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My Ranked Films of 2016

April 23, 2017 Leave a comment

I’m actually pretty excited about this being a new tradition. Given that I just can’t bear to whittle my views of the year in film down to a simple top ten list, I see it necessary to let you how I felt about every last thing that I took the time to see. Here you’ll find all 83 features which I viewed ranked from top to bottom, along with some tidbits of unabashed critique.

Alas, 2016 in a nutshell:

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83. “Independence Day: Resurgence” – I’m not sure why I held out any shred of hope that this could have any redeeming qualities, but somehow, it was worse beyond my darkest fears. A huge chunk of my childhood nostalgia died with this film.

82. “Knight of Cups” – Terrence Malick’s integrity as a auteur director, in my mind, is currently held together with duct tape and bailing wire. Just a meandering, aimless mess, devoid of any tangible passion. It’s been a long time since “The Thin Red Line”.

81. “London Has Fallen” – I really can’t even give a decent reason why I gave this film the time of day, except boredom on a Sunday morning. The original was at least watchable. The sequel is merely laughable.

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80. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” – Speaking of directors losing their credibility, I can’t believe this is the same hand that created “Brokeback Mountain” and The Ice Storm”. I’m not sure what exactly they were trying to accomplish here, but the result is sloppy on all accounts.

79. “Phenom” – I would give credence to the low budget qualifications if it wasn’t that I’ve worked on student shorts with better production values. Outside of half decent performances from Giamatti and Hawke, this is a total dud.

78. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” – The notion that this film was necessary at all after Nolan already perfected both the character and really the whole genre with his trilogy is a mystery. This might have been forgiven had “BvS” shown some redeeming qualities, but that was too much to ask for.

77. “Mascots” – It’s not that this topic isn’t creative, interesting or unique enough to deserve the Christopher Guest spin, it’s just that any semblance of humor falls completely flat. Without that, we’re just left with unfunny people dressing up like mascots.

76. “Triple 9” – Might be the year’s most disappointing fare, in my opinion. I had pretty high hopes given the stellar director, fantastic ensemble and overall edge the film seemed to exude. Not a single one of those facets paid off.

75. “Swiss Army Man” – Some will grant points for it’s originality. For me, there is a line to be drawn between boundless creativity and banal stupidity. This weighs heavily in one direction.

74. “Live by Night” – It was ultimately a matter of time before Ben Affleck’s streak took a nose dive. This is a film with intentions so unclear, I felt that the characters had no idea what they were doing there most of the time. Ben also needs to stop starring in his own films, if there’s any way he can help it.

73. “The Shallows” – “Jaws” it certainly ain’t. It can look impressive at times, and the shark looks decent enough, but the plot is lost in its own absurdity by ten minutes in.

72. “De Palma” – Maybe some might want to listen to the title individual talk about his career, from fairly decent to hell in a handcart, and how he thinks he has anywhere near the talent of guys like Spielberg, Scorsese and Coppola, for nearly TWO HOURS, but that’s not my cup of tea.

71. “Ghostbusters” – This highly disappointing reboot kills its intentions and overshadows its phenomenal cast with mostly flat humor and maddeningly over-the-top visual effects.

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70. “Passengers” – On the topic of disappointment, I remember first reading the logline for this film a couple of Christmas’ ago and was enthralled. That strong concept was in the finished film somewhere, muddled by extravagance and a need to satisfy the “Hunger Games” demographic.

69. “Hail, Caesar!” – Despite some fantastic design qualities and a performance to get one excited about Alden Ehrenreich’s future, this is one of the most uninteresting films the Coens have ever produced.

68. “Jane Got a Gun” – Not to beat a dead horse, but it’s no wonder why this film sat in production hell for a few years. The remaining cast looks as though they wished they’d quit with the rest of their colleagues when they still had the chance.

67. “Florence Foster Jenkins” – Not quite as soft around the edges as I had originally dreaded, but still just an exercise in mediocrity. Believe it or not, Hugh Grant was actually the film’s high point for me.

66. “The Girl on the Train” – Don’t get me wrong. Emily Blunt carries this movie as best she can with a powerhouse performance, but the story itself is a whodunnit that isn’t worth even figuring it out by the halfway point.

65. Miles Ahead” – It is fairly invigorating watching Don Cheadle tear into this role. However, at times the film itself is as standoffish as its subject, while the flashbacks are boring and cliched.

64. “The Accountant” – I suppose, in the end, this is an action movie, and one really shouldn’t expect much more. I made the mistake of doing so and was left with a half-baked plot that verges on ridiculous at times.

63. “Suicide Squad” – Practically high art when compared to the its counterpart DC heroes entry, previously discussed. On the whole, it’s still a pretty mind-numbing experience, despite the best efforts of its ensemble. Personally, I think the this universe has more to offer than that of Marvel, so it’s a wonder why they can’t seem to get their sh*t together.

62. “The Secret Life of Pets” – The first 5-10 minutes of the film are fantastic. Past that point, it delves into a more generic kids movie plot line filtered through vision of what animated films would be like if directed by Michael Bay.

61. “X-Men: Apocalypse” – Oscar Isaac isn’t a terrible villain as the title character, and it still manages to fit in a spectacular Quicksilver scene. However, sum of its parts do not come close to equaling its exemplary predecessor, “Days of Future’s Past,” probably the best X-Men film to date.

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60. “Sully” – The crash is harrowing enough, I suppose, for a disaster scene featuring no stakes or consequences. There just really isn’t a lot to get excited about in this film. And despite trying to create pure filler out of some unproductive flashbacks of the protagonists entire career, there’s barely enough movie here to fill 45 minutes, let along 90.

59. “The Birth of a Nation” – There were a number of decent to flawless African American themed films in 2016. This is not one of them. Despite the raucous Sundance reception I found this to be a bit of an exercise in self-indulgence and a rehash of much better freedom-oriented movies, such as “Glory” and “Braveheart.”

58. “Deadpool” – I’ll give it credit for some good entertainment value and a fresh take on the superhero persona, but the execution itself is rotten, and it’s honestly kind of offensive in its immaturity.

57. “Cafe Society” – No one pushes movies out like Woody Allen. However, despite the occasional gems scattered in, you’re usually left with recycled mediocrity. It’s actually a decent enough story, with echoes of “Broadway Danny Rose”, but really nothing standing out to remember.

56. “Allied” – I ultimately had this film pegged as having only a couple of predictable ways to end, and was pleasantly surprised by the direction it took. Unfortunately, the body of the film was formulaic enough to pretty much cancel out the climax.

55. “Raiders!” – Nostalgia is great and all, and this must have an exciting childhood adventure. But the film doesn’t do the best job of convincing its audience that the endeavors of these individuals isn’t beyond the point of absurdity.

54. “Deepwater Horizon” – Leave it to Peter Berg to take the worst ecological disaster in history caused by a greedy and careless U.S. conglomerate into a film about how much “America Rocks!” Great sound design, though.

53. “The Jungle Book” – Is it too late to petition Disney to stop with these live action remakes? Too late? Got it. In all seriousness, this film is decent enough. Though, the majority of time is spent judging whether each scene is going to butcher each scene we remember. Not to mention, you spend two hours watching a kid in front of a green screen.

52. “Finding Dory” – A bad Pixar movie is hard to come by, and I wouldn’t categorize “Dory” as such. It is a big step down from last year’s masterpiece. The new characters are fun, but something I’ve always enjoyed about Pixar is that they maintain creativity without escaping a certain level of realism and not verging on absurdity. A fish and an octopus co-driving a box truck about does it for me.

51. “Lion” – Dev Patel holds his own in an unusually mature role for him and the musical score is noticeably impressive. However, it’s predictably structured and ridiculously over-edited and choppy. Definitely the most underwhelming of this year’s Oscar slate.

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50. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” – Seems to accomplish what’s advertised with wit and intrigue. For some reason, though, I was hoping and expecting for more from this film, especially from the mind of such comedy gems as “I Love You Philip Morris” and “Crazy/Stupid/Love”.

49. “Miss Sloane” – I echo the sentiment that this movie ultimately feels as though it were meant to network TV. It has its moments, but nothing feels overly impressive, despite sporting a lot of great talent, both new and old.

48. “Hidden Figures” – What’s going on here could be best described as “Racism, Disney-Style”. Essentially the safest, most toned down vision of discrimination in the 60s to satisfy every American family of four. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I find the message is better served by not sugar-coating it.

47. “Weiner” – A crazy story, for sure, that’s more than worth documenting. I only find it a bit lazy that everything happened to unfold as it did and covering it all was really a matter of luck rather than talent. Really not a lot of actual filmmaking seemed to occur.

46. “Demolition” – Mildly worth seeing, if only to see Jake Gyllenhaal’s quirky interactions with the supporting characters. It’s a fairly original take on the grieving process, but the overall message gets lost in the shuffle.

45. “The Wave” – This is a creative concept for a thriller as it presents a scenario that’s devoid of general disaster-flick cliche. Yet, as original as the concept, the execution really runs a bit boring past the point where the waters recede.

44. “The B.F.G.” – A good amount of fun, dependent on a thankless motion capture performance by Mark Rylance. However, in essence, this is a children’s movie, through and through. I certainly can’t help waiting for more relevant and enduring films by this master of the art form.

43. “Blair Witch” – I firmly believe that the original is a landmark achievement and a staple in both horror and found footage genres. That being said, I find it incredible how much this film both excels and expands on what the former achieved, while also defacing its legacy in practically equal measures. The sound design effectively disturbing and it maintains the subjective feel creatively. But when the original confirmed that less is more, when this film goes over the top it just can’t it’s way back down again.

42. “Indignation” – A film that’s difficult to explain why you’re not a fan as all the elements are there: a strong central performance by Lerman, a great sense of time and place and fantastic sub-surface tension. The movie suffers from just having a story without much interesting to tell.

41. “Life, Animated” – This is a movie that really shoots for high inspiration. At that, it truly succeeds, probably more than I give it credit for on this list. Autism is being much more widely discussed in the present climate, and this film was still enlightening on several aspects. And yet, much of it still felt staged and propped up. I didn’t feel as though we were being presented with the whole story.

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40. “A Bigger Splash” – The tongue in cheek banter and deep contemplation can both hit or miss in this film, but it really tends to shine through the performances of Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes, who gives his best performance since “Schindler’s List”.

