family

A MONSTER CALLS

Director / J.A. Bayona (THE IMPOSSIBLE, THE ORPHANAGE)
Stars/ Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell and the voice of Liam Neeson

A monster is indeed calling, but not with the same intentions that most monsters are noted for. 

The original idea for A MONSTER CALLS began with British writer and activist Siobhan Dowd, who was sadly unable to finish her novel of the same name due to the terminal illness that claimed her life. From there, the writer of this film’s screenplay, Patrick Ness took over.

The monster that inhabits A MONSTER CALLS comes in the form of a very large and branchy motion-captured tree voiced by Liam Neeson. In a tone that is just as potent as he adopted over the phone in TAKEN, the tree monster sternly advises twelve year-old Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) that he will tell him three true stories, each with a separate meaning very relevant to Conor’s current existence. After the three stories have been told, Conor must tell a fourth, which will reveal the truth behind his greatest fear.

Featured on the 2013 Blacklist of most liked unmade scripts, A MONSTER CALLS is a beautifully rendered motion picture.

As most of you reading this will likely be aware, one of the central characters in this film is succumbing to a terminal illness. Understandably, parents may feel that a movie with such a sombre theme that also features a monster as the main character is definitely not for children. Though there should be considerations made for younger audiences heeded as suggested by its PG classification, A MONSTER CALLS is in fact a mightily accessible, involving and valuable film for most age levels. Just how this has been achieved is why this is such a great film. The writing is honest and mature, the visual work has been compellingly detailed and young Lewis MacDougall gives a gutsy lead performance, to name a few reasons.

Quite astonishingly and respectably, A MONSTER CALLS refrains from being saddening throughout. Rather, emotions are kept at bay until just when the timing is right for the inevitable emotional catharsis that awaits. However, thanks to its structure and fine execution, even these heartfelt moments of the film are therapeutic in nature. Any concerns that may be had regarding what sort of mood this wonderful film will leave at its conclusion can be erased by the role of another essential character, played by Sigourney Weaver. Although she possesses a hardened exterior, Weaver’s kind-hearted grandmother is a vital contributor towards enabling Conor to overcome those fears in his own story. 

This film is definitely worth seeing, even if that has to be once its run at cinemas is complete.

3 ½ stars

Viewer Discretion/ PG (Mild themes and violence, some scenes may scare children) 

Trailer / A MONSTER CALLS

Moviedoc thanks entertainment One for the pass provided to see and review this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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DESPICABLE ME 3

Directors/ Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon
Starring the voices of/ Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Jenny Slate, Julie Andrews, Steve Coogan, Trey Parker, Russell Brand, Pierre Coffin and Miranda Cosgrove

The most recent get-together with everyone’s favourite DESPICABLE ME characters, the minions, didn’t quite manage to get the best out of the little yellow henchmen in their very first feature film. As expected, the novelty of MINIONS placing the minions in a starring role quickly wore off. They get another shot at it in 2020. Until then, they return to their original support role in the third DESPICABLE ME movie.

In DESPICABLE ME 3, Gru (Steve Carell) learns that he has a twin brother whom he never knew existed, named Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell). After finding, then meeting Dru for the very first time, the twin siblings catch up with all they’ve missed out on over the years. When Dru reveals a plan to steal a diamond in the possession of Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a former child star who resents Hollywood for axing his show, it tempts Gru into returning to past ways.


Take one look at the choice of films currently being screened at cinemas that rely on mainstream movies, and you’ll quickly notice an abundance of sequels, remakes and films based on or spinning off previous works in dominant force. Although this third addition to the animated comedy series doesn’t offer an ounce of originality, it does just enough to keep the attention of younger ones mildly diverted.

Throughout the consistently paced central plot involving Gru and Dru, there are the usual cutaways that give the minions valuable screen time to give the movie a burst of energy and a good laugh when needed. They get up to their usual antics in DESPICABLE ME 3, which features a number of scenarios that will bring moments of joy to adults and kids alike. Perhaps the favourite of them all will be the time that the minions accidentally find themselves standing centre stage on the set of a reality TV program. We can be thankful that the minions find good form again in DESPICABLE ME 3, for the main plot of this movie lacks the creativeness in writing needed. Separately, an annoying feature that may only be noticed by select members of the audience is the needlessly over-the-top animation and vocal work attributed to some of its characters.

