Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Reel Preview: The Year in Film 2016 - Episode XII

More so than any other year, December is the month that resembles a jailbreak as the mad rush to the Oscar finish-line heats up. In this final episode of 2016, here are the notable films for the month.

JACKIE – Natalie Portman (BLACK SWAN), plays Jackie Kennedy during her days as a First Lady and her life after the JFK assassination. Co-stars Greta Gerwig, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, and John Hurt. It is directed by Pablo Larrain, whose film NO was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012.

MAN DOWN – Shia LaBeouf plays a U.S. Marine struggling with his return home. Co-stars Gary Oldman, Kate Mara, and Jai Courtney AKA the human plank.

LA LA LAND – This romantic musical has Hollywood heartthrobs Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as singing and dancing lovers. It is directed by Damien Chazelle, whose 2013 film WHIPLASH was an Oscar darling.

FRANK & LOLA – The great Michael Shannon (TAKE SHELTER) stars as a Las Vegas chef who falls in love with a girl who is new to the city. Co-stars Imogen Poots (V FOR VENDETTA).

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY – If you need a break from the Oscar race, here’s a return to that galaxy far, far away with the first STAR WARS spin-off feature film…which tells the story how the famed Rebel Alliance stole the plans to the dreaded Death Star. Stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, and Forest Whitaker. It is directed by Gareth Edwards, who helmed the 2014 GODZILLA.

COLLATERAL BEAUTY – Back to the awards race. Will Smith plays a despondent man who copes by writing letters to Love, Life, and Death…and one day gets an answer. Co-starring is Edward Norton, Keira Knightly, Naomie Harris, Kate Winslet, and Helen Mirren. David Frankel (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA), directs.

ASSASSIN’S CREED – The long-awaited adaptation of the hit video game. Michael Fassbender stars.

PASSENGERS – In this sci-fi thriller, Chris Pratt (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) and Jennifer Lawrence (THE HUNGER GAMES), play colonists who are awoken from their hyper-sleep aboard a starship decades too early. It is directed by Morten Tyldum, who helmed the magnificent THE IMITATION GAME in 2014.

PATRIOTS DAY – Peter Berg, who earlier this year directed the fantastic thriller DEEPWATER HORIZON, brings the story of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing to the big screen. Stars Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, JK Simmons, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin Bacon, and Melissa Benoist (TV’s SUPERGIRL).

THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE – Emile Hirsch (WILD), and Brian Cox (X-MEN 2), play a father-and-son coroner team who experience the supernatural while examining a dead body.

SILENCE – The great Martin Scorsese (THE DEPARTED, GOODFELLAS), returns with this historical epic drama about two 17th century priests who travel to Japan to find and rescue their mentor. Stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson.

FENCES – Based on the play of the same name, Denzel Washington plays a father struggling to make ends meet. Co-stars Viola Davis.

A MONSTER CALLS – In this family fantasy film, Liam Neeson provides the voice of a monster who befriends a young boy. Sigourney Weaver co-stars.

GOLD – Matthew McConaughey plays an unlucky businessman who heads into uncharted jungles in search of gold. Co-stars Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Bruce Greenwood, and Stacy Keach. It is directed by Stephen Gaghan (SYRIANA).

LIVE BY NIGHT – In this 1920’s gangster bootlegger crime drama, Ben Affleck stars and directs for the first time since he won Best Picture for ARGO in 2012. Stars Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, and Scott Eastwood (son of Clint).

20TH CENTURY WOMEN – Set in the 1970’s, a single mother struggles to teach her teenage son about love and freedom. Stars Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, and Billy Crudup.

PATERSON – Maverick director Jim Jarmusch (BROKEN FLOWERS, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE), is back with this drama about a week in the life of a New Jersey bus driver. Stars Adam Driver.


Next month, Episode I previews the notable releases for the first month of 2017.

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