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!

Advertisements

‘The BFG’ Review

bfg

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Melissa Mathison

Cast: Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance, Penelope Wilson, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, and Bill Hader

Synopsis: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Looking back, I have actually never read Roald Dahl’s The BFG, which is a shame because I know a lot of people my age that have and have loved it. So I feel like I’m missing out, but reading other Dahl’s work I’m sure the world is as great as his other works like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda.” While there is another version of The BFG out there, another version with Steven Spielberg had been kicking around Hollywood, but it wasn’t until now that they decided to pull the trigger and bring us a great world and filled with two great characters. Not only that, this is the last film screenwriter Melissa Mathison – she also did E.T. – worked on before she sadly passed away.

The BFG follows Sophie, played by newcomer Ruby Barnhill, an orphan living in London, who one night spots a giant (Oscar winner Mark Rylance) outside her window. The giant, also spotting her, snatches her away and takes her to Giant Country. While there, she tries to escape but soon realizes that the giant isn’t as bad as stories have them to be, and eventually calls him “BFG” for Big Friendly Giant. Not only that, BFG is the runt of a band of brothers that are massively bigger than him, and are cannibalistic. Sophie, seeing the good in BFG, tries to devise a plan to stop the other giants and help The BFG’s life.

MV5BMTY1MDA1NzU5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQ2NTQ0NzE@._V1_

While I did enjoy The BFG, there is a pacing issue right smack dab in the middle of the film, and the final big moment of the film between Sophie, BFG, and the other giants is a bit anti-climatic for me. However, what keeps the film going is definitely the chemistry between leads Barnhill and Rylance. The two are unbelievable together and are truly the best part of the whole film.

Rylance became a bit of a household name after nabbing the Oscar for his work in Bridge of Spies (also directed by Spielberg), and is once again magnificent here as BFG. Even under all the CGI, Rylance gives a great performance, and kudos goes to Barnhill, making her film debut in not just a big budget Hollywood film, but a Spielberg film at that. Most of film is the two interacting with each other and BFG showing her what he does for a living of collecting dreams. That is where Spielberg ups the fantasy aspect and leads to some great shots of Sophie running around chasing small colorful orbs.

Article Lead - wide1007751788gnzuh0image.related.articleLeadwide.729x410.gnzm98.png1459937118723.jpg-620x349

The mean giants, which all have weird names like Bloodbottler, Bonecruncher, Childchewer, Gizzardgulper, Meatdripper, Butcher Boy, and the leader of the group Fleshlumpeater (voiced by Jemaine Clement), don’t get a ton of screen time, so when it comes to them, they are arguably one of the  weaker parts of the film. The rest of the human supporting cast comes in the form of Penelope Wilton playing The Queen, her head of security Mr. Tibbs (Spall) and assistant Mary (Hall). All of them play their part well, and are involved in one of the best and humorous scenes of the film.

All in all, The BFG is a great magical adventure that is held together by leads Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill. The film does have some pacing some issues but overall, The BFG is a great time to be had.

MV5BMjAwNDkxMjE0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzU1OTk4ODE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,938_AL_

The BFG

4 out of 5

July Movie Releases

Hello!

It’s July everybody! The Summer Movie Season is almost over, but it’s not going down without a fight. July has some great movies coming out, especially some anticipated movies for some. So let’s get to it.

 

 

1st

Expansion: Swiss Army Man

Limited Release: Our Kind of Traitor

our_kind_of_traitor

Based on the novel by John le Carre, a couple find themselves lured into a Russian oligarch’s plans to defect are soon positioned between the Russian mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust. The film stars Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris, Jeremy Northam, Mark Stanley, Alicia von Rittberg, Mark Gatiss and Stellan Skarsgard.

