Monday, January 30, 2017

WINNERS FROM THE 2017 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival has come to an end and plenty of awards have been handed out. "I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore", the writing and directing debut of actor, Macon Blair, took the Grand Jury prize at the fest. This comedy-crime thriller is about a depressed woman (Melanie Lynskey) whose home is robbed and finds new purpose as she tracks down the thieves. The film will premiere on Netflix on February 24th. "Dina", a film by Dan Sickes and Antonio Santini about the unusual romance between Dina and Scott, a couple with autism, received the Grand Jury Documentary Prize. The film was picked by The Orchard and will be released later this year.

Here is a list of some of the other awards that were given out:

U.S. DRAMATIC WINNERS:

Grand Jury Prize: "I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore"



Directing Award: Eliza Hittman, "Beach Rats"



Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Matt Spicer and David Branson Smith, "Ingrid Goes West"

Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Director: Maggie Betts, "Novitiate"

Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance: Chanté Adams, "Roxanne Roxanne"

Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Daniel Landin, "Yellow Birds"

U.S. DOCUMENTARY WINNERS:

Grand Jury Prize: "Dina"

Directing Award: Peter Nicks, "The Force"

Special Jury Award for Storytelling: "Strong Island"

Special Jury Award for Editing: Kim Roberts and Emiliano Battista, "Unrest"

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS:

U.S. Dramatic Audience Award: "Crown Heights"

U.S. Documentary Audience Award: "Chasing Coral"



World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award: "Sueño en Otro Idioma (I Dream In Another Language)" (Mexico/Netherlands)

World Cinema Documentary Audience Award: "Joshua: Teenager Vs Superpower" (U.S.A.)

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC:

Grand Jury Prize: "The Nile Hilton Incident" (Sweden/Germany/Denmark)

Special Jury Award For Directing: "God’s Own Country" (United Kingdom)

Special Jury Award for Screenwriting: "Pop Aye" (Singapore/Thailand)



Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision: "Free And Easy" (Hong Kong)

Special Jury Award for Cinematography: "Axolotl Overkill" (Germany)



WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY:

Grand Jury Prize: "Last Men In Aleppo" (Denmark/Syria)

Directing Award: Pascale Lamche, "Winnie" (France/Netherlands/South Africa)

Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling: "Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World" (Canada)


Special Jury Award for Commanding Vision: "Motherland" (U.S.A./Philippines)



Special Jury Award for Cinematography: "Machines" (India/Germany/Finland)

NEXT Audience Award: "Gook"

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 OSCAR NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED


"La La Land", the modern musical romance set in Hollywood, made history by receiving 14 nominations at the 2017 Academy Awards, tying the record of "All About Eve" and "Titanic" with the most nominations. "Moonlight" and "Arrival" each received eight while "Lion" and "Manchester By The Sea'' received six nominations.

This year the Academy has chosen to produce their own "announcement presentation" with no audience present. The presentation was broadcast on a live stream using the Academy’s digital platforms of Oscar.com and Oscars.org via a satellite feed. We had previous nominees and winners like Jennifer Hudson, writer Dustin Lance Black, Terrance Howard and Brie Lawson reminiscing pre-taped about their reactions to hearing that they had been nominated in between the announcement of this year's nominees. While I appreciate the Academy's attempt to be innovative, I didn't think it worked at all. I really didn't want to hear their stories for all it did was create an unnecessary distraction and a low energy atmosphere.  I enjoyed hearing the live reaction from the press. I hope they rethink this plan for next year.

As for the nominations themselves, it was certainly a racially diverse selection of nominees. For the first time there are seven people of color nominated in the acting categories in addition to Barry Jenkins receiving nods for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for "Moonlight" and the late August Wilson for his screenplay for "Fences".  I guess the #OscarsSoWhite will be retired --- at least for this year.

I was very surprised by how well "Hacksaw Ridge" did particularly with the Best Director nomination for Mel Gibson. I guess the Academy has proven again that they believe that the art is what's important, not the personal baggage of the people behind the work which I happen to agree with.

