Friday, December 30, 2016

10 Best Films 2016

1. Moonlight

Directed by Barry Jenkins, this is the tender, heartbreaking story of a young man with his dysfunctional home and the struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality. The story deals with life and comes of age in Miami during the "War on Drugs" era. This film is beautiful and sublime, I loved it!

2. Manchester By The Sea

A film by Kenneth Lonergan. Is the story of a depressed handyman is forced to face the tragedy in his past after his brother dies and leaves him the sole guardian of his nephew.  Manchester by the Sea is a study of family dysfunction and the worse loss imaginable, Casey Affleck’s withdrawn lead proves he can be one of the best actors of his generation.  His abrupt reposts clearly signpost that this is someone clearly scarred for life. There’s an exchange with Williams in the final act that never moves past the initial stages because Lee can’t manage much more than grunts. 

3. Nocturnal Animals

Director Tom Ford’s second film, based on the book Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, follows a Los Angeles gallery owner who is shaken by the arrival of a novel by her ex that imagines a couple who come to a violent end. It has a fairly wild way to open a film, and what follows is no less surprising, as we flit between a glossy LA high-life and a gritty Texan murder mystery, the lines of fiction and reality blurred. Nocturnal Animals looks extraordinary, but its real power lies beyond the visual.

4. La La Land

Directed by Damien Chazelle. La La Land is an ambitious musical that is not in a classic musical genre, the dance number are great but not unbelievably spectacular, which I think that works great for this film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Everything is on the edge of make-belief; especially in the hazy superficial LA where everyone is pretending to be someone they’re not. The film skips and taps out of reality completely, with the world itself becoming a kind of perfectly Technicolor decorated film set through which our two loversexist, as if they can’t believe life could be so picture-perfect.

5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Directed by Gareth Edwards (V). It is the first of the new standalone Star Wars movies. Darker, grittier and bolder than any saga film to date. Rogue One maintains the essential elements of the saga: drama between parents and children, a totalitarian force to be destroyed, and outlaws (in appearance) who become heroes.

Visually it is a spectacular film not only by the special effects but also by the vast scenes that we find in other planets. In addition it has endearing characters and good performances, although Diego Luna has a little duty, is not all bad but is not a character that generates as much affection and admiration as others on the film. In its narrative, Rogue One is exciting for its action scenes and political intrigues, and achieves several touching moments, full of heroism and redemption, that invite us to see episode IV at the earliest, and wait with much anxiety the next to next year.

6. Julieta

Pedro Almodóvar directs and adapts a group of stories by Alice Munro into an emotionally restrained melodrama about a woman staring tragedy in the face without blinking. Julieta, who lives in Madrid, discovers that her estranged daughter Antía is living in Switzerland with her three children. She thinks back over how the pair became separated. The piece is a more tone down version of a typical Almodóvar film without being lame at all.  Julieta is overtly serious in its concern with loss and the mature retrospective contemplation of life’s complexity, its visual energy contrasting strongly with its emotional severity and the almost total absence of either comedy or manifest narrative playfulness.
Almodóvar’s unflinching direction that gives “Julieta” its power.