Posts Tagged ‘Dan Stevens’

Best Movies of 2016

It’s that time of the year when critics rank the best and worst movies of the year.  They get to see movies before the rest of us, so they’ll have Oscar contenders on the list that many of us will see in 2017 and so they’ll likely be on my list next year.

That means you’ll see some movies that won at the Oscars last winter on my “best of” list for 2016.

2016-movies

Additionally, you’ll see a couple of movies on this year’s list that are several years old. When I rank my movies, I include movies that I see for the first time in 2016 regardless of the year it was released.

So, before I start counting down my 20 favorite movies of the year, I want to share my favorites from the past few years.

My favorite movie of 2010 was “The Kids Are All Right” with Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.  In 2011, my favorite was “Children of God”.

Weekend

“Weekend” was my favorite movie of 2012 and “Out of the Dark” topped my list in 2013.

My favorite movie of 2014 was “Bridegroom” and last year, it was “Lilting”.

You may have noticed that most of the top movies I listed from 2010 through 2015 were not mainstream.  Sadly, LGBT movies don’t get the same distribution and promotion.

It’s now time to start the countdown and I’ll let you in on a secret.  While my #1 movie this year is not LGBT, it wasn’t a widely seen movie either (in the U.S).

#20

“THE PURGE:  ELECTION YEAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $118.4 MILLION

#19

“BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $400,000

*WARNING:  R-RATED TRAILER*

18

“MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $25.1 MILLION

#17

“STONEWALL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $187,674

Note:  This movie was reviled by the LGBT community because it loosely fictionalized the Stonewall events through the character of Danny, a white Midwestern boy (Jeremy Irvine).

However, I know the story of Stonewall and I’ve written about it many times.  I know that drag queens, transgender, and people of color were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots back in 1969.  I’ve done my homework.

With that being said, I still enjoyed the movie for what it was — a movie.

I hope that the few people that saw it and weren’t familiar with Stonewall took the time to Google the real story.  We should never get our news or learn about history from headlines, social media, or Hollywood.

And, finally, just because I crush on Irvine, that alone doesn’t justify a place in the Top 20.

16

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  unknown

15

“BROOKLYN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $62.1 MILLION

14

“BURNT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $36.6 MILLION

#13

“THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.9 MILLION

12

“STEVE JOBS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.4 MILLION

11

“THE WALK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $61.2 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“HOLDING THE MAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $909,122

#9 MOVIE

“FORCE MAJEURE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.4 MILLION +

#8 CD

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $171.7 MILLION

#7 CD

“MR. HOLMES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $29.4 MILLION

6'eren_RGB_FINAL

“ROOM”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $35.4 MILLION

GREEN 5

“JOY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $101.1 MILLION

red-number-4

“THE REVENANT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $533 MILLION

#3 MOVIE

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $27.4 MILLION +

#2 CD

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $5.9 MILLION

Before revealing my favorite movie of 2016, it’s time for the worst movie I saw this year.

Gag Me

Let me say that Dan Stevens has a chance for redemption in March 2017 with the live action “Beauty and the Beast” movie and John Travolta was incredible in “Saturday Night Live”, “Grease”, and “Swordfish”.

But, “Criminal Activities” was not the movie to see!  It was so bad that I won’t even torture you with the trailer.

Bonus

For much of 2016, I had a five-part BBC America miniseries as my second favorite movie of the year. I mean, if “American Horror Story” can brand itself as this or that to qualify and win Emmy Awards, why can’t I call a miniseries a movie?

But, I decided to share “London Spy” as a must-see bonus!

Ben-Whishaw

It’s also a chance to mention the adorable and very talented Ben Whishaw and the amazing Charlotte Rampling.

Okay, focus Anthony!

#1 CD

My favorite movie I saw in 2016 was an Austrian film from 2015 starring the incredible Susanne Wuest and twins, Elias and Lukas Schwarz.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.2 MILLION +

So, there’s my list.

What are your favorite and least favorite movies you saw in 2016.  Let me know.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016

What an incredible week with 69° Monday and 77° Wednesday in the Quad Cities.  I know this has been a rather docile winter by Midwestern standards, but I’m ready for green grass, flowers, and leaves.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this Friday.  As always, feel free to comment on what I’m talking about and you can even contradict me — as long as it’s diplomatically.  (Oh, diplomatically doesn’t mean ranting at me with the same blah blah blah.  The dead horse is still dead!)

REMEMBERING NANCY REAGAN

Last Sunday, we lost former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

She died of congestive heart failure at her Bel-Air, California, home at the age of 94.

Her husband, Ronald Reagan, our nation’s 4oth president from 1981-1989, also died at their home, at the age of 93, in June 2004, of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. Reagan’s classiness, her commitment to her husband, and their love was commendable and inspiring.

I was at odds with her husband’s mishandling and ignorance in the face of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s (by the end of his presidency, there were more than 82,362 reported AIDS cases leading to 61,816 deaths), but I always liked Nancy and would have loved to meet her.

