1. Trumbo - Bryan Cranston is, indeed, excellent - I'm not sure it's an Academy Award worthy performance, but it's definitely a solid portrayal of Dalton Trumbo. The famous blacklisted screenwriter is a great person to focus a film on, but this movie was pretty disappointing for me. I don't really feel like it told me anything that I didn't already know, and I don't really think it depicted the intensity of the issue. There was one really strong scene (where Trumbo compares rounding up Communists to rounding up Democrats) that stuck with me, but I just feel like a story of this importance should have many more of those moments. It was just a linear, factual, and very dull story. The supporting cast was filled with talented people - Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Alan Tudyk, Elle Fanning, and Louis C.K. Plus, the guy who played Kirk Douglas was scarily spot-on.
2. Now You See Me 2 - I think I liked the first one. I remember it having a good ending that I should have expected, but for some reason I didn't - which I guess is the whole point of movies like this. I love the cast - especially Dave Franco (he's one of my favorites ever since he was on Scrubs). They lost Isla Fisher (whom I adore), but they gained Lizzy Caplan (whom I also adore), so no complaints from me. I don't think this one was as clever as the first, but I like that the story seemed like a natural progression to the first one; It made the sequel seem necessary. I really enjoy Daniel Radcliffe - especially in this role as "the bad guy" (and an uber prick). I like that you don't really know who is on their side, and who is not, up until the very end. They did a good job with the twists, but I just think it was expected to not trust anything or anyone, so it loses the audience investment.
3. The Neon Demon - I loved it. Like really loved it. I think people get turned off by NWR's style because they just don't get it. Yes, it's not subtle. But who says that it's supposed to be? Who cares if the story is so simple if it's told in such a stunning way, isn't that really what matters in the field of film-making (and art, in general)? It doesn't need to be abstract to be odd and beautiful, and I think people confuse his style as something abstract, when in fact, it's really obvious. The story is about a young, beautiful, and innocent girl who moves to L.A to become a model. She encounters three women in the industry - one is jealous of her youth, one is jealous of her beauty, and one jealous of her innocence. And they literally try to steal these things from her. It's really that simple. However, through the use of beautiful imagery, poetic dialogue and a gruesome turn of events, the story becomes really compelling. And oh so gross. Sooooo gross. It personifies the ugliness of jealousy and narcissism. The cast is stunning - Elle Fanning is perfect, but Jena Malone somehow manages to steal the spotlight. I like that it's a female story with men relegated to supporting roles - and the only seemingly "nice guy" is the one that's knowingly dating an underage girl (pretty strong statement there, I think). This movie will definitely be in my Top 10 of the year (right now it's number 4).
4. London Has Fallen - The only thing I remember about Olympus Has Fallen, was the ridiculously brilliant line, "Why don't you and I play a game of fuck off. You go first.". I was hoping for something as ridiculous with this movie, but no such luck. I mean, the whole thing is definitely ridiculous - in order to pull off this terrorist attack they had to infiltrate the police, the EMTs, the Queen's guards, etc., and an actual line is "it must have come from someone inside". UM FUCKING DUH. The only truly shocking thing about this movie is how they get actors like Jackie Earle Haley and Melissa Leo to participate in such nonsense. They don't even get to do much, just stand around a room and act terrified. I enjoy Gerard Butler very much because he's either really great in a role, or really hilarious in a role, but either way, I am entertained.
5. Zootopia - I don't actually enjoy animated movies as much as most seem to. The last one I really liked was Brave (Inside Out did nothing for me. I know, I know...I'm a monster). I LOVE this one - love so much that it might make my Top 10 list of the year. It's so relevant to everything that is happening in our country right now (and around the world). It's an allegory for the BLM movement, immigration, sexism, the societal effects of bullying, and just so much more. I think everyone can find a way to relate to it (specifically for me, it's when she walks into the police precinct with all of the animals that are bigger than her - this is how I feel on a daily basis. I'm very tiny, and people don't take me seriously because of this). The messages are extremely overt and obvious - which it needs to be because it's for kids. There are still some great moments for adults, though - like the sloths at the DMV. Kids will laugh because of the simple humor of sloths being slow, but they've never experienced the painfulness of dealing with the DMV. It's just hilarious, and super cute. Also, Jenny Slate has a terrific voice for animation.