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Baumer's best 42 films of 2016 (and 12 worst) and Ruk's breakdown of 2016 films (Finished!)

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Batman vs Superman

Directed by Zack Snyder

Starring:  Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot

Box office:  873 million


I had a fairly in depth synopsis and reasoning as to why I gave this a 7.5/10 and have it at number 30 on my list.  But then I thought better of it.  I think most of you have seen this and you all know why you love it or hate it.  I don't think there's much in between...however, when we get to SS....that'll be fun.  So I'll just leave at this.  I liked it a lot.  Then again, I like a lot of ZS films.  So there you go.


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The Boss

Directed by Peter Falcone

Starring:  Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell

Box office:  78.8 million


Here's a film that caught me by surprise.  I thought the trailers were horrible and McCarthy's act has grown thin with me in the last few years.  But when I watched it, I laughed, sometimes quite uncontrollably.  This is a film, that imo, kind of just goes for it.  It takes risks and it probably offended some people along the way.  But this brand of humour is something I identify with.  Sometimes the best humour is when you are making fun of someone but in a light-hearted way.  If you recall Beverly Hills Cop, Serge, as played by Bronson Pinchot, was a presumably gay man with impeccable taste in clothes, food, drink and he was incredibly mannered.  We had fun with him because it was funny but in a harmless way.  Something tells me that if his character appeared in a film today, people would call it gay bashing or say it was insensitive or that it was offensive (my least favourite word when it comes to art).  The Boss kind of reminds me of that kind of humour.  It makes fun of people but does it for laughs, and it made me quite a bit and for that I give it high marks.


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Don't Breathe

Directed by Fede Alvarez

Starring Jane Levy, Stephen Lang

Box office:  155 million


Unemployed and unable to find legitimate work, three young adults take to thievery as a last resort, however, breaking in a blind Vietnam War veteran's house leads to some horrific twists in this home invasion thriller produced by Sam Raimi. From the premise alone, the film sounds a lot like the earlier Adam Schindler movie 'Intruders' (aka 'Shut In') with the notion of the person whose home is being invaded being less helpless than first appears. Along these lines, 'Don't Breathe' seems to up the ante by making the thieves sympathetic; Jane Levy's character in particular has extensive early scenes in which we come to understand how much she and her younger sister not only want but need to move away from home. This dynamic renders the first half of 'Don't Breathe' quite interesting as we are pulled between feeling sorry for the blind war veteran and for the thieves with various incidents causing our sympathies to swing back and forth. The film disappointingly chooses a side around halfway in though as it is revealed that the veteran has a shocking secret in his basement. Not only is the secret implausible, it places us in an awkward position where ethically we have to root for the thieves instead, which just does not sit right. The film certainly has enough in the thrills and chills department that it is entertaining until the end and the pacing is never off. There is also a lot to like in the idea of the war veteran being better equipped than the thieves even without his sight, even if this idea could have perhaps been put to better use.  I've always liked Lang, ever since his performance in Tombstone, as the snivelling, whiny, cowardly bully named Ike Clanton.  So seeing him in here was a definite positive.  


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Jason Bourne

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander

Box office:  415 million


After a nine year wait, Jason Bourne has returned to movie screens in what is a very good Bourne film.  Jason Bourne picks up nearly a decade after The Bourne Ultimatum, with Matt Damon's Bourne currently living in Greece as a street fighter, off of the CIA's radar. Of course it wouldn't be a Bourne movie if Bourne wasn't drawn back into the crosshairs of the CIA, only this time it's personal, when a major revelation about Bourne's past comes to light that propels Bourne on his quest for revenge. To say too much would rob this movie of the franchise's trademark twists and turns, which are all executed well by director Paul Greengrass.


