Movie Review Check-In

Antony Post, Staff Writer

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During Thanksgiving break, I got the chance to see some great movies and some stinkers. I will go in order from worst to best, so let’s take a look at some new films that have some Oscar potential.

At the bottom of the barrel at number 11 is one of the worst films of the year, which is Warren Beatty’s passion project on Howard Hughes, Rules Don’t Apply. This film was so bad from a filmmaking standpoint, but then I found out the whole movie was fictional and Lily Collins’s character, the female lead, was made up. I give this film an F.

Up next at number 10 is The Edge of Seventeen, a teen comedy that follows a seventeen year old, Nadine, as she navigates life after her best friend falls in love with her brother. This film had its moments but in the end, I found it very depressing and it did not have the emotion or heart the movie needed. However, the performances were great which is why this film gets a C+.

At number 9 is Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the new Ang Lee film, following a day in a war hero’s shoes in the modern day entertainment based world. This film was very hard to critique since there was a lot here to analyze. Overall, Lee had some great ideas, which some were conceived well, but some just did not make the landing. However, the messages in the film were great which is why I am giving this film a C+.

Coming in at number 8 is Loving, following the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who fought up to the Supreme Court because they wanted to be married even though Mildred was black and Richard was white and it was against the law where they lived. This film was very, very slow and did not tell the Loving’s story for the whole movie like I wanted it to. However, there are some great performances which is why I give this a B+.

At number 7 is the thriller by up and coming director Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals. Starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhal, it follows Adams, a divorcee, who is sent by her ex-husband a transcript for his new book. What happens in the book starts to unnerve Adams’ character, especially since she pictures the main character as her ex-husband. This film was crafted very well, but still had some rookie filmmaking mistakes. I give this film a B+.

At number 6 is a film that I had been looking forward to which was the new Disney princess film with music by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda, Moana. This film had beautiful animation, some great music, and a wonderful voice performance by Dwayne Johnson as Maui, who being a demi-god, helps a princess save her beloved home. I found this film capturing the essence of what Disney was when such films like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and others were being released, but that was the problem. Disney has progressed so much since then, so to see a film follow many of the same tropes what just a let down. I give this film a B+.

Coming in at number 5 is Allied, the new Robert Zemeckis World War II spy film, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. Pitt has the difficult task to find out whether his wife is a German spy, and if she is, kill her. This film kept the tension throughout but was a little slow. I give this film a B+.

At number 4 is the long awaited spinoff to the Harry Potter franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This film has a lot of live up to, and for me, it came really close to being what I wanted. Of course this is a different story and setting for a Harry Potter film, so all I wanted this movie to do is hook me into this new wizarding world, which it did. However, after seeing this film, I do not think I would watch the four sequels planned for this movie if I could watch the original Harry Potter films first. I give this film an A-.

At number 3 is the new animated film Sing, an American Idol and Zootopia mashup that really ended up being a great movie. I got to see a prescreening before its release on December 21, and I was so happy I did. The film had a great screenplay with great voice performances, and  had a lot of heart and emotion,. The songs were great, too. I give this film an A-.

Coming in at number 2 is a film that has a good chance at winning Best Picture at the Oscars, which is Manchester by the Sea. Following a wonderful performance by Casey Affleck, he plays Lee, who must take care of his nephew after his brother dies. This film had a great screenplay and amazing performances from the whole cast. It was a little slow but overall was a stunning film. I give this film an A-.

And last, but certainly not least, is a film that could win Best Picture at the Oscars in a few months, Moonlight. This film follows one black male at three different times in his life. We see how it is for him growing up is a drug filled Miami where his mother does not really parent him and the internal struggle of being a black male who is gay. The film is incredibly powerful with amazing acting, direction, cinematography, and a great score, however, the film is a bit slow as you reach the end, diminishing to a sense of the whole journey you took with this character through the first two acts, I give this film an A-.

So, try to catch one of the movies near the top or the middle of the list, just do not see Rules Don’t Apply and you will be good. See you next time!

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