Mick LaSalle’s favorite movies of 2016

window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-29', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 29', target_type: 'mix' }); Image 1of/30 CaptionClose Image 1 of 30 FENCES: This is a favorite movie that is also without question one of the best movies of the year. A great ensemble, grand precision acting, one for the ages. FENCES: This is a favorite movie that is also without question one of the best movies of the year. A great ensemble, grand precision acting, one for the ages. Image 2 of 30 LOVE & FRIENDSHIP: The latest from Whit Stillman came close to making my top ten, and I've since seen it again and liked it even more than the first time. A wonderful and somehow seamless mix of Stillman and Jane Austen, this is a subtle yet caustic comedy, with Kate Beckinsale terrific as a monumentally selfish and Continue Reading

Here are the summer movie release dates for 2017

In this image released by Sony Pictures shows, from left, Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black from the film, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” in theaters Dec. 20. (Frank Masi/Sony Pictures via AP) This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Gal Gadot in a scene from “Wonder Woman,” in theaters on June 2. (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP) Sound This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Katherine Waterston in a scene from “Alien: Covenant,” in theaters on May 19. (Mark Rogers/Twentieth Century Fox via AP) This image released by Sony Pictures shows Ansel Elgort, right, and Jamie Foxx in a scene from “Baby Driver,” in theaters on June 28. (Wilson Webb/Sony/TriStar Pictures via AP) DF-13441_R2 - Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn star in SNATCHED. Photo Credit: Justina Mintz. Show Caption of Expand By Daily News | | PUBLISHED: April 27, 2017 at 7:45 pm | UPDATED: August 28, 2017 at 5:41 am MAY 5 Chuck: The true story of Chuck Wepner, the liquor salesman who inspired the billion-dollar film series “Rocky” when he went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali. Starring Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts. The Dinner: When their teen sons commit a terrible crime, four parents decide what to do. Starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, Rebecca Hall. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: The sci-fi sequel has the team trying to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s parentage. Starring Chris Pratt as Quill, with Vin Diesel and Sylvester Stallone. Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait: Documentary on the acclaimed painter and filmmaker. The Lovers: Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a long-married couple whose affairs with other people spark new romance between them. Obit: Documentary on the New York Times obituary writers. Risk: Laura Poitras, Oscar-winning director of “Citizenfour,” has a new documentary on WikiLeaks founder Julian Continue Reading

‘Justice League’ film rumored for May 2017, Wonder Woman and more DC Comics movie release dates teased

Justice will likely be served in May of 2017. Warner Bros. Pictures has big plans for its DC Comics heroes, and will reportedly announce a packed slate of feature films at July’s Comic-Con, according to the newly launched entertainment site NikkiFinke.com. The fun starts with the May 6, 2016, release of Zack Snyder’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck as the titular heroes. That film will introduce Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, in addition to the Flash and a non-Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern, according to Finke’s sources. The rumored plans also include Shazam and Sandman films in 2016, with “Justice League,” a Wonder Woman solo adventure and a Flash and Green Lantern team-up coming 2017. “Man of Steel 2” is planned for a release in May of 2018, Finke reports. The team-ups and cameos will look a lot like “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Finke’s sources say. Coordinating actors to appear in cameos was reportedly a big reason why “Batman v. Superman” was pushed back. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Warner Bros. delays premiere of Superman-Batman movie to 2016

Warner Bros. pushed back the release date of the still untitled film that will bring together superheroes Superman and Batman, delaying it by almost a year to May 2016, the studio said on Friday. The sequel to last year's hit Superman film "Man of Steel" was revealed at the Comic-Con convention last July by director Zack Snyder, who said the two DC Comics' caped crusaders will face off against each other. Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc, said in a statement that it needed to move back the date to allow "the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story." The decision was made after the start of production was moved to the second quarter of this year, Warner Bros. said. The superhero-duo was originally slated for July 17, 2015, and Warner Bros. said it would put a still untitled Peter Pan adventure into that slot. "We are happy to take advantage of these coveted summer dates, which are perfect for two of our biggest tentpole releases," said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution. "Man of Steel," starring British actor Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent, premiered in June 2013 and grossed $668 million worldwide. In the North American market, it was the fourth-biggest film of 2013, with ticket sales of $291 million. In the first encounter of the two superheroes on the big screen, Cavill returns to play Superman, while "Argo" actor and director Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman in a controversial choice that split fans. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘America’ teaser trailer released; follow-up to Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘2016: Obama’s America’ set for midterm election season

