Friday, December 30, 2016

The 10 Best Movies of 2016

Ryan Gosling stars in La La Land

I saw a lot of good movies in 2016. Here's 10 to remember, plus a few more. Cheers, and happy 2017!

1. La La Land - Revives the classic movie musical with a contemporary twist. Starting with the opening song and dance number on a gridlocked freeway, every scene leads to a breathtaking moment. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone literally soar in the year's best movie.

2. Manchester by the Sea - Casey Affleck gives the performance of the year, as a man scarred by his past having to confront it after the death of his brother. Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams give award-worthy performances. A scene between Affleck and Williams is the most genuine in a movie in years.

3. Moonlight - Profound story of a poor kid's childhood and adolescence, and the manner in which they shut down his emotions which he struggles to find as an adult.

4. Hell or High Water - Contemporary Western with sly, deep comments on our rigged society. Chris Pine and Ben Foster rob the banks the hold the reverse mortgage on their ranch, the better to pay the bank back with its own money. Jeff Bridges investigates. Bridges is about as good, as an actor gets.

5. Jackie - Natalie Portman creates Jackie Kennedy in the days after the assassination of her husband, President John Kennedy. She creates the Kennedy myth, and heals the nation in the process.

6. Loving - Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton recreate the mixed race Southern Virginia couple whose marriage goes to the Supreme Court. Ruth Negga is an actress to watch.

7. O.J. Made in America - Ezra Edelman creates the documentary of the year, giving context to the O.J. Simpson story and tragedy.

8. Sully - Tom Hanks continues his run as "America's Actor," recreating the calm leadership of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who saved a jetful of lives, landing his crippled airliner on the Hudson River.

9. Paterson - Adam Driver gets better and better in his acting career. He plays a Paterson, New Jersey bus driver who writes poetry. The small moments of his life combine for a deep experience.

10. A Bigger Splash - Alfred Hitchcock would have loved the shocking ending to this thriller, starring Tilda Swinton as a rock star, who receives an unwelcome visit from her former lover Ralph Fiennes and his dangerous daughter Dakota Johnson.

Honorable Mention: Weiner, Hail, Caesar!, Lion, Don't Think Twice, The Handmaiden and Eye in the Sky.