Favorite/Standout Cinematography, Action/Fight Sequences, Score/Soundtrack, Visual Effects & Trailers of 2016

This is a continuation of my Favorite/Standouts of the Year, this time focusing more on the genre side of things with my favorite fights/action sequences, cinematography, score/soundtrack, visual effects and trailers.

 

Fight/Action Sequence

Assassin’s Creed: Run Through the City

Assassin’s Creed’s best moments where set in the past, and a majority of them were action sequences. The standout sequences was the run through the city that involves Aguilar (Michael Fassbender) and Maria (Ariane Labed) on the run from Ojeda (Hovik Keuchkerian) and his men. Along with small fights in tight quarters or on rooftops, the scene may be the best scene in the whole film.

 

Captain America: Civil War: Airport Battle & Captain America/Winter Soldier vs. Iron Man

Okay, this is a copout since this these are most of the action sequences, but let’s face it, Civil War, was filled with great action sequences. Of course, the biggest highlight was the Airport Battle that was unbelievably nerdy. The second big fight is Captain America and The Winter Soldier vs. Iron Man in a fight that is much more personal that I think anyone could have imagined being in a comic book film.

 

Deadpool: Deadpool Takes Out Convoy

While the scene is just a modified version of the “leaked” footage that came out the year before, the convoy sequence stood out to me because it happens in such a confined space and it still allows Ryan Reynolds to give us very Deadpool like lines.

 

Doctor Strange: The Ancient One vs. Kaecilius/Zealots & Strange vs. Kaecilius and Zealots

The fight scenes in Doctor Strange brought a new style to fight scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Magic. Not only that, that opening fight scenes between The Ancient One and the Zealots and Kaecilius showed the MCU isn’t scared of going a more martial arts route.

 

Ip Man 3 – Ip Man vs. Frank & Ip Man vs. Cheung Tin-chi

The Donnie Yen Ip-Man films are always filled with great fight scenes and Ip-Man 3 was no different. The two standout fights for me was the heavily promoted fight with Mike Tyson – who plays a mob boss named Frank – and the final fight between Ip Man and Cheung Tin-chi (Jin Zhang). The fight with Frank is actually good, and while arguably a stunt fight (they could have easily casted someone else), it doesn’t disappoint too much. As for the final fight with Cheung Tin-chi, this one was building almost from the beginning of the film, and when it finally happens, you can totally feel the emotion behind every punch and movement they make.

 

Moana: Moana and Maui Escape Kakamora

Another animated sequence that stood out to me was this Mad Max: Fury Road-inspired chase scene in Moana. Right down to the beating drums, and weirdly dressed Kakamora’s, the chase was something I’m sure George Miller would be proud of.

 

Rogue One: Chirrut Imwe vs. Stormtroppers, Final Battle, Vadar Boards

I’d be surprised if this doesn’t end up on other peoples lists. Personally, seeing Donnie Yen mess up some Stormtroopers was awesome. However, the final battle on Scarif was what the film was building up to, and it did not disappoint. Finally, the Vadar scene. I won’t give it away too much if you haven’t seen it, but wow!

 

Storks: Junior and Tulip vs. The Penguins

Animated “fight/action” sequences usually involve comedy and aren’t really taken seriously, and you know what? Sometimes that’s okay. Storks did that with their fight scenes that involves are heroes, Junior and Tulip, going up against penguins. What makes it standout – besides the homage to Aliens – all of it happens as they try to make the least amount of noise possible so they don’t wake up the baby.

 

The Revenant – Opening Ambush

The opening ambush scene was really something to watch unfold. The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is done in the classic Lubezki trope in that it’s done in shot continuous take. Not only that, it happens very fast and is so chaotic, that it makes it a standout scene.

