Best of December 2016

December was a slower month of movies for me, with finals week, the holidays, reading A Scanner Darklywatching Westworldand playing Uncharted and Uncharted 2 took up a lot of time. Regardless, I watched some absolutely phenomenal films this month, and here are my six favorites. Note: you can read my reviews for the rest of these movies by browsing my movie reviews from the drop-down menu above. Also, I have written reviews for all six of these films, so I will be linking to the full reviews in every title, and including excerpts for them in the paragraphs below. Without further adieu, here are my favorites of the month.

Avatar is one of the most beautiful and impressive films that you can possibly watch, and I mean that in just about every way. The story is just as beautiful as the visual effects, and the way that James Cameron combined the best parts of a few different stories, and added so much of his own original material, made this film one that is not easily forgotten. Seeing this film in IMAX back seven years ago as a great experience for 14 year old me, but now, seeing it as an adult who has studied film for a few years now, I think I am finally able to appreciate this film, to at least some degree more than I used to. There are some cheesy lines but those can be overlooked…the cast, director, and VFX team did a glorious job in making this monster of a film, and along with Terminator 2, Titanic and Aliens, James Cameron plants another of his films into my Top 10 of all time. I’m going to give this film a perfect 10/10 and give it a gold recommendation, and it’s pretty much just part of life now to have seen it so there’s motivation to watch it.

Captain Fantastic was even more than simply fantastic- it was a beautiful film because of the story, characters, cinematography, and really everything else. Matt Ross gives us a very intelligent, hilarious, and endearing story about expectations, and being the best person possible for yourself, and especially those around you. There are so many moments in this film that I’m going to remember for a long time, and there are so many quotes from this film that I want hung on my wall. There’s so many truly great parts of this film, and nothing that I do not like about this film except for the title, and I’m going to give this film a glowing 9+/10, and a gold review and I can’t wait to watch it again, and I very much think that you should watch it too.

La La LandThere’s simply not enough praise that can be given to this film, one can go on forever applauding and gushing, but I’m going to let you see the film for yourself to appreciate the rest of it. As mentioned, the story was beautiful, and the direction from Chazelle to bring that story to the screen was mesmerizing. Taking one’s eyes off of this film would be nothing short of a sin, and Gosling and Stone make that an impossible task anyways. Their chemistry was impeccable, even the Grinch would feel the magic that this film explodes with at every turn. As nothing short of a masterpiece, this film earns the highest rating that I can offer: a 10+/10, and a golden review. This stands as one of the greatest films ever made and it would be a travesty for it to lose.

Manchester by the SeaOverall, this movie works because of the characters, and the performances that bring them to live. Casey Affleck as Lee and Lucas Hedges as Patrick stood out to me, and were some of the most memorable aspects of this film. The story, told partly through flashbacks, jumped around in time and kept me guessing at the next move, but was never easy to predict. Watching Lee grow as a character in multiple ways, in the present and the past, was a great experience, and he was so well-written and played that he, along with the rest of them, felt like real people, and I never felt like I was just watching a movie. This film is raw, real, honest and true, and although it won’t be for everybody, it’s definitely one that you should watch when you get the chance. I’m going to give this movie a 9/10, and a green recommendation. I definitely hope Affleck wins the Oscar for leading performance.

MoanaOverall, Moana proves yet again that Disney has a recipe for success- this film contains every bit of Disney magic due to it’s lighthearted nature, catchy songs, great voice cast, gorgeous animation, and story that surprised me with how it followed the Hero’s Journey, but remained pretty original as well. It’s fun, it’s funny, and I think it’s going to be pretty unforgettable as the years go by; Moana is a great addition to the long list of great Disney films, and Moana is a great addition to the long list of great Disney characters. I’m going to give Disney’s Moana a 7+/10, and a green review, and I even liked it a little bit more than I enjoyed this year’s Zootopia.

Rogue OneOverall, Rogue One showed us that Disney knows what they’re doing with their franchise, and that any Star Wars story, no matter how small, can be just as amazing as any other. Although the characters felt uninteresting to me, and therefore slowed down the film in the first two acts, they didn’t keep me from having an absolute blast in the last 30 minutes, and I definitely cannot wait to see the film again very soon. I’m going to give Rogue One a 7+/10 with a green recommendation. See the film, if for anything, for the last 5 minutes, and your life will be complete.

Anyways, those are my favorite films of the month! I will be posting my favorite and least favorite films of the year soon, so look out for that! What are some great films that you watched this month? Let me know! As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!

Published by Blake Carson Schwarz

Indiana University graduate in Media and Creative Writing. I love to write my own stories as well as experience the work of others. On this site, I post reviews, essays, and other fun posts that I hope you have as much fun reading and I have writing. Please share any comments you have, I'd be happy to hear what you think! *Never a critic, always a fan*

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