Weekly Update: This week I didn’t watch too many films, but got in several newer films to keep my 2016 list going and a few Oscar nominees.
Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
48. The Founder (2016)
Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, the enterprising businessman who essentially swindled the McDonald Brothers out of their business and family name. On that foundation, he built the biggest fast-food chain in the world. Those familiar with the Ray Kroc story already won’t get a lot of new thoughts here, but this is a well-directed and acted introduction to the story behind one of the biggest business success stories in history (for the purposes of our discussion “Business Success” = “fucking over people”).
47. Imperial Dreams (2017)
This film has been floating around since 2014, going from film festival to film festival without any major release, until Netflix unceremoniously dropped it on their page in late January 2017. Its a pity, because this John Boyega-fronted story about an ex-con trying to make good with his life and with his son could have been an Oscar contender if released properly. The movie explores the Catch-22 situations often encountered by criminals released back into society after doing their time.
48. Tanna (2016)
Read my upcoming Full Review
49. Race (2016)
This Jesse Owens biopic was mostly ignored upon its early 2016 release. Watching it for the first time now, I am sorry I missed seeing it in the theater. Race is a classic Hollywood biopic in the best of terms, boasting solid performances, a compelling narrative about its principle characters, and excellent direction. The film has a great sub-plot exploring the background behind the 1936 Olympics, and how it was a stage-managed affair meant to prop up the German NAZI party in the eyes of the world, hiding its darkest side just behind the curtain.
50. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Batman (Will Arnett) may be Gotham City’s greatest hero, but every day he goes home to his big, empty bat-cave and lives a solitary, sad existence, with only his butler for company. That is until he inadvertently adopts an orphan boy who quickly becomes his top sidekick and first real friend. The Lego Batman Movie manages to be hilariously funny, poignant, and a completely solid entry into the Batman canon, all with the bonus of fitting well as a successor to the original Lego Movie. This is the best Batman movie since The Dark Knight, hands down.
51. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Fans of the original John Wick will have much to appreciate in this excellent follow-up film, which picks up just a few days after the events of the original. Where John Wick: Chapter 2 excels is in expanding on the first film’s world-building, creating an assassins’ world just under the surface of regular society, where rules are in place to keep order. The film’s only minor drawback is that it lacks the high stakes of the original film, where Wick’s motivations for his killing rampage was a well-deserved revenge. Here it all seems somewhat avoidable…
52. The Loving Story (2011)
This HBO documentary follows the story of Mildred & Richard Loving, an interracial couple whose case defending their marriage made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Whereas Jeff Nichols’ stellar 2016 dramatic film Loving focused on the relationship between the two, The Loving Story paints with a broader brush, covering their relationship to an extent, but also dealing directly with the historic court defense made by ACLU attorneys Bernie Cohen and Philip J. Hirschkop. Very worthy viewing for those interested in more background on the story.