Cayle’s Top Ten Movies of 2016

 

Hello, welcome to my more detailed top ten list of 2016. I tried to go to see as many films as possible within the year. I didn’t get to see every movie in 2016 due to their limited release such as “Manchester by the Sea” and “La La Land” for example. Anyway, here is my list…

10.) Hacksaw Ridge

There were several movies I wanted to put in the number ten spot. I decided to go with Hacksaw Ridge since I found it to be the most intense war movie since “Saving Private Ryan.” I felt that this movie contained Andrew Garfield’s best performance to date. Say what you want about Mel Gibson but damn, does he know how to direct a movie.

9.) Don’t Breathe

“Don’t Breathe” is the best horror movie of 2016 and possibly the best home invasion movie since “You’re Next”. Stephen Lang plays a frightening yet complex villain in this particular movie.

8.) The Boy and the Beast

Mamoru Hosoda knocks it out of the park once again with “The Boy and the Beast”. What makes “The Boy and the Beast” great is the father-son relationship between the human Ren and the bear-man Kumatetsu. That, and its fantastical animation. This is one of the most underrated movies of 2016.

7.) Hell or High Water

What makes this movie great is its cast and its Coen brothers-esque dialogue between its characters. It’s great seeing Jeff Bridges in a great movie again.

6.) The Nice Guys

Another underrated gem is “The Nice Guys”. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe have a great comedic chemistry between them. Shane Black knocks it out of the park once again with his witty script. This film makes a great companion piece to “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”.

5.) Zootopia

Disney had a great year with the release of this movie and “Moana”. While both films were awesome in my opinion, “Zootopia” won out due to its handling of mature topics such as racism and discrimination. The characters of “Zootopia” are likable. Although it has great comedic moments, it does have a heart.

4.) Deadpool

I would be surprised if this movie doesn’t become a game-changer in the superhero genre. Ryan Reynolds manages to redeem himself as the merc with the mouth. Reynolds manages to capture the anti-hero’s mannerism’s with such precision. Plus, it works as a date movie.

3.) Captain America: Civil War

This may be a controversial opinion, but I think “Civil War” is the best MCU movie since the original “Iron Man”. The best aspect of this film is the conflict between Steve Rogers/Captain America and Tony Stark/Iron Man

2.) Arrival

“Arrival” is a great science fiction movie with a very intelligent script. I thought it was a well thought-out scenario over the possible language barrier between humanity and extra-terrestrials. “Arrival” may be the most thought-provoking movie of the year. Denis Villeneuve has the potential to become the next big director.

1.) Nocturnal Animals

Where do I begin?

“Nocturnal Animals” has a great script that does a fantastic job tying three different storylines together. I was surprised that this was only the second film directed by Tom Ford. He has the makings of a master director already. I love his noir-ish approach to the movie. I felt he was snubbed for the Best Director category at the Oscars. Speaking of snubs…

I thought that Amy Adams was snubbed for her performances in the aforementioned “Arrival” and this movie. But the real crime is the snubbing of Jake Gyllenhaal. He was truly the standout role in this movie. In terms of supporting actors, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Shannon gave really fantastic performances as characters in the titular novel within the movie. Aaron was really haunting as the leader of a gang of West Texas rednecks. I felt that he deserved the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. Oddly enough, it was Michael Shannon was nominated for Best Supporting Actor category at this year’s Oscars. I really liked his character as well.

Thanks for reading and have a happy new year!

Top Ten Movies of 2015

Hello, folks. Welcome to my annual list of favorite movies for the year of 2015. Before starting off this list, I want to mention that there are some movies I didn’t get to watch due to other obligations. These films include The Gift, Black Mass, and Sicario amongst others. Then there are those other movies that were in “select cities” before my cutoff date of January 1st such as The Revenant. Without further ado, here is my top ten list.

10.) Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation

It seemed that the Mission: Impossible franchise reached its apex with 2011’s Ghost Protocol. Thankfully, Rogue Nation proves that the franchise still has plenty of thrills left to go thanks to Tom Cruise and the gang.

