Joel Edgerton

Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2016

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2016. Here is Carrie’s list, presented, unlike last year’s alphabetized list, in descending rank order. And you can check out Chad’s list here to see which one of us you agree with more!

10.) Nocturnal Animals

Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal, middle) arrives at a possible crime scene with lawman Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon, r.).

Sometimes the story-within-the-story convention can be confusing or feel gimmicky, but in this visually stunning picture from fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford, the technique works to terrific effect. Amy Adams, as a woman haunted by a decision she made years ago, reads a manuscript sent to her by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), and that story comes alive on screen in the form of family man Tony (Gyllenhaal again) and his confrontation with some dangerous, deranged miscreants. Ford’s keen aesthetic vision and sharp performances by Adams, Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon as a tenacious lawman combine to make this brutally poetic but utterly captivating film one of the year’s most definitively unusual. (You can also read my full-length review here.)

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The boy is Special, and so is the film

Roy (Michael Shannon, l.) will do anything to protect his very special son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher).

Writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter, Shotgun Stories) continues his collaboration with the terrific actor Michael Shannon to great effect in his utterly engaging new science fiction film Midnight Special. Unlike another film by a well known writer/director that opened today, Nichols’s film grips you from its opening minute and keeps you enraptured for its nearly two hour run time. A film that pays homage to others of its genre while still managing to be totally unique, Midnight Special is well worth your box office dollars. [read the whole post]

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Exodus highlights the ongoing battle between traditional and modern filmmaking, and neither side really wins.

Battle Moses.  Complete with armor, shiny sword, and unidentifiable accent.

Battle Moses. Complete with armor, shiny sword, and unidentifiable accent.

Exodus: Gods and Kings was bound to be a spectacular epic, considering the biblical source material and the director at the helm, Sir Ridley Scott.  Scott echoed this projection when he said that Exodus: Gods and Kings is his “biggest” movie yet.  Considering his long resume of major titles, that’s quite a statement and yet it’s true.  The sets, the action, the effects, and the scope are all monumental, and these are mainly where the movie succeeds.  It’s heartwarming to know that there’s still room for traditional sandal epics in the modern film business, featuring a good amount of built sets and armies of real actors (as opposed to CGI backdrops and armies…though these are still employed here as well).  But trying to keep to tradition comes with a price, and some poor decisions.  Exodus is weakest (and most controversial) in its casting choices and artistic breaks from the source material, but these falters can’t keep Exodus from providing a mostly exciting experience.

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Felicity Price, Joel Edgerton, Teresa Palmer, and Antony Starr in Wish You Were Here

Felicity Price, Joel Edgerton, Teresa Palmer, and Antony Starr in Wish You Were Here

In my last review, I suggested you may want to see a blockbuster like Star Trek: Into Darkness instead of the independent film What Maisie Knew, since it’s a bit of a slog, and not exactly lightweight summer entertainment. This week, however, I have an indie to highly recommend, especially if you are now burned out on big budget Hollywood summer fare: the brilliant low budget Australian film Wish You Were Here. [read the whole post]

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Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby

Baz Luhrmann’s new adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby has been generating buzz for months. Critics, Hollywood insiders, bloggers, and anyone with a pulse have all been asking: Can an Australian director, filming in Australia, with many British and Australian actors, pull off a film of a classic American novel? Will filming in 3D help or hinder the film? Will the film be worth seeing? The short answers are no, no, and no. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: “Warrior”

by Jason LeRoy on September 8, 2011

Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte in WARRIOR

starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Dunn

written by: Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis & Cliff Dorfman

directed by: Gavin O’Connor

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense mixed martial arts fighting, some language and thematic material

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