DESPICABLE ME 3 isn’t as good as the two previous films, yet is an improvement on MINIONS and should provide a reasonable level of entertainment to families who remain devoted fans of the DESPICABLE ME franchise.

2 ½ stars

Viewer Discretion/ PG (mild themes and animated violence)

Trailer / DESPICABLE ME 3

Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film..

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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A DOG’S PURPOSE

Director / Lasse Hallström (CHOCOLAT, HACHI: A DOG’S TALE, WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE)
Stars/ Bryce Gheisar, K.J. Apa, Britt Robertson and the voice of Josh Gad

Swedish-born filmmaker Lasse Hallström makes a return to the dog-movie genre, after the audience favourite HACHI: A DOG’S TALE from 2009, which starred Richard Gere. This passable family comedy/drama is based on a 2010 novel of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron, who is also one of the several screenplay writers.

A DOG’S PURPOSE is a film featuring a handful of shorter stories that are each narrated by our lead canine companion. Though the same voice is sharing the thoughts from inside the mind of Bailey (voiced by BEAUTY AND THE BEAST star Josh Gad), he is reborn as a different breed of dog and in the care of separate owners each time. In every story, Bailey questions the meaning of his existence and searches for his purpose.

A DOG'S PURPOSE

A DOG’S PURPOSE will serve its purpose for dog-lovers, who will be content to turn a blind eye to the blandness of this film. Cat-lovers are likely to give the brown eye to the one-dimensional storytelling and obvious trajectory.

Beginning in the early 1960s, Bailey first finds himself in the hands of a young boy named Ethan (Gheisar, pictured above) who finds comfort and a friend in his canine companion. As Ethan gets older (soon to be played by Kiwi actor K.J. Apa from TV series Shortland Street), his bond with Bailey becomes closer yet as he distances himself from his aggressive and alcoholic father, which leads him to meet Hannah (TOMORROWLAND’S Britt Robertson). But separation from his pooch looms as life-changing events occur.

It is necessary to note that while A DOG’S PURPOSE is accessible for most ages, it does also depict death and contains a couple of scenes that may be very upsetting, especially for younger viewers. Being a film in which the main character reincarnates, you can be assured that A DOG’S PURPOSE won’t stay that way for long at all. There are numerous scenes of a cute nature which demonstrate the high skills and super intuition of the very well-trained animal cast. This footage is adorable to watch and truly does capture the beautiful feeling of that special bond shared between you and your pet.

A DOG’S PURPOSE is no MARLEY AND ME by any means, but it certainly has more meaning and fares better than our very own RED DOG sequel, released last Boxing Day.

2 ½ stars

A DOG'S PURPOSE

Viewer Discretion/ PG (mild themes)

Trailer / A DOG’S PURPOSE

Moviedoc thanks Entertainment One and The Backlot Studios for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

Director / Chris McKay (2 WKS, 1 YR)
Stars/ The voices of Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis and Ralph Fiennes

Ever since his creation in the American comic book series Detective Comics (DC) #27 from 1939, the character Batman has undergone several interpretations in many television and cinematic appearances. The Batman in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is an over-confident, excessively egotistical superhero who speaks in a gravely tone and lacks anything remotely super or heroic. Yet somehow, he’s more fun to be in the company of than any previous rendition of Batman there has been! That’s right, even the great Morgan Freeman who appeared in THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy has stated that this is his favourite Batman incarnation, and I totally concur!

This 3D computer-animated family action/comedy is a spin-off to 2014s THE LEGO MOVIE, with events in this film taking place three years later. Batman (perfectly voiced by Arnett) protects the city of Gotham from all villains and danger. All on his own. Or so he likes to think. When nemesis, The Joker (Galifiniakis) devises a destructive new plan, Batman is forced to confront his fears and work together with police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Dawson) and his mentor Alfred Pennyworth (Fiennes) in order to save Gotham City and its inhabitants.

Whatever you do, please don’t judge this comic book concoction by a trailer that misses the mark or by its generic synopsis, for this hugely funny and entertaining family film continually surpasses expectations, and well and truly keeps punching above its weight.