39. “10 Cloverfield Lane” – This is some really impressive Hitchcockian material, highlighted by a comically disturbing John Goodman. However, when a movie builds its entire tension from fear of what might be outside, revealing what’s beyond the door can make or break a film’s credibility. For this film, it SHATTERS it.

38. “Other People” – An enlightening (if not emotionally exhausting) trip through every family’s nightmare with career performances (thus far) by Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons. Overall, the film lacks a bit in fleshing out its supporting characters in terms intentions and motive.

37. “A Monster Calls” – Like the previous entry, it is far from possible to make it through this movie with dry eyes. The special effects are fantastic, but unnecessary to achieve its emotional wallop. The repetition really drags it down, though. Also, please don’t let Sigourney Weaver ever attempt a British accent again.

36. “Snowden” – We’re all still awaiting a true return to form from Oliver Stone. Personally, I haven’t felt fulfilled by one of this former auteur’s efforts since “JFK”. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting. Yet, this is still watchable fare, mostly due to Joseph Gordon Levitt’s commitment.

35. “The Conjuring 2” – As far as sequels go, this one surely passes the test, and will definitely deliver a fair share of scares. For some reason, it just doesn’t feature the same old school, satisfying level of entertainment that the original achieved.

34. “The Lobster” – Anybody who doesn’t call this one of the most original films to be released in 2016 is fooling themselves. Hats off to this kind of experimental mainstream storytelling. If only it was a bit less heavy-handed in its execution.

33. “Fences” – Many successful films have been generated from stage plays. Meanwhile, some films feel so stagey that you can’t even tell the difference from the play. Ultimately this film is nothing more than a showcase for its performances. Why does it rank so high on this list? My lord, the performances…

32. “Eye in the Sky” – The problem with making a film about a moral dilemma that’s difficult to argue either side is an inherent lack of closure for the story itself. Still, a well=paced and articulated thriller. Aaron Paul shines in, for once, not a type-casted role.

31. “Hacksaw Ridge” – Stereotypical, basic and shamelessly self-righteous. Yet the battle scenes are so well orchestrated and assembled that many of its shortcomings can be forgiven.

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30. “Gleason” – Similar to another documentary previously mentioned, this film sheds a lot of light on a dreadful human affliction. However, more so than the former, it delves much more into the day to day personal heartache its subjects endure and in a much more unscripted sense.

29. “Zootopia” – Much more pleasantly surprised by the this film than I thought I would be. While the story itself and character portrayals still feel beholding to the kids movie at heart, the themes and motifs that it digs into are admirably mature and relevant.

28. “Christine” – A difficult film to produce, as the first 95% is really just a means to the ending, which is really the only aspect that anyone is familiar with. But “Christine” handles the title character’s story well, subtly outlining the dangers of undiagnosed mental illness, while the climax is as disturbing as it should be.

27. “Sausage Party” – A pretty brilliant concept for animated fare, given that the idea was most likely conceived playing with animal crackers or gummy bears while devouring them in haze if intoxication. Like “Zootopia”, the film exhibits strong social issues, though being heavy-handed with them is an understatement.

26. “The Light Between Oceans” – Derek Cianfrance has talent pouring out of his ears, though it seems his talents are better suited to contemporary fare. Still, a lot of good happening here. The film is wrought with melodrama, though sappiness is kept in check. The trio of lead performances hold their own, particularly the indelible Michael Fassbender.

25. “Nocturnal Animals” – The crime caper that unfolds in the film is as powerful and taut as cinema can get. Yet, it is as fictitious in the film as it is to its viewer, which really lowers the stakes of the movie as a whole. Michael Shannon and Jake Gyllenhaal are both at the top of their game, which is a sight woth seeing.

24. “The Nice Guys” – Once in a while, I will try to experience a film based strictly on its entertainment value. Based on this notion, “Nice Guys” succeeds admirably. The endgame resolution for the film is a bit murky and unsatisfying, but the journey is highly enjoyable.

23. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” – I really wasn’t sure if any of the new Star Wars films would leave me anything but beaming, but that would ultimately be too much to ask for. It’s a bit rushed and the story is a bit of a stretch (even for Star Wars). However, the character portrayals are well fleshed out and the action scenes are some of the best directed yet in an entry. A good film, but I hope for more from future stand-alones.

22. “Newtown” – Whatever your position on gun control may be, this film will pretty much wreck you, emotionally. Yet, given the subject matter and that this even really should have been the lynchpin in the most inane and disturbing issue still plaguing our country, I feel that it deserved a bit stronger of a political stance.

21. “La La Land” – Given that this film is an homage to an era of filmmaking style that I really detest, and that I have a pretty strict manifesto for movie musicals to follow, I had a pretty strong disposition against La La Land before seeing it. However, I was pleasantly surprised by a number of aspects. While the majority of the musical numbers are forced and unentertaining, the primary songs are quite memorable. And while the film’s love story seemed to be on a hopeless trajectory to make me gag, the “Roman Holiday”-esque climax is very redeeming. Might still be the most overrated film of the year, but what’s to love definitely outweighs what to hate.

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20. “Green Room” – Director Jeremy Saulnier’s debut feature, “Blue Ruin,” was an indie gem. In keeping with the same brutally violent content and uncompromising style, “Green Room” is a fantastic sophomore effort. The film is fully engaging in every minute of its runtime. For sure, this is a talent who deserves a lot of attention and some larger budgets.

19. “20th Century Women” – Another filmmaker with fresh voice who continues to offer insightful drama with decent entertainment value. Mills has yet to hit it out of the park, but this is a big step in the right direction. Annette Bening definitely gives her best performance since “American Beauty”, though it’s Greta Gerwig (who I have never had any love for before here) that really shines.

18. “Sing Street” – Sometimes I fear that John Carney will run out of great ideas for amusing psuedo-musicals, but it hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully, it never will. There’s a lot of great coming-of-age films this year, but this one rates pretty highly. Meanwhile, the music is not only catchy, creative and complex, it manages to encompass a full generation’s worth of ideals through song. One of the overall most enjoyable experiences you’ll have at the movies just year, and not just because most of what’s better isn’t exactly lighthearted fare.

17. “Midnight Special” – It almost seems that young writer/director (gearing towards auteur) can do know wrong, as his entire catalog for me, thus far, has ranged from good to fantastic. Here, he does a fine job of genre-bending, showing that campy science fiction can be successfully blended with a very grounded adult drama. The ending may be a bit over-the-top, but the journey is packed with great, understated acting and pounding suspense.

16. “Captain Fantastic” – A really surprisingly enjoyable experience. Some will complain that the quirkiness is overdone and that the film veers a bit towards sentimentality in the third act, but it’s mostly all acceptable in service to a story of incredibly interesting people. Viggo Mortensen was hands-down born to play the title role and it is nearly impossible to imagine anyone else driving that van. He knocks it out of the park.

15. “Krisha” – Gems don’t come much smaller in scale and budget than this film. Boy, was I glad I was put on to this film. Certain scenes in this film could easily be taught in film schools to highlight the beauty of telling the story with the camera as opposed to exposition. The only reason this did not crack my top ten is that the ending is far too abrupt and seems to cut about 20-30 min off the third act. However, for a debut film with virtually no resources, “Krisha” has heralded the arrival of a vibrant young director to keep an eye on.

14. “Cameraperson” – This documentary feels very little like a fully composed film at all, and yet that’s really the beauty of it. What would seem to be random montage of footage is really a meticulously assembled tableau of footage taken from around the globe. There is no narration or retrospective guiding the movie along, just the footage itself, which once you start to see and feel for what it is, carries the film for everything it needs. If you want to gain a healthy dose of human perspective, this is worth seeing.

13. “Hell or High Water” – One of the year’s best examples of old school filmmaking at its best. We’re presented with a rarity of sorts with a modern day western, featuring a plotline, characters and themes that could fit a 150 year old gunslinger tale, while reflecting the signs of the modern times. Writer Taylor Sheridan has proven that “Sicario” was no fluke, while the trio of leads deliver equal levels of entertaining testosterone, though each is a fully fleshed out character.

12. “Loving” – What a year for Jeff Nichols, with a second high quality film to add to his repertoire. Meanwhile, it couldn’t be much more of a departure from his comfort zone. A beautifully crafted film outlining the simplicity of love and common sense. As quietly and subtly told a story as its characters lives were. Ruth Negga shines in a breakout performance, but it’s Joel Edgerton who is the standout, in a more revealing emotional role than anything he’s tackled previously.

11. “Everybody Wants Some” – Truly heartbreaking that this just missed my top ten. Richard Linklater’s follow-up to his masterpiece “Boyhood” is a breath of comedic fresh air. A psuedo-sequel to his breakout hit “Dazed and Confused”, the college version is actually superior in many ways, mostly due to the injection of philosophical reverence within everyday life that Linklater has honed through the years. To boot, it is by far the funniest film you’ll see this year.

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10. “Silence”

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese

Not often does a film come along that Martin Scorsese has been working on for nearly thirty years. Could the finished product possibly live up to those expectations? Well, no, but that would have been a lot to ask for. It has its flaws, but this is still a master at work. Garfield and Driver put forth fantastic performances, however, it’s the supporting cast of Japanese actors like Tadanobu Asano and Issei Ogata that really make the film worth its running time. What I admire most from the film is that for a film about faith, its intentions do not subscribe to any in particular, if any at all. Mel Gibson could really take a page out of Mr. Scorsese’s book.

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9. “Tower”

Written and Directed by
Keith Maitland

There is no particular reason why animation should fit so well with the content of this documentary, or why it should enhance its impact. Regardless, it does exactly that, to the point that it’s a wonder why more non-fiction films don’t go the same route. What we are left with is a film as enlightening as it is harrowing. It explores the true fear and chaos of a terrorist event, as well as the decisions that lead to acts of incredible bravery. The film, more than any other this year, that makes you question yourself and just what kind of person you are or have the potential to embody.

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8. “Paterson”

Written and Directed by
Jim Jarmusch

Jarmusch has a long and celebrated catalog, most of which I have not seen, nor really felt the desire to. Therefore, I’m not sure what it was that drew me to this movie, but I’m glad it did. Like no other film this year, it celebrates the beauty in the mundane what to celebrate in the life’s little details. It’s not a showy performance by Adam Driver, but as restrained as the character’s inner drive. In some cases, “Paterson” breaks my golden rule of filmmaking, given that it’s absent of substantial conflict. However, I feel the true conflict is for the viewer to embrace and appreciate the characters’ lives and take them for the pure inspiration that they can be.

