David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
My Overall Thoughts:
This was a pretty strong year for nominees and IMHO, 4 of the 5 would have been very deserving of winning this award because of the amazing jobs they did with these films.
5. Barry Jenkins
4. Kenneth Lonergan
3. Denis Villeneuve
2. Mel Gibson
1. Damien Chazelle
5. 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.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. Hacksaw Ridge – Very inspirational film because it shows how one man who sticks to his beliefs can still make a difference when very one around him only want to take lives. Doss does so many things in this film that go against the norm yet still shows convictions on his sleeve no matter what happens along the way. The war scenes are extremely graphic and visceral yet allow us to get a clear picture of the true meaning of ‘War is Hell’. Gibson proves once again how adept a director he can be and gives us a layered story that shows signs of hope when everything is surrounded by bloodshed and hate. Garfield is amazing in the lead role and shows us how great an actor he can be especially when his character must remain true to himself no matter the cost. One of the best films of 2016 while also being one of the best war films in a long time.
1. Manchester by the Sea – Affleck is superb here and I really doubt anyone else could have been able to bring the emotional depth of this character to the screen as well as he does. The story is written and planned so well by Writer-Director Lonnegan that it is able to creep into our minds and effect us so much mainly because it seems so realistic. Loved the way that we are privy to most of the conversations but not all which gives us a bit of distance for the most intimate and emotional conversations. Definitely deserved its two Oscars and remains my high on my list of favorite films of 2016.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! LLL wasn’t the best film of the year IMHO, yet its production was a great achievement for DC and was one of the most complex job of the 5 nominees and it all comes together really well thanks to a great job by DC.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!