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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Movies in Review: 2016

My last movie review was back in November when I shared my two cents on Ben Affleck's The Accountant. I actually thought that film was pretty solid. But in that post, I mentioned a few other movies that I had recently seen. I'm going to add the quick recaps of those movies to the end of this post too since it's the big end of year review. But I'm mainly sharing the December releases that I've seen (and maybe even that I think you should see). So enjoy and happy New Year!

Nocturnal Animals - opened 12/9: I hope you've heard of this movie that was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford. The reviews for it might be all over the place, but I must admit, it was one of the coolest films I've seen this year. It's weird; it's random; it's funny; and it's scary. It's also based on a book that I'm thinking about reading, although it's tough for me to read books after I've already watched the film versions. Nocturnal Animals stars Amy Adams -- who receives a manuscript written by her ex-husband, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The manuscript tells a vivid and terrifying story, and the movie itself, weaves between real life and the life of the characters in the novel. And at the end, dark truths are revealed. Rating: ♥♥♥ 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - opened 12/16: Going into this movie, you should be aware that I'm well biased. To me, Star Wars is the ultimate franchise. Darth Vader is my favorite fictional character of all time, and I own way more SW gear than one might think (beanies, socks, jammies, glasses, action figures, costumes, movies, bath towels, etc). I did a mini review of last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII) and gave it a review of 4 hearts. And even though Rogue One is not in the SW saga (the reason why the movie doesn't start with the typical SW crawl) it's obviously still a part of the franchise, and quite honestly, is one of the best Star Wars movies ever. You won't fall in love with any particular character (except maybe K-2SO), but you will love the believable visuals, the stunning CGI and the wonderful story. Rogue One is basically like a prequel to A New Hope (Episode IV). I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you that there's a planet called Scarif that was filmed in the Maldives and features a ton of AT-AT walkers. If you're a SW fan, then you can only imagine how beautiful that sounds! And don't get me started on that Darth Vader light saber scene! #ItWasEverything (#RIPCarrieFisher) Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

La La Land - opened 12/16: If Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are in a movie together, then you know I already bought my ticket (examples being Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad). With Gosling being more particular about his roles these days, it's nice to see him in a film as unique and darling as La La Land. The movie stars Gosling, a budding jazz pianist, and Stone, a struggling actress, who meet each other randomly and, essentially, act as each other's muses to help jumpstart their flailing careers. All of this is done with fun musical numbers (yes, both Gosling and Stone sing!), nostalgic dance segments, and old Hollywood references against an L.A. backdrop. Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Assassin's Creed - opened 12/21: I never played the video game that Assassin's Creed is based on, but I generally like action movies, especially if they include good actors like Michael Fassbender. But sweet Jesus, not even Fassie could save this ridiculously convoluted plot about a man who uses a machine to re-live the memories of his assassin ancestor from the Spanish Inquisition. Was that sentence long winded and annoying? Well, so was the movie! And why did the director choose to "stylize" it with a blurry bluish gray haze for the entire two hour stint? The story was hard enough to understand, but I also had to deal with the fact that I could hardly see what was going on the majority of the time. The only good thing about the film were some of the acrobatic fighting scenes -- at least the few that I could make out through the fog. Rating: 

Passengers - opened 12/21: Jennifer Lawrence made a movie that wasn't directed by David O. Russell? Oh, happy day! I enjoy when they make movies together (example: JOY from last December?), but I really wanted her to branch out of the Russell rut. In Passengers, there are more than 5,000 people in hibernation pods on a spaceship that's taking a 120-year journey to a new planet. So what happens when a hibernation pod malfunctions and accidentally wakes up its passenger (Chris Pratt) 90 years too soon? How does one cope with being the only person awake in space, especially knowing that it's fairly impossible to live for 90 more years? And can the hibernation pod issue be fixed? Would you do the unthinkable to combat loneliness? And you'll love the swimsuit that JLaw wears in the film! 
Rating: ♥♥♥

Hell or High of the best movies I've seen this year: 
Don't Breathe..........not nearly as scary as I'd hoped: 
Suicide Squad..........not worth your theater money: 
The Light Between Oceans..........still haven't seen!
Arrival...........I saw this movie, but I was drunk and it was midnight so I fell asleep.
Snowden..........I now cover my webcam because of this movie: 
The Magnificent Seven..........a fun from start to finish film: 
The Girl on the Train..........well done and just like the book: 


Rachelle Pinksole said...

