Directed by: James Mangold
Produced by: Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner
Screenplay by: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Story by: James Mangold
Edited by: Michael McCusker, Dirk Westervelt
Cinematography by: John Mathieson
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Jayson Genao
Released in 2000, about 3 years after the abomination known as Batman & Robin seemingly killed off the superhero film genre, the first X-Men, even more so than its 1998 predecessor Blade, proved that comic book superhero movies really could find new life in cinemas, provided that the filmmakers took their subjects seriously. While Fox’s X-Men films have had more than their fair share of stumbles, particularly last year’s massively disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse as well as more egregious works like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Last Stand, they have also proven that the studio is willing to take some bold chances, too, rebooting and reorienting timelines with period films, or greenlighting a breakout R-rated comedy action film that proved that risks sometimes pay off with Deadpool. By far, however, the breakout element out of any of these films has been Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, who has been a constant presence throughout all these films from the very beginning, appearing in films even when his presence wasn’t necessarily needed because the studio knew he was just that good in the role. Hugh Jackman’s a talented guy, no doubt, but we’re all curious about whether or not it would have been as good as it has been had it not been for his casting in the first X-Men film – something that both nearly didn’t happen and was once a controversial decision at the time due to Jackman’s height betraying the comic character’s usually small stature. That was over 17 years ago, however, and now we’re facing the end of an era, with Jackman declaring Logan will be his final film as the iconic berserker. And thank God for that, as I think we’d all be disappointed if his cameo in Apocalypse was the end and not the phenomenal Logan – a film that may very well be the best superhero adaptation since The Dark Knight. Read more…
Alright, finally! The end of the series. I’m sorry, guys, but I saw so many films this year, I’m actually thinking of returning to a limited Top 10 format or something. Regardless, as I said before, when I first started, 2016 has actually been pretty good for movies, even if you’re not really into indies and such.
As have done in the past, I’m choosing to instead order everything here by genre (roughly) and according to my favoritism, not necessarily how objectively great it is. Why? I feel it is unfair to compare certain genres against each other, firstly, and as for the second point, I find it’s weird to pretend like my opinion is fact, and so I’m instead going to be straightforward and say, “I enjoyed this one better.” Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling, you know? Still, all of these movies are great, and you can pretty much take their being here as a full endorsement should you ever see it available for streaming or rental and are curious. I, of course, also provided the Rotten Tomatoes score, in case you still don’t trust me, though.
Seriously, though, I can’t wait to get back to normal reviews. After a brief burnout recovery, of course…. Read more…
Well, that certainly was a year, huh?
2016 was, for many, a total shit year. I don’t even have to go into all the details of why that was the case, and so… you know, I won’t. Needless to say, though, much of it was heartbreaking. Much of it was disappointing. Much of it was just plain stupefying. Personally, I even lost a job due to layoffs halfway through the year and spent the better part of my admittedly short period of unemployment thinking I’d finally had a glimpse of the end. (Anxiety and depression is fun, you guys!) The political climate this past election also unleashed in me something unexpected, having grown tired of all the bickering and willful ignorance of any nuance to either side. People I knew were being outright nasty towards people, sometimes even going so far as to disown them. This climate even seemed to spill-over into the world of films, which could no longer, for example, be an exciting new entry in a beloved series that, for whatever its faults, was still a solid entry that was easily enjoyed. No, no… now movies are either perfect or they’re absolute garbage with a political bent that has its crosshairs set on your personal belief system! I was in danger of growing completely misanthropic as a result.
Perhaps that’s why I saw so many movies this year…? Last year, I reached another personal record of 143 films by the end of my 2015 in Review series, which concluded in February. As of this moment in writing, however, between rentals, streaming, and theatrical releases, I have seen a whopping 164 films from 2016, and that’s if I didn’t forget any. And that’s not even going to be the final number, as I traditionally discover a few that intrigue me or that I forgot during my “Films I Didn’t See” subseries and thus follow up on before the end. Yeah, I think I might have a problem…
At the very least, though, because of this, I know that 2016 wasn’t all bad. Personally, I have been enjoying being an uncle to my nephew, who at age 1 already has a huge, delightful personality. My period of unemployment was honestly very brief, despite the issues compounding that, and I found a job that is not only expanding my resume but is also something I’m actually quite good at, and I like the people I work with, too. I turned 30 this year, which… well, at least it wasn’t as painful as I had feared. And, before this, I also made a huge personal milestone by pretty much completely and publicly coming out of the closet… And, so far, despite a few exceptions I made by excluding a few people who I’m certain would make some family members’ lives problematic by knowing this, it’s actually been relatively smooth compared to my expectations. Not… perfect… but much better than anticipated. And, you know, the same can be said about 2016 – at least when it comes to the films released this past year, provided you knew where to look and didn’t put too much stock in every big, anticipated film.
