Lego Batman (2017)

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  • Directed by Chris McKay
  • Starring Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes
  • Written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna
  • Comedy, Animation
  • Rated PG
  • 104 mins.
  • Released 10 February 2017

Synopsis

Jumping off of the wide popularity of Batman in The Lego Movie, we rejoin our favorite Caped Crusader in Lego Batman as he struggles with the conflict created by his fear of letting anybody in clashing with his need to save the world from his greatest enemies with the help of Robin, the orphan he accidentally adopted, the new Commissioner Gordan, and Alfred.

How’s the Story?

While it isn’t as amazingly profound as The Lego Movie, I don’t want to compare the two any more than I have to, so viewing it as just itself, Lego Batman has a nice story. It’s a simple plot about Batman overcoming his fear of having a family and learning that teamwork is essential to save the day. It isn’t the strongest plot ever, but it’s enjoyable and it works well as a story from beginning to end. It has an accurately paced story that comes to a satisfying finish.

How’s the [Voice] Acting?

The original version of this category isn’t actually applicable to animated film, but rather than just taking it out of my format, I’m going to tell you about the characters and how they are voiced! I really enjoy the cast of characters in this film, and I think so much is done well in it. Mostly I really enjoy how unexpected it is to look at the cast list and see who voices each character. I would have never guessed watching this movie that Bane, for instance, was Doug Bensen. It made me laugh so hard when I read that when the credits rolled. Also nothing is funnier than Siri being the voice of ‘Puter. So hilarious. There are so many things funny about even just the casting choices that I didn’t realize until after the fact. I genuinely love that they voiced the film with such well known comedic names. It only makes the ridiculousness even more ridiculous.

How’s the Writing/Directing?

I admit there were a few awkward choices in some scenes, but overall I really enjoyed the way this film is developed. I think Chris McKay did a good job overall. The way this story is written is beyond hilarious. The way they kind of touch on the Holy Musical Batman-esque Batman-to-others connection is so fun. I really love the way that Batman and Joker’s rivalry is set to mirror the romance films that Batman loves to watch in his spare time.

But most of all the humor is just perfect. It’s meta-comedy at its finest and it never takes itself too seriously to love. I mean, to reference Batman’s favorite movie, this film had me at “MacGuffin Airlines”.

How’s the Cinematography Animation?

Again, a category I have to adjust some, but we’ll make it work!

I liked the animation style. I’ve always liked the Lego animation style, and I think it was done really well in this one. I think my favorite thing is how the facial expressions aren’t ‘too’ perfect and it still looks like LEGO, you know? As a kid I played with Lego and built stories and worlds all the time, so seeing the type of things you imagined as a kid animated into reality is so fun.

Is It Worth Watching?

C’mon, how could it not be? Lego Batman uses so many fun and ridiculous in-jokes and pokes so much fun at Batman as a character that you can’t not love it! For me especially, I would say this is the best Batman movie since the 90s (that I’ve seen) because Batman is SUPPOSED to be ridiculous and over the top and I’ve never liked the Nolan Batman films because they make him all dark and serious, and this movie makes so much fun of that. It’s so refreshing and fun and everything I’ve been thinking about Batman for so many years now.

Batman is basically an emo teenager who insists “IT’S NOT A PHASE, ALFRED, IT’S WHO I AM!” and it takes that and gives some pathos to the character by having him learn to appreciate what he has and learn to work with others and let people in. It’s hilarious and heartwarming all the same, and isn’t that what animated films like this are supposed to be?

My Rating: 8/10

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Lion (2017)

So it turns out that this is my 100th post on Chelsea Loves Movies!!! Thank you guys for giving me enough reason to keep going for 100 posts! Here’s to 100 more!

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  • Directed by Garth Davis
  • Starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Nicole Kidman
  • Written by Luke Davies
  • Drama
  • Rated PG-13
  • 118 mins.
  • Released 6 January 2017

Synopsis

Lion tells the story of a young boy named Saroo who wandered onto an out of commission train on an abandoned platform and ended up being taken nearly two thousand kilometers across India. He was lost for months until he was sent to an orphanage and eventually adopted by a couple in Australia. As an adult, Saroo remembers what happened to him as a child and remembers that he has a family out there somewhere and becomes obsessed with finding them.

How’s the Story?

