The 5 Best Movies of 2016

5.) Kubo and the Two Stringskubo-main_0

It’s an animated movie with hutzpah; something that isn’t widely promulgated these days. Featuring beautiful art direction, great music and a narrative containing serious, mature themes that will resonate with child and adult alike, Kubo is a gem in the modern day animated dirt mine.

4.) The Accountantmv5bndc5mzg2ntyxnv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjq2odawote-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_

This is on here because the first hour and a half was a remarkably delicate, thoughtful handling of a sensitive subject matter interlaced with guns, powerful flashback sequences and (against all odds) interesting mathematical content. Riveting stuff. Not to mention the second half wasn’t that bad either.

 

 

3.) Hacksaw Ridgeimg

I don’t normally watch WWII period pieces, but when I do I make sure Mel Gibson’s directing ’em.

 

 

 

 

1.) All I See Is You and The Autopsy of Jane Doe

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It’s a tie! While I like All I See Is You just a tad more because it speaks to my experiences in relationships (I know, yikes) and operates on a level entirely above and beyond any other romantic drama I’ve seen, the reality of the matter is that it’s a more flawed movie than The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Jane Doe accomplishes exactly what it sets out to without a single misstep. In any case, they’re both horror masterpieces and my movies of 2016.

The 5 Worst Movies of 2016

My definition of worst for the sake of this list: anything that let me down so substantially that I feel it was a waste of my time on this earth. Disappointed, wronged, call it whatever you want. I’m calling it “worst.”

5.) Neighbors 2: Sorority Risingimages

This is the kind of inane movie that panders to the brand of feminism people like Laci Green preach. It’s utterly idiotic in every way, to summarize. The jokes fall flat, the characters of the first are brought back for a pointless sequel, Seth Rogen drops the ball, you get the gist.

4.) Sausage Party

And look at that, Seth is back on this list already! The funniest thing to come from his two 2016 releases is the fact I usually like his brand of humor. Yet here we are, with a raunchy, incoherent mess of a two-hour food orgy. Literally. Ever think about the CGI artists who pay for their children’s food by animating a hot dog ass-fucking a bagel? You do now. Continue reading

Review of “Kubo and the Two Strings”

It’s got all the heart of a Disney animated film but with twice the balls. Go see it.kubo-main_0.jpg

Kubo‘s story is one of tragedy, growing up, loss and all the usual jazz. Sad origins, imminent threats, etc.; you’ve seen it all before. But it’s done so damn well here that you can’t not respect it. Especially when it gets dark, which it does. Some of the scenes and their respective implications really dig deeper than any recent Pixar film had the guts to go, not to mention some blatantly visually spooky stuff crops up in the film as well. Good stuff.

Beyond that, the animation is beautiful and the soundtrack is phenomenal, especially Regina Spektor’s cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” There’s really nothing I can fault the movie with beyond the occasional pacing hiccup, and that’s a relatively minor flaw by the time all’s said and done. So, in conclusion: why are you still reading this? Kubo‘s only going to be in theatres for a little longer. Get going! And bring the whole family. It’s magical for everyone, young and old.

“War Dogs” Review

It’s sad Wolf of Wall Street set in Iraq and Albania. The characters are less colorful and lovable, the situation less ritzy and glamorous and the overall chain of events less of a rollercoaster. Simply put, it’s a less talented writer and director’s attempt at using Scorsese’s film as a cookie cutter mold for theirs. If plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, War Dogs should be making Martin blush.

War_Dogs_2016_poster Continue reading

Review of “Nerve”

Rating: pretty good.
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To keep the summary brief, for those of you unaware of what Nerve‘s all about, it’s a movie about kids who get cyber-dared to do stupid things that can range from stuff as benign as kissing strangers to dangerously lethal tasks like suicide-dangling from cranes. The flick follows one girl who starts out afraid to do risky shit, then gets involved in Nerve and you know the drill from here.

