Top Ten Films of 2016

Dare I say 2016 feels like a throwback to the stellar work of great auteurs doing their thing in the 70s without fear of never working in the industry again? We have the science fiction, horror, and western genres all finding their way into awards conversation and the best dramas have proven themselves to be both timeless in emotion and wholly contemporary when contextualized against our world’s state of political flux. Cinema has not only found a way to resonate in an inclusive manner, it’s also transcended surface appearances to…

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REVIEW: Stratton [2017]

“I’m thinking that the only two people in the universe we can trust are you and me” It must have been a tough blow to see the newly minted Man of Steel bow out of a project that potentially had franchise capabilities five days before shooting was to commence, but that’s exactly what happened when Henry Cavill left Stratton over “creative differences.” I have to give him credit for doing so, though, since interviews circa late 2014 have him sounding pretty excited about the prospects of bringing to life a…

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Posterized Propaganda January 2018: The Top 10 Movie Posters of 2017

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column (with a special year-end retrospective today) focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. It’s kind of crazy to see how far the poster industry has come in the past few years. Where we used to get excited…

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REVIEW: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle [2017]

“Find the missing piece” The end of Jumanji shows Alan and Sarah chaining up the board game before throwing it over a bridge into water. Later we see it washed ashore on a beach, buried in the sand with chains removed as people walk by speaking what sounds like French. So we wonder how long after the main plot this Planet of the Apes ending is set. Did it cross the Atlantic? There’s real fun to this abstract epilogue with infinite possibilities, especially since the unlikely sequel Jumanji: Welcome to…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2017

Below is my December 24th ballot for the 21st annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2017 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years anyway.) Best Picture #1 Dunkirk #2 Call Me By Your Name #3 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri #4 Get Out #5 The Shape of Water #6 The Florida Project #7 mother! #8 Lady Bird ABSTAIN…

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REVIEW: 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] [2017]

“You can’t split responsibility” At one point during Robin Campillo‘s 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] a high school girl tells a group of ACT UP Paris members that she doesn’t have to worry about AIDS because she’s not gay. It’s a horrific glimpse at the unconscionable lack of information sexually active teenagers were provided at the height of the disease epidemic during the early 1990s. To see her confident incredulity is to see the danger of ignorance and the importance of self-made, self-educated, and unfortunately mainly HIV-positive…

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REVIEW: Girls Trip [2017]

“Better recognize ya blessings” The narrator of Girls Trip has a new book called “You Can Have It All,” a title describing her ability to be both a powerful entrepreneurial woman and a loving wife simultaneously. It’s a message that Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) has embraced as a brand alongside her former football player husband Stewart (Mike Colter), one that’s transformed her into an Oprah 2.0-type figure en route to a potentially lucrative endorsement deal from a high-end department store looking for their wholesome, successful image to speak for the…

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REVIEW: Una Mujer Fantástica [A Fantastic Woman] [2017]

“You didn’t have to treat me like a criminal” One of the worst experiences we endure is the loss of a loved one. It’s inevitable and yet no amount of preparation can truly soften the blow when it occurs. And it will occur more than once as parents, friends, spouses, and children grow within a world mired by disease, war, and fate. The sole comfort many take from these moments is the knowledge that they’ll be able to say goodbye and find closure as a means towards moving on. Dealing…

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REVIEW: Call Me By Your Name [2017]

“‘Cause I wanted you to know” It wasn’t until three-quarters of the way through Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name that I finally began to understand the almost universal praise bestowed upon it since debuting at Sundance. Up until then it merely felt like a familiar coming-of-age film wherein the teenager in question was embracing his sexuality with the help of both a young woman his age and man a ten years older. The awkwardness, brazenness, and desire were all there along with the urge to never stop once…

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REVIEW: Nocturama [2016]

“It was bound to happen” What if a devastating act of violence was committed without purpose? Does it still have meaning? The answer of course is “yes” since such an attack leaves victims whether dead or psychologically scarred. Consequences reverberate well past borders of the town, country, and continent in which they occur because of the inherent fear they conjure. We wonder who will be next, dread the realization it could be us, and let paranoia seep into our very soul. This is why it’s called terrorism. It disrupts the…

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