2016 Movies To See

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29 Responses to 2016 Movies To See

  1. Kate says:

    So grateful for this! It just seems harder and harder to sit down and figure out what do go see! I don’t seem to know how to get my finger to the pulse anymore!

    • sheila says:

      Unfortunately lots of these came and went so quickly. One week in an arthouse and then they’re gone. But then there are the Netflix ones – Justin T, The 13th, and OJ Made in America – all must-sees.

      Some may already be streaming!

    • sheila says:

      Or no – wait – OJ Made in America was on ESPN – I saw it on their website. It’s 5 hours long. It zips by. Hugely important work.

  2. sheila says:

    One of the most striking things for me about this list – how many women directed these films, how many women wrote them – how many are auteur-like in their behavior, no matter the cost of prestige/recognition (Reichardt) – it frustrates me when people – male and female critics – bemoan the fact that more women don’t direct superhero movies.

    This is such an internalization of the capitalist mindset that I find it exgtremely depressing coming from a group of people who supposedly care about art.

    I don’t WANT a fantastic and personal director to gain “legitimacy” by directing a 20 million dollar blockbuster. I want them to keep directing their OWN stories because it is only by sharing their own stories that we will ever progress in our country and elsewhere – stories like Moonlight – which took 8 years (probably longer) to come to fruition – nobody handed him ANYthing.

    And I must reiterate, I know I’ve said this before: there was a lot of “Why are movies so bad?” chatter this year, including one big piece saying that “cinema was dead.” Because oh boo-hoo the comic book franchise movies TANKED this summer. Like, THIS is their measuring stick. These are critics!

    My reply to them is: See more movies and see movies outside your wheelhouse and see movies with subtitles, for God’s SAKE.

    This has been a tremendous year for film.

  3. sheila says:

    As of now, I have zero “studio” movies on my Top 10. This is a good and healthy sign.

  4. mutecypher says:

    I’m really looking forward to LaLaLand. Even more since it’s on your list. I’m intrigued that it’s directed by the same guy who did Whiplash.

    • mutecypher says:

      Should I draw any unfortunate conclusions about the absence of Rules Don’t Apply from the list? I’m really looking forward to that, as well.

      • sheila says:

        Haven’t seen Rules Don’t Apply. Hence its exclusion. I haven’t seen Toni Erdmann. Or Loving (Jeff Nichols is such a wonderful director). Have a feeling I will love those too – but can’t include yet. I haven’t seen Fences yet either – other critics flipping out about it – although that one might have an early 2017 release date. I don’t think so, though – there have been NY screenings already. That is my most anticipated film opening before the year-end. Absolutely love that play.

        I can’t wait for Rules Don’t Apply!

    • sheila says:

      La La Land is magical. I really did not like Whiplash – although it was extremely well directed (maybe even more accurate to say it was well SHOT) – and this is a 180 in terms of mood – subject matter. It’s amazing!

      A huge dance number involving 100s – literally – of people in a traffic jam on the 405. It’s wild! And it manages to be a modern musical without any wink-wink cynicism about the old-fashioned form. (Which is what ruins so many modern Hollywood musicals!)

      This is unabashed musical-land. I absolutely loved it!

      • sheila says:

        Plus a huge musical number in Griffith Park Observatory which is perfect.

        • mutecypher says:

          Now I’m thinking about Natalie Wood and James Dean.

          • sheila says:

            Well, the date in La La Land is a bit more positive than an afternoon field trip where a dude drones on and on about the end of the world. :)

        • sheila says:

          Wonderful things about this:

          There are clearly a lot of sets and they are all magical. But they also filmed in real-world LA locations. Sometimes with 100s of dancing extras. But sometimes as simple as Emma S and Ryan G waltzing through the echoing lobby of Griffith Park, and then floating up into the night sky panorama inside the dome. It’s stunning – and makes it feel (weirdly) like a very local movie. Rooted in a very real place.

      • Allison Bennett says:

        hey sheila….i was wondering what you thought of lala land. i just saw it yesterday and absolutely loved every single second. that opening number in the traffic jam was a remarkable cinematic feat….i kept thinking, “how the hell did the do this?” i believe it was all one shot?? i kept thinking about the choreography and logistics that went into pulling that off! emma stone is a “broad” in the best sense of the word. a real old-fashioned movie star….just love her and was walking on air after this movie. i want to see it again.