Once more, Damon does far more with the role than what is required. With only about two dozen lines of dialogue in the whole two hour movie, Damon has to make us feel for Bourne through his actions and facial expressions, which with a character as stoic as Bourne, is no small feat. I can't help but think that had The Bourne Identity director, Doug Liman, cast a lesser actor as Bourne, the franchise would have never made it this far. Joining Damon once more is Julia Stiles, as former CIA analyst turned whistle blower, Nicky Parsons, as well as newcomers to the franchise, Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander. Vikander portrays a morally questionable CIA cyber agent on the trail of Bourne, while Jones acts as the head of the CIA. I have often said that I think every movie would be better with just a little bit of Tommy Lee Jones, and that is true here as well. 


The first three Bourne movies were all pretty much about Bourne learning who he was by exposing what the CIA did to him, and once he did all of that, that was it. We didn't get to see what those revelations really meant for Bourne, which is what Jason Bourne does. When we first see Bourne again, he is a man adrift. He has no purpose in life and is struggling with the knowledge that he was a killer. Then Nicky comes back into his life, and with her she brings an emotional bombshell that sends Bourne into action once more. It is that emotional bombshell that makes Jason Bourne such a strong movie. It creates a basic human reason for the carnage beyond Bourne simply wanting to know who he was. Of course, while the Bourne movies have always been known for their smart storytelling, they're still action movies first and foremost, and Jason Bourne more than satisfies on that mark.

From a tense motorcycle chase during a riot in Greece, all the way to a car chase on the Las Vegas strip, Jason Bourne is an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride. While I think the final fight between Bourne and the bad guy is a little inferior compared to some of the great fight scenes in previous Bourne movies, the end result of the fight is emotionally cathartic.

The only thing I have to complain about is they lied to us in the trailer.  "Jesus Christ, that's Jason Bourne," has taken on a life of its own on the forums and our what's app group.  Shame the fucking line wasn't in the film.  



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Directed by:  God

Starring:  The man whole stole Stallone's Oscar

Box office:  182 million


If you've read the book you'll know the main story: (a) Girl taken to giant-land by the BFG. (b) Girl learns about other children-eating giants, and that the BFG just goes around giving children nice dreams. (c) They go to the queen and use the army to round up the giants and put them in a hole.  The outcome is a movie that feels both slow at times, and rushed at others. And you get epic music climaxing as the young girl looks around in awe, but you're left wondering how she knows what's going on because as an audience we certainly don't.

Admittedly the quality of the visuals in terms of realism of the CGI and use of motion- capture was top notch. However in the modern world of cinema this is far from impressive; it's been normalized so much over the past few years of film making that I'd argue that CGI is only significant if done badly.

It is possible to make a film about a classic story using ground breaking special effects while retaining the heart and drive of a classic family movie (see Disney's 2016 'The Jungle Book'). And go back in time and release 'The BFG' ten, or twenty years ago and the effects may be distracting enough to make up for the shoddy storytelling. But if you're looking to go to the cinema today I'd recommend every other film currently showing over the BFG, and there lies the problem. The film isn't the worst thing to ever grace our screens - but put simply there are so many better films out there, if you find yourself watching this one I'd recommend you reassess your life (okay, that's harsh but you get the point).

The biggest sin of the film is that it just isn't all that interesting, not to me anyhow.  And I certainly didn't care all that much about Sophie's plight or about the BFG getting the last laugh on his giant friends.  I hate having this film on my list because Spielberg is my favourite director but I guess even the greats have one or two bad ones in them.



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On 1/14/2017 at 7:48 AM, baumer said:


Mechanic Resurrection

Directed by:  Some guy

Starring:  Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones

Box office:  125 million


 This is one of those films where you know exactly what you are and aren't going to get.  You aren't going to get endless dialogue or well developed characters.  Motive for actions might be a hair above a horror villian carrying out his revenge.  What you will get is beautiful people in little clothing, action with fists, feet and lots of people losing their lives, crazy stunts and a visual feast for the eyes.  Jason Statham does not disappoint here and for my money, he is my go to guy when it comes to action films.  He has charisma and he has the moves and the body and charm.  I could watch him kick someone in the face every day of the week.  Then you have Jessica Alba in a bikini and suddenly I can't remember the plot of this film.  Oh well.  Who cares?  This was a lot of fun.


