Donnerstag, 12. Januar 2017


 Hello there puny humans,
and welcome to the first annual "Cinemartian Movie Awards". It is an idea that I (shamelessly) straight up stole from my good friend B.A., so please take the time to take a look at his Screentest Awards. So, now where my conscience is a little lighter, let's proceed. 2016 was a big cinematic year, and I had the feeling I wasn't able to write about everything I wanted to write about. Thus, I thought of the following Awards to honor the best and worst of last year's movies:

Winner: Warcraft
Let's start with a film I absolutely had no high expectation for, but really really enjoyed: "Warcraft". While the critics score on Rotten Tomatoes puts it as low as 28%, the fan voting puts it at 72%. Sure, this is not a masterpiece, but you could most certainly have a lot of fun with this fantasy world. The story was something new, fights looked damn cool, and especially the character of the orc Durotan was very relatable. Toby Kebbell seems to be getting quite good at that motion capture thing (having last appeared as Koba in "Dawn of the Planet of The Apes") and looking at his most recent live-action choices (*cough* Fantfourstic *cough*) he should maybe stick with that. For my part, I would go and watch a Warcraft sequel.

Winner: Swiss Army Man
I've never hidden my love for this film, but my love for the soundtrack might be even bigger. It is amazing on so many levels. The way it was woven into the movie was something I had never seen in a film before, the use of mostly acapella sounds gave it something otherworldly, and even though the lyrics seem so random, the whole soundtrack is able to evoke a wide range of emotions, from incredibly uplifting to purely melancholic. Its song "Montage" became one of my favorites, and has been running through my headphones over and over again.

Winner: Doctor Strange
Even though I did have a few minor problems with the story structure and tone of "Doctor Strange", there is no way I could criticize its artistic value on a visual level. And there is a good reason this award isn't called best visual effects: There is no doubt that this movie has astonishing special effects, with its kaleidoscopic look and the way it twists and turns space and time. Its action sequences are epic. But even beyond that "Doctor Strange" has an impressive visual language with symbolism and recurring images that explain the characters journey without words. Hats off to Scott Derrickson for chosing his shots so carefully and precisely.

Winner: Gods of Egypt
I have no words for this... See for yourselves:

Winner: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Some might wonder how this is different from Best Visual Effects. But while I thought the visuals of "Doctor Strange" would work perfectly fine in 2D as well, I felt like the third dimension really added a lot to the movie going experience of "Fantastic Beasts". David Yates really tried to use the depth in his shots, and especially when creatures in different sizes are involved, it gives you a better feel for that.

Winner: Snowden
I never was completely oblivious of the danger concerning the internet in relation to the NSA and other intelligence agencies. Nonetheless, "Snowden" creeped me out. Apart from giving me a whole new respect for the whistleblower himself, it answered the popular question: "What would the NSA do with information on me? I have nothing to hide!"  It made me more aware and careful, and although I feel like intelligence agencies still have an immense power over me, I might be able to reduce it at least a tiny little bit in the future.

Winner: Brie Larson & Jacob Tremblay in Room
The chemistry between these two was off the charts in this film. Their characters' relationship is the heart and soul of the story, and so the success of the film laid heavily on the shoulders of these two actors. But their performance was simply perfect and is one of the reasons this movie is so special. You simply believe every exchange they have, be it verbal or non-verbal. It earned Brie Larson a well-deserved Oscar, and should have brought Jacob Tremblay at least a nomination (but well, you know, the Academy works in mysterious ways). To me, these two people will be forever linked in my head.

Winner: Batman Superman
Now, I want to make a clear distinction here. I am not talking about Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Their short sly conversation at Lex's party was actually one of the best parts of this movie mess. Once the two put on their capes however, they turned into bruting, testosterone-driven knuckleheads, who are very bad at properly communicating with each other. Talking for example would have been a good starting point. Sure, they eventually found out that their moms have the same name, but even when they decided to be on the same team, they didn't really act that teamy. I don't know, I just felt like a little consultation with one another could have avoided that whole death of Superman thing...

Winner: Howard Stambler (as performed by John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane)
Despite all the big flashy sci-fi and superhero blockbusters that came out, my favorite bad guy of 2016 is not a supernatural or extraterrestrial being, but a man of flesh and blood. John Goodman's portrayal of Howard Stampler in the claustrophobic thriller "10 Cloverfield Lane" is simply outstanding. You never know what exactly is going on in his head, and in the beginning, you even question whether he really is the villain of the story. He is incredibly menacing, but yet has a vulnerability to him that sometimes makes you feel uncomfortably sorry for the guy. It is a premium performance by a premium actor.

Winner: Enchantress (as performed by Cara Delevingne in Suicide Squad)
It was a close call between the other nominees, Doomsday and Apocalypse, and this weird witch. But Doomsday, as shoehorned in as he was, still went berserk and managed to kill the Man of Steel. Apocalypse looked like a villain from a 90s TV Show (anyone remember the "Mystic Knights"?), and his choice to pick Angel as one of his four horsemen (just before giving him an outfit Gene Simmons would have been proud of) was questionable. And yet, he too, vaporized people left and right, and even managed to slow Quicksilver down. Thus, their shittiness was no match for the Enchantress: After her soul breaks out of its vessel, she is immediately captured by the government. When she (kind of) breaks free, she gets all pouty, because she is jealous of cell phones and printers. The hurt girl then runs to her older brother for help. As villains do, they cast a light beam in the sky, which she then protects for the rest of the film through the power of experimental dancing. It's incredibly stupid. Oh, and did I mention she is the only villain in movie history who looks less bad-ass the more powerful she gets...

