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the walk

Once upon a time, two towers stood at the base of Manhattan. A French "high wire artiste" managed to run a wire between the towers and took The Walk, 110 stories or so above New York pavement. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Philippe Petit and, while the set-up is talky the last 40 minutes had this New Yorker enthralled. If you live in NYC, this is the year's best film. If not .......

bigshort

The Big Short, starring Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Finn Wittrock, Christian Bale, Selena Gomez, Marisa Tomei, Steve Carrell clearly explains why most of America lost its financial shirt about a decade ago. That the film makes its hero from a stock market gambler (... well, not...) who makes millions while evil banks go bust should make PC types lose their minds. It does make a great film, though. The other Best Film of the Year.

martian

The Martian stars Matt Damon as an astronaut left behind as dead when a NASA mission goes belly up. We missed the film because of medical crap (and so had to watch in 2D instead of the reportedly awesome 3D version). That aside, even in 2D this is a terrific movie in all the ways that you want a movie to be, while you shovel popcorn from the Godzilla size bucket into your maw. <vbg>. Our Best Movie props to The Martian.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Joy

Joy


hateful eight

The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino's post Civil War tale of bounty hunters and captives confined in an isolated rest stop. The time frame gives Tarantino the ability to use "the n-word" a ridiculous amount of times. It also allows actor Samuel L Jackson to shoot the junk off of any person that does. The writing is close to brilliant and, we confess, the film won us over.

room

Room stars Brie Larson as a young mother trapped within a 10 foot square room. It is the only world her five-years old young son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) has ever known and that relationship -- she locks him in a closet when their captor comes calling at night -- drives the story. Eventually, freedom comes and the film changes focus to the boy experiencing a new universe. The film will make film students swoon and, somehow, won us over as well.

spotlight

Spotlight starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber and Stanley Tucci documents how the Boston Globe newspaper uncovered the scandalous behavior of Roman Catholic priests molesting young boys -- and the Church's reaction, shuffling the offending priests to new parishes. As far as "serious" films go, this is the real thing. That it documents reality is the sickening part.

Trainwreck

Trainwreck aptly describes Amy Schumer's character's life. A woman who goes from one drunken one night stand to another somehow finds a man (Bill Hader) determined to make her "the one." A comedy whose main character goes from pathetic to adorable is an easy stretch for Schumer, who has had a bang-up year all across the board.

woman in gold

The Nazis were murderers second. First, they were thieves, using governmental powers to steal the possessions of Jews that had done well in Germany and Austria (in this case).. Millions of dollars of art work was stolen. Woman in Gold documents one Holocaust survivor and her attempts to get her art work back-- in particular a Klimt portrait of her aunt -- decades later. Helen Mirren is, as usual, magnificent in the title role

Shaun the Sheep

Shaun the Sheep (animated; with a cameo by Three Little Pigs) . . .comes from the creative minds behind Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run . . . and is, apparently, the big screen adaptation of a small screen (television) series we've never heard of. The film -- in which the farmer Goes to Town (don't ask how) and leaves the sheep to run free, and then follow him in to save him (the family dog helps) -- had us in stitches

Son of Saul

Son of Saul (foreign language) is The Holocaust seen in a more horrifying way than you could ever imagine. Be glad for the distraction of having to read sub-titles.

>Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (best documentary)

Best Acting: Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn and Johnny Depp in Black Mass.

Best Supporting: Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight and Sylvester Stallone in Creed

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is  Copyright © 1995-2016 by, Chuck Schwartz. Articles and interviews by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All Rights Reserved. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of and ©, ®, ™ their respective studios. Used by permission. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award™(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.