Thoughts on 2016 in film

I thought I should post some of my thoughts I’ve been having on the year in film. I haven’t seen Arrival, Moonlight, Manchester by the sea and a few other big films, so I can’t really say which is my favourite film just yet. But I’ve got some musings to ramble on from indie films to snubs, so read on if you’re interested!

2016 stands for female.

Mustang,American Honey,The Fits,The Witch,Hidden Figures,The Handmaiden,Girl’s Lost are some of the best films I’ve seen all year-And they all deal with female/women’s issues or look at more encompassing themes through the eyes of female protagonists.Most of the director’s here are also female,which is a refreshing change andΒ an important one. I’m sure there are more, so please leave a comment if you have seen other female-driven movies this year!

Animeh…

Animation films weren’t as good as the ones last year. This is clearly subjective but I felt this year was kinda meh. Kubo,Moana,Zootopia etc were good,but last year’s one was special.Inside Out brought psychology 101 to the big screen,and successfully appealed to both children and adults. Anomalisa was the R21 animation that dealt with isolation,using stop motion and hand-crafted puppets to give it a unique feel.And Charlie Brown was just plain sweet and nostalgic. I’m rooting for Kubo and the two strings this year…although Sausage Party might sway me with its ingenuity.

Magic and the moonlight

Β The Oscar Race is essentially going to go right down to the wire between two films-La La Land and Moonlight. I saw a chart previously on all the winners of best film at the various awards in the US,and Moonlight led La La Land by 1 extra win. Every best movie award has been split between the two films. Both are good films in their own way,and it depends on which one sways your heart. Fancy a throwback to the golden-age of musicals with a modern tune? Then the frothy,dreamy and romantic La La Land will appeal to you. Like the realist’s look at life through the eyes of the marginalized? Then the hard-hitting and unconventional Moonlight is your best bet. Either way,it’s definitely one to watch because it’s too close to call. Let’s see what the Oscars want to spotlight(pun intended) for 2016.

The Witch is severely underrated. Or maybe too dark for its own good.

If you ask me what’s the one film you HAVE to see from this year, I have no doubt that it’s The Witch. Awards season hasn’t been kind towards the New England folktale about Puritanical imprisonment,repression,faith and the shifting nature of evil. Robert Eggers won best director at Sundance but that’s about the only prize/nomination the film has received. But I think its probably the darkness of its material that’s putting people off,and I guess older voters don’t appreciate neo-horror and can’t accept a ‘horror’ film can go beyond the confines of its genre to be so stylish,smart and deep. PLEASE GIVE IT A NOMINATION AT LEAST. COSTUME. SOUNDTRACK. WHATEVER.

Fan Art by Matt Ryan Tobin

The Fits is the most mystifying film of 2016.

A girl watches on as her dancing troupe is being affected by a strange wave of fits. I can’t possibly elaborate more could I?! This is a crazy film, I mean, the sheer audacity to tackle such a peculiar subject of interest while hinting at more social/psychological implications must have confidence that’s off the charts. It is quintessentially art-house but also pretty raw. The protagonist, Royalty, is thrown into a world of social hierarchy within her dance group, and torn between her former boxing gang and her current dancing mates. As the wave of fits hits everyone she interacts with, could the ‘fits’ be a rite of passage for girls her age…confused and still trying to negotiate an identity for themselves? Or is the ‘fits’ a surreal reaction to hopes and identity finally realized? Is it a figurative embodiment of ‘fitting in’? A literal act of assimilation? The Fits asks more questions than it answers and it’s 2016’s Under The Skin. That one is another mindfuc*…in a good way of course πŸ˜‰

Documentary fever

Once again, ever since I got into watching documentaries, they have become an essential part of my movie-watching experience every year. Given the lack of access to documentaries (not to mention that fact that I don’t even live in the U.S), it’s sometimes difficult to watch more than a handful and even tougher to watch the indie/less buzz-worthy ones. Last year I managed to catch all the oscar nominated ones and rated Winter On Fire:Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom as my no.1. This year, OJ:Made In America has me engrossed in the almost 8 hour long 5 part series about OJ, whose life is an examination of race, status, discrimination, power and hierarchy in the US and continues to highlight issues important to the country till today. It’s an engrossing watch. Tower is the other documentary I watched, which mixed pop-art animation style with real-life video and images interspersed with interviews. The texas university shootings in the 60s remains a surreal nightmare for the people involved,and yet,the documentary finds the light in the darkness. It is life-affirming even as it it was deathly…a very unique documentary indeed. I can’t wait to see what the other documentaries have in store and I can’t say enough how blessed we are that there are people brave enough to get out there and bring issues to light.

