My Overall Thoughts:
This has been a year without many surprises in the Oscar nominees and winners, which says a lot about how much of an impact La La Land had on the masses.
It’s not really the best story of the year, but due to all of the technical aspects of creating a modern musical, it’s not that surprising that so many people have gotten on board with this film.
In a year without it in the running, who knows what could have happened across the board.
Surprisingly, the new voting system for the Oscar paid off for Moonlight just like it did for Spotlight last year.
At least presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway knew how to keep things interesting…guess we’ll never forget them!
- 9. – Moonlight – Not as amazing as most people claim. The three stories help to give us a better view of his evolving and cyclical life, but the effectiveness of each stories wanes as we watch it all unfold. The first segment is the best and most powerful and I wish they would have just stayed with that story for the whole film. Ali is great and things might have been even more enjoyable had the film focused more on him.
- 8. – Hell or High Water – Very clever and interesting drama that is played out as a slow thriller. Every step is carefully planned out in the storyline and they leave us little breadcrumbs along the way in order for us to find our way back to connect the dots. Great cast. Pine and Foster are great as the brothers and Bridges and Birmingham have great chemistry as partners who try and insult one another all the time showing their true affection and partnership. Not the best movie of the year, but one that is developed exceptionally well.
- 7. – Hidden Figures – Great and emotional film that shows us how essential these women were in the success of the Space Program. Great cast shows the difficulties of that era, while still being able to spotlight the work done by these women. Costner once again proves how efficient he can be in supporting roles. Love the ambiguity of the title of the film because that in and of itself tells us so much about this film’s message.
- 6. – Arrival – Very good cerebral sci-fi movie that gives us so much to ponders for days afterwards. The cast is excellent with Adams, Renner and Whitaker helping to make it all seem much more realistic. Great themes about unity. Certain twists work better than others, but overall it’s a very compelling story that takes things places where we don’t quite expect.
- 5. – Fences – Great dialogue driven film that is able to says so much just by the way the characters act and react to everything around them. This film’s ability to rely only on dialogue makes it so interesting to listen to because the scenery doesn’t change much, just the way the characters talk and feel about everything going on around them. Gives us a great impression of how black families felt during the 1950’s and how their think evolved over the different time periods this film takes place in. It is quite enjoyable watching Washington, Davis and Adepo interact on screen.
- 4. – La La Land – Amazing modern musical that really manages to capture the look and feel of musicals of old. Excellent songs that are immediately catchy and get you hooked so easily. The production is superbly managed and it all fits together so well. The one minor problem is the story itself isn’t as magical as we perceive musicals to be but the message of the film is extremely clear. Stone and Gosling are great together and have lots of fun chemistry. Look for this film to amass lots and lots of awards come Oscar night despite it not being the best film of the year.
- 3. – Lion – Very emotional film that takes us on a journey of discovery. Great way that they split the film into two distinct parts that help us understand the character and how complicated his life and memories have become. Patel is great as the older version of the main character yet it’s fun to watch Pawar portray the character as a child. I started to well up with tears at the end because this film is such an emotional roller coaster ride. Kidman does a great job in a supporting role.
- 2. – Hacksaw Ridge – Great return to form for Gibson. Amazingly realistic and graphic battle scenes make us really see what war is all about. Loved the way this was told as two separate stories that complement one another. Garfield is excellent as the lead. One of the best (anti-) war films in a looong time. Has great message that resonates throughout making this one of the best films of the year IMHO.
- 1. – Manchester By the Sea – Affleck is superb here and I have doubts if anyone (Damon included) could have done such an exquisite job with the character. Loved how the story comes together and how we slowly get information about the past as the future story progresses. Loved the way that there are numerous instances with very intimate scenes that are viewed from afar where we can really ear exactly what is happening, but still witness the moment. The supporting cast is great and they all click so well with Affleck. The story feels real and that’s what draws you in because you could easily know people like this or even perhaps be like this and as a viewer you want to watch and help make things better. One of the best films of 2015, if not THE best because it is so powerfully done.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not really! I understand how everyone got caught up in the La La Land train, but it really isn’t the most powerful film of the year storywise despite being a modern technical wonder. I guess that’s why they eventually chose Moonlight which is a film that apparently I’m the only person in the world who wasn’t taken in by it. Guess I should see it again….
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!