9.) The Peanuts Movie

I’m surprised this particular film hasn’t been on a lot of critics’ best-of lists. I thought this was a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the famed Peanuts franchise considering the fact it’s from Blue Sky Studios.

8.) Bridge of Spies

Although it’s not as good as 2012’s Lincoln, this is still a great film thanks to director Steven Spielberg. Not only does it have great performances by Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance (who deserves a Best Supporting Actor nod), it also has great dialogue (courtesy of the Coen Brothers).

7.) Kingsman: The Secret Service

I thought this was a better tribute to the old-school James Bond films than Spectre itself. Matthew Vaughn does an excellent job of mixing action and comedy. If Idris Elba doesn’t become the next James Bond, Colin Firth might be a good candidate.

6.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens

To say this film was the most anticipated movie of 2015 would be the understatement of the decade. The hype train was as far as the eye could see. Thankfully, JJ Abrams managed to pull it off. This film captures the magic of the original trilogy while creating a new story of its own. Plus, this film has the best overall acting of the entire series.

5.) Spotlight

While both Spotlight and The Big Short had similar themes, I thought that Spotlight had better execution of its themes thanks to its writing. It’s great to see to Michael Keaton in another awesome role after his career apex in 2014’s Birdman. Heck, the ensemble cast in general is one of the best I’ve seen all year.

4.) Mad Max: Fury Road

In this age of CGI over-saturation, it’s great to see big-budget movies such as this one use practical effects again. George Miller deserves a nomination for Best Director for his work on Fury Road.  This movie proves that an intelligent action film could do well at the box office. If this is the direction of future action movies, count me in. Valhalla approves.

3.) The Hateful Eight

I know that this movie is a divisive one, even among Tarantino films. Personally, I thought it was another great addition to his resume. I thought it was a great mystery movie that has a great script. Not only that, it also has a great ensemble cast that consists of the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Jason Leigh amongst others.

2.) The Martian

After a string of mediocre movies, it’s great to see a great Ridley Scott movie again. It’s probably the best representation of the Martian landscape I’ve seen in a movie. Although Matt Damon is a great lead with his upbeat sense of humor, there are no passengers in this movie with its great ensemble cast. This is the best hard science fiction script to be put on the silver screen since Moon.

1.) Inside Out

If this isn’t the comeback story of the year, I don’t know what is. Similar to Ridley Scott above, Pixar has been going through a rough patch over the past few years. Thankfully, they have managed to re-discover their gift for great storytelling. In my opinion, Inside Out has the best script of any movie I’ve watched all year.

Thank you for reading! I hope you’ve had a great new year!

Top Ten Studio Ghibli Films

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Instead of a review this week, I’d figured I’d write a top ten list of my personal favorite Studio Ghibli films. I must point out that the Studio Ghibli movies I haven’t watched (yet) are “Only Yesterday”, “Ocean Waves”, “Pom Poko”, “My Neighbors the Yamadas”, “The Wind Rises”, “The Tale of Princess Kayuga” and “When Marnie Was There”. After I watch those movies, I will do an updated version. I hope you enjoy reading this list…

10.) The Cat Returns

Remember that Cat Baron in “Whispers of the Heart”? Apparently they made a spin-off movie starring that character and it’s awesome. It’s the closest thing to an animated version of “The Princess Bride” we have (Cary Elwes voices the titular Baron in fact). The reason why it’s not higher on the list is because of its rather short runtime of 75 minutes.

9.) The Secret World of Arrietty

Based on a fairly popular children’s novel, “Arrietty” manages to take its intriguing premise and make it larger than life (pun intended). I really liked the friendship between Arrietty and Shawn. I’m glad that I managed to watch this particular movie in theaters.

8.) My Neighbor Totoro

I’m quite aware this is a favorite of Studio Ghibli fans. Heck, Totoro is pretty much the mascot for Studio Ghibli. The reason that this movie isn’t higher up on this list is because it lacks a plot. Whatever it lacks in plot, it makes up for in situations. This film is a perfect example of a typical childhood Saturday.

7.) Kiki’s Delivery Service

It’s another great example of a coming-of-age story by Studio Ghibli. Like My Neighbor Totoro, it makes use of situation instead of conflicts. It’s a very unique that witches aren’t seen as outcasts but as gifted individuals.

