Weekly Update: Heading into the week of Christmas, my viewing load was light, lots of family stuff goin’ on. Probably won’t hit #500 like so many have been angling for me, but then, I was aiming for 365, so why tempt fate?
Curious what else I’ve seen on my quest to watch 365 new-to-me movies in 2016? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
476. Louder than Bombs (2016)
This heavy family drama focuses on a family torn by the death of their mother. The father (Gabriel Byrne) is desperate to bring his youngest son back into the fold, while the son resists communication. The older brother (Jesse Eisenberg) is dealing with having a family of his own, and not being sure he’s ready for it. The film is told in a compelling non-linear fashion that enhances the stresses each character is encountering, while never giving away the ultimate direction in which the story heads.
477. The Candidate (1972)
As relevant today as it ever ways, this political satire charts a candidate running for Senate (Robert Redford) and all of the machinations and money and bureaucracy that drives the political campaign business. Peter Boyle is particularly entertaining as a career-campaign manager who is less concerned about politics than how to win. The movie’s overwhelming and brilliantly underplayed final scene hammers home the problems with the business that persist to this day.
478. Fences (2016)
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reprise their roles from the Broadway version of August Wilson’s play, with Denzel directing as well. Denzel plays Troy, an aging Garbage Collector in the 1950s whose demands on himself and his demands on those around him conceal personal demons. Being bound by the restrictions of the film’s origin as a stage play, the movie nevertheless triumphs over this in the hands of Denzel and Viola’s stellar performances.
479. A Christmas Carol (1999)
This made for TV adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic sticks closer to the source material than many Dickens adaptations, which almost always open on Scrooge in his office on Christmas Eve. The film instead establishes his relationship with his dead colleague Jacob Marley more overtly, and in doing so gives Scrooge a more empathetic side than normal, while still painting him as a miser. Clearly shot on a 1990’s Cable TV movie budget, the film benefits from a bravura performance by Patrick Stewart, who fully embodies the role. Unfortunately the computer special effects have aged like box wine, and severely damage the movie in some very important moments.
480. Krisha (2016)
Krisha is a 60-something woman who has spent the last few years working on herself. She accepts an invitation to join her family for the first time in years at Thanksgiving for dinner, but her history of substance abuse and neglect precedes her. She’s anxious to make a good impression, but between her continued struggles with addiction and her family’s judging nature, she finds the balance impossible.
There, I just saved you the need to watch this cynical, and unredeemably dour film. If the mother from Requiem for a Dream had dinner with her extended family, it wouldn’t be so depressing.
481. Scrooge/A Christmas Carol (1951)
The classic version of the Charles Dickens’ tale, setting the pattern which all future adaptations would endeavor to follow. Alastair Sim plays the titular role of Ebenezer Scrooge, a heartless money lender turned around by visitations of a series of ghosts. This version was by no means the first, but via Sim’s powerful performance, and the film’s production values, the story was done full justice.