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Thread: My Favorite Movies of 2016 (so far)

  1. #1
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    My Favorite Movies of 2016 (so far)

    FAVORITE FILMS OF 2016 (so far, in no particular order)

    It's summer and I have more time to watch new movies than during the rest of the year because I only teach one course this semester. So, here's a list of new movies I've seen this year that I found enjoyable, meaningful, and/or edifying. The Ghibli movie is not new but it's being released for the first time in America.

    The Club (Argentina)
    Dheepan (France)
    Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
    Everybody Wants Some! (USA)
    The Fits (USA)
    Francofonia (France/Russia)
    The Lobster (Greece/Ireland)
    My Golden Days (France)
    Only Yesterday (Japan)
    Sunset Song (UK)
    Wiener Dog (USA)

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    An interesting list. I'm surprised you make it so soon - you used to be the one who didn't make your year's list at all till months into the next year! Or did you always start soon? The one I haven't seen is Only Yesterday. It showed at IFC Center in January. I saw The Tale of Princess Kaguya last year. I prefer to see animations in the original language, usually. Now, the French animation Phantom Boy, which is so charming in French - and has some great French actors doing the voices - has now been dubbed in English, like this one.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-08-2016 at 10:48 PM.

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    You remember accurately. I'm the one who used to post my top 10 two months late. Now I'm surprised that I have managed to watch enough new movies to make a list at all. People change and habits change. Now the percentage of fiml-watching of brand new releases is small. I also have a preference for Hollywood studio films of the 30s and 40s above anything else. It was "the Golden Age". I have also stopped reading film reviews, almost completely. Instead I read academic criticism that aims to explain and interpret rather than praise or dispraise.A lot of my film watching involves films I've already seen. So I know less films that others but the films I know, I know very well :-) Some films I know very well because I use them in my teaching to illustrate a concept, theory, or technique. Some films I know expertly include: Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton/1924), Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges/1941), Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock/1946) Blade Runner (Ridley Scott/USA-UK/1982), Nightjohn (Charles Burnett/1996), Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer/Germany/1998), Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuaron/Mexico/2001), Raising Victor Vargas (Peter Sollett/2003), Elephant (Gus van Sant/2003), Maria Full of Grace (Joshua Marston/USA-Colombia/2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry/2004), A History of Violence (David Cronenberg/2005), Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro/Mexico-Spain/2006), Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck-Anna Boden/2006), Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik/2010), Tomboy (Celine Sciamma/France/2011), A Separation (Asghar Farhadi/Iran/2011), Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson/2012), Snowpiercer (Joon Ho Bong/USA-UK-So. Korea/2013), The New Girlfriend (Francois Ozon/France/2015), Ex Machina (Alex Garland/2015)
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 07-16-2016 at 09:13 AM.

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    Pretty much a mixed bag but some good ones to be sure. I don't see that list has anything in common other than you teach it and they're movies you've liked. I cringe when I hear an academic has "stopped reading" anything. Narrowing down is what they do as it is. If you read reviews you'll find out what the good new movies are. You have not apparently seen the two best new American movies of the summer, LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP and CAPTAIN FANTASTIC.

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    I don't see what a reader has to gain from claims that anything is "the best". I prefer longer essays that explain, define, and interpret rather than shorter pieces full of superlatives and pejoratives that teach me nothing other than the biases of the writer.I am more interested in understanding how a movie works, which I usually don't get from consumer reviews. Longer pieces about movies I've already seen are more substantial reading, for me. I access these journals from the school's library, but there is good writing online. I like David Bordwell's website, for instance.

    I don't say this to start a polemic with you, just to explain my current experience with film and film criticism (which may be reason enough for some, perhaps you included, to deem my lists as totally worthless).At least, it's a way for me to opine and say hello to my old filmwurld pals :-)
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 07-17-2016 at 05:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oscar jubis View Post
    FAVORITE FILMS OF 2016 (so far, in no particular order): The Club (Argentina),Dheepan (France), Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia), Everybody Wants Some! (USA), The Fits (USA), Francofonia (France/Russia), The Lobster (Greece/Ireland)My Golden Days (France)Only Yesterday (Japan)Sunset Song (UK)Wiener Dog (USA)
    These 11 were my favorite movies released in the first half of 2016, and I still like them. However, a year and many viewings of other 2016 films later, only THE FITS and MY GOLDEN DAYS claim a place in my 2016 top 10. I don't remember if I already mentioned that I think of the former as a female, contemporary, American companion to the great Australian film PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975). MY GOLDEN DAYS was authored by Arnaud Desplechin, perhaps my favorite living director from France (not named Godard. Wait, is JLG Swiss or French?). I have a direct affinity with Desplechin that includes the influence of the work of American philosopher Stanley Cavell and other cultural points of reference. I love the shaggy quality of his narratives and their consistent allusiveness. If there is one film directed by Desplechin that has been unjustly maligned in this country is his English-language Esther Kahn(2000), a near-great film about acting.

