Friday, December 30, 2016

The Countdown - The 25 Worst Films of 2016

   The year has brought many great films, more than the bad of course, but there are still plenty of horrible, horrendous, and downright despicable films of 2016. Of course film is subjective and these are all my opinions, but trust me when I say that these select films don't even remotely make the grade.From big budget blockbusters to under the radar snooze-fests, the year was filled with movies that just aren't worth anyone's time or money.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Manchester by the Sea - Review

   The medium of film has a really unique way of pulling on heart strings and carrying emotional weight in two hours that other mediums cannot even hope to accomplish. In many ways, films do this with certain emotional, almost cliché, beats that are designed to manipulate the audience to get this desired reaction. While other film create this vast array of emotions without the big sweeping tragedies or heart wrenching twists. Other films craft their storytelling in such a way that they feel real to an alarming degree, becoming extraordinarily powerful along the way. Manchester by the Sea is one of those other films.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Passengers - Review

   The need for original sci-fi films is constant and unmoving, so when a film comes along with an interesting premise, it gets immediate attention. Add two of the biggest stars in Hollywood and a script that’s been on the blacklist for a while and the film will garner a large amount of anticipation. The results are incredibly muddled, and though visually pleasing, Passengers has an identity crisis.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Assassin's Creed - Review

   Well it is inevitable that a good video game film will be released, it’s just a shame Assassin’s Creed is not that film. The pieces were all in place to ensure a good film; a stellar cast, an up and coming director, and an inventive premise from the source material. But none of these elements come together to form any semblance of a movie, let alone a good movie.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

La La Land - Review

   The musical. A time honored tradition of Hollywood that’s seen it’s ups and downs over the years. The glory days of Hollywood saw many a musical spectacle before things went a little south since then, none really capturing the magic of the classic Hollywood musical. La La Land does something spectacular here to get back to the glory days of musicals, putting just as much focus on energy and movement within the music, making even the simplest note mean so much more.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Review

   A franchise can earn certain goodwill where no matter what the reviews say, the audience will still go out in droves to see the newest entry. The marvel cinematic universe has almost earned this peak, the Harry Potter franchise arguably hit that point, but the real king of this is phenomenon is Star Wars. Regardless of the words I type below, or anyone critiquing the film, you’ll most likely see it no matter what, and you definitely (DEFINITELY) should.

   In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

   The biggest pitch for this first anthology film was using a war-like feel within the Star Wars universe. Rogue One hits this premise almost perfectly; particularly the third act, and feels incredibly grounded. The story is more contained than the saga films despite the large scale and numerous worlds and characters. It’s a stand-alone film through and through that will satisfy casual and hardcore fans alike, including a few classic characters like a certain dark lord that gets a truly chill inducing scene at a certain point.

   Star Wars, while known for big sweeping battles and action, is about characters. Rogue One has interesting characters that don’t get a lot of development and that’s really the biggest flaw in the film. They're interesting enough characters but the only one to get any focus or backstory is Jyn Erso. Played wonderfully by Felicity Jones, Erso is clearly the main character of the team and thus Jones has the most to work with. But others like Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, and Donnie Yen all get their moments to shine in one way or another. The real standout, however, is Alan Tudyk as the voice of K-2SO. The newest droid to the galaxy manages to get laughs time in and time out, entering the realm of great Star Wars characters with ease.

   By getting Gareth Edwards in the director’s chair, the heads at Lucasfilm and Disney knew they’d get something with a focused and appropriate scale for the epic nature of the film. Rogue One does this particularly well by showcasing the battles and size of things from the perspective of those fighting on the ground. Not only does it illustrate the scope of events but it also shows the life of the people in this galaxy unlike any other Star Wars film.

   Overall, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is precisely what a film outside the normal Skywalker saga should be, expansive yet contained. The story is extremely interesting and the third act is impressive and satisfying, in action and emotion. With great performances and stunning visuals, minus some issues with the uncanny valley, Rogue One delivers on everything one could hope for.

   So what did you think of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Have you seen it and where does it rank among the other 7 films? Subscribe, share, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Loving - Review

   Something really interesting about Loving is the inherent stress it places on how little the people of Virginia cared about the relationship of a white man and black woman before the wedding rings came into the picture. The sheer fact that a piece of paper can change the perspective from slight side-eyes to actual arrests is incredibly hard to imagine and yet it was a part of that time. Loving illustrates this beautifully, in a subtle and nuanced look at history through the lenses of today’s world.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Nocturnal Animals - Review

   To combine two separate narratives into a single cohesive film is hard enough but to throw in a third is near impossible. Tom Ford, however, does this fairly well with Nocturnal Animals, taking the suspense to new heights in the chilling, neo-noir type thriller. The film ventures into so many different themes and ideas throughout its runtime, getting under your skin like you’d never believe.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Office Christmas Party - Review

   The almost annual Christmas time R-rated comedy has finally hit with Office Christmas Party. Place a fairly exceptional comedic cast into some wacky situation like a Christmas party and the results should at least work in most aspects. Outside of a few good jokes, some visual comedy, and a few good performances, Office Christmas Party is ultimately a disappointment.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Moonlight - Review

   Every year, decade, or era, there are films that feel vastly relevant to the current landscape of the world. They vary in quality and subject, and yet they feature such a poignant nature when it comes to what films mean. Moonlight happens to be one of those films that not only manage to be great, but also meaningful and accessible with every shot, scene, and sequence.