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Kevthewriter Catches Up With the Movies of 2016

There are many movies I didn’t get the chance to see in theaters back in 2016. Most I wanted to see but I just never got around to it and one I’ll admit I just saw to make fun of. But what did I think was the best of the lot? What was the worst? Let’s find out!

Also, for this list, I’ll mention any movie I didn’t see in the theater but checked out later so, even if I’ve mentioned it already, I’ll probably mention it here. I will also mention movies that technically came out this year but were supposed to come out last year that I did see in theaters.

Norm of the North

I…I really don’t have much to say about this. Stupid plot, Mediocre, TV-grade animation, and the voice actors ranged from celebrities sounding like they were bored to regular voice actors putting on the most obnoxious voices they could think of. I guess if there’s one thing to point out it’s that, for some reason, a couple of the characters kinda look like Lois and Quagmire from Family Guy.

It’s a little weird that they did that.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Unfortunately, I have to put it here because I did, in fact, miss it in theaters. Just…read my review.

You’re Killing Me Susana

Now I would never say someone is wrong for loving a movie. That being said, have you ever seen a movie where, after watching it, you had to wonder what the critics saw in it? I did with this movie, which got a 75% rating on Rotten Tomatoes but, after seeing it, I couldn’t tell you why. This movie was an annoying, irritating movie about two unlikeable people who, time and time again, keep making the same mistakes and, even by the end, they barely learn anything and do the same stupid, awful things they were doing at the beginning of the movie and you get the feeling they’ll never change. There’s no depth to them, there’s no depth to the story, it’s mean-spirited, and the rest of the characters are stereotypes. In short, I couldn’t stand this movie.

American Pastoral

Poor Ewan McGregor, his directorial debut is…well, it’s not the worst thing ever? I’ll give them this: most of the acting is good. I do think Ewan, surprisingly enough, is a bit miscast but the other actors are decent. That’s about all I can say-the cinematography is plain and there’s little to no reason to center the story around a high school reunion but its biggest problem is the movie’s entire conflict is centered around Ewan McGregor and Jennifer Connelly’s extremist liberal daughter but we don’t really get a good sense of why she does the things she does, like bomb a drug store even though said drug store had nothing to do with the segregation of blacks and whites and/or The Vietnam War. Now I get the feeling this was done to help us create the distance with the character and see her the way Ewan’s character saw her but it doesn’t really work and just makes her feel like a caricature of a crazy liberal instead. Not only that but some of the scenes are very awkwardly written. There were many times throughout the film I was left wondering…did that really happen? Let’s just hope Ewan’s next movie is better.

The Lobster

This is definitely a love it or hate it movie and definitely not a movie for everyone. As you know, I really don’t mind an artsy film but I couldn’t get into this movie. I thought it was too slow-paced and boring and there was literally no reason given why, in this movie’s universe, being single meant you had to go to a camp to find your loved one nor did there really seem to be any actual depth to this movie, with either the story or the characters. It’s too bad because the premise is kind’ve interesting but, unfortunately, it was poorly done IMO. I know, though, that your mileage may vary on this one.

Live by Night

Technically, I guess this is a 2017 movie but it did have a limited release in 2016 and it was originally going to come out in 2016 so I’ll count it.

Anyway, wow, talk about a movie that’s basically one ear out the other. There is almost nothing memorable about this movie. I really only remember a few things:
1.)The cinematography and production design were great
2.)Elle Fanning was great in her small role
3.)Max Casella was annoying in his small role

But, otherwise, there’s nothing to really say about this film. I guess it’s Ben’s best film since Gone Girl? That…that’s not saying much…

King Cobra

Another movie that was basically just there. It’s not an awful film but there’s no real depth to it and it feels like there was a large chunk of Sean’s story that was missing (who, by the way, is the main character). That being said, the cinematography was good and Garrett Clayton was surprisingly great, though all I know him from is some Disney Channel things I’ve never seen so I don’t know if I can really judge his acting abilities overall. Otherwise, though, I’d suggest you stick with Boogie Nights, which deals with a similar subject matter.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