While sorry that she passed, I’m glad the two of them are together again.

FAMOUS FIRST LADIES

It’s an election year and I’m spending most of 2016 reading books written about or by political figures and their families.

Although she was the wife of a Republican president, Nancy Reagan is one of my five favorite First Ladies of the United States.

Hillary AP

There’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

I’m sure as I read more books this year, there will be some First Ladies that I’ll add to the list as I work back in time.

LAURA BUSH

Right now, I’m reading “Spoken From The Heart”, Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  She seems so genuine and down to earth.

I’ll  share more of it when I’m finished, but I want to share a correspondence between her and Nancy Reagan.

Laura Bush

Clearly, as First Lady, Laura had to start dressing up since she preferred dressing comfortable.

Ms. Reagan once told Laura that when they were putting together a showing of her clothes at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it became the most visited exhibit.  Nancy laughed and said, “You know, those clothes that I was always criticized for!”

ANGRY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, appointed by Governor Scott Walker, is apologizing for very crude and offensive remarks she shared in columns in her college newspaper more than two decades ago.

She wrote in one story, “One will be better off contracting AIDS than developing cancer, because those afflicted with the politically-correct disease will be getting all of the funding. How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments.”

In another she stated, “The homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.”

Now that she’s campaigning to be elected to the position, she is apologizing, but calls the revelations “mudslinging”.

rebecca-bradley

Bradley now says, “To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview.”

My thoughts:  I know people are young (and stupid).  I know people learn and evolve and maybe Bradley did.

However, it’s not like she called a gay man a “sissy” or something that she could easily say, “Sorry, I didn’t know.  I didn’t mean to offend you.”

We’re talking the use of the very derogatory word “queer” and we’re talking AIDS, a disease that had already killed half of the people that contracted it when she was a college student making those pathetic comments.

And, finally, if “those comments are not reflective” of her views now, why didn’t she apologize before — not when her political career is on the line!

I think it’s rather convenient now to say, “Oops, I really didn’t mean that!”

Go away!

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY” & IOWA’S GOVERNOR

After he conceded defeat in the war against marriage equality, my dislike of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad softened some over the past couple of years.  Well, he and I are at odds again.

terry-branstad

Earlier this week, the long-running governor dismissed a Senate bill proposing a so-called “Death with Dignity” law, which some describe as “doctor-assisted suicide”.

Branstad stated, “I am pro-life and I think that bill is dead for this session.”

I’ve written on this topic, which I fully support, several times.  In November 2014, I talked about 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, who took her own life in Oregon, after a long battle with terminal brain cancer.

Brittany Maynard

I also expressed my thoughts about Dr. Jack Kevorkian (“Dr. Death”).  If you want to see what all I said about Brittany and Dr. Kevorkian, here’s a link to that (it’ll open in another window, so you won’t lose your place here):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/random-friday-thoughts-november-7-2014/

But, back to Iowa, Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom from Iowa City, a lead sponsor of the bill, says he hopes to reintroduce the proposal in the 2017 legislative session.

That’s the good news if you share my views.  The bad news is that Branstad can still veto it even if it is approved by the House and Senate.

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” KILLED OFF?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both seasons of this ABC hit with Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis.  Yes, the show puts the cray cray in crazy and the sex in sexy.

Sadly, viewers are moving on.  The show premiered to incredible numbers, 14 million viewers.  However, the TGIT-staple had already lost five million people by the end of the first season.

Now as we’re down to the season two finale next Thursday, viewership is down to just 4.5 million!!!

If this wasn’t a Shonda Rhimes show, I’d put my money on cancellation.  However, since Rhimes spins gold in Hollywood and, especially, at ABC, the network late last week renewed”HTGAWM” for a third season!

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

I’ve enjoyed both of the “Purge” movies.

The Purge Masks

While I liked the original more than the sequel, I did enjoy seeing Frank Grillo and Evanston, Illinois-born actor Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”).

The “purge” is a 12-hour period that takes place once a year when the government allows all criminal activity, including murder.  The goal is to stay alive.

This summer, the third movie arrives and the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!

“The Purge:  Election Year” opens July 1st.

CAITLYN JENNER — GO AWAY!

I’m happy that Caitlin Jenner is finally living in a world where she can be the person she always was inside.  Her transition, in the public eye, from Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner has raised awareness for our transgender men and women in the U.S. and around the world.

Caitlyn.jpg

However, as I’ve said before, my views don’t represent all gay men and Rosie O’Donnell’s views don’t represent all lesbians, so it should be clear that Caitlyn Jenner’s views, by no means, represents all in the transgender community.

Like the rest of people in the world, the LGBT community is very diversified.  With that being said, I wish Caitlyn would just disappear and live her life privately and take her clueless,  privileged views with her.

I’d much rather hear what people like Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”), whom I worked with briefly in a Chicago gay bar 20-plus years ago, has to say.

She was real and not the product of reality television!

“ROOM”

When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg-directed, Tom Hanks-starring Cold War thriller that won Mark Rylance the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is solid.