I loved SW Rogue one, I need to see Lala land and Nocturnal Animals.


Sahra Schukraft said...

love this recap! I NEED to see La La LAnd soon; Emma and Ryan just have such great chemistry!

XO Sahra
Que Sera Sahra

Isaly Holland said...

I've been dying to see Girl on The Train! I watched the first 30 mins of it and had to leave the theater because of an emergency! It was so good and Im just waiting till it comes to dvd. I wanted to see Assassins Creed but I have heard horrible reviews about it... lol So it definitely won't be on my list.

Isaly Holland

Tanvi Rastogi said...

I haven't seen ANY of these movies except Rogue One (on Christmas Day!). And I didn't like it. I thought it should have been at least 30mins. shorter. But then I am not a Star Wars fanatic :D



I've been readng about Nocturnal Animals so I want to see that one. As a fellow Star Wars fan I Rogue One was at the top of my December list, it's also the only film in this list that I've seen. Everyone keeps talking about La La Land, it wasn't on my top list, but I just might have to check it out now. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a very Happy New Year! :)

Emmylou MW said...

I just saw Rogue One today! Oh my freaking gosh! It's seriously one of my fave Star Wars films as well. What a great story, and really ties up the whole series for me. So many poignant scenes, and with Carrie Fisher dying, that last scene...sniff sniff....
Anyhoo, just wanna say advanced Happy New Year to you and the whole family, Cheryl!

PS I was dying to see Assassin's Creed, but your review just made me sad:P

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot said...

We are seeing Star Wars this weekend. I keep seeing Hell or High Water and it has amazing reviews. I'll have to watch it tonight!

Rach DiMare said...

There's so many movies I want to see this Winter and you basically reviewed them all! Now I can't wait to head to the movies haha.

Elle Sees said...

I loved La La land! I still want to see Nocturnal Animals mainly bc I love Tom Ford!!!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

I wasn't sure how I was going to like it, but I loved Rogue One!

Cheryl van den Berg said...

Yes! It was amazing. I saw it the day before Carrie Fisher died. :( I wasn't sure I was going to like Rogue One, but it just might be my favorite (next to Episode V).

Cheryl van den Berg said...

Ryan Gosling just makes magic, lol. And there are some parts in Nocturnal Animals that I wasn't too keen on, but overall, it was pretty good. But I also know a few people who didn't like it one bit.

Cheryl van den Berg said...

Did you end up watching Hell or High Water? It's so bad ass. Let me know what you think of Rogue One when you see it this weekend.

Cheryl van den Berg said...

Obviously, completely agree with you about Rogue One. And yes girl, don't waste your precious time on Assassin's Creed.

Cheryl van den Berg said...

I definitely think most movies could be 30 minutes shorter, lol. Sorry that you didn't like Rogue One -- I thought it would have appealed to even the non-SW fan. From the movies on this list, I think you'd like Passengers and Arrival.

Cheryl van den Berg said...

I actually can't wait to watch Girl on the Train again when I can rent it. It really was quite enjoyable, and I read the book!

Cheryl van den Berg said...

Honestly, I feel like they're going to be the new on screen IT couple. They always work so well together.

little luxury list said...

I loved LaLaLand and now wish I watched Rogue One. Noctural Animals has been on my list and hopefully I get to watch it soon!

Jenmarie G said...

I am so glad you enjoyed Rogue One! I have seen it four times now and although I don't love it completely, there are certainly many things I do love about it. Chirrut, Baze, and K2 were my absolute favorites. Of course, my absolute favorite scene was THE Darth Vader scene. Holy crap! I can't watch to watch it a hundred times over once this movie is out on Blu-Ray.

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