  5. Barb says:

    What a great list! And I’ve only seen two of them, so I feel a little like you have provided an amazing gift basket of opportunity here. The images alone are fascinating, and many of them are so gorgeous – Cemetery of Splendour, Moonlight, La La Land, A Bigger Splash, Kicks – that I want to gaze at them for hours. Not that I have hours to gaze at art. Guess I will just have to seek out their movies instead.

    • sheila says:

      Which ones have you seen?

      The good thing about the world we live in now is we don’t have to wait for these movies to arrive – many of them will NEVER arrive in theaters – especially not in more remote areas, and even in New York, these things sometimes play one week at one tiny theatre. BUT with VOD and other things – they’re usually widely available pretty soon after their release. Plus old-fashioned renting of DVDs and all the rest.

      I love movie posters, too! The La La Land … I want that one on my wall!

  6. Barb says:

    Hail Caesar! and Love and Friendship. The first in the cineplex, and the second in our little Art House Cinema. Out here, Netflix is my very dear companion! And the library, of course – though with the rise of streaming services our circulation and budget for physical dvd’s has shrunk in recent years, so we might not be able to supply as many of these as we once could.

    • sheila says:

      Oh that’s right – I think we discussed Love and Friendship?? I just loved that movie so much.

      The thing with streaming that is such a bummer is that a lot of things are not making the transfer – the same thing happened with the switch from VHS to DVD. There were so many things out on video tape which were not transferred to DVD – and every time we get some new technology, more and more thing don’t make the cut. That’s why I still have a VCR!!

      • Barb says:

        Same here, regarding the VCR! I have held on to my DVD queue on Netflix for the same reason.

        Sort of an aside, but remember the days of having to track down movies, by way of obsessive attention to TV schedules and video library lists? I once got up at 3 am to watch Catch 22 with the sound almost off so as to not wake anyone else up. Sometimes especially I think the easier access to movies these day has taken some of the shine off, for me, anyway. Or maybe I’mean just too tired to get up in the middle of the night now!

        • sheila says:

          // I once got up at 3 am to watch Catch 22 with the sound almost off so as to not wake anyone else up. //

          Ha!! Yes! This activity was so much a part of my childhood and adolescence! Every week I’d go through the TV Guide circling things I wanted to see. I would wait … and wait … a year sometimes … for a re-play of something I had loved. James Dean movies. It was agonizing to have to WAIT to see East of Eden again. And then, yes – I would get up at 11 pm to watch it – on a school night – huddled close to the TV so as not to wake my family.

          It was so urgent! Because who knows when it would be broadcast again??

          I am definitely happy to have access to the movies I love now should I want to see them on a whim – but I do remember fondly those good old days – because I was so passionate about it, and there was something about the agonizing wait that made the movies seem even MORE important!

          • Nicola says:

            //Every week I’d go through the TV Guide circling things I wanted to see. //

            Me, too! Same! The first movie I remember getting up at some ungodly hour to see was From Here to Eternity. I think AFI had just released this magazine 100 Years 100 Movies, or something like that. And I devoured it cover to cover. Obsessed over every single thing and I almost died of excitement when it showed up in a TV guide for an early morning broadcast.

          • sheila says:

            I am so glad to hear that other people did this. Recently a bunch of similar-aged film critics reminisced about this on Twitter and we ALL did this. Also, the younger folks were totally surprised to figure out that us old folks grew up with phenomenal public television on local stations that was basically our own personal TCM. I saw everything off of Channel 56 out of Boston.

            Yes, horrible fuzzy prints, and seeing Lawrence of Arabia in black and white on a tiny TV screen, but whatever!! I was 10 and I needed to see this stuff!

          • sheila says:

            It’s not like my small state was clogged with art-houses – although there was a film club at the university down the street. My first teenage romance was with a fellow movie nerd and we would go to Noir festivals and Marx Brothers festivals at this university film club.

            But other than that – I saw everything on that local TV station. They had double-feature nights and monster movies – they had special programming devoted to different directors – it was incredible, looking back on it – and I am very grateful!

