Although there are less than two weeks before December 31st, the final day of the calendar year, it appears that many sources are reporting their compiling lists for the best/worst/memorable/forgettable notations that existed in 2016, making sure that readers that need to know this stuff have it all down pat for the clock chimes twelve midnight on the 31st.
Depending on the lists on hand, these writers of said lists jot down what the composer believes are the noteworthy mentions that will make 2016 fall into the annals of history. Many of these lists speak about the trends that made the year what it was in terms of current events, the media, and domestic society in general. These lists exist to make a specific point or to generally amuse and entertain, meaning that its importance isn’t something crucial. It’s just a bit of info to use while the so-called holidays are making its mark throughout the land.
Although not a heck of a lot takes place during the final two weeks of the year, it’s most likely that the subject matter won’t ever get outdated. Granted, current events are to change without reason or schedule. They just happen when they happen. But when it comes to let’s say, the best movies of the year, then a film title that isn’t part of that list either won’t come around in January of the next year, or that feature isn’t as good as the ones posted within the list. The same goes for any other media based element as well, be it books, TV shows, songs, or some other aspect that is part of the way of life for the moment.
Although we here at Accessibly Live Off-Line receives a lot of press releases and related news of somebody’s list of the best and/or worst, we don’t necessarily report them on these pages as many of these lists are out of our general scope. (That is what the ‘net is for to find them yourself, and possible spread them around through the usually social media outlets!) When it comes to lists that are based upon subjects we do cover, then we choose to be rather selective.
The movie industry tends to take the limelight here, where groups, guilds, societies, and other forms of organizations compile their list for the best in movies, as well as the worst. Of course, these lists are compiled by those within the groups, be it be by members, scholars, or by basic hanger-oners that feel they should compile said lists.
Out of these many lists we gain access to, the only list we place is found in this very issue posted below. And within the same nature of the other lists, what is placed there is up for debate, making the list the most challenging. That’s generally why these lists exist to begin with!
No matter though. 2016 as a year will go down in history as another era that took place within the second decade of the 21st century. It saw a series of firsts, lasts, and onlys. It witnessed some of the most memorable events, as well as the ones that should become forgotten! It was the best of times, as well as the worst. Whatever the case, these lists will have its moments, only to become latter placed aside and perhaps long forgotten. It’s just something to wrap up another year with, even if that wrapping is taking place some two weeks early! Better early that late–or never!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
ROUGE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (Lucasfilms/Disney) takes place long ago in a galaxy far away.
Felicity Jones is cast as Jyn Erso. Her father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) was once part of the high intellect team that held alliance with Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) of The Empire. Grlan, who has since moved away from The Empire, lived on an isolated planet as a farmer with his family. He was behind the creation of The Dark Star that could destroy any form of encampment that was not in alliance with The Empire. When her family was threatened by Orson to return back to this confederation as he resisted, Jyn fled her family as a young child as they were now doomed. Now on her own, she was raised by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) a rebel outlaw. By the time Jyn becomes an adult, she became part of a crack team that seeks the real truth to the creation of The Empire’s Dark Star. Jyn’s group consists of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), blind monk Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and a droid labeled as K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) who all join forces to save their civilization over The Empire and their evil methods and ruling pressures.
This latest installment to the evergreen Star Wars franchise is billed as a “stand alone” entry, meaning that it takes place within a domain that isn’t necessarily connected to the other chapters in the Star Wards universe (no pun intended), although there are a few character cameo appearances to take note upon. (This reviewer will skip out any spoiler notations, since some other reviewer will do it anyway!) But outside of the plotting and the cast of players that goes along with them all, this feature has just about anything and everything one expects in a Star Wars picture: action, adventure, battles, and a load of special effects! As with keeping with new traditions as cemented within last year’s entry Star Wars: The Force Awakens (See review: Vol. 20-No. 51), the lead character Jyn Erso as portrayed by Felicity Jones is a classic “kick ass” woman. She plays her role not so much as a female lead per se, but one that takes everything in an in-charge method as somebody who’s sexless. The reason for this mode of performing is to not only attract the female populace into the theaters, but to serve as a positive role model to that same demographic. (It’s also more politically correct in these trying times!) And speaking of demographics, two other performers: Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen as Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus respectfully, are one of China’s bigger stars. Since China is currently the second biggest movie market in the world for American based films, especially for action/adventure pics, the presence of these two players will be attractive to the Chinese market as that nation will shell out big bucks to see one of their own kind in a movie that originates from the USA, even though this feature was shot in the United Kingdom and in remote locations as Iceland, Jordan and the Maldives.
Wherever it was shot and who are its targeted markets, this feature gives all of the Star Wars fans their money’s worth! Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy’s screenplay with story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta with characters created by George Lucas (who else?) moves on an even flow. There is action depicted (duh!), along with some humor (subtle), drama (not too much!), and even a hint of romance, yet there isn’t anything that’s part of a standard romantic scene! (No kissing, groping, and heaven forbid-no screwing!) After all, this movie is for all ages to take part of. Besides, director Gareth Edwards didn’t have a place for all of that nonsense! This is a Star Wars picture, y’know!