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7. “13th”

Directed by Ava DuVernay
Written by Ava DuVernay and Spencer Averick

 It’s no mystery that the topic of race relations is a hot topic in today’s society, to the point where many would wonder what more this documentary could have to tell us. The answer, quite simply, is a lot. Acting as both an educational history lesson and a searing expose of current events, Ava Duvernay’s follow-up to the heralded (and overrated, in my opinion) “Selma” is essential viewing. It’s crucial to know everything that brought us to this point and the film does a fantastic job of showing us just how little has changed. Meanwhile, the ending, originally meant as a cautionary tale is now even more important as a disturbing reality. The best documentary of the year.

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6. “Manchester by the Sea”

Written and Directed by
Kenneth Lonergan

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what makes this film as remarkable as it is, so this will likely be the vaguest blurb on the list. As plainly as can be, it’s life and the movie’s depiction of it and its ups and downs. The most common thing heard of the “Manchester” is of its devastatingly emotional impact, but the melancholy is balanced extremely well with humor and enjoyment. It’s poignant, wrenching and all the while, thoroughly entertaining. Bottom-line, it would worth the price of admission, regardless, for the force of nature that is Casey Affleck. He makes what he does here look easy, but it is not, folks.

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5. “The Witch”

Written and Directed by
Robert Eggers

Outside of “The Cabin in the Woods” (which is tough to even peg into this genre), it has been nearly 20 years since a horror film made my top ten list. However, like the former film mentioned, to categorize “The Witch” in such a way would also be a disservice. This is one of the most visceral films I’ve seen in a long time. The mis en scene created through the costumes, production design and stark cinematography carry us deep into this nightmare. Meanwhile, the performances are fantastic all around, including the astonishingly good youth. Finally, Robert Eggers is the graceful hand pulling the strings, giving us some of the most disturbing set-pieces you’ll likely ever see in a period piece, including a possession scene that overcomes cliche and exaggeration and remains in your mind long after it unfolds.

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4. “American Honey”

Written and Directed by
Andrea Arnold

Earlier this year, when I looked at the pedigree for this film, I had nearly written it off before giving it a try. Boy, was I off the mark. Sure it has no plot and yes it meanders more than Terrence Malick’s brain, and yet, none of that seems to matter. This is one of the most detailed and fulfilling tapestries of American youth to come along this century. Featuring a cast of mostly unknowns whose improvisations and antics make every one of these 163 minutes thoroughly engrossing. Shia LaBoeuf reminds us of the kind of promise he had pre-“Transformers” and Riley Keough nails her character with trashy brilliance. An indelible exploration of the American Dream, as well as the glory and futility of being young, poor and with no f***s given.

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3. “Jackie”

Directed by Pablo Larrain
Written by Noah Oppenheim

For every year’s slew of biopics, whether portraying someone from last decade or last millennium, overcoming the impediment of pure banality is always crucial. It’s safe to say that “Jackie” clears that hurdle with room to spare. There are plenty of ways this film could have been shot and it’s story told, though not many ways to improve on that’s been done here. The tight-framing and grainy appearance bring on a atmosphere of stark realism. The costumes are vibrant and the writing is crisp and insightful. The most iconic and version of this story you likely ever see. Oh, and Natalie Portman gives the best performance of the year. Period.

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2. “Arrival”

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Eric Heisserer

It’s almost not worth beating a dead horse, as my opinion on this was made quite clear in my rankings last year, but there is no director in Hollywood quite on the same level as Denis Villeneuve. He has fast-becoming an artist for the ages with a visual and storytelling style that is practically unparalleled. Each effort he puts forth is better than the last, and with “Arrival,” he’ll be hard-pressed to top himself. The film is shot with a cold and bleak type of beauty and Johann Johannsson delivers yet another haunting score. Beyond visual splendor and foreboding tone, there is a heartfelt, emotional story that has the potential to absolutely wreck you, carried with ease by Amy Adams. This was a very close call for my number one spot, but regardless, this movie will stand the test of time as a sci fi genre masterpiece.

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1. “Moonlight”

Directed by Barry Jenkins
Written by Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney

The first time I partook in this film, I was fascinated and impressed. By the second time, I was in absolute awe. If you’re looking for a film that is groundbreaking, fearless and absolutely a milestone of the moment, there’s almost no point going any further. Showing a strong influence from “Boyhood”, but using a wholly original story, “Moonlight” is a triptych collage of one boy’s life. Every performance of the film enhances the story, in particular the incomparable Mahershala Ali, whose drug dealer with a heart of gold is the strong moral influence that echoes through the film’s acts. This film has been branded as strong depiction of black and homosexual culture, which it is. But more than anything, it is a movie about identity, how the decisions we make and the people who impact us shape who we are and what it takes to find happiness, as elusive as it can seem. This is a timeless film that’s beauty and significance will be honored for generations.

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Well, there you have it. I feel as though compiling this list was as arduous as seeing the 83 films. I’ll be posting the winners of the Edgy Awards soon, but I’m about ready to bring on 2017.

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Predictions for the 89th Academy Awards

February 26, 2017 Leave a comment

oscars-2-1

Every year I seem to cut it closer and closer to game time. Lots to deliberate on, but really it just comes down to how many Oscars will “La La Land” NOT win. We’ll find out. See my predix below, as well as my picks if I had a ballot:

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BEST MOTION PICTURE of the YEAR

WILL WIN: “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: “Moonlight”
MY VOTE: “Arrival”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Jackie”

BEST DIRECTOR

WILL WIN: Damien Chazelle – “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight”
MY VOTE: Denis Villeneuve – “Arrival”
SHOULD BE HERE: Robert Eggers – “The Witch”

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

WILL WIN: Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
MIGHT WIN: Denzel Washington – “Fences”
MY VOTE: Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
SHOULD BE HERE: Joel Edgerton – “Loving”

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

WILL WIN: Emma Stone – “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: Isabelle Huppert – “Elle”
MY VOTE: Natalie Portman – “Jackie”
SHOULD BE HERE: Amy Adams – “Arrival”

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

WILL WIN: Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
MIGHT WIN: Dev Patel – “Lion”
MY VOTE: Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
SHOULD BE HERE: Ralph Fiennes – “A Bigger Splash”

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

WILL WIN: Viola Davis – “Fences”
MIGHT WIN: Umm…
MY VOTE: Viola Davis – “Fences”
SHOULD BE HERE: Greta Gerwig – “20th Century Women”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

WILL WIN: “Manchester by the Sea”
MIGHT WIN: “La La Land”
MY VOTE: “Manchester by the Sea”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Jackie”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

WILL WIN: “Moonlight”
MIGHT WIN: “Arrival”
MY VOTE: “Arrival”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Loving”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

WILL WIN: “The Salesman”
MIGHT WIN: “Toni Erdmann”
MY VOTE: “N/A”
SHOULD BE HERE: “N/A”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

WILL WIN: “O.J. Made in America”
MIGHT WIN: “13th”
MY VOTE: “13th”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Tower”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

WILL WIN: “Zootopia”
MIGHT WIN: “Kubo and the Two Strings”
MY VOTE: “Zootopia”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Sausage Party”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

WILL WIN: “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: “Lion”
MY VOTE: “Moonlight”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Jackie”

BEST EDITING

WILL WIN: “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: “Arrival”
MY VOTE: “Arrival”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Midnight Special”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

WILL WIN: “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: “Hail, Caesar!”
MY VOTE: “Hail, Caesar!”
SHOULD BE HERE: “The Witch”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

WILL WIN: “Jackie”
MIGHT WIN: “La La Land”
MY VOTE: “Jackie”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Silence”

BEST SOUND MIXING

WILL WIN: “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: “Arrival”
MY VOTE: “Arrival”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Blair Witch”

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

WILL WIN: “Arrival”
MIGHT WIN: “Hacksaw Ridge”
MY VOTE: “Arrival”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Midnight Special”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

WILL WIN: “Jungle Book”
MIGHT WIN: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
MY VOTE: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Arrival”

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING

WILL WIN: “Suicide Squad”
MIGHT WIN: “Star Trek: Beyond”
MY VOTE: “Suicide Squad”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Hacksaw Ridge”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

WILL WIN: “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: “Moonlight”
MY VOTE: “Moonlight”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Arrival”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

WILL WIN: “City of Stars” from “La La Land”
MIGHT WIN: “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”
MY VOTE: “City of Stars” from “La La Land”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Heathens” from “Suicide Squad”

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM

WILL WIN: “Sing”
MIGHT WIN: “Ennemis Interieurs”
MY VOTE: N/A
SHOULD BE HERE: N/A

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

WILL WIN: “Piper”
MIGHT WIN: “Borrowed Time”
MY VOTE: N/A
SHOULD BE HERE: N/A

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

WILL WIN: “The White Helmets”
MIGHT WIN: “Joe’s Violin”
MY VOTE: N/A
SHOULD BE HERE: N/A

The 7th Annual Edgy Award Nominations

February 22, 2017 Leave a comment

7th-edgy-collage

Alas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Time to take stock of what’s been seen and shower you all with my opinions. On schedule for once.

To remind everyone, while there may only be 6 previous editions of the Edgies available online, the awards are cataloged by yours truly going all the way back to 1940. The recipients’ nomination and win counts are grouped according to each category, with the exception of the two music categories and the four acting categories being linked. So while Martin Scorsese may be getting only his 3rd nomination for producing, that certainly does not include the wealth of nominations he’s accumulated for directing.