 

X-Men: Apocalypse: Quicksilver’s Rescue & Wolverine Breaks Free

While Quicksilver’s Rescue was awesome to watch, seeing Hugh Jackman unleashed a bit of Berserker Rage on Stryker’s men was an even more awesome sight to see. Especially knowing that Jackman is on his way out the door as Wolverine/Logan

 

 

Honorable Mention

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Batman vs. Knyazev’s Men

Deadpool: Deadpool vs. Ajax (Finale)

Ghostbusters: Ghostbusters vs. Times Square Ghosts

Hacksaw Ridge: First Attack

Headshot: Ishmael vs. Tano & Ishmael vs. Lee

Kill Zone 2: Chatchai vs. Kit (Prison Riot) & Chatchai/Kit vs. Ko Hung aka The Warden

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Skeletons vs. Hollows

Star Trek Beyond: Enterprise Takeover

Suicide Squad: Suicide Squad/Katana/Rick Flag’s Unit vs. Monsters (Streets)

The Magnificent Seven: Finale Shootout

Warcraft: Durotan vs. Gul’dan

 

 

Cinematography

Emmanuel Lubezki – The Revenant

Emmanuel Lubezki has already made himself a well-known name amongst cinematographers, so it came as no surprise that his work in The Revenant was amazing and beautiful to watch.

 

Jarin Blaschke – The Witch

I’ve never heard of Jarin Blaschke, but I will be on the lookout for whatever he does next because his work in The Witch was equal parts creepy, eerie and gut-wrenching scary as hell. I’m not usually a fan of quotes in movie trailers, but the quote in the trailers that basically said it feels like something you shouldn’t be watching it completely true.

 

Linus Sandgren – La La Land

La La Land feels like an ultimate homage to old timey Hollywood films right down to cinematography during the musical sections of the film. Also, the fact that they used real location around Los Angeles is an added bonus (says the man from outside Chicago).

 

Pedro Luque – Don’t Breathe

One of the reasons that Don’t Breathe worked – at least for me – is the look of it all. The creepy house with the overall dark look made the film a more effective horror thriller. Pedro Luque really had a great eye for it all, and lets add the surprisingly good blackout sequences using night vision to show the pure terror of our main characters was great.

 

Zach Kuperstein – The Eyes of My Mother

The Eyes of My Mother is probably one of the creepiest films cinematography-wise. The film is shot in black and white, and for some reason, it made it a hell of a lot more creepier. It makes you imagine what the colors would look like, but even its nature shots and more distributing shots, the film is still beautiful to look at.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Bradford Young – Arrival

Don Burgess – The Conjuring 2

Marc Spicer – Lights Out

Natasha Braier – The Neon Demon

Pasha Kapinos/Vsevolod Kaptur/Fedor Lyass – Hardcore Henry

Roman Osin – The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Stephane Fontaine – Jackie

 

 

Score/Soundtrack

Dario Marianelli – Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings is already a great film, but one of the main reasons is because of the music. The music connects to theme they’re going for, and Regina Spektor’s cover of “My Guitar Gently Weeps” is beautiful.

 

Justin Hurwitz – La La Land

Easily one of, if not, the best soundtracks of the year, La La Land’s soundtrack is as vivid as the set-pieces it plays over. You can easily be addict to the soundtrack, I know I was, because as soon as I walked out of the theater I bought the soundtrack.

 

Mark Korven – The Witch

The Witch is already eerily creepy with its cinematography, but add on the music that was created by Mark Korven, you have yourself an all around horror film of nightmares.

 

Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda – Moana

Come on, let’s face it – you’ve been singing songs from Moana since you’ve seen it, right? Okay then.

 

Musical Department in Sing Street 

Sing Street doesn’t have one specific person attached for the music. Some were covers, but Drive it Like You Stole It, is one of the best new songs of the year.

 

Honorable Mentions

Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL – Batman Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Johann Johannsson – Arrival

Lukasz Pawel Buda/Samuel Scott/Conrad Wedde – Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carsten Nicolai, and Bryce Dessner – The Revenant

 

 

Visual Effects

Doctor Strange

Marvel introduced us to the magical realm and other dimensions, and I don’t know if anyone other than Scott Derrickson could have introduced us to that. The visuals were just amazing to see, even with the Inception-style effects, that aren’t as dominate as you would think, the visuals made Doctor Strange a standout Marvel film.

