Month: December 2016

La La Land

Writing about La La Land has proven a bit tricky. On the one hand, I am eager to share why I feel so strongly that it is, by a wide margin, the best movie I watched in 2016. On the other hand, going into this film not knowing exactly what to expect made the experience all the more magical, and I worry that over explaining, over comparing, or over analyzing it will potentially take away some of that magic from you. So before I go on, consider the following:

If you have any interest in La La Land, for any reason, stop reading this and go watch it. You can finish reading this when you come back – this website should still be up and running by the time you get back. However, if you need someone to convince you to spend any time watching a romantic comedy musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (I know that description doesn’t immediately speak to a lot of people), or if you have already seen it and can’t get it out of your head and you feel compelled to read anything you can about it, then, please, continue.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Wait, didn’t we just have a Star Wars movie last year? I’m apparently now old enough to complain to youths about how long I had to wait for new Star Wars the way parents complain to me about not having had the Internet in the ‘40s. Disney, the current proprietors of the Star Wars franchise, are set to give us saga films (read: the ones with those pesky roman numerals) on odd years, and a nice side story film on evens. Market saturation think piece aside, myself and countless nerds across the land have struggled with the all of the sudden nature of a series that has gone through two hibernation periods, 16 years and 10 years respectively. But who cares about my emotional turmoil over what is essentially an embarrassment of riches, you guys just want to know if this movie is worth seeing, and the answer to that is a resounding yes. But I do have some quibbles.

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New In Theaters 12/16/16

It’s two weeks before Christmas, and baby Jesus (and/or Santa) have delivered unto us some more films. There’s that Star Wars one, a couple depressing (but ultimately redeeming) ones, and an “oh shit 2016 is almost over let’s shove this out the door now” one.

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Manchester By The Sea

I’ve written and talked about movies more in the past four months than the entirety of my previous life. In doing so, I’ve been made aware of how much “reality” factors into my enjoyment of the movies. Not in terms of the subject matter, because I go gonzo for stuff like Lord of the Rings and Games that involve Thrones on the TV side, but reality in the context of the world that’s been created for my entertainment. I get really hung up on whether the reactions of the characters fit into the construct I’ve set up for this world based on the mood and themes of the movie itself. This isn’t any revolutionary concept but it’s what drives a lot of my enjoyment in watching movies.

In a movie like Manchester by the Sea, there is a lot that hinges on the believability of the actors when it comes to loss and tragedy. Basically the entire movie is an exploration of how certain people, specifically men from the Boston area, deal with the loss of loved ones. In those terms, I can’t think of a movie that handles this theme better. The main focus is on Casey Affleck’s character Lee Chandler and his nephew Patty Chandler, played by Lucas Hedges. When Patty’s father and Lee’s brother passes away, Lee if left with custody over Patty and struggles with how to deal with the responsibility that’s been thrust upon him. From the very beginning of the movie, it’s made apparent that Lee doesn’t deal with his emotions in a healthy way and the rest of the time the audience is waiting to see if he will eventually get it.

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New In Theaters 12/9/16

Hello and welcome to another week of mostly bad looking films. Next week is that Star Wars thing though, let’s just think about that!

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Dead On Arrival

There’s a great irony in Arrival that screenwriter Eric Heisserer left on the table. The film is ostensibly a story about communication and trust, and—spoiler—at its conclusion the protagonist declines to trust her lover and communicate with him that any child they have together will die before high school.

This could make for a great dark irony that explores why cowardice and selfishness can reduce us, in spite of our intelligence or convictions, to become nothing more than vermin scuttering around in the dark cannibalizing each other. But nothing about the script or the direction suggest that anyone involved is even aware this conflict of message exists. Banks’ decision to “keep” a doomed child is treated as something to be celebrated, outright ignoring the horrendous immorality of hiding the child’s inevitable death from her prospective father. Most writing about the film celebrates it as an especially timely message of hope, comforting Americans who don’t know what to expect from the idiot they elected to lead them. And that is fucking insane, and could explain why we’re stupid enough to have elected a schmuck like Trump to the presidency in the first place.

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