First off, the more Batman series and movies you have seen, the more fun and appreciation is in store, thanks to the crafty and creative writing collaboration. Filled with hilarious lines of dialogue, rich with pop-culture references that even go to the effort of sourcing much older Batman works and a cleverly worked sub-plot, there is plenty of hearty laughter to be gleaned from even repeated viewings of THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE. That sub-plot, which introduces a new character into Batman’s life and is the source of his fears, along with our lead character himself combine to be a winning formula that families will thoroughly enjoy. In fact, this is (arguably) where and how THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE betters the original!

Continuing to impress with its design, colour and detail of The Lego Universe, this spin-off feels slightly less hectic and overcrowded than its predecessor. Never at the expense of fresh inventiveness either. In charge of his first-ever theatrical release, director Chris McKay can give himself a firm pat on the back for the on-song execution and pacing of this awesome movie.

4 stars 


Viewer Discretion/ PG (mild themes and animated violence)

Trailer / THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

Moviedoc thanks Village Roadshow and Village Cinemas Jam Factory for the invite to this film screening.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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2016 – The Best Films, The Worst and More ! !

 Hello everyone

Firstly, a huge thank you for every review you have read, liked, shared, commented on and even chatted to me about in person. Thanks to you and your incredible support, I had the most productive and enjoyable year of film watching and reviewing yet! 

In total, I got to see & review 126 films released in 2016 alone! Of these, more than 30 received a 4 out of 5 rating from me, the most in any year since I first started reviewing! As such, I have compiled a ‘Top 30’ list this year and ‘Bottom 5’ only.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading my thoughts and verdict below. I also hope you take away a handful of films to see that you’ve never previously heard of or watched!
As always, please get in touch to share your views and best & worst movies. I look forward to your continued support and interaction in what will be an even bigger and busier year of film watching & reviewing in 2017!

Moviedoc 🙂

Moviedoc’s Top 30 Movies of 2016

30

VICTORIA
(4 out of 5)

The star attraction of this German suspense/drama is its cinematography – VICTORIA is shot as one single continuous take. It’s a stunning feature of this arthouse film that continually impresses, especially when you consider the key events executed throughout. The titular character, a young Spanish woman in Berlin, meets a German man and his friends at a club. As the night out progresses and Victoria leaves the club with the men, she learns of some dangerous secrets. Watch VICTORIA and experience real-time suspense unlike any others. Unpredictable and hugely tense!

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

29

ME BEFORE YOU 
(4 out of 5)

It may not be Moviedoc’s number one romantic drama of the year, but ME BEFORE YOU is easily the best “crying movie” of 2016. Some of its themes caused an unnecessary revolt during its cinematic run here in Melbourne. But this surprisingly quality romantic drama will be remembered for being heartbreaking on so many levels. Stars GOT’s Emilia Clarke too guys, just sayin’ 😉

Full Review – ME BEFORE YOU

28

HELL OR HIGH WATER
(4 out of 5)

In many film critics top 5, HELL OR HIGH WATER is a gritty and absorbing crime drama about two brothers who turn to crime in order to pay off a debt and the Texas ranger hunting them down, who is due for his retirement. Has depth, genuine tension and the best performance we’ve seen from Jeff Bridges since 2010’s TRUE GRIT. 

Full Review – HELL OR HIGH WATER


27

JULIETA 
(4 out of 5)

As mainstream as a Pedro Almódovar film gets. This Spanish drama, like any Almódovar film, features a layered story with full-bodied, richly-drawn characters. It is about how a chance encounter triggers a broken-hearted woman’s search for answers. An important lesson is unearthed during its excellent finale.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

26

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
(4 out of 5)

You wouldn’t pick it by the poster, but KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is an American production. The best animated film of 2016 has a very accessible plot for kids – a young boy named Kubo who must find a magical suit of armour to fight an evil spirit from the past – and exceptionally creative, dazzling animation that is guaranteed to immerse adults into the story. 

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

25

THE REVENANT
(4 out of 5)

A forgotten film of 2016, it seems. But how could anyone forget the movie that finally saw gold statuette in hand of Leonardo DiCaprio? What the poor guy has to go through in order to win his first Oscar brings out the most uncompromisingly tough performance we’ve seen from the star. The film is pretty darn good too! Brutal and slow-moving, yet an utterly engrossing and remarkable story of vengeance. The Academy Award winning cinematography is outstanding too.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦


24

HAIL, CAESAR! 
(4 out of 5)

This Coen-brothers film is an intelligent and original comedy that will especially appeal to fans of Wes Anderson. Set during the 1950’s at a Hollywood film production, a “fixer” addresses several complications and conundrums both on-set and in his personal life. Great cast and great fun! 

