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Out on Screen

Out on Screen

Movie reviews, Cinema and DVD

Friday, January 06, 2017

Top Ten Movies of 2016

A year in review

Top Ten lists are always subjective. No one can ever agree on what the best movies of the year are and this list will surely be no different. It’s also hard to choose just ten movies to be considered the “best” when comparing a drama to a comedy is like apples and oranges – they’re different genres that give the viewer completely different experiences (and comedies especially are hard to agree on since different people find different things funny). Add sci-fi and superhero movies to the mix, and picking ten “best” movies becomes even more difficult. Mainstream critics usually consider “prestige” or how “important” a movie is (in their opinion) when selecting it as a “best” movie of the year. Not here! This Top Ten list consists of movies that made me laugh, made me cry, or just elicited some type of emotional response regardless of its chances of winning any awards – and most of the movies on this list stand no chance of winning anything. But they are popular movies, or movies that should have been hits and got overlooked, and some are pure popcorn movies. With that in mind, these are the top movies of 2016 that I enjoyed and I hope you’ll consider if you didn’t see them.

BE FOREWARNED– it will be almost impossible to review Rogue One without divulging at least a few of the surprises, so consider this your Spoiler Alert.

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far way ...”

Those are the familiar words we’ve come to know as Star Wars fans for almost 40 years. And those words lead off the new movie Rogue One, subtitled “A Star Wars Story” (although not on screen) for a very good reason. While Rogue One has been billed as a “stand-alone” story within the Star Wars universe, it really can be considered “Episode 3.5” as it bridges the events from Episode III to the original Star Wars (a.k.a. Episode IV).

Movie musicals used to be all the rage, from the dawn of talking pictures through the 1950s. But times and society changed after the first few years of the 1960s making bubbly, frothy musicals a bit of an anachronism in a time besieged by political assassinations, war, and civil unrest. The genre didn’t die out altogether, with a few musicals still making an impression (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little Shop of Horrors … even Xanadu), but most of them still followed the well-established formula. It really wasn’t until 2001’s Moulin Rouge came along that the movie musical got a big jolt, giving the genre a modern edge even with a story that took place in the 19th century.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Dysfunctional Family Values

A considerable improvement over 2015’s total waste of time Irrational Man, it’s safe to put Woody Allen’s new movie Café Society (Lionsgate/Amazon Studios) in the recommended column. Allen, who once again shows a greater affinity for the past, in this case 1930s Hollywood and New York, than the present (i.e. Irrational Man), delivers a complete package here. There’s a love story. There’s comedy. There’s glamour and grit. The attention to detail, whether depicting a pool party in the Hollywood hills, a Hollywood agent’s office or a Manhattan nightclub, is remarkable. Allen also gets some high caliber performances from his cast, especially queer actress Kristen Stewart, as well as Jesse Eisenberg and Steve Carell.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Two Movies That Don't Quite Mesh

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

It's been a few years since we left both the literary and filmic wizarding world of Harry Potter, but author J.K. Rowling just couldn't stay away, penning new stories including the stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child now playing in London. She's also written the script for the new film Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, setting the story decades before our precious Harry is even born.

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