President Obama may have won the presidential election, but the filmmakers behind last year’s “2016: Obama’s America” are still determined not to lose the hearts and minds of movie-goers. Controversial conservative scholar Dinesh D’Souza is reteaming with Oscar-winning producer Gerald Molen and director John Sullivan  to work on a follow-up to the surprise box-office hit. The straight-forward titled “America” will answer the hypothetical question, what if the United States never existed and how would that impact world history, D’Souza told the Hollywood Reporter. “President Obama looks at America as an oppressive force,” D’Souza, who compares the movie to the 1946 classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” told the trade publication. “While I and millions of others around the world have a different view – that America has been a great blessing to its own people and to the world.” D’Souza and company officially unveiled the teaser trailer for “America” project at Saturday’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. "Columbus' discovery of America was an accident, it was a navigational error," a voiceover posits as a map of the country dissolves in the one minute, 20-second trailer. "So what if this blunder never happened. History would look very different." The filmmakers are aiming for a release in the summer of 2014 — right in the midst of the contentious midterm elections season. “2016: Obama’s America” — praised and vilified along partisan lines — went from playing in a single Houston theater to screening in 1,747 screens across the country simply by word of mouth and great timing. The movie, released just ahead of the Republican National Convention, earned $33.5 million -- a huge haul for a documentary — and was considered a rallying Continue Reading

17 movies to watch in 2017, from ‘Kong’ to ‘Dunkirk’

Just as with pretty much every area of life, 2016 was a year of soaring highs and occasionally crushing lows at the movies, with triumphs and disappointments to be found in the blockbuster and art house scenes alike.But all of that is, for better or worse, in the past. As we head into the new year, there are plenty of potential delights getting ready to light up the big screen for our viewing pleasure.Here are 17 films we can’t wait to watch in 2017.We’ll see you at the movies:“The Red Turtle” (Jan. 20): Writer/director Michael Dudok De Wit worked with the animators from legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli for this already acclaimed tale of a shipwrecked man, and we are dying to see what this powerhouse team came up with.“The Comedian” (Feb. 3): Robert De Niro stars as a veteran stand-up, and he’s supported by an all-star cast that includes Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel, Patti LuPone and Billy Crystal, all under the direction of Oscar winner Taylor Hackford.“The Lego Batman Movie” (Feb 10): Our favorite current big screen Batman is back for this delightful animated adventure. Will Arnett reprises his work as the Caped Crusader from “The Lego Movie” and we’re thrilled to have at least one version of this character worth cheering for.“A Cure for Wellness” (Feb. 17): Gore Verbinski shook up the horror cinema landscape almost 15 years ago with “The Ring” (2002), and he’s back in the scare business with this mysterious thriller starring Dane DeHaan. GALACTIC LOSS: What Carrie Fisher's death could mean for "Star Wars"“Logan” (March 3): Is this the end of Hugh Jackman’s nearly 20-year run as Wolverine? That’s how they’re selling the bleak, elegiac “Logan,” which finds the mutant embarking on a post-apocalyptic road trip with Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier.“Kong: Skull Island” (March 10): King Kong is Continue Reading

Box office hit a record $11.37B in 2016, beating 2015’s massive haul

There were ups and downs, but 2016 ultimately proved to be a record year at the box office.Thanks to holiday hits such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the animated Sing, 2016's final tally reached an all-time high of $11.37 billion, according to industry tracker comScore.The late push enabled 2016 to slip past 2015's previous record of $11.14 billion, the first time the box office had crossed the $11 billion mark."This is reason for celebration — the final six weeks of the year, movies came on like wildfire," says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "It was these big ones like Rogue One and Sing dominating, and Oscar contenders like La La Land and Fences" expanding into additional cities. "There’s so much film out there. We were able to catapult to a new record by the skin of our teeth."2016 had its well-chronicled troubles. The summer was stuck in a rut with sequel-itis. Only three of 14 summer sequels outperformed their originals (Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory and The Purge: Election Year). May's Alice Through the Looking Glass exemplified the malaise, making just $77 million — a 77% drop from the $334.2 million earned by 2010's Alice In Wonderland.The box office continued to struggle through a slow fall, without a major breakout film. But the uptick started with November hits such as Marvel's Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Thanksgiving weekend's animated Moana.Jeff Bock, senior media analyst for Exhibitor Relations, downplays the 2016 theater record, noting that audiences are gravitating to online streaming. He says the box-office increase can be largely attributed to higher ticket prices.In 2015, the average movie ticket was $8.43, according to National Association of Theatre Owners. By the third quarter of 2016, that price had gone up to $8.51."You can talk box-office records. Continue Reading