6.) Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind

Although it was made a year before Studio Ghibli was founded, it is retrospectively referred to as one by fans. Even Studio Ghibli considers it to be an honorary Ghibli film. It’s a well-animated post-apocalyptic tale with strong characters. Not only that, “Nausicaa” has a surprisingly subtle environmental message.

5.) Porco Rosso

Out of all the movies on this particular list, “Porco Rosso” may be the most underrated Studio Ghibli film. This film deserves more attention. Michael Keaton is perfect as the titular character with his abrasive yet lovable personality. Out of the more humorous Studio Ghibli movies, this may be the best one.

4.) Grave of the Fireflies

This is a very emotional movie. It’s a great film that contains great animation and a very mature script dealing with how people can get desperate in a bad situation and how pride could get the best of us. It’s not the type of movie you would watch over and over again but it’s special in its unique way.

3.) Castle in the Sky

Considered the first “official” Studio Ghibli film, it is a great old-school adventure film in the vein of such classics like “Indiana Jones”. Not only it has a great story, it also has some great action scenes that are also very comedic in nature. It also has some very memorable characters such as band of pirates led by their mother (played by the always awesome Cloris Leachman) and the antagonist Muska (played by Mark Hamill…yes that one).

2.) Princess Mononoke

This may be Hayao Miyazaki’s most mature work to date. The best part about this film is its great characters. The film eschews the traditional good vs. evil plotline in favor of character development instead. For example, we have the character of Lady Eboshi. In another movie, she would be an outright villain if it weren’t for the fact that she provides not only employment but also refuge for the outcasts of society such as prostitutes and lepers. Like Nausicaa, it has a very subtle environmental message.

1.) Spirited Away

This is the movie that won Hayao Miyazaki the Oscar. It is very imaginative movie with very imaginative characters. It may be the “Alice in Wonderland” of the 21st century. Not only that, it also serves as a great coming-of-age story in which Chihiro becomes a more mature individual because of the experience she had in the movie.

Top Ten List of 2014

Hello, my name is Cayle and I’m an aspiring film critic. What’s a better way to close out 2014 with a personal top ten of that particular year? Let’s get down to it…
10.) The Fault in Our Stars
This is an unusual pick for me but I thought it was one of the better YA adaptations out there. Shailene Woodley and Anse Elgort have a great chemistry in this picture.
9.) Begin Again
Seven years after director John Carney struck it big with his low budget musical Once, he knocks it out of the park again with this particular musical drama starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo.
8.) Big Hero 6
Five years after the purchase of Marvel Comics by the Walt Disney Corporation, the main animation department at Disney released their first Marvel adaptation. Combining the love of the superhero genre by The Incredibles with the tech-savviness of the Iron Man film series, Big Hero 6 is a continuation of a winning streak that consists of movies like Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen.
7.) Interstellar
Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious movie to date. I don’t know how this movie would have worked under a different director. Plus, it shows that Matthew McConaughey has not lost his magic after his big Oscar win.
6.) How to Train Your Dragon 2
Although I thought the first movie was superior, this movie still stands on its own merits. This movie is a perfect example on how to do a proper sequel.
5.) Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel Studios took a big gamble in adapting this somewhat obscure title. Thankfully, this gamble paid off with the help of beloved cult director James Gunn. This film proves you can have an intelligent screenplay and still have fun with it.
4.) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a refreshing reboot after that god-awful 2001 Tim Burton remake. Dawn is one of those rare sequels that surpasses the first movie. It is my firm belief that Andy Serkis deserves a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Caesar.
3.) The Lego Movie
2014 is a great year for animation despite no Pixar release. Director duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller took a potentially disastrous idea and made an animated masterpiece out of it.
2.) Edge of Tomorrow
Or Live Die Repeat. Anyway, this film deserves much more love in the states. This film is proof that a big-budget summer movies still can have an outstanding screenplay.
1.) Gone Girl
David Fincher does it again. This movie deserves a place with his other masterpieces such as Seven and Zodiac. This film is a well paced psychological thriller that features great writing and a fantastic cast. This is the best film I have watched in 2014.