Written by: FFT Webmaster | December 31st, 2016
2016 was a challenging year for the motion picture business and the place of movies in our society and its culture. While the formula of the tent- pole is stronger than ever (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY. DOCTOR STRANGE, FINDING DORY) the independent film struggled to stay relevant, barely hanging in there. Here are ten reasons to go to the movies.
- Hell or High Water: Director David Mackenzie’s western is like “No Country For Old Men” in that it transcends the limits of genre with a 21st Century sensibility. From a wonderful script by Taylor Sheridan, tight ensemble acting from Chris Pine and Ben Foster as bank robber- Robin Hoods and the great Jeff Bridge‘s as a sharp Texas Ranger ready to outwit some more bank robbers as a career -ending event.
- Moonlight: Director Barry Jenkins’film is a masterful and transformative view, in three phases, of a black gay boy from Miami changing before our eyes into a fractured and sad adult enduring a hard-scrabble life as a drug dealer.
- American Honey: Andrea Arnold’s. road movie presents life as an existential journey as homeless teens bond together in a surrogate family selling magazine subscriptions to the wealthy and middle class of The Bible Belt as they seek out meaning for their lives.
- Manchester by the Sea: Director –writer Kenneth Lonergan’s third feature revolves around a character played pitch-perfect by Casey Affleck as a disgruntled grieving loner and janitor who finds himself assigned by his brother’s last will with the care of his teenage nephew.
- Indignation Director/screenwriter and professor James Schamus adapts a Phillip Roth novel about a brilliant, working class Jewish kid (Logan Lerman) who escapes the Korean War by winning a scholarship to a strict Christian college in Ohio and allowing us to join his adventure vicariously.
- The Green Room: Director Jeremy Saulnier has punk rockers clashing with Neo-Nazi’s in this story which explains why we have a president- elect named Trump.
- Elle Dutch transgressive Paul Verhoeven relishes his power to shock and outrage those who think cinema should have limits. Isabelle Huppert is magnificent as a woman who loves to be raped.
- La La Land: Director-writer Damian Chazelle (“Whiplash”) creates a moody and wonderful retro movie event with this musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling from its bold first shot to its sentimental finale.
- Paterson: Auteur Jim Jarmusch’s zen-like portrait of a poet-bus driver named Paterson played as a blue collar worker by the up and coming Adam Driver without any visceral excitement.
- Handmaiden: Auteur Park Chan-wook (“Old Boy”)creates a diabolical drama which pushes and pulls its audience into perversion by the third act.