And so, I begin my 2016 retrospective as I do pretty much all of my previous annual retrospectives, by laying out what to expect from this series. I make no promises regarding the promptness, as I have a job and a life outside this blog. However, think of this as a time when you can reflect along with me about what you watched and what you may have missed. I obviously mostly saw films from earlier in the year, regardless of whether it was in the theatre or once it was released. As noted above, I reserve the right to be intrigued by the films I note that I have not seen, to then see them, and thus add them to my review and rankings of films I did see once I reach those articles. As such, I will first begin by recounting the various films I managed to miss over the course of a few articles – covering as many as humanly possible, though I’m sure to miss a few. I will then move on to covering the films that were neither my favorite nor my most hated. Capping off the year in review will then be My Worst of the Year list, followed by a list of My Favorite Films of the year, divided by genre. (Note: Not “THE BEST,” but rather my subjective favorites.)
Here’s a rough outline of how this will all go down:
- 2016 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (January – July)
- 2016 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (August – October)
- 2016 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (November – December)
- 2016 IN REVIEW: Everything in Between That I’ve Seen
- 2016 IN REVIEW: The Worst Movies of the Year
- 2016 IN REVIEW: My Favorite Films
2016 was a heck of a stupid year, but hopefully the world of film was at least one of many bright spots in all of the darkness you may have experienced. And, if not, I hope we can retroactively change that through this series.
Here’s to 2017. May it not suck.
Alright! Final entry in my 2015 in Review series! Gosh, this was a hard year to review. I broke another record for number of films I saw before finishing this review series: 144 films from 2015, either seen theatrically, streaming, or rental. I don’t think I’ll be breaking that record any time soon, but that’s what I said about 2014, too, so…
Anyway, I’m about ready to start reviewing movies again on an individual basis. I did this series while going through a particularly tough time, personally, which is why it’s taken so long to do. I had the goal of finishing by the end of January, and that simply didn’t pan out, and I was so busy with stuff outside of this site, including doing a bunch of work on the weekends, that I just wore myself out! No worries, though. I’ve finished, and while I know the stuff I wrote was roughly edited, I’m still pretty happy with what’s there.
These movies below are all, in my opinion, good to great, but all of them were pretty much my favorites from throughout the year. As a result, as with last year, I am separating them out, roughly, into genres and then ranking them based on level of their being my favorite from the past year in that genre. (There’s obviously genre overlap, so I have divided based on what I believe is the main draw of the film, such as Jurassic Park being in the Action/Adventure section rather than the sci-fi, ’cause we’re all watching it for the action, right?) As such, you will probably see some admittedly lesser films ranking above objectively better films or films that were generally considered mediocre appearing here because I simply just liked them a lot. Again, they’re my favorites, not necessarily the best – though I did see all the Oscar Best Picture nominees, once again! I have included the Rotten Tomatoes score next to the release date, though, so you can easily compare whether I’m crazy or whether you should see the movie. In general, though, I do believe these are great films, and I hope you enjoy them, too!
But, seriously, I’m glad to move on from 2015 finally…
Produced by: Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Guillermo del Toro, Mary Parent
Written by: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Edited by: Peter Amundson, John Gilroy
Cinematography by: Guillermo Navarro
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Ron Perlman, Ellen McLain (voice)
In a year that’s been packed to the brim with follow-ups and counterparts to fan favorites, so far, I have to say that, as much as I may have loved movies like Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and even Star Trek Into Darkness, I can declaratively state that one of the best things I’ve seen so far was this giant machines vs. giant monsters film that, despite alluding to anime like Gundam and giant monster movies like Gojira, is a completely original thing. This makes it all that much more of a tragedy, as in its first weekend, it has already fallen behind two sequels – Despicable Me 2, which had already been out for longer than a week but at least has a built-in family audience, and Grown Ups 2, which by all means really shouldn’t be a thing that exists based solely on the amount of figurative and literal human waste that went into making the first, let alone be more popular than something as magnificent as Pacific Rim. (Seriously, all you who looked forward to watching a sequel to the glorified home movie that was the first probably have some kind of issue. Seek help. Also, I hate you.) Read more…