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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, 2017

I went into this after hearing some ok reviews and didn’t expect to be impressed, but I was so wrong, from what I have seen (almost every nominated film) I find this easily the best film of the year, best script, best director, best actress and best supporting actor. And it blows my mind that not only did it not get best director at the Golden Globes (though it did win best motion picture drama, best actress for Francis McDormand, best supporting actor for Sam Rockwell and best screenplay, all well deserved), but even more so that Martin McDonagh was not nominated for best director at the Academy Awards. At the very least Francis McDormand should win best actress, and how could she give that performance without a great director. And I think Sam Rockwell should win, but there is now all this bullshit controversy over his character being a racist (which he is), but that doesn’t hurt the amazing performance, it is a huge part of it. And it isn’t like he is redeamed! I mean come on. This is an awesone film with great performances all the way around (Peter Dinklage isn’t nominated, but is so damn great) and a great story. I love this film, and my only issues are some shoddy special fx with a dear, and Woody Harrelson (not his performance, but… I will talk about this at the end of my review as it is serious spoilers). To me this is the must see film of the year.

Mildred Hayes (Francis McDormand) is a depressed woman living with her son Robbie (Lucas Hedges). Her daughter Angela (Kathryn Newton) was raped and burnt to death and the local sheriff’s office hasn’t found a thing, and has basically given up. Mildred goes to Red Welby (Caleb Landry Jones) and rents 3 billboards on a backroad. She rents it for a month, with signs that read, “RAPED WHILE DYING”, “AND STILL NO ARRESTS”, and “HOW COME, CHEIF WILLOUGHBY?”. This is not popular in the town, especially since Sheriff Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. And it really doesn’t sit well with Deputy Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell), who is known for beating a black suspect recently.

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Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele, 2017

Hmmm. I need to watch this film again. This film is getting so many accolades and awards that I really need to see it again, because while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it. I thought it was a decent horror film that played heavily with rascism that exists in todays society, but not a multi-award winner, or academy award contender. I didn’t find it’s message quite as striking as say the original Night of the Living Dead. Especially because it starts off very well, but by the end I end up with more questions than answers, and even with the message that the film is trying to send you away with.

The film starts with an African American man (Lakeith Stanfield who is so awesome in the TV show Atlanta. Then we see African American College Photography major Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) who is going home for break to meet his white girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams) family. And she hasn’t told them that he is black. Rose’s parents Dean (Bradley Whitford) and hypnotherapist Missy (Catherine Keener) are overly friendly, talking about Obama, though Missy does want to use hypnosis ronstop Chris from smoking. And Rose’s brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) seems straight up racist. Also the black housekeeper Georgina and groundskeeper Walter both act strangely though, with Walter running past him as he smokes outside.

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The Disaster Artist, by James Franco, 2017

I didn’t think I would like this. I have never seen The Room, though I have seen the billboards. And though Franco was amazing in 127 Hours, I wouldn’t call myself a fan, but this film proves how wrong I was. The true story of the strange cult movie director Tommy Wiseau is minblowing, and it is even more amazing that Wiseau is OK with his portrayal, enough to cameo in the film. And it really is an amazing film about believing in yourself as an artist and doing your own thing.

This is the story of Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) a 19 year old actor in San Francisco who met Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in his acting class. Greg is blown away by Tommy’s fearless, if completely insane performance of a scene. Tommy convinces Greg to move with to Los Angeles to pursue acting careers, though Greg’s mom (Megan Mullally) doesn’t trust this guy who claims to American and Greg’s age, but is obviously neither. Greg goes and stays with Tommy in his place in LA. Greg immediately gets an agent, but Tommy gets nothing but rejection. And greg gets a girlfriend named Amber (Alison Brie) who he plans to move in, but Tommy fets very jealous. Tommy decides they will make their own film, and Greg agrees.