The fact that this is a true story makes it all the more incredible, and incredible it is. This movie is yet another compelling story for 2017 for me. Pretty much from the beginning of this movie, I was absolutely invested in Saroo’s story. There was never a moment where I wasn’t entirely engrossed in the story. I am an emotional person, and this movie had me somewhere between ‘lump in the throat’ and ‘audibly sobbing dear god stop looking at me this is embarrassing, lady one row down’ the entire time. That’s how connected and well told this story was.

The only slight problem would be Rooney Mara’s character. It isn’t that I didn’t like her, I really did, and at the time I was entirely into her part in Saroo’s story, but after the movie ended, looking back, I keep asking myself was she really that necessary to include. I understand she was part of the real life story, but other than being the one Saroo is with when he remembers and having dinner with his family with her show a bit of his issues coming to a head when he upset his brother Mantosh, I just felt she was a little bit unnecessary. But remember, it’s a very slight thing. It really did nothing to damage the story as a whole at all.

How’s the Acting?

The acting in this movie was AMAZING! I cannot stress enough how incredible the little boy, Sunny Pawar, was. Oh my goodness, I haven’t seen a child act so well in a very long time. Dev Patel is nominated for an Oscar, as is Nicole Kidman, and I wouldn’t be at all upset if they both won. Before seeing this movie, I was entirely convinced nobody could touch Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water for Best Supporting Actor, but Dev Patel winning wouldn’t bother me at all. This movie is so well acted. Which probably has to do with the next section of this review.

How’s the Writing/Directing?

They say an actor is only as good as the director, which in my experience is absolutely true. A good enough director can turn anyone into an amazing actor, and I think that this movie was incredibly directed. I talk about the acting as a nod to the directing in this film because most of the time you don’t see random small part characters that are so perfectly performed, and yet in this movie, everybody down to the smallest character is absolutely wonderful. For example, you only see young Mantosh for a few moments, and yet that kid delivered a perfect performance in the tiny scene where Sue, Tom, and Saroo meet him with his obvious discomfort and fear.

This film is an adapted screenplay, but it is absolutely incredibly written. The dialogue in this film never once feels like dialogue. It feels so real and so genuine. There are choices in storytelling in this film that are absolutely perfectly subtle, which is a very hard thing to do.

How’s the Cinematography?

This movie is so beautifully shot. Unlike a certain other film also nominated for an Oscar for cinematography, I think this film totally deserves the recognition for it’s beautiful shots. The opening alone, with the boys running through the clay hills, is so beautifully captivating. I would liken the cinematography of this film to something like Arrival or Hell or High Water in how beautiful it is. I think this film is just visually stunning and the colors are so rich and lovely.

Is It Worth Watching?

If you can’t tell from all the praises I have sung this film, it’s absolutely worth watching. The only things I felt that could make it better was showing us more about Mantosh, but just like the mention of Saroo’s girlfriend seeming a little extra but it not taking away from the story, it doesn’t take away from the story to not go into his and Saroo’s relationship more. You’re given enough of Mantosh and you see enough about Saroo’s relationship with him to understand it even if it’s not as there as it could have been.

This is a wonderful film, a beautiful story, and I genuinely haven’t ever been so emotional over a movie like this but maybe twice before. It’s happy and sad and almost ridiculously well done. This movie will wreck you emotionally and keep you sucked in the entire time. There isn’t a moment in this movie that I wasn’t entirely immersed into Saroo’s story and I don’t see how anybody who has a mom, a sibling, or just a heart could come out of this movie and not recognize its value to the world of cinema.

My Rating: 9/10

 

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La La Land (2016)

(Fair warning! I will neither demonize nor excessively praise this film. Don’t expect either in this post!)

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  • Directed by Damien Chazelle
  • Starring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
  • Written by Damien Chazelle
  • Musical
  • Rated PG-13
  • 128 mins.
  • Released 25 December 2016

Synopsis

An actress who can’t catch a break, Mia, meets a down-on-his-luck jazz musician, Sebastian, through a series of cosmic coincidences and together, they work towards achieving their dreams in this nostalgic nod to Old Hollywood musicals.

How’s the Story?

The story of La La Land is a pretty standard story. Boy Meets Girl, mutual ‘dislike-yet-attraction’ becomes a ‘falling in love’ situation. It’s only in the second half of the film that the story takes a turn from a lighthearted romantic comedy to a drama about two people’s personal struggles that cross into struggles in their relationship.

