spoiler-free

Top Ten Movies of 2016

2016 was a movie year with interesting dichotomies.  On the one hand, many studio films and sequels fell flat (particularly over the summer).  On the other hand, it was a fantastic year for independent cinema, surprise original genre hits, and social/political documentaries.  For me personally, it was the first year I attended the Sundance Film Festival, and managed to see a personal best 75 films released this year.  Of those films, here were my favorites (presented here as [spoiler-free] unless otherwise noted).
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The Best Movie Stuff of 2016

2016 has come and gone.  As many films have only just recently become available for the average viewer, I’m still putting the final touches on my “Top Ten” list.  However, I have once again put together a compilation of some of the best moments and elements in the year in film. This will be mostly [spoiler-free], unless otherwise noted.  Here are some of my favorite film things from 2016:
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‘Pete’s Dragon’ Review: Wonder over Nostagia

Pete’s Dragon (2016) is a magical live-action Disney adventure that harkens back to family films of decades past. It is a children’s film that treats its audience with respect, and is very mature in its exploration of magic and wonder.  Recently I had the pleasure of attending the premiere at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood, courtesy of The View and Fantasy Movie League. The experience was delightful, and I have many thoughts about the film itself. I am going to keep this post mostly [spoiler-free], keeping the conversation to my thoughts about characters, pacing, and tone. (more…)

‘Swiss Army Man’ Spoiler Review: A Corpse Multi-Tool for Your Survival Needs

Swiss Army Man was perhaps the most polarizing film of Sundance.  There are stories of how people walked out of its premiere screening, and it’s easy to see why.  Depending on expectations, this film could be a kinetic masterpiece or an extended fart joke.  Personally, I think the film is the former.  This movie is completely insane, and I believe that “The Daniels” (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) are the next Neveldine and Taylor, but with a stronger eye for the cinematic.  My opinion is that this movie is best if you go into it completely fresh, but unfortunately the trailer gives away a number of surprises.  If you haven’t seen anything, I recommend stopping here and just seeing the film; however, I’ll do my best to keep spoilers to what’s in the trailer for the first portion of this review. (more…)

Top 10 Movies of 2015

We’re two months into 2016, and I finally feel that I’ve seen enough 2015 films to put together a top 10 list (just in time for the Oscars).  More than ever, last year had a ton of variety in its excellent films, and the lists that I have seen do not have a strong overlap with one another.  I’ve watched 62 new releases from 2015 (by far a personal record), and yet there are still several high-profile films that I’ve missed and thus couldn’t include.  Without further ado, here is my list:

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‘Deadpool’ Review: The Suit isn’t Green or Animated

I was able to catch an early screening of Deadpool, and am pleased to say that it is definitely the Deadpool movie that fans have been clamoring for since X-Men Origins: Wolverine totally tanked the character.  I’ve never been a huge fan of the character, but I found the movie darkly funny throughout, and on par with similar entries like Kick-Ass or Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Here are some mostly spoiler-free (as if spoilers matter here) thoughts. (more…)

Best of Sundance 2016

The most rewarding experience of Sundance is seeing what the next year of movies will look like.  Of the 120 feature films that were selected to screen at Sundance, I was able to catch 18 in a five day frenzy.  Almost all of them were really good, and several I would consider fantastic.  Here are some of the most exciting future releases of 2016: (more…)

Experiencing the Sundance Film Festival

2016 was my first year attending the Sundance Film Festival, and the experience was everything I had imagined and more. In four and a half days, I watched 18 feature films, 8 shorts, and a half-dozen virtual reality exhibits. That’s an average of four films a day, seeing as many as six in a single day.

One of the coolest things about the festival is that all the while, I was talking with other cinephiles about which movies to see, and frantically trying to obtain tickets to those films. Many attendees work in the industry, many are locals, and some are press covering the event.  I consider myself extremely lucky; I was able to get in to almost every movie I attempted (you can read about my favorites here).  I learned a lot while attending the festival, and would like to share some of the highlights of the experience. (more…)

Review: ‘The Primary Instinct’ Exceeds Listeners’ Expectations

This review was written following the International Film Festival of Boston.

A few weekends ago I was able to catch a screening of David Chen and Stephen Tobolowsky’s The Primary Instinct, which premieres tonight and tomorrow at the Seattle International Film Festival. Based on the highly successful podcast The Tobolowsky Files, the movie is a concert documentary in which Stephen recounts stories of his life, finding existential meaning in a variety of seemingly disparate stories.  The result is a fascinating experience unique to Tobolowsky, and one that must be witnessed to be understood.

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