My Week in Movies, 2016 Week 52

This is the last weekly post of the year, but soon (hopefully) I’ll be posting my grander retrospective on the year as a whole, so I’ll not go into too much detail today about the targets and how well I may not have done with them. Instead, I watched a whole bunch of movies over the holiday period, so let’s talk about them instead!

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
attack-of-the-clones
The Star Wars Minute podcast have recently started spending the next seven months going through the second Star Wars prequel minute-by-minute, and the Out Now podcast has just released a commentary, so I opted to watch this whilst finishing my Christmas present wrapping this year. I’ve made it no secret that the first time I watched the first six Star Wars films (I saw them chronologically), this was my favourite, mainly due to the abundance of then-well-implemented CGI, especially the big arena sequence, which I think still holds up and is a lot of fun, but suffice to say this is no longer even in the top half of my ranking, Star Wars-wise. I don’t hate it though, it just suffers from a few incredibly dull or poorly thought out scenes, mostly involving the blossoming romance between Anakin and Padme. I think most of the stuff involving Obi Wan’s investigation, leading to the discovery of the very familiar clone army, is actually pretty good, and I even enjoy the hijinks in the none-more-video-game-like robot factory, but that could well be my interest with manufacture and machinery seeping through. It’s not an essential film, I can understand why a lot of people hate it, but I won’t shy away the next time I come to watch it.
Lists: None
Choose Film 6/10

Arthur Christmas (2011)
arthur-christmas
Easily my favourite Christmas film from recent years, this Aardman animation is often neglected amongst festive lists where it should be heralded amongst the best. It’s inventive, can be enjoyed by the whole family and really understands the true meaning of a modern Christmas, to enjoy yourself with your family, however you celebrate. The cast is also terrific, with Santa played by Jim Broadbent, his wife is Imelda Staunton, father is Bill Nighy, and their sons are Hugh Laurie and James McAvoy. The story is a great deal of fun, as you might expect from Aardman, and if you’ve never seen it then do yourself and favour and check it out now, regardless of the fact that Christmas is over.
Lists: None
Choose Film 9/10

Volcano (1997)
volcano
There’s a subsect of terrible action movies that have somehow managed to assemble phenomenal casts of supporting character actors. The day I watched Volcano I also caught part of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life but I didn’t watch the whole thing so it didn’t earn a place here, plus what I did see was terrible. That featured the likes of Ciarin Hinds, Til Schweiger, Chris Barrie, Noah Taylor, Djimon Hounsou. Similarly Volcano, which is not a good film, has the likes of Don Cheadle, John Carroll Lynch, Keith David and Richard Schiff amongst the supporting roles. I generally enjoy disaster movies with ensemble casts, but Volcano fails to engage me because a lot of the more action-packed scenes revolve around trying to stop lava that is moving relatively slowly, and one scene involves a lot of people gathered around waiting for said volcanic material to solidify. Also, Tommy Lee Jones is convincing as a city official, but not as an action hero.
Lists: None
Choose Life 5/10

Finding Dory (2016)
finding-dory
A second viewing for this sequel, which I’d originally found a little disappointing, worked wonders as I really enjoyed it this time around. I think it might have been because I finally watched it with my Finding Nemo-loving fiancee, who was unable to join me first time around, and I’m delighted to say she loved it too, especially the scenes involving the otters. Personally I love the character of Hank the septapus, voiced by Ed O’Neill, because like me he’s bitter, grumpy and hates everything, and also because the work that must have gone into creating him is beyond impressive given how much movement is required for him, and how much movement he actually does. It’s not as good as the original, but it’s probably the best Pixar sequel outside of the Toy Story films.
Lists: 2016 Movies
Choose Film 8/10

Jeanne Dielman (1975)
dielman-nap
Soooooo baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, “Bad” Movies
Full review here.

The Nice Guys (2016)
the-nice-guys
Still in my top films of the year, I love this Shane Black picture’s witty script and great chemistry between leads Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. Gosling in particular shows a surprising degree of comedic timing and ability as a frankly useless private detective who bumbles his way from one stupid decision to another, being utterly rubbish at everything he tries to do.
Lists: None
Choose Film 9/10

Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016)
wilderpeople
I’m so glad I got to this film by the end of the year! It’s in my top five, guaranteed, I’m just not sure how high it is yet, I absolutely loved it. Sam Neill is excellent as a curmudgeonly ranger-type who ends up looking after the very much rurally inexperienced Ricky (Julian Dennison) in the wilderness of New Zealand, with the police and a very dogged child services official chasing them. It’s fun but also quite touching at times, with fantastic performances from the leading duo, and their madcap adventures become more entertaining as the film goes on. I’m now even more excited for Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok next year.
Lists: 2016 Movies
Choose 9/10

India Song (1975)
dancing
Somehow even worse than Jeanne Dielman.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, “Bad” Movies
Full review here.

Finding Dory (2016)
finding-dory
Yeah, we watched it again, this time with Aisha’s parents as well. They liked it too.
Lists: 2016 Movies
Choose Film 8/10

Moana (2016)
moana
I made a last ditch attempt to watch as many films as possible from 2016 before the end of the year, so enjoyed a double-bill at the cinema starting with this, which I enjoyed immensely. The animation is beautiful, the characters are fun, the story is engaging, the adventures are exciting and the songs are fantastic. You’re Welcome rivals Sing Street‘s Drive It Like You Stole It for my top song of the year, and I happily purchased the soundtrack to Moana on my way home and will be listening to it soon. Without a re-listen I’m not sure there’s anything that’ll rival Frozen’s Let It Go for a pop culture behemoth, but it’s probably a better all-rounder than the Frozen soundtrack. Oh, and Heihei the chicken (voiced by Alan Tudyk) is hilarious.
Lists: 2016 Movies
Choose Film 8/10

Collateral Beauty (2016)
collateral-beauty
This will not be placing highly on my ranking of the year.
Lists: 2016 Movies, Kate Winslet Movies
Full review coming soon.

Posts you may have missed:
Lambcast #354: Whatcha Been Watchin’ Lately I was joined by Kristen Lopez, Elwood Jones and Howard Casner to talk about films we watched recently (I picked A Matter of Life and Death), but we ended up ranting a great deal, mainly about the Oscars.
Jeanne Dielman
India Song
A Matter of Life and Death

Goals Update
Aim: Review 8 or 9 1001 List movies each month
Reviewed: 58
Should be on: 100
On Track: No!

Aim: Review 1 “Bad” movie each month
Reviewed: 12
Should be on: 12
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Review 1 “Blind Spot” movie each month
Reviewed: 12
Should be on: 12
On Track: Yes!

Aim: Review 2 “Film-Makers” movies each month
Reviewed: 15
Should be on: 24
On Track: No!

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4 thoughts on “My Week in Movies, 2016 Week 52

  1. Glad to see some love for Finding Dory. Very fun movie. You liked Attack of the Clones about 1000 times more than I. Can’t stand that hunk of junk. So so boring. Happy New Year!

    • It probably helped that I was only half watching AOTC, but I honestly don’t mind it. I think Revenge of the Sith is far more dull, but it’s been a long time since I last saw it.

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