I think the reason that some people don’t really enjoy this story is just because of that. It feels like two separate stories shoved into one movie, really. I got it but I didn’t love it. I understood the two parts and the importance to the plot, I just think it could’ve been done better. Have you ever seen the movie Chung King Express? It felt like that, only with the same characters’ story, whereas Chung King is literally two different stories in one movie. Because Chung King did two different stories, I LOVED that movie, but I didn’t love it in this movie since it was the same characters and thus it wasn’t supposed to feel like Chung King.

How’s the Acting?

The acting is okay. There’s nothing terribly offensive about anybody’s performance, but there’s also nothing amazing about any of the performances. It’s an film with average performances. This does make for the second movie I’ve seen with Ryan Gosling where I liked him, though. The only movie I’ve ever liked Ryan Gosling in before this was The Nice Guys and though I don’t love him in this nearly as much as in that one, I enjoyed his performance well enough.

How’s the Writing/Directing?

I would have never in a million years thought this film was directed by the same person who directed Whiplash.

I don’t understand several of the direction choices in this film. There are just moments that don’t make sense to me. For one, I don’t understand the opening dance number. It’s entirely unrelated to anything in this movie. It was totally pointless. Funny, enjoyable, but pointless. I don’t understand Mia in her car flipping off someone when she was the one who was just sitting there and then, and this is more of a writing thing, she looks up and goes ‘oh, I should go now’. That line was so out of place.

A LOT in this movie was very amateurish, really. It wasn’t bad! I think it was perfectly decent as far as writing and directing goes. It just felt like something an amateur/indie filmmaker would write and direct. The scene where Sebastian gets home and his sister is waiting was absolutely an unnecessary ‘info dump’ scene. His sister is never in the movie again, she has zero relevance to the plot, and that was the type of dialogue that only exists to tell you something the writer and director can’t find another way to get across. It was the film version of ‘telling us’ instead of ‘showing us’. He literally just shouted his whole backstory at his sister, who only existed to allow him to say, “I’m a jazz musician who is down on his luck and looking for the next step in life.”

Like I said about the story, around the middle of the film the writing and direction change so much! It gets so much better! The first third of this movie should have just been removed, honestly. We didn’t need that. It would’ve been a better film if they had cut that whole first third of the film off and just started it at the part where the two of them go to see Rebel Without A Cause, really.

How’s the Cinematography?

This one a lot of people I have seen would not agree with, but I think the cinematography of this film was also amateurish. Not poorly done amateurish, but it had a lot of shots and choices in angles and camera placements that felt like a film student trying too hard. They were beautiful shots! But something like the scene where Mia gets home and the camera is waiting on her, focused on some jewelry on a table and then the rack focus slides to her when she opens the door. It’s a really pretty shot, but it’s totally unnecessary. There’s nothing we need to see on that table. There’s no reason other than ‘this is a pretty shot’ for that shot to exist. Cinematography should enhance the story, not distract from it.

Another distracting choice would be the hand-held closeup during their argument while they’re having dinner in the apartment. I’m a fan of hand-held so much, but in such a close up of her face, while the point is to unsettle the mood, it becomes noticeable that the camera is hand-held and wobbly. That isn’t something that should be noticeable. Also it focuses WAY to much on her face for a scene where she is over-acting. You can TELL that she’s acting in that moment, it isn’t a subtle, natural performance, and it was easily one of her worst scenes in the film that was exacerbated by a shaking camera shoved right up to her nose. It reminds me of something I have done in college.

I was a first-time student filmmaker making a student film. This movie should not look like a student making a student film, and yet it does in some parts so it’s really distracting.

Is It Worth Watching?

I would say it’s worth seeing. I’m glad I saw the movie, but I won’t recommend it based solely on the fact that, in my viewing, me and my friend seemed to be the happiest people about this movie and I must stress that I didn’t really like it. I didn’t HATE it. It was a perfectly average film. It’s by no means garbage.

And yet, one couple walked out of this movie, something I’ve never seen happen before, and another group spent the walk out of the cinema loudly proclaiming how badly they hated it and all the flaws and stuff. I can agree with every flaw they claimed: It’s far too long, it’s super slow, it as a musical is so inconsistent it’s ridiculous, and it’s very pretentious and self-aggrandizing.