    Other films of 2016 that would receive consideration for a place in my top 10 would include an obvious choice: MOONLIGHT reveal that I have a special place in my heart for Moonlight because it's a movie that transforms my city into a character in a more interesting manner than just about any other movie that has tried (or pretended) to do so.

    The 2016 documentary that had the biggest impact on me was not the O.J. one but the one directed by Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck about author/activist James Baldwin and provocatively titled I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO.

    I liked several Latin American films released in 2016 such as Neon Bull, Ixcanul (from Guatemala, where I vacationed in 2016)as well as The Club, Embrace of the Serpent and others. However, I don't think any 2016 Latin American film I have watched belongs in my Top 10. Granted, I have some catching up to do. A second viewing of The Lobster did not expand or confirm my hopes for it. Still, a very interesting film some of my friends like more than I do.

    Under top 10 consideration: PATERSON. Jim Jarmusch displays such warmth and compassion for his characters in this movie and depicts something of a rarity: the nuances of a marital relationship that works. Truly a lovely and loving piece of cinema. Two achievements that would make my top 20 not my Top 10, as of now, are: 20th Century Women, Certain Women, Indignation, maybe Fences.

    What makes the Top 10 is CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR. I love the way Apichatpong Weerasethakul uses the elements of cinematic style to create a diegesis in which spirits cohabitate naturally with the living, and the way his new movies echoes his previous ones going all the way back to [I]Blissfully Yours[/I, his second feature. The most recent 2016 release that merits consideration as a truly extraordinary achievement is Maren Ade's TONI ERDMANN. There is a remake planned, with Jack (Nicholson of course) coming out of retirement after 8 years to play the role of a father who impersonates a fictional character of his own invention to insinuate himself back into the life of his corporate lackey daughter. The only possible complaint I can imagine about the German original is that some scenes go on for too long; that a 2 hour version cut to the speed of a younger or an impatient audience would have made the film even more enjoyable. My experience is that the protagonists are so interesting that every moment of the film is justified. It's a movie I plan to rewatch. Toni Erdmann is also a film about acting and about theatricality, like Esther Kahn, and I look forward to see it again.

    So, my Top 10 has only 7 movies! No problem, I need to leave room for films yet to be discovered. Talk soon, Oscar
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 10-04-2017 at 06:35 PM.

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    Was thinking of you because I saw Zama day before yesterday wonderfully projected at Alice Tully Hall. You can see my review in the 2017 NYFF reviews of Filmleaf. I discovered that an English translation of De Benedetto's novel was only published early this year and J.M.Coetzee's long NYRB review of the translation helped me, only it was too much. I don't know if I'd ever like this film but I can appreciate its exotic and sometimes beautiful images. Anyway... a lot could be written about it. I don't find as much to say about Call Me by Your Name, also a big film at the NYFF seen last night, except to compare it with the book. I found it very well done, very touching, the chemistry between Hammer and Calmamet amazing, and I'll probably see it again, but it didn't shake me to the core the way Brokeback Mountain did, maybe it'll resonate more later.

    I hated The Lobster. I think it's really nasty. We'll see The Killing of a Sacred Der when it comes out in early Nov. I'm still curious. I liked Paterson a lot. Loved My Golden Days and have seen it several times. I will see Ismael's Ghosts in the NYFF too, but it sounds like a stinker to me and several (French) friends saw it in France and didn't like it at all. Your other choices sound great to me for a change except The Fits, I was somewhat underwhelmed by that.

