Women 101—From Abigail Adams to Zenobia

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Abigail Adams, second First Lady of the United States

Abigail Adams, second First Lady of the United States

For a few years I’ve wanted to do special posts for Women’s History Month, but I had never been able to get my act together enough for such an undertaking. Until now.

Posts on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the month will highlight women who should have a bigger place in our history books, from ancient warrior queens to little-known adventurers and explorers to scientists and mathematicians overshadowed by their male colleagues.

It goes without saying that many of these overlooked women are not saints, and often benefitted from systemic racism and/or white privilege to undertake what they did. My brief capsule introductions to these women generally won’t have room for real discussion of these complex issues and I highly encourage you to seek out more detailed information on these women to get the full picture. I will try to list or link to sources whenever I can.

Where did I come across these stories? Sometimes it was while researching for an editing gig, sometimes it was via the many history podcasts I listen to (Footnoting History, The History Chicks, and Stuff You Missed in History Class, among others), sometimes—quite often in fact—it was via Drunk History. I will link to these episodes in my posts when possible.

So, tune in tomorrow when we kick things off with some fierce flyers, including my beloved Bessie Coleman, who inspired this project.

Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers (1725) by Giambattista Tiepolo

Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers (1725) by Giambattista Tiepolo

Oscar Blitz: Wish List

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And the Oscar goes to…

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After seeing six of the nine films nominated for Best Picture as well as a few other nominees,* I hereby present my wish list for tonight’s awards. Even though I liked many of the nominated films, I’m not really rooting for anything in particular; mostly I’m just hoping for one or two surprises and that La La Land doesn’t sweep. My personal favorite of the Best Picture nominees is Arrival, but if I had to vote for one, I might pick Hell or High Water, since, of everything I saw, it had the fewest flaws. I just can’t think of anything I would have changed in that film, either technically or in its structure or performances.

I thought Hidden Figures was wonderful—because it’s a great story, not because it was especially hard to tell. It’s almost like a glorified Movie of the Week. Moonlight and Hacksaw Ridge were really very good, but I don’t think of them as a best picture. La La Land was tremendously enjoyable, but not all that deep or memorable. That left me with Manchester by the Sea and Hell or High Water, two compassionate movies that were incredibly well written, directed and acted. Hell or High Water isn’t going to win, but it was my favorite, and it will be remembered as a true American classic.

—Quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 1

With that said, and based on what I’ve seen, here is what or who the oddsmakers think will win tonight, what or who I would like to see win, and, in some categories, those I feel should (or shouldn’t) have been nominated. As always, if I propose a “new” nomination, I take a current nominee off the list: This doesn’t necessarily mean the person or film is undeserving (though it can), but it’s easy to say that so-and-so should have been nominated when the reality is that there are only five slots to fill.

I normally don’t like musicals, but because everything’s so f*cking miserable in the world, La La Land—even though it doesn’t end on a positive note—took me out of the moment and found a place in my heart. It was a good distraction.

—Quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 3

Best Picture
Will win: La La Land
Should win: Arrival
Should have been nominated: American Honey, The Handmaiden
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Hacksaw Ridge

Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden) is one of the most entertaining movies I saw last year while still maintaining a real personal (and gorgeous) style. It also was a fantastic example of resetting an excellent novel in a completely different time and place and having it work just as well. As for American Honey, I’m sorry I didn’t see this road movie in the theater because it was gorgeously filmed and as relevant to today’s America as anything else nominated. Plus, any movie that is relatively plotless for well over two hours and still keeps my attention deserves some sort of award.

Sasha Lane in Andrea Arnold's American Honey

Sasha Lane in Andrea Arnold’s American Honey

Directing
Will win: Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Should win: Denis Villeneuve for Arrival
Should have been nominated: Andrea Arnold for American Honey, Park Chan-wook for The Handmaiden
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge, Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea

Adapted Screenplay
Will win: Moonlight
Should win: Arrival
Should have been nominated: The Handmaiden, Love & Friendship
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Fences, Moonlight (see below)

Original Screenplay
Will win: Manchester by the Sea
Should win: Hell or High Water
Should have been nominated: Moonlight
Shouldn’t have been nominated: La La Land

Let me tell you, I did not understand The Lobster—it made me nuts. 20th Century Women is a terrific screenplay—very unconventional in its structure and storytelling—and it really worked for me. I didn’t think La La Land’s screenplay was that great, it was just serviceable. It was very close for me between Manchester, because Lonergan is so great at creating complex characters and layered stories, and Hell or High Water, which I loved even more, largely because of the artful but not arty writing.

—Quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 2

The Handmaiden, an adaptation of Sarah Water's Fingersmith

The Handmaiden, an adaptation of Sarah Water’s Fingersmith

Actor in a Leading Role
Will win: Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea
Should win: Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic
Should have been nominated: Colin Farrell for The Lobster
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Ryan Gosling for La La Land

I loved, loved, loved Viggo Mortensen’s performance. He is an actors’ actor, and I voted for him. Unfortunately, it’s probably the only vote he’ll get.

—Quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 1

Actress in a Leading Role
Will win: Emma Stone for La La Land
Should win: Ruth Negga for Loving
Should have been nominated: Amy Adams for Arrival
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins

I love French films, but Isabelle Huppert was just doing what she often does, playing a sophisticated Frenchwoman with a secret.

—Quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 2

Actor in a Supporting Role
Will win: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Should win: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Should have been nominated: Sunny Pawar for Lion
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Dev Patel for Lion

Actress in a Supporting Role
Will win: Viola Davis for Fences
Should win: Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea
Should have been nominated: Greta Gerwig for 20th Century Women
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Nicole Kidman for Lion

The adorable (and incredible) Sunny Pawar in Lion

The adorable (and incredible) Sunny Pawar in Lion

Cinematography
Will win: La La Land
Should win: Lion
Should have been nominated: The Innocents, The Light Between Oceans
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Arrival, Silence

I hated Silence—there were 85 really good minutes in a three hour movie. He [Scorsese] is so wonderful, but he has got to get over his Catholic guilt. I know it’s not the cinematographer’s fault, but damn.

—Quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 3

Film Editing
Will win: La La Land
Should win: Arrival
Should have been nominated: Green Room
Shouldn’t have been nominated: La La Land

Production Design
Will win: La La Land
Should win: Passengers
Should have been nominated: The Handmaiden
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Hail, Caesar!

Fantastic Beasts looked great, but not as great as Passengers. The movie sucks, but it looked f*cking cool—I mean, that’s the cruise I want to go on, without the hell they had to experience. I want to be able to get off at some point.

—Quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 3

Costume Design
Will win: La La Land
Should win: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Should have been nominated: The Dressmaker, Handmaiden, Love & Friendship, The Love Witch
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Allied, Florence Foster Jenkins, Jackie, La La Land

The four above categories are really where La La Land wins by default based on the weaknesses of the other nominees. After seeing it pointed out on Twitter how poorly lit the opening scene was (compared to Jacques Demy’s Les Demoiselles de Rochefort), I just can’t get behind it for cinematography, and a nomination for costume design is simply ludicrous. Furthermore, I would never in a million years pick it for editing. A nomination for production design is fine I suppose, but there are plenty of films I would rather have seen nominated and win there.

Some of the fabulous costumes in The Dressmaker

Some of the fabulous costumes in The Dressmaker

Original Score
Will win: La La Land
Should win: Jackie
Should have been nominated: Arrival
Shouldn’t have been nominated: Passengers

Original Song
Will win: “City of Stars” from La La Land
Should win: “City of Stars” from La La Land
Should have been nominated: “I’m So Humble” from Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, “Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street
Shouldn’t have been nominated: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land, “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story

As I’ve stated before, it’s b*llshit that Arrival wasn’t eligible for its score. And Passengers was only nominated because it’s Thomas Newman. That said, I think that Best Score is one nomination that La La Land can rightfully lay claim to, so I’m fine with it winning. It almost certainly will win for “City of Stars” which I think is at least a legitimate nomination in a category that I maintain is due for elimination.

And with that, I think I’ve exhausted the categories I really care about, so I will just leave you with this beauty from one of the anonymous Oscar voters interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter.

I’m not big on animation or animators. I know a girl who only has sex with animators—she works over at Disney. In any event, my least favorite was Moana—just typical Disney fare. I really, really liked Kubo and the Two Strings, My Life As a Zucchini and Zootopia. But I loved The Red Turtle—it was so simple and it spoke about life and it looked like a watercolor painting to me. Plus I have a fetish for turtles—I’ve just written a project about a turtle.

—Quote from Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 3

Oscar Statues

Who would you like to see take home one of these golden boys?