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The Shape of Water, co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, 2017

Hmm, I am still trying to wrap my head around this film, some of it I really, but some rubbed me the wrong way. Honestly overall it feels like del Toro was trying to make a Pierre Juenet film like Amelie, but then with gratuitous nudity that brings it down, when it could have easily been a fairy tale for all. And honestly I was annoyed by the constant wetdowns even inside, which are made obvious by carts and vehicles thst leave trails from their tires! Must have been a slippery set, and while pretty, for me was very distracting. Still I did I enjoy the film, I just thought it could have so easily been for all ages, instead of adults only.

In the 1960’s a mute woman named Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) with scars across her throat from when she was an orphaned baby works at a secret government facility with her best friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer). Elisa lives with her other friend Giles (Richard Jenkins), a closeted gay artist with an Apartment over a movie theater, who is her only social contact other than masterbating naked in the bathtub. The facility receives a new asset, a humanoid captured in South America by Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) a sadistic man who hates the asset. Elisa and Zelda clean the room of the asset, and Elisa starts sneaking it food and playing music for it and teaching it sign language.

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Article on writing of the Last Jedi

Stacey Lehane at medium has an article thta mirrors much of how I feel about what is wrong with the last Jedi, though leaving out the whole Luke not being Luke like at all thing or Leai being super Leai. Check out the article it is worth a read.

A Florida Project co-written and directed by Sean Baker, 2017

After the great reviews and high rotten tomatoes rating I was expecting much more from this film. It is a slice of life about small kids growing up in Orlando, Florida with mothers who shouldn’t be mothers. It is really sad that people live like this, but nothing about this movie was compelling enough for me to care. You know what is coming, and you know it should happen, but the question to me is why was this film made, and what was the point. Not only that but much of the film was hard to hear or understand, and had not much coherently going on.

Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) is a young girl and troublemaker living at a hotel outside of Orlando, Florida. She spends the days getting in trouble with her friends Scooty (Christopher Rivera) and Dicky (Aiden Malik). They cause trouble at their hotel and other’s and also befriend young Jancey (Valeria Cotto). They spend most of their time getting in trouble with the hotel manager Bobby Hicks (Willem Dafoe). Moonee’s mother is the flaky Halley (Bria Vinaite), perpetually behind rent and hustling to sell stolen perfume, or get free food from Scooty’s mom, and her best friend Ashley (Mela Murder) who works as a waitress.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson, 2017

Going into a movie thinking you will hate it does help when a film is not all bad. And the Last Jedi is not all bad. In fact it is vastly better than the Force Awakens (which scares me that JJ is back for the next and final film in the trilogy). Still it has huge issues, some that carry over from the first film, and many that this film creates all on it’s own. The biggest issue for me is Luke Skywalker, and the next is General Lei Organa. Neither are in character or very good, but I will talk about that more later. Other issue include the whole overarching story, that wastes much of the original trilogy, since they beat the Empire, and now New Order borns from it’s ashes has destroyed the New Republic, and the Rebellion is back, but why was there still a rebellion if the new Republic existed, and did destroying the home planet of the New Republic really leave only the small Rebellion in opposition to the New Order? Really? The New Republic had no fleets at all? It makes no sense! Honestly the Expanded Universe books make so much more sense! Still problems aside I did enjoy Fynn (John Boyega) and newcomers Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and DJ (Benicio del Toro) as well as Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) and I even enjoyed her interactions with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) even if I hated his emo headsmash moment. Decent, though not as good as Rogue One. And not having put Han, Luke and Lei together in the first film was a crime!

The film starts with a bang, with the First Order attacking the Resistance base as the rebels led by General Leia Organa (the now deceased Carrie Fisher). Poe Dameron disobeys orders to continue attack against a New Order heavy dreadnaught, destroying it, but also wiping out the Rebels bombers, and is demoted by Leia.

