The first third of 2016 concludes next weekend, and for me the absolute finest of the last four months are the following six films, two of which are HE “cheats” that haven’t actually opened during this period:
(1) Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester By The Sea, which is cheat #1 because it won’t open until next November, but it totally blew me away when I caught it at last January’s Sundance Film Festival; (2) Luca Guadagnino‘s A Bigger Splash, which is cheat #2 as it doesn’t open until early May but I don’t care; (3) Robert Eggers‘ The Witch; (4) Gavin Hood‘s Eye in the Sky; (5) Karyn Kusama‘s The Invitation, and (6) Bob Nelson‘s The Confirmation.
Close But No Cigar: John Carney‘s decent, passable, highly spirited Sing Street — “another feel-good Carney musical aiming to soothe and delight.”
Approvable with Reservations: Richard Linklater‘s Everybody Wants Some charts its own course and gets a lot of things right, but it begins to feel claustrophobic, even suffocating at times due to relentless jock-mentality air particles. Absurdly overpraised by Linklater fanboys during South by Southwest; reviews were a bit too kind when it opened.
Pleased At First But Whipped, Wheezing By 100-Minute Mark: Captain America: Civil War is brilliant and well-jiggered but it wears you down, man…270 to 275 punches thrown….needed a Red Bull by the 100-minute mark…peaks with Berlin airport brawl…“completely overstuffed…shameless fan service bits…sure to satisfy the devotees.”
Tedious, Dirge-Like Thing but Not Quite As Bad As I Expected: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
I haven’t seen The Meddler or The Jungle Book.
Eternally Reprehensible: Tim Miller‘s Deadpool.
Over-Praised By Lockstep Critics Determined to Give Jeff Nichols A Pass Because He’s One Of The Good Guys: Jeff Nichols‘ Midnight Special.
Wildly Over-Praised: Dan Trachtenberg‘s 10 Cloverfield Lane.
I Don’t Do/Can’t Do/Won’t Do Family-Friendly Animation: Zootopia.
Tragic Collapse: Terrence Malick‘s Knight of Cups.
Very Good For What It Is, But Calm Down: Roar Uthaug‘s The Wave.
Shortfaller, Not Up To Par: Joel & Ethan Coen‘s Hail, Caesar!.
Efficient, Reasonably Decent, Trump-Approved War Movie: Michael Bay‘s 13 Hours.
Sloppy, Sometimes Idiotic, Trump-Mentality, Kill-the-Terrorists Exploitation: Babak Najafi‘s London Has Fallen.