American Honey directed and written by Andrea Arnold (also the whole crew, 071) (Shot by Robbie Ryan)
I traveled four hours to see American Honey with Kenna. As soon as I saw the trailer for American Honey, I knew it would be one of my favorite films. It is very interesting when I can detect if I will like a film or not just by watching the trailer. The trailer usually reels me in real fast or pushes me in. The trailer for American Honey reeled me in 100%. I would re-watch it all the time before I actually watched the film.
After watching American Honey, I can definitely say it is my favorite film of 2016. I loved everything that Andrea Arnold put together. If you haven't seen any of Andrea's short films, or Fish Tank, I urge you to watch them. She does an amazing job at making a film that is actually real. It connects to ideas of what the American dream is (money, love, traveling). The magazine crew travels while making money and lives a life that a lot of people would not have the guts to do. Star (Sasha Lane) takes the risk of leaving and joining the crew while traveling America. She soon encounters a whole lot of other shit that is crazy/real (yes I will keep using the word real, because it is not what I always see in films). I could write more about everything but it would end up being the whole post. This film is completely relatable to me and the idea of being free really hits home with American Honey. I love the soundtrack, I love the realism, I love the acting, I love the real passionate sex-scenes, I love Riley Keough as Krystal, I love how at the end of the film the credits read "a film made by" everyone.
Moonlight directed and written by Barry Jenkins (Shot by James Laxton)
It was the last Thursday of November and the last showtime of Moonlight at my local theater. I already heard the hype of it all and everything what Moonlight was praised for. I knew I had to see it when the trailer was first released. The synopsis by its self hit home.
I left the theater feeling deeply depressed but also in deep appreciation. Barry Jenkins has created a film that has brought many issues to life on screen. The bullying, the masculinity complex, growing up, struggling to accept homosexuality, drug abuse, parenting. Much much more, than just that. I hate labeling what happens in Moonlight because it makes the problems seem much smaller than they actually are in the film. If I can dive into everything Barry Jenkins has written—I am sure I would cry and would want the world to leave me alone, thinking about how much I relate to the film. Everyone needs to see Moonlight for various reasons. Everyone needs to create more films like Moonlight. It is a film that highlights many issues today that have not been seen or heard. I can really say that Moonlight has left a mark on the world and is a step on changing it.
The Lobster directed and written by Yorgos Lanthimos (Shot by Thimios Bakatakis)
It was a few months ago that I saw The Lobster in theaters with my Dad. I picked it to go see with him because I knew it would be interesting and it was dystopian for Pete's sake. I didn't know much about the director but I knew a lot about the actors and actresses. I also IMDB'D the film before and saw that he made Dogtooth. A film that Kenna and my other friend would always talk about my freshman year of high school. I never got the urge to watch it when they told me about it, which I now regret.
The Lobster is a film that brushes on many elements, such as love, commitment, choice, and relationships. It is fucking witty as hell. The acting is amazing and yes I did fall in love with David (Colin Farrell) after. The narrated voice-over makes the film so much more appealing and interesting, Rachel Weisz really nailed it. This is a film that is not for everyone but it is one that is definitely worth a watch. I took the test "What animal will you be if you end up alone?" on the The Lobster's official website and I chose/got a horse. Let me know if you watch it or take the test!
The Edge of Seventeen directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig (Shot by Doug Emmett)
Before watching The Edge of Seventeen, I had read the hype and had seen numerous films of which Hailee Steinfeld had acted an amazing job. I IMBD'D (as always) the director and writer to find that she had wrote Post Grad, that I actually liked. For one I already loved it because it is about a girl who goes to college, gets out, applies to her dream job—that she had dreamed about since she was little, and gets rejected.
I told Kenna about The Edge of Seventeen and we headed to the theater to see it. We left the theater in laughs and conversation. It is an actual relatable high school film. Once in awhile, I love to watch a good relatable high school film. Because they make me feel like my problems were valid in high school, and should not be unnoticed due to being "young". Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) soon discovers that her best friend is dating her brother and basically realizes she's all alone after. It is a lot of serious shit but it's also a comedy. Some scenes to me weren't funny because they seemed more serious, but people in the audience laughed. It is tricky to contrast drama and comedy and I can say some scenes did well and others did not but overall I enjoyed The Edge of Seventeen.
Captain Fantastic directed and written by Matt Ross (Shot by Stephane Fontaine)
Before watching Captain Fantastic, I was in a deli with my Sister and Dad. We planned to buy some sandwiches before entering the theater. I found this amazing peach black tea that I now want while writing this. I kept checking my phone to make sure we would not be late to the screening due to sandwiches. We ended up making it on time! And let me tell you that sandwiches, chips, and tea, really added to the experience of watching Captain Fantastic.
Captain Fantastic starts out with a family in the wilderness and ends with a family out of the wilderness. The family was raised by Ben (Viggo Mortensen) all in the wilderness for years. They haven't experienced what a "normal" life is but soon set out too, since their mother dies. From scenes of isolation to scenes of the family entering civilization, Matt Ross emphasizes the struggles of fitting in and the perks of fitting out. It is strange to grasp what it would really be like to be raised away from everyone else, and it was interesting to see what the family deals with along with what they learn.
Green Room directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier (shot by Sean Porter)
I saw Green Room in the theaters and I was glad I did. The trailer looked fucking intense and the whole plot was crazy. I was mostly drawn to it more because of all the actors and actresses that I loved were in it (RIP Anton).
Green Room is a film that is one crazy fucked up ride. I loved it so much that I was Pat (Anton Yelchin) for Halloween. Green Room is about a punk rock band that gets held hostage after witnessing a murder and has to fight their way out. You will be more scared of guns and knives after watching this film, and especially scared of dogs. It is pretty crazy to think that something like this can actually happen and it is horrible which I think makes it just even more thrilling to watch.
White Girl directed and written by Elizabeth Wood (Shot by Michael Simmonds)
I heard about White Girl since it opened at Sundance in the beginning of 2016. It intrigued me and I was waiting to see it. I finally watched it a month ago when it was added on Netflix. All I can say is that is it fucking crazy and wild.
It starts off with Leah (Morgan Saylor) moving into a new apartment, she soon meets Blue (Brian 'Sene' Marc) and falls in love. Blue sells drugs, but doesn't do them. Leah on the other hand, does a lot. Blue is arrested after selling to someone on the street who turned out to be an undercover cop, Leah is left with all of the cocaine. She struggles on the idea of returning the drugs to the main dealer, or using them to sell to bail Blue out. The rest of the film is a wild ride that makes you feel like you're on some cocaine (really). Being Elizabeth Wood's first feature, I'd say she did an amazing job.
Other films I liked in 2016: Other People, Swiss Army Man, Wiener-Dog, Maggie's Plan, Don't Breathe, Looking: The Movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane
Note - I still have not seen some films from 2016 that I am still waiting to see!