It honestly feels like yesterday that i was here handing out my obscure awards, i guess time flies when you’re having fun.
All in all 2016 was a topsy-turvy year that’s been covered and complained about extensively elsewhere, i certainly posted more this year, with 46 this year (though i didn’t post anything all November, shame shame). Which is higher than my 41 of 2015, so i delivered on my promise to bring more updates.
As for movies i saw a grand total of 10:
- Batman v Superman
- Captain America: Civil War
- The Killing Joke
- Star Trek Beyond
- The Magnificent Seven
- Doctor Strange
- Light Between Oceans
- Rogue One
which is 2 more than i saw the year before, which is a good thing as i honestly was startled last year by how little i bothered to see in the theaters. I do apologise for not reviewing all of them, as Arrival certainly deserves a full write-up. Perhaps in the future.
But enough of the musing, let’s get to the awards!
I know i know i know. This released in December 2015 so it shouldn’t qualify, which is fair. But it opened here in mid-January, and since the world does indeed revolve only around me i say it does qualify.
It was also better than any other movie i saw in 2016, and is deserving of recognition (as it’s been criminally over looked and forgotten). Boasting wonderful performances from its two leads, and succeeding as a unique adaptation of the Bard’s Scottish Play with the addition of clever motivations for the Macbeth’s actions and subsequent madness. Throw in incredibly evocative visual design and you have 2016’s best movie.
Watch it if you haven’t, and certainly watch it if you’re not a fan or familiar with Shakespeare as it comes off as more of a tragic and psychological thriller than stage play.
The proper best movie of 2016 has to go to Denis Villeneuve’s stellar (heh he he) Arrival.
The usual accolades are here: Great Performances, Great Visuals, and most importantly a Great Story.
It puts to shame other so-called Sci-Fi movies like Star Trek Beyond by using its premise of an alien encounter to explore the power and necessity of communication. I avoided reviewing it as it contains a clever plot twist that i would have to discuss in order to examine the movie more in-depth. And much like Macbeth before it, it is a terrible fate that it went almost completely ignored by audiences.
Watch it if you’re a fan of sci-fi. Watch it if you’ve ever complained about the dearth of original ideas coming out of Hollywood. And while you’re at it check out Villeneuve’s other overlooked gem Prisoners.
You won’t be disappointed.
Where to start?
Ya, that scene perfectly sums up this pile of week old, rancid, fetid, putrid, fried chicken excrement.
Who green lit that scene? To have scene in a 200 million dollar franchise builder movie where a senator spots a mason jar of piss before a spectacular explosion kills everyone in the building? What was that board meeting like (and you better believe this movie was built in a board room)? Did they vote to not have her take a sip of it? And in a movie where 30 minutes to an hour were cut they left in that scene?
It’s not even the act that bothers me the most, it was the fact that the moment of Hunter’s realisation was strung on for so long that i actually started questioning reality. Was that piss? I asked, with a line of thought that went on something like this:
Did she drink a jar of piss? What the hell is going on? What the fuck am i even watching? Am i actually watching a movie where a woman is pranked by an act of unwitting urolagnia? Is that jar piss??? Did she fucking drink piss???? BOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!!!
Aside from that there are plenty of other things to hate in this overlong disaster; the debasement of Batman and Zimmer’s horrendous score come immediately to mind.
Fuck. This. Movie.
2016 was not a good year for Batman, i know i know Batman V Superman has its fans and apologists, by all means have it; piss drinking and numbing explosions in its entirety. But I don’t think The Killing Joke has very many fans, as it’s a boring, poorly written, and poorly acted movie.
I didn’t touch on it in the review as there were plenty of other issues plaguing the film, but it really seems that the producers of The Killing Joke wanted to avoid the outrage caused by the Batgirl #41 variant cover, and their trepidation led to them focusing their attentions on Batgirl to the detriment of everything else.
As that tight focus led to a very poorly constructed romance; lacking any sort of input and insight into the romantic subplot on Batman’s part that led to a baffling and embarrassing Batsex scene, and a deeply unsatisfying experience overall.