Full Review – HAIL, CAESAR


23

Microbe & Gasoline 
(4 out of 5)

One of the rare gems of 2016, and I bet you’ve never heard of it! This French feel-good comedy has an irresistible sense of adventure and is about two teenage guys who build a makeshift motorhome and take-off, fleeing their mundane and depressing suburban lives. An affectionate, heart-warming and crowd-pleasing journey not to be missed! 

Film Review – MICROBE & GASOLINE

22

ZERO DAYS 
(4 out of 5)

This documentary will easily be the most misjudged film of the year. What ostensibly begins as a film merely documenting a malicious computer superbug emphatically ends as one powerful cautionary tale. A film you would think has nothing to do with you, then by the end, has everything to do with you. ZERO DAYS is an awakening from master director Alex Gibney (GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF). 

Full Review – ZERO DAYS

21

BROOKLYN 
(4 out of 5)

This is an Oscar-nominated tale about an Irish immigrant that finds love in New York, then is left with a tough decision to make when her past catches up with her. A romantic drama told with real warmth and beauty led by a confident performance from its A-grade star, Saoirse Ronan. 

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

20

LA LA LAND
(4 out of 5)

Unlike so many others, LA LA LAND is not my best film of 2016. That does not mean it is a let down by any means either. This music-driven film released on Boxing Day throughout Australia is packed full of effortless and endless creativity & striking originality that is utterly delightful to be in the presence of. Go and enjoy Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling play lovers for a third time in a feature film! (Hook up in real-life already!)

Full Review – LA LA LAND

19

ELLE
(4 out of 5)


My personal runner-up for best foreign language film of 2016 is an utterly engrossing film consisting of several separate sub-plots, all of which are connected to the lead character of ELLE, Michèle (a brave performance in a demanding role from Isabelle Huppert) who hunts for a man who has physically assaulted her. Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s French language erotic drama/thriller is an unmissable film for viewers who appreciate a psychologically complex work of profound characterisation and layered storytelling.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

18

THE HATEFUL EIGHT 
(4 out of 5)

Like THE REVENANT, THE HATEFUL EIGHT feels forgotten about. Bound to test the patience of even the most ardent Tarantino fans, this ultra-violent Western flick earns its place well inside my Top 30, courtesy of a near-faultless screenplay as we experience the masterful work of our famed director unwrapping the layers of tension and mystery, one layer at a time, in a magnificently methodical and meticulous manner.

Full Review – THE HATEFUL EIGHT

17

I, DANIEL BLAKE
(4 out of 5)

The famous proverb “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” is honestly and realistically exemplified in a film about a 59 year-old carpenter who is forced to turn to welfare support, as a result of a workplace incident. This is one of those films that is so true to life, it’s as close to watching a documentary a feature film can get. A truly involving and utterly valuable Irish drama.

Full Review – I, DANIEL BLAKE

16

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
(4 out of 5)

Ricky Baker is a name you won’t be forgetting any time soon. Nor is Julian Dennison, the young actor playing Ricky, in a breakthrough performance. This clever and triumphant smash-hit Kiwi comedy proved a winner with critics and audiences alike earlier in the year. If you somehow missed it, get onto this “majestical” film pronto, bro. 

Full Review – HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

15

ARRIVAL 
(4 out of 5)

The mostly tired and often repetitive alien-invasion genre experiences an invasion of originality and innovation in ARRIVAL. This suspenseful drama is about an expert linguist who attempts to communicate with extra-terrestrial forces that have landed several spacecraft throughout the world. Watch this superior film over the upcoming PASSENGERS and ten times before you attempt INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. 

