist, always friendly and has a dose of humor. And he is so down to earth. He is also genuinely amazed by Washington and its history and architecture. The reason to put in the senate, is that he is a naïve man that is easily influenced. Or so they think. Smith wants to fight the corruption.
“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is a timeless classic about good and bad. The acting is strong and the script is rather daring, especially for that time. Definitely a must-see.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 168: Nocturnal Animals

Director: Tom Ford
Genre: Drama/ Thriller
Runtime: 117 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon, Isla Fisher, Laura Linney, Armie Hammer, Michael Sheen, Andrea Riseborough

Description: An art gallery owner (Amy Adams) is haunted by her ex-husband's (Jake Gyllenhaal) novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

Review: Fashion designer Tom Ford proved with his film debut, “A Single Man”, that he isn’t only good with a needle and a sketchbook. The film was a masterpiece, not only from esthetic perspective. But also the themes and the characters were delicate and had depth. Ford took his time to direct his second film. “Nocturnal Animals” also focusses on relationships, regret and nostalgia to old romance. But it’s completely different movie.
At first sight it looks like art gallery owner Susan Morrow has it all. A good job, a beautiful house and a loving and handsome husband. But nothing is as it seems. Financially she isn’t doing well and she is estranged from her husband Hutton, who cheats on her while on a business trip. When Susan gets a message from her ex-husband Edward and he sends her a manuscript of his novel, she starts looking back on the life she once had. Susan left Edward for Hutton and hasn’t seen him in nineteen years. In Edwards’book, he tells the story of Tony Hastings and his family who are harassed by a group of criminials, while on the road. While Susan reads this story, she remember the life she had with Edward.
The story lines couldn’t be any different, but also have an emotional connection. Susan’s is more introvert and has a lot of thought in it. While Tony’s is extravert and explicit. Surprisingly enough, there is a perfect balance between those storylines. Tony is on a mission and has to find peace, while Susan has urges and desire but doesn’t show it.
Again Tom Ford manages to tell an esthetic story, but also enters the soul of the characters and the audience. Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal (the last has a double role) are both very strong in “Nocturnal Animals”. Michael Shannon is also worth mentioning. Aaron Taylory-Johnson plays one of the worst characters I’ve seen in a long time, what a terrible person. Great performance as well.
“Nocturnal Animals” is a film that gets under your skin.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 25 december 2016

Movie Trailer Sunday (272)

Here are this week's trailers.

Blade Runner 2049
Director: Denise Villeneuve
Description: Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Robin Wright
Trailer: Trailer "Blade Runner"
Comment: Promising!

John Wick: Chapter 2
Director: Chad Stahelski
Description: The continuing adventures of former hitman, John Wick (Keanu Reeves)
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ruby Rose, Ian McShane, Bridget Moynahan, Peter Stormare, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Peter Serafinowicz, Common, Lance Reddick
Trailer: Trailer "John Wick: Chapter 2"
Comment: I hope this is not just another action sequel, because the frist "John Wick" was so surprisingly good.

The Emoji Movie
Director: Tony Leondis
Description:
Starring: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Ilana Glazer, Steven Wright
Trailer: Trailer "The Emoji Movie"
Comment: That's what I feel, meh.

A Cure For Wellness
Director: GOre Verbinski
Description: An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem.
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Oscar Isaac, Mia Goth
Trailer: Trailer "A Cure For Wellness"
Comment: This movie looks super creepy and disturbing, but I'm putting it on my must-see list for 2017 movies.

Alien:Covenant
Director: Ridley Scott
Description: The crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but it is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, James Franco, Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride
Trailer: Trailer "Alien: Covenant"
Comment: What a Christmas present, getting this trailer today!