Niles-Maine District Library

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Adult Services’ Best Movies of the Year

Here in a Adult Services, we see a lot of movies. Some bad, most so-so and a few great. Well, we want to share the GREAT ones.

These are our picks for the best of 2016.

Anthropoid — Sean Ellis (director) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Cecilia: Phenomenal docudrama based on actual events in Prague during WWII.  So realistic, you forget it’s a feature film and not a documentary.  So thrilling and captivating, you forget you already know the ending.  Hard to watch because of the brutality, though, the truth often is brutal.

Brooklyn — John Crowley (director) (2015, released on DVD 2016) (also on blu-ray)

Greta: This was a moving story of a young Irish immigrant adjusting to life in America.  It was based on Colm Toibin’s beautifully written novel. II cared very much about Eilis Lacey and her struggles as an immigrant new to America.

Doctor Strange — Scott Derrickson (director) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Stacy: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. Highly entertaining.

Eddie the Eagle — Dexter Fletcher (director) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Cecilia: Best “guilty pleasure” of the year.  This film, inspired by a true story, wins the prize as the “feel good” film of 2016.  Nothing revolutionary or award-winning here…. just an entertaining, fun, endearing film.

Eye in the Sky — Gavin Hood (director) (2015, released on DVD 2016) (also on blu-ray)

Cecilia: An excellent drama/thriller that relies more on intelligence and rapier sharp writing than on techno-gadgets and computer effects. In the middle of an impending operation to kill terrorists, one young girl changes everything and tests everyone. Excellent performances by Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman, in his final performance.

Fences — Denzel Washington (director) (2016)

Stacy and Cecilia: A breathtaking once-in-a-lifetime performance by Viola Davis seals this intense drama as one of the best of the year.  Outstanding acting and taut, highly emotional storytelling make this movie, based on an August Wilson play, one of the strongest study of family dynamics ever.  Simply riveting.

Florence Foster Jenkins — Stephen Frears (director) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Valerie: While Madam Jenkins left behind a reputation which was much appreciated during my voice studies, I was uneducated as to what complications she faced in life. While I knew she was from money and was a patron of the arts, I had no idea of her more personal challenges. This film brought me to a much more compassionate view towards her.  Meryl Streep was dazzling. I have worked with many a pianist, and Simon Helberg (of Big Bang Theory fame) was spot-on.  Too bad the pianist’s perspective was not shown more (or perhaps more fully) in the film.

Hail, Caesar! – Ethan and Joel Coen (directors) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Stacy: Would that it was so simple? The acting is superb, as you’d expect from the likes of George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin, Scarlet Johanssen, and…Channing Tatum?

Hello, My Name is Doris – Michael Showalter (director) (2015, released on DVD 2016) (also on blu-ray)

Greta: Sally Field is wonderful in this story of a middle aged woman who is forced to make some major life changes. I loved Sally Field’s wonderful performance as a shy woman who learns to try a new life for herself.

Hidden Figures — Theodore Melfi (director) (2016)

Cecilia: An inspiring film about a trio of Black women scientists working in the early days of NASA.  You just want to stand and cheer at the end.  Especially since this one is based on three incredible and very REAL ladies who crossed not only the color barrier but also the gender line as well.

Hitchcock/Truffaut — Kent Jones (director) (2015, released on DVD 2016) (also on blu-ray)

Cecilia: By far the best documentary of the year and one of the best over-all movies, this film is more than just about the two titled filmmakers. It’s a study of filmmaking, for both film scholars and the lay person. It’s about the passion, the verve and the resounding spectacle of the moviemaking process and all that cinema encompasses.

Jason Bourne — Paul Greengrass (director) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Cecilia: The fourth Matt Damon installment in the Bourne series features the super CIA operative coming out into the open for the first time in years.  As usual, Damon and Greengrass provide two hours of non-stop entertainment and need for a Dramamine.

The Jungle Book – Jon Favreau (director) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Stacy: An epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. Loved the characters and how visually stunning it was.

La La Land: Damien Chazelle (director) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Cecilia: Harkening back to the days of the movie musical like An American in Paris, this film is sweet, highly original and very endearing.  Filled with romance and charm, this one made me weep it was so sentimental and breathtaking.  A true innocent love story…something we get very little of these days.

Man Up — Ben Palmer (director) (2015, released on DVD in 2016)

Cecilia: My vote for best romantic comedy of the year, this film was highly overlooked upon its release but I found it sweet and lots of fun.  It’s original and clever, unlike so many rom coms that come out these days, and has a lot of wit and genuine humor.

Moonlight — Barry Jenkins (director) (2016)

Stacy: A young black man struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.  One of the most powerful film of the year.

O.J.: Made in America — Ezra Edelman (director) (2016) (also on blu-ray)

Stacy and Cecilia: Excellent but long (10 hours) documentary about not only Simpson’s rise and fall but also race in America while he was growing up and becoming famous.  Very powerful and informative, it also is an open and honest look at how race has shaped the past five or so decades.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry — Mary Dore (director) (2014, released on DVD in 2016)

Cecilia: Great, original documentary about the feminist movement, mostly in the 1960s.  Interviews with women from all feminist groups and tons of archive footage of them, from rallys, protests, etc.  Empowering and inspiring.

Spotlight — Tom McCarthy (director) (2015, released on DVD in 2016) (also on blu-ray)

Cecilia: My pick for the best all-around movie of the year. The acting, direction and mostly the story and writing all are top-notch for this Best Picture winner. The trials and stresses of Boston Globe investigative reporters who uncover a sexual abuse scandal of epic proportions in Irish Catholic Boston.

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