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Blade Runner 2049 by Denis Villeneuve, 2017

I am a huge fan of the original film, having seen every version of the film and owned many versions (included HD DVD) but I came out of this film just asking why. It is beautiful and the effects are amazing, but it is so slow, and to me overall pretty pointless. Especially when they use the music cue from the end of the first film at the end of this film, and it doesn’t bring even close the emotion of the original. And the film leaves so many questions unanswered in it’s interminably long run time. The big one’s being about Jared Let’s Niander Wallace who seems about as well thought out as his Joker in suicide squad. Overall I just don’t get the point of this film. Sure it is a visual stunner, but I also have never been much of a fan of Ryan Gosling, so watching him brood for long swaths doesn’t do much for me. And to have the big macguffin so easy to figure out just leaves this film feeling so hollow.

In 2049, 30 years after the first film after a slew of new long lasting replicants, there was a big catastrophe on Earth, but the world was saved by Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) who genetically engineered crops as well as creating new more loyal versions of Replicants (at least loyal to him). KD6-3.7 also known as K is a replicant who works at the LAPD as a blade runner, hunting down rogue replicants on earth, much like Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in the first film. K is sent in to retire a Nexus 7 named Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista who is criminally underused here) and a forensic search of his home finds the remains of a female replicant who died during a c section, which should be impossible and would cause great unrest if known. K’s boss Lt Joshi (Robin Wright) order’s K to destroy the evidence, but he doesn’t.

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The Big Sick by Michael Showalter 2017

I am a fan of Kumail Najiani from Silicon Valley and so was looking forward to seeing this one, and I love that it is really his story. And kind of amazing to have a romantic comedy where one of the characters is in a coma for most of the film. It is really heartfelt and a good film all around. Well worth seeing.

Kumail plays himself a standup comedian in Chicago who makes money by driving for Uber. His Pakistanti Muslim family doesn’t get him or why he wants to be a comedian and they are constantly trying to set him up with Pakistanti women, hoping he will do like they did and have an arranged marriage. At a comedy show he is helpfully heckled by Emily Gardner (Zoe Kazan). They have a one night stand and she calls for an Uber and he is the driver. They keep seeing each other for more one nights until they end up in a relationship. Kimail won’t tell his family about her though, because they would dissaprove, and when Emily finds his box of headshots of all the Pakistani women they have a huge fight and break up. Shortly thereafter a friend of Emily’s calls and says she is in the hospital and no one is with her, so he goes there so someone is with her. She has a very serious infection and must be put in a coma, and he pretends to be her husband to sign the forms. He is there when he parents Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano) arrive.

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Tin Star, created by Rowan Joffe, 2017 Amazon Video

I am a big fan of Tim Roth so I decided to give this show a try and this intense crime drama drew me in quickly, and I watched it in 2 days. Wow. This is dark and enjoyable. It really sucked me and kept me there for the whole ride! Well worth checking out and I am looking forward to season 2, though I have no idea quite how it will work. I love how they show the big action of an episode at the start and lead up to how it happened, and it is always brutal.

Jim Worth (Tim Roth) is a British cop working as the police chief in a small town in the Canadian Rockies called Little Big Bear. He moved with his family, wife Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) teanage daughter Anna (Abigail Lawrie) and young son Peter (Rupert Turnbull). He works with Constable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) a native american who trusts him and her hidden boyfriend constable Nick McGillen (Ryan Kennedy) who hates worth with his whole being. In the area is a large and evil Oil Corporation North Stream Oil who are doing all they can to stop any dissent on their drilling operations. Their head of security is the scary Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl) who is literally spying on the Sheriff and they have their new public relations officer Elizabeth Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks). 4 lowlifes from London show up, Simon also known as Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) Franke Keane (Ian Puleston-Davies), Johnny (Stephen Walters) and Reginald Godswill (Tobi Bamtefa) and go to work at North Stream. Worth tells the town that he is against the Oil Company and will do all he can to stop them and they get threatened and a snake is left that almost gets Peter, so they run to the big city but stop at a gas station and are attacked and Peter is killed and a piece of his skulls goes into Angela’s head.