Full Review – ARRIVAL

14

EYE IN THE SKY 
(4 out of 5)

The opposite of escapism. That is what EYE IN THE SKY is, a gripping and strongly immersive motion picture about an operation to catch a group of terrorists in Kenya, before their next attack. But the team are about to be thrown their toughest conundrum yet when an unforeseen move takes place. EYE IN THE SKY gives the viewer a two-sided story that forces you to question what you would do in this scenario. A seriously compelling and thought-provoking dramatic thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Full Review – EYE IN THE SKY

13

SPOTLIGHT 
(4 out of 5)

This year’s Best Picture Oscar winner handles its controversial and sensitive subject matter (child molestation within the Catholic Church) with utmost professionalism and sincerity. As a production, SPOTLIGHT is unshowy, honest and never sensationalised. A very deserving winner at the 2016 Academy Awards.

Full review – SPOTLIGHT

12

TRUMBO 
(4 out of 5)

Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo, a Hollywood screenplay writer during the 1940’s who is believed to be a communist by a US agency. Based on a true story, this highly engaging and exceedingly informative film is bolstered by its surprising humour and Cranston’s astonishing work in the lead role. 

Full Review – TRUMBO

11

MUSTANG
(4 out of 5)

A French, German & Turkish co-production which was nominated for best foreign language film at 2016’s Oscars is a most profound experience chronicling the lives of 5 orphaned, close-knit sisters. Growing up in ultra-conservative surroundings, their lives are changed forever after an innocent encounter. Based on the director’s real-life experiences, this foreign tale contains a message of utmost significance to anywhere in the world. This is the best foreign film of 2016.

Full review – MUSTANG


10

SING STREET
(4 out of 5)

Another rare gem of 2016. This small Irish comedy/drama with a big heart is viewed from the eyes of a teenage male who doesn’t know how to impress the girl he wants, so he starts his own rock band! Aside from its wonderfully endearing nature, this terrific movie features a stunning soundtrack as well as original music written and performed for the film. I guarantee you’ll have a great time watching SING STREET.

Full review – SING STREET

9

CHASING ASYLUM
(4.5 out of 5)

It is difficult to think of a more pertinent film to see right now than this. CHASING ASYLUM is a documentary that uses real footage secretly filmed to expose the conditions and treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. A film which acknowledges that the Australian Government has succeeded in stopping the boats and claiming lives have been saved by doing so, but at what cost? A must watch, especially for people who value truth and humanity.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not review this film ;(

8

THE NEON DEMON 
(4.5 out of 5)

When I first watched THE NEON DEMON, I absolutely loved the first two-thirds, then hated the last third. Since then, this sick, twisted and absolutely brilliant film has grown and grown on me. So much so, it is the number one film of 2016 that I cannot stop thinking or talking about. This is Nicolas Winding Refn’s (DRIVE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES) deliciously exaggerated and darkly comical take on a group of supermodels who will stop at nothing to achieve their dreams. You will either love or loathe what is the strangest film of 2016. But do be warned – Beauty doesn’t get uglier than this! Unforgettable and Unmissable for horror and arthouse cinema fans.

Full review – THE NEON DEMON

7

THE DANISH GIRL 
(4.5 out of 5)

THE DANISH GIRL is a deeply empathetic and stunningly rendered production about an artist couple living in 1920’s Copenhagen whose relationship together begins to evolve and be challenged when Einar (played beautifully by Eddie Redmayne) decides to become a woman. An open-minded audience will be rewarded with breathtaking acting, studious direction from Tom Hooper (THE KINGS SPEECH) and a beautifully told story of love, sexual identity and self-discovery. Has been one of this year’s best films all year. 

Full review – THE DANISH GIRL

6

EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT 
(4.5 out of 5)

The most authentic movie of the year is also the first film in over 30 years to be filmed on location in the Amazonian jungle and Amazon River. Filmed in beautiful black and white, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT is the story of two Scientists searching for a rare flower known for its healing powers. For those of you who value a complete immersion into a foreign world, way of life and have a genuine appreciation towards culture in all its forms, one of the most memorable and grandest films of the year awaits.

Full review – EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT

5

ROOM 
(4.5 out of 5)

Based on the popular novel of the same name, this deceptively layered, subtly powerful and poignant drama is about a Mother (Oscar winner Brie Larson) and her young son (an astonishing Jacob Tremblay) who survive inside the tiny confines of what they refer to as “ROOM”. With their only visible access to the outside world coming via a skylight, curiosity and determination sees them hatch a dangerous plan to escape. The end result is a brilliantly bold, psychologically complex and a deeply rational film. 