Without further ado, here are my nominations for the best craftsmanship and talent on display in 2016:

__________

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Audition
featured in “La La Land”
Music by Justin Hurwitz (2nd nom), Lyrics by Benj Pasik (2nd nom) and  Justin Paul (2nd nom)

City of Stars
featured in “La La Land”
Music by Justin Hurwitz (2nd nom), Lyrics by Benj Pasik (2nd nom) and  Justin Paul (2nd nom)

Drive It Like You Stole It
featured in “Sing Street”
Music and Lyrics by Gary Clark (1st nom)

Heathens
featured in “Suicide Squad”
Music and Lyrics by Tyler Joseph (1st nom)

Letter to the Free
featured in “13th”
Music and Lyrics by Common (2nd nom)

__________

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Arrival
Johann Johannsson (2nd nom, 1 win – “Sicaro”)

Jackie
Mica Levi (2nd nom)

Midnight Special
David Wingo (1st nom)

Moonlight
Nicholas Britell (1st nom)

The Witch
Mark Korven (1st nom)

__________

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING

 Green Room
Nancy J. Hvasta Leonardi (1st nom) and Stephen Prouty (1st nom)

Hacksaw Ridge
Shane Thomas (1st nom)

The Light Between Oceans
Michael Marino (4th nom)

Suicide Squad
Alessandro Bertolazzi (1st nom) and Christopher Allen Nelson (1st nom)

The Witch
Francois Deganais (1st nom) and Michael J. Walsh (1st nom)

__________

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Arrival
Alexander Lafortune (1st nom) and Louis Morin (1st nom)

The BFG
Mark Gee (1st nom), Joe Letteri (9th nom, 5 wins – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Avatar,” “LOTR: The Return of the King,” and “LOTR: The Two Towers”), Kevin McGaugh (1st nom) and Kevin Andrew Smith (1st nom)

The Jungle Book
Andrew R. Jones (3rd nom, 1 win – “Avatar”), Robert Legato (5th nom), Dan Lemmon (3rd nom, 1 win – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) and Adam Valdez (1st nom)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Neil Corbould (4th nom, 2 wins – “Gravity” and “Gladiator”), John Knoll (6th nom, 1 win – “POTC: Dead Man’s Chest”), Hal T. Hickel (4th nom, 1 win – “POTC: Dead Man’s Chest”) and Mohen Leo (1st nom)

The Shallows
Scott E Anderson (4th nom, 2 wins – “Starship Troopers” and “Babe”), Nathan McGuinness (2nd nom) and David Nelson (1st nom)

__________

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

Arrival
Sylvain Bellemare (1st nom)

Hacksaw Ridge
Robert MacKenzie (1st nom) and Andy Wright (1st nom)

Midnight Special
Jeremy Bowker (1st nom) and Will Files (2nd nom)

A Monster Calls
Oriol Tarrago (1st nom)

 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
David Acord (2nd nom, 1 win – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and Matthew Wood (8th nom, 1 win – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”)

__________

BEST SOUND EFFECTS MIXING

Arrival
Bernard Gariepy Strobl (1st nom) and Claude La Haye (1st nom)

Blair Witch
Andy Hay (1st nom) and Greg Townsend (1st nom)

 Green Room
Bob Chefalas (2nd nom, 1 win – “Apollo 13”) and Roland Vajs (1st nom)

Midnight Special
Will Files (2nd nom) and Brandon Proctor (1st nom)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
David Parker (7th nom, 1 win – “The Social Network”), Christopher Scarabosio (4th nom) and Stuart Wilson (3rd nom)

__________

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Allied
Joanna Johnston (3rd nom)

Florence Foster Jenkins
Consolata Boyle (1st nom)

Jackie
Madeline Fontaine (1st nom)

 Silence
Dante Ferretti (1st nom)

The Witch
Linda Muir (1st nom)

__________

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Arrival
Paul Hotte (1st nom) and Patrice Vermette (1st nom)

 Hail, Caesar!
Jess Gonchor (1st nom) and Nancy Haigh (8th nom)

Jackie
Veronique Melery (3rd nom, 1 win – “A Very Long Engagement”) and Jean Rabasse (1st nom)

La La Land
Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (2nd nom) and David Wasco (2nd nom)

The Witch
Mark Kirkland (1st nom) and Craig Lathrop (1st nom)

__________

BEST EDITING

American Honey
Joe Bini (1st nom)

Arrival
Joe Walker (4th nom)

Hell or High Water
Jake Roberts (1st nom)

Midnight Special
Julie Monroe (1st nom)

Moonlight
Joi McMillon (1st nom) and Nat Sanders (1st nom)

__________

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Arrival
Bradford Young (2nd nom)

Jackie
Stephane Fontaine (1st nom)

La La Land
Linus Sandgren (1st nom)

Moonlight
James Laxton (1st nom)

The Witch
Jarin Blaschke (1st nom)

__________

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

13th
Spencer Averick (1st nom), Howard Barish (1st nom) and Ava DuVernay (1st nom)

Cameraperson
Kirsten Johnson (1st nom) and Marilyn Ness (1st nom)

Gleason
Seth Gordon (2nd nom, 1 win – “King of Kong: A Fistful of Dollars”), Mary Rohlich (1st nom) and Clay Tweel (1st nom)

Newtown
Maria Cuomo Cole (1st nom) and Kim A. Snyder (1st nom)

Tower
Megan Gilbride (1st nom), Keith Maitland (1st nom) and Susan P. Thomson (1st nom)

__________

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Arrival
Eric Heisserer (1st nom)

Loving
Jeff Nichols (2nd nom)

Moonlight
Barry Jenkins (1st nom) and Tarell Alvin McCraney (1st nom)

Nocturnal Animals
Tom Ford (1st nom)

Silence
Jay Cocks (2nd nom) and Martin Scorsese (3rd nom, 1 win – “Goodfellas”)

__________

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Everybody Wants Some
Richard Linklater (6th nom, 1 win – “Boyhood”)

Hell or High Water
Taylor Sheridan (2nd nom)

Jackie
Noah Oppenheim (1st nom)

Manchester by the Sea
Kenneth Lonergan (2nd nom)

Paterson
Jim Jarmusch (1st nom)

__________

 BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

American Honey
Chad Cox, Raymond Coalson, Veronica Ezell, Arielle Holmes, Gary Howell, Crystal Ice, Sasha Lane, Shia LaBoeuf, McCaul Lombardi, Shawna Ray Moseley, Will Patton, Johnny Pierce II, Isaiah Stone, Kenneth Kory Tucker, Christopher David Wright

Everybody Wants Some
Temple Baker, Will Brittain, Zoey Deutsch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, J. Quinton Johnson, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell, Juston Street

Manchester by the Sea
Casey Affleck, Anna Baryshnikov, Matthew Broderick, Kyle Chandler, Tate Donovan, Kara Hayward, Stephen Henderson, Gretchen Mol, Ben O’Brien, Michelle Williams, C.J. Wilson

Moonlight
Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex R. Hibbert, Andre Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monae, Jaden Piner, Trevonte Rhodes, Ashton Sanders

The Witch
Kate Dickie, Lucas Dawson, Bathsheba Garnett, Ellie Grainger, Ralph Ineson, Harvey Scrimshaw, Anya Taylor-Joy

__________

 BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

viola-davis-fences

Viola Davis – “Fences”
3rd nom

greta-gerwig-20th-century-women-copy

Greta Gerwig – “20th Century Women”
1st nom

naomie-harris-moonlight

Naomie Harris – “Moonlight”
1st nom

riley-keough-american-honey

Riley Keough – “American Honey”
1st nom

michelle-williams-manchester-by-the

Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”
3rd nom, 1 win – “Brokeback Mountain”

__________

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

mahershala-ali-moonlight

Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
1st nom

tadanobu-asano-silence

Tadanobu Asano – “Silence”
1st nom

ralph-fiennes-bigger-splash

Ralph Fiennes – “A Bigger Splash”
3rd nom, 1 win – “Schindler’s List”

shia-labeouf-american-honey

Shia LaBeouf – “American Honey”
1st nom

michael-shannon-nocturnal-animals

Michael Shannon – “Nocturnal Animals”
4th nom

__________

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

amy-adams-arrival

Amy Adams – “Arrival”
6th nom

annette-bening-20th-century-women

Annette Bening – “20th Century Women”
4th nom, 1 win – “American Beauty”

rebecca-hall-christine

Rebecca Hall – “Christine”
1st nom

ruth-negga-loving

Ruth Negga – “Loving”
1st nom

natalie-portman-jackie

Natalie Portman – “Jackie”
(4th nom, 2 wins – “Black Swan” and “Closer”)

__________

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

casey-affleck-manchester-by-the

Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
2nd nom

joel-edgerton-loving

Joel Edgerton – “Loving”
1st nom

andrew-garfield-silence

Andrew Garfield – “Silence”
2nd nom

jake-gyllenhaal-nocturnal-animals

Jake Gyllenhaal – “Nocturnal Animals”
4th nom, 1 win – “Brokeback Mountain”

viggo-mortensen-captain-fantastic

Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
1st nom

__________

BEST DIRECTOR

andrea-arnold-american-honey

Andrea Arnold – “American Honey”
1st nom

robert-eggers-witch

Robert Eggers – “The Witch”
1st nom

barry-jenkins-moonlight

Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight”
1st nom

pablo-larrain-jackie

Pablo Larrain – “Jackie”
1st nom

denis-villeneuve-arrival

Denis Villeneuve – “Arrival”
3rd nom

__________

BEST MOTION PICTURE of the YEAR

13th

Spencer Averick (1st nom), Howard Barish (1st nom) and Ava DuVernay (1st nom)

American Honey

Lars Knudsen (2nd nom), Pouya Shahbazian (1st nom) and Jay Van Hoy (2nd nom)

Arrival

Shawn Levy (1st nom), Dan Levine (1st nom), David Linde (1st nom) and Aaron Ryder (1st nom)

Jackie

Darren Aronofsky (2nd nom), Paul Franklin (2nd nom), Ari Handel (1st nom) and Mickey Liddell (1st nom)

Manchester by the Sea

Matt Damon (1st nom), Chris Moore (1st nom) and Kevin J. Walsh (1st nom)

Moonlight

Dede Gardner (2nd nom, 1 win – “12 Years a Slave”), Jeremy Kleiner (2nd nom, 1 win – “12 Years a Slave”) and Adele Romanski (1st nom)

Paterson

Joshua Astrachan (2nd nom) and Carter Logan (1st nom)

Silence

Barbara De Fina (2nd nom), Randall Emmett (1st nom), Martin Scorsese (3rd nom) and Irwin Winkler (6th nom, 2 wins – “Goodfellas” and “Raging Bull”)

Tower

Megan Gilbride (1st nom), Keith Maitland (1st nom) and Susan P. Thomson (1st nom)

The Witch

Daniel Bekerman (1st nom), Lars Knudsen (2nd nom), Rodrigo Teixeira (1st nom) and Jan Van Hoy (2nd nom)

__________

NOMINATION TALLY

Films with more than 2 nominations a piece:

