Friday, December 30, 2016

The best (what there was) of 2016 from George Thomas

By George M. Thomas

"La La Land" is a full blown, retro musical worth the time.

For years I’ve tried to avoid slapping the “best” label on a list of films at the end of the year. The reasons are numerous, the primary one: I’m not a filmmaker.

There’s too much craftsmanship that goes into making a film for me to completely understand what goes on behind the scenes.

I do, however, know what I like. Oddly enough it usually dovetails with the stuff a lot of critic-types eventually put on lists at this time of the year. Call it 50-some odd years of watching warmed over cinematic hash.

This year, however, proved to be particularly troublesome in the viewing department. Other than DEADPOOL and CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, the latter a begrudging nod, there wasn’t much that caught my interest this year. It all tasted like that, you guessed it, warmed over hash.

As is the norm in such years, the fall, which now plays like the last refuge of movies with a plot that weren’t based on a comic book, TV series, or are not sequels, rescued me – some.

That being said, here are my favorite films for the current year which cannot end soon enough for any number of reasons including the fact this is allegedly a record year at the box office, but much of what was released was just plain “meh” for me.

LA LA LAND: Appeals to the lover of old school musicals in me.

FENCES: A reminder of the struggle of being a husband, father and trying to carve out a life – not an existence – as an African-American male. ,

HELL OR HIGH WATER: The western re-imagined as a modern day take on what the hell has happened to the American Dream. Positively brilliant.

LOVING: Sometimes love is just love. An understated look at Loving v. Virginia.

ARRIVAL: Wait. What? Someone made an intelligent, emotionally moving science fiction movie? WTF?

MOONLIGHT (Review by Pamela Zoslov): Sweet. Poignant. Touching.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS: This was probably the best “thriller” of the year.

DEADPOOL: Best comic book movie in a couple of years, so why the f**k not make this list.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Review by Pamela Zoslov): One of those movies that make the list simply because the performance(s) – in this case Casey Affleck – is just so damn good.

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