2016 – A Year In Review

Screen Shot 2016-12-27 at 12.58.26 PM.png

2016 is a year that most people probably want to forget. But, I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about the ultimate escape – going to the movies. And this year, like most, had its fair share of great works, as well as a few duds as well. And while in my personal opinion I thought this was an overall weak year for films, the one’s that I’d consider my favorites are ones that will stick with me for a while. So, without further ado, let’s recap the best and worst the year had to offer in film.

(Note: I still haven’t seen all the films I wanted to see before making this list (A Monster CallsSilence and Live By Night, to name a few), so this will be updated accordingly. For a list of all the films I saw from this year, check out the entire list here.

Best Films 0f 2016

  1. La La Landla-la-land

    Damien Chazelle’s modern throwback to classic cinema in the 50’s is what a Hollywood love letter should feel like. Harkening back to a simpler time while grounding itself with enough modern sensibilities so that it doesn’t get lost copying rather than homaging, La La Land is a cheerful, if somewhat cynical musical that will not only have you tapping your feet, but also leaving with something to chew on afterwards.

  2. Nocturnal AnimalsScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 1.52.11 AM.png

    Tom Ford’s cold, calculated tale about revenge feels like it was made for me. Like a cross between a classic Hitchcock thriller and the surrealism from a David Lynch film, Nocturnal Animals seamlessly jumps back and forth between the two intertwined tales, creating an intense and thought-provoking film. It helps that the entire ensemble shows up with outstanding performances, the standout being Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Overall, a trippy, nerve-wracking film noir with a hint of trashy pulp that does the job and then some. Extra points for having the most bizarre opening credits sequence I’ve seen in quite some time.

  3. MoonlightScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 2.03.35 AM.png

    What a beautiful story. Filmed in Miami, this three-part story is expertly crafted by Barry Jenkins and throws us right into the story of Chiron (played by three different actors who, interestingly, weren’t told how each other approached the same character), and boy, is it a marvel. The last section alone is worth the price of admission. Moonlight is a heartbreaking look into the life of a young man trying to find himself and discovering his sexuality in a drug-filled environment.

  4. Swiss Army ManScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 2.04.53 AM.png

    Possibly the most overlooked film of the year, simply because most took one look at this crazy beast of a film and just saw it as “that farting corpse movie”. While there is a farting corpse here, the film from Daniels is so much more than that – a portrait of loneliness, friendship and accepting the absurdities of life. Even though you might find yourself muttering “What the fuck?” to yourself multiple times during Swiss Army Man, you’ll be glad you gave it a chance (hopefully).

  5. ArrivalScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 2.07.11 AM.png

    A film about language and learning to communicate with others is a film we were in desperate need of today, we just didn’t know it. After films like Prisoners, Incendies, and now this, I think it’s safe to say that Denis Villenuve is one of my favorite filmmakers working today. It should also be noted that there isn’t a single “action scene” in this alien invasion film, which is mind-blowing to me.

  6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeBVS-FP-0237-HR.jpg

    A film that a lot of people didn’t like, but one that I absolutely loved and will defend for the foreseeable future. Zack Snyder’s grand, epic take on these two titans meeting for this first time is fresh, exciting and something new in a superhero genre that’s starting to get a bit stale in my opinion. I understand some of the critiques this film has gotten (if you’ve only seen the Theatrical Cut of this film, do yourself a favor and give the Ultimate Edition a chance), but it’s visually stunning, daring and uses today’s bleak world as the backdrop for these characters, creating a universe that feels realistic while also feeling fantastical as well. A film, just like Snyder’s Watchmen, that I think is just too ahead of it’s time.

  7. ZootopiaZootopia-trailer-1200x545_c.jpg

    In a year where there was not only a Finding Nemo sequel but also a new Laika film as well, Disney Animation stepped up their game and actually outdid both with this fun, but surprisingly deep animated comedy. Half the time, it’s a fun ride for the whole family, while the other half plays like a dense noir mystery. It also isn’t afraid to dive right into topics such as racial inequality and misrepresentation. Like I said, some heavy stuff, but it pays off for the newly-revived studio in what might be their best film yet (sorry, Wreck-It Ralph).

  8. Sing Street26271629670_37820854c7_c.jpg

    This Irish film is yet another coming-of-age story, but where this one strives is in it’s characters, the core of this film. As someone who isn’t a huge fan of musicals, the ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ scene is easily one of my favorites from the year. It’s cute, fun, and has a ton of heart. And somehow, we got a phenomenal performance out of Jack Reynor, who was…eh…not so great in his “debut” in Transformers: Age of Extinction. So that’s another positive, right? (P.S., this is now on Netflix, so you really should check it out).