 

The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book is a film that probably should have failed, but it didn’t – at all. The film is bursting with phenomenal visuals, that even after you find out that almost everything was created with visuals, you watch wondering, was that real? Honestly, The Jungle Book was arguably some of the best CGI we’ve ever seen.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Ghostbusters

Pete’s Dragon

The BFG

 

 

Trailers

Captain America: Civil War Trailer 2

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

 

Free Fire

 

 

Kong: Skull Island

 

 

Logan

 

 

War for the Planet of the Apes

 

 

Wonder Woman Comic Con

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Get Out

First Official ‘Suicide Squad’ Trailer

The Birth of a Nation Teaser

First Sausage Party Trailer

 

So that’s it ladies and gentlemen.

What are some of your favorites, and be on the lookout for the big lists next week!

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January Movie Releases

Happy New Year!!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we have a new year in front of us which means one thing: new movies! Now, January is usually referred to as Hollywood’s “Dump” Month. Meaning they will release movies that they don’t think will perform well or are not confident in. Sometimes that is the case, but sometimes a movie will shine through. January is also filled with expanded releases of movies that came out in December so there is also that to look forward to.

 

You’ll notice that I will put the companies attached and responsible for releasing the film as well. Just trying something new to expand the page a bit.

 

 

1st

Expansion/Wide Release: The Hateful Eight

 

8th

Expansion/Wide Release: The Revenant

 

The Masked Saint (Action/Biography – Freestyle Releasing/P23 Entertainment/Ridgerock Entertainment Group)

The film is based on a true story about one pastor’s mission to help his community by risking his identity and returns to his former life as a wrestler. The triumphant story follows one man’s journey and struggle between helping others and the consequences he faces doing this. The film kind of showed up out of nowhere so I don’t know if the film will find a massive audience. The film stars Brett Granstaff, Lara Jean Chorostecki, T.J. McGibbon, Diahann Carroll and Roddy Pipper.

 

The Forest (Horror – Focus Features/Lava Bear Films/Gramercy Pictures)

Game of Thrones Natalie Dormer leads this creepy looking horror film about a sister on the search for her twin in one of the most haunted areas in the world, the forest at the base of Mt. Fuji known as Aokigahara aka Suicide Forest. The film also stars Taylor Kinney (NBC’s Chicago Fire).

masked_saint forest_ver2

 

15th

Norm of the North (Animation – Lionsgate/Splash Entertainment/Telegael)

The film follows a polar bear named Norm (voiced by Rob Schneider), who along with three little creatures, winds up in New York City to convince humans to not move to his Arctic home. The film doesn’t look like too much for me, but kids will probably enjoy it. The voice cast also includes Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Colm Meaney, Gabriel Iglesias, and Bill Nighy.

 

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Drama/Action – Paramount Pictures/Latina Pictures/3 Arts Entertainment)

Michael Bay directs the action drama thriller about the much talked event in Benghazi when an American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S compound. The film follows a security team as they try to make sense of the situation and try to save the remaining survivors. The film looks okay abut it still looks very Bay-y. The cast includes John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, Toby Stephens, James Badge Dale, Max Martini, and David Costabile.

 

Ride Along 2 (Action Comedy – Universal Pictures/Cube Vision/Will Packer Productions)

I enjoyed the first Ride Along, so I’m kind of looking forward to this one. The film follows Ben (Kevin Hart) and James (Ice Cube) as they head to Miami to stop a drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers in Atlanta. The problem is that Ben is getting married to James’ sister soon. The film looks like they are upping the ante a bit, but keeping the humor intact which is good. The rest of the cast stars Olivia Munn, Ken Jeonh, Glen Powell, Nadine Velazquez, Tika Sumpter, Sherri Shepherd, T.I., and Benjamin Bratt.

norm_of_the_north_ver5 thirteen_hours_the_secret_soldiers_of_benghazi ride_along_two

 

22nd

Limited Release: Ip Man 3 (Action – Well Go USA)

The third installment – and potentially last – of the Ip Man series that stars Donnie Yen as the famous Yip Man, who is the last man standing for a city that is being shaken down by a band of brutal gangsters and a crooked property developer. I loved the first two installments and I can’t wait to see what they do this one. The film will also star Mike Tyson (not as himself) and Kwok-Kwan Chan as Bruce Lee.

