Current Cinema

My Favorite Films of 2016

While I saw a bunch of movies this year, I didn’t get to see everything. So, here’s a list of my ten favorite films from 2016 from the films that I was able to see (list is in alphabetical order). Happy New Year and hope to see you at the movies in 2017!

“Captain America: Civil War”

(© Marvel Studios)

With so many super heroes (including Spider-Man’s first appearance in a Marvel Studios film) and so many plot lines, this film could have really fallen on its face. Instead, Captain America: Civil War shines. Expertly directed by the Russo Brothers, this film is action-packed and compelling from start to finish.

“Doctor Strange”

(© Marvel Studios)

Another entry from Marvel Studios, Doctor Strange is an absolute trip. Mind bending visual effects, a cool story, and great performances make this one of the year’s most entertaining films.

“Kubo and the Two Strings”


Hearbreaking and gorgeous, Kubo and the Two Strings raised the bar for stop-motion animation storytelling.

“La La Land”

(© Summit/Lionsgate)

I was so taken by everything in La La Land. Emma Stone is luminous in this bittersweet and original modern interpretation of the classic Hollywood musical.

“Love and Friendship”

(© Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions)

Kate Beckinsale delivers a show-stopping performance as a conniving, opportunistic widow in this filmed adaptation of a Jane Austen story. Biting, witty, and terrific.


(© Disney)

Longtime Disney Animation directors Ron Clements and John Musker hit another home run with this delightful, original story set in ancient Polynesia. Such an entertaining, beautiful film.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

(© Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The first of the new Star Wars standalone/anthology films, Rogue One absolutely delivers the goods. Made with tremendous TLC by director Gareth Edwards and team, this is the Star Wars prequel that I always wanted.

“Sing Street”

(© The Weinstein Company)

Long live the 1980s in this fun and touching coming-of-age pic from Irish director John Carney.


(© Warner Bros.)

Clint Eastwood directed this methodical yet gripping biopic about Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who in 2009 miraculously landed a U.S. Airways passenger jet in the Hudson River after a flock of geese severely damanged the plane at takeoff. Patriotic, dramatic, and touching. Tom Hanks is brilliant as always.


(© Disney)

Walt Disney Animation Studios continues its roll of knockout films with this thought-provoking and hilarious animated comedy. Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, the anti-bigotry message so expertly delivered in the film could not be more timely.

Classic Cinema

“Fantastic Voyage”

(© 20th Century Fox)

I watched the debut on Turner Classic Movies of the sci-fi adventure film Fantastic Voyage (20th Century Fox, 1966) this month. While it’s definitely a period piece and a bit kitschy, I was impressed with the film’s visual effects and its unique story.

Set in the heart of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, the film tells the story of five scientists who, along with a fancy customized submarine, are miniaturized and placed within the body of an injured man who possesses valuable and timely military secrets. The scientists have only 60 minutes to remove a blood clot in the man’s brain before they return back to normal size. 

What follows is an adventure against time within the human body. As the miniaturized submarine travels through the blood stream and human organs, the filmmakers have a bold interpretation of what the inside of the human body would look like from the perspective of a teeny tiny person. And there are many challenges and intrigues along the way to keep the plot mostly interesting and moving along.

Original theatrical poster (© 20th Century Fox)

Directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Donald Pleasance, and Edmond O’Brien, Fantastic Voyage is an enjoyable 1960s-style sci-fi adventure.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

Here’s the original trailer courtesy of the 20th Century Fox YouTube channel.

Classic Cinema

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

November’s entry in the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Big Screen Classics series was Paramount Pictures’ 1961 dramedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s

(© Paramount Pictures)

Socialite Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) and aspiring writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard) live in the same apartment building in New York City. Both are also involved in other relationships that are ones of convenience and/or survival–and definitely not love. Sparks (and confusion) start to fly as the two get to know each other better and begin to look realistically at who and what they really are and what they want out of life. And while the film is primarily focused on Holly G. (and those incredible Givenchy-designed clothes), both Holly and Paul have interesting character arcs and have interesting decisions to make.

Directed by Blake Edwards, the film also has an iconic score by Henry Mancini. The classic song “Moon River” makes its debut in the film (and Audrey sings it in a lovely way, too).

Seeing this classic film on the big screen was a total treat. Audrey Hepburn is luminous, as always. I learned from Tiffany Vazquez’s outstanding introduction that Truman Capote, the author of the source material, wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the role. Still, it’s difficult to picture anyone other than Hepburn as Holly Golightly. As advertised, TCM screened the beautiful digital print in its original aspect ratio. It was a happy ending for the film’s characters and for the film goers, too.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Thanks again for the Big Screen Classics series, TCM! Keeping my fingers crossed that it will return in 2017.