Will this feature live up to the recent Star Wars entries released within the last few years, especially those titles now created under the realm of the Walt Disney Company? Perhaps, although it won’t necessarily reach the same amount of money that The Force Awakens racked in! (That title is the biggest money maker for North America, and the third biggest grossing film worldwide–ever!!) But this movie will please all nevertheless! You can rest assure that Star Wars and everything connected to it won’t go away for a long time, no matter how far that galaxy is. Just as long as it’s near a bank vault!
This feature film is rated “PG-13” for sci-fi action violence. Now playing in multiplexes worldwide!
FENCES (Paramount) stars Denzel Washington as Troy. The place in Pittsburgh, PA c.1956. He holds a blue collar job as a garbage man for the city, living in the section of town known as “The Hill” that is primary Negro. He lives with his spouse Rose (Violia Davis) in a humble homestead. Troy’s adult son from a previous marriage Lyons (Russell Hornsby) works as a jazz musician around town. He only shows up at the home to borrow money from his dad. His other son (Lyon’s stepbrother) Cory (Jovan Adepo) is completing his high school studies playing football for the school. Troy’s coworker from the sanitation department and best friend Bono (Stephen Henderson) is at his side, always supporting Troy and Rose. Troy himself is doing best in what he can do for his family in spite of the struggles he has to face as a negro working for and in a white man’s world.
This feature film, the first August Wilson play title ever made into a movie, plays much as a filmed stage play. (The screenplay is credited to Wilson based upon the title play.) Most of the action takes place at Troy and Rose’s home, limiting the scenes to a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and front/back yard. It is also a very talky film. In fact, the first half hour or so of this movie is a non-stop talk fest, where Washington, et. al, are at their verbal banter at a mile a minute. This method of talk, talk, talk, isn’t really a bad thing per se. However, the notion of all-talk-no-walk (or limited walk, anyway) is great for a TV program, but not so much for a feature film! Then again, since this is movie award season, many of those that vote for films (this writer included) will watch this title via a DVD screener or through a secure streaming method on a video monitor and thus, the watching this movie as it exists is best served on a smaller viewing area.
But never mind the specs! This film is entertaining for what it is. Denzel Washington does a great directing job that uses a lot of close ups and tight shots to bring their characters up front within a personal aspect. And as noted above, most of its “action” is in the form of dialogue and physical emotions that can be seen throughout, so don’t expect a lot of special effects or other “movie”-type visuals.
Many of its cast members also appeared in a revival run that appeared on Broadway in 2010, making most of the material as they had previous experience with this drama in film form extracting it from its stage presence.
One notion is for certain, FENCES is a really great stage play. As a movie, it’s amusing. But unless a local community theatre ever presents this title in a stage version, this may be the only way to experience the great writing that this playwright has churned out. Take a look and see for yourself!
This film is rated “PG-13” for mild cussing. Now playing in select theaters nationwide.
On December 14th, The Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board announced the twenty five film titles that will be entered as part of the LOC’s National Film Registry.
Under the guise of the National Film Preservation Act, the LOC chooses twenty five titles that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least ten years old at the time of creation or public release. Any motion picture can be chosen as long as it meets those guidelines, and do not necessarily have to be commercial productions. (Amateur and home movies can be selected.)
Each year, the LOC selects the titles are suggested by the LOC’s film preservation staff, moving image scholars, as well as the general public.
Listed below are the twenty five titles along with its year of release/creation. A “#” in front of the title indicates that it is a non-feature length film. (Short subject, amateur film, etc.)
1)-The Atomic Cafe (1982)
2)-Ball of Fire (1941)
3)-#Beau Brummels, The (1928)
4)-Birds, The (1963)
5)-Blackboard Jungle (1955)
6)-Breakfast Club, The (1985)
7)-Decline of Western Civilization, The (1981)
8)-East of Eden (1955)
9)-Funny Girl (1968)
10)-#Life of an American Fireman (1903)
11)-Lion King, The (1994)
12)-Lost Horizon (1937)
13)-Musketeers of Pig Alley, The (1912)
14)-Paris Is Burning (1990)
15)-Point Blank (1967)
16)-Princess Bride, The (1987)
17)-Putney Swope (1969)
19)-#Solomon Sir Jones films (1924-28)
20)-Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
21)-#Suzanne, Suzanne (1982)
22)-Thelma & Louise (1991)
23)-20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
24)-Walk in the Sun, A (1945)
25)-Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
For more details on the above titles including titles of other films on the registry as well as how to vote for the 2017 selection, visit the LOC’s National Film Preservation Board web site at http://www.loc.gov/film
This edition of Accessibly Live Off-Line will be the final installment for the 2016 calendar year. We will be taking the next week off, later to return with Vol. 22. No 1, released on the week of January 1st, 2017. Until then, have a great holiday season!
See you in ’17!
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