This has been a weird year for movies. Lest we not forget the political vomiting that’s taking place and poor ole Harambe, but when it concerns the cinema, whew, it’s been one for the books, and its still only September! I can only speak for the films I’ve seen, but for the ones I have not I can only go by general consensus or word of mouth. For example, I saw Batman V Superman, so I know the extent to which I was dissapointed, but I could have easily relied on the explosion of conversation surrounding the film as well. Rotten tomatoes score or not that movie earned (some) bank but built an uneasy foundation going into the summer for DC comics based movies.
After compiling the lineup below I realized I haven’t seen anywhere near the amount of movies I wanted to see this year, but eventually I’ll get around to most if not all on this list. It’s hard to keep up with the abundance of visual art that’s made each year, and I personally try not to berate any one production, because it’s a difficult thing making a movie. I know, just from small instances of my own personal efforts, that simply scheduling around people’s lives can be a headache in itself and that’s not considering budgets, daylight, special effects, line memorization, lighting, hell even lunch being delivered on time can make or break a day’s efforts sometimes. So, sometimes even simply finishing a film can be a feat. I get that. However it’s also important to hold Hollywood to quality storytelling as they have the infrastructure that independent filmmakers only dream of and consequentially the indie people have made better films, than the big studios, as far as 2016 is considered.
Some are calling this the worst summer movie season ever. I don’t know about that. While it was certainly a letdown at times (here’s looking at you Independence Day) this year did have its merits, in fact I would say there were far more quality films over the more discussed dissapointments. You just had to know where to look for them. Anyways, here’s a quick reminder of this years highs and lows at the theater (so far).
Who knew the merc with a mouth could be more bankable (in North America), and have a better story, than Batman and Superman combined? #Driveby
Captain America Civil War: A+
Just another AAA 10/10 notch under Marvel’s belt, everything about this film knocks it out of the park in a way that keeps reinventing the superhero genre while inserting powerfully emotional story threads.
Swiss Army Man: A
This is a beautiful film about a suicidal man teaching a dead man that life is worth living. Filled with slick editing and special effects this film combines profound questions about life, saddness, love, and farts. Just trust me, it works.
Hunt for the wilderpeople: A+
A joyous and at times somber film that keeps you laughing while doling out life lessons for the leads both young and old. This is a truly unique flick and definitely one of my new favorites! Plus Any film that utilizes New Zealand’s beautiful landscape is always a nice touch.
Star Trek Beyond: B+
Slowed down to a more true ‘Trek’ vibe and pace this third outing in the series is another welcomed adventure with great character work. I may personally disagree with the creative choice of incorporating shaky cam sequences, but it’s not too much to distract from the overall quality.
The Shallows: B
The second best shark attack film ever made. At a tight hour and twenty seven minutes this popcorn shark flick hits all the intense and unnerving moments that you’d expect, and want, out of the ‘Blake Lively versus a giant shark’ pitch.
Jungle Book: B
Visually impressive beyond a doubt this modern rendition of Mogli’s animal adventure is a pleasure to watch and worthwhile solely on the basis of Bill Murray as Baloo and Christopher Walken as King Louie.
Kubo and The Two Strings: B
A clever and impressive stop motion adventure full of heart and danger, this is Laika studios’ best effort yet! Plus Matthew McConaughey steals the show as Beetle #AlrightAlrightAlright
Kung Fu Panda 3: B
A fitting and entertaining sequel following Jack Black’s Po and friends on more Kung Fu adventures while learning life lessons along the way. The soundtrack also took a noticeable uptick from previous outings.
Independence Day Resurgence: C-
While I personally enjoyed this popcorn disaster flick, it is by no means “good”. Bigger Aliens, more destruction, but a confused tone throughout make a mess of a good alien invasion series. Jeff Goldblum makes the watch worth it, but not much else.
Sausage Party: C+
This isn’t necessarily a “bad” movie, but for what I expected (and this may be an issue of expectation vs reality of the film) it just didn’t really hold up for me. However there are clever bits hidden throughout about the nature of humanity, religion, and reality. If Hotdogs saying “Fuck” a whole lot is your thing then you’ll love it.
Batman VS Superman Dawn of Justice: D-
A complete misstep in the basic understanding of the two main characters here. While there are some fun visual things throughout the movie, like Batman in the warehouse, there are simply far too many failings (Martha/kryptonite spear/Jesse Eisenberg/Murderface Batman/No Smiles Superman) to merit this a success in the least.
Suicide Squad: D
1 & 1/2 acts and a thousand flashbacks mashed into one seriously confusing and muddled mess set to pop hits with the worst villain in ages, Suicide Squad is more entertaining than Batman V Superman at times, but not even Will Smith can save the DCEU, although he was the best part.
The Unwatched (For Now)
The Lobster: Want to see
I’ve heard great things about this one plus I love the concept of forced love under the threat of animal transformation.
Sing Street: Want to see
Consistently heard that this is one of the best, if not the very best, films of the year. Plus the trailers really sell those kids rocking the hits!
Green Room: Want to see
As one of Anton Yelchin’s last films I want to check it out since he was a great actor, but Patrick Stewart in a villainous role is also incredibly enticing!
10 Cloverfield Lane: Want to see
I personally love John Goodman in almost everything he’s done, plus the word of mouth about this film is excellence bar none so I’m pretty excited to check out how creepy Goodman can become when in a bomb shelter as friend or foe.
