Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Written by: Barry Jenkins, based on the story by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Starring: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monaé, Naomie Harris, André Holland
Summary: Told in three parts, Moonlight follows Chiron as he endures the growing pains of growing up gay in the Miami inner city.
Moonlight is a film full of painful and sometimes uncomfortable honesty, but it is beautifully told. When I walked out of the theater after seeing Moonlight the first time I realized, I’ve never seen this story told on screen before. (more…)
Directed by: Tom Ford
Written by: Tom Ford, based on the book by Austin Wright
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Summary: A successful art dealer in Los Angeles reads her ex-husband’s manuscript which he has dedicated to her. As she reads the disturbing story she reflects on their previous relationship, its downfall and how it is represented in his latest work.
Nocturnal Animals was my favorite movie of 2016. I was super disappointed to see that it didn’t get the Oscar attention it deserved because, this movie is very well done. Most of the film is Amy Adams (Susan) reading a book. Sounds dull, right? It’s riveting. (more…)
Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan
Written by: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Summary: After the death of his brother, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is given parental rights over his 16 year old nephew and returns to his hometown where he is confronted with a troubling past.
“Don’t you think we got screwed by that movie!?” That was what the woman a few seats over from me said when the final credits of Manchester by the Sea began to roll.
This is not going to be a movie for everyone. It’s dark and existentially sad in a way that will stick with you. (more…)
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Eric Heisserer, based on the story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Summary: Linguist professor Louise Banks is brought in by the U.S. military to help communicate with aliens that have made their first contact with Earth. International tensions rise and Louise is under pressure find answers about the aliens and about herself.
I don’t know what I was expecting from Arrival but it wasn’t this. From the outside it looks like a potentially interesting movie about aliens, but it turns out to be far more complex than that. (more…)
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Written by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
Summary: Mia and Sebastian’s lives intersect as they both pursue their dreams living in Los Angeles. They fall in love amidst their successes and failures as Sebastian strives to open a jazz club and Mia works to be an actress.
On paper La La Land was made for me. It’s directed by Damien Chazelle who made Whiplash, one of my favorite movies of the last few years. I was confident that he would assemble a super talented team, so the Film Studies student in me was excited to see what he would produce. I’m a long-time fan of musical theater, both as a performer and a spectator. One of my favorite choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance was on board (Mandy Moore). I should love this movie.
But I don’t.
I’m actually not even sure I like it.
Yet, at the same time it’s also one of the most beautiful and innovative films I’ve ever seen. La La Land is impressive.
But I don’t need to see it again. (more…)
Directed by: Denzel Washington
Written by: August Wilson, based upon his play of the same name
Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo
Summary: Through the eyes of Troy Maxson we see a black working mans’ desires, disappointments and ultimate self-destruction in 1950’s Pittsburgh. He laments for the life he felt he was cheated out of and watches as his family erodes due to the choices he made.
Fences was the first movie of 2016 I got excited about. Mid-summer I always pour through lists of the most anticipated movies of the fall and winter months and Fences was on just about every one of those lists – and with good reason – it’s a film with a very compelling story and some unforgettable performances.