Preview to the Academy Awards. Best Films of 2016

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

In anticipation to the 89th Academy Awards, I have decided, unlike years prior, to post a list of my favorite films released in 2016. As it were, this is an ever-changing list which will shift and evolve as years pass, as both my tastes and my impressions on filmmaking continue to change. This is also, I presume, an incomplete list missing some highly praised bits of cinema like: The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Toni Erdmann, The Salesman, 20th Century Women, Paterson, Elle, Fences, Lion, and some others. With that in mind, I’m satisfied with the collection of more than 60 films I did manage to watch that were released in the US in 2016. The list of “favorites” adds up to 15 films, which represents the amount of movies that I gave at least a 4 out of 5 rating. 
At the end of the post I will also offer some thoughts on the top categories for the Oscars, regarding who should win and who will likely be taking an statuette back home.

Continue reading Preview to the Academy Awards. Best Films of 2016

Month in Review: January films and tv

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January is a month of cold weather, new year resolutions and catching up with films released in the latter part of the bygone year. It is also the month of the much-anticipated Academy Awards nominations, and a sleuth of other award shows where Hollywood practices a yearly ritual of congratulating itself.

January was a good and productive month in every respect for me. In terms of film, I managed to watch a total of 14 (more than my usual of 10 or 11) with a very high average score of 3.61 out of 5. January was also the first time in about two years that I felt compelled to give a film a perfect score (La La Land), while a couple of others received 4 out 5. This month came my discovery of SyFy’s series “The Expanse“, which is easily the best first season to a science fiction show since Battlestar Galactica.

Without further ado, below is the compendium of short reviews for films in the order in which they were watched. At the bottom you will find my impressions on The Expanse.

Continue reading Month in Review: January films and tv

Film Review: La La Land

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La La Land reminds me of an old passage I once read: many great artists in history did not excel at being true originals, but at being exceptional in their craft. Such is the case of a film that without being groundbreaking manages to excel at every step, delivering a cinematic spectacle unlike any I have seen in years. Continue reading Film Review: La La Land

A return to blogging. Best films watched in 2016. 

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There is much I could tell you and share about the past year. About 10 months have passed since my last contribution to this tiny creation of mine. Fortunately for those who may still stumble upon this blog of mine, I will not bore you with the details of what happened or did not happen between then and now. Instead, I will attempt to give you my very succinct impressions about the best films I watched this year (released in 2016 or prior) despite my almost complete absence from the blogosphere.

In total, I watched 111 films in the last calendar year (7 more than I watched in 2015). The average score was a very decent 3.28 out of 5, which tells me I’ve managed to avoid a lot of duds. Notwithstanding the relatively high average, I only scored 4 movies at 4.5 out of 5, and none managed a 5 out of 5.

Without further ado, below is a list of the best films I watched in 2016 grouped by rating, but in no discernible order beyond that.

Continue reading A return to blogging. Best films watched in 2016. 

Film Review: The Witch (2016), a horrific masterpiece

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We have built houses, bridges and caves to shelter our soft bodies from nature’s unforgiving nastiness. Whereas a bad farmer dies of starvation but a good farmer sells what he cannot eat.
Robert Eggers’ The Witch is as much about men and their faith, as it is about the never ending struggle of men in Nature.

Continue reading Film Review: The Witch (2016), a horrific masterpiece

Months in Review: December & January (2016)

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How quickly do months fly by when you are busy. It seems like only a week ago I posted my last review. As quickly as my newfound motivation to blog a bit more came to me on January 1st, as quickly it evaporated not from a lack of desire, but from a lack of energy.

With a bit of a delay, I share with you my brief thoughts on the films I had the chance to watch in the last month of 2015 and the first of 2016. A total of 21 films were watched, 12 in December and 9 in January. The average rating was a very good 3.35 out of 5. The following are ordered in the way they were seen:

Continue reading Months in Review: December & January (2016)

Film Review: The Hateful Eight (2015)

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After eight feature films and an ever more recognizable brand of cinema, we have come to expect a certain type of movie from Quentin Tarantino. He is, in many ways, the gold standard for many young and unapologetic film makers out there that think they have a new and distinct vision to share with the world. In the 1990s, Tarantino represented a break from Hollywood formulas that had been in place for most of the 1980s (with a few exceptions of course). To supplement his unique style of film making, Tarantino had the kind of rebellious anti-establishment personality to match that made his work instant cult favorites.

Continue reading Film Review: The Hateful Eight (2015)

2015, The Year in Film

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After nearly two months of no activity in my blog and a few hours away before the end of 2015, I simply couldn’t let December pass me by without offering something to reminisce about the year.
I hope this coming year finally gives me the purpose to really devote some time to blogging, as I’ve wanted to since I started it about 3 years ago.
There are also a couple of series to catch up with, like my reviews of the first season of Mr. Robot, and my ongoing monthly round-ups.

Anyways…

2015 was a year filled with great films, many of which I have yet to see. In lieu of a “best films of 2015” post, I will instead share thoughts on the films I watched this year, whether they were first released 50 years back, or just a month or two ago. The following list will comprise some of the greatest movies I watched (grouped by high ratings of 4.5 or 4/5 only as there were no perfect scores given) and some honorable mentions that did not quite make the cut . The following are limited to films I had not seen before or that I had not seen in their entirety until this year.

Continue reading 2015, The Year in Film

The descent into the madness of Mr. Robot. Episode 1.1 review

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After the first terrific episode, Mr. Robot left us in the middle of a cliffhanger. We find Elliot facing the so-called “1% of the 1%” he had briefly mentioned on the introduction to the story. Among the executives gathered at the top of a non-descript office building we find a familiar face, a former hacker, and one of the heads of E Corp we had briefly been introduced to in the first chapter. Interestingly, the scene is not one that offers much of a climax, and I get the feeling it is more of a moment of impasse between two players that will unavoidably meet again.

Continue reading The descent into the madness of Mr. Robot. Episode 1.1 review

Is Mr. Robot as good as Breaking Bad? (Episode 1.0 review)

Mr Robot

Browsing the web a few days ago I came across a couple of television reviews that compared the quality of the new USA network serial show Mr. Robot to Vince Gilligan’s already iconic Breaking Bad.
Upon embarking on a deeper web search, I found that Mr. Robot has a very impressive 9.1/10 on IMDB (compared to Breaking Bad’s 9.5/10), a 98% critical and 95% audience score in Rotten Tomatoes (against a 95% and 98% for Gilligan’s show) and a 75 in Metacritic for season one (compared to Breaking Bad’s 73 for its premiere season).

Continue reading Is Mr. Robot as good as Breaking Bad? (Episode 1.0 review)