Media Matters Archive

Third Way’s Picks for Top Ten Films of 2016

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January 18, 2017 Thirdway

Third Way’s Picks for Top Ten Films of 2016 The quirky personalities, film viewing habits, and divergent ways of putting these lists together (we don’t tell them how to do it) comes through once again in this round of “Top 10 Movies of 2016” from our of our tremendous Third Way reviewers—in the order they were received. Don’t forget about this handy round up when you add must-see flicks to your lists, however you keep them. Vic’s Top Ten Films of 2016 Counting down a year of mystery and magic from number ten: Moonlight – Barry Jenkins’ beautifully-acted film about […]

La La Land

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January 13, 2017 Vic Thiessen

The big winner at the Golden Globes this week was La La Land. It was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, a young filmmaker whose only previous film was 2014’s Whiplash, which concerned a young drummer sacrificing everything to achieve his dream of greatness. La La Land pursues a similar theme, albeit with greater subtlety and ambiguity. It’s a film that can generate hours of discussion on the meaning of life, which is a wonderful attribute, though whether the answers it provides are always helpful is a matter for debate. The central question in La La Land is whether love […]

Fences

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January 6, 2017 Jerry L. Holsopple

It is Pittsburgh in the 1950s. Troy (Denzel Washington) and his friend Bono empty trash cans into the back of a truck. It is Friday, and Troy wonders aloud why it is only white men who drive the trucks, while the black men are the ones handling the garbage. He raises the issue in hopes of becoming the first black driver. Later that afternoon, Troy and Bono sit at the back of his house talking about life, and we meet Troy’s wife, Rose (Viola Davis). It is clear she loves him, and it seems like they have a good life […]

The Eagle Huntress

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December 29, 2016 Matthew Kauffman Smith

Talented bird whisperers train eagles to help them hunt for food and fur in treacherous, bone-chilling winters. Matthew Kauffman Smith with special guest writer, Ella When I took my daughters to the bank when they were younger, the teller would always offer them a sticker. He or she would offer a Disney princess sticker to my daughters, even though one time I saw Spiderman stickers in another stash that was offered to the boys. Given the option, my girls may have selected the princesses, but there’s a good chance they would have chosen an alternative. Now my girls are old […]

Stranger Things

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December 23, 2016 Michelle D. Sinclair

Twenty minutes into the first episode of Stranger Things, a sense of deja vu, or at the very least, nostalgia will come over people of my generation. No cell phones, primitive computers, and kids riding bicycles like grown-ups use cars? We must be in the realm of the 1980s, or at least the version that used to inhabit the big screen. That impression is intentional, since writer/directors/brothers Matt and Ross Duffer crafted the series as an homage to Spielberg films and other classics in that era of storytelling–particularly E.T. or even The Goonies. Those adventures still took time to explore […]

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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December 16, 2016 Vic Thiessen

J. K. Rowling returns to the world of Harry Potter with a series of films based not on books she has written but on screenplays she is writing directly for the films. The first in the series is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and its blockbuster status assures that we will be seeing the rest of the series (five in total) in the years to come. Fantastic Beasts could have been a classic for the ages instead of merely a fun night at the movies. Fantastic Beasts is directed by David Yates (who directed the final four Potter […]

The Edge of Seventeen

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December 9, 2016 Jerry L. Holsopple

While some may dream of going back to high school, The Edge of Seventeen reminds everyone how hard it can be to grow up. Nadine thinks she doesn’t belong, perceives her popular jock brother, Darian, as being favored, and barely survives her mother’s attempts to get back in the dating scene. Nadine wields her wit like a shield to protect herself from a constant sense of loneliness. She picks on her favorite teacher because he doesn’t humor her but rather returns her comments with his own dry wit and concern couched in wise remarks. Her snarky remarks ricochet right back […]

Arrival

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December 2, 2016 Gordon Houser

The theater where I watched Arrival showed several “coming attractions” before the film. Most were either sci-fi or adventure films with lots of fighting and technological violence. I thought, “Has the person who decided what coming attractions to show seen the featured attraction?” Eventually, we learn that the film has a much larger purpose. . . . It’s interested in the meaning of time itself. While Arrival can be labeled sci fi—it does involve alien spacecraft landing on earth—it is far from the usual genre films of heroes fighting aliens. Instead, it is an arresting, thoughtful drama that explores both human emotion […]

Sharon Jones

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November 25, 2016 Matthew Kauffman Smith

The documentary Miss Sharon Jones is a good place to start discovering Jones, but the following is a mixtape of just 10 of her best recordings. Sharon Jones couldn’t stop singing, even in her final days. Jones, the lead singer of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, died November 18, 2016, at age 60, from pancreatic cancer. According to an interview with bandmate Gabe Roth in the Los Angeles Times, the entire band sat by Jones during her last days. Jones had suffered two strokes in a week, and could no longer speak. But when the band members played the guitar […]

Hacksaw Ridge

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November 18, 2016 Gordon Houser

It’s rare for a Hollywood film to portray pacifism. Gandhi (1982), The Mission (1986), and 2014’s Selma, among others, have depicted stories of real pacifists. While our culture produces many stories of war heroes or vigilante justice, we can’t seem to imagine pacifist actions. For that we rely on true stories. These intrusions don’t detract from the powerful story. Doss’s actions are indisputably heroic, and the film ends with portions of interviews with the real Doss, who died in 2006. Now we have another true story of a pacifist displaying great courage. Hacksaw Ridge (R) is based on the story […]