XIXAX Film Forum
Film Discussion => News and Theory => Topic started by: wilder on January 06, 2017, 12:32:05 AM
The Love Witch
Manchester by the Sea
“Horace and Pete”
“The Girlfriend Experience”
O.J.: Made in America
Everybody Wants Some!
The Neon Demon
“The Night Of”
Louder Than Bombs
Yet to see: Certain Women, Paterson, Jackie, Cosmos, Toni Erdmann, Neon Bull
Normally I don't pick favorites, nevermind actually ranking things, but this came fairly easy. Maybe because I logged and rated everything I saw in Letterboxd.
Favorite Thing: HORACE AND PETE
1. THE LOVE WITCH
2. LA LA LAND
3. THE LOBSTER
4. CERTAIN WOMEN
5. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
7. THE WITCH
8: O.J. MADE IN AMERICA
9: THE NEON DEMON
PETE'S DRAGON, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, THINGS TO COME, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOANA, VOYAGE OF TIME, SILENCE, THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, JACKIE, HACKSAW RIDGE, HELL OR HIGH WATER, LOVING, AMERICAN HONEY, DON'T THINK TWICE, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, HAIL CAESAR!, SING STREET, CHEVALIER, SWISS ARMY MAN, TALLULAH, GREEN ROOM
Have yet to see that might very well change my list:
FENCES, A MONSTER CALLS, TONI ERDMANN, THE HANDMAIDEN, JULIETA, NEON BULL, LOUDER THAN BOMBS
2. manchester by the sea
3. everybody wants some!!
4. oj: made in america
5. toni erdmann
6. knight of cups
7. the witch
8. cemetery of splendor
10. 20th century women
didn't see the love witch
The difference between a good year and great year for film generally comes down to just a couple movies, and in 2016 there were a lot of films that I liked but just a few that I loved. I saw 121 films in the theatre, which is slightly less than last year, but more of those than ever (53!) were repertory titles, thanks to the newly opened Metrograph and Alamo Drafthouse. Unlike last year where studio films dominated my list with grand visions like Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Inside Out, The Martian, Crimson Peak and Creed, this year the films got small. Only 3 studio films made the cut and indies like A24 and Annapurna ruled this year. As long as we still have places like those willing to make sure that film never dies, hopefully there will still be a culture left to appreciate it.
1. La La Land (Damien Chazelle) There has been a lot of talk recently about the death of film. Certainly there is no shortage of great films out there but the size of the audience to appreciate them may be shrinking, and with that the size of the films themselves. In the late 90s successful indie filmmakers could get a larger budget for their second or third film, and the result were films like Boogie Nights, Pulp Fiction and Rushmore. But today it seems like the choices are either jump straight into a blockbuster franchise or stay confined to the indie world. What we’ve lost is the $30m second or third film, the one that comes right after the scrappy indie debut and announces a promising filmmaker as a major talent.
I liked Whiplash but never would have expected writer/director Damien Chazelle to make the leap that he did here, which is a jump in ambition, scale and talent, the likes of which I really haven’t seen since the 90s. Movies may be on their way out, but La La Land makes the case for film: the best ones still do what TV never can. The film is so good and such a delicate tightrope of nostalgia/new that I’m shocked that none of the 90s auteurs got there first. (PTA & David O. Russell must be kicking themselves for never making a full-blown musical.) Emma Stone finally gets to show off her full comedic/dramatic potential, Ryan Gosling continues to hone his physical comedy chops, and the pair finally find a vehicle worthy of their onscreen chemistry. If teenagers still watch movies anymore, La La Land should be a total gateway drug to classic cinema like Boogie Nights was for me.
2. Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) On first viewing it actually took me a few minutes to warm up to this laid back “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused. Unlike Dazed which showcases the freaks and geeks and jocks of high school life, with Everybody you’re squarely planted in the world of baseball jocks and Linklater may be the only filmmaker who could make you love them all by the end of the film. Featuring a talented young cast who will probably all be way more famous in a few years, this is an all-timer hangout movie.
3. Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier) Intense. Brutal. Shocking. I spent most of Green Room literally laughing and crying at the same time and literally biting my knuckles from stress. Saulnier is a filmmaker who has seen other thrillers and knows how things are supposed to happen in movies, unfortunately for audiences accustomed to the relative safety of those other films, in Green Room nothing happens how you’d expect and no character is off-limits. I left with goosebumps.
4. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) The last time I was this blown away by a filmmaker who seemed to come out of nowhere with a fully formed cinematic voice was Steve McQueen (Hunger, 12 Years A Slave). In the hands of a lesser filmmaker Moonlight could have been misery porn, but through Jenkins’ lense the film never feels anything less than completely alive. As beautifully shot (by Kevin Smith’s DP [!!!] James Laxton) as it is emotionally engaging, Moonlight is the rare “awards film” that actually deserves those awards.
5. 20th Century Women (Mike Mills) Even though his filmography is relatively small, 20th Century Women feels like the film Mills has been working towards his whole career. With a perfect ensemble cast led by Annette Bening (in what may be the performance of her career), a killer soundtrack (featuring Talking Heads, David Bowie) and gorgeous, sun-soaked vision of late 70s Los Angeles, the film is autobiographical, but never restrictively so. Mills steals from life to create something that feels authentic and true, and somehow universal.
6. De Palma (Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow) Most documentaries are either too short or spread too thin. Not the case with De Palma, where the director breathlessly narrates his own filmography, without ever cutting away to anything other than brilliantly edited clips from his films. Focused, comprehensive and absolutely essential for cinephiles. Is De Palma the best documentary ever about a filmmaker? I think it might be. Holy mackerel.
7. Hail, Caesar! (Coen Bros.) The aughts have seen the Coen Brothers produce some of their best and worst films, with the worst ones generally being the broader, goofier ones starring George Clooney. Imagine my surprise at Hail, Caesar! which only appeared to be a broad comedy but in actuality is a strange (but still hilarious) meditation on faith and religion with more in common with A Serious Man than Intolerable Cruelty. The fact that it’s also a love letter to classic Hollywood is just icing on the cake.
8. The Witch (Robert Eggers) The best horror films aren’t just the ones that make you jump, they’re the ones that get under your skin and stay there. The Witch is a bit of a slow-burn, completely out of step with modern horror movies, and had me wondering if it would be one of those films to end ambiguously and never really deliver on its setup. But the finale delivers with a sequence so transcendently unnerving that it actually elevates the entire film that precedes it. Just hearing those final words will send a shiver up your spine.
9. Swiss Army Man (Daniels) There are a million ways a movie about a farting corpse could been terrible. But the directors known as Daniels take what could have been a one-joke premise and and turn it into an exploration of friendship, loneliness, shame and some truly interesting ideas. Not everything works (a third act reveal comes closest to derailing the film) but the duo make their surprisingly thoughtful and unsurprisingly hilarious debut maybe the most original since Being John Malkovich.
10. The Nice Guys (Shane Black) The first time I saw The Nice Guys I was actually a little bit disappointed. But after a second viewing I was able to appreciate the film for what it is: an entertaining-as-shit, action comedy written by a master of the genre and starring Gosling at the top of his game as a inept alcoholic P.I. and Crowe as a perfect tough guy foil. In a year where all the blockbusters disappointed, this was the perfect “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” antidote to everything else at the multiplex.
11. Kubo & The Two Strings (Travis Knight), 12. The Handmaiden (Chan-wook Park), 13. Don’t Breathe (Fede Alvarez), 14. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos), 15. Pete’s Dragon (David Lowery), 16. The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig), 17. Cafe Society (Woody Allen), 18. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Zach Snyder), 19. The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn), 20. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Gareth Edwards).
Runners-Up: Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan), The Jungle Book (Jon Favreau), Microbe & Gasoline (Michel Gondry), Hell Or High Water (David Mackenzie), 13th (Ava DuVernay), Neighbors 2 (Nicholas Stoller), The Devil’s Candy (Sean Byrne), Sing Street (John Carney), A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino), Elle (Paul Verhoeven).
10. 10 Cloverfield Lane
9. Rogue One
8. Hidden Figures
7. Finding Dory
4. Love and Friendship
3. Hell or High Water
1. The Lobster
I doubt Manchester by the Sea will shift any of these, but Everybody Wants Some!! might have. (Three of these have a PG rating. :ponder:)
Top Movies that Ive seen in the past Hollywood Year are:
#1 The Witch
#2 La La Land
These two oscillate between the number one and two positions, but I think The Witch may be the slightly more impressive movie.
These were the only truly great movies I saw last year. The others I've seen are unworthy of their company. Not saying they're bad, but they're not great.