1. Train to Busan - Wow. It's brilliant. I was instantly put into a state of awe after the first scene with the deer (note to self: reanimated zombie deer are terrifying). I wasn't even aware that this was a zombie movie. I've seen constant, almost overbearing, praise for it among film twitter but never really researched what it was about. I knew while watching it, that it would definitely place among my top 5 of last year, but after that ending, it shot right up to number one. It's probably going to remain my favorite film of 2016 (I still have so much to watch) and one of my favorite zombie movies of all time. I loved every second of it, every shot, every character, every relationship (ok maybe not every second - the "washing the blood off his hands" scene was a little too literal and obvious, but nothing is perfect). The zombies are actually terrifying - the virus is transferred instantly, and the zombies are fast and react quickly. It makes the film move really fast and you feel a sense of urgency for the entire length of the film. I love that it addresses this natural human instinct to fend for yourself, but ultimately in situations like this, humanity would only survive if people stick together. And how about that little girl? Best acting performance of 2016? Damn straight. (FYI - her name is Soo-an Kim, and I will be watching her career intently).
2. The Dressmaker - I don't even know what to say about this movie. It's just so weird, and not in a good way. We are made to sympathize with the main character, the almost always spectacular Kate Winslet (is it weird that I think her worst performance is in Titanic? Also, the poster and the scene in the beginning with Winslet in the gigantic hat is so reminiscent of Titanic. That had to be on purpose.), even though she is rude and elitist. We are made to believe that she is an innocent victim of a childhood tragedy even though the small town around her believes in her guilt. But then it ends with her doing something so horrendous and self-serving - it actually made me angry that I spent time sympathizing with her. That's not even the worst part of the movie. The worst part were all these weird scenes of wacky physical humor that just didn't fit with the movie at all. Also, I do think that fashion is important (for some people) because it can give people confidence to express themselves through art (and yes, fashion is art, don't even try to debate me on this). However, it's used in this movie as a way to show superiority over other people and that isn't cool. And I'm really glad that the scene with the rats was actually important to the story (I guess), because it was so weird to just have a random scene with a guy that jumps into a group of rats.
3. Assassin's Creed - I was half expecting a bad movie, half hoping the critics were just exaggerating. They weren't. It's spectacularly bad. Definitely one of the worst of last year. First, I've never played the video game that it's based on, so I was prepared to not "fully" understand it. But shouldn't it, you know, make sense? It's made for a general audience. You can argue against that notion, sure, but my opinion is that if it's a big budget film with A-list actors, it's meant to be for a general audience. And yes, I realize that the video game has a massive following, but so does something like Star Trek and those recent movies are meant to entertain an even wider audience than just the "fans". Anyway, this movie made zero sense to me, and I don't feel like they made any effort to make it accessible. There is actually a ton of explanation and talking, but it never really actually explains anything. Second, I watched it with someone who is a fan of the video game and he didn't like it either, so that's a failure on both levels. Third, at the very least, it should have some visually amazing action sequences, but they are extremely boring and repetitive. And fourth, how do you fuck up a movie with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard? Sure, Macbeth wasn't the best movie, but it was satisfying enough and well-acted. If this was my first introduction to these two actors, I would assume they are just awful. What accent was Cotillard trying to do?
4. Captain Fantastic - I really enjoyed this movie! I didn't really hear much about it until Viggo was nominated for the Oscar. Just little shouts here and there, but I didn't see it on anyone's list for best movies of last year (it will be on mine, once I update - and this year it will be significantly different than the one I did in January). I don't think I want to go into much detail about the plot, because I think I enjoyed it more by not knowing anything about it. I will say that it asks a lot of valid questions about our education system (in America), and that it's quite funny, and also, disturbing. The scene in which the public school kid gets quizzed on the Bill of Rights and fails miserably, while his much younger child can not only recite it, she actually understands what it is. The story does a good job of showing both sides of the coin (his children obviously have no "street smarts", as his oldest exclaims "Unless it comes out of a fucking book, I don't know anything about anything!"). There are definitely different types of intelligence and it's a disservice to all to define one as superior than another. Viggo does an incredible job (and definitely Viggo > Casey x100), but George MacKay is the standout of the film (and George > Lucas x100 - 1. HAHA George Lucas 2. why wasn't MacKay even an awards contender???). The absolute best part of the movie, though, is the end - the cover of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" is stunning; so stunning that it actually made me cry hysterically. Although, I am a big fan of GN'R - their song lyrics are wonderful (just try listening to "Patience" and tell me otherwise).
5. Deepwater Horizon - Not good, not bad - just one of those movies that is entertaining but far from memorable, which is exactly what I was expecting. It's really a tragic story of the BP oil spill. It's a bit like the Titanic - could have been prevented if it weren't for ego and money. The cast is strong - Marky Mark as our hero is a given, supported by Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell (have they ever been in a film together?), Gina Rodriguez and John Malkovich (so weird to see him in a "normal" role, but fitting that he's the villain). Directed by Peter Berg who is becoming the poor man's Michael Bay (and I say that with LOVE). There's a whole fuck ton of foreshadowing, then the spill begins and it's just explosion after explosion. I didn't really have a sense of location and perspective, which is important for films like this. There were a lot of moments that I was a little confused as to what was happening and why certain characters did certain actions. I actually laughed out loud when he threw her over the fire - did that really happen? I'll have to look that up, because it's not funny, but it is really funny to watch.