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    This is more "common ground" than our usual critical responses. It's great that you've seen Zama. I'll see it in March probably. I watched Manchester by the Sea and continue to admire Kenneth Lonergan's writing and directing. However, like Margaret and You Can Count on Me, his latest film will remain just outside the top ten. A talented man he is, no doubt. I look forward to more films from him in the future. I will be showing The Killing of a Sacred Deer but I can't say I terribly excited about it. I plan to rewatch Kieslowsky's Dekalog now that it's available on Bluray. That'll keep me busy for a while. Thanks for all the work you do for this site. I'm sure a lot of people appreciate it. I am also reading philosophical books lately, when time permits, and watching baseball with my Dad. He's a Yankees fan and they are in the playoffs. The new movie I want to watch the most is the new Agnes Varda documentary. Ciao!

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    Thanks for the response and, as always, I wish you had time to contribute more to the site as you used to early on. We'll see what the rest of the year holds in new releases. There are some promising ones from the NYFF, coming out now or early next year. I just saw Chloe Zhao's The Rider, a very touching docu-drama about a young cowboy which I didn't realize was bought by Sony Pictures Classics at Cannes.

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    I feel deprived that I haven't had a chance to attend Oscar Jubis's class. I would really have been excited and enthralled to hear about many of the movies that he has listed that I have included in my top movie list:

    *Blade Runner (Ridley Scott/USA-UK/1982)
    *Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer/Germany/1998)
    *Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry/2004)
    *A History of Violence (David Cronenberg/2005)
    *Winterís Bone (Debra Granik/2010)
    *Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson/2012)

    Personally, I'd replace Ex Machina (Alex Garland/2015) with The Machine (Caradog James/2013).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    There are some promising ones from the NYFF, coming out now or early next year. I just saw Chloe Zhao's The Rider, a very touching docu-drama about a young cowboy which I didn't realize was bought by Sony Pictures Classics at Cannes.
    You can always trust the NYFF selections. The relatively low number of films screened when compared to other festivals means that even if you don't like a film you are watching at the NYFF, you know that you are watching something many consider to be a high achievement. Sony Classics will release The Cowboy in April of next year. Thanks for introducing it to us.
    As far as 2016 films, I recently watched HELL OR HIGH WATER and I highly recommend it to all readers of these forum. It's certainly a consistently enjoyable, well acted movie that is justifiably mentioned in lists of the best films of 2016 (#8 in Rosenbaum's list). Like MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, another film in indieWire's 2016 Top 10 of the year, it doesn't quite have the impact on me that MOONLIGHT, MY GOLDEN DAYS, THE FITS, PATERSON, I AM NOT YOPUR NEGRO and CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR have. I recognize that some of the reasons I hold these movies in high esteem are entirely personal.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 11-22-2017 at 06:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tabuno View Post
    I feel deprived that I haven't had a chance to attend Oscar Jubis's class.

    Personally, I'd replace Ex Machina (Alex Garland/2015) with The Machine (Caradog James/2013).
    You are very kind and I thank you. I wish we could meet and talk movies in person. I am enjoying my teaching, even though it's very hard to make ends meet with the paltry remuneration I get. It's fun though. For example, I'm preparing a course for next semester titled "Visual Communication" that would allow me to incorporate material about the historical development of technique in the art of painting. This is quite a challenge for me because I've focused exclusively on cinema up to now.
    I had not heard about The Machine and I am interested in watching it. Thanks for mentioning it.

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    I would put Manchester by the Sea above the indeed enjoyable Hell or High Water. Just watched Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Best thing he's done in a while. Speaking of painting, you ought to see Loving Vincent, animated using rotoscoping or motion capture and paintings by Van Gogh. French version I saw was all in French (better - since it takes place in France) and it was called La Passion Van Gogh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    I would put Manchester by the Sea above the indeed enjoyable Hell or High Water. Just watched Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Best thing he's done in a while. Speaking of painting, you ought to see Loving Vincent, animated using rotoscoping or motion capture and paintings by Van Gogh. French version I saw was all in French (better - since it takes place in France) and it was called La Passion Van Gogh.
    Loving Vincent aligns perfectly with my current intellectual explorations. So I am buying the BlueRay as soon as it's released in January. I am currently watching a series of 24 lectures about the greatest paintings in Western Art released on dvd in 2010 by a company named The Great Courses. I recently finished the course on Greatest Ideas of Philosophy. so much to learn.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 11-26-2017 at 11:19 PM.

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    Glad you're making good use of the film, Loving Vincent. Those courses must be most edifying. I've enjoyed art and philosophy courses.
    Amherst is a good school.

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