If you were curious about The Killing Joke, honestly just get the graphic novel. Either an original print or the re-coloured re-issue will satisfy far more than this entry, even if you find its feminist overtones appealing you’ll probably be taken aback by the notoriously horny animators taking every opportunity to sexualise Batgirl, and Barbara being depicted as an emotional basket case.
It is a failure by every metric, and should be quickly forgotten.
I’m a bit disheartened to say that not much grabbed my attention in film music this year (positively), Michael Giacchino certainly released the most work that i listened to this year; scoring Star Trek Beyond, Doctor Strange, and Rogue One. However even given 3 shots to deliver something great he stumbled on two of them.
Star Trek Beyond while still containing the great new Star Trek theme was unremarkable, and i’ve forgotten it entirely. As for Doctor Strange, James Berardinelli remarks on his review of it:
“… Michael Giacchino’s efforts aren’t up to snuff. The music sounds like a slightly reworked version of what he turned in for 2009’s Star Trek. The similarities are so striking that I half-expected someone to start intoning “Space, the final frontier…” It’s jarring to be watching one movie and hear music that’s familiar from another one…”
And i have to agree with Berardinelli’s assessment of Giacchino’s work in the film, as i don’t recall a single cue.
Giacchino’s work on Rogue One was certainly more memorable but honestly his opening title theme is incredibly clunky and comes off as unfinished, and his take on the Imperial March comes off as more suitable for some Star Wars parody or cheap rip off.
Fortunately the score takes off in its second half; with some of the score’s earlier cues getting a proper embellishment, and effective use of John Williams’ famous (and better) themes pops up more often.
Obviously the music underscoring Vader’s awesome action sequence is going to be one of the highlights:
What bothers me most about Zimmer’s latest big screen entry is how backward it seems, his work in Interstellar apart from its radically different instrumentation was the same old simplistic work he has been churning out for a decade. But god dammit it was different, it was a step to the side and it was a refreshing departure from his usual work.
Batman V Superman is not only a step back for him, it’s a faceplant on the worn out path he and his ghost writers have created for themselves. Case in point, he somehow makes a new Batman theme that is less nuanced and subtle than his previous one, while paradoxically using more notes in the new theme itself!
Good lord what is this shit? Don’t get me started on Wonder Woman’s auditory assault of a theme, or Lex Luthor’s lumbering mess of a musical identity:
Listening to this garbage blaring loud enough to shake the god damned seats in the theater, while being well past the 2 hour mark of this unspooling mess of a movie was the closest thing to torture i ever put myself through.
Fuck Junkie XL as well, for helping Zimmer make this pile of garbage. His music in Fury Road was decently forgettable but he’s crossed the line here, i’ll watch (or rather listen) to his future scores with a great deal of skepticism and trepidation.
For a more nuanced look into the flaws of this terrible score, i highly suggest you read the review of it up on Film Tracks, because i’m done talking about this aggressively obnoxious headache.
If you head onto my positive review of this film, you might be a bit surprised to see it here given that i liked the movie overall.
In the future i may need to re-adjust my scores of the rebooted Star Trek franchise, as they are all by and large filled with gaping plot holes, and are all by and large colossal disappointments. Beyond‘s failure at being beyond anything other than passably decent summer fun is laid all the more bare by Arrival‘s triumphs in dealing with themes of communication. Star Trek dealt with those themes effectively in numerous episodes (Darmok comes immediately to mind), but in Beyond we’re saddled with an overload of explosions, a shitty villain, and even shittier Beastie Boys tunes.
Why couldn’t the writers and producers have taken more chances? The answer is as simple as it is obvious: Money.
A budget of 185 million is a liability at this point, as the only advantage it gives the movie is a large special effects and marketing budget. Taking into consideration Star War’s yearly release schedule and the fact the movie had to rely on international ticket sales to make its budget back, the future of Star Trek is in the air as far as i’m concerned*.
THE WRAP UP
That about does it for this year’s awards, as Matt Damon’s face didn’t ruin the prospects of any movie i wanted to see, and while i had in mind this years “Biggest No One Gave a Shit” i promptly forgot it. Which is frankly quite appropriate.