Silence (2016)

It’s 17th Century Japan and Christians are not liked. If you even closely identify yourself as a Christian or appear to be one who practices that religion, consider yourself dead. Among those who have been killed, many of them are priests who traveled from Portugal to Japan. Their goal: to spread the word of Christ while trying to help out the Japanese citizens who were secretly following the faith. Stuck over there is Father Ferraira (Liam Neeson), a mentor to the priests who are in Portugal. He is also someone who is highly respected in Catholicism. Two priests in Portugal decide they need to go to Japan to rescue Father Ferraira and bring him back home. Father Garupe and Father Rodriguez (Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield) take the trip to Japan to attempt to carry out this mission. However, as soon as they arrive they quickly discover that they are not welcome and must lay low while trying to find Father Ferraira.

For a film that Martin Scorsese has been pushing to make for nearly three decades now, all I have to say is that it’s about time. For whatever reason this movie was not being picked up by anybody and after so much time of trying, he was finally able to make it work and has created one of the more emotional films he has made in a long time. Silence will quickly become one of the better religious epics that we will see. Scorsese is someone who is very religious, so it’s understood as to why he wanted to make this movie so badly. Religion is one of his passions something that he holds very dear. Silence is a movie that is nearly three hours long, and even though it is slow-moving, it really seems to go by quickly. That is because it is so interesting and intriguing.

I believe it goes without being said that Andrew Garfield is slowly, but surely becoming one of the major names of Hollywood acting. Let’s try and forget his role as Spider-Man and focus on good roles he has done. Like 99 Homes. Garfield has truly risen to the top of his form in Silence and there could be a chance that he becomes Scorsese’s next Leo. That might be too high of praise, but the guy was definitely was unbelievable in this and I really hope there is some consideration for an Oscar nomination. I think you could almost say the same thing about Adam Driver. Although he is just starting to really expand on his acting career now that HBO’s, Girls is coming to an end, he really shines in the movies he is in. I really believe we are going to be seeing much more work from him and that is something I’m happy about.

Silence to me is easily one of the best films of the year and I hope it gets the recognition that it deserves. What else can you really expect from Scorsese? The man has been my favorite director ever since I discovered that good movies existed. It is a really dark, but powerful film that is a must-see for all movie lovers. In addition to the outstanding acting and exhilarating storyline, Silence is a movie that will never be forgotten and may be Scorsese’s best film since The Departed. The great thing about his movies is that you pretty much know what you’re getting and that is a great film. What intrigued me the most about Silence is that it will affect people in many different ways. While it may cause some controversy, I think it will actually be something that people understand no matter what religion they are. It is not the type of religious flick that caters to one audience, and that is what the most interesting thing about it is.

Overall, Silence delivers on everything that it wanted to present. This is the most passionate and emotionally powerful film that we have seen from Scorsese since The Last Temptation of Christ. This is a film I cannot praise enough and despite how long the move is, it is absolutely one that you need to see.

Grade: A

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The Girl On The Train (2016)

Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) rides on the train all day long to New York City and back. Rachel has a lot of time on her hands and she likes to spend all of her time pretty much just drinking herself to the point where she blacks out. While on the train she loves to stare at a couple, Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans), outside the train window. Things start to get crazy when Rachel see’s Megan one day with another man who isn’t her husband. To make matters worse, Megan goes missing and it looks like Rachel may be the main suspect. Why is that? Well, because Rachel’s ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife live two doors down from Megan and Scott. Rachel constantly shows up drunk all the time and is extremely forgetful, so it’s easy for everybody to kind of point the finger.

When first hearing about this movie it seemed like it was going to be really cool and be an exciting thriller. Sadly, The Girl On The Train tries everything in its power to live up to the hype that 2014’s Gone Girl had. The problem with this movie is that it tried too hard to be the thriller that it was made out to be. The Girl On The Train was pretty much a disaster in my opinion. I thought the story just got way too goofy and it never really went anywhere. For most of the movie we are just seeing Rachel feel sorry for herself and make herself out to be an awful, drunken person. This movie just seemed way too desperate to actually be a solid film. For a majority of the film you pretty much just feel bored and check your watch, which is never a good thing.