Arrival – 11
Moonlight – 9
Jackie – 8
The Witch – 8
American Honey – 6
Manchester by the Sea – 5
Silence – 5
La La Land – 4
Midnight Special – 4
13th – 3
Loving – 3
Nocturnal Animals – 3
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 3
20th Century Women – 2
Everybody Wants Some! – 2
Green Room – 2
Hell or High Water – 2
Paterson – 2
Suicide Squad – 2
Tower – 2

The 6th Annual Edgy Award Winners

6th Annual Edgy Collage

Almost let these get away from me. However, I just can’t seem to get enough closure on last awards season and kick off the current year of moviegoing until I get these down in writing. So without further adieu, the winners of the 6th Annual Edgy Awards:

__________

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Till It Happens to You” featured in “The Hunting Ground”

Music and Lyrics by Lady Gaga (1st win) and Diane Warren (2nd win)

RUNNER-UP: “It’s My Turn Now” featured in “Dope”

__________

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

“Sicario”

Johann Johannsson (1st win)

RUNNER-UP: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

__________

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Damian Martin (1st win), Nadine Prigge (1st win) and Lesley Vanderwalt (1st win)

mad-max-fury-road_makeup

RUNNER-UP: “The Revenant”

__________

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Chris Corbould (2nd win), Roger Guyett (1st win), Neal Scanlan (2nd win) and Pat Dubach (1st Win)

RUNNER-UP: “The Revenant”

__________

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

David Acord (1st win) and Matthew Acord (1st win)

RUNNER-UP: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

 __________

BEST SOUND EFFECTS MIXING

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Chris Jenkins (1st win), Ben Osmo (1st win) and Gregg Rudloff (3rd win)

RUNNER-UP: “The Revenant”

__________

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

“The Danish Girl”

Paco Delgado (1st win)

RUNNER-UP: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

__________

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Colin Gibson (1st win) and Lisa Thompson (1st win)

Runner-Up: “Carol”

__________

BEST EDITING

“Spotlight”

Tom McArdle (1st win)

RUNNER-UP: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

__________

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Sicario”

Roger Deakins (5th win)

RUNNER-UP: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

__________

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“Amy”

James Gay-Rees (1st win) and Asif Kapadia (1st win)

RUNNER-UP: “The Look of Silence”

__________

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“Brooklyn”

Nick Hornby (1st win)

RUNNER-UP: “Steve Jobs”

__________

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Inside Out”

Josh Cooley (1st win), Ronnie Del Carmen (1st win), Peter Docter (1st win) and Megan LeFauve (1st win)

RUNNER-UP: “Spotlight”

__________

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST PERFORMANCE

“Spotlight”

Billy Crudup, Brian D’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Elena Wohl

RUNNER-UP: “The Big Short”

__________

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

Rooney Mara – “Carol”

1st win

RUNNER-UP: Kate Winslet – “Steve Jobs”

__________

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

Mark Ruffalo – “Spotlight”

1st win

RUNNER-UP: Benicio Del Toro – “Sicario”

__________

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

Brie Larson – “Room”

2nd win

RUNNER-UP: Saoirse Ronan – “Brooklyn”

__________

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

Eddie Redmayne – “The Danish Girl”

1st win

RUNNER-UP: Johnny Depp – “Black Mass”

__________

BEST DIRECTOR

George Miller – “Mad Max: Fury Road”

1st win

RUNNER-UP: Thomas McCarthy – “Spotlight”

__________

BEST MOTION PICTURE of the YEAR

“Inside Out”

Pete Docter (1st win) and Jonas Rivera (1st win)

RUNNER-UP: “Spotlight”

__________

FUNNIEST FILM

“The Big Short”

MOST EXCITING FILM

“Sicario”

MOST FRIGHTENING FILM

“It Follows”

MOST EMOTIONALLY MOVING FILM

“Inside Out”

MOST SURPRISING FILM

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

MOST DISAPPOINTING FILM

“Youth”

MOST UNDERRATED FILM

“The End of the Tour”

MOST OVERRATED FILM

“Anomalisa”

BEST PROTAGONIST

Mark Watney – “The Martian”

BEST ANTAGONIST

 The Catholic Church – “Spotlight”

BEST ANTIHERO

Alejandro – “Sicario”

BEST ROMANCE

Eilis and Tony – “Brooklyn”

BEST OPENING

“It Follows”

BEST ENDING

“45 Years”

BEST SCENE

Juarez/Border Crossing – “Sicario”

BEST LINE of DIALOGUE

“F*ck you, Mars.” – “The Martian”

FILM I REALLY WANTED TO SEE, BUT NEVER GOT AROUND TO

“Macbeth”

MY TOP TEN of 2015

1. “Inside Out”
2. “Spotlight”
3. “Son of Saul”
4. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
5. “Room”
6. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
7. “Sicario”
8. “The Revenant”
9. “45 Years”
10. “Brooklyn”

__________

My Ranked Films of 2015

March 26, 2016 Leave a comment

It’s hard to call one’s self a critic, or even an avid film enthusiast, without a top ten list to show for it at the end of the year. Granted, a year has not gone by in a couple of decades in which I haven’t put one together. However, if a list isn’t posted on the internet, does it really make a sound.

I originally intended for this to be smaller venture, but I couldn’t resist going a bit overboard. In result, I’ve done up a complete list counting down every movie that I’ve seen this year. It’s ranked, of course, since nothing seems to bring me better pleasure in life than ranking film-related material. It all leads up the my finalized top ten films of 2015. I’ve also thrown in an anecdote or two about each film, summing up what they all left me with.

Feel free to peruse, and stay tuned for the winners of the 6th Annual Edgy Awards in the coming week. Then, it’s officially on to 2016…

__________

76. “San Andreas” – All of the endless forms of transportation utilized in this film couldn’t keep it from being the worst of the year. Too many ways to describe how horrid this film really is.

75. “Green Inferno” – What’s really hilarious is that this one of the better films I’ve seen by Eli Roth. Quite a curve he’s working on.

74. “Jupiter Ascending” – The apple falls very far from “The Matrix.” Creativity is abound, but any form of intelligence is out to lunch.

73. “The Cobbler” – Adam Sandler doesn’t need to cross his eyes or dress up like a woman for this film to be just as bad as the all the rest. Hard to believe the film’s writer/director created this mindless mess, while also helming one of the year’s best.

72. “Chappie” – One has to wonder exactly what happened to Neill Blomkamp’s talent, or if he ever had much to begin with? This film is pretentious in its own mindlessness and often times feels flat out alienating to its viewers.

71. “Blackhat” – The least thrilling thriller of the year. Sidebar: As a pioneer of digital filmmaking, why does Michael Mann insist in shooting with technologies that look like they’ve been dead for at least a decade?

__________

70. “Aloha” – Cameron Crowe has really made himself the poster boy for “white people problem” movies. Emma Stone’s casting is just the icing on the cake.

69. “Serena” – An exhaustingly boring film to choke down. The magical chemistry of Cooper and Lawrence just could not bridge enough decades to fit this period piece.

68. “Goosebumps” – One couldn’t really go into this movie expecting a lot, but one could at least hope it could deliver a healthy dose of nostalgia. It did not.

67. Poltergeist” – I’d like to think that Rosemary DeWitt and Sam Rockwell could have knocked this out with a better script, but this film starts out “meh” and get’s worse along the way.

66. “Hot Girls Wanted” – Call me a sexist, but this ultimately feels like a documentary about people with job remorse. They can somehow try to spin this as abuse, but ultimately these girls all made their beds and now don’t want to sleep in them.

65. “Maggie” – Believe it or not, this flop is not Arnold’s fault. He certainly gives it his all in a beautifully understated role, but the film seems to be lacking in nearly all other arenas.

64. “Ricki and the Flash” – Despite a few decent musical numbers and a few satisfying moments, this film is jumbled full of characters who just don’t make a lot of sense.

63. “Crimson Peak” – Designed within an inch of it’s life, and don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous. However, the over-the-top story and characters strongly reduce any creepy scares or tension.

62. “Stonewall” – I’m usually not one to complain about historical inaccuracies, because they’re ultimately unavoidable to create a story. However, in this case, they seem to really get in the way of the story rather than aid it.

61. “Burnt” – This just isn’t Bradley Cooper’s year. Much like “Chef” last year, this film seems far more interested in generating food porn than creating decent conflict for its characters.

__________

60. “Legend” – Tom Hardy has had some great performances this year and this is certainly no exception. The film starts out strong, and then falls victim to severe repetition, making it feel at least 30 minutes too long.

59. “Child 44” – Speaking of overlong Tom Hardy movies, this film’s heart is in the right place. Yet, as a functioning mystery, it lacks a real drive towards finding a satisfying solution.

58. “Youth” – Easily one of the most ostentatious films I’ve ever seen in my life. Tries so hard to invoke a Felliniesque quality (for shame), but instead comes up cold and distant. However, it is highlighted by the performance of Harvey Keitel’s career.

57. “Southpaw” – Oh so very by the numbers boxing movie. Sure the template is effective, but it certainly doesn’t make it worth watching. If there were a reason, it’s Jake Gyllenhaal, who’s electric, once again.

56. “Mr Holmes” – The character element of an aging Sherlock Holmes is intriguing, and is a match made in heaven with Sir Ian McKellen. However, as a whole, the movie is ultimately a bore.

55. “The Wolfpack” – The film seems to want to keep everything as cut and dry as possible, but at least a little production value might have been an improvement. At times, I sometimes felt that weirdness of this family was really worthy of a feature-length doc.

54. “Digging for Fire” – I never was a fan of Joe Swanberg’s version of mumblecore. Here, he has by far the most elaborate cast and production and he just doesn’t seem to know what to do with it.

53. “Spy” – It’s no “The Heat” and certainly no “Bridesmaids”. There certainly are a flourish of funny moments, but not enough to make this film thoroughly worthwhile.

52. “The Hunting Ground” – Overall, this documentary is flawed and, honestly, more than a little irresponsible. The film functions 100% as an advocacy piece and purposely avoids opposing viewpoints or data. The strongest parts of the movie are the testimonials of the victims. Yet, the decision to prominently feature the widely discredited Erica Kinsman case and report it as virtual fact is detrimental to the impact of the other survivors’ stories.

51. “American Ultra” – Jesse Eisenberg proves once again that he can carry the weight of a variety of films. However, the absurdity of the plot cannot be balanced out with the sharp direction.

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50. “Z for Zachariah” – When you set out to create a post-apocalyptic film on a low-key scale, you better have the story to back it up. This one does not quite pull it off, but does feature surprising performances by it’s three leads.