Hail, Caesar!: Want to see
I love the coen brothers’ films but I especially love when they work with George Clooney. The trailers sold me on the idea of a Golden Age hollywood kidnapping that becomes Josh Brolin’s problem. I’m in!
Warcraft: Want to see
Not everyone loved this film, and I’m not a World of Warcraft player but it looked fun and visually stunning, that and I admittedly have a fantasy genre weakness. More Magic and swords please!
The Witch: Want to see
I’m not the biggest horror fan around, but when a film in the genre seems to be universally loved I kinda want to know what all the buzz is about.
Zootopia: Want to see
The consensus is that this animated flick is clever as hell and highly watchable. That’s good enough for me!
The Nice Guys: Want to see
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe paired together in a buddy crime flick set in 1970’s Los Angeles and its directed by Shane Black? I have no excuses, I should have seen this one.
Hell or High Water: Want to see
I like the actors involved here and it seems like an excellent robbery film scenario. It’s just nice to see Chris Pine in something besides outer space, although he’s a great Kirk nonetheless.
Finding Dory: Want to see
Finding Nemo was Pixar’s Lion King, and it seems they did one better than Disney by creating a follow-up that wasn’t direct to video material, kudos, I need to see this animated feat.
The BFG: Moderately interested
The actual story and trailers didn’t truly sell me on the film, but it IS Steven Speilberg we’re talking about here, i will see this one eventually.
X-Men Apocalpyse: Not interested
While Days of Future past was an excellent X-men Movie I’m just not all that interested in the first class crew out on their own, I didn’t love their first outing and it seems like they wasted both Apocalypse AND Oscar Isaac here. I’ll check it out eventually because of Michael Fassbender’s Magneto though, however I’m still not convinced when it comes to James McAvoy’s Professor X .
Jason Bourne: Not interested
I might be in the minority here but I just wasn’t a fan of the earlier Bourne movies, to each their own, but if this one is supposedly the worst of them all then why should I bother?
TMNT Out of The Shadows: Not interested
The first (new) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was abysmal (in my opinion) and this one did look to be a shade better, but they’re just not my turtles, sorry guys.
Ben-Hur: Actively avoiding
This seemed like a pointless remake to begin with and the reception has only grounded that belief further. I’m also not incredibly inclined towards Jesus flicks, I’m still miffed about the passion of the Christ if I’m being honest here (it’s not a movie).
Everybody wants some: Want to see
Richard Linklater is a unique voice in film today and I’ve enjoyed his other flicks so why not check this one out? It seems to be well received too!
The Neon Demon: Want to see
Besides Drive I’m not a gigantic Nicolas Winding Refn fan but this has been highly recomended to me by fellow film fans for the cinematography and use of color, so at some point curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll check this one out.
Zoolander 2: Actively avoiding
The first Zoolander is enertaining enough but I’ve heard that even people that loved the first one were dissapointed by this outing, so why spend the time if I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first one anyways?
Neighbors 2 Sorority Rising: Moderately interested
I have not seen the first neighbors so I should probably check that one out as well but I’ve heard nothing but good from both of these comedies and I’m always heartened when a solid comedy does well.
Now you see me 2: Not interested
I also missed the first Now you see me, so maybe I could give it a shot, I enjoy all of the talent involved, but I really have no interest in checking this out after all the “meh” this film received. Maybe on a rainy day.
The Legend of Tarzan: Not interested
This is one of those “Told a million times” stories that I honestly have no real interest in seeing. Christoph Waltz is always a delight onscreen but I fear this film has nothing else to offer.
Keanu: Want to see
Key and Peele are a fun comedic treat whenever they produce something it usually turns out great, plus the trailers sold me on the idea of this kitty caper, I just haven’t gotten around to it quite yet.
The Light between Oceans: Moderately interested
I recently saw a bit of an interview with the director Derek Cianfrance where he explains his filmaking process with this film and it honestly intrigued me enough to see how it ends up, plus Michael Fassbender is always good. Always.
Don’t Breathe: Moderately interested
Again, not a huge Horror fan, but the idea of a home invasion that is flipped on the intruders when the blind homeowner becomes the villain is delightfully creepy, plus Stephen Lang is excellent and its always nice to see him get more work.
Money Monster: Moderately interested
Directed by Jodie Foster and starring George Clooney in a timely thriller about the 1% and their greed seems like it could be an entertaining piece.
Nine Lives: Actively avoiding
Ha! This looked awful from the beginning, but if you really want a good opinion on why you should never see this check out Chris Stuckmann’s review of it on youtube, it’s glorious.
Pete’s Dragon: Not interested
To be fair I was never a fan of the original because I never saw it as a child so there’s no inherent nostalgia for me here, plus nothing in the trailers really sold me on it.
Gods of Egypt: Moderately interested
This is a train wreck I want to see. I know it’s bad. Terribly bad. But it looks entertainingly horrible, like laughing nonstop bad. It could be worth it if viewed as a comedy.
So that wraps it up for movies I have seen and those I have missed. If you have any thoughts or opinions please feel free to comment below. Let’s hope the fall has more promising films on the way. The ones I’m looking forward to are: Rogue One, Doctor Strange, Jack Reacher 2 Never go back, Godzilla Resurgence, In a valley of violence, Passengers, La la Land, & Rules don’t apply. Here’s to better films and brighter futures!