I have a love/hate relationship with this movie. It seems like for every good thing with this film, there’s a bad thing about it as well. Billy Lynn is a likable, complex protagonist and The Sargent and his sister are interesting as well. The rest of the characters are flatly written cliché’s (The Wise Leader, The Fast Talking Agent, The Soldier who just wants to see his family, The Greedy Billionare who cares about profit over people, etc.). Hell, the extras themselves are such over the top southern stereotypes that they seem like they came out of a parody of King of the Hill made by someone whose never actually seen King of the Hill! Likewise, some of the acting is good. Joe Alwyn actually does a decent job for his first performance ever, Garrett Hedlund is charming, and Chris Tucker isn’t annoying. On the other hand, Kristen Stewart, while she has a decent southern accent, uses the same acting tics that made her infamous during Twilight, Vin Diesel is as wooden as ever, and Steve Martin puts on a cringeworthy southern accent. That man should never use an accent again. Plus the lengths they went to hide the stand-in’s playing Destiny’s Child was laughable and some of the dialogue is just cringeworthy.

Likewise, Ang Lee’s direction is hit and miss. The high frame rate of the film makes the film a bit ugly to look at and the editing is jaunty, which sometimes works to show Billy’s PTSD but other times the editing is annoying and makes the film hard to watch.

So, for every good thing this movie had, it had a terrible thing as well and it just ended up as a mixed bag of a film.

Fences

Now don’t get me wrong, Fences is a great play with a good story and interesting, complex characters. Here’s the thing, though-just because something works well on stage doesn’t mean that, if you adapt it to another medium (like film), you should keep everything and not change something. Problem is, while the play is great, Denzel Washington directs this movie way too much like a play. Most of the movie is characters talking about their lives instead of the movie showing us what their lives are like which works on stage because, on one stage with a few sets and props, they have a more limited space to work with but it doesn’t really work in a movie that costs $24 million dollars to make because you can’t help but wonder why they don’t just film these things happening. For example, at one point in the film, Denzel’s character forces his son to quit the football team and get his job back. Later on, we find out the son didn’t quit the football team after all and didn’t get his job back. However, we never see this happen, we just learn it through dialogue which just makes me wonder, why couldn’t they bother to film scenes showing the son doing these things?! In a movie, it feels like scenes like this are missing while in a play it’s more acceptable because they only have so much money to work off of. That being said, the acting is fantastic and certainly the best part of the film. Otherwise, I couldn’t get into this film. If Denzel wanted to stick to the original play so much then, in my opinion, he should’ve just done it on stage again.

Barbershop: The Next Cut

I was honestly surprised when I saw the Rotten Tomatoes rating for this movie. I mean, 90%? Barbershop 3 has a 90%? Color me surprised! After seeing the film, I wouldn’t say it’s great but it’s actually pretty good and better than Barbershop 3 probably had any right to be. If there is a problem with this film, it’s that it more or less uses the same plots as the first two Barbershop films. Calvin (Ice Cube’s character) wanting to move away from the barbershop? That happened in the first film. A big company trying to buy the complex the barbershop is in? That happened in the second film. However, the movie has a surprising amount of social commentary that makes the movie interesting and stand out from your average sequel. It seemed like Cube actually wanted to make this sequel, rather than have it be a lazy cash grab, and he succeeded in making a deeper film than Barbershop 3 probably had any right to be.

Touched with Fire

This technically came out in 2015 at the South by Southwest Film Festival but I’ll count it seeing as it came out in a limited release in 2016. Anyway, this is a decent film about two mental patients falling in love. What I like about the film is that it gives a balanced look at how mental illness can affect people and how, even though people should be cured of their illnesses, it’s not always a bad thing, there can be good things about it. It’s a more balanced look at mental illness and doesn’t portray the mentally ill as bad or good but as people with hopes and dreams just like anyone else. Katie Holmes gives a surprisingly good performance, which is weird because I usually don’t like her, even in movies that are otherwise good (i.e. Batman Begins and Thank You for Smoking). If there’s one thing that is holding this movie back, in my opinion, it’s that it isn’t a really movie that’s all that memorable or really stuck with me afterwards. But it’s still a pretty good movie overall.