  9. Kubo and the Two StringsScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 2.13.26 AM.png

    Kubo and the Two Strings is not only a great animated film, but it’s a great film in general. Dark, engaging, but most importantly heartfelt, this stop-motion film from Laika is one of their best films to date, with badass character designs, action and a story that both kids and adults can admire.

  10. The Edge of Seventeenhero_Edge-of-Seventeen-2016.jpg

    This film came out of absolutely nowhere. Produced by Simpsons creator James L. Brooks, this high-school drama succeeds where similar films failed – it actually portrays the life of a high-schooler in a realistic way. Despite some generic coming-of-age trappings it finds itself in, you won’t find a more relatable film about teenagers this year. Shame this one didn’t break out as much as it could have, because Hailee Steinfeld really killed it here.

Honorable Mentions: Don’t Breathe, Hacksaw Ridge, The Nice Guys, Star Trek Beyond, Popstar

Worst Films of 2016

  1. Sausage PartySausageParty5.jpg

    This is what burning money looks like. As a huge fan of Seth Rogen and his previous work, I couldn’t have been more disappointed.

  2. Dirty Grandpa960.jpg

    If you wanna watch a movie where you see Robert De Niro masturbating and watching porn, a close-up of De Niro’s penis, gay people getting made fun of, Zac Efron passed out on a beach with a bottle of vodka up his ass, a minor grabbing and sticking his head in Efron’s crouch, De Niro saying “nigga”, have Efron constantly get poked in the ass by his grandfather, a cop taking a picture of her bush and showing it to the audience and a horrendously uncomfortable sex scene to finish off the film, then Dirty Grandpa is for you. (I hope Dirty Grandpa isn’t for you.)

  3. Search PartyU6eYOmH.jpg

    So forgettable I forgot I saw this earlier in the year until I sat down to make this list.

  4. Fifty Shades of Blackscreen-shot-2016-12-28-at-2-29-22-am

    (See above)

  5. The Purge: Election YearScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.31.51 AM.png

    I get it, these films are meant to be dumb B-movies, but when a film wants to make a political statement as badly as this one does, it’s hard to take it seriously when a character tries murdering someone over a candy bar. Don’t get me wrong, I went it wanting to like this installment (I really dug The Purge: Anarchy), but this one is just a disaster.

  6. Zoolander 2Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.33.06 AM.png

    Even though we all saw it coming, I was really hoping that Zoolander wasn’t going to suck. I absolutely adore the first film, but just like Dumb & Dumber Too, this comedy sequel takes everything funny about the film film and overdoes it to the point where the filmmakers become the butt of their own jokes. Even with Stiller behind the camera, this film ended up being much worse than it should have been.

  7. Independence Day: ResurgenceScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.34.05 AM.png

    You won’t find a more soulless film this year. All the awesome special effects couldn’t save this hotly anticipated sequel from feeling so…uneventful. Roland Emmerich made an awesome film with the first Independence Day, but he should have never made this one.

  8. Huntsman: Winter’s WarScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.35.14 AM.png

    Speaking of sequels that shouldn’t have been made, this quasi-sequel/prequel/reboot was so confused about it was supposed to be that it failed at being any of those things. Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron kick ass per usual, but this truly generic and boring film lives and breathes by their performances, not much else.

  9. Alice Through The Looking GlassScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.36.52 AM.png

    The only reason this isn’t lower on this list is because I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. That being said, it’s still atrocious.

  10. HushScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.38.09 AM.png

    This one hurts. Mike Flanagan is a capable filmmaker (as evident by his work on Oculus and this year’s underrated Ouija: Origin of Evil), so it’s a shame that this home invasion thriller just falls flat on its ass. Granted, I seem to be in the minority on this opinion (somehow the film has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score), but believe me when I say this is no different from the other mindless horror films that we always complain about.

(Dis)honorable Mentions: The Jungle Book, Ride Along 2, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Best TV Shows of 2016

  1. American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ SimpsonScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.42.50 AM.png

    FX’s spinoff of its popular anthology series American Horror Story got off to a fantastic start with what I think is one of the best seasons to a television show that I’ve ever seen. With an all-star ensemble where every single actor exceeded expectations, this controversial tale got the story treatment it deserved and more.

