Review : Fences


“A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.”

Fences is based on a play, and I think that really shows here, not in a bad way at all, just in the structure of it. Like you can really see that act and scene setup of a play here, you can even see where there would be an entrance or exit on stage. I say that to show that the movie itself here is just a vehicle for the acting, and the acting is the real story here. Thats not to say there isn’t a story here, just its told almost exclusively through acting and through the actors telling of it. The acting in this movie is also second to none. Everyone and I mean everyone puts in a real great turn, and there really are no small parts in a movie like this. At this point Denzel seems like a real shoe in for best actor, and I have no real reason to say anyone else should get it over him. I do think a movie like La La Land is a bit better of a movie overall, but I don’t think any of the performances can be said to be stronger than what he does in fences. If you’re a fan of the play, of great acting, and just curious about this movie, it is definitely worth he price of admission.

Review Score : 9 out of 10


Review : La La Land


“A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.”

Do they make movies like this anymore? I guess every now and then they do. And I’m so glad they made this movie. La La Land, to me at least, from all stand points is as perfect as a movie can be. Its production is 100% on point, its directing is subtle when it should be, but perfectly directional when it needs to be. It set design and costuming  is perfect. The acting and singing and dancing is wonderful to behold. And most importantly, it all fits and works together as a whole. Emma Stone isn’t the greatest singer of all time, but the way her vocals are used here fit perfectly, and really make her stand out when she needs to. There is no one that does RE-acting better than Ryan Gosling, and there is probably no one more multi talented. The man can act, he can sing, he can dance, and he did some amazing piano work for this movie also. Enough can’t be said also about the chemistry between Emma and Ryan, they’ve done it before, and they’ve done it again here. La La Land is a real once in a so often kind of movie. Yes it is a musical, and if thats not your cup of tea then you probably aren’t going to be as high on this movie as I am. But even if you don’t like musicals, and you see this movie, and it doesn’t at least strike up some kind of nostalgia, and some kind of feelings in you, then maybe you’re dead inside, but if you’re not, you need to do yourself a favour and see this movie.

Review Score : 10 out of 10

Review : Live By Night


“A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the completion and the Klu Klux Klan.”

If there is one thing I should say about this movie right from the start, it’s that if you think this is a shoot-em-up gangster movie, erm…not so much. This is a gangster movie, most definitely, but, its not what you think. Even if you’ve seen Ben Affleck movies before, there is some of the same here, but this movie is also considerably different. For starters, this movie is really slow. This movie is just over 2 hours long, which is really 2 hours sans the credit, but it FEELS like 4 hours. Now I wouldn’t say that the movie really gets boring, but if you need a certain kind of pace to a film, you’re going to be very put off by the pacing here. This movie is slow and deliberate, it takes careful and thoughtful steps. There directing and cinematography here are nothing we don’t expect now from Ben, and we also get some really nice character moments. What this movie really feels like, is an old time gangster movie that has been stretched out to fill it up with great character moments from great actors. All in all, this movie is something you need to ready for, or be in the mood for to really enjoy I think.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Review : Hacksaw Ridge


“WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.”

As much as the advertising for this movie would try to not tell you, it is directed by Mel Gibson, so if thats a real issue for you then don’t see it…if not, the rest is for you. Hacksaw Ridge is two movies kind of stuck together, two good ones mind you. The first one is a good old fashion period piece love story, and its done really well and has a wonderful heartfelt feeling to it. The second part is a kind of pastiche to war movies, and a tribute to cinematic violence. If you’ve seen any Mel Gibson movie you know he has a particular way of showing violence, and its a very uncompromising view. To be fair, it usually doesn’t ever cross over into the realm of gore porn, but it still might be much for a lot of people. The truth of Hacksaw Ridge is that it is a really good movie, and is done in an extremely good way, and the really only problems this movie is going to have are all because of its director. And that really sucks for the other people in this movie. This movie would have definitely made it onto my top ten list for 2016 if it had gotten its release where I am last year. All in all Hacksaw Ridge is a really well done and at time exciting film, that deserves to be seen and there are definitely some award worthy performances in here.