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Star Trek: Discovery, created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, 2017

So I have been a Trekkie (never liked the term Trekker) since I was a little kid. Been to a bunch of conventions when I was younger. I just love Star Trek. Always have and always will.

Still I don’t love everything Trek. Star Trek Voyager was just mediocre to me. And Enterprise while I watched it just wasn’t very good. It was a mistake to do a prequel instead of moving forward where with the story where you could not worry about stepping on canon. And the new JJ Abrams Star Trek films were just not my cup of tea. Sure the first one was interesting, and well cast, but it did not feel like Star Trek. Too advanced technology, and just about action without the thought behind it. And Into The Darkness was just a tragedy of awfulness.

And the lead up to Discovery did not fill me with hope. As I have said I do not want a prequel. I want something new in the future of Trek where we can keep our old canon, but build something new. And this was not that.

CBS Claims that it is the Prime Universe and yet it takes place about 5 years after the Cage the original series first pilot and 10 years before the 2nd pilot, and yet it literally looks nothing like it. It is not only way more advanced, but nothing looks like what we know. There aren’t even hints of trying to make it fit into the timeline. The uniforms are awful, completely different and use the ranking system of the Next Generation, and totally get rid of the colors we know to specify department. And they seem to have instantaneous holographic communications, so far beyond anything we have seen in Star Trek, that why send a crew when you could have an admiral command the ship from Earth. And they say they respect Canon but they use the Star Trek Delta which did not become the Starfleet symbol till much later in honor of the Enterprise’s completion of it’s 5 year mission.

And to see the rest of the show in the US you have to subscript to CBS All Access, for $5.99 a month with commercials or $10.99 a month without. And it isn’t like the whole show comes out at once, it is weekly and is taking a big break half way through and the second half will come out next year so that you can pay CBS more money for time when you aren’t watching anything on their service!

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The Defenders, created by Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, 2017

Netflix’s Marvel shows mostly get back on track with the Defenders, after the abject failure that was Iron Fist.

And the main problem here is too much Iron Fist especially at the beginning. And it isn’t all just Finn Jones’s fault, Iron Fist is so badly written, and his character does nothing but make stupid mistakes, and that lowers the quality of the show, but the return of Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones and Mike Colter’s Luke Cage makes this show a worthy sequel to their shows. And Sigourney Weaver was a great villain, and seemingly better at martial arts than Finn Jones!

The 8 episode series really cruises along, especially once the 4 defenders get together in Episode 3. Honestly the 8 episode format seems better than the normal 13 episode which caused some drag in the middle of the other series.

And this was shot before all the bad press for Iron Fist came out, so they were already planning on having Iron Fist be his annoying and incompetent. I just don’t get it.

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Atomic Blonde by David Leitch, 2017

When I heard that the uncredited co-director of the amazing John Wick was doing a female driven action movie with Charlize Theron I was all in. And I am so glad I went to see this amazing action film. Not only is it a great film with a stellar cast and great music, but the action is top notch. In fact the middle fight scene, shot to look as if it is all done in one take, should be taught in film school because it is so amazing! For any action movie lover this is an absolute must see! THIS FILM IS GREAT!

In East Germany on 1989 before the Collapse of the Berlin Wall an MI6 agent James Gascoigne (Sam Hargrace) is killed by a KGB agent named Yuri Bakhtin (Johannes Haukur Johannesson) along with a watch that has a list of every secret agent working in the area including a Soviet Spy who has been betraying the allies named Satchel. An M16 agent, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is brought in to get the list back, and we begin inter cutting with her interrogation by MI6 agent Eric Gray (Toby Jones) and CIA agent Emmet Kurzfeld (John Goodman).

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Iron Fist by Scott Buck, 2017

Wow, what the hell happened here. I mean I have been pretty impressed by what Marvel and Netflix have been doing with their Marvel series. With great writing and characters, even if they tended to get bogged down in their 13 episode runs, but this is something else entirely. And that something else is just not good at all.