  2. Bojack Horseman (Season 3)Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 5.54.02 PM.png

    I’m so glad I stuck with Bojack Horseman. Not only is this Netflix’s best television show to date, it’s one of the most refreshing and heartbreaking shows you’ll come across. Now, this may sound ridiculous if you haven’t already seen the show, as it just appears to be another animated comedy show. But man, it’s so much more than that, and Season 3 is probably the most heartbreaking of them all.

  3. Westworld (Season 1)westworld-james-evan-rachel-wood-a6c72681-f185-473f-abcb-3ad4ac99a186.jpg

    With one of the best pilot episodes I’ve seen, Westworld certainly got things off on the right foot. Set to be the next “big thing” for HBO after Game of Thrones is over, this new sci-fi series is propelled by it’s intricate world-building and a cast that is totally game (pun intended). It started to get a little too complicated for its own good towards the end, but the final moments put right back in my place, eagerly anticipating the next season.

  4. Stranger Things (Season 1)960-1.jpg

    Thankfully, I got to Stranger Things before it turned into a cultural phenomenon. This mix of Stephen King with Spielberg was the perfect formula for this small-town mystery, even if the later episodes showed that they didn’t quite have the budget to pull off what they wanted to. That being said, the show got surprisingly tense and emotional, essentially turning it into a more accessible Twin Peaks for today’s audiences.

  5. Game of Thrones (Season 6)got609_092415_hs_dsc_84301-h_2016.jpg

    After a somewhat rough (and predictable) start, I was wondering why many had considered the latest season of Game of Thrones to be one of its best. Then I got to “The Battle of the Bastards”. Then I shut up.

And now for some Fun Awards:

Best ActorScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.57.50 AM.png

  1. Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
  2. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
  3. Ryan Gosling – La La Land
  4. Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool
  5. Paul Dano – Swiss Army Man

Best ActressScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.59.49 AM.png

  1. Emma Stone – La La Land
  2. Amy Adams – Arrival
  3. Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen
  4. Emily Blunt – The Girl on The Train
  5. Mary Elizabeth Winstead – 10 Cloverfield Lane

Best Supporting ActorScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.03.10 AM.png

  1. Ryan Gosling – The Nice Guys
  2. Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals
  3. John Goodman 10 Cloverfield Lane
  4. Daniel Radcliffe – Swiss Army Man
  5. Aaron Eckhart – Bleed For This

Best Supporting ActressScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.04.18 AM.png

  1. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  2. Imogen Poots – Green Room
  3. Laura Linney – Nocturnal Animals
  4. Angourie Rice – The Nice Guys
  5. Jena Malone – The Neon Demon

Biggest SurprisesScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.06.03 AM.png

  1. Sing Street
  2. Nerve
  3. Star Trek Beyond
  4. The Edge of Seventeen
  5. 10 Cloverfield Lane

Biggest DisappointmentsScreen Shot 2016-12-26 at 11.57.27 PM.png

  1. Suicide Squad
  2. The Witch
  3. Hail, Caesar!
  4. Triple Nine
  5. American Honey

Best CinematographyScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.09.25 AM.jpg

  1. Moonlight
  2. La La Land
  3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  4. Arrival
  5. High-Rise

Best SceneScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.11.44 AM.png

  1. The Reveal – Arrival
  2. Epilogue – La La Land
  3. Warehouse Fight – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  4. Battle of Okinawa (Doss’ First Day) – Hacksaw Ridge
  5. Opening Number – La La Land

Best Charactersbuc0410trlv0141027jpg-c7501f_765w.jpg

  1. Holland March – The Nice Guys
  2. Mia – La La Land
  3. Bruce Wayne/Batman – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  4. T’Challa/Black Panther – Captain America: Civil War
  5. Darth Vader – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Most Anticipated Films of 2017Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.15.36 AM.png

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Untitled PTA Fashion Movie
  3. Logan
  4. Under the Silver Lake
  5. Blade Runner 2049

2016: A Tribute

Potential Directors For ‘Deadpool 2’

DEADPOOL

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that Deadpool director Tim Miller has left the upcoming sequel due to creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds. Now, whether the reason for leaving was budgetary reasons or because he and Reynolds had two totally different views for how the sequel should’ve been made (I’ve heard one of the two has a huge ego – guess who that might be), Miller has jumped ship and is now attached to another Fox project, the cyber-crime thriller Influx.