Winner: Chesley Sullenberger (as performed by Tom Hanks in Sully)
Clint Eastwood's "Sully" played out more like a documentary than a motion picture. Therefore, it was more interesting than it was thrilling. You couldn't deny however that the sequences during the emergency landing were pretty great. Seeing Tom Hanks land a plummeting airplane safely in the Hudson River is pretty impressive. Knowing that someone actually did this even more! The fact that this person then got given hell by insurance companies for not attempting to land at the nearest airport on the other hand is even sadder.

Winner: Every Helicopter Pilot in Suicide Squad
Three helicopters are in this film. All of them crash. I mean, I get that they are in a combat zone and all, but aren't army pilots trained exactly for that? And they don't even crash in a way that minimizes the passengers harm or something, they flip across the ground and shit. The only reason people survive these crashes is that they were main characters and the script demanded it. Otherwise there was no reason to believe anyone could have survived.

Winner: 10 Cloverfield Lane
"10 Cloverfield Lane" had by far, the best trailer I saw in 2016. Why? It didn't give away anything about the exact story and just delivered the atmosphere and overall feel of the movie. Odd and uncomfortable. It is build up in a way that confuses but simultaneously intrigues you, starting in a completely different way it ends. And then the creepy looking title appears. First just one word of it: "Cloverfield" and you are like "Wait. I know that title. Isn't that that monster movie?". Then it turns into "10 Cloverfield Lane" and you're like "Wait, what? What exactly is this?". I loved it.

Winner: Bryan Cranston playing Robert Mazur pretending to be "Bob Musella" in The Infiltrator
There were a lot of emotional outburst in films this year, but none of them were as sudden and memorable as Bryan Cranston's restaurant scene in "The Infiltrator". The movie is an incredibly well-acted crime drama about real-life special agent Robert Mazur who goes undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar's money-laundring organisation. Although the movie doesn't quite know if it wants to be a character study or focus on the story, it had enough thrilling moments to be absolutely enjoyable. In the scene at hand, Robert Mazur takes his wife out for dinner to celebrate their anniversary, when suddenly one of Escobar's men recognizes him and comes to their table. Robert (now switching into his undercover persona Bob Musella) tries to get a hold of the situation by explaining the woman next to him is merely his secretary whose birthday they are celebrating. All seems fine, until the waiter comes by with a cake saying "Happy Anniversary" that Robert had ordered beforehand. To protect his identity, Bob goes nuts on the poor waiter, completely destroying him for allegedly bringing the wrong cake. He yells at him, insults him, punches him and tops the whole thing off by shoving his face into the cake. He acts absolutely despicable. All in front of the eyes of his beloved wife that is shocked to the bones

Winner: The Cherokees College Baseball Team from Everybody Wants Some!!
Richard Linklater's films are never really about anything. He kind of just tells life like is. Just a bunch of people doing a bunch of stuff. The same applies to "Everybody Wants Some!!". But the boys of the Cherokees College Baseball Team are an incredibly funny bunch of people doing a whole lot of funny stuff. You see them play Ping Pong, hit on girls, get high, go to a whole lot of different parties, or play pranks on each other in the locker room. The group surrounding Jake, Finn, Dale, Plummer, McReynolds and Willoughby is so diverse and yet they still get along great (most of the time). When watching this film I just wanted to jump into that screen and be part of the gang.

Winner: The Neo-Nazis from Green Room
A punk band gets trapped backstage in the green room of a Neo-Nazi Club. Unfortunately, they just witnessed a murder and the people responsible for it are outside trying to get in. The premise of "Green Room" is simple but effective. The band members are a bunch of deadbeats making poor decisions throughout the entire movies. The Neo Nazi (led by Professor X himself, Patrick Stewart) are brutal and ruthless. There is violence in this film. A lot of it. And while the film was a thrilling ride to watch, I was incredibly happy to be sitting in the comfortable chair of a theater and not in that Nazi Club.

Winner: Rogue One - A Star Wars Story
"Rogue One" didn't fully engage me when I watched it the first time. The second time that I saw it however was right in between Episodes III and IV of the Star Wars saga. Yes, a few weeks back I marathoned all eight movies with my two most loyal film nerd friends (a shout-out to B.A. and Lena at this point). And I gotta say, seeing exactly how seamlessly "Rogue One" ties into the overall story (and of course Episode IV in particular) definitely enhanced the movie going experience for me. The film makers certainly knew what they were doing.

Winner: Sing Street
Per Definition, I can't really say a lot about this. But of all the films I missed, I feel like Sing Street is the one people praise the most. Set in the 80s, it is a story about a boy who tries to impress a girl by telling her that he has a band. But he doesn't, so now he has to go and form one. It sounds sweet and apparently it really is a feel-good movie. Director John Carney has impressed with films like "Once" or "Begin Again" in the past, both revolving around characters that bond through their love of music. He has a knack for weaving songs into a film and the simplicity of his stories make them just all the more relatable. I definitely have to catch up on this one.

Now that all the Awards are (symbolically) handed out, I want to thank you all for reading what might be my longest article yet. I hope you had fun with my made up categories. I certainly had fun writing them. What Awards would you have given out? Which ones did you think I gave to the wrong person or movie? Feel free to comment below and stay tuned for my "TOP 10 FILMS OF 2016"-List where I finally honor the best of the best. You might even find a film from this article on there!

Your Cinemartian

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