49. “Anomalisa” – Despite hovering around the middle of my list, I would probably consider this most disappointing film of the year, or at least the most overrated. A massive undertaking, but equally pretentious, as well as being the least entertaining film Charlie Kaufman has ever made.

48. “Trumbo” – Entertaining, insightful and finally featuring a breakout film role for Bryan Cranston. Still, I feel like this could have been much, much better.

47. “Truth” – Cate Blanchett gives a powerhouse performance. No surprise there. Yet, the film has a lot of difficulty maintaining a sense of tone and actually seems to contradict its own message.

46. “The Walk” – Gordon-Levitt’s goofy portrayal of Petit, as authentic as it may be, just grows irritating after a while. The actual rooftop scenes are more than a little harrowing, even with the outcome is already well documented.

45. “Tangerine” – Absolutely electric with live-wire energy, but it’s plot is really kind of apathetic towards its characters. One can only hope that the fantastic Mya Taylor is offered more well-deserved work in result of this.

44. “Everest” – Certain moments of the film are as harrowing as any you’ll see this year. Certain elements feel off kilter, though, in particular such an all star cast spread so thinly. Furthermore, the ending comes off less cathartic as it is straight-up depressing.

43. “Slow West” – A surprisingly colorful western with some fantastic set pieces that unfortunately feels like it is over before it even begins.

42. “Trainwreck” – It’s extremely refreshing to see a Judd Apatow film oozing with estrogen for a change. Amy Schumer carries the film well, though the weight really isn’t all that heavy.

41. “The Hateful Eight” – QT has never swung and missed completely, but in my mind, this is his second straight foul tip. The dialogue is not quite up to par for the auteur, and the film’s over the top nature nearly makes it irrelevant, anyway.

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40. “99 Homes” – Garfield and Shannon do a decent job of playing off each others’ engaging talents. Yet, as the film tries to find a middling conclusion, that satisfaction is lost in the shuffle.

39. “Straight Outta Compton” – Music biopics have certainly a lot more generic in the past, and the timeliness is certainly a strong factor with this story. Yet, like many films this year, the ending feels rushed, which is strange for a 150+ minute film.

38. “Joy” – As it turns out, not everything David O’Russell touches turns to gold. While very entertaining at times, the film misses the mark on a number of levels, in particular, it doesn’t really feature a third act.

37. “Bone Tomahawk” – There’s really no reason this film should work, and yet, somehow it does succeed on multiple levels. It’s certainly not high art by any means, but puts an interesting horror spin on the average western with absolutely no punches pulled.

36. “Dope” – For most part, the film is a thoroughly played out story of a teen boy getting buried in shenanigans for his dream girls affection. It’s an original spin, but not anything earth-shaking. It does bring it all together with a hell of a closing statement.

35. “Cobain: Montage of Heck” – A highly insightful and educating documentary, but at times it is over the top, even for telling a life story such as this one.

34. “Clouds of Sils Maria” – I will admit that this film can be relentlessly tedious at times. However, it’s peppered with a handful of revelatory moments. Kristen Stewart gives, what hopefully will be a career turning performance.

33. “Creed” – I have to say, as someone who has not so much respect for “Rocky”, I wanted to dislike this movie more than I ended up. It’s still a pretty basic story and the performances are nowhere near as grand as made out to be, but it is well excecuted. The one take fight scene is remarkable.

32. “Grandma” – Lily Tomlin sets the place on fire in this film that unabashedly takes on women’s issues in ways most films don’t dare touch. I just wish the film wasn’t one and done in the time of some network TV pilots.

31. “The Danish Girl” – Eddie Redmayne simply is getting better and better as an actor which each performance, and here, I believe he may have reached a peak (though I hope not). The performers give it their all, as well as the design team, but the film still feels a bit on the surface, as well as unfortunately “safe.”

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30. “Jurassic World” – I feel like this film has gone from anticipated to beloved to scrutinized to reviled by the general public. People just can’t let those heels rest. Without a doubt, the film has it’s flaws, but it’s still a rousing adventure with some legitimately thrilling scenes. Meanwhile, as Ray Arnold would say in the original: “It could have been worse…A LOT worse.”

29. “Suffragette” – This film really seemed to come and go without turning any heads. While not groundbreaking, it’s effective in a by-the-numbers fashion. Carey Mulligan gives a highly overlooked performance, as per usual. Her one on one with Brendan Gleason is dynamite acting.

28. “Love & Mercy” – Definitely the better of the two music biopics this year, with an interesting story structure. Paul Dano was passed over for what absolutely should have been his long time coming first Oscar nod. The movie could have done better than the “wrap-up” ending that it leaves you with.

27. “The Visit” – I have no shame counting myself among those believing M. Night Shymalan’s talent had gone the way of the Dodo. However, this surprising gem of genuine subjective filmmaking is as unnerving as it is hilarious (intentionally, this time).

26. “Black Mass” – It’s obvious that Scott Cooper is a director of extraordinary talents. I’ve often wished that his film’s scripts, whether self-written or not, measured up. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting after this film. What’s crucial here is possibly the best performance of Johnny Depp’s career. He electrifies every scene that he appears in.

25. “Ex Machina” – In some ways this little sci fi gem has a healthy dose of Hitchcock in it’s veins. Alicia Vikander has gotten all of the attention this year, for this performance or others, but Oscar Isaac is the true standout as J.D. Salinger meets Mark Zuckerberg.

24. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” – This film was heralded at Sundance as the second coming, so I was relieved to see it brought back down to earth by the mainstream critics. It’s certainly one of the best teen comedies to come out in the last decade, but at times, it feels more than a bit forced.

23. “Bridge of Spies” – I find it interesting how the 90-100 minutes of this film is nearly flawless. Everything is on point and the Tom Hanks embodies Jimmy Stewart even more than normal. However, during the third act, the once high stakes seem to drop through the floor.

22. “Beasts of No Nation” – The film does succeed in delivering several truly cathartic moments. Idris Elba nails his role as the sadistic, egocentric guerrilla leader. However, even a film like this should be able to deliver some entertainment value among all of the carnage.

21. “Cartel Land” – The perfect real-life counterpart for the similarly themed “Sicario”, succeeds very well. While the stories of the film’s two cross-border subjects. However, it’s the successes and horrors lived by the Mexican people as a whole that really stay with you.

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20. “Diary of a Teenage Girl” – Glad I decided to check out the independent beauty of a film. While at times, the rough edges can get a little under the skin, it’s a quirky, if not raunchy look at female sexuality and independence. Bel Powley shines, but Alexander Skarsgard steals his fair share of scenes.

19. “It Follows” – Saying that this is the best horror film of the year is stating the obvious. Director Mitchell understands that the most essential tool that separates the men from the boys in the horror genre is solid tone. He maintains it with thick atmosphere, haunting music and some of the most nightmarish wide shots you’ll ever see.

18. “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” – Advocacy pieces tend to work a lot better when in your corner you have footage of thousands of peaceful protestors being massacred in the street. Hard to put up an argument against a doc like this. By the end, it’s hard not wanting to take up arms alongside these brave individuals no different from any one of us.

17. “The End of the Tour” – Unlike “Anomalisa,” this film crafts a moving and highly involving film about depression. Jason Segel confirms what many have alluded to that with a little effort, he could very well be the next Tom Hanks. For as much as he will warm your heart in this film, he will also break it if you let him.

16. “Steve Jobs” – Admittedly, this is actually a lesser work for Aaron Sorkin. Yet even minor Sorkin is better than 90% of other screenplays written this year or any other. Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet absolutely tear up the scenery, as if either knew how to do anything less.

15. “The Look of Silence” – While, in my opinion, not as quite as groundbreaking or intense as its counterpart “The Act of Killing,” it still presents an searing human rights argument in ways that will leave you stunned and breathless.

14. “Carol” – The best gay-themed romance film since “Brokeback Mountain” (though not nearly on the same artistic level as the latter). It is so because, while the setting and times may not have been conducive, the gay love story is just that: a love story, without questions or inhibitions, it’s as true and natural as anything “straight” cinema has to offer.

13. “Amy” – After a lot of deliberation, this does remain the highest ranked documentary I’ve seen this year. While it may not tackle oppression, human rights, or even Wall Street, it does paint a beautiful portrait of a highly visible yet little known artist. Insightful as anything else produced this year and edited with such a fine and steady touch.

12. “The Martian” – It’s interesting that Ridley Scott’s best film in nearly a decade is maybe the least “Ridleyesque” that he’s ever made. In this case, the film’s greatness is less a question of style as pure skill. Mixed with the tangible and entertaining script and Matt Damon’s magnetic performance, it’s impossible not to recommend this movie to anyone.

11. “The Big Short” – Obviously, this extravaganza of a film just barely missed my final cut, but by narrow margins. I have to say I was surprised that McKay was able to pull off not only the movie’s comedic prowess, but it’s deep, cutting message. “Short” leaves it all on the field and strikes quite a nerve in its wake.

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10. “Brooklyn”

Brooklyn_top_ten

Directed by John Crowley
Written by Nick Hornby

This film is a harkening back to the glory days of post-war America, capturing a time when possibilities and opportunity were boundless and the American dream was still plausible. In many ways, the filmmaking style is one in the same, embodying the simple but golden age of filmmaking. It succeeds on both fronts, and does not overreach for either goal. Saoirse Ronan is pitch perfect and Emory Cohen continues to make his case for better roles. A thoroughly satisfying film, start to finish.

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9. “45 Years”

45_years_top_ten

Written and Directed by
Andrew Haigh

I had read one critical analysis of this film that compared it in so many ways to a ghost story. However, the characters are haunted by something much more real and tangible: the past. You feel it lurking in the wind, around the corner and up in that horrible, horrible attic. Saying this film is subtle is an understatement, and it takes an effort to let the film pay off. The rewards are as tragic and thought-provoking as anything you’ll see this year.

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8. “The Revenant”

The_Revenant_Top_Ten

Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Written by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Mark L. Smith

It’s hard to tell at this point whether this film is over or underrated, and I suppose it could swing both ways. The film had such high expectations, anything less than a masterpiece is a bit disappointing. A masterpiece it’s not, but still a magnificent example of filmmakers laying it all on the line to achieve their vision. Said vision is something that everyone who can stomach it should experience in all of it’s majesty. It somehow seems to expand the limits of what cinema can offer, mostly by using natural techniques. At the same time, the heavily computerized bear attack will go down as one of the most harrowing scenes in film history.