OJ:Made In America
Tower
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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Great thoughts on 2016! The Witch was the first great movie of 2016 I watched, and I remember the entire audience being like “that sucked” because they either 1) didn’t get it or 2) didn’t appreciate it. I still need to see The Handmaiden…I have the screener at home, so I’ll probably watch that one after Elle.

    Moonlight v. La La Land will be quite a battle. Yes, both are great feats, but I feel Moonlight is the more important film of the year. Important doesn’t necessarily mean best picture, but in this case, everything works in it’s favor from acting to cinematography to sound design. It’s just a well-rounded movie that deserves the win πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jwforeva says:

      YES!!! High five friend :)) That’s what I feel as well, people just don’t get it. Shame really. It’s still my best film of the year so far but perhaps Moonlight or something might knock it off first place eventually…it’s a very special film for me especially, because I’ve always wanted a ‘horror’ film to wow me with something deep and it did. I love it so much ❀
      Ah I have to watch Elle and all the other foreign films like Toni Erdmann but it's just never showing anywhere.
      I'm really hoping I can catch Moonlight in some other way given how its unlikely it'll be shown where I'm at (sg being anti-LGBT and all), but yeah, it does seem to be both important and beautifully shot which is not something I can say about La La Land's love-letter to hollywood.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jay says:

    It was a good year in movie houses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jwforeva says:

      Agreed πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. For a horror flick to get any recognition during awards season, it has to cross over and really capture the imagination of the mainstream, like Rosemary’s Baby or Jaws. I agree The Witch is a phenomenal film, but it failed to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jwforeva says:

      Ah drats, I was hoping the mainstream would find it insightful. I felt it hit home its themes without being too obvious.

      Like

  4. katelon says:

    I just watched “Captain Fantastic” and loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jwforeva says:

      Woohoo, I’m so glad you loved it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Keith says:

    Great thoughts my friend. Really anxious to watch The Tower. Hope to finally see it this weekend. You’re right about the strong female presence in 2016. I’m still championing “The Innocents”, a movie with a predominantly female cast but also with women handling the writing, direction, editing, and cinematography.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jwforeva says:

      Thanks Keith!! πŸ™‚ Tower was really refreshing, ain’t seen something like that before. Ah I need to see that since you love it so much. Woah, that’s something you don’t see very often, I HAVE to check it out then!

      Like

  6. Matt says:

    So far, my favourites have been American Honey, Manchester by the Sea, and La La Land. I haven’t seen Moonlight yet and suspect it could be my new favourite. I’m glad you mentioned Girls Lost- a very interesting film that started out great but came up a little short by the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jwforeva says:

      I can’t wait to see what your favourite films of 2016 are eventually. I’m really into The Witch, The Handmaiden and Girl’s Lost, I thought the ending was perfect though πŸ˜› But yeah, I’m glad you liked it too. Too many good indie films get overlooked, and there’s always so many we miss every year.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bloggeray says:

    I’m yet to watch any of the award season darlings. Moonlight should win, I hope. But my gut says La La Land would win. Hollywood loves movies that reference it.
    Great post. I didn’t know about the documentaries you listed. And The Witch is really good, even though I struggled with understanding its themes initially which, I think, is also what held it back for general audiences. It has the ideas and the execution spot-on, but for too many viewers it is kind of confusing, or worse, devoid of jumpscares.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Witch is a fantastic little film – freaky as fuck and definitely one that sticks in your mind for a while!

    It will certainly be another tough fought battle at the Oscars this year but can certainly see another split between best director and best movie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t breathe was another cheeky little horror that will leave you on the edge of your seat!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jwforeva says:

        Oh yeah, it was hella intense

        Like

    2. jwforeva says:

      πŸ˜€ Glad you liked it as well, it’s no longer my best film of the year, but still an excellent one in every way.
      Yeah, highly possible and I hope it does split, because then Moonlight can actually win either one of directing/best picture. If its a sweep, it’s most definitely La La Land’s…which I feel is undeserved.

      Like

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