*Oscar-nominated features I’ve seen to date: Allied, Arrival, Captain Fantastic, Elle, Florence Foster Jenkins, Hail Caesar!, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Jackie, La La Land, Lion, The Lobster, Loving, Moonlight, O.J.: Made in America, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 13th, 20th Century Women, Zootopia

Oscar Blitz: Short and Sweet

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Since I’m not really doing an Oscar blitz this year (having already seen most of the films I wanted to see when they came out) and because I’m finding it hard to gin up enthusiasm for debating the merits of nominees in specific categories, I won’t be doing an Oscar Blitz series this year.* However, I did want to highlight the stellar line-up of Oscar shorts I saw this past weekend.

For the eighth year in a row, La Maratonista and I took in both the Animated and Live Action Short Film programs at our local Landmark cinema. I’m sad to report this is likely our last such annual outing as she will soon be moving on to bigger and better things. And I don’t mean feature films—she and her husband are literally moving. Farewell, opera buddy, I wish you all the success in the world with your new baby, new degree program, and your new home! I just hope San Francisco will lure you back one day soon.

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At least we are going out on a high. Upon leaving the theater, La Maratonista and I agreed that this was the most solid field we’ve ever seen in our years of watching these collections. Both categories were very strong and, while we didn’t love everything, there was nothing we hated. Of course, that makes predictions a little more difficult, but let’s give it a try, shall we?

The nominees are…

Animated Short Film
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

While all the animated films had something in their favor, I’d guess that Piper has this one locked up. As I wrote last summer, the stellar animation in Piper, which played before Finding Dory, only highlighted the weaknesses of the animation in that film. Plus, it has an incredibly sweet story of overcoming your fears and triumphing over adversity.

The only film that comes even close to it in the odds is Blind Vaysha. This film is based on a short story by Georgi Gospodinov and has the look and feel of an Eastern European fairy tale. I didn’t love the animation, but it certainly fit the mood of the piece. The last few lines are incredibly poetic and provoked a strong positive reaction from the crowd in the theater. [Side note for Wonderfalls fans: Caroline Dhavernas does the narration in both the French and English versions.]

As for the other three nominated films, we loved the look of Borrowed Time, but wanted a bit more from it. Pearl was just sort of meh from a story perspective (and I really didn’t love the animation). Pear Cider and Cigarettes earned a strong content warning and played last on the bill, even after the “highly commended” extras, but didn’t really live up to the expectation that such a warning seemed to promise. Frankly, it was a bit boring, although that might be due to the fact that all of the other films in this program ran 6-8 minutes while Pear Cider was a full 35. The extra films added to round out the bill (Asteria, Happy End, La Tête disparaît) were all solid, but didn’t make me feel the wrong films had been nominated.

The animation of Pixar's latest entry, Piper, is truly incredible.

The animation of Pixar’s latest entry, Piper, is truly incredible.

Live Action Short Film
Ennemis intérieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

The live action films revolved around the theme of connections, whether making or breaking them, and were mostly of the sweet or bittersweet variety. I definitely recommend this program over the animated shorts if you are choosing just one, especially since these films are considerably longer than the animated selections, with almost all of them being 30 minutes or so.

As we felt might be the case on leaving the theater—given the current political climate—Ennemis intérieurs (Enemies Within) is apparently the odds-on favorite with bookmakers. In any other year, this film might be too specifically French to play well with a general audience; however, given that it concerns a long-time Algerian resident applying for French citizenship and being coerced by his beur interviewer into naming names, it may be a chance for the Academy to make a strong statement on the Muslim Ban.

The brilliantly acted Ennemis intérieurs, a front-runner in the Oscar race.

Ennemis intérieurs is brilliantly acted and a strong contender.

Ennemis intérieurs is followed fairly closely in the odds by Timecode and Sing, both of which I really liked. I won’t spoil either, but suffice it to say that the ending of each is very rewarding. Speaking of rewarding endings, I’m surprised that La Femme et le TGV is not more in the mix, since it stars Jane Birkin and has a very Amélie vibe, but it is well behind the others in the odds, along with Silent Nights. La Maratonista both agreed that Silent Nights is probably the least likely to win. Of course, in the past, this would almost guarantee an Oscar. Really I could see any of these snagging an award and would be fine with the selection. I’m not even sure which one I would vote for if I had the chance. It would probably depend on the day.

