Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Holmes’

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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Losing Weight & Degrading Women Is Torture In “Dietland”

When it comes to recommendations, you expect me to suggest movies (you still need to see “Lilting”, “Bridegroom”,”Weekend”, and “Mr. Holmes”), music (“Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder, “Communion” by Years & Years, and “Emotion” by Carly Rae Jepsen were tops last year), or television shows (loving “The Man In The High Castle” and “Quantico” while I wait for my regulars to return.)

Last year, I even suggested a couple of books — the incredible “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz — both debut novels.

Normally, I read non-fiction books, autobiographies, and biographies.  Since it’s an election year, I’m going to devour political books this year and I’m starting off with “It Takes A Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, thanks to “Entertainment Weekly”, I had to get one more book in before polluting my mind with politics.

It named “Dietland” by Sarai Walker as one of the ten best books of 2015.

Dietland

And, I totally agree.  I devoured the stellar 307-page novel like Plum would choke down greasy cheeseburgers, cupcakes, and homemade lady fingers.

Okay, I need to back up because there’s also Alicia and we definitely can’t forget Jennifer!

“Dietland” is centered around Plum, a reclusive woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to women.  Actually, her job, that allows her to work at home or from the cafe she frequents, is to answer emails from young women that think they’re writing to the editor of the magazine, Kitty, for advice.

And, she’s likely not working from the Austen Media Tower high rise in Manhattan because she doesn’t fit the editor’s or the magazine’s ideal woman mold — Plum is very overweight, clocking in at over 300 pounds.

Although she’s tried dieting and weight loss programs since she was young, her weight keeps going up.

She feels her only alternative is to have gastric bypass surgery.  That’ll allow “Alicia” (her given birth name and the skinny woman deep down inside her overweight body) a chance to shine — a chance to live life, wear fun clothes, date, and fall in love.  Those are the things that Plum feels she’ll never have.

One day, she realizes that she’s being followed.  This eventually leads to a confrontation with the person tailing her and Plum meeting other people including a woman with ties to a weight loss program Plum tried and failed at when she was younger.

In the meantime, a series of high profile events involving men suspected of rape, domestic violence, and other acts against women — directly or indirectly — are starting and gaining national and international attention.

These are not court cases.  No, I’m talking about men being dropped from a plane to their deaths in the desert and much more.

But, who’s doing this?

Is Jennifer the mastermind behind the series of attacks on men and the media that objectify women.  Is Jennifer an alias of one of the main characters or an underground group?  And, how long will it take before she starts a whole revolution of women lashing out at men and institutions that demean them with unrealistic expectations?

And, then the big question is how does this all tie into Plum and her aversion to saying the one word, the f-word, that she’s never been able to say about herself — that’s she fat!

Sarai Walker

“Dietland” is a stellar debut novel from Sarai (pronounced sa-RAY) Walker and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Walker has mastered what it feels like to be an outsider.  An outsider that learns if you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what other small-minded people think — since killing them is still against the law!

In a perfect world and if Hollywood took real chances, this book would be optioned for a movie — like five minutes ago!

Anthony

Three Movies — Two Oscar Hopefuls

As we head into the second weekend of 2016, I hope your year is off to a great start.

We took advantage of the after-the-holidays down time and got caught up on shows on our DVR:  “Madam Secretary”, “American Horror Story:  Hotel”, “Empire”, and “Zoo”.

We are still five episodes of “Quantico” behind and we started watching “The Man in the High Castle”.  Up next for the rest of the snowy winter:  “Breaking Bad”.

We also watched three movies last weekend and two of them are garnering some Oscar buzz.

“MR. HOLMES”

We’ve all heard the story of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  We can even catch modern versions on CBS with super hottie Jonny Lee Miller (he’ll always be Eli Stone to me) and sexy Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC and PBS series “Sherlock”.

But, an interesting twist on the Sherlock Holmes story is told perfectly in director Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes”.   Condon directed the Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls” in 2006 and wrote the Academy Award-winning hit, “Chicago” in 2002.

“Mr. Holmes” stars Sir Ian McKellen as the 93-year-old long retired Holmes living in Sussex and attended to by Mrs. Munro played by the always amazing Laura Linney.

Holmes is desperate to recall the details of his last case before his mind fails him.

While Oscar nominees McKellen and Linney are always stellar, a future star in the making in this movie is 13-year-old actor Milo Parker, who plays Roger, Mrs. Munro’s son.

GRADE:  A

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

If you’ve never seen any of the “Mad Max” movies (there are four) like me, you’ll be in for a surprise if you choose this as your first.

I love Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and that’s why I wanted to see “Mad Max:  Fury Road”.

Let me just say this bluntly.  If you make it past the first thirty WTF minutes, you’ll be hooked into this dystopian look at a wasteland following a nuclear holocaust.

There’s even Oscar buzz building for the movie and director George Miller.

And, thankfully, there’s no Mel Gibson.

GRADE:  B

“NO ESCAPE”

This premise of this movie is promising and the acting is decent, but it does have some big flaws.

As the movie opens, we see the prime minister of Cambodia assassinated by a group of rebels.

It flashes back 17 hours with a man, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), on a plane with his wife and two daughters.  They’re from the United States and are relocating to southeast Asia for his new job.

Maybe it’s an omen, but nothing works in their hotel room and when Jack tells the hotel desk clerk the problems, he’s told it’s happening all over town.

The next morning Jack goes out to get a paper.  On his way back to the hotel, he’s caught in a riot between police and armed demonstrators.  Shots are fired and deadly violence breaks out.

Just that scene alone is frightening and so realistic.  It’s easy to image being in a foreign country and not knowing your way around and the native language in a life and death situation.

People are being killed all over town and Jack realizes that Americans are being targeted.  More specifically, he learned they’re out to kill him because of the company he moved there for with the job.

If it hadn’t been for the totally bogus escape scene from the hotel with his family, this movie would have scored a higher grade.  But, that scene alone destroyed the realism of what is, otherwise, a great movie.

Okay, that and the fact that the director allowed Pierce Brosnan to sing — even if it’s karaoke and that’s usually bad.  But, after “Mamma Mia”, Brosnan should never be allowed to sing in movies again. 🙂

GRADE:  C

If you’ve seen these movies, let me know what you thought of them.  If you haven’t, I know you’ll love “Mr. Holmes” and enjoy the other two.

Anthony