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7. “Sicario”

sicario_top_ten

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Taylor Sheridan

Without a doubt, there is no filmmaker working today that I am more excited about than Denis Villeneuve. I am floored by the way he can captivate his audience. With this film, he touches on a level of intensity I’ve seldom, if ever seen, in American filmmaking. There is literally no point in this film in which any of the characters seem safe. Those are stakes often taken for granted in this day and age. Emily Blunt delivers a fine performance of grounded strength. Meanwhile, this may not be the undisputed finest role of Benicio’s career, but it’s definitely one for the books.

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6. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

star_wars_top_ten

Directed by J.J. Abrams
Written by J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan

Let’s be frank about this: I am still pinching myself. Never in my life could I imagine that the single most anticipated sequel in cinematic history, of a series that is just about the most sacred form of nostalgia that I hold dear, would not only meet expectations, but in some ways surpass them. J.J. Abrams can go ahead and retire now, for it will be a tall order for him ever to top this achievement. Props furthermore for Disney for reinventing the film franchise without alienating it. Against all odds, we have a Star Wars installment to show future generations without it being prefaced by an apology.

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5. “Room”

room_top_ten

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson
Written by Emma Donoghue

Even if this was a total bust (which, thankfully, it most certainly is not), it would still go down as the film that heralded Brie Larson as the best young actress working in Hollywood today. I was already on board after granting her my Best Actress Edgy award for “Short Term 12”, two years ago, however, it will be nice to know that we’re now all on the same page. The movie itself is a work of beauty, inspiration and life-affirmation. You would be hard-pressed not to break down into tears at least once during the runtime. A lot of credit is due to director Lenny Abrahamson. Without his steady hand, this could have easily slipped into Lifetime movie territory.

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4. “Mad Max: Fury Road”

mad_max_top_ten

Directed by George Miller
Written by Nick Lathouris, Brendan McCarthy and George Miller

There is no film released last year that I have re-watched more times than this one. Through and through, my mind echoes the same sentiment as when I emerged from my first viewing: this may well be the best straight-up action film EVER made. Furthermore, no film from 2015 did more to subvert my own expectations, which bolsters the previous statement even more. How much can a self-respecting film aficionado anticipates brilliance from half-naked renegades performing drive-bys on each other in a post-apocalyptic expanse. Now, it’s a benchmark achievement. George Miller deserves every accolade that he received (as well as all those he didn’t), for helming this perfect storm of design, style, craft and controlled mayhem.

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3. “Son of Saul”

son_of_saul_top_ten

Directed by Laszlo Nemes
Written by Laszlo Nemes and Clara Royer

Let’s preface by saying that I am still in the camp of “Schindler’s List” being a pure masterpiece in ever way, as well as the best film to date about the Holocaust, a mantel not likely to be toppled. However, for those that believe that this topic (really a genre, in itself) is one and done, this film will lay you out. Without a doubt, the most physically paralyzing and emotionally devastating film since at least “12 Years a Slave”, if not further from there. Debut filmmaker Nemes ought never make another film for this will be tough to top. Be prepared to leave this film with a heavy heart, for the bleeding from the scars of this inconceivable period of history will never stop, just as films like this should never stop being made.

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2. “Spotlight”

spotlight_top_ten

Directed by Thomas McCarthy
Written by Thomas McCarthy and Josh Singer

Most years, my number one favorite film is a clear cut choice with no question. This year, it was a touch choice, and with not much more than a coin flip, this could be my Best Pic. Easily the best film about journalism since “All the President’s Men” almost 40 years prior. It’s importance lies not in its subject matter (which is both heartbreaking and galvanizing), but in its demand for an inquisitive and ruthless free press. This is old school filmmaking at its finest. “Spotlight” could have been made forty years ago or forty years from now and it would still have the same impact, because superior acting, direction and damn near perfect writing never go out of style.

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1. “Inside Out”

inside_out_top_ten

Directed by Pete Docter
Written by Josh Cooley, Pete Docter and Meg LeFauve

This is the first time in not only my short lifetime, but in the entire breadth of cinema that I’ve been recording top ten lists, that an animated film has achieved my top spot for the year. This is no coincidence or chance, it’s simply that no animated film has ever reached the heights that this movie has. I recall being in the theater as the climax approached, and I found myself weeping. Not because of the film’s emotional impact (which is enough to weep gallons, on its own), but because I was floored at just how damn good it turned out to be.

Much like last year’s best film, “Boyhood”, this is a coming of age film. And just like its counterpart, “Inside Out” tackles the genre in ways you’ve never seen before. Both Riley’s story itself and the personification of her emotions are as intelligent as they are creative, and as hilarious as they are cathartic. This is the best film of 2015, the best film Pixar has ever produced, and quite possibly, the greatest animated movie in cinematic history.

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Well, I must admit, that was a bit more of an undertaking than I had anticipated. Hope you all enjoyed it. Stay tuned for the winners of the 6th Annual Edgy Awards, coming soon…

The 6th Annual Edgy Award Nominations

March 13, 2016 Leave a comment

6th Annual Edgy Collage

After 2 years showing up really late to the party, I was determined to get these done on schedule this time around. Overall, a pretty great year for film, or at least a significant one, if nothing else. Plenty of achievements and landmarks to be seen and experienced, so it’s only right to award the best of the best.

To remind everyone, while there may only be five editions of the Edgies available online, the awards are cataloged by yours truly going all the way back to 1940. The recipients’ nomination and win counts are grouped according to each category, with the exception of the two music categories and the four acting categories being linked.

Enjoy…

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BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Cold One
featured in “Ricki and the Flash”
Music and Lyrics by Jenny Lewis (1st nom) and Jonathan Rice (1st nom)

It’s My Turn Now
featured in “Dope”
Music and Lyrics by Pharrell Williams (1st nom)

One Kind of Love
featured in “Love and Mercy”
Music and Lyrics by Brian Wilson (1st nom)

Simple Song #3
featured in “Youth”
Music and Lyrics by David Lang

Till It Happens to You
featured in “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyrics by Lady Gaga (1st nom) and Diane Warren (4th nom, 1 win – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”)

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BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Carol
Carter Burwell (4th nom, 2 wins – “Fargo” and “Barton Fink”)

Inside Out
Michael Giacchino (2nd nom)

 Mad Max: Fury Road
Junkie XL (1st nom)

Sicario
Johann Johannsson (1st nom)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
John Williams (28th nom, 10 wins – “Munich,” “Amistad,” “Schindler’s List,” “Empire of the Sun,” “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” “Star Wars: A New Hope,” “Jaws”)

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BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING

Black Mass
Gloria Pasqua Casny (1st nom) and Joel Harlowb (2nd nom)

The Danish Girl
Jan Sewell 
(1st nom)

Mad Max: Fury Road
Damian Martin (1st nom), Nadine Prigge (1st nom) and Lesley Vanderwalt (2nd nom)

The Revenant
Sian Grigg (2nd nom), Ducan Jarman (2nd nom) and Robert Pandini (1st nom)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Amanda Knight (2nd nom) and Lisa Tomblin (2nd nom)

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BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Jurassic World
Tim Alexander (3rd nom), Martyn Culpitt (1st nom), Michael Billette (1st nom)

Mad Max: Fury Road
Andrew Jackson (1st nom) Dan Oliver (1st nom) Andy Williams (1st nom) and Tom Wood (1st nom)

The Martian
Anders Langlands (1st nom), Chris Lawrence (2nd nom, 1st win – “Gravity”), Richard Stammers (3rd nom) and Steven Warner (1st nom)

The Revenant
Richard McBride (1st nom), Matt Shumway (1st nom), Jason Smith (1st nom) and Cameron Waldbauer (2nd nom)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Chris Corbould
(5th nom, 1 win – “Inception”), Roger Guyett (7th nom), Neal Scanlan (2nd nom, 1 win – “Babe”) and Pat Dubach (2nd nom)

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BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

Inside Out
Ren Klyce (4th nom, 1 win – “The Social Network”) and Shannon Mills (2nd nom)

Mad Max: Fury Road
Scott Hecker (2nd nom), Mark Mangini (4th nom) and Wayne Pashley (2nd nom)

The Martian
Oliver Tarney (3rd nom, 1 win – “United 93”)

 Sicario
Alan Robert Murray (2nd nom)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
David Acord (1st nom) and Matthew Wood (7th nom)

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BEST SOUND EFFECTS MIXING

Jurassic World
Christopher Boyes (7th nom, 1 win – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”) and Kirk Francis (4th nom, 1 win – “L.A. Confidential”)

Love & Mercy
Eugene Gearty (1st nom), Edward Tise (2nd nom) and Chris Jenkins (3rd nom)

Mad Max: Fury Road
Chris Jenkins (3rd nom), Ben Osmo (1st nom) and Gregg Rudloff (4th nom, 2 wins – “The Matrix” and “Glory”)

The Revenant
Chris Duestertiek (1st nom), Frank A. Montano (3rd nom), Jon Taylor (1st nom) and Randy Thom (7th nom, 3 wins – “Cast Away,” “Forrest Gump” and “The Right Stuff”)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Andy Nelson (22nd nom, 5 wins – “Les Miserables,” “Cloverfield,” “Munich,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “L.A. Confidential”), Chtistopher Scarabosio (3rd nom) and Stuart Wilson (2nd nom)

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BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Brooklyn
Odile Dicks-Mireaux (1st nom)

Carol
Sandy Powell (8th nom, 3 wins – “The Aviator,” “Gangs of New York” and “Interview with the Vampire”)

The Danish Girl
Paco Delgado (2nd nom)

Mad Max: Fury Road
Jenny Beaven (7th nom, 2 wins – “The Remains of the Day” and “A Room with a View”)

The Revenant
Jacqueline West (3rd nom)

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BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Carol
Judy Becker (1st nom) and Heather Loeffler (1st nom)

Crimson Peak
Thomas E. Sanders (3rd nom, 1 win – “Saving Private Ryan”), Jeffrey A. Melvin (1st nom) and Shane Vieau (1st nom)

The Danish Girl
Eve Stewartb (3rd nom) and Michael Standish (1st nom)

Mad Max: Fury Road
Colin Gibson (1st nom) and Lisa Thompson (1st nom)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Rick Carter (5th nom, 1 win – “Lincoln”) and Lee Sandales (2nd nom)