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Top 10 Movies of 2016 (Wide Release)

Another year gone, another top 10 list. As with last years list, this one is only for Wide Released movies, released in the year 2016. That means some of those Oscar contenders won’t be on here, as they were only released in limited theatres in 2016 and then more widely in 2016, or stayed limited throughout. So if you don’t see certain movies on here, check back when I post my full awards of 2016 post. This post is really for more of the tent pole type films. And without further ado, my list of the Top 10 films of 2016(Wide Release):



Captain America Civil War

Another year, another top level Marvel offering for the masses. It might not have met the extremely lofty heights of of one or two of the past Marvel movies, but it does deliver and is definitely worth a spot on this list even if its the ten spot.



Star Trek Beyond

Definitely up there as far as movies I wouldn’t have guessed would make this list, but damn if it doesn’t deserve to be here. Star Trek Beyond was arguably the most fun movie I saw in all of 2016. It packed action, comedy and heart so well into one movie that gave the new series a new high point, and high enough for number 9 on the list.



The Jungle Book

The House of mouse snags another spot on the list, this times its with a remake of one their classic animated movies in The Jungle Book. Combining live action with some of the best CGI we have ever seen, this new iteration immerses us in the jungle like never before. When you feel like their is nothing strong about talking animals, you usually have a pretty good film on your hands, and you can’t go wrong with this modern telling of a true classic.



Deepwater Horizon

Some of the best movies, come out of tragedy, and Deepwater horizon is a perfect example of that. The movie tells the story of one of the worst oil spills in history, but also the humans story attached to that tragedy. With some brilliant acting from its leads, and some truly tense and gripping direction, Deepwater Horizon is more than worth a watch and a stop on this list, even if you might only be able to watch it once.




Maybe the biggest surprise smash hit of the year, was 2016’s Deadpool. A raunchy action/comedy that showed that you don’t need characters everyone knows, or ridiculous budgets to make a good comic book, and good movie on a whole. Deadpool was the culmination of years and years of wanting to make this movie and make it right, and that time and care paid off and shows in the final product. Good enough for number 6 on the list.



The Nice Guys

It should be no surprise that a movie with two of the best actors working right now would end up being a really top notched film, and thats exactly what The Nice Guys is. A quirky, but never over the top movie thats hard to fit into one category or another. The Nice Guys brings great acting, wonderful nostalgia and a real sense of timing to the big screen, worthy of the one of the best films of the year.



Hell of High Water

One of, if not the most slept on movie on this entire list, is number 4 Hell or High Water. A small but gripping film about family and what we would do for them. Using only a few characters, and subtle approach to story telling, Hell or High Water is one of those movies that you just want to keep going and going. Another great showcase of two characters acting of each other to give us a greater film than the sum of its parts.




Before we get Blade Runner 2049, we got Arrival from director Denis Villeneuve, and as my review of that movie stated, if this movie is anything to go off of we are in great hands. Arrival is every bit a mystery and thriller as it is a sci-fi and alien movie. Beautifully shot, and wonderfully acted, Arrival was probably one of the most thought provoking films of 2016, and truly worthy of the number 3 spot.



Kubo and the Two Strings

If you must it now. Technically  Kubo is one of the most advanced movies on this list, and thats saying a lot. Kubo is the result of fusing a great and compelling story, with some jaw droopingly gorgeous animation, and a fantastic score. It really is the whole package, and shouldn’t even be looked at as an animated movie, but rather just one of the best movies around.



Star Wars Rogue One (A Star Wars Story)

Now truthfully, I did give Kubo a higher score than Rogue One, but Rogue One had something Kubo didn’t, and thats history. This movie does so well to walk to fine line between giving reference to the films that have come before it, while also telling a totally new and compelling story, and it does it perfectly. Great cast, great acting, great action, great score, great directing, and come on guys its more Star Wars!

So theirs my list for the ten best wide release movies of 2016. Please keep in mind like I said earlier that this list is for those movies that were giving full, wide, international releases in the calendar year of 2016. A more comprehensive list of the best movies of the year will be out soon with my IMB awards. Until then tell me what you think of my list, and which movies you’d add or drop and why.