As the year (finally) comes to a close, members of the MJ crew highlight three of their fave films from 2016.
Francis Friel, The Projectionist
Rosalie Kicks!, Old Sport
Have you seen this man? MICHAEL SHANNON! He is the absolute best in the one of two Nichols' flicks released this year. I wonder if Shannon worries about Moviejawn too? Oh geez, I hope so. 2017, this guy needs more starring roles. This guy needs to meet The Coens.
Speaking of, The Coens have this special power in which they can make anyone a professional actor/actress. Just take a look at what they've done with CLOONEY over the years. Alden! Aka new Solo was great in this, which sent me to the library hunting down all his other flicks. Guys, unfortunately without The Coens, I question whether or not he is gonna make it. Being an actor: would that it were so simple.
The Love Witch
I loved The Love Witch. It is what seeing a film in the movie theater is all about. Shot on 35mm, it is easy to get lost in the colors and wonderful set design. This film truly inspired me. The filmmaker, Anna Biller, truly followed her dream when she made this. I can't wait to see her next project.
Benjamin Leonard, Best Boy
This was the biggest surprise for me. I expected to hate it and came out loving it. It looks great, the soundtrack is on point, it has solid performances and it's a good take on Hollywood and the modeling industry.
I despise 70s fashion and decor but Girl Asleep dives right in and makes it look lush and beautiful. Mix this with the eerie fantasy scenes and it's hard to pull yourself away. The kids play a perfect mix of sweet and silly that make this coming of age story hit home.
20th Century Women
Another one set in the 70s, but the focus is on feminism and punk rock culture. The first bit of the movie has me questioning its authenticity, but it pays off in the end with a great story that oddly matches current issues. I'm pretty shocked that I've got two movies featuring Elle Fanning here, but they are both really great movies and she is very convincing in these disparate roles.
Jaime Davis, The Fixer
This film haunted me for weeks. A stunning portrait of a young girl's desire for acceptance as she sways between adolescence and puberty. Beautifully shot, minimal and ghostly, I'm excited to see what the future holds for the actresses and writer/director Anna Rose Holmer.
I have no smart people words to express my love for this movie. It's heartbreaking and real but lovely and hopeful. And lets put Janelle Monáe in every damn movie going forward, ok?
I saw both at the Toronto Film Festival this year, along with Manchester by the Sea and a few other movies I can't even recall because terrible. Don't tell anyone but I adore La La Land. It ticks all my boxes: dancing, old Hollywood, romance, heartbreak. And the realistic ending perfectly sums up my current view on relationships. But it's getting a lottttttt of attention, which I think is only half deserved. Honestly, La La Land is just a good movie that came around at the right time: when people really, truly needed some cheering up. It's gonna win awards, I don't know if it should, but that doesn't mean I don't love it. I just want to quietly watch it in my home, alone, and cry (don't judge me!). Christine is on the opposite end of the spectrum - a biopic that takes an unflinching look at depression while pointing the finger at "if it bleeds, it leads" journalism. Rebecca Hall as Christine...man, you can't take your eyes off her. It's a must watch that left me paralyzed for days.