And of course the character had something to do with it, a white martial artist character created in the 70’s during the black exploitation was always going to be a little controversial, but casting an Asian character who was good would have lifted this to a different level and solved so many of the shows problems. How could they think that casting a white actor with obviously no martial arts experience would be any better? It is really bad Daniel Woo has Into the Badlands because he would have been awesome here where Finn Jones just ins’t. He is awful throughout. Not only can he not fight, but he can’t act, and the character is written as a winy bitch and complete moron which makes it even worse. And what is up with his glowy hand power that never seems to work when he needs it? Did they ever read the comic? Yes he plunged his fist into the molten heart of a dragon and got the power of iron fist, but it is not just a a glowy fist, but the power to concentrate his chi  to resist pain and injury.

And sure Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing is a highlight of the show, but her characters arc is stupid and insulting throughout, which also brings the story down. And just to have a martial artist with her own dojo taking martial arts advice from Danny Rand (the Iron Fist played by Finn Jones) is so incredibly insulting.

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Mr. Right by Paco Cabezas, 2015

By no means is this a perfect film, but actually it is really fun and enjoyable. Certainly in the vein of Gross Point Blank. And once Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell get together the film really takes off, though Kendrick’s opening scenes don’t work quite as well (has she ever actually been drunk?). Still can’t believe this bombed cause it is a lot of fun, with some great action, and the scene with the knives is worth seeing the whole film.

Martha (Anna Kendrick) is waiting at home for her boyfriend, taking sexy pictures when he shows up with another girl, and then tries to get her into a 3 way. She is distraught and her girlfriend’s take her out partying, but she is a mess. Meanwhile a hit man (Sam Rockwell) shows up at a hotel room where a women has hired him to kill her husband, so he puts on his red clown and kills her. A hit squad is sent after him, though Hopper (Tim Roth) sees they are idiots so stays behind, and listens in as the hit man quickly takes out the whole team.

 

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Fences by Denzel Washington, 2016

A film adaption of August Wilson’s play bringing Denzel Washington and Viola Davis back to roles they playes in 2010 Broadway Revival. The story of a very angry man and his effect on his family. And though Denzel does manage to bring it out from the backyard where most of the story takes place, it does still feel like a play on film. Still it lets Viola Davis shine. And Denzel is good too, though I feel like he could have dialed it back a bit more for the screen vs the stage. And while interesting I disliked Denzel’s Troy so much that it is a hard watch at times. It is good, though not great, though Viola Davis deserves best actress.

 

Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) is an angry, angry man living in 1950’s Pittsburg. He is a former Negro Baseball league player, barely getting by as a trash man. He has put in a conplaint with the union as all the white guys are drivers and the black guys hall trash. He works with best friend Jim Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson who is awesome here) who he brings hone to hang in the backyard, where he is supposed to be building a fence for his wife Rose (Viola Davis). Troys son from a previous relationship Lyons (Russell Hornsby) comes over to borrow money, which pisses him off because he is not taking responsibility. And Troy won’t go see at a clun playing music. Meanwhile Troy and Roses son Cory (Jovan Adepo) is to be scouted for college football, but Troy refuses because of his experience in sports.

 

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The Eagle Huntress by Otto Bell (2016)

I can’t even believe that this documentary is not up for best picture at the oscars! This is such an amazing film. A great story, amazing vistas, such great characters! It is feel agood, and life affirming. And it is shot so well! This is an absolute must see! I loved it!

 

This is the story of Aishlopan a 13 year old Kazakh girl from Mongolia. Her father Nurgaiv is an Eagle Hunter. A position passed down only from father to son in the area for as far back as people can remember. Asholpan is brave and fearless, and her father decides to train her to be an Eagle Huntress. Other Eagle hunters disgree, but Nurgaiv’s father agrees!

 

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Loving written and directed by Jeff Nichols (2016)

How is this film not the lead contender for best picture?  Not only is it a true story, but it is such an important story in the history of civil rights in this country. And it is so well done, with such good acting. Not the best film I have ever seen, but certainly one of, if not the, best film of the year. I loved this film, and it is an absolute must see. Great from start to finish. It is unbelievable that this did not get nominated for best picture from though at least Ruth Negga got a nomination.