Meryl Streep beat her own record by receiving her twentieth career acting nomination with "Florence Jenkins Foster". While I thought her performance was fine, I would have preferred to have seen Amy Adams in "Arrival" or Annette Bening for her incredible turn in "20th Century Women".

And if Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was nominated for the song he wrote for "Moana", wins the Oscar, he will become a new member of the EGOT (which is a winner of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards, just in case you didn't know).

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will be presented on February 26th, 2017 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with host, Jimmy Kimmel.

Here are the complete 2017 Oscar nominations:

Best Picture:

"Arrival"
"Fences"
"Hacksaw Ridge"
"Hell or High Water"
"Hidden Figures"
"La La Land"
"Lion"
"Manchester By The Sea"
"Moonlight"

Best Director:

Denis Villeneuve, "Arrival"
Damien Chazelle, "La La Land"
Mel Gibson, "Hacksaw Ridge"
Barry Jenkins, "Moonlight"
Kenneth Lonergan, "Manchester by the Sea"

Best Actress:

Isabelle Huppert, "Elle"
Ruth Negga, "Loving"
Natalie Portman, "Jackie"
Emma Stone, "La La Land"
Meryl Streep, "Florence Foster Jenkins"

Best Actor:

Casey Affleck, "Manchester By The Sea"
Andrew Garfield, "Hacksaw Ridge"
Ryan Gosling, "La La Land"
Viggo Mortensen, "Captain Fantastic"
Denzel Washington, "Fences"

Best Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis, "Fences"
Naomie Harris, "Moonlight"
Nicole Kidman, "Lion"
Octavia Spencer, "Hidden Figures"
Michelle Williams, "Manchester By The Sea"

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, "Moonlight"
Jeff Bridges, "Hell or High Water"
Lucas Hedges, "Manchester By The Sea"
Dev Patel, "Lion"
Michael Shannon, "Nocturnal Animals"

Best Original Screenplay:

Damien Chazelle, "La La Land"
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, "The Lobster"
Kenneth Lonergan, "Manchester by the Sea"
Mike Mills, "20th Century Women"
Taylor Sheridan, "Hell or High Water"

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Luke Davies, "Lion"
Eric Heisserer, "Arrival"
Barry Jenkins and story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, "Moonlight"
Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder, "Hidden Figures"
August Wilson, "Fences"

Best Foreign Language Film:

"Land of Mine" (Denmark)
"A Man Called Ove" (Sweden)
"The Salesman" (Iran)
"Tanna" (Australia)
"Toni Erdmann" (Germany)

Best Animated Feature Film:

"Kubo and the Two Strings"
"Moana"
"My Life as a Zucchini"
"The Red Turtle"
"Zootopia"

Best Documentary Feature:

"Fire at Sea"
"I Am Not Your Negro"
"Life, Animated"
"O.J.: Made in America"
"The 13th"

Best Cinematography:

Bradford Young, "Arrival"
Linus Sandgren, "La La Land"
Grieg Fraser, "Lion"
James Laxton, "Moonlight"
Rodgrio Pietro, "Silence"

Best Film Editing:

Joe Walker, "Arrival"
John Gilbert, "Hacksaw Ridge"
Jake Roberts, "Hell or High Water"
Tom Cross, "La La Land"
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, "Moonlight"

Best Animated Short:

"Blind Vaysha"
"Borrowed Time"
"Pear Cider and Cigarettes"
"Pearl"
"Piper"

Best Documentary Short:

"Extremis"
"4.1 Miles"
"Joe’s Violin"
"Watani: My Homeland"
"The White Helmets"

Best Live Action Short:

"Ennemis Interieurs"
"La Femme et le TGV"
"Silent Nights"
"Sing"
"Timecode"

Best Production Design:

"Arrival" (Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Paul Hotte)
"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" (Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock)
"Hail, Caesar!" (Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh)
"La La Land" (Production Design: David Wasco; Set Decoration: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco)
"Passengers" (Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena)

Best Costume Design:

Joanna Johnston, "Allied"
Colleen Atwood, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"
Consolata Boyle, "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Madeline Fontaine, "Jackie"
Mary Zophres, "La La Land"

Best Makeup & Hair Styling:

Eva von Bahr and Love Larson, "A Man Called Ove"
Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo, "Star Trek: Beyond"
Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson, "Suicide Squad"

Best Original Score:

Mica Levi, "Jackie"
Justin Hurwitz, "La La Land"
Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka, "Lion"
Nicholas Britell, "Moonlight"
Thomas Newman, "Passengers"

Best Original Song:

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" from "La La Land", Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
"Can’t Stop the Feeling" from "Trolls", Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
"City of Stars" from"La La Land", Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
"The Empty Chair" from "Jim: The James Foley Story", Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
"How Far I'll Go" from "Moana", Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Sound Editing:

Sylvain Bellemare, "Arrival"
Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli, "Deepwater Horizon"
Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright, "Hacksaw Ridge"
Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan, "La La Land"
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, "Sully"

Best Sound Mixing:

Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye, "Arrival"
Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace, "Hacksaw Ridge"
Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow, "La La Land"
David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth, "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi"

Best Visual Effects:

Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton, "Deepwater Horizon"
Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould, "Doctor Strange"
Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon, "The Jungle Book"
Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff, "Kubo and the Two Strings"
John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

Saturday, January 21, 2017

THE 23 MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIES AT THE 2017 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL


It's that time of the year again with plenty of movie folk venturing to snowy Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. What type of cinematic treasures will be found at this year's event? Who really knows for sure but Vulture has rounded up over twenty interesting, indie-minded films that will be making their premieres at the first film fest of 2017 which began on January 19th and runs through the 29th. One of these may become a critical and box-office success like "Manchester By The Sea" which received plenty of love at last year's Sundance. Or they could turn out like "The Birth of a Nation" which also received a lot of love at this festival last year but proved to be a disappointment once it reached the general public.

A few I'm curious about include "An Inconvenient Sequel", the sequel to the Oscar-winning global-warming documentary, Luca Guadagnino's ("A Bigger Splash") most definitely controversial "Call Me by Your Name" which involves an affair between a teenage boy and an older man, "Mudbound", Dee Rees' ("Pariah") second feature which involves a racially charged story of families feuding in the post–World War II South and "Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and Trials for a Free Press", a doc involving that controversial courtroom drama.

Click below to check out the entire list:

23 Most Anticipated Movies at Sundance 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

MY LEAST FAVORITE FILMS OF 2016

In life, you gotta take the good with the bad. That is equally true with cinema. While I saw many films that I thoroughly enjoyed, there were a few that really disappointed or just annoyed me to no end. Here is my list of the films that left me less than entertained:

"GHOSTBUSTERS"

I had such high hopes for "Ghostbusters", a reboot of the 1984 supernatural comedy, that now features an all-female gang who hunts down some bothersome and nasty ghosts. There was plenty of ugly, unfair and sexist criticism hurled long before the movie was even released, so I really wanted this to be a hilariously fun box-office hit to prove all those haters wrong. Sadly, that did not come to pass. It appeared to be a slam-dunk with Paul Feig ("Bridesmaids", "Spy") behind the camera and the amazing comedic talents of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones plus the eye candy of Chris Hemsworth all on board. A bad script, poor pacing and cheesy visual effects didn't do the film any favors. But I think the biggest problem was that these funny ladies were not allowed to do their own thing. They seemed unable to really cut loose to create their own vision, forcing them to stick too closely to the original.

"HIGH RISE"

Out of all of the films I saw in 2016, I think "High Rise" was probably my most unpleasant movie-going experience. I found this very unfunny dark comedy incredibly pretentious and a complete bore. Based on a novel by J.G. Ballard, Tom Hiddelston plays a doctor living in a luxury building tower in 1970's London. While the wealthy occupy the top floors, the middle-class live in the far less stellar lower floors. Life is good, for some, and soon everyone begins to lose the desire to leave the comforts of their home. It doesn't take long for a breakdown in social behavior with the occupants descending in to violence and splitting in to groups to defend their areas of the building. Despite an impressive cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elizabeth Moss, "High Rise" falls completely flat.



