Thursday, November 3, 2016

Riske Business: Random Thoughts About 2016 Movies (November-December)

by Adam Riske
Well, the Fall movie season was certainly underwhelming. Hopefully the year will close out strong.

• I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews for Moonlight, so I’m optimistic but I really hope it’s not just festival delirium on the part of critics.

• I mean, sure, I’ll see Doctor Strange, but I’m not anticipating it much. Marvel has become a cinematic oil change for me.

• Do kids care about trolls enough to want to see Trolls?

• I’m conflicted. Hacksaw Ridge is getting strong reviews and the movie looks interesting, but it’s directed by Mel Gibson and I’m not sure I want to support his movies. It’s not like he’s a supporting player; he’s a major piece here.

• I’m eager to see Jeff Nichols’ new movie Loving in order to forget about Midnight Special, which I thought was a rare but extreme misstep for him.

• I see almost any Christmas movie, so Almost Christmas might almost be a movie I go see.

• I wanted to check out Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk for a number of reasons – the story, the cast and director Ang Lee, whose work I usually like very much. Then I heard it’s shot in 120 fps. What a stupid idea. Remember 48 fps with the first Hobbit movie and how terrible that looked?

• Denis Villeneuve rules, so I’m down for Arrival despite not usually being a huge fan of movies about aliens.
• The cast does nothing for me, but I’m a huge Potter nerd so I’ll be there opening day for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

• I will see any boxing movie. #BleedForThis

• I shouldn’t want to see The Edge of Seventeen but I can’t deny the trailers make me laugh.

Allied looks like homework, but I like Robert Zemeckis and Brad Pitt enough to still go.

• Give me a fucking break. #BadSanta2 #99PercentOfComedySequelsBlow

• I’m really looking forward to Moana. It seems so charming and Dwayne Johnson is the best. Disney is on a roll, too, so I doubt they’ll let me down. We’ll see.

• I didn’t love Tom Ford’s last movie (A Single Man) BUT Nocturnal Animals looks so lurid and interesting. I love its cast, too.

• For the life of me, I don’t know why I want to see Rules Don’t Apply so much but I do. The best I can chalk it up to is my Lily Collins crush.

Manchester by the Sea is supposed to be incredible. I can’t wait to see it. Casey Affleck and Kenneth Lonergan are consistently awesome.

• Another movie getting awards buzz is Jackie, starring Natalie Portman. I think she’s a bit overrated as an actress but the subject of the former first lady in the days after John F. Kennedy’s assassination does sound like an interesting film.

• I saw the trailer for Kidnap starring Halle Berry today for the first time and it looks like a practical joke more than an actual movie. Who wants to see another movie about a child in jeopardy?
• I so hope La La Land is as great as everyone is touting it is. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are both super charismatic and it’s the follow-up to Whiplash (my favorite movie of 2014) from writer-director Damien Chazelle. I’m so there. If I had to pick the movie I think would win Best Picture, it would probably be this one.

• No Lion for me. It’s a Dev Patel movie from The Weinstein Company. They might as well have sprayed the film with Adam Riske repellant.

• I’m getting a Michael Clayton vibe from the ads for Miss Sloane. I’m sort of interested. I like Jessica Chastain enough to “blind buy” a ticket.

• I’m super down for Office Christmas Party. It’s a Christmas movie for starters, and it’s also a workplace comedy, which, as an office worker, I always find myself drawn to.

• I can’t make it through the trailer for Collateral Beauty without my eyes rolling to the back of my head. Will Smith…I mean, seriously? What the hell happened to you man?

• Good lord, does The Space Between Us look terrible. I’m not convinced this Asa Butterfield guy is a lead.

• The movie I’m most looking forward to (like most people) is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I’m just worried that Godzilla Edwards is going to fuck it up.

Sing looks cute, but (yet again) I fall back on “I don’t have kids so I don’t need to see that.”