 

In Caroline County, Virginia in 1958, Interacial Marriage is illegal under anti-miscegenation laws. Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) is a white brick layer who is love with the black woman Mildred Jetter (Ruth Negga).  Richard buys an acre a mile from Mildred’s families house and asks her to marry him. They go with her father to Washington D.C. and get married. They return to Virginia and hang their marriage certificate over their bed. Later when Mildred is pregnant someone tips off the police, and Sheriff Brooks (Martin Csokas) breaks into her parents house and arrests them. Richard is released in bail, but they refuse to let him bail out Mildred. They get a lawyer, and he has them plead guilty, amd they are given suspended prison sentances, on condition that they not return to Virginia together for 25 years.

 

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Silence by Martin Scorsese (2016)

The film that Scorsese has been trying to make for 25 years. It is a gorgeous film, and makes me want to watch some great Samurai films. Unfortunately for me the religious nature of the story left me dry. And it is brutally sadistic and gory. And the moment at the end seems fully false and guesswork. I guess this is all about faith for Scorsese, but to me it is the opposite. I just don’t believe the conjecture, and I honestly didn’t like the film.

 

Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) in Japan watches as the Japanese torture his fellow priests as they have made Catholicism illegal in Japan. In Macau two Jesuit priests Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), who were proteges of Ferreira learn that he has become an Apostate and has renounced his faith and has even taken a Japanese wife. Neither believes it, and resolve to go to Japan to find him and prove his fairh and bring him home. They enlist a drunken Japanese fisherman Kichijiro (Yōsuke Kubozuka) as their guide, and thry head to Japan and small fishing village.

 

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The Finest Hours by Craig Gillespie (2016)

I had wanted to see this film when it came out, but had decided to wait till Netflix DVD, especially since it got only a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now having seen it, I wish I had seen it in the theater, so that I could have seen it in 3D, since it is a Disney film, and they didn’t release a 3D version on DVD. I actually really enjoyed this true story. In fact I liked it much better than almost all of the Oscar contenders that I have seen. It is a great story, has some interesting characters, great effects, plus it is a Cape Cod story which makes it even bettter for me! I highly recommend this film.

 

In 1952 in Chatham on Cape Cod, Coast Guardsman Bernard “Bernie” Webber (Chris Pine) meets the girl he has been corresponding with through letters. This is Miriam Pentinen (Holliday Grainger) and the two start seeing each other, and she asks him to marry her, at first he refuses, but then he agrees, but has to get permission from his commanding officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) before they can Mary. Bernie doesn’t want to get married, because of the big storms likely coming, and knowing that men die. On the day Bernie has promissed to ask Cliff a big storm arrives, and 2 tankers manage to get torn in half off of Cape Cod, though only one had gotten a message out. The SS Fort Mercer has ripped in half, losing it’s Captain and 7 crew members, and it’s radio was knocked out. The ship has a 17 foot crack in the engineering section, so it though the bulkheads are holding, it is sinking. The unliked Chief Engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) takes command, and tries to ground the ship on sholes, by manually stearing it, while the crew mans the pumps.

 

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Hell or High Water by David Mackenzie (2016)

Honestly this year has made me so dissapointed by not the oscar hopefuls films of the year but critics and film ratings. In fact I can no longer believe Rotten Tomatoes at all. Especially with this film getting a 98%. I mean, seriously are you kidding me? This film is not a great film, nor even a good or compelling film. In fact it is borring film that amounts to 3 conversations, one between 2 brothers, one between 2 cops, then on between on brother and one cop. And it isn’t like the dialogue is so amazing. And being a racist cop does not automatically make a character compelling! And I am not a fan of Ben Foster, and he didn’t change my mind here. I was not at all impressed by this film. Sure one scene with an ornary waitress was enjoyable. And the ending is OK, but really does not make up for the rest! I can’t believe this film has gotten so much positive press! Of course I can’t believe most of the Awards hopefuls are getting the reviews they are!