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BEST EDITING

Amy
Chris King (1st nom)

Inside Out
Kevin Nolting (1st nom)

Mad Max: Fury Road
Margaret Sixel (1st nom)

The Martian
Pietro Scalia (5th nom, 2 wins – “Black Hawk Down” and “JFK”)

Spotlight
Tom McArdle (1st nom)

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BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Hateful Eight
Robert Richardson (6th nom, 2 wins – “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Platoon”)

Mad Max: Fury Road
John Seale (5th nom)

The Revenant
Emmanuel Lubezki (6th nom, 3 wins – “Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” “The Tree of Life” and “Children of Men”)

Sicario
Roger Deakins (14th nom, 4 wins – “O, Brother Where Art Thou?,” “Fargo,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Barton Fink”)

Son of Saul
Matyas Erdely (1st nom)

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BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Amy
James Gay-Rees (1st nom) and Asif Kapadia (1st nom)

Cartel Land
Matthew Heineman (1st nom) and Tom Yellin (1st nom)

Cobain: Montage of Heck
Brett Morgen (1st nom) and Danielle Renfrew (2nd nom)

The Look of Silence
Joshua Oppenheimer (2nd nom, 1 win – “The Act of Killing”)

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
Evgeny Afineevsky (1st nom) and Den Tolmer (1st nom)

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BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

45 Years
Andrew Haigh (1st nom)

Brooklyn
Nick Hornby (2nd nom)

The Big Short
Adam McKay (1st nom) and Charles Randolph (1st nom)

Room
Emma Donoghue (1st nom)

Steve Jobs
Aaron Sorkin (5th nom, 3 wins – “Moneyball, “The Social Network” and “A Few Good Men”

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Ex Machina
Alex Garland (1st nom)

Inside Out
Josh Cooley (1st nom), Ronnie Del Carmen (1st nom), Pete Doctor (3rd nom) and Meg LeFauve (1st nom)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Jesse Andrews (1st nom)

Sicario
Taylor Sheridan (1st nom)

Spotlight
Thomas McCarthy (3rd nom) and Josh Singer (1st nom)

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BEST ENSEMBLE CAST PERFORMANCE

The Big Short
Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Karen Gillam, Ryan Gosling, Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, John Magaro, Billy Magnussen, Adepero Oduye, Brad Pitt, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Marisa Tomei, Finn Wittrock

“Brooklyn
Eva Birthistle, Jim Broadbent, Emory Cohen, Fiona Glasgow, Domhnall Gleason, Eileen O’Higgins, Eve Macklin, Samantha Munro, Nora Jane Noone, Emily Bett Rickards, Saoirse Ronan, Julie Walters

The Hateful Eight
Zoe Bell, Demian Bichir, Bruce Dern, Walter Goggins, Dana Gourrier, Samuel L. Jackson, Gene Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Channing Tatum

Spotlight
Billy Crudup, Brian D’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Elena Wohl

Straight Outta Compton
Paul Giamatti, Elena Goode, Corey Hawkins, Aldis Hodge, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Alexandra Shipp, R. Marcos Taylor, Marlon Yates Jr.

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BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE rooney_mara_carol

Rooney Mara – “Carol”
2nd nom

kristen_stewart_clouds_of_sils_maria

Kristen Stewart – “Clouds of Sils Maria”
1st nom

mya_taylor_tangerine

Mya Taylor – “Tangerine”
1st nom

julie_walters_brooklyn

Julie Walters – “Brooklyn”
1st nom

kate_winslet_steve jobs

Kate Winslet – “Steve Jobs”
7th nom, 2 wins – “Little Children” and “Sense and Sensibility”

__________

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

paul_dano_love_&_mercy

Paul Dano – “Love and Mercy”
1st nom

benicio_del_toro_sicario
Benicio Del Toro – “Sicario”
3rd nom, 1 win – “21 Grams”

tom_hardy_the_revenant

Tom Hardy – “The Revenant”
2nd nom

mark_ruffalo_spotlight

Mark Ruffalo – “Spotlight”
3rd nom

jason_segel_end_of_the_tour

Jason Segel – “The End of the Tour”
1st nom

__________

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

brie_larson_room
Brie Larson – “Room”
2nd nom, 1 win – “Short Term 12”

carey_mulligan_ suffragette

Carey Mulligan – “Suffragette”
3rd nom, 1 win – “An Education”

charlotte_rampling_45_years

Charlotte Rampling – “45 Years”
1st nom

saoirse_ronan_brooklyn

Saoirse Ronan – “Brooklyn”
1st nom

lily_tomlin_grandma

Lily Tomlin – “Grandma”
2nd nom

__________

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

johnny depp_black_mass

Johnny Depp – “Black Mass”
3rd nom, 1 win – “Edward Scissorhands”

leonardo_dicaprio_the_revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio – “The Revenant”
8th nom, 1 win – “The Aviator”

michael_fassbender_steve_jobs

Michael Fassbender – “Steve Jobs”
3rd nom, 1 win – “12 Years a Slave”

eddie_redmayne_the_danish_girl

Eddie Redmayne – “The Danish Girl”
3rd nom

geza_rohrig_son_of_saul

Geza Rohrig – “Son of Saul”
1st nom

__________

BEST DIRECTOR

alejandro_gonzalez_inarritu_revenant

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – “The Revenant”
3rd nom

tom_mccarthy_spotlight

Tom McCarthy – “Spotlight”
1st nom

george_miller_mad_max

George Miller – “Mad Max: Fury Road
1st nom

laszlo_nemes_son_of_saul

Laszlo Neomes – “Son of Saul”
1st nom

denis_villeneuve_sicario

Denis Villeneuve – “Sicario”
2nd nom

__________

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR

45 Years
Tristan Goligher (1st nom)

Brooklyn
Fiona Dwyer (2nd nom) and Amanda Posey (2nd nom)

Inside Out”
Pete Doctor (1st nom) and Jonas Rivera (1st nom)

Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller (2nd nom) and Doug Mitchell (2nd nom)

The Revenant
Steve Golin (5th nom, 1 win – “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (4th nom), Arnon Milchan (3rd nom) and Mary Parent (1st nom)

Room
Ed Guiney (1st nom)

Sicario
Thad Luckinbill (1st nom) and Molly Smith (1st nom)

 Son of Saul
Laszlo Nemes (1st nom)

Spotlight
Steve Golin (5th nom, 1 win – “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), Nicole Rocklin (1st nom) and MIchael Sugar (1st nom)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
J.J. Abrams (1st nom), Brian Burk (1st nom) and Kathleen Kennedy (9th nom)

__________

NOMINATION TALLY

Mad Max: Fury Road – 11
The Revenant – 9
Sicario – 7
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 7
Brooklyn – 6
Spotlight – 6
Inside Out – 5
Carol – 4
The Danish Girl – 4
Son of Saul – 4
45 Years – 3
Love and Mercy – 3
The Martian – 3
Room – 3
Steve Jobs – 3
Amy – 2
The Hateful Eight – 2
Jurassic World – 2

Stay tuned for for the winners to be announced, hopefully within the next week…

2016 Oscar Predictions

February 28, 2016 Leave a comment

oscars-2-1

Great year for film. My own picks for the 6th Annual Edgy Awards will commence later this week. Meanwhile, here are my predictions for that other awards show.

I’ve never understood not waiting until the last minute. I soak up every final thought. Last year, I really went all out with the notion of using my heart instead of my head. I crashed and burned, pulling in one of my worst percentages in a decade. This year, I’m all business. Happy Oscars…

__________

BEST MOTION PICTURE of the YEAR

WILL WIN: “The Revenant”
MIGHT WIN: “Spotlight”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Inside Out”

BEST DIRECTOR

WILL WIN: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – “The Revenant”
MIGHT WIN: George Miller – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
SHOULD BE HERE: Denis Villneuve – “Sicario”

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

WILL WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio – “The Revenant”
MIGHT WIN: Bryan Cranston – “Trumbo”
SHOULD BE HERE: Johnny Depp – “Black Mass”

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

WILL WIN: Brie Larson – “Room”
MIGHT WIN: Saoirse Ronan – “Brooklyn”
SHOULD BE HERE: Carey Mulligan – “Suffragette”

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

WILL WIN: Sylvester Stallone – “Creed”
MIGHT WIN: Mark Ruffalo – “Spotlight”
SHOULD BE HERE: Benicio Del Toro – “Sicario”

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

WILL WIN: Alicia Vikander – “The Danish Girl
MIGHT WIN: Rooney Mara – “Carol”
SHOULD BE HERE: Mya Taylor – “Tangerine”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

WILL WIN: “Spotlight”
MIGHT WIN: “Inside Out”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Sicario”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

WILL WIN: “The Big Short”
MIGHT WIN: “Room”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Steve Jobs”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

WILL WIN: “Son of Saul”
MIGHT WIN: “Mustang”
SHOULD BE HERE: “N/A”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

WILL WIN: “Amy”
MIGHT WIN: “Cartel Land”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

WILL WIN: “Inside Out”
MIGHT WIN: “Anomalisa”
SHOULD BE HERE: N/A

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

WILL WIN: “The Revenant”
MIGHT WIN: “Sicario”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Son of Saul”

BEST EDITING

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
MIGHT WIN: “The Big Short”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Amy”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
MIGHT WIN: “The Revenant”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Crimson Peak”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
MIGHT WIN: “The Danish Girl”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Brooklyn”

BEST SOUND MIXING

WILL WIN: “”Mad Max: Fury Road”
MIGHT WIN: “The Revenant”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Love & Mercy”

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
MIGHT WIN: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Inside Out”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

WILL WIN: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
MIGHT WIN: “The Revenant”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Jurassic World”

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
MIGHT WIN: “The Revenant”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Black Mass”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

WILL WIN: “The Hateful Eight”
MIGHT WIN: “Carol”
SHOULD BE HERE: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

WILL WIN: “Till It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground”
MIGHT WIN: “Simple Song 3” from “Youth”
SHOULD BE HERE: “One Kind of Love” from “Love and Mercy”

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM

WILL WIN: “Ave Maria”
MIGHT WIN: “Stutterer”
SHOULD BE HERE: N/A

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

WILL WIN: “Sanjay’s Super Team”
MIGHT WIN: “Bear Story”
SHOULD BE HERE: N/A

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

WILL WIN: “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
MIGHT WIN: “Body Team 12”
SHOULD BE HERE: N/A