The Founder

A movie that technically came out in 2017 but, seeing as it was supposed to come out in 2016 and did in some countries, I’ll count it. Anyway, this movie works for one reason and one reason only: Michael Keaton. He gives a great performance in this and I like how they use the story of how Ray formed McDonalds to show how power, when formed with a narcissists want for attention and power, can corrupt someone, which is definitely a good message for these times, especially with you know who as president. My only real qualm with this movie is that it doesn’t really know how to utilize the supporting cast all that well. Linda Cardellini makes the most of her limited screen time but Nick Offerman and Laura Dern feel a bit wasted. Also Hancock’s direction is a bit bland. But Michael’s performance, as well as his character, save the movie.

Manchester by the Sea

This was a decent drama that, unlike a certain film starring Will Smith, really did a good job at showing how grief can affect the lives of others. The small town setting gave the film a nice, quaint vibe that made the film easy to watch. The cinematography was good and the performances from Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges were great. My only problem, and it’s a very minor one considering he’s only in one scene, is that I did not care for Matthew Broderick’s performance, like I usually don’t care for Matthew Broderick in…most things. But, again, he was hardly in it so it wasn’t a huge detriment to the film.

Hidden Figures

I will admit I wasn’t interested in seeing this movie at first but, after the good reviews it got, I decided to give it a chance and I’m glad I did, as it was very good. The movie does a great job at showing the struggles these women had in early 1960’s while working for NASA just for being both women and black. It has great performances and does a great job at showing the racial divide that was happening at the time. My only problem with the movie was that Pharrell’s songs didn’t really fit in with the tone the rest of the movie was going for and felt out-of-place. Otherwise, this was a great movie.

Green Room

This was a chilly, creepy thriller that really makes you care about the characters and want them to escape the neo-nazi’s. The cinematography and music really helps make the mood creepy. What also helps are the performances, with both the heroes and bad guys giving off great performances, especially Patrick Stewart as the head neo-nazi. If you don’t like creepy thrillers, this probably won’t be your thing but, if you do, give it a shot.

Jackie

This might be a somewhat unconventional choice for the best but I thought it was the best of the lot I’d seen. Not the best of the year exactly but still. It was a great character study about the effect that JFK’s death had on America at the time, especially when it came to Jackie Kennedy. But, not only that, it was also a great character study on Jackie Kennedy in general and how the pressure she had as being the first lady affected her and how her life came crashing down after her death. And, while the accent took some getting used to, Natalie Portman was great in the role. It also has a beautiful score and it’s directed well. It might’ve flown a bit under the radar but I still think it’s a great movie.

That’s it for the movies in 2016 I either missed in theaters or came out in theaters in 2016 but I saw in 2017.

Now, has my best and worst of 2016 changed? Maybe a little. Now I’d say it’s like this…

Top 10 best movies of the year

10. 10 Cloverfield Lane
9. Captain America: Civil War
8. Moonlight
7. Nocturnal Animals
6. Arrival
5. Jackie
4. Kubo and the Two Strings
3. Sing Street
2. Eye in the Sky
1. La La Land

Top 10 worst movies of the year

10. Passengers
9. The Accountant
8. American Pastoral
7. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
6. You’re Killing Me Susanna
5. Rules Don’t Apply
4. Alice Through the Looking Glass
3. The Neon Demon
2. Norm of the North
1. Collateral Beauty

Now just to let you know, I’m not sure I’ll make a spring movie retrospective this year because there’s not that many movies I’m interested in that have come out this year so far. The only movies, that weren’t movies from 2016, I’ve seen in theaters so far have been Lego Batman and Get Out and the movies I’m not interested in seeing as many movies this year but we’ll see, I might see more.

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Posted on March 9, 2017, in Movies. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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