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I don't mind watching such a movie from time to time, how would say the fight choreography is in terms of quality? (not that Jessica Alba is ever boring to watch anyway)


Mind you, I love martial arts movies, my favorite fight sequences would include the likes of Donnie Yen vs Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China, closely followed by Ziyi Zhang vs Michelle Leoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, everything Scott Adkins does in Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, Donnie Yen vs some guy in SPL Kill Zone, Jackie Chan in Drunken Master, and again Donnie Yen vs Jet Li in Hero (not a huge fan of wire work but it can work)


I don't expect fight choreography on this level but is it at least good?


I don't exp


(I'm not a fan of wire work although sometimes it can work)

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The Conjuring 2

Directed by James Wan

Starring:  Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

Box office:  320 million


Rarely does a big time director of a hit horror movie come back and make a direct sequel to his work. James Wan seems to take up this challenge and it's refreshing that he has the desire to continue his original story with another solid outing. Wan's ability to create a frightening film relatable on a human level is a remarkable talent. An initial strength of The Conjuring 2 is how topical the premise is to the actual landscape of paranormal perception. For example, an important part of any real-life exorcism is the doubt that the vast majority of people view towards the subject in question, in this case a girl played by a good upcoming talent, Madison Wolfe. The Conjuring 2 outlines the media scrutiny towards exorcisms very well and also the genuine nature and belief in the paranormal field by strong grounded people. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are simply incredible in these roles, flat-out polished acting chops and never wilt once on screen. A well-written story, strong cast and crew and hair raising scenes and dialogue it's really not that surprising to see The Conjuring 2 crush at the box office as well as critical reviews.


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Bad Moms

Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

Starring:  Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Kathryn Hahn

Box office:  179.3 million


Mila Kunis plays an overburdened and stressed mother/wife who has had it with her bratty kids, lazy and cheating husband, a jerk of a boss, and the de facto leader (played by Christina Applegate) of the school that Kunis' kids attends. So one day she decides to no longer put in 100% all day every day, instead being satisfied with just getting by; and laying down the law with all those who have abused her and taken her for granted for so long. What follows is a revelation that no mom is perfect, and it's okay as long as one loves their children and teaches them to be good people. My most memorable, movie moment of "Bad Moms" is the scene when Kristen Bell, who plays a mousy mom, finally stands up to her hubby and yells "And I said, I'm going to the fucking PTA meeting with my fucking friends, so stop being such a goddamn pussy and make it work!" Oh! Oh! Ha ha! "Bad Moms" is a hilarious movie that isn't just for women, but for anyone who likes irreverent comedies with a lot of heart.  And as many mentioned during its run, Katherine Hahn should be nominated for an Oscar.  She's absolutely brilliant and hilarious.  


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Directed by Denzel

Starring:  Zel, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson

Box office:  47.9 million and counting


This ranks in my top 25 films of the year simply because the acting is really quite good.  It's not that I didn't enjoy most of the film, because I did, but it takes entirely too long to get to the finish line.  Denzel plays a cantankerous and bitter man who raises his kids with an iron fist and basically tells them that he doesn't have to give a fuck about them because as long as he puts food on the table, a roof over their head and clothes on their back, he's the fucking man and if you don't like it, you can the fuck out.  I've always had a problem with this kind of attitude as I personally think it's the wrong way to raise your kids as it breeds bitterness and anger.  I also don't believe in being their friend so that you can't discipline them but Denzel's character in here was just too much for me.  Having said that the two plus hours for the most part flies by and the acting by the two leads is quite astonishing.  I just felt it got a bit repetitive and it could have cut down by about 30 minutes.  But it's still a very good film and one worth seeing.