 

The Legend of Tarzan (Action Adventure – Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures/Jerry Weintraub Productions/Dark Horse Entertainment)

tarzan_ver2

Directed by David Yates, the last four Harry Potter movies and the new spin Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, this new iteration of Tarzan sees Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard), who has now acclimated to life in London, is called back to the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment that ends up being a trap by Captain Rom (Christopher Waltz), who also has Jane (Margot Robbie). The film looks promising to be honest, but  I didn’t know what to expect with this. The cast also includes Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent, Cali Nelle, and John Hurt.

 

The Purge: Election Year (Action Thriller – Universal Pictures/Blumhouse Productions/Platinum Dunes/Why Not Productions)

purge_election_year_ver2

Set two years after the events of The Purge: Anarchy, Sergeant (Frank Grillo) is back, now, as head of security for Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), the front runner in the Presidential election where her man platform is eliminating the Purge for good. Election Year seems to look like it’s tackling some political issues, but also going back to its horror roots, but still keeping the action thriller theme they introduced in the sequel. The film also stars Mykelti Williamson, Terry Serpico, and Joseph Julian Soria.

 

The BFG (Family Fantasy – Walt Disney Pictures/Amblin Entertainment/Reliance Entertainment/Walden Media and The Kennedy/Marshall Company)

bfg

Based on the book by Roald Dahl of the same name, the film follows Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who encounters a Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance) who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers, he refuses to eat boys and girls. The BFG also stars Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Olafur Darri Olafsson, and Penelope Wilton.

 

8th

Limited Release: Captain Fantastic (Drama)

captain_fantastic

In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father (Viggo Mortensen) devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent. The film also stars George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Missi Pyle, and Frank Langella.

 

Limited Release: Cell (Horror Thriller)

cell

Based on the novel by Stephen King, when a mysterious cell phone signal causes apocalyptic chaos, an artist is determined to reunite with his young son in New England. I haven’t read the book, although I always wanted to, and now I have an even better reason to because the movie looks a bit generic to be honest. The film stars John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Owen Teague and Stacy Keach.

 

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (Comedy – 20th Century Fox/TSG Entertainment/Cherin Entertainment)

mike_and_dave_need_wedding_dates

Two brothers place an online ad to find dates for a wedding and the ad goes viral. The film stars Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick, and Aubrey Plaza. The looks pretty outrageous, and will definitely find an audience.

 

The Secret Life of Pets (Animation – Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment)

secret_life_of_pets_ver2

The film follows, well, the secret life of pets as Max (voiced by Louis C.K), has to not only deal with his owner bringing in a new pet in Duke (Eric Stonestreet), but the two have to work together to take down Snowball (Kevin Hart), who wants to take down happy-owned pets and their owners. I think this one could be a surprise for many and I’m looking forward to it. The voice cast also includes Lake Bell, Albert Brooks, Jenny Slate, Steve Coogan, Ellie Kemper, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, and Dana Carvey.

 

13th

The Infiltrator (Drama/Thriller – Broad Green Pictures)

infiltrator

Based off the book by Robert Mazur, played by Bryan Cranston in the film, a U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. The film also stars John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Amy Ryan, Joseph Gilgun, Benjamin Bratt, Said Taghamoui, and Jason Isaacs. This one kind of snuck up on my radar, and I’m liking what I’m seeing so far.

 

 

15th

Limited Release: Café Society (Dramedy)

cafe_society

The new Woody Allen movie follows a young man (Jesse Eisenberg), who arrives in Hollywood during the 1930s hoping to work in the film industry. There, he falls in love, and finds himself swept up in the vibrant café society that defined the spirit of the age. The film looks very Woody Allen, which is good thing, and has a pretty big-named cast of Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Anna Camp, Corey Stoll, Parker Posey, and Steve Carell.

 

 

Ghostbusters (Sci-Fi Action Comedy – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment)

ghostbusters_ver6

Directed by Paul Feig, the film takes a new approach to the Ghostbusters, and makes them all female now with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. The idea wasn’t taken too kindly by fans of the original films and even Ernie Hudson – who later took back what he said – but personally, with the team behind it, I’m looking forward to it. And guess what? If you don’t want to watch it, then don’t watch it! The film also stars Chris Hemsworth, Michael Kenneth Williams, Matt Walsh, Andy Garcia, Elizabeth Perkins, Cecily Strong, Annie Potts, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Bill Murray.