Surprisingly, I’ve seen a lot of people who seem to be okay with the Miller leaving, despite the fact that he was a huge reason for the film’s success this February. Not only did he help find the right tone to make a 4th wall-breaking character like Deadpool work on the big-screen, but the action was rock-solid and Miller himself helped out with the visual effects through his own company to ultimately keep the cost of the film down. Yes, credit should also go to Reynolds and the writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (whose script was hysterical) for helping make the film work as a whole, but losing Miller is a big deal.

Now, everyone at Fox is probably scrambling, trying to figure out who should helm their eccentric sequel. There are some who have suggested either ridiculously lazy picks (Matthew Vaughn) or ones that would never direct a project like this (Quentin Tarantino). So, let’s look at who I think should be considered for the job.

Daniels (Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan)

Kwan and scheinert.jpeg

You might not recognize the name Daniels, but you may have heard of their film Swiss Army Man, which I think is one of the best films of the year so far. This duo can definitely tackle raunchy humor and not be afraid to take it places that might be pushing the limit, as evident by their earlier works. But one thing that Swiss Army Man showed me (as well as their interactive short Possibilia), was that they could mix the immature fart jokes with genuine moments between the characters they create. Their weird and wild sensibilities would be a great match for Deadpool, and they’ve work in the mainstream market before (they directed the music video for “Turn Down For What” a few years back).

 

Ilya Naishuller

CdecTakUAAE_e0Y.jpg

Probably another name most aren’t familiar with, Naishuller was the man responsible for the chaotic first-person action flick Hardcore Henry earlier this year. Despite the fact that the film didn’t go over with critics, I thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks mostly to it’s innovative camerawork and sheer intensity. The film was bloody, fast-paced and full of colorful characters to move it’s ridiculous plot forward – tell me that doesn’t sound like a great recipe for a Deadpool sequel? Also imagine how awesome a Deadpool POV action sequence would be (something that Naishuller would definitely include if he was given the job).

 

Ruben Fleischer

ruben-fleisher.jpg

This one seems a little too good to be true. Fleischer has not only worked with screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick before on the great horror/comedy Zombieland, but he was also in contention to direct Marvel’s Ant Man a few years back. His stylistic visuals, love for dark humor and experience with studio filmmaking (Gangster Squad) only help matters, even if the latter film left a little to be desired in my opinion. Either way, I could really see this choice becoming a reality very soon.

 

Other potential directors I think would be interesting to see helm the superhero sequel would be Adam Wingard (The Guest), Tarsem Singh (Immortals), Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) and Chad Stahelski (John Wick). Agree? Disagree? Let me know. Deadpool 2 currently does not have a release date, but is rumored to be eying a 2018 release.

RANKED: The Films of Wes Anderson

anderson_3

Until this year, I wasn’t very familiar with him or his work. I was first introduced to his work when I saw his stop-motion feature The Fantastic Mr. Fox. That’s when I was introduced to the quirkiness. At that time, I was just starting to take film seriously, so I just shrugged it off without a second thought. But this year, in preparation for The Grand Budapest Hotel, I thought I’d be good to sit down and venture through all of his films. Thank god I did, as Wes Anderson has turned out to be one of my favorite directors working today. Below are how I’d rank this auteur’s filmography.

#8: Moonrise Kingdom

"What kind of bird...are you?"
“What kind of bird…are you?”

This is the only film from Wes Anderson that I didn’t like. I didn’t hate it, per say, but it felt too quirky and weird for my tastes and almost veered towards self-parody several times. I hate the “beach portion” (you know what I’m talking about) and the whole third act just felt off compared to the rest of the film.

However, that’s not to say it’s all bad. Edward Norton and Bill Murray are great here, and even though I hate Bruce Willis, I have to admit he was good here as well. Sadly, they’re stuck in a film where the lead kids are lifeless and the film is too weird, and that’s saying a lot when it comes to Wes’ films.

#7: The Darjeeling Limited

"Is that my belt?"
“Is that my belt?”

These next few films are so close in quality that it’s hard to really rank them. But at this time, The Darjeeling Limited pulled the short stick. I personally think it’s Wes’ most mature film to date, despite what many say (with Tenenbaums and Steve Zissou close behind). I also find the trio in this movie to have great chemistry, especially towards the end.

However, this is probably Anderson’s ugliest looking film. It also doesn’t have the usual charm or wit that accompanies most of his other films. But, this film was a more serious film, like I said, and even though it’s far from Wes’ most beautiful film, it’s still much better looking than most films out today.