But I loved the ending. I didn’t like this movie as a whole, but there were parts of it that I really enjoyed, and the end of this movie was so beautiful. If they got rid of ALL of this movie and turned it into a short film starting at him driving to Boulder City to pick her up to take her to her audition and going until credits, I would LOVE that short film.

The real reason this movie makes me CRAZY bitter is because it was nominated for FOURTEEN Oscars and it doesn’t deserve a single nomination. Not one. It was not a BAD movie, but it was UTTERLY average. If it wins Best Picture I will have lost all faith in the Academy. If Emma Stone wins Best Actress when Amy Adams wasn’t even nominated, I will have lost all faith in the Academy. If it wins Cinematography, I will have lost all faith in the Academy. If it wins Best Original Screen play, I will have lost all faith in the Academy.

Some of the other awards I won’t care as much, because the offense isn’t so great, but I’m sure it will win at least one of those four awards I just listed and it will make me absolutely LIVID.

So while I don’t hate this movie at all, I am growing more and more bitter thinking about such an average film winning Oscars over some incredible films. I’ve seen better Straight To Netflix films than this one, AGAIN, not to say this movie doesn’t have any good stuff about it. I liked it better than I feared I might, and I appreciated the nostalgia of what they were trying to do. I don’t think this movie fails at doing what it intended to do, I just think it was poorly executed compared to what it could have been.

My Rating: 6/10

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xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (2017)

(Make sure you read this one all the way to the end or you’ll miss my point!)

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  • Directed by D. J. Caruso
  • Starring Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Toni Collette
  • Written by Rich Wilkes
  • Action
  • Rated PG-13
  • 107 mins.
  • Released 20 January 2017

Synopsis

In the third installment of the xXx trilogy, as the title says, this one is about the return of legendary Xander Cage, the man who was the beginning of the xXx spy program for the government. There is a terrorist out there who stole a device called ‘Pandoras Box’ which gives whoever holds it the ability to drop satellites out of the sky onto any target they choose. The NSA seek out Xander Cage after the death of his former handler Augustus Gibbons in hopes he can find the box and save the day.

How’s the Story?

The plot is paper-thin and absolutely contrived. There is so much about this movie that is absolutely ridiculous and against the rules of physics. There is very little actual information given and there is basically no point to most of the story line.

How’s the Acting?

The acting isn’t bad because it’s minimal. Every actor is playing “Dare Devil Action Hero #1-7” so there isn’t really a bad way to act these parts. They are what they are and most anybody could deliver a convincing performance of every character here.

How’s the Writing/Directing?

The dialogue is absolutely ridiculous and cheesy at best and the directing is mostly stunt coordination. There’s definitely no threat of this film winning a Best Director award anytime soon.

How’s the Cinematography?

Some of the CGI is iffy and most of the sets are very basic. There’s basically only a few actual locations, but it isn’t terrible. Standard cinematography overall.

Is It Worth Watching?

ABSOLUTELY! In spite of ALL of those negative things listed above, this movie is one you should not miss for ANY REASON.

Why do I think that? Because it’s FUN. I had a smile on my face for 2/3rds of this film. It’s ridiculous fun. If you are expecting a serious film, HA, you picked the wrong movie, but as a huge fan of xXx and of stupid fun action films throughout history, I loved this movie so much! The action is over the top and literally impossible but it’s so fun. Nothing is better than skiing through the jungle except maybe dirt-biking over the fucking ocean! This movie was just such a good time. Xander Cage is Xander Cage and that’s why we love him. Donnie Yen was doing what Donnie Yen does best, kick-ass action scenes.

Also, if we’re going to talk about eye-candy, every person in this movie was pretty damn attractive. You have crazy buff dudes and crazy sexy ladies and there are no words for how big my crush on Ruby Rose is. I mean, she could’ve just been on the camera looking through that gun scope for house and I’d be enthralled. And on the topic of sexy ladies, I loved how the women in this film were treated. No sexist bullshit, there’s a sexy butch lady, a sexy femme lady, a sexy nerdy lady, and a sexy bitch lady, and all of them did shit cause they were good at it, not because some guy let them. It may not be Mad Max: Fury Road levels of feminism, but it’s a damn good film for a feminist to watch and not be horribly offended by.

And all the cameos from sports people! I saw some Extreme Sports people like Nyjah Huston, and then there was NEYMAR! I had no idea Neymar was in this movie until he appeared on screen. Talk about a squee moment!