Basically, it’s exactly what the trailers sell it to be. As with the other handful of movies I give that compliment, that’s a really big deal in my eyes. It lives up to the exact degree of hype it tried to generate, and I didn’t leave feeling disappointed by the plot. And in a movie like this, plot is everything. Neither Dave Franco or Emma Roberts could’ve saved this by themselves if it was a movie that needed saving.

My ONLY real gripe with this film was the hacking shit at the end. I’m keeping it vague as going any deeper would enter spoiler territory, but seriously, if you’re the kind of person that can’t stand bullshit Hollywood hacking that defies the rules of computers and the internet in real life, avoid this movie as the finale might very well sour the entire thing for you. Luckily I have a high enough tolerance to stomach it. Still, for those of you familiar with how servers and open source programming work… prepare to be irked. Not to mention why the _______ just choose to _______ at the one time the _______ need it, when they could’ve ________’d the damn thing before the movie started. Shit, dude. Now I’m starting to realize how much of a mess the end was.

Pros:
-Solid cinematography, exciting shots
-Solid soundtrack
-Solid cast all around
-Accurate dialogue/it’s pretty in-tune with how modern day teens think/talk (unfortunately)
-Interesting plot that actually has balls until the end
-Casey Neistat cameo

Cons:
-The hacking bullshit (coughWatch_Dogscough)
-The convenient timing of the hacking bullshit
-The mom actress’s performance is lacking and unconvincing

The moral of the review is to go see it if you want what the trailer’s selling. Just don’t love it too much, because that ending will break your heart (because it’s poorly written).

Review of “Star Trek Beyond”

It feels like an episode of an exceptionally well-funded TV show. And, considering that’s what they were going for, that’s a good thing.maxresdefault.jpg

Pros:
-BEASTIE BOYS SONG THAT FITS PERFECTLY DURING THE *_SPOILER_* SCENE
-Ensemble cast gels well
-Everything is fine
-A few small, nice Easter eggs to the OG Star Trek

Cons:
-It feels like an episode of a show. Fireworks are minimal, a good hour of it is just raw chatter, fights are small. I don’t mind these things on their own, they just stack poorly together. Especially since the dialogue and core plot aren’t all that interesting on their own.

If you’re in the market for a generically fun space adventure, Beyond‘s got you covered. Or if you want an insanely good Beastie Boys music video surrounded by one hundred twenty minutes of story.

Review of Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (PC)

If you liked the original, you’ll like Catalyst. After all, they’re more or less the same game.rendition1.img.jpg

For the uninitiated, Mirror’s Edge is a game about parkour. That’s code for speedy running, jumping, wall-running and flipping. The game is about getting from point A to B as smoothly, stylishly and efficiently as possible on your own two feet. It’s fun.

Now for those of you who’ve ever played a video game and know exactly what Mirror’s Edge is supposed to be, here’s the skinny: either you loved the original or hated it. If the latter, Catalyst won’t sway you. If the former, as I said above, you’ll be a happy camper. I know I was.

All the details beyond that you can find in other reviews, like how the combat is pretty great but still lacks the seamless flow of the Arkham games (something that could be remedied by adding an auto-target glide feature), or how the open world is linear to the point of being a non-feature. But the one thing no one has specified for inquiring minds is what I’m about to show visual evidence of:MIC

The core story and all its side missions (you can see my unlocked achievements) clock in at 9 hours. And it’s honestly closer to 8 if you disregard the time I spent dicking around snagging irrelevant collectibles. Sure, there’s time trials and user generated content, but if you want actual scripted, meaningful missions then this game gives you 8 hours of them, no more or less. For $60 that’s a hell of a drop-off. Now, I paid $40 and given how much I loved those 8 hours (they were definitely quality over quantity), I’m totally content with my purchase. That may not apply to all of you, so if you want quantifiable bang for your buck, look elsewhere. Otherwise, it’s time to put on your running shoes.

On a totally irrelevant side note: the story’s chock full of forgettable characters, but there’s one that’s actually pretty great: Plastic. She’s a hoot. I hope she appears in the sequel, if there ever is one.