#6: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

"I wonder if he remembers me."
“I wonder if he remembers me.”

Quite possibly the best scene Wes has shot in his entire career pictured above. Despite the fact that the film is all over the place and loses its focus much more than it ought to, I still enjoy the hell out of this movie. Bill Murray is spectacular in this and so is Willem Dafoe.

However, I HATED the romance between Owen Wilson and Cate Blanchett’s characters. Talk about forced. Yeesh. And even though I was confused about the hijacking scene, it’s slowing growing on me and has one of the film’s better quotes in it.

#5: Bottle Rocket

"They'll never catch me...because I'm fucking innocent."
“They’ll never catch me…because I’m fucking innocent.”

Probably Wes’ least liked film (even though Rotten Tomatoes would say otherwise). But, some thing about this film just draws it in. Maybe it’s the awkward relationship between Luke Wilson and that maid at the motel, or maybe it’s the wacky climax, or maybe it’s Owen Wilson, in what easily his best performance to date.

It is a bit slow at times, but the moment that Owen’s character is getting bullied while talking to Luke’ character, this film elevated from decent to pretty damn good to me. And I love the ending so much. Go in with an open mind, and you might enjoy this one. It’s probably Wes’ most “normal” film, but it’s still not normal. No Wes film is normal.

#4: Fantastic Mr. Fox

"If you're gonna cuss with somebody, you're not gonna cuss with me, you little cuss!
“If you’re gonna cuss with somebody, you’re not gonna cuss with me, you little cuss!

My first Wes Anderson film, like I said earlier, was very odd to me the first time watching it. I wasn’t used to Wes’ weird style and the stop-motion kind of creeped me out, but I didn’t hate it. But, on a re-watch, I absolutely fell in love with this movie.

Even though I haven’t read the Roald Dahl novel in which this film is based, I already know that Anderson was the perfect choice to do this film. He isn’t afraid to be weird with his films, and this film was just a great cussing time because of it.

#3: Rushmore

"I saved Latin! What did you ever do?"
“I saved Latin! What did you ever do?”

I’m not necessarily a fan of Jason Schwartzman, but he is absolutely great in this. He, like Bill Murray fit with Wes’ style perfectly, and maybe that’s why I love this film so much. It’s pretty much Anderson’s two best actors going at each other for a whole film. It sounds almost too good to be true.

Granted, it does veer off a bit into the absurd (but come on, it’s a Wes Anderson film) and none of the other characters besides Schwartzman and Murray have much to do, but those are minor nitpicks. This would be your typical director’s masterpiece, but not for Anderson. I think that says something about him as a filmmaker.

#2: The Royal Tenenbaums

"Anyone interesting in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?"
“Anyone interesting in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin’ the cemetery?”

I have to give it to Wes, he knows how to gather up a fantastic cast. Everyone here (except for maybe Gwyneth Paltrow) is phenomenal and serves a purpose in the film. I especially liked Ben Stiller’s arc in this, and he’s an actor that I usually find to overreact a lot when it comes to actual acting. The infamous line of dialogue between him and Hackman towards the end is still great and heartbreaking today.

But, I didn’t like the situation between Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow until the very end, which is why this isn’t ranked first. For the whole film, this segment felt very out-of-place until that bathroom scene, which is easily the darkest Wes’ has ever been. After that, I warmed up to the subplot, but I just had to remind myself this was all a part of Anderson’s goofy little universe. A near-masterpiece though.

#1: The Grand Budapest Hotel

"I thought I was a fucking faggot?"
“I thought I was a fucking faggot?”

I know what you’re thinking; you just saw this, how can it be his best film? Well, I will be re-watching it again very soon, but I’m confident this one isn’t moving from the top spot. What it lacks in emotional development it makes up with it’s unbelievable visuals and high level of fun that no other Wes film has managed to come close to.

Ralph Fiennes is marvelous as the Gustave H. and steals the show. He seriously needs to be in more Wes films. As does Willem Dafoe. Along with the compelling mystery and Wes’ usual wit and charm, The Grand Budapest Hotel makes its way to the top of my list, being my favorite Wes Anderson film to date.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know how you feel about these rankings.

Looking Ahead: Possible Contenders For Next Year’s Oscars

OscarsLogoABC

Despite the fact that this year’s Oscars just finished up, it’s always fun to look ahead at the next year’s possible contenders. There are some that will slip right under our noses, and some that look like sure-fire hits, but turn out to be disasters. So, without further ado, here are some films I think will be major contenders come next Oscar season.

