I have a feeling that Donald Trump supporters — at least those still capable of being honest with themselves — harbor at least one of the same worries that those of us who oppose him do, namely : that one day his big, fat, stupid, disgusting mouth with write a check that his big, fat, stupid, disgusting ass can’t can’t cash.
Okay, yeah, they might quibble with the colorful (but, I would submit, accurate) adjectives I just used in describing the various anatomical “attributes” of their chosen God Emperor, but still, come on — everybody knows this guy is liable to say something irrevocably stupid at any given time. And while he’s had nothing but praise for the likes of Putin, Assad, Dutarte, and other cheap, pathetic despots, the fact that he’s singled out Congressman John Lewis — a genuine icon of the Civil Rights era and inarguably one of…
In Eyewitness (which is also known as Sudden Terror), eleven year-old Ziggy (Mark Lester) witnesses a policeman (Peter Vaughan) assassinating a visiting African dignitary but, because he has a history of “crying wolf,” he can’t get anyone to believe him. Not his older sister, Pippa (Susan George). Not his grandfather (Lionel Jeffries), the lighthouse keeper. Not the housekeeper, Madame Robiac (Betty Marsden). Not even Tom Jones (Tony Bonner), a tourist who fancies Pippa. When he sees two policemen driving up to his grandfather’s lighthouse, Ziggy panics and runs. Though John Hough’s direction, which is full of zoom shots and Dutch angles, is dated, Eyewitness holds up well as a tight thriller. Susan George was beautiful in 1970 and Peter Vaughan is a great villain.
If Sam Peckinpah had ever made a children’s movie, it would probably look a lot like Eyewitness. The movie starts out with Ziggy playing on the beach and pretending to be a soldier while imaginary gunshots and explosions are heard in the background. It ends with a strange joke about a man who looks like Hitler, followed by a cheery freeze frame. In between all that cheeriness, the assassin and his brother (Peter Bowles) chase Ziggy across Malta and kill anyone who gets in their way, from a friendly priest to a ten year-old girl being held by her father. I counted ten onscreen death, which is a lot considering that this British movie was released at a time when some were still arguing that Jon Pertwee-era Dr. Who was too scary for children. There’s even an exciting car chase that ends with one car overturned and the blood-covered survivors struggling to drag themselves out from underneath the wreckage. How many British children were traumatized by Eyewitness?
Francis Ford Coppola was still a UCLA film student when he made YOU’RE A BIG BOY NOW, the 1966 coming of age comedy he used as his MFA thesis. The young Coppola was 27, and had gained experience working for Roger Corman ; indeed, Corman gave him his first break when he hired Coppola to write and direct the horror quickie DEMENTIA 13. But YOU’RE A BIG BOY NOW was his first major studio release, and put him on the map as a talent to keep an eye on.
Bernard Chanticleer is a 19 year old nerd with a way-overprotective mother and disinterested, authoritarian father. He works for Dad at a New York City library, and is constantly goofing up on the job. Dad thinks it’s time for Bernard to spread his wings and move on his own, much to Mom’s displeasure. She finds him a room at a house owned by Miss Thing, who’s tenants include conservative…
Well, the time is here! It’s time for me to reveal my picks for the best 26 films of 2016!
If there’s been any theme that I’ve found myself constantly returning to while looking back at the previous year, it’s that 2016 just wasn’t as good as 2015. That’s certainly true as far as movies are concerned. Whereas 2015 provided us with an embarrasment of riches, 2016 was — overall — a pretty bland year as far as cinema is concerned.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t some great films released in 2016. I’m proud of this list below. At the same time, I’m also a little bit frustrated. As happens every year, there are a few films that, as of this writing, I have yet to see. Weather permitting, I will see Silence and Jackie tomorrow and on Monday. If I feel that they need to be included in my top 26, I will come back and edit this list. And, of course, I still need to see some of the films that are no longer playing in theaters — Captain Fantastic, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and some others. The list below should be considered my picks for the best 2016 films that I actually got to see.
Also, I still need to write reviews for two of the films listed below. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that today. As soon as those reviews are posted, I’ll add links.
Arrival was one of the best films of 2016. In fact, I would argue that it’s one of the best science fiction films that I’ve ever seen. There were a lot of reasons for that, of course. There was the brilliant script by Eric Heisserer. There was the starring performance of Amy Adams, who is one of the best actresses working today. There was a surprise and thought-provoking twist, one that forced you to reconsider everything that you previously believed. There were so many reasons why Arrival was a great film but, ultimately, it call came down to Denis Villeneuve.
Working with material that would have led most directors down the road to bombast, Villeneuve instead took a deliberately low-key approach. Whereas most directors would have encouraged their cast to play up the drama, Villeneuve encourages his actors to take a more inward and cerebral approach to the material. Arrival is a rarity — a film about smart people in which the people actually seem to be smart. For once, we don’t need expositionary characters to pop up and tell us that Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) are brilliant. Instead, we simply believe they are from what we see on the screen. Much like last year’s Sicario, Arrival proves that Villeneuve is a visionary director.
Arrival is a hard film to describe, not because it’s overly complicated but because there’s a huge twist that I really can’t reveal. Before the twist, Arrival is simply a well-directed sci-fi film. After the twist, it is something all together different, an intense meditation on faith, love, language, and destiny. Since I’m reviewing the film late, chances are that you already know about the twist but I’m still not going to spoil it.
What I can tell you is that Arrival opens with the arrival of twelve spaceships, all of which land at different places across the world. The Chinese have a spaceship. The British have a spaceship. I imagine that the Canadians have a spaceship, because who wouldn’t want to hang out with the Canadians? And, of course, the Americans have a spaceship. The aliens are inside the spaceships. They’re octopus-like creatures, ones that almost look as if they could have come from one of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stories. The aliens may appear to be fearsome but they actually seem to be rather benevolent. No one’s quite sure because the aliens communicate through a complex series of symbols and nobody can understand what those symbols mean.
Louise Banks is a linguist. Ian Donnelly is a physicist. The Americans bring both in to help translate the symbols. Of course, the rest of the world has their own linguists and physicists working to translate the symbols and, humans being humans, it often seems that the Americans and the Chinese are less concerned with translating what the aliens are saying and more concerned with being the first to understand. While Louise works, she continues to be haunted by dreams and visions of her daughter’s death from cancer.
And that’s really all I can tell you without spoiling the film and potentially making myself cry. But I will say that if you haven’t seen Arrival, you must go out and see it now. It’s one of the most thought-provoking and emotionally wrenching films of the past year.
Add to that, it’s probably going to be nominated for best picture. It’s been overshadowed a bit by all the attention paid to La La Land, Moonlight, and Manchester By The Sea. But Arrival is just as good a film as any of them. In fact, in the future, we’ll probably look at Arrival and say that it was better than all of them.
This is from that same Jules Sylvain special as before. Many of these will be for a while.
We get to see an early version of the ABBA music video for Love Isn’t Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough) with both Agnetha and Björn.
Make sure to stop the video at about the thirty-seven second mark because it goes into another video. I’ll do that one later. Unfortunately, many of these videos aren’t posted solely. You can keep watching, but I will be doing them separately.