Sunday, January 15, 2017

Film Favorites 2016

As always, choosing a Top 10 list of films I've seen at the end of the year is a struggle for me. This year I've narrowed it down to 24 from the dozens of new releases I've seen this year. I'm sure I will add to this as the limited releases reach our small state, but this is where the list stands right now. Click on the title to see what I thought when I saw the film. Again, these are my "favorites", I'm not a fan of the descriptor "best", as appreciating all art is subjective. The list is in no particular order. Enjoy.

Don't Think Twice
Swiss Army Man
10 Cloverfield Lane
Midnight Special
The Meddler
Elvis & Nixon
Green Room
The Family Fang
Nice Guys
Maggie's Plan

Florence Foster Jenkins
Sully
Doctor Strange
Bleed for This
Moonlight
Moana
Captain Fantastic
Mr. Church
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
Manchester by the Sea

La La Land
Fences
Hidden Figures
A Monster Calls

Miss Sharon Jones

There are a lot of dynamic performers in the history of music. In the documentary Miss Sharon Jones! we meet singer Sharon Jones during her battle with cancer. She's up, she's down and the last 10 minutes of the film are rather triumphant. Her approach to music is pure joy. A wonderful piece of music history available on Netflix Instant.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Monster Calls

The book A Monster Calls is interpreted in the film of the same name. This film deals with a boy's coping with grief in his dreams and waking life. He is visited by a monster who tells him three stories, and the fourth must be his. The monster's stories force him to face his feelings and grief as his Mother is dying of cancer. The story deals with many emotions in an honest way, using fantasy as a vehicle. I loved this film, Well done.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Deepwater Horizon

The explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon is dramatized in a feature film. The disaster is huge and the lives lost are tragic. This film is tough to watch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gleason

Steve Gleason was a talented NFL player. In the film Gleason we see his decline into ALS through his video journals. A quickly debilitating disease, we see his support system form and grow to meet his needs. The amount of medical equipment and expertise is astounding. A story of family, legacy and the power of positive thinking. Excellent documentary.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Heart of a Dog

The documentary Heart of a Dog is a true painting on film. Pieces of archival footage a pieced together like a quilt with a loving narration. I found that I just needed to sit back and let the film wash over me. A beautiful, touching film.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Hidden Figures

The story told in Hidden Figures should be taught in all classrooms. To learn of the individuals who worked so diligently at NASA to get a man in space is inspiring. Did I mention that most of them were women...of color? The essential portrayal of human rights at the time, reminds of us how far we've come and what still needs to be done. Equality in regards to race and gender is something we must always work on and be aware of. This film puts this in front of us in the historical context of the space race. I grew up in this era, and the emotion I experienced when that rocket blasts off took me by surprise. The road traveled to get there was emotional and intense. This film tells an important story well. See it.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Blue Jay

The black & white film Blue Jay is a sweet reunion between high school sweethearts. The strength of this film are the performances, especially Sarah Paulson. Near the end there is a dramatic reveal that is tender and sad. Mark Duplass should be proud of this film. Well done.

By Sidney Lumet

I first learned of the documentary By Sidney Lumet at Tribeca Film Festival last year. His work sits on the top of my all-time favorites list. He also has been generous with his process in books and interviews. In this documentary, Lumet talks about his life and time with his family and film. He has led a fascinating life. I had the pleasure of meeting he and his wife years ago at Tribeca Film Festival. They were friendly and low key. This documentary is worth a look.