WFTCRMImageFetch

Unbroken

Angelina Jolie’s war film (based off a true story) is one that is almost a guarunteed lock for Best Picture next year. From a script written by the Coen Brothers (No Country For Old Men, Fargo), you know that there’s a good script, it’s just down to Jolie’s directing abilities. She only has one film under her belt (In The Land of Blood and Honey), so it’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out.

foxcatcher-release-date-moved-09262013-224053

Foxcatcher

Does this one look familiar to you? That might be because it was supposed to come out this past December and had some Oscar hype, but moved out of 2013, so that director Bennett Miller (Moneyball, Capote) could finish up the film. But, it was probably moved to also avoid the tough competition. This dark story doesn’t have a new release date yet, but Sony Classics will most likely schedule it sometime later in the year.

inherent-vice

Inherent Vice

Any film from Paul Thomas Anderson should be considered an awards contender. Based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, the is about a private investigator who’s searching for his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. With a cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, and Benicio Del Toro, this one is one of my most anticipated 2014 releases.

Into-the-Woods-Movie-Meryl-Streep-as-the-Witch

Into the Woods

This one could go either way. It has the potential to be a musical hit, similar to Les Miserables two years ago, because of director Rob Mashall’s expereince with musicals (his film Chicago won Best Picture in 2002). But, Marshall directed duds such as Nine (another Oscar hopeful) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Like I said, it could go either way.

imitationinside

The Imitation Game

This film apparently has an amazing script that topped the Black List in 2011 and has Benidict Cumberbatch in the lead role. Also, it’s about a man who cracked the Enigma code during WWII, but was also persecuted for being homosexual. Sounds like a timely topic for today’s audiences.

interstellar

Interstellar

I hate being one of those people who hypes up a movie too much. Everytime you do that, you’re bound to be disappointed. But, with Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Interstellar, I can’t help but think he has another awards contender on his hands. With a cast filled with Oscar winners and nominnes, including Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Topher Grace, Michael Caine, and Matt Damon, this film has all the ingridients for a well-made blockbuster. But, will it be enough for a Best Picture nomination?

gone_girl

Gone Girl

This film not only has a great release date, which is around when Argo and Gravity were released, but also a great director (David Fincher), a decent leading duo, and the fact that it’s based off a well-recieved novel. Now, some of the cast might look weird (Neil Patrick Harris? Tyler Perry?), but if the film is anything like Fincher’s previous efforts, we’re in for a treat.

1386148476_a_most_violent_year-oo

A Most Violent Year

If you haven’t heard of writer/director J.C. Chandor, you might want to start learning about him. With two well-recieved films already under his belt (Margin Call and All Is Lost), he’s looking to finally break out with A Most Violent Year, which a strong pair of leads, Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. Even though distributor A24 is new to the awards game, they plan on getting this dark film noticed by the Academy.

fury-2014-01

Fury

David Ayer seems to like one genre and one genre only: action. All of his films usually involve dirty cops, drug money, and a lot of violence. But, he seems to be stepping slightly out of his comfort zone for this. Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, and Shia LaBeouf star in this WWII war flick that could not only win over audinces, but the Academy as well.

On The Outside Looking In:

14233-1

Boyhood

Richard Linklater’s latest film recieved rave reviews when it opened at Sundance earlier this year and has a killer premise: follow a young boy for 12 years and film a segment of his life every year, going from age 7 to age 19. The premise seems too original for the Academy to pass up. However, distributor IFC isn’t known for backing Oscar-contenders and they’re releasing this earlier in the year, hurting it’s chances of an Oscar.

grand-budapest-hed

The Grand Budapest Hotel

This film has already been getting stellar reviews and has an amazing cast including Raplh Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, and Willem Dafoe, the only issue here is the release date. Very few films released in the first half of the year are remembered during Oscar seaon, so I don’t see this having much of a chance at awards come next February.

trash1

Trash

Never underestimate the power of Stephen Daldry. He’s only made four films, but all of them have been included in big categories, whether it’s for Best Director or Best Picture. His films might not be the best-recieved (Extremley Loud and Incredibly Close has a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes, despite getting a Best Picture nom), but he finds ways to get his films in there. The only thing holding this back is that Universal will be more focused on Unbroken than this, so the marketing push might not be enough. Then again, keep in mind that Daldry’s little heard film The Reader beat out The Dark Knight for a Best Picture nominiation back in 2008. So, you never know.

What do you guyst think? Are there any films that you think I missed and should have included?