The cast is actually really solid. I’ve always been a fan of the work that Emily Blunt does, but the problem here is that she should have not done this movie. Blunt was on-screen for pretty much 95 percent of the movie, but her character just became boring and nothing more. And she’s not the only one that’s the problem here. Actors like Luke Evans were even pretty bad in this. I think that’s another reason why this movie could not be saved. When hearing a movie has a solid cast I usually get very excited, like I was when I found out who was in this. The problem is that nobody could work well together and the chemistry was just not there with any of them. This is one that Blunt is going to have to put behind her career wise and move on to better things.

The whole entire time you’re watching this film and just waiting to see when something exciting is going to happen, but that moment never comes. Once you figure out the “crazy” twist that occurs, you kind of look around and say that was stupid. I thought for a while maybe if the film finished strongly then it could be a solid movie, but sadly this did not happen and we’re left with pretty much another crappy movie. Everything about this is way too dull. For a movie that comes off as such a strong thriller, there has to be some either suspenseful moments or moments that are super tense. The Girl On The Train provides none of that. This movie had a ton of promise, but fell very short of being anything that could even be memorable. This the problem when a movie tries to somewhat play copycat off a classic, like Gone Girl.

Overall, The Girl On The Train is not just a disaster from start to finish, but more importantly a waste of your time. Movies like this are one’s to avoid, and even with a solid cast this movie could not be saved. It has poor writing, directing and a storyline that never knows how to come together. This is easily one you can skip.

Grade: D

La La Land (2016)

Mia (Emma Stone) is working at a coffee shop in Warner Bros. Studios and is feeling like she is a failed actress. She constantly goes to different auditions and never receives a call back. All she is hoping for is that one big break so she can land a major role. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist who’s only dream is to one day own his own jazz club. However, jazz music seems to be becoming less and less popular, so he is kind of out of luck with this one. Sebastian spends his time playing household tunes at a local restraint where he works for tips. While playing at a restraint, he catches the eyes of Mia and the two suddenly fall for one another. While Sebastian and Mia both have huge hopes and dreams, the longer they stay together, the more they begin to fade in different directions.

Usually when I find out I am going to see a movie that is a musical I get somewhat worried because they are either hit or miss. Luckily La La Land works in every way and is pretty much a perfect movie. It is the kind of movie that is not only fun and entertaining, but as soon as the singing and dancing stops and the people start talking it is just as entertaining and exciting. La La Land is just a very happy movie, and it’s as simple as that. It is the type of movie that does not come around all that often and there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a serious contender for best picture, if it not already has the award wrapped up.

There’s a lot more to La La Land then it just being your happy musical movie. This film shows you all of the great things the world has to offer you and also the hard realities that people sometimes have to face. After watching this movie you have a lot of hope with your future life endeavors. It’s movies like this that leave a special place in your heart because it makes you feel like you can do anything you want with your life and things will work out. Director, Damien Chazelle definitely loves his jazz music and we understood that when he made Whiplash, but he takes it to a whole different level here. And what you see from Stone and Gosling is pure magic. The chemistry these two actors have together is something that I can’t wait to see again. The way their characters intervened with each other and developed with one another is something that I love when watching a movie.

As mentioned above, there is no way this movie does not get loads of Oscar nominations because it’s already killing it with Golden Globe nominations. I would not be surprised if this wins everything that it is nominated for. This is the first movie of 2016 that I have seen where I can say it was perfect. Not to mention the scoring of this film is unbelievable. The choreography, cinematography and directing are just as superb as the acting. If you are a fan of film then you will love this movie. If you are a fan of film and not musicals, you will still love this movie. Everything that Chazelle did with La La Land all fell perfectly in place and works wonders for the audience. After much time and thought about this movie, I will be incredibly shocked if it does not win Best Picture.

Overall, La La Land is the type of movie that is a must see. It delivers on everything you would want to see form a movie. With great directing, superb acting, excellent writing, and exciting songs, La La Land works in every single way and is the perfect movie of 2016. Chazelle is at the top of his form with this one.

Grade: A