 

 

22nd

Ice Age: Collision Course (Animation – 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios)

ice_age_five_ver9

Scrat pursuit for his elusive acorn sends his to space and he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transforms and threaten the planet. Back on Earth, Manny, Sid, Diego, and the rest of the herd set out to try to save themselves and meet new characters and new exotic lands. I didn’t see the last Ice Age movie and I think I’ve detached myself from the series at this point. The voice cast includes Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Keke Palmer, Wanda Skyes, Chris Wedge, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Max Greenfield, Adam DeVine, Michael Strahan, Jessie J, Simon Pegg, Jennifer Lopez and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

 

Lights Out (Horror – Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Grey Matter Productions)

lights_out

Based on the short film of the same name, director David Sandberg brings his short film to the big screen that will be produced by James Wan. The short film is rather creepy and if Sandberg can bring that same atmosphere to the big screen than the film could turn out great. Teresa Palmer, Alicia Vela-Bailey, and Emily Alyn Lind star.

 

Star Trek Beyond (Sci-Fi Adventure – Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions/Bad Robot)

star_trek_beyond

Justin Lin takes over for J.J. Abrams to bring the third Star Trek outing that sees the Enterprise crew stuck on a planet facing down a new, deadly enemy. The film brings back the original cast and brings in new cast members in Sofia Boutella, Deep Roy, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Melissa Roxburgh, Joe Taslim, and Idris Elba as the villain. Of course, one of the big things going into this is the sudden death of Anton Yelchin who plays Pavel Chekov in the films.

 

27th

Nerve (Mystery Thriller – Lionsgate/Allison Shearmur Productions)

nerve

Based on the novel by Jeanne Ryan, a high school senior (Emma Roberts) finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.” I don’t know how I feel about the film, the trailer was okay, but I’m not completely sold just yet. The rest of the cast includes Dave Franco, Jonny Beauchamp, Emily Meade, and Juliette Lewis.

 

29th

Limited Release: Equity (Drama)

equity

Labeled as the “first female-driven Wall  Street film,” it follows a senior investment banker who is threatened by a financial scandal and must untangle a web of corruption. The film stars Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, and Alysia Reiner.

 

Limited Release: Indignation (Drama)

indignation

Based on the novel by Philip Roth, Indignation made some waves at the film festivals earlier this year and gain some very positive buzz. The film, set in 1951, follows Marcus (Logan Lerman), a working-class Jewish student from New Jersey, who attends a small Ohio college where he struggles with sexual repression and cultural disaffection, amid the ongoing Korean War. The film also stars Sarah Gadon, Ben Rosenfield, Tracy Letts, Linda Emond, Noah Robbins, Philip Ettinger and Susan Varon.

 

Bad Moms (Comedy – STX Entertainment/PalmStar Media/Block Entertainment)

bad_moms

A woman who seems to have the perfect life – a great marriage, overachieving kids, beautiful home, stunning looks and a great career – is actually overworked and stressed out. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms and go on a un-mom like binge of freedom putting them up against a devoted group of perfect moms. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Kathryn Hahn, Lily Singh, Emjay Anthony, Oona Laurence, and Kesha star in what looks like a great comedy.

 

Jason Bourne (Action Thriller – Universal Pictures/The Kennedy/Marshall Company/Double Negative)

jason_bourne

Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon return for another installment of the Jason Bourne series that sees Jason Bourne (Damon), now remember who he truly is, goes back to the world he thought he left behind to uncover more from his hidden past. I cannot wait any longer for this film. I love the Bourne series and seeing Damon and Greengrass return is awesome. Not only that, the films also brings back Julia Stiles and includes new (awesome) cast members Alicia Vikander, Riz Ahmed, Vincent Cassel, and Tommy Lee Jones.

 

What are you looking forward to?