De Niro - Raging Bull
Oscars 2017: Early Predictions for Best Picture

Oscars 2017: Early Predictions for Best Picture

It's that time of year again when buzz builds around award season. This year's Oscars promises a slate of festival darlings to dominate the landscape across all major award shows, and distributors are already at full speed creating noise around their releases, looking go to any lengths to make sure they land that coveted nomination.

'Magnificent Seven' Will Open This Year's Toronto Film Festival; Many Oscar Favourites Selected
news

'Magnificent Seven' Will Open This Year's Toronto Film Festival; Many Oscar Favourites Selected

Today, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced its schedule for the 41st edition of the renowned festival. Antonie Fuqua's remake of 1960's classic The Magnificent Seven will open this year's festivities. Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke head the remake and it will mark a return to the festival for the trio of Washington, Hawke and Fuqua, who all took Training Day to TIFF 15-years go.

'Weiner' Explores the Wildest Political Meltdown in Recent History
review

'Weiner' Explores the Wildest Political Meltdown in Recent History

Sex scandals grab everyone’s attention, whether you want to admit it or not. The sex scandals that really capture our imagination tend to involve politicians. For instance, Gary Hart, an absolute lock for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1987, was caught having an affair leading to his subsequent resignation. Jump to 1992, Bill Clinton faced similar acquisitions in his campaign. Only he made it into the White House until he couldn’t dodge them any further, and that’s when the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, then Clinton's impeachment.

1. Zootopia

1. Zootopia

Zootopia has to be one of the best Disney films I have seen in quite some time. In part because it is so self aware– it pokes fun at other Disney films (and their often insufferable if not entirely true positive messages) and even takes a step beyond the fantasy world the movie created for itself. Zootopia, in fact, feels like it goes full circle.

2. Finding Dory

2. Finding Dory

Finding Dory helps Pixar reclaim its rightful spot as top leading animation studio. The Walt Disney Animation Studio has been on fire with hits likeFrozen, Big Hero 6, and the critically acclaimed Zootopia. Also with Moanacoming out the studio doesn't look like it will slow down. Finding Dory gives Pixar diehards the reassurance that they are still the top dogs despite Disney's recent spectacular track record. Director Andrew Stanton gives us a great sequel to the original Finding Nemo. After seeing Finding Dory, I wouldn't mind seeing a third film. Let the dreaming begin!

3. The Jungle Book

3. The Jungle Book

I’m tempted to call Jon Favreau’s remake of Walt Disney’s 1967 picture a masterclass in tone and atmosphere manipulation but I suspect my relatively low expectations greatly elevated this film. That said the tonal decisions Favreau makes set this film apart from its 60s counterpart and ostensibly justify a remake.

4. Money Monster

4. Money Monster

While these aren't career-best performances from Clooney and Roberts, what they do quite well is make you forget early on that you're watching two of the biggest movie stars in the world playing a host and director/producer. Not an easy task. Foster chooses to keep the focus on the three main characters. There is a lack of substance and detail in the actual stock decline/world of finance storyline. This is not ‘The Big Short’ with the addition of a mad gunman. Instead, ‘Money Monster’ is a tense, yet light-on-its-feet, modern thriller that's absolutely worth your investment.

5. Elvis & Nixon

5. Elvis & Nixon

‘Elvis & Nixon’ is filled with 70's music, but Johnson smartly chose not to include any Presley songs, even in the closing credits. This is a story about Elvis the Man - not the Myth or Legend - and the same goes for Nixon, who's portrayed as a hardworking, insecure and devoted family man. You can tell that Spacey, no stranger to playing a President, had a great time being Tricky Dick. He embodies Nixon's physical mannerisms and not-so-friendly persona. And Shannon's performance as Presley is one of the cinematic highlights of 2016 so far. He's remains completely restrained (even when demonstrating Karate to an amazed Nixon), avoiding all temptations to veer into stereotypes, and even has two showcase dramatic monologues that provide an emotional kick.

6. Deadpool

6. Deadpool

‘Deadpool’ is open for anyone to come and enjoy. It requires little to no outside knowledge of the X-Men franchise, though it may entice you to watch those if you haven't. The only misfortune that comes from seeing this film is knowing that you won't find any other superhero film like it to fill the void. You'll have to buy another ticket in order to feel that same, R-rated escapism. ‘Deadpool’ is truly a gift to the superhero era we live in, a film that recognises its genre and blasts it, but also has a blast living in it too.

7. The Nice Guys

7. The Nice Guys

Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi's original screenplay is bursting with intelligent edgy gags and the set pieces are strong lessons in comic timing but let’s not sleep being on this being a legitimate action-comedy because it wields some strong gun battles and fierce brawls combining for some tasteful violence and enhanced stakes. There was that one moment when I thought the film was going piss on audience’s intelligence spew some foolishness but Black just winks in twisted splendor serving a reminder that ‘The Nice Guys’ also ticks the box as a jet black comedy. The buddy genre, quite evolved here, lives on and the buoyant party atmosphere this film has is almost celebrating this fact.

8. 10 Cloverfield Lane

8. 10 Cloverfield Lane

As much as ‘Cloverfield’ was all New York City, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ atmoshpere is all a bunker. A bunker with original atmosphere that brings in the claustrophobic feel and style. Your faced with so many questions marks that never let up and ending that's nerve-racking. A last act that can't be predicted. In the end, I don't think the payoff of this could have been as explosive as it could have but this film did well enough beforehand to survive. A film that's a guessing game that opens new doors and a new future.

9. Captain America: Civil War

9. Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil has an embarrassment of riches that we shouldn't take for granted. It's an incredibly fun romp in spite of its often bleak tone. The work that Kevin Feige and company have put into the creation of this interconnected film universe has paid off massively, better than anyone could have ever hoped.

10. Where to Invade Next

10. Where to Invade Next

Where to Invade Next shows Michael Moore has certainly evolved as a filmmaker: he may be a little gentler round the edges and less polarising this time around, but the premise of America's social failings are front and centre, and that's enough to keep us onside. Moore's presence is dominant throughout, which is always a pleasurable watch. His humour chugs this documentary along nicely as he questions if America are educating their people wisely.

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