Full review – ROOM

4

CAROL 
(4.5 out of 5)

CAROL, a wholly absorbing and completely transfixing film set in the 1950’s which focuses on an intimate relationship being formed between the titular character and a young aspiring photographer. The greatest romantic drama of 2016 is an outstanding production in every aspect (costume, set design, you name it) and is led by two truly immaculate acting performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. 

Full review – CAROL

3

HACKSAW RIDGE
(4.5 out of 5)

There haven’t been many Australian-made films this year that have pushed a three-star rating, sadly. Well then, aren’t we lucky that good old trusty Mel Gibson brought this American story to our shores for production! Desmond T. Doss, a medic who served in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II, never used a weapon while on the front lines, saving many lives in the process. Quite simply, this is one of the greatest (anti) war films of the 21st Century. While you experience some of the most impacting scenes ever filmed on the battle grounds, Gibson’s superior handling of HACKSAW RIDGE and Andrew Garfield’s career-best performance ensure sight is never lost of why we’re even here. A stunning film.

Full review – HACKSAW RIDGE

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC
(4.5 out of 5)

Not a superhero film, but it is a super film. Taken from the personal experiences of writer/director Matt Ross, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is about a Father who is raising his six children in the forest of the Pacific Northwest. This family live a very unorthodox and secluded life, so when the need to travel beyond arises, will they be ready for the confronting journey that lies ahead? Best described as an amalgamation of ROOM and the 2006 road movie LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, yet very much its own film. What truly stands-out about this comedy/drama is the humour which is extracted from the most unconventional of places and an extremely thought-provoking screenplay. A true highlight of 2016, don’t underestimate just how brilliant this movie is. It made second place for good reason 😉

Full review – CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

1

45 YEARS 
(4.5 out of 5)

Even I am surprised by my choice of number one ranking this year! Truth be told, no film came closer to receiving the perfect score in 2016 from me. And no film, as a whole, hit me harder than the story of an elderly couple, almost 45 years married to one another, who receive shattering news that threatens to change the rest of their lives. And maybe even everything before this day. There is a valuable life lesson to be learned for ears willing to listen. A subtle, yet powerful message from the older to the younger. The carefully considered writing, sophisticated handling of all proceedings and impeccable acting work from leads Charlotte Rampling (who was Oscar nominated earlier in the year) and Tom Courtenay catapult this extraordinary film to the top of my list

Full review – 45 YEARS

That was quite a read! Now, something short and sweet. Here are the worst movies of 2016!

Moviedoc’s Bottom 5 Movies of 2016

5

HIGH-RISE
(1.5 out of 5)

Life for residents in a tower block begins to run out of control. This dystopian dark comedy starring Tom Hiddleston certainly has appealing elements. But this highly obscure film remains a mystery to me above all else. It becomes too irritating and off-putting to continue caring about. See, I don’t like all weird movies!

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

4

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 
(1.5 out of 5)

A magic film, without any magic. This sequel is a careless whisper of the intrigue and alluring mystery summoned from the previous outing. Do not bother.

Full review – NOW YOU SEE ME 2

3

BACKTRACK
(1.5 out of 5)

You have probably never heard of this misfiring Australian mystery drama/horror starring Sam Neill and Oscar-winner Adrian Brody, who plays a psychologist experiencing a few issues of his own. Good, let’s backtrack then and keep it that way!

Full review – BACKTRACK

2

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
(1 out of 5)

20 years. That is how long it has been since the original INDEPENDENCE DAY premiered on our big screens. 20 years on, and this sequel doesn’t just fail to bring something new to the alien invasion genre, it just fails. Miserably. It only has the film below to thank for not being named the worst movie of 2016.

Full Review – INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

1

BLAIR WITCH
(0.5 out of 5)

The most frightening aspect of BLAIR WITCH, is just how bad it actually is! Should only be shown to severely misbehaving children for disciplinary reasons by responsible adults. If you get through this once, as I somehow did, you’ll never want to see another minute of it again. 

Full review – BLAIR WITCH

While there have been countless acting performances of the highest quality, here are my top female and male performers of 2016

Actress of the Year
Alicia Vikander
(THE DANISH GIRL & THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS)

Actor of the Year
Bryan Cranston
(TRUMBO & THE INFILTRATOR)

And finally, to some additional bits and pieces. These films did not make my Top 30 or Bottom 5. 