As always, I highly encourage you to support these short films by seeking them out at your local theater.

Timecode: Sometimes you only need an audience of one.

Timecode is proof that sometimes you only need an audience of one.

*Never fear, I will be posting an Oscar Wish List later this week as we get closer to the big night.

Oscar Nominations: La La La I Can’t Hear You!

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And so the race for the 89th Academy Awards begins.

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The nominees for Best Picture are…

Arrival (8 nominations)
Fences (4 nominations)
Hacksaw Ridge (6 nominations)
Hell or High Water (4 nominations)
Hidden Figures (3 nominations)
La La Land (14 nominations)
Lion (6 nominations)
Manchester by the Sea (6 nominations)
Moonlight (8 nominations)

You can see a full ballot list for printing here. My own round-up of 2016 films is here (where you’ll also find links to my film quarterly round-ups).

My first thoughts on this list? Fairly predictable.

The Good
Overall, this is a solid Best Picture list. Of course I’m happy to see Arrival and Hell or High Water here, since both of them made my own personal 2016 top ten, and I’m delighted to see Hidden Figures sneak in, since I worried it might have hit the ground running too late to make it.

The other major categories held very few surprises for me. Many choices are not what I would have personally nominated, but are certainly legitimate selections. And I’m happy to see somewhat more diversity in the nominations than in previous years.

In the acting categories, I’m most pleasantly surprised to see Isabelle Huppert in the mix. Foreign-language performances are always touch and go with the Academy, but this nod is well deserved, even if I have issues with Elle overall.

Of course, I was very happy to see some of my own “Year in Film” picks on the nominees list, notably Arrival for Directing, Hell or High Water for Editing, and The Lobster for Original Screenplay.

I was also pleased to see both 13th and O.J.: Made in America in the Documentary Feature category. When I wasn’t marching, I spent much of this past weekend with the Math Greek watching the new Frontline (“Divided States of America”) and O.J.: Made in America. If you are seeking to better understand the intersection of race and politics in this country, I can’t recommend these two miniseries (and 13th) enough. O.J.: Made in America is quite simply stellar documentary filmmaking and everyone should watch it.

The Bad
Where to begin? In my opinion, there are a number of serious omissions in various categories. I’m just going to mention a few here as I will be discussing most major categories in separate Oscar Blitz posts once I’ve seen a few more of these films.

First off, while La La Land is a perfectly fine film, does it really deserve to lead the pack with fourteen nominations and tie the record held by All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997)? No, it does not.

In the acting categories, I’m mostly fine with the men (I think I am, that is, I haven’t seen most of the films in question) although I would have loved to see Ryan Gosling nominated for The Nice Guys over La La Land and Tom Bennett for his comedic supporting turn in Love & Friendship. I’m stunned to not see Amy Adams in the lead actress category as I think she delivered one of the performances of the year in Arrival, a film that absolutely required a strong, but subtle, performance. I would have traded her for either Meryl Streep or Emma Stone in a heartbeat.

Costume and Production Design are particularly baffling to me this year and I look forward to looking at those categories in closer detail in my Oscar Blitz posts. I felt sure Love & Friendship would get something for Costume, and maybe even The Dressmaker if there was any justice in this world. Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden) also deserved to be in one or both of these categories. I have to assume some of these nods are guild members rewarding their own.

Finally, I’d love to hear from someone who cares about animation as to why Kubo and the Two Strings is nominated for Visual Effects. That just seems odd for an animated feature.

The Ugly
The fact that Arrival‘s score was apparently not eligible for Best Score is simply a crime, especially in a year after Morricone just won for a score with elements heavily borrowed from his own prior work.

Six nominations for Hacksaw Ridge including one for Mel Gibson as director. Nope, not gonna see it. No way no how.

Oscar Blitz Plans
So, what will I be running out to see? Well, as I predicted in my 2016 round-up, I’ve actually already seen many of these films, including five of the Best Picture nominees. Of those I haven’t yet seen, Lion and Jackie (3 nominations) top the list of films I want to see, and, since they are still in theaters here, those two are likely to be next up, along with Toni Erdmann (which, although it violates my under-two-hour rule in a major way, is directed by a woman and supposed to be hilarious). Also up soon are Loving (Lead Actress), 20th Century Women (Original Screenplay), and Captain Fantastic (Lead Actor), mostly because the Math Greek brought me all his Indie Spirit screeners. After that, who knows? I’m not super interested in Fences or Manchester by the Sea, but if I can get to them in theaters I might see them anyway.