• I think Michael Fassbender is the man. Even with that, though, I have absolutely zero interest in Assassin’s Creed. Video game movies almost never work so why bother unless I hear down the line it’s good?
• I like Jennifer Lawrence (though not as much as I used to). I like Chris Pratt, too, but Passengers has one of the worst trailers of the year. I feel like I’ve seen the whole movie already and what I’ve seen looks like a classic big-budget disaster.

• I wrote about A Monster Calls in my previous 2016 column, but it got pushed back, so yay, good for them, I am giving them free advertising! I’m sure I’ll see it, especially if it makes top 10s/gets awards. I heard it’s divisive –some love it and other hate it with equal passion.

Why Him? seems like this year’s Parental Guidance. I’m going to end up seeing it, aren’t I? I’m such a moron.

• I haven’t seen a really good movie from director Denzel Washington yet (though Antwone Fisher has some strong moments), but if the reviews are good, I’ll see his latest movie Fences. The trailer’s strong.

What holiday/award season movies are you the most interested in seeing?


  1. Wow, after reading this I’m sure not excited by November/December movie season…

    “Cinematic oil change” is genius. Although for me it’s time to stop changing the oil… just gonna let it die…

    Why the universal hatred of higher frame rates? I get it’s a huge difference, it’s jarring, but still. I saw Hobbit 48fps and thought it looked really cool. Never seen anything like it. I like new experiences! Can’t even imagine what the 120fps will look like but can’t wait to find out.

    Never forget the awfulness of Godzilla Edwards #FordBrody

    1. I didn't like 48fps because it was so clear that the props looked like props and not organic things that were part of the "world" of the movie. Also everyone's movements were really brisk and unnatural. Just my opinion on the 48fps but the rewards of it weren't worth the adjustments you had to make as a viewer.

    2. Do you think someday a master filmmaker (maybe Cameron?) will utilize this format in a way that caters to its differences to create something unique and amazing? I do.

    3. I also didn´t like the 48 fps experience of the Hobbit for the same reason. Everything looked fake, just like a cheap daytime soap or a BBC TV series from the 70s.
      Nothing against new experiences, but if it takes me out of a movie from beginning to end, I happily pass on that experience.
      Early word of mouth indicates the same problems with the new Ang Lee movie. Otherwise there seems little to worry about that presentation because there are virtually no cinemas equipped with the special projectors needed for 120 frames.

  2. I think I've seen the fewest new movies this year in theatres then since I was under ten. Any interest in Gold or All The Girls Love Ben Affleck? The trailers make me feel kind of awful.

    1. Live By Night looks good. It opens in January here though :-( Gold I just forgot about entirely. I know very little about it.

    2. Gold hopefully isn't just an awards grab by mconaughy and actually has something to say. I'm burned out on affleck, I wish he didn't direct himself.

      Fortunately I found my old Tales From The Hood vhs in my parent's basement, that cheered me up!

  3. What rubbed you so wrong about Midnight Special?

  4. - Stuff I'm not excited for but seems watchable: Arrival, The Edge of Seventeen, Allied, Passengers, Bleed for This, Office Christmas Party.

    - Of course I'll watch these spin-offs of huge franchises that the studios will never let die, because these movies actually look pretty good: Fantastic Beasts and Rogue One.

    - Genuinely excited for: Manchester By the Sea, La La Land, Rules Don't Apply, Moana, Nocturnal Animals.

    - Honorable Mention: The Love Witch will be playing relatively nearby me next week. Not sure if I'll have time to go see it but I'd like to.

  5. I'll definitely catch Mel Gibsons hacksaw ridge. It looks amazing. I won't let someone's dumb and thoughtless words het in the way of good material. If I did that, I probably wouldn't see most of Hollywood's filmaking.