Our top 10 movies of 2016

If 2016 taught us anything, it was to expect the unexpected. While that was certainly true in the sociopolitical world, it was also a phrase to live by in the arts. From every corner of the globe, and in nearly every genre, provocative stories and insightful voices were to be found, particularly at the cinema.From films that reflected our own society’s harshest truths back at us to movies that let us escape into big screen wonders, this was an incredibly rewarding year for cinema fans. Here are the films that we think that soared the highest.1. “The Handmaiden”: The latest offering from South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook, who has spent his career building intricate and unpredictable works of art, “The Handmaiden” is both a highly-charged thriller and the year’s best-told love story.Based on the Sarah Waters novel “Fingersmith,” this is an epic, adults-only saga full of twists, turns and heart. The story of a young Korean handmaiden who falls in love with a wealthy heiress, the film masterfully disarms its audience, seducing and shocking until its final frame.2. “10 Cloverfield Lane”:The best American film of the year, director Dan Trachtenberg’s debut feature is a journey into the country’s darkest heart, circa 2016. John Goodman does career-best work as Howard, an authoritative overseer in a doomsday bunker who illustrates the dangers of acting out of fear, paranoia and isolationism.As I wrote at the time of the film’s release in March, the most frightening thing about Howard is his humanity. We justifiably view his actions as monstrous, but as portrayed by Goodman he’s vulnerable, even sympathetic to a degree. He’s doing what he believes to be right, and he won’t let anyone tell him otherwise, which makes him truly scary.3. “Loving”: If “10 Cloverfield Lane” looked at the worst side of American society, “Loving” offered an affirming Continue Reading

The worst movies of 2016

They can’t all be good.That could be the motto of movie critics everywhere — critics of any kind, really. Most go into a film with an open mind, ready and willing to be entertained, captivated, thrilled. Or disappointed. RELATED: What are the best movies of 2016?These are the disappointments. Not all of them are out-and-out horrible (though a couple are). Some are just less than what they should be, and not by a little. If you’re looking for something to watch, in other words, don’t watch these.If the original had never been made, if this had been the first time we’d seen a gone-to-seed Santa drunkenly throwing up all over himself while plotting holiday theft … it still wouldn’t be any good. But the fact that the first one, in which Billy Bob Thornton took ho-ho-ho depravity to new lows, is a classic. This is just more of the same, only much worse.MORE AZCENTRAL ON SOCIAL: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | PinterestSpeaking of more of the same. … Good ol’ Tom Hanks. It’s nice to know he, too, is not immune to the money trough. That has to be the case, because there’s no other explanation for his return to these movies based on the Dan Brown books. This time his professor Robert Langdon spends a chunk of the movie, which involves foiling a deadly virus, with amnesia. Except when it doesn’t suit the story. Kudos to adding Felicity Jones and Ben Foster, but only Irrfan Khan gets a chance to shine, as a shady security expert. I’d love to see a movie about that guy.And here is when I explain, for the millionth time, that I am not a prude. I love dirty jokes, off-color humor, all that. When it’s put to good use, as in “Superbad,” it’s great. When it’s just stupid, it’s simply stupid. The cast — Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza— is delightful. Usually. Here the women try to scam their Continue Reading

What are the best movies of 2016?

“Some men you just can’t reach.”So Strother Martin tells Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke.” Women, either, he might have added.The quote came to mind after a couple of social-media posts about compiling an annual top 10 movies list. Like clockwork, the reactions came in — this was a horrible year for movies. There weren’t any great movies this year. There weren’t even any good movies this year. RELATED: The worst movies of 2016Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.This was, in fact, a terrific year for movies. Were there dogs released? Of course. That’s what the five worst movies list is for.Even if you go strictly by the numbers, though, 2016 was an outstanding year for good movies — great, even. I’m not the be-all, end-all arbiter of what’s good and bad, but I see just about everything, so at least I know what’s out there. I rarely give a movie 5 stars. Maybe once a year. Maybe twice.This year I gave four movies 5 stars, and there were a couple that almost made the grade.You’ll find those below, along with the rest of the best of 2016.Do you disagree with the picks? I certainly hope so. Arguing about them is half the fun.The usual caveats apply. There are four or five other movies I could easily swap in, and the top four are close enough that I could switch them around and still feel OK about things. But you’ve got to pick 10, and you’ve got to rank them. Rules are rules. So here you go:MORE AZCENTRAL ON SOCIAL: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | PinterestMike Birbiglia is a talented filmmaker as well as a terrific improv comic. He merges those worlds here, with a perfectly cast movie about a New York comedy troupe struggling to succeed and, for some of its members, struggling with success. Birbiglia wrote, directs and stars as the leader of the group, bitter after being passed over for stardom. Keegan-Michael Key plays a star about to hit it big; Continue Reading