It’s a spy drama that has you rooting for the quirky man that may be a Russian spy living in New York City.

I’m just wondering how the movie would have if it were about 30 minutes shorter that the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Troye Sivan is an Australian singer and actor making his big American debut with his first album, “Blue Neighbourhood”.

I fell in love with his radio smash, “Youth”, before I knew who he was and the fact that he’s openly gay.

If you listen to Top 40 radio, I’m sure you’ve heard the song — my pick hit of the week.

It’s also at #15 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.

“THE NIGHT BEFORE”

I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an incredible actor and he’s so adorable.  Earlier this year, I saw “The Walk” and he was amazing.

Seth Rogen can be very funny and can be very annoying.  I loved him in “This Is The End” and “The Interview” and tolerated him in “Neighbors”.

When I first saw the trailer for the Christmas comedy, “The Night Before”, I hated it.  It looked so moronic and not funny.

Still, because of Leavitt and the Christmas theme, I gave it a chance.  For about the first 40 minutes or so, it was boring and painful.

I never thought that I’d say that a Miley Cyrus’s cameo would save a movie.  But, it made me laugh the hardest (intentionally) and James Franco’s bit part was highly rewarding.  I think Franco should be in every movie!

There’s also a drug-induced church scene that’s hilarious, too.

With that being said, just the appearance of Leavitt alone elevated this humbug comedy from getting an “F” and Cyrus and Franco raised the grade up almost a full letter!

GRADE:  D

FINALLY, AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COST

I love John Travolta and Dan Stevens has turned into quite the hottie.  But, neither one of them could save “Criminal Activities” from being a disjointed, confusing mess.  How bad was it?  I won’t even waste space in the blog with the trailer.

GRADE:  F

THAT’S IT

Thanks for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  I greatly appreciate it and feel free to share your thoughts.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anthony

 

 

Movies To Rent On This Snowy Day

Since it’s going to be a snowy, blustery, and cold day, you might just want to snuggle up on the couch and watch movies.

Here are some recent ones that we rented at Redbox and I’d recommend all of them, but some were much better than others.

“THE GUEST”

“The Guest” showed great potential at the start, but lost credibility mid-movie and was a joke by the end.

The highlight is that Dan Stevens (much more buff and sexier than from his “Downton Abbey” days) was easy on the eyes!

GRADE: C

“THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU”

“This Is Where I Leave You” is a dysfunctional family dramedy.

A group of siblings come together to mourn the loss of their father.

It features an all-star cast including the incredibly beautiful and funny Jane Fonda (and her breasts), Tina Fey, and Jason Bateman.

And, I can see why there’s a lot of entertainment buzz with “Girls” star Adam Driver.  Although I find him awkward looking, he does have a lot of magnetism on-camera.

While the movie made me laugh several times, the writing was a little choppy.

However, the acting was great.

GRADE: B

“LOVE IS STRANGE”

“Love is Strange” is the story of a couple that have been together for almost 40 years and they finally get married.

One of them gets fired from his Catholic School teaching job because of the gay marriage.

They can’t afford their condo which forces them to live apart with family and friends.

Heartbreaking and well-acted.

The movie stars John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, and Marisa Tomei.

GRADE: B+

“A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES”

“A Walk Among the Tombstones” with Liam Neeson and Dan Stevens was an entertaining, but predictable movie.

If you like Neeson in the “Taken” series, you’ll like his kick-ass turn as a vigilante out for revenge.

If you’ve tired of “Taken” by “Taken 3”, you might want to skip this one.

GRADE: B-

“THE MAZE RUNNER”

“The Maze Runner” was a very enjoyable and thought-provoking young adult, dystopian, science-fiction story about the end of the world as we know it and a science experiment being conducted on boys and girls.

A sequel is already in the works.

GRADE: B

“BOYHOOD”

If you watched the Golden Globes, you saw Patricia Arquette win for Best Supporting Actress, Richard Linklater for Best Director, and “Boyhood” for Best Picture – Drama, and rightfully so!

The movie is also up for six Academy Awards.

“Boyhood” is very unique movie by Hollywood standards.  It was shot a few days a year over a twelve year period with the same actors and actresses.  No special effects were needed to age the actors.

While most of the awards and nominations are going to Linklater, Arquette, and Ethan Hawke, the real star of “Boyhood” is Ellar Coltrane.  It was amazing to watch this little Texas kid grow up on-screen over the 12-year shoot of the movie.

By the end you felt like you really knew him, even though he was acting and playing Mason.

Coltrane did pick up “Best Young Performer at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, the Nevada Film Critics Society, and the Washington D.C. Area Film Critic Association Awards.

A must see!

GRADE:  A-

“NO GOOD DEED”

This crime thriller movie was fun to watch, but it wasn’t very realistic.

It definitely wasted the talents of its stars, Golden Globes winner Idris Elba and Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson, who is much better and has better material to work with on Fox’s “Empire” as Cookie.

GRADE: B-

If you end up renting any of these, let me know what you think.

Anthony