 

Limited Release: Mojave (Thriller – A24/Atlas Independent/Henceforth Pictures)

Directed by William Monahan – writer of films like Kingdom of Heaven and The DepartedMojave follows a suicidal artist (Garrett Hedlund) as he goes into the desert, where he find his doppelganger (Oscar Isaac) who happens to be a homicidal drifter. I honestly don’t know what to think of the film. Monahan is great, but judging by the trailers, the film doesn’t look all that great. Maybe their is more too it, hopefully, especially with Oscar Isaac attached. Mojave also stars Walton Goggins, Louis Bourgoin, and Mark Wahlberg (who is nowhere in the promotional material mind you).

 

The Boy (Horror Thriller– Lakeshore Entertainment/Vertigo Entertainment/STX Entertainment)

The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan stars as an American nanny who goes to England to be shocked that the boy she is suppose to take care of for an important English family is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of rules, disturbing events start to make her believe that the doll is involved somehow. The movie looks kind of creepy – it does have a creepy doll after all – so let’s hope it turns out more than the trailer lets on. Rupert Evans and Ben Robson also star.

 

Dirty Grandpa (Comedy – Lionsgate/QED International/Josephson Entertainment/Ninjas Runnin’ Wild Productions)

Zac Efron stars in the comedy about an uptight guy that is tricked into driving his grandfather, played by Robert De Niro, a perverted former Army general to Florida for Spring Break, right before he gets married. The looks okay, I’m not dying to watch it, but will probably will end up watching it anyway. Because, well, it’s a movie. The film also stars Dermot Mulroney, Jason Mantzoukas, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza and Julianne Hough.

 

The 5th Wave (Sci-Fi Action Adventure – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/GK Films/LStar Capital)

Based on the book by the same name by Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave follows Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) as she tries to survive the now post-apocalyptic Earth after four deadly waves from aliens know as “The Others” has left nothing left. The only thing driving Cassie, besides survival, is finding her little brother. Meanwhile, Earth’s last remaining military try to stop “The Others” last wave to wipe out Earth. I’ve read the book and the book has its great moments, but everything I’ve seen for the film makes it look painfully generic, so I hope that the film come out better than the trailers. The rest of the cast includes Nick Robinson, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe, Zackary Arthur, Tony Revolori, Maria Bello, Ron Livingston and Liev Schreiber.

mojave yip_man_three boy dirty_grandpa_ver3 fiveth_wave_ver5

 

29th

Fifty Shades of Black (Comedy – Open Road Films/IM Global)

A Marlon Wayans-lead parody of the novel and film 50 Shades of Grey. The film looks like nothing more of what he’s done in the past. The film also stars Jane Seymour, Kali Hawk, and Mike Epps.

 

Jane Got a Gun (Western – The Weinstein Company/1821 Pictures/Scott Pictures/Handsomecharlie Films/Unanimous Pictures)

Riddled with production problems, Jane Got a Gun is finally coming out! The film follows Jane (Natalie Portman) who asks her former lover (Joel Edgerton) for help in order to save her outlaw husband (Noah Emmerich) from a gang, lead by Ewan McGregor, that want to kill them. At this point, I’m just happy the film is coming out and that it looks pretty descent. The film also stars Rodrigo Santoro, Boyd Holbrook, Alex Manette, and Todd Stashwick.

 

The Finest Hours (Drama Thriller – Walt Disney Pictures/Whitaker Entertainment)

Based on the real life event, The Finest Hours follows The Coast Guard making a daring rescue attempting of the coast in Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroying during a blizzard in 1952. The film looks great and is filled with a great cast of Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Kyle Gallner, Casey Affleck, Holliday Grainger, Rachel Brosnahan and Eric Bana, the film might be a great watch.

 

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Animation – DreamWorks Animation/Oriental DreamWorks)

The third outing for Po (voiced by Jack Black again) sees him facing two threats: one supernatural and one closer to home. I enjoyed the first Kung Fu Panda more than the second one, but there still pretty fun movies to watch so lets hope that this is the same. The voice cast brings back Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Randall Duk Kim and Dustin Hoffman. The new voice cast includes Kate Hudson, J.K. Simmons, and Bryan Cranston.

fifty_shades_of_black jane_got_a_gun finest_hours_ver2 kung_fu_panda_three

 

What are you looking forward to?