Top 7 Films to See Before 2017

By Editor December 10, 2016 10:30

Top 7 Films to See Before 2017

By Anthony Hernandez

Despite everything that has happened, 2016 has been an incredible year – for film. We’ve already seen some truly amazing movies, but we still have a few weeks left in the year – as well as these 7 films that, for some, could mean Oscars and huge box-office returns:

La La Land – limited release 12/09, wide 12/16

This year’s current Oscar frontrunner – and, if the narrative holds, the likely winner for Best Picture – La La Land is the modern musical for the ages. Reminiscent of the golden era of lavish movie musicals, this film breathes new life into a genre that has all but fizzled. With incredible performances, rock-solid direction by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), beautiful set pieces, and a whole lot of heart – La La Land is sure to more than just entertain. It’ll make you feel.

The film follows the story of an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a dedicated jazz musician (Ryan Gosling) who are struggling to make it big Los Angeles – a city that’s well known for crushing the dreams of the hopeful. Look for our full review next week when La La Land comes to the Phoenix area.





Neruda – limited release 12/09

Currently holding an aggregated score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, Neruda is a critical darling. Directed by the incomparable Pablo Larraín – this film isn’t a biopic following the life of the famed artist Pablo Neruda, but rather a beautifully realized conversation about art, history, politics and human nature. It humanizes the great poet who appealed to everyone from intellectuals to prostitutes. With ample beauty and deft direction, Neruda is due for some awards recognition, despite being released in so few theaters.

The film stars Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco and Mercedes Morán and follows the story of an investigator who launches a search for the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, In 1948, the Cold war has made its way to Chile, where Neruda has become a fugitive for his Communist leanings after he accuses his own government of betrayal.





Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wide release 12/16

Does this film even need an introduction? The first of several one-off “spin-off” Star Wars movies, Rogue One is currently under a review embargo, but early talk is that this is the most human, and character driven Star Wars movie. Strictly speaking from what we’ve seen, the film looks like a mesh between Seven Samurai and The Dirty Dozen (set in space). It is by far the most anticipated blockbuster of the year. And (thankfully), the studio has confirmed that there will not be a sequel to this, or any of the spin-off films.

Set directly before the events of A New Hope, the film follows the story of a band of unlikely heroes on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things. It is sure to be an epic adventure. Look for our full review next week.





Fences – limited release 12/16, wide 12/25

With a screenplay adapted by August Wilson, from his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play – and directed by (and starring) Denzel Washington – Fences just screams Oscars! Also starring the incredible Viola Davis, who is long over-due for an Oscar of her own, this film is receiving some really positive reviews. Though, there are some who feel that Washington doesn’t do anything to improve on the play in his adaptation, there are still some powerful performances that are being called the best of the year. If you’re looking for a hard-hitting drama with awesome star-power behind it, and with a story that is timelier than any on this list, Fences is the one to see.

This film – set in 1950s Pittsburgh – follows the story of a former Negro League player, now working as a waste collector, who is struggling to provide for his family and come to terms with his life and the pain that follows him.





Passengers – wide release 12/21

What a year this has been for science fiction. In fact, the past five years has seen a renaissance of sorts for the genre. This year’s Arrival is already a front-runner at the Oscars, with its message of hope despite a dire warning for the future of humanity. Passengers looks more like traditional sci-fi fare. A thriller set in space with the massive star power (get it?) of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, early buzz for this film is positive. The special effects are sure to be top-notch, and in the hands of director Morten Tyldum – there is likely to be some deeper, darker themes that lie beneath the dazzling visuals.

Passengers follows the story of two passengers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early. They must unravel the mystery behind their malfunctioning ship before disaster befalls the lives of the thousands of passengers who are still asleep.





A Monster Calls – limited release 12/23

While it’s been riding fairly under the radar, A Monster Calls promises a dark, atmospheric story that reminds us of Tim Burton’s better works. This film, directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible) looks to be full of fantastical elements, with visual elements that hopefully don’t trump the coming-of-age storyline. We haven’t seen this movie advertised as much as expected – which may or may not speak to its quality. However, critic reviews are pretty much all solidly positive. And with a cast that includes Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson (as the monster in a voice and visually stunning motion-capture performance), you’ll definitely want to add this one to your list.

A Monster Calls follows the story of 12-year-old Conor, who is dealing with his mother’s illness, his unsympathetic grandmother and bullying classmates, finds an unlikely ally in a monster that suddenly appears at his bedroom window. The two go on a journey of discovery in which Conor will learn what it means to be courageous.



Silence – limited release 12/23

Silence is being called Scorsese’s masterpiece, with the last 30-minutes of this film as some of the best work he has ever done – and considering his long career, with a filmography that includes works of incredibly power and sometimes extremely controversial subjects – Silence is shaping up to be a late-coming juggernaut with enough power to knock La La Land out of its frontrunner status. And rightly so… Silence is based off the widely acclaimed book by author Shusaku Endo and has been Scorsese’s “passion project” for over two decades. Add in a cast that includes Andrew Garfield (who is having a red-letter year), Adam Driver, Issei Ogata and Liam Neeson – all of whom are being touted for their Oscar-worthy performances – Silence promises to be one of the best films of the year. Also – could Liam Neeson finally take home his long overdue gold statuette? We’ll just have to see…

This film follows the story of two Christian missionaries who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor who has allegedly denounced his faith during a time when Christianity was outlawed and just their very presence on Japanese soil was strictly forbidden.




By Editor December 10, 2016 10:30

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