Two brothers, Toby (Chris Pine) and his ex-con brother Tanner (Ben Foster) are robbing banks. All the banks are from Texas Midlands Bank, which has non-working security cameras. They take the stolen cars they use and bury them after each robbery.

Two texas Rangers are on their trail. The close to retirement and racist Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his half Native American half Mexican partner Albero Parker (Gil Birmingham). They get their first lead when Tanner robs a different bank with cameras across the street from a Diner.

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Arrival by Denis Villeneuve (2016)

Though I love sci-fi films, I had stayed away from this film because of my dislike of Amy Adams. And I wish I hadn’t stayed away, because I loved the film (though I do think another actress could have been better). While watching the film I did have some issues with film, but honestly the film answered those issues and by the end I understood why the choices had been made. And the film is obviously an homage to 2001 a Space Odyssey as the films of Terrance Malek (mostly in the photography of the flashbacks), and since I love those films it works for me. The science fiction story of this film just blew me away, and nakes this film a must watch.

 

The film begins with linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) dealing with her daughter slowly dieing from an incurable cancer over a period of years. Her husband has left her and she deals with alone, being with her on her deathbed in a hospital. Now Louise heads to her lecture on linguistics at university, not paying attention to all the students gathered around TV’s. And there are only 4 students in her class, and her lecture is quickly disrupted by phone calls and texts. 12 Alien Spacecraft have appeared around the planet at random places, large monolith like ships hovering over the Earth. When she returns home, US Army Colonel GT weber (Forest Whitaker) waiting in her house for her. They recruit her to act as a linguist in talking to the Aliens that have landed over Montana.

 

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The Girl on the Train by Tate Taylor (2016)

I was warry of this adaption of the novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, mainly because the trailers reminded me too much of Gone Girl which I hated. Fortunately I was wrong. And after starting the film not liking the drunken and unreliable narrator played by Emily Blunt, i really got sucked in and felt sorry for her. This is a really great story and a good film, one of the best of the year in fact (though this year has certainly has not had the best filns).

 

Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) is a mess and an alcoholic, riding the train every day. She is obsessed with a couple she watches from the train, Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (luke Evans). The couple lives 2 doors from her ex husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and new Wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson)  amd their baby. Rachel is still onsessed with Tom, having ruined their marriage with drinking after they could not get pregnant. One night while on the train Rachel sees Anna cheating on her husband with another man, Kamal (Édgar Ramirez) and gets off the train to confront her, but is so drunk. She wakes up, covered in blood with almost no memory of the night, and Anna is missing.

 

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Finding Dory written and directed by Andrew Stanton (2016)

Pixar has done it again, matching the magic of Finding Nemo, by focusing it’s sequel on Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) Nemo’s funniest character the short term memory defficient clown fish. This film is funny and enjoyable with a bunch of lovable new characters. Well worth seeing and easily on of the best animated films of the year.

 

Dory lost her parents as a child due to her short term memory issues, and ended up with Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). She starts to remember her family and recruits Marlin and Nemo, but Marlin is mean to her and she runs off on her own. Dory is picked up by humans at an aquarium and rescue center, and put in quarantine, but with a tag to be sent to Cleveland Aquarium. A seven legged octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neil) wants the tag as he doesn’t want to go back to the ocean, and agrees to help her find her parents.

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Lion by Garth Davis (2016)

This true story is well done with some powerful performances, though it does drag at times. A good film, but not great. Or at least one I don’t care to watch again.

This is the true story of Saroo Brierley (as a child by Sunny Pawar) a child goes with his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) to do manual labor, but ends up wandering onto a train and falling asleep. He wakes up locked in the car as it travels all the way across India to Calcutta. He gets off, and is alone, not speaking the language Hindi, with no idea even where his home is.

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