Finally, I’m eager to see how Jimmy Kimmel does hosting on the big night (February 26). It’s nice to have someone with such an obvious love of the awards in the mix and he should be able to come up with some good material.

jimmy-kimmel

What are your thoughts on this morning’s announcement? Add your thoughts below and stay tuned over the next month for my Oscar Blitz series with more details on all the major categories.

The End of Innocence: The Year in Film

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The incredible nuns of Les Innocentes (The Innocents)

The incredible, and incredibly complex, nuns of Les Innocentes

Though I might not have thought it possible, I managed to see even more films in 2016 than in the previous year—47 in theaters and 156 at home. Whether this was because the election drove me to seek out escapism wherever I could I don’t know. I have come up with what I feel is a fairly solid Top Ten below, but there are still plenty of critically acclaimed films I haven’t seen yet (see lists at the end of this post), so I suspect this list may shift somewhat in my first quarterly review of 2017. I was somewhat surprised to realize that not many films from the fourth quarter of the year appear in my Top Ten, but I recently rewatched seven of the films on this list and must say they all held up rather well and confirmed my first impression of them. I’m not sure that will prove to be true about The Light Between Oceans, so I imagine it will be pretty easy to knock that one off if need be.

Top Ten of 2016*
Les Innocentes (The Innocents)
Arrival
Love & Friendship
Hell or High Water
Maggie’s Plan
Green Room
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden)
The Edge of Seventeen
The Light Between Oceans

While the subject matter at the heart of Les Innocentes is rather brutal, and the issues it considers morally complex, the film is remarkably hopeful and eminently human, displaying an incredible amount of empathy for its characters. Hope and optimism characterized many of my favorite films of the year, whether in the face of aliens from outer space, economic despair, or the trials and tribulations of high school.

And now… the awards!

Best Achievement in Filmmaking: Les Innocentes. I pretty much felt I had seen my favorite film of the year on leaving the cinema after viewing Les Innocentes and I’m still stunned this wasn’t either the French or Polish foreign-language entry for the Academy Awards (however, it’s not even on the Oscar eligibility list so maybe there was a problem with its production and/or release dates). The cast is superb, the cinematography stunning, and the treatment of its complicated themes deft and even-handed.

Best Achievement in Filmmaking (runner-up): Arrival. While the cast is uneven, the structure of this film is absolutely incredible. This is a script that in the wrong hands might have utterly failed, but Villeneuve makes it all work, ably assisted by an incredible cinematographer, masterful editing, a pitch-perfect score, and a nuanced performance by Amy Adams that only reveals its perfection upon second viewing.

Best Theater Experience: Green Room. Though wary of the potential gore—and there was gore—I was really looking forward to this horror thriller by Jeremy Saulnier, the director of 2014 favorite Blue Ruin. The crowd of critics and other guests was obviously excited as well and there was even swag at the screening. Plus, this is the type of movie that absolutely begs to be seen in a crowd. Terrific performances all around, including a Patrick Stewart like you’ve never seen him before and the late Anton Yelchin, gone far too soon.

Most Improved on Rewatch: Maggie’s Plan. I went into this rewatch not knowing if this film deserved a spot in the Top Ten, but instead I placed it higher than I ever imagined. A screwball comedy for our own time.

Performances

Best Ensemble (Drama): Les Innocentes. The nuns in this story could have all too easily blended together, but I felt I knew each one individually.

Best Ensemble (Comedy): Maggie’s Plan. While I don’t love that Julianne Moore is Danish for some reason, everyone plays their role to perfection here.

Standout Performances (Female): Amy Adams in Arrival and Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship

Standout Performance (Male): Colin Farrell in The Lobster

Best Supporting Performance (Female): Judy Davis in The Dressmaker

Best Supporting Performances (Male): Mahershala Ali in Moonlight and Tom Bennett in Love & Friendship

Standout Performances (Teen): Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen and Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch

Best Debut: Madina Nalwanga in Queen of Katwe

Best Scene Stealer: Hugo Weaving in The Dressmaker

Best Hero/Heroine: Lou de Laâge in Les Innocentes

Best Villain: Rachel House in Hunt for the Wilderpeople

2016 VIP (Female): Isabelle Huppert for Elle and L’Avenir (Things to Come)

2016 VIP (Male): Ryan Gosling for La La Land and The Nice Guys

Production

Best Direction: Denis Villeneuve for Arrival

Best Directorial Debut: Kelly Fremon Craig for The Edge of Seventeen

Best Cinematography: Adam Arkapaw for The Light Between Oceans

Best Editing: Jake Roberts for Hell or High Water

Best Original Screenplay: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster

Best Adapted Screenplay: Whit Stillman for Love & Friendship

Best Score: Jóhann Jóhannsson for Arrival

Best Production Design: Ryu Seong-hee for The Handmaiden

Best Costumes: Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson for The Dressmaker

Potluck

Top Five Pleasant Surprises:
The Dressmaker
The Edge of Seventeen
The Love Witch
Maggie’s Plan
Queen of Katwe

Top Five Feminist Films:
Ghostbusters
Les Innocentes
The Love Witch
Queen of Katwe
Zootopia

Favorite Scene: “What Don’t You Want” in Hell or High Water

Best Opening: La La Land

Best Ending: Moonlight

Best Ending (runner-up): The Invitation

Best Closing Credits: Ghostbusters

Best Use of a Song: “One More Try” by George Michael in Keanu

Best Teaser: Rogue One

Most Effective Trailer: La La Land

Biggest Disappointment: Jason Bourne

Most Overrated: Captain America: Civil War

Most Underrated: The Dressmaker

Most Miscast: Brad Pitt in Allied

Five Worst Films I Saw In Theaters:
Allegiant
Demolition
The 5th Wave
Jason Bourne
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Top Three Films I Hope Are Not Part of My Oscar Blitz:
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Silence

Top Ten Unseen 2016 Films I’m Most Looking Forward To:
American Honey
Cameraperson
Certain Women
Hidden Figures
Jackie
Krisha
Lion
Toni Erdmann
20th Century Women
Wiener-Dog

Past Perfect and Imperfect

Best of the (Oscar) Blitz: Mustang

Favorite (Non-Blitz) Films of 2015:
Appropriate Behavior
Meadowland
Phoenix
Respire (Breathe)
Tangerine

Favorite Films of the “52 Films by Women” Series:
Mustang (2015)
Les Innocentes (2016)
Respire (Breathe) (2015)
Maggie’s Plan (2016)
The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
Walking and Talking (1996)
Appropriate Behavior (2015)
Meadowland (2015)
The Love Witch (2016)
The Dressmaker (2016)
Dear Frankie (2005)
McFarland, USA (2015)

Favorite Rewatches:
Laura (1944)
Freaks (1932)
Star Wars (1977)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Usual Suspects (1995)

Favorite “New to Me” Films:
The Old Dark House (1932)
The Unknown (1927)
Exotica (1994)
The Cat and the Canary (1927)
Blow Out (1981)

Worst “New to Me” Film (tie): Little Big Man (1970) and Ishtar (1987). Oddly enough, both starring Dustin Hoffman. Make of that what you will.

What were your favorite movies of the year? What have I missed that I absolutely must see? Let me know in the comment box below.

For more thoughts about what I watched this year, see my “Film Quarterly” posts: Vol. 2016, Issue 1, Vol. 2016, Issue 2, Vol. 2016, Issue 3, and Vol. 2016, Issue 4.

*The 2016 movies I saw this year are:
The Accountant, Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden), Allegiant, Allied, Arrival, L’Avenir (Things to Come), A Bigger Splash, Captain America: Civil War, Demolition, Denial; Don’t Think Twice, The Dressmaker, The Edge of Seventeen, Elle, The 5th Wave, Finding Dory, The Fits, Florence Foster Jenkins, Ghostbusters, Green Room, Hail Caesar!, Hell or High Water, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Les Innocentes (The Innocents), The Invitation, Jason Bourne, Keanu, La La Land, The Light Between Oceans, The Lobster, Love & Friendship, The Love Witch, Maggie’s Plan, The Magnificent Seven, The Man Who Knew Infinity, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Money Monster, Moonlight, The Nice Guys, Queen of Katwe, Rogue One, Rules Don’t Apply, Sausage Party, Sing Street, Tallulah, 13th, Tickled, The Witch, Zero Days, Zootopia

Note to email subscribers, there is embedded video in this post that may not appear in your email. Please click through to the actual post to see the complete list of selections.