"THE LEGEND OF TARZAN"

Tarzan, the Edgar Rice Burroughs character of the infant son of British aristocrats who is orphaned in the African jungle and raised by a tribe of apes, has been around for over one hundred years. It didn't take long for Hollywood to take notice with a silent film made in 1918 and starred Elmo Lincoln as the first screen Tarzan. There have been many, many other versions ever since, so the idea to reintroduce the Ape Man to a new generation was a good one. However, "The Legend of Tarzan" is not good. At all. Alexander Skarsgård was an inspired choice to play Tarzan but the rest of the film is stale and moldy. This story begins years after Tarzan has left Africa and returned to London as Lord Greystoke with his American bride, Jane (Margot Robbie). He's invited to visit the Congo to see new development by the Belgium government. With an American envoy (Samuel L. Jackson) in tow, Tarzan and Jane return to Africa but this turns out to be a not-so-friendly visit with a sinister plan set up by a Belgian envoy (Christoph Waltz). The lackluster action sequences and sluggish pacing ruins any potential fun. No animals were harmed during the making of this film (due to then all being digitally created) but that certainly can't be said about any of the humans who sat through watching "The Legend of Tarzan".

"THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY"

When Sacha Baron Cohen introduced us to his Borat character with his hit 2006 mockumentary feature, this shocking comedy was fresh and a laugh riot. Now ten years later with his latest comedy he has written, "The Brothers Grimsby", Cohen's act has grown tiresome and uninspired. This time Cohen plays Nobby Butcher who was separated from his younger brother as children after they were orphaned. Nobby is now a drunk with an oversexed wife (Rebel Wilson) and eleven children. His brother, Sebastian (Mark Strong) has become a top secret agent. Not much of a surprise to reveal that this mismatched pair are reunited with Nobby getting himself involved in one of Sebastian's dangerous cases. Cohen clearly thinks that creating another half-wit with several objects managing to accidentally (and one time on purpose) find a way in to his anus or him having sex with overweight women is enough to deliver plenty of hilarity. But he is sadly mistaken. This film is just lazy, incompetent and a poor excuse for a comedy.



"THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER'S WAR"

"The Huntsman: Winter's War",  a follow-up to the awful, "Snow White and The Huntsman", is a sequel nobody asked for and a film that is actually worse than the original. With Snow White out of the picture (mostly due to a messy behind-the-scenes scandal), the focus is on Chris Hemsworth's the Huntsman (whose name is Eric, in case you were seriously wondering). Why? Good question. This is an origin story of this bland man of the woods and a continuation from the first film. The evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron, still the best thing here) had a sweet, younger sister, Freya (Emily Blunt) and due to tragic events becomes the slightly-less-evil, the Snow Queen. She steals the children of people of the surrounding village and trains them to become part of her army which includes Eric and Sara (Jessica Chastain). There's more involving the magic mirror, a few other broken hearts and an epic battle between the sisters but I'm sure you've heard enough. The only other thing I will add is please do not waste your time with this wreck of a film.

"KEANU"

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele certainly know how to bring the funny as we've seen from their hit sketch-comedy series, "Key & Peele". The comedy team put together their first feature, "Keanu" but it isn't much of a laughing matter. A recently dumped Rell (Peele) is cheered up after he finds a cute, stray kitten. He names him "Keanu" but this cat actually has an owner; a pair of ruthless assassins (also played by Key and Peele) who took ownership from a Mexican drug cartel after wiping them all out. After coming home to discover his place ransacked and Keanu missing, Rell, with his nerdy cousin, Clarence (Key) by his side, goes out on a desperate search to find his cat. This leads to them impersonating the assassins, getting mixed-up with a street gang, being forced to sell a new potent drug and killing actress, Anna Farris (you really don't want to know). With a plot that is way too convoluted, jokes that land with a thud and an excessive amount of violence that feels completely out-of-place, "Keanu" is one of the most surprising misfires of the year.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 2016

It's hard to believe another year has come and gone. So that also means it's time to look back at the year in cinema and reflect on which films had strongly made a lasting impression upon me. I came to realize there were quite of few extraordinary films that I saw in 2016 which made the selection process a little challenging (which is actually a good thing). Here are my favorites of the past year, in no particular order, that left me in a thrilling state of pleasure, desolation and amusement:

