Five feature films of 2016

The Revenant

One of the most critically acclaimed movies of this awards season has been the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle called “The Revenant”. Directed by Alejandro Inarritu, the movie has been racking up awards and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Many believed this was DiCaprio’s year to capture the Oscar he has coveted since entering the Hollywood scene, and a happy ending was drawn on that belief after he finally managed to get his hands on the prize of Best Actor in a Leading Role. This movie brings to light the struggles that people will go through in order to keep their life after main character Hugh Glass is left behind by members of his hunting team with not only broken bones, but a shattered will to survive. The battle that he is forced to fight against both himself and nature is truly one that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats in anticipation for what will happen next. Can Hugh Glass achieve the impossible and survive Mother Nature’s wrath while also suffering from life-threatening injury?

Concussion

Football fans and players probably went to see the movie “Concussion” fully expecting a vicious attack of the sport in a biased campaign using an American icon, Will Smith, against them. This was not the case. The movie was not nearly as bashful on the NFL as expected. Instead, viewers are  treated to one of the best acting performances of the year. Will Smith re-engaged Hollywood as the A-list artist everyone remembers. Smith nailed the portrayal of pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. The only controversy served up by this film has nothing to do with concussions in football, but about how, in some world, the Oscars could snub Smith after such a spot-on performance. He had to change his voice to mimic the Nigerian-American’s accent and did so with aplomb. The film managed to balance between Omalu’s social life, with the consequences resulting from his professional curiosity, and the facts about CTE and those impacts on the sport of football and the NFL. The supporting performance by Alec Baldwin added to the intriguing storytelling. All in all, Concussion was about a man doing his job and the consequences surrounding him as a result of him doing his job so well.  With realistic acting performances from the cast, this movie proved to exceed the hype.

Zoolander 2

After releasing his “blue steel” fashion look in “Zoolander” and then retiring, Derek Zoolander, played by Ben Stiller, is back at it again in Rome after being invited to a major fashion outing there. Zoolander 2 was a hilarious sequel to the legendary first Zoolander film and did a fantastic job reviving the same zany, fun style of comedy that everybody loved. The main characters, Hansel and Derek, continue to find themselves in increasingly dramatic situations, even getting involved with a spy from a secret agency in order to save the lives of pop stars that keep dying from unknown causes. Not only are the lead performances by Stiller and Owen Wilson on point, but there were many memorable cameos in this film. Sting, in particular, makes an appearance as Hansel’s father that had the crowd going crazy. Supporting actor Will Ferrell reprised his role as Mugatu, and brought back laughs. Their methods may not be the most conventional and they might not be the sharpest knives in the drawer, but Stiller and Wilson get the job done and work vehemently to save the lives of the famous, all the time while leaving the audience in tears from laughing so hard.

The Martian

The idea of being completely alone really resonates with viewers in this hard-hitting drama directed by Ridley Scott. Main character Mark Watney, played by the great Matt Damon is left behind on the planet Mars after his crew assumes the worst and leaves him for dead when he gets caught in a powerful storm on this foreign planet. He is completely isolated from all of humanity and stranded on a large planet all by himself. With limited resources and a diminishing spirit, Watney must work with NASA back on Earth and devise a plan for him to stay alive. However, it is not that easy to send a rescue mission from Earth to Mars to bring back one person, and it comes down to his crew to make the tough decision of how to go about bringing their old friend back home to safety. “The Martian” will have viewers connecting with characters on screen in ways they thought unimaginable when it ropes them in with sympathy for the frightened main character and maintains the spark of hope in their heart throughout the entire movie. Be ready for a bit of a rollercoaster when deciding to watch this movie but do not go to sleep on the enticing emotion that viewers may experience when having to deal with the hardships alongside Mark Watney.

Deadpool

When comedy meets action and a whole lot of violence and profanity, a movie like “Deadpool” is created. Stemming from a cult-like following of the Marvel comic series that featured Deadpool demanding that this sensational character finally make it to film, director Tim Miller finally got a chance to put these callings to rest when he made this epic piece of film. “Deadpool” is, if nothing else, extremely original in the way it chooses to portray a comic book so-called ‘superhero’. He has the power of immortality regeneration from any wound possibly suffered and puts the idea of having a superpower like this in a comedic and interesting spotlight. Breaking the fourth wall and speaking to the audience is another bold move thrown in there by the makers, but it blends together with his character nicely and makes out for quite the fun twist on your basic Marvel comic movie. Although this may be one to leave the kids at home for due to the graphic nature of the film as well as the profanity used generously throughout, the action that this movie has within it will keep you hooked from start to finish.

By: Eric Hus & Joey Lundahl

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Eric Hus and Joey Lundahl

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