If you have heard shit about this movie, I guarantee you it was people who expected a serious movie and wasn’t going into it expecting xXx. Like I told someone on twitter, the negative reviews were, “This movie is ridiculous, it’s TERRIBLE!’ and the positive reviews were, “This movie is ridiculous, it’s GREAT!” which really says it all.

My Rating: 7/10

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Hidden Figures (2017)

You guys may notice things look a little different both in theme and the format of this review! I’m trying to change things up and update it for 2017! New Year, New Chelsea Loves Movies, yeah?

Be sure to give me feedback about the new look!

Hidden Figures (2017)

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  • Directed By Theodore Melfi
  • Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Kostner
  • Written By Allison Schroeder
  • Drama
  • Rated PG
  • 127 mins.
  • Released 6 January 2017

Synopsis

Hidden Figures tells the untold true story of NASA’s black female computers – advanced mathematicians – who were a vital part of America’s first space flight that put a man into orbit.

How’s The Story?

I absolutely love this story. For someone who is very interested in erased forgotten women in history, for someone who loves space and space travel, and for someone who is very invested in diversity in fiction, this is almost the perfect story. It tells a common story in women being left out of history, it tells a common story of people of color being left out of history, and though it isn’t as important, it is set into the the historical context of John Glenn’s space flight, and these are all things that I think all people need to see when it comes to film.

How’s the Acting?

It’s pretty standard for the most part, but that isn’t to say it’s bad at all. This is one of those movies where it doesn’t have to be incredibly well acted because the STORY is the real gift in this one. I’d say by far the best one is Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson. She’s definitely the standout of this movie. Kevin Kostner as Al Harrison is pretty good, too. The other main characters were all pretty much just standard. They weren’t bad actors but they weren’t incredibly in depth either. They all delivered a good enough performance for their characters. Octavia Spencer was basically just Octavia Spencer, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Janelle Monae was alright, but again, nothing very special. I’d say Kirsten Dunst was a little better than those two, but again, it was just a solid performance. Jim Parsons as Paul Stafford was a little iffy but it wasn’t bad.

But remember, this isn’t a bad thing. In this movie, the story really carries the actors more than the actors carry the story, which isn’t really easy to do, honestly.

How’s The Directing?

I’m not familiar with Theodore Melfi at all, which probably means he did a good job with this movie. I do think that there are some scenes that are a little contrived and it’s definitely a matter of direction, but again, like with the acting, this movie is one where the story drives the film more than the direction and acting. It would’ve been difficult to poorly direct this story, I would say. That said, it would be very possible, so he did a good enough job for my tastes.

How’s the Cinematography?

There aren’t a lot of cinematographic things about this film that stand out. It’s not a very ‘artsy’ film, so it’s a pretty standard level of artistry in the cinematography. There aren’t any shots that really stand out, but that also means there aren’t any shots that are bad. There’s definitely nothing missing in the cinematography of this film, but there’s nothing extra there either.

Is It Worth Watching?

YES! I loved this movie so much, and not only that, but it’s one of only two films ever that I attended a showing at the cinema and the audience clapped at the end of it. The other was The Force Awakens, in a packed house of Star Wars fans, and not a single other film. Where I live, that isn’t a thing. I’ve seen people talk about that (mostly in Europe) before, but that was only the second time I had witnessed the audience applauding.

This movie conveyed the frustration and the pain that comes with sexism and most importantly racism in such a perfect way. It wasn’t over the top, it didn’t drive home the normal ‘violent’ racism that most films do (violent not as in physical violence but in hate-speech and blatant rage and such) as much as it did the subtle racism that still exists today that people don’t think is actually racism. There’s a perfect moment where Kirsten Dunst’s character says to Octavia Spencer’s character, “I really don’t have any problem with y’all” and Octavia Spencer’s character says to her, “I know you think that’s true” and in that moment I saw my entire childhood in one exchange.

Growing up in the rural south in the 90s and early 2000s, the ‘I hate *insert slur here*’ wasn’t really a thing anymore. It’s the, “I’m not racist, but-” type of thing, and I love that this film really highlights that. Very few characters are violently racist in this film, they’re all conveying a belittlement and ‘otherness’ in their tone and their phrasing of certain things, and I feel like that’s something you almost never see in film. Movies often go big in their depictions of racism, which isn’t a bad thing, but you almost never get to see something as subtle and nuanced as those smaller parts of racism that are dismissed as “I’m not a racist, but-” things.