Top 5 Most Underrated and/or Under the Radar Films

AMERICAN HONEY (4 out of 5)
ROSALIE BLUM (3.5 out of 5)
ANOMALISA (3.5 out of 5)
BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (3.5 out of 5)
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (3.5 out of 5)

Top 5 Most Overrated and/or Overly Hyped Films

SULLY (2.5 out of 5)
RED DOG: TRUE BLUE (2 out of 5)
THE LADY IN THE VAN (2 out of 5)
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 (2 out of 5)
THE BIG SHORT (2 out of 5)


Add These 5 Films To Your Watch List

A UNITED KINGDOM (3.5 out of 5)
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT 
(3.5 out of 5)
SWISS ARMY MAN 
(3.5 out of 5)
THE FENCER 
(3 out of 5)
NERVE 
(3 out of 5)

These are some films that deserve a mention and ought to be watched, depending on your taste

ALLIED (3.5 out of 5)
DEADPOOL (3.5 out of 5)
DOCTOR STRANGE (3.5 out of 5)
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (3.5 out of 5)
WAR DOGS (3.5 out of 5)
SON OF SAUL  (3.5 out of 5)
THE SHALLOWS (3 out of 5)
THE FOUNDER (3 out of 5)

Best Horror Film 
DON’T BREATHE 
(3.5 out of 5)

Best Prequel/Sequel
THE CONJURING 2 (3.5 out of 5)

Best Remake
THE JUNGLE BOOK (3.5 out of 5)

Highest Grossing Film – Worldwide
FINDING DORY ($1.027 Billion)

Highest Grossing Film – In Australia
FINDING DORY ($36.1 Million)

Compiled by Moviedoc
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RED DOG: TRUE BLUE

88 minutes, Family Comedy/Drama

In 2011, Australian cinema patrons generously opened their wallets to a homegrown breed of cinema that wasn’t perfect, but cast an irresistible charm over audiences courtesy of its many quirky characters, broad range of humour and a story that truly touches the soul. RED DOG, a wonderfully entertaining film for the entire family, unexpectedly became one of the greatest box office and subsequent DVD sales successes ever in Australia. It amassed a healthy $21 Million during its cinema run and to this day, is ranked the #3 highest-selling DVD of all time, behind AVATAR and FINDING NEMO!

RED DOG: TRUE BLUE is a completely fictionalised prequel that has largely been produced in hopes of replicating the original film’s popularity. A young boy, Mick (Levi Miller, who you may know as Peter from the film PAN) is forced to live with his Grandfather (played by Bryan Brown) in remote Western Australia and struggles to adapt to his new surroundings. During one adventurous day out, he meets and befriends a puppy. A puppy that would one day be remembered as the legend of the Pilbara.

 


I’m sorry RED DOG lovers, but I don’t have good news. RED DOG: TRUE BLUE truly barks up the wrong tree, after a really promising beginning. During its early stages – set in present day Perth, WA and then as Mick is displaced and settles into the outback – many of those fine qualities you cherished in RED DOG are pleasantly on display again here. Until it finally becomes clear that Red’s story has wandered off the screen in this prequel just as far as its real-life subject did in the original film.

Try as he might, RED DOG director Kriv Stenders taps into every trick he can to distract audiences from the sheer emptiness of the screenplay. Unfortunately, all the lavish cinematography, stunning landscape & colours and a melodic music score are not this prequel’s salvation. Things begin to go wrong for RED DOG: TRUE BLUE when it suddenly dawns upon you that a series of amusing and cute scenarios have now become your primary source of entertainment. Quite quickly, these are rendered repetitive and become boring. Then, its two main plot substitutes – one a preposterous attempt at inclusion of the indigenous via some surely fabricated folklore and the other a trite teenage infatuation – send RED DOG: TRUE BLUE straight to the kennel. Worse yet, the conclusion of this picture inadvertently devalues its subject and his journey as shown in the first film.

2 out of 5

Trailer 
RED DOG: TRUE BLUE

Viewer Discretion
PG – Mild Themes and Coarse Language

Moviedoc wishes to thank Village Roadshow and Village Cinemas, Jam Factory for the invitation to the Melbourne Premier of RED DOG: TRUE BLUE.

Review by Moviedoc
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FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

133 minutes, Fantasy/Adventure 

For the lesser