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The Bamboo Awards: The Panda's Top 20 of '16 Extravaganza! - Number 1 Film Revealed!

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    Number 6




    "But it is irresponsible to label all predators as savages. We cannot let fear divide us."


    My Grade: A+

    Most Valuable Player: Jared Bush and Phil Johnston for the screenplay

    Box Office: 341.3m

    Tomatometer: 98%

    IMDb Synopsis: From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde, a wily fox who makes her job even harder.

    Critic Opinion: "The year’s best film so far, “Zootopia,” is a Walt Disney Animation Studios ’toon set in a brilliantly imagined animals-only city where the first bunny on the police force tries to solve a crime with the reluctant help of a con-artist fox.  More like the best offerings from sister studio Pixar than recent WDA offerings (sorry, “Frozen’’ fans), this is very sophisticated entertainment that will appeal to a wide range of ages — a pointed parable about female empowerment and racial tolerance that makes its message go down with less than a spoonful of sugar." - Lou Lumenick, New York Post

    User Opinion: "Impeccable production supports the storytelling: The animation is top notch. Every breath, wince and gasp is articulated when Judy's drill sergeant informs her that she must master every ecosystem in Zootopia. The cinematography in that sequence is extraordinary as well. The desaturated colors and moody lighting brings to mind movies like The Silence of the Lambs. Cinematic flourishes set Zootopia apart from more typical animated features.
    Zootopia makes no bones about its didactic intent, but it also makes no bones that it will enthrall the audience. This is a classic that will continue to surprise new viewers for all times." - Cannastop

    Reasoning: I said when this film came out that it was a film the American audience really needed to see, and I double down on that now.  Zootopia is an electric, buddy-cop parable about race relations, conformity, and leaders using fear of others as a method of control.  All of that, not to mention, in a Disney movie.  This is the most ambitious movie Walt Disney Animation Studios has made, as well as one of their most mature (yet still accessible to children).  Beyond the movies, a bit on the nose (but necessary) message, the film provides excellent comedy, beyond the typical animated slapstick you'd see from a mediocre studio like Illumination.  The characters are well fleshed out, the animation is gorgeous, and there is so much attention to detail that it's hard to catch it all.  This is the highest ranked animated movie on my list, as it was the best one of the year.






    Edited by La La Panda
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    We're now getting into the Top 5, and no comic book movies or live-action tentpoles (not named Star Wars) in sight!  I thought this was supposed to be a list plebs could relate to!  Anyways, onto the top 5!


    Number 5

    Hell or High Water



    "I've been poor my whole life, like a disease passing from generation to generation. But not my boys, not anymore."


    My Grade: A

    Most Valuable Player: David Mackenzie for his direction

    Box Office: 27m

    Tomatometer: 98%

    IMDb Synopsis: A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas.

    Critic Opinion: "Hell or High Water is punctuated with shocks of violence, and shots of billboards and graffiti announcing a state of dire times and debt (nobody's got any sympathy for the banks being robbed). Foster and Pine (out of his Star Trek Starfleet uniform, credibly ragged and cunning) are both solid - more than solid, in fact. And Birmingham, a veteran actor with a role in the Twilight franchise - he plays Jacob's dad - nails it.  And Bridges? What's there to say about a man who makes it look so easy, and who - in one breathless, pivotal scene - runs through a range of emotion like a wild pony running across the land.  Genius, any way you look at it." - Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer

    User Opinion: " The film finds strength in the execution and progression of the story.  The first fifteen minutes throw the viewer right into the dilemma with little to no warning.  After that initial introduction, things settle down, and what ultimately follows is a character-driven slow-burn Western cinema offering.  It's very much a film that depends on dynamics among the characters above all else, and more specifically the dialogue and interactions held among the characters.  It may be set in a modern setting, but this is classical Western material through and through.
    Texas culture is stereotyped by many, but in actuality the state is simply too damn big and diverse to lump all of its characteristics in a neat and tidy bag.  As a Texan who lived in West Texas for about a decade, the magic of this film lies in its portrayal of West Texas culture.  One of my favorite scenes in the film is that of brothers Tanner and Toby sharing a beer on a porch while basking in a sunset overlooking the plains.  Incredibly simple, but absolutely epic if you allow it to take hold over you.  In other words, it's West Texas." - mattmav45

    Reasoning:  This movie hit me close to home, quite possibly because I've lived (or am living) in the area that this movie takes place in it.  All of the sentiments and thoughts in this character study ring true to how West Texas actually is.  This could have been an incredibly easy for the movie to caricature West Texas and the people that live in it, but it doesn't at all. The film is a quiet one for the majority of the way through, but it keeps you engaged, and the screenplay is rich with wonderful lines.  Hell or High Water is a modern western done right, and it re-stated for me just why I love the old school Westerns so much, while it also manages to be something entirely new.  This film was a refreshing, realistic take and it's something I feel as if I could go back to re-watch and enjoy more every time I see it.  This is a fantastic movie.






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    Here are my picks for Best Director!


    Best Director


    Number 6

    Robert Eggers, The Witch



    Number 5

    Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople



    Number 4

    Barry Jenkins, Moonlight



    Bronze Bamboo Stick Winner

    David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water



    Silver Bamboo Stick Winner

    Damien Chazelle, La La Land



    Golden Bamboo Stick Winner

    Denis Villeneuve (Hail Villeneuve), Arrival


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    Number 4

    Hunt for the Wilderpeople



    "I didn't choose the skuxx life, the skuxx life chose me."


    My Grade: A

    Most Valuable Player: Taika Waititi for his direction and writing

    Box Office: 5.2m

    Tomatometer: 97%

    IMDb Synopsis: "A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush."

    Critic Opinion:  "Laugh-out-loud funny one minute, achingly sad the next, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” takes the audience on a rollicking yet poignant journey through the New Zealand backcountry in the company of a pair of engagingly eccentric characters." - Soren Anderson, The Seattle Times

    User Opinion: "Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a great movie. The cast work well together and the cinematography is beautiful (definitely enhanced by how beautiful New Zealand is). Sam Neil is great, and Julian Dennison does an excellent job as Ricky. The only character I wasn't huge on was Rhys Darby, but I don't think that was enough to drag the film down. He wasn't bad but I personally think he was a little bit out of place. I'm not sure how well this translates overseas, but it definitely felt very NZ-ish; which makes sense, since it was an NZ production through and through. The laid-back tone definitely reflects a lot of NZ culture. Taika Waititi is one of my favourite filmmakers, and this really continues his winning streak after Boy and What We Do In the Shadows. His sense of humor shines through the film, but it also deals with the more serious aspects in a touching way." - AABattery

    Reasoning:  Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the most critically overlooked movie of the year, and it definitely does not deserve to be.  Waititi's previous movie, What We Do in the Shadows was hilarious, and this is him stepping up his game even further.  This is a Wes Anderson movie that out Wes Anderson's Wes Anderson.  I couldn't get enough of it, and not only that, there is a surprising amount of heart and depth to the story that is being told.  I could feel my heart melt a little bit at a few different moments throughout this quirky little stroke of genius.  The performances never overdo it, yet they still resonate, and the chemistry between the two leads is hilarious.  While I wish Waititi wasn't doing the new Thor movie next year, it gives me hope that maybe it'll help him get noticed for little gems like this one.  Phenomenal little movie right here.






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