I saw this movie on my birthday, January 9th, and it was one of the things that made this year’s birthday the best birthday I’ve had in years. It’s the first movie I’ve gone to see of 2017, and if this movie tells anything about the upcoming film year, I’m very excited. I cannot recommend this movie enough and I’ll be very disappointed if you guys don’t go see it while it’s in cinemas.

My Rating: 8/10

 

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Sorry it’s been a long time since I gave an actual review. DON’T MIND ME! 2017 I will try to be different!

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
 Dir. Taika Waititi
 Writ. Taika Waititi
 Stars: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison
 Rated PG-13
 101 mins.
 Comedy, Adventure
 IMDB 7.9

I have to start with saying, Happy 2017! Hopefully this year will be better for film than 2016, but 2016 ended WELL for me, because this was one of the last films I squeaked in on the 31st and WOW it was great! If you saw my Top 10 Films of 2016, you noticed this was at #4, and I honestly just loved this movie. So, let’s just dive in!

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is an utterly charming and adorable film about a troubled boy named Ricky who has been shuffled around from foster home to foster home for all his life, and though his caseworker seems to think he’s a lost cause, when he arrives at his newest foster home, in a farm up in the mountains, it takes almost no time for him to settle into a happy existence with his new foster parents, who he calls ‘Auntie’ and ‘Uncle’, Bella and Hec. After a tragic occurrence, social services are coming to take Ricky away to a new home, so he decides that, with his new dog Tupac, he’s going to run away into the bush. When Hec goes after him and then gets injured so they have to camp out for a while, social services determine that Ricky has been kidnapped by Hec and thus starts a five-month adventure for Ricky and Hec, running from the law and gaining tons of fans along the way.

This movie is honestly one of those ‘wholesome adventure’ films I’d put right up there with something like The Goonies, because it’s an actual journey that is the catalyst for a personal, and internal journey for the characters involved. Not only do you have the charming, hilarious, and adorable Ricky (Julian Dennison) undergoing a personal journey to find out who he really is after a lifetime of having nobody to guide him on his way, but you also have Hec (Sam Neill) undergoing a personal journey to learn to be more human through his relationship with Ricky. It’s such a wonderfully woven film about finding family and developing relationships through a physical adventure together.

The themes in this film are so real and serious and yet it doesn’t come off as the usual arse-numbingly dull ‘coming of age’ story (and it’s not really), because all throughout the movie there’s so much over the top comedy that seems unrealistic but is interwoven in a way that’s not only palatable, but absolutely perfect to balance the film. Most notably among the almost ridiculous comedy characters are the social worker, Paula (Rachel house), and Psycho Sam (Rhys Darby). Both characters are mental but so fun and funny that you don’t care it’s insane. The entire adventure is just so charming and lovable, much like Ricky, and I challenge anyone to watch this movie and not smile your head off during most of it.

The most comparable film to this that I saw all last year was Sing Street and even it didn’t hold a candle to the charm of this film. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is one I’ll be wanting to come back to whenever I feel down in the future, I’m absolutely certain.

My Rating: 9/10

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Top 10 Movies of 2016

This list is coming to you a day late because of technical difficulties and then my own laziness (I slept in today… a lot in… not on purpose either. Woops!)

So! I’ve gotta say, from my perspective, 2016 wasn’t that great of a year in film. Yes, there’s a LOT of movies I didn’t get to see, but most importantly, there weren’t a lot of movies I WANTED to see. There are movies I saw and enjoyed that I hadn’t ever heard of, or hadn’t thought would be good, but for the past I’d say 5 years I’ve had tons of movies I was DYING to see, whether or not they were any good or not. This year, the anticipation levels were just so low comparable to the past few years.

That said, I still saw 30 movies this year, which is a lot for me since I live in a rural area and even some wide release films we don’t get (which is fucking ridiculous, it isn’t some back-woods 2-screen cinema in a metal building, it’s a proper 8-screen cinema, the wankers) and I have to wait until stuff is on VOD to watch it if it isn’t here.

Either way, I managed to find my top 10, and here we go!

