The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced their picks for the best of the best in 2016’s movie releases. Yes, La La Land and Moonlight got into the race. But there are some nice surprises in that special group. Curious to see who made the list? Take a deep breath, grab your popcorn, and let’s see who could grab the gold at this year’s upcoming Oscar ceremony.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – at least for this critic. Yes, 2016 has finally come to a close, and thank god for that. From celebrity deaths to certain rough political aspects, 2016 has been a weird one for sure, and movies are definitely part of the equation. In fact, this might be one of the hardest annual lists to make for me in quite sometime, since there was quite a bit of bad mixed with a lot of good. But don’t worry, we got enough fuel for the fire for each list respectively. Let’s start off with the Worst Movies of 2016….
2016 has been one of the greatest years for animated films. From Disney’s two releases, Zootopia and Moana, to Laika’s under-appreciated Kubo and the Two Strings, animation has rocked the movie world better than much of its live-action competition. But then there is Illumination Entertainment (Minions), who like Disney decided to release two heavy hitters this year. First was Secret Life of Pets, which took the world and box office by storm, and now Sing is looking to do the same. But with so many movies already released, can it ignite the same excitement as Illumination’s other hits?
September is known to be the dumping ground of the movie-going year. Though January’s selections are usually much worse, September has been known to offer some truly god-awful selections, especially when it comes to animated flicks for kids. So when going into see Warner Bros. Animation’s latest CGi adventure, Storks (directed/co-written by Nicholas Stoller), I was biting my nails waiting for it to leave me in a rage. Surprisingly what I got was something – shockingly – enjoyable.
Something very special occurred in November of 1991. Although I can’t remember that period for myself–being exactly 1 year old at the time–a movie came out that changed my life forever. It told a story that was “as old as time,” and featured a collection of characters, songs, sights, and sounds, that would take a permanent residence in my heart and shape me into the person I am today. And it just so happens that the movie in question is celebrating its 25th anniversary. I’m talking about Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
When we look at our life in any form, we realize that childhood is only but a small fraction of what makes up our entire journey. But some of the best moments of our development into who we become as an adult can ultimately be forgotten, and much like the tales of Peter Pan and other children’s fables, the fear of “growing up” never really goes away. That struggle, is represented in the Annie Award-winning The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osbourne and featuring the voices of Jeff Bridges and Rachel McAdams in the English version.
Some of you might have watched the 2016 Oscars, during which Chris Rock asked some very important questions of the film industry and their dealings with a difficult topic that must be addressed: prejudice. Ironically, one of the movies that will be arriving into theaters this weekend handles the subject of the issue and how to fix it, in such a simple way, that it is hard to think of any other film before that has gotten it this right. Oh, and it stars a bunny and a fox. Meet Disney Animation’s Zootopia, directed by Bryon Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush, featuring the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman.
Sometimes, the current state of Hollywood leaves me depressed. We’re plagued by reboots, sequels, and other non-original ideas that constantly seem to stink up the creative universe with each release, one right after the other. From recent financial disaster Jem and the Holograms, to even the largely (financially) successful Transformers films, Hollywood’s glowing, promising star seems to dwindle faster and faster. But once in a while, there is a cinematic adaptation of a beloved property that gets it right. One that is a nice reminder that movie versions can be done correctly. Specifically today, I am talking about The Peanuts Movie, starring the amazing characters created by the immortal Charles M. Schulz.
Sadness has fallen upon the film scoring community, and movie fandom at large, as James Horner, the famous composer known for his memorable melodies from films such as Titanic and Avatar, has been killed in a plane crash. Horner was 61.
Back in the 90’s, I was a frequent visitor of Disney World’s Epcot. Inside the park’s Future World was an area themed to the human body, that housed a show called Cranium Command. The attraction allowed you to go inside the mind, and help a younger solider control the emotions of a teenage boy. And though it is gone from Epcot’s current roster, the ideas it provided always made me wish it were a movie. Well, thanks to Pixar, we are given the closest thing I will ever get to seeing Cranium Command on the big screen. Let me introduce you to Inside Out.