    1. That's a good point. I just think his comments were more than dumb and thoughtless.

    2. They were pretty bad(understating that a bit) no doubt.

    3. Adam do you feel the same way about Woody Allen and Roman Polanski films?

    4. Some days I feel like waving the morality flag. Recently with Hacksaw Ridge and The Birth of a Nation I did and chose (thus far) not to see their movies. I've seen many Allen, Polanski and Gibson movies in the past.

  6. One for Arrival and one for La La Land please. I think those two may have my attention even more than Star Wars, which is saying a lot. I am so, so in on both. I'm tempted to say that Villeneuve is among my favorite directors currently working.

  7. To me the first part of Midnight Special offered so much promise that the second and third acts were hard pressed to make sense or follow through with a payoff. The your world vs our world talk really was let down for me.

    Speaking of, gonna keep a count of the variations of "your world"/"our world" spoken in Doctor Strange tonight.

    Pretty excited for all the Oscar movies this year: la la land, Jackie, loving, fences, 20th Century women, Paul Verhoevens "rape revenge light comedy" Elle (from Indiewire not my words), Scorsese's epic Silence, etc.

    Arrival's reviews are amazing. Villanueve is perfect so far.

  8. Oh yeah, The Edge of Seventeen trailer plays like gangbusters in the theaters. Especially the run on sentences bit. I'm pretty excited to see anything that has to do with James L Brooks.

  9. Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal are finally a movie couple! I can't wait!! Also planning on seeing Arrival for Amy and Villaneuve - wow, ANOTHER amazing pairing.

    Moana is the second Disney movie about Hawaii, which would be incredible except I think they're trying to promote their semi-new resort on Oahu. I have a feeling people when I go home will not be too thrilled about Moana, as they weren't about Lilo & Stitch.

    Thanks for the rest of the list to look forward to. I think it looks like a good season.

    1. Just curious, this is the first I've heard people in Hawaii were bothered by Lilo & Stitch. What was it that they objected to?

    2. First off, born and raised in Hawai’i (my whole live minus the college years). I’m sure Meredith is responding to a (small) part of the culture that is never fully satisfied with depiction of the Hawaiian culture. This is just the nature of things. While some folks may have had issue, I remember the overwhelming response to be positive. Disney did their research and attempted to bring the value of Aloha and Ohana to the big screen. These terms mean more than just Hello/Goodbye and Family in Hawaiian culture (not to imply they mean less anywhere else) which was addressed well in the movie. Disney took extensive steps to respect the culture (they meant the best and did pretty good). They went as far to make sure Hula movement’s were depicted properly, chants were done by locals and music was even sung by the Kamehameha Children’s Chorus (a private school that requires you be 1/16 Hawaiian for admission). Even voiced a couple of the main characters with local talent (not Hawaiian but local, like myself). Overall I think the people were quite happy with the values, culture and spirit that made it to the screen.

      I think Disney is doing the same this time around with Moana. Granted a small amount of people will be unhappy with the depiction of the goods Maui and Pele. That’s cool though. They have The Rock (every local loves him, spent time in the Islands) and filled title role with Auli’i Carvalho a unknown girl from the Islands who had what they were looking for. We’re all excited and hope it delivers. Chee-Hoo! (excited and happy).

    3. Geez, who am I hanging out with then? Nah, reactions were naturally mixed, like you said. But I think Hawaiian culture and the connection to tourism (places like entertainment luaus where the movie characters worked, places like controversial Polynesian Cultural Center, etc) is an understandably sensitive one to many. You don't want to feel like your culture is exploited for someone else's entertainment and you're dependent on their money for your entire economy. Not everyone thinks this way, but a lot of people I know do.

    4. I get it and agree it's a very good point. Unfortunately, it's an inescapable one in todays Hawaii. Good news is Moana will be pre tourism!

    5. Yea. I imagine Disney's doing this one bc of the beautiful visual inspiration of Hawaii, AND for tourist reasons. Personally I'm torn on tourism in HI. But Moana's adorable, yea? Looks just like a little local kid. :)

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