By: Marissa Nellis
La La Land
From the very first shot of the CinemaScope logo, I knew I was going to love this movie. It’s fun, light-hearted, magical, original, and simply spectacular. This movie takes us back in time, reflecting on the movie musicals of the ‘50s, and reminds us of the magic and wonder that movies can hold. It’s easily my favorite movie of the year.
This film is a beautiful tale, both visually and emotionally, and excels in every aspect of its composition. The direction, paired with incredible acting, especially from Amy Adams, breathtaking cinematography, and smart, thoughtful writing, all come together to create one of the best sci-fi films to have come out in recent years.
This film works on so many levels for me and it’s easily one of the better horror films to have come out this year. Though Fede Alvarez utilizes many predictable horror movie tropes, he switches things up just enough to make the film feel fresh and long-lasting. One of the goals of a horror movie is to have a good rewatchability factor and this film definitely succeeds in that.
While the writing, direction, cinematography, etc. are all great components in this film, it’s the acting by Taragi P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae that outshines everything else. No one could have played their parts better. While this film has serious undertones, it’s an overall enjoyable watch and it’s great to see these historical figures given their due credit.
The Nice Guys
It was one of the biggest flops of the year at the box office, and yet it fits right up there with my favorite films of the year. It’s hilarious and the chemistry between Gosling and Crowe is irresistible. This 1970’s detective caper about a missing porn star is sure to keep you on your toes while you laugh your way through it. It’s a shame that it may never get a proper sequel.
The Neon Demon
Nicolas Winding Refn is one of my favorite directors working today, and while many people may not like him, or understand his style of filmmaking, I think he’s brilliant. The Neon Demon is another notch in his tree. This film is visually stunning and the music is euphoric and haunting at the same time. The acting is great on all parts and the story is compelling and filled with enough campy moments to make this film a cult favorite of mine.
This film was akin to a dreamy nightmare. The pacing was perfect, Tom Ford’s direction reminiscent of the work of David Lynch, and the acting was spot on, especially Amy Adams. The cinematography is beautiful, especially the scenes where we’re “in the book,” and the score is haunting. Everything about this film was superb, it’s just a shame it wasn’t fully recognized this year.
*I still have not seen Moonlight, Fences, Silence, and Lion, and that’s why they are not on this list, if they would be. This list consists of only the films that I have seen so far.