"MOONLIGHT"

Barry Jenkins wrote and directed "Medicine for Melancholy", a lovely, very low-budget romantic drama involving an African-American couple back in 2008. It was a revelation and one of my favorites of that year. I couldn't wait to see what he would do next. Well, it took a ridiculously long eight years but Mr. Jenkins is finally back and his latest drama manages to be even more impressive. "Moonlight" tells the story of Chiron, quiet, troubled and possibly gay, beginning when he was boy, then through his teens and up until he is a young man. With him being bullied relentlessly at school and his mother (Naomie Harris) falling deeper in to crack addiction, Chiron (played seamlessly by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes) finds guidance and solace from an unlikely source; a local drug dealer (an excellent Mahershala Ali) who teaches him the way of the world with kindness and generosity. Poignant and unpredictable, "Moonlight" is a remarkable coming-of-age story handled with insightful artistry.

"MANCHESTER BY THE SEA"

Despite Sam L. Jackson's snap judgement to dismiss this drama as simply "award fodder", "Manchester By The Sea" really is an exceptionally well-made and moving film. The unexpected death of his brother (Kyle Chandler) brings Lee (Casey Affleck) back to Boston to deal with his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) who has been left in his care. He had departed from his hometown to escape a tragic past and this visit forces these long-buried painful memories to the surface. Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan has spent much of his time writing for the stage largely due to the difficult time he had with his second feature as a director "Margaret". Let's hope the rapturous praise for this outstanding film will allow him to make another very soon.

"THE LOBSTER"

I saw "The Lobster", the delightfully weird romantic-comedy from Yorgos Lanthimos ("Dogtooth"), at the AFI Fest back in 2015. But it wasn't released in the U.S. until 2016 otherwise it would have certainly found a place on this list that year. With being single a crime, David (Colin Farrell) is sent to the Hotel where he has only has 45 days to find a new partner otherwise he will be turned in to an animal of his choice. After deciding upon a lobster, he sets out to find someone yet many strange people and situations stand in his way.  Then there's the "loners" who hide out in the woods where guests at the Hotel can hunt down with a tranquilizing gun, earning them an extra day in their search. "The Lobster" is one movie that works much better to simply experience than try to get too caught up in the details.

"INDIGNATION"

Most people probably have not even heard of "Indignation" let alone actually seen this powerful film but they really should. James Schamus, the long-time screenwriter and producer ("The Ice Storm", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Brokeback Mountain") and one-time head of Focus Features, made his debut behind the camera with a 2008 Phillip Roth novel and has crafted an exceptionally captivating and deeply moving drama focusing on class, religion and sexual repression. Set in the 1950's during the early part of the Korean War, Marcus Messner (brilliantly played by Logan Lerman), a Jewish, middle-class young man begins college in Ohio, in part to put some distance between him and his overbearing parents (stage vets, Danny Burstein and Linda Emond) in New Jersey. He becomes enchanted with a beautiful and wealthy blonde student (Sarah Gadon) but her highly unorthodox behavior throws him while he clashes with the school's dean (Tracy Letts) over the emphasis of religion in academic life. A tragic and complicated story beautifully translated by a first-class film maker.



"LA LA LAND"

Damien Chazelle's romantic musical fantasia, "La La Land" is a wonderful valentine to that city of desires, dreams and heartbreak; Los Angeles. Mia (Emma Stone) is a struggling actress looking for a break. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianst who dreams of opening his own club. After a slightly hostile first encounter, they warm to each other and fall in love. But their challenging careers create tension in the relationship. With original music and lyrics from Justin Hurwitz, Benji Pasek and Justin Paul, Chazelle has paid loving tribute to the classic Hollywood musical but has brought his own modern and colorfully unique spin on the genre. Stone and Gosling have a marvelous chemistry and make a perfectly imperfect song and dance team.


"THE 13TH", "I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO"

These two fascinating documentaries compliment each other with insightful and thought-provoking observations in to the current state of race relations in America. African-Americans and the U.S. criminal justice system is the focus of Ava DuVernay's disturbing "The 13th". After slavery was abolished with the signing of the 13th Amendment, there was an exception made for a punishment for a crime. This doc reveals how systematically over time the "war on drugs" has been used to incarcerate a growing number of African-Americans while keeping them locked up for an excessive period of time.

