Tuesday, January 10, 2017

One of the bright sides of 2016: Movies!

The Magnificent Seven helped make 2016 palatable.
Now that they are more accessible, here are some dope flicks to help you say last year was not all bad.

Happy 2017!
With Old Man Winter having a serious attitude nationwide, this is the perfect time to avoid the unforgiving inclement weather and watch a movie either online, on demand, DVD, in the theater, or whatever source you can utilize.
Yes, besides beer, cars, and hotels, and gift guides, I cover movies too, but I also have a few skilled writers who fill in for me when I am on the go which is pretty much 80 percent of the time. Therefore, lifestyle writer Andrea Janise (@ATLFoodwriter) and film buff Lamont Byron aka L.B. Reel (and my brother) are letting you know what is worth your valuable time to relax, wrap up in a blanket, kick back and see what the cinema world blessed us with in 2016. Of course, I will add my two cents here or there if I saw the movie as well, but for 2017, it’s all about showing love to other dedicated scribes when I can.
Enjoy and have a gangster brew alongside the popcorn!

10 Cloverfield Lane
Running Time: 103 minutes
This sci-fi thriller was right on point. After fleeing from a tense situation, Michelle (played by Elizabeth Winstead), finds herself in a modern underground bunker after being lead to believe she’d been rescued from a car accident and in the process saved from an alien invasion. The bunker and Michell’s rescue effort belongs to Howard Stambler, played flawlessly by John Goodman. Howard is jovial, likable, and seems believable, but looks can sometimes be deceiving. You are kept guessing throughout the film on Howard’s true intentions and in desperate need of being brought to light. From start to conclusion, Cloverfield delivers suspense, humor, and on-point acting performances that will keep you glued to your seat and pleasantly entertained.
-          L.B.
I say: This is a fun thriller fused with some horror and a believable theme. A lil’ sci-fi and a great performance by especially John Goodman complete this solid film. I dig it.

Running Time: 136 minutes

Fences, adapted from the 1983 play by August Wilson, highlights a significant part of American culture that is rarely portrayed in cinema. Showcasing the life-long tale of a family living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the 1950’s, Fences weaves a thread throughout the storyline that tells of the resilience that was endured during this time period by silenced women and children. The movie surrounds patriarch Troy Maxon, an ex-negro league baseball player (Denzel Washington), who depicts the hard work ethic and personal missteps of an under-educated black man living in post WWII America. His wife, Rose, embodied by Viola Davis, provided a stable, openhearted relationship that eventually got tarnished with bumps and bruises along the way. Jovan Adepo stands out on screen as son Cory, who helped shed light on the uniquely shared tensions between many African American boys and their fathers during this time in history. The 2016 version is directed by Denzel Washington and is sure to receive several Oscar nominations. 
-          A.J.

Sing Street
Running Time: 105 minutes

This drama might be what you’re looking for. Sing Street takes place in 1980’s Dublin, Ireland. Title character Conor (Ferdia-Walsh Peelo) is an artsy high-schooler, going through tough times. His family life is rocky, and amidst financial and marital issues which continue to revolve around his parents. In a cost-cutting move, Conor’s father has pulled him from his privileged private school education and pushed him into public school. Now he’s suddenly the outcast. Bullying becomes the norm as his pop-band eighties looks and creative individuality are preyed upon by classmates and the school’s headmaster. As Conor tries to navigate through life’s rough waters, he suddenly comes up with an idea to form a band. At this point, the film gets its wings. The eighties hits begin to roll as the humorous formation of the band and addition of Conor’s new love interest and band model Raphina come into play. From start to finish, Sing Street aims to please and hits a bullseye.
-          L.B.

Running Time: 116 minutes
Get a glimpse into the future with Colombia Pictures’ release of Passengers, a romantic comedy and sci-fi collaboration that envisions a love story that could happen in our not so distant future. The entire movie takes place on an American made spaceship that becomes the setting for great chemistry between Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) as they find themselves awake too soon during a 120-year voyage to inhabit a new planet. Viewers are taken through exciting twists of story lines to an unexpected ending that is sure to give you all the feels. This is one you won’t want to miss!
-          A.J.
I say: Usually waiting for Tom Cruise flicks when I want to see what the future holds, Passengers provides a wonderful option by showing us how technologically advanced, idealistic, and downright scary it could possibly be regarding planet-to-planet travel. Oh, besides the solid roleplays by Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, the bartender was a joy to watch.


Running Time: 96 minutes
Clint Eastwood directed this well put-together docu-drama based on actual events of US Airways flight 1549 in 2009. Sully—named after the hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger—portrays the unbelievable story of the icy water landing of flight 1549 into the icy waters of New York’s Hudson river. This against all odds courageous and ingenious landing was made when the Airbus A320, lost engine power after striking a flock of birds. After managing to miraculously save the lives of all souls on board, the crew garnered worthy praise. Ironically, Sully (played phenomenally by Tom Hanks) would receive an unfair dose of criticism for possible alternative landing decisions that might have made more sense in those critical moments. This is one to watch for the drama angle, cinematography, and the opportunity to be informed on parts of this amazing story that might have flown under the radar.
-          L.B.

The Magnificent Seven

Running Time: 133 minutes
The remake Magnificent Seven brings an all-star cast to light. The group of seven are lead and formed by Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) are on the path for revenge for local who desperately summoned their talents to avenge the loss of loved ones at the hands of a viscous group of bandits. The outlaws could care less about human life, common decency, and the townspeople’s prior comfortable way of life. After some coaxing, the Seven finally accept the role to protect and fight the helpless. The bullets begin to fly and the action soon heats up to a feverish pace, leading to a western loaded with action, humorous dialogue, and a well-appointed cast.
-          L.B.

Manchester By the Sea
Running Time: 137 minutes
Manchester By the Sea is the story in the life of Lee Chandler (played by Casey Affleck). Resulting from a series of misfortunes, Lee has become a bit detached from society and prefers to live life inside of his own shell away from his hometown. His body language suggests defeat, the speaking tone is low, he is consistently unenthusiastic, and ultimately absent of any indication of happiness. The outside world is true to its very meaning for Lee, who struggles to hold on to a job by a withered thread. Suddenly, his life is further turned upside down when he receives word that his brother has passed away. Now Lee is faced with another hardship being thrust into the role of handling his brother’s affairs which include the possibility of sole guardianship of his late brother’s son, Patrick. Now forced to revisit the town he once abandoned, Lee must unearth strength, stability, and the ability to handle life way outside of his comfort zone by being a dedicated uncle. The question remains, will he step up and conquer his demons, or will he continue to shield himself from the possibility of a better life?
-          L.B.

Don’t Breathe
Running Time: 88 minutes
The thriller Don’t Breathe proved to live up to its title. Throughout this flick, you will be trying to catch your breath as suspense, thrills, and chills reign supreme. On a fateful evening in Detroit, three hooligans decide to rob the house of a blind man titled Norman Nordstram played by the well-casted Steven Lang. Norman is targeted after being known to possibly be in the possession of $300,000 because of a settlement—evidently a poor kept secret. After a few attempts, the break-in seems successful for the three as they finally find a way inside Norman’s home, but they horribly underestimated his handicap; Norman is instead more than capable of defending his home. The twists and turns ensue throughout at a torrid pace. The events inside Norman’s house will keep you on the edge of your seat with no ways to predict the outcome. There never seems to be a dull moment in this one and that’s why it made this year’s list.
-          L.B.
I say: This was a wonderful movie cocktail of past horror flicks including Saw, Blairwitch Project and Cujo. Take a sip!



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