#10. Star Trek Beyond

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I honestly really loved this movie. Unlike many, I did like the previous Star Trek year, but in a year full of bad things, nothing really hits the spot like a fun, fast-paced, high-stakes adventure film set in space! I absolutely love these characters and this one did them right. Also, how can you NOT love saving the day with the power of The Beastie Boys??? This was just a really good movie and I’m always sad that it’s a movie with a double ‘in memory of’ at the end of it.

My Rating: 8/10

#9. Keanu

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I highly doubt this will end up on anybody else’s top 10 list, because people suck. This movie was a comedic masterpiece. I cannot stress enough that I’m not just being hyperbolic because it has a kitten in it and I love kittens, but I will admit I’m a big fan of Key and Peele, so perhaps that has something to do with it? Either way, this movie was so intelligently written for such a silly premise. That said, you can’t discount the kitten thing, because someone made a movie with trained kittens instead of CGI! Do you know how hard it is to get a cat to do anything? Training a bunch of kittens to do stunts is amazing.

My Rating: 8/10

#8. Sing Street

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This one is a film I didn’t hear about anywhere but on twitter from my other film people, and I’m so glad I did! This movie was one of the most ridiculously optimistic, heartwarming, and charming movies I’ve ever seen. That really is the only word I can use to describe it: charming. It’s sweet and though there is enough seriousness to keep the story going, it’s just a fun movie about humanity and friendship. I also love that it has teenagers that actually look like teenagers. That’s sooo rarely done. It’s so well done and so enjoyable. Just watch it. You won’t regret it!

My Rating: 8/10

#7. Rogue One

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This film had some haters, no doubt, especially amongst the film people, but I, for one, loved this movie. I absolutely disagree with all the criticism because I fell in love with these characters, I cared about them, and I was devastated at the end of this movie. I never expected that ending, but God it was a good one. The acting alone in this film was breathtaking. I cannot recommend this movie enough to Star Wars fans and to those who aren’t Star Wars fans.

My Rating: 8/10

#6. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

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This was another film that was pretty polarizing, but honestly, it was probably the best movie out of the entire Harry Potter universe in my opinion. I didn’t expect much, but I fell so in love with these characters! They were so real, and dynamic, and so beautiful. Jacob and Queenie’s little romance was THE SWEETEST thing I’ve seen all year. I cannot tell you how much I adore Jacob. Also the Bowtruckle! Soooooo cute! Also, the whole foray into the American Wizarding World is really incredibly interesting. Also, I really love Eddie Redmayne in most everything I’ve seen him in, so he delivered just as much as I wanted in Newt Scamander here.

My Rating: 8/10

#5. Deepwater Horizon

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This was a surprise film for me this year. I thought, when I first heard about this film, that it was the dumbest premise ever and the movie would have to suck. And then it got stellar reviews so I decided to go see it a few weeks after it came out. It ended up being one of the best told stories of the year. The balance of everything was so adeptly done that it made for a great movie.

My Rating: 8/10

#4. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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This was one of several movies I binge-watched to get in before 2016 ended, and let me tell you, it was the BEST of those biged films. Like Sing Street, this movie is just soooo charming. This little boy was the most adorable character I’ve seen all year. I loved him and I loved this story. It was so heartwarming and unique and I will remember this movie for quite a while.

My Rating: 9/10

#3. Finding Dory

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Of all the animated films I saw this year, and I saw more than any year before, this was by far the best. I know most people are giving that to Moana but to me, this was a far better film. The story is so moving, and the journey is so fun and exciting, and we have our favorite nostalgia characters as well as some new, fun characters. I just loved this movie so much.

My Rating: 8/10

#2. Hell or High Water

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This movie was just so extremely well done. I haven’t seen many movies that have that “something” that just makes them perfectly made. The tone, the characters, the direction, the acting, it all comes together expertly to deliver one of the best crime films ever. Basically, if you take the movie The Town and make it western and make the direction better you get Hell or High Water.

My Rating: 9/10

#1. Arrival

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It had been a very long time since I saw a movie that made me overwhelmed with unidentifiable emotions before I watched this movie, and it may be the best movie I’ve seen since Her all the way back in 2013. The story is incredible and so intriguing and the intricacies of the plot are amazing. The only place it falls short is some of the characters being underutilized, but even then it wasn’t a problem because of how amazing the story is. Absolutely one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I cried for days.

My Rating: 8/10

Hopefully you guys saw some of these movies and if not, check them out! I also have reviews of most of these movies, so look for those if you’re interested.

Happy New Year!

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