"I Am Not Your Negro" uses James Baldwin's uncompleted novel about his close relationships with fellow influential figures of the civil rights era, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X as a starting point. Then director Raoul Peck takes the eloquent and astute writer's words (with an effective voice over by Samuel L. Jackson) and archival television footage to examine his views on the complicated social and political issues regarding race in this country. It also looks at how, in many different ways, there's has still been very little progress made on this subject to this day.



"THE HANDMAIDEN"

Park Chan-wook, the South Korean film maker best known for his ultra-violent action thrillers laced with black humor like "Old Boy" and "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance", has softened his approach (somewhat) with his latest, "The Handmaiden". Inspired by the Victorian era novel, "Fingersmith", the director has reset his story to Japanese-occupied Korea in the 1930's and told in three parts from different perspectives. A wealthy heiress (Kim Min-hee) is the mark for a con man (Ha Jung-woo) and his young accomplice (Kim Tae-ri). However, nothing is what it appears to be with unexpected twists, shocking turns, some steamy bedroom antics and a brief moment of gruesomeness makes this one of the most intriguing and well-written romantic dramas of the year.



"THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN"

"The Edge of Seventeen", the razor-sharp and hilariously funny teen comedy from writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig, fits perfectly next to other classic coming-of-age comedies like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", "The Breakfast Club" and "Mean Girls". Hailee Steinfeld plays Nadine, a highly dramatic senior who rushes to her high school teacher (Woody Harrelson) to proclaim she's going to kill herself. Then she proceeds to tell him all of the entangled and embarrassing events that has lead to this moment. Some of this includes her best friend (Haley Lu Richardson) suddenly dating her older brother (Blake Jenner), her difficult relationship with her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) and she has a big crush on a fellow student (Alexander Calvert) who doesn't know she's alive while another classmate (Hayden Szeto) has his own secret crush on her. This little film surprises with plenty of charm and wit.



"20TH CENTURY WOMEN"

Much like his last film, "Beginners", writer/director, Mike Mills finds inspiration from his family with "20th Century Women" which the lead character is loosely based upon his mother. Set in 1979, Santa Barbara, California, Dorothea (Annette Benning), a divorced, chain-smoking, radical mother feels she can't properly guide her teenage son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) in to manhood on her own. She decides to ask for help and that comes from two other modern-thinking women; Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a fuchsia-haired, punk-loving photographer and Julie (Elle Fanning), a young, sexually-liberated, free-spirited friend of her son. And there is a male figure in the home, William (Billy Crudup), Dorothea's handyman and occasional lover but Jamie doesn't really connect with him. This film thrills with it's eccentric sense of drama, romance and humor.

Honorable Mention: "10 Cloverfield Lane", "Arrival" (and this would have made My Favorite list except for my trouble with the ending), "City of Gold", "Jackie", "Lion", "Louder Than Bombs", "Loving", "Midnight Special" (I had the same problem with the ending of this film), "Paterson", "Weiner Dog", "The Witch", "Zootopia"








Friday, January 6, 2017

58 MOVIES IN 2017 YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT


2016 is barely over yet there is already high interest in what is on the cinematic horizon for 2017. Vulture has compiled a list of fifty-eight movies they are excited about due to be released over the next twelve months. I know there's quite a few I'm interested in like the sequels to "Guardians of The Galaxy" and "Blade Runner", the still untitled Paul Thomas Anderson/Daniel Day-Lewis fashion project, the star-studded remake of "Murder On The Orient Express", the latest from Yorgos Lanthimos ("The Lobster") with "The Killing of a Sacred Deer", Sofia Coppola's remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie, "The Beguiled", "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", a dark comedy with an interesting title which also give Frances McDormand an overdue lead film role and the long-awaited big screen debut of "Wonder Woman". And there are fifty more on the list to check out and consider.

Click below to read the article:

58 Movies in 2017 You Should See