  7. Adding these to my to-see list immediately. I’m excited that A Bigger Splash made it on your list. I seriously haven’t stopped thinking about this movie since I saw it.

    La La Land, Childhood of a Leader are the ones I’m most anticipating at this point.

    • sheila says:

      Nicola – A Bigger Splash is amazing! Ralph Fiennes’ whole dance number?? I honestly think this is one of his best performances ever. I haven’t stopped thinking about it either. It’s really my kind of movie: just get a couple of interesting people in a room, all with competing objectives – and watch what happens. I thought it was wonderful!

      And it wiped out my memory of Le Piscine – or, if not wiped it out (because I love Le Piscine) – it definitely became its own thing on its own terms and I didn’t at all think about Alain Delon and Romy Schneider.

      Childhood of a Leader is so well-done and so terrifying. It was marketed using Robert Pattinson’s name – and he’s really barely in it – but when he DOES show up … my God!! It’s another example – like The Witch, like The Love Witch- where a filmmaker did not compromise. You can TELL. Because it’s so unique, and so itself – and kind of challenging too, in terms of its pace – I had to really adjust my own rhythm to slow down so I could get into the movie’s head-space – You just know that the director did exactly what he wanted to do and did not compromise.

      • Nicola says:

        I thought Childhoof of a Leader’s trailer was one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a while. The music creeped me the hell out.

        And I love what you said (and have said a few times about recent films) about the director making a movie completely his way. I think that’s what’s got me so excited. That’s truly “indie”. Nothing to do with budget. Independent.

        (OH! And side-note: I’ve finally got hold of Bullhead. Not sure when I’ll have time to watch, but I have it!)

        • sheila says:

          Nicola – yes, the music in Childhood of a Leader is really good – and the genre of the film is … well, you can’t tell WHAT it is. There are horror movie elements – including a flat-affect child who just seems … “off” … so there’s that, and the title is “in your face” in suggesting what the movie is all about. It’s a brilliant title, I think.

          and yes, it truly is “indie.” I can imagine just how much the film could have been wrecked with too much “contribution” from worried unimaginative producers or studio people. There is nothing those people hate more than not knowing what something IS. Is it horror?? Is it political?? Is it a costume drama? What can we compare it to?? These people are not artists and so they ask all the wrong questions.

          It is definitely not an ingratiating movie. It is ITSELF, uncompromisingly so – and there were times when I was like, “Oh come ON, let’s get ON with this already.” But even that (to me) was an encouraging sign – because it showed the director doing exactly what he wanted to do, and not giving a shit about coddling me. :)

          This could obviously have backfired. Sometimes movies are boring and not well-made and so I don’t have the same sense of a galvanizing presence of a guy behind the camera who has a very specific story that he wants to tell. But in this case I did!

        • sheila says:

          Oh, and please let me know what you think of Bullhead. Honestly, I was so upset by that movie I can honestly say I will never see it again. Too much! But I will never forget it. Or the character that Schoenaerts plays. So so painful.

  8. Chuck in Maine says:

    Unknowingly to your post, I watched “13th” last night. It chilled me to my core. Usually when I am watching a documentary I comment to myself or have discussions with the people I am watching it with to keep it interesting. Last night I found myself speechless, I had no words. Shocked initially, some anger most definitely, and a few moments of doubt wondering if I maybe was being spun a little.

    Also I found myself irritated, I could find no level of introspection with this material. I was left with no concept, nothing to grab onto, no life experience to say, “yeah, I know how that feels. I got you.” Sympathy, in my mind, had no place here. That’s not what they wanted. Me saying my usual, “It’s simply this: Love God. Love others.” doesn’t play well in the ears of injustice and oppression. That bothered me deeply.

    I guess what I am getting at is that this documentary does exactly what any good documentary should – shine a light, a very bright one, on a dark subject. My views on certain parts of this film are forever shifted. I will still hold to the fact that true criminals that wrong the laws of society should be punished, no matter their genetics, demographics, and etc. However, I am changed on and will struggle with the matter of how we got here and how much I really don’t understand.

    Thanks for allowing me to put my two pennies in the tip jar.

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