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On 1/20/2017 at 11:56 AM, Daxtreme said:


I don't mind watching such a movie from time to time, how would say the fight choreography is in terms of quality? (not that Jessica Alba is ever boring to watch anyway)


Mind you, I love martial arts movies, my favorite fight sequences would include the likes of Donnie Yen vs Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China, closely followed by Ziyi Zhang vs Michelle Leoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, everything Scott Adkins does in Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, Donnie Yen vs some guy in SPL Kill Zone, Jackie Chan in Drunken Master, and again Donnie Yen vs Jet Li in Hero (not a huge fan of wire work but it can work)


I don't expect fight choreography on this level but is it at least good?


I don't exp


(I'm not a fan of wire work although sometimes it can work)


It's very much a western action film as opposed to a HK or kung-fu one. Have you never seen another Statham action movie? (TRANSPORTER, etc).

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The Nice Guys

Directed by Shane Black

Starring:  Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling

Box office:  36.2 million


This buddy adventure movie has a 70s vibe, a sense of humour, and a story that is compelling enough to keep you watching and a little more. While the plot is no work of genius, this movie is enjoyable, entertaining, and funny. Ryan Gosling does a great job of playing his alcoholic schemer of a private investigator who gets multiple solid jokes in. Russell Crowe comes through with a solid performance that one would not initially expect, and is very believable in his gruff tough guy role. The villains are a little ridiculous, but the main characters hold things together. Even the child actor is surprisingly good. This is no masterpiece, but it's a feel good comedy adventure that doesn't treat the audience like they're idiots and is well worth the watch.  This definitely makes me want to go out and find Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  


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Directed by Barry Jenkins

Starring:  No one you have heard of, except the hot one from Hidden Figures

Box office:  A Few bucks


I found this film to be slow, tedious, repetitive and I was shocked that it was getting universal praise from critics and regular people alike.  You have a story about a young boy who discovers at an early age that he might be gay.  He meets a young man and his girlfriend who befriend him and try to protect him in a way and let him know that's okay to be gay.  The young boy grows up to be bullied and tormented by the thugs at school and then one day he pops and knocks the shit out of one of his tormentors.  He then goes on to a life of crime.  He becomes a drug dealer and that's all I'll say about because I know not everyone has had a chance to see it yet.  I didn't buy into the character and his plight simply because I found it to be uninteresting.  I found the look of the film to be a problem as well.  But the pacing was the main issue.  It just kind of meanders along and while nothing really seems to be happening, it skips significant parts of the characters life and then when things happen to him or he grows to be a certain way, I felt like I didn't get a true glimpse into the reasons things happen to him.  I personally found this to be lazy.  I also hated the third act.  I realize this is a film that most seem to embrace and enjoy and admire for its bravery and subject matter, but that wasn't enough for me to like it in the least.


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Directed by The Coens

Starring:  Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlet Johansson

Box office:  63.6 million


As much as I love the Coen brothers, they've truly messed up what could have been a promising film in Hail, Caesar. I think the Coens are trying to be too clever for their own good and in this instance, it has well and truly backfired. One of the missing ingredients is the Coen brothers' trademark absurd sense of humour e.g. The Big Lebowski, O brother where art thou, Raising Arizona just to name some of their most hysterically foot stomping funny films.

There were simply too many elements and sub stories in Hail, Caesar that ultimately led nowhere. How would one draw the threads linking a studio executive (Josh Brolin) looking for a missing leading man (George Clooney) who was kidnapped by a group of communist writers, whose mysterious leader also happens to be a campy, tap dancing sailor and a premadonna-ish Hollywood actress (Scarlet Johanssen) trying to offload her child so she can re-adopt it? And that's just the main story line. There are other sub plots that are much too confusing or pointless to introduce in this review. Suffice it to say that this turned out to be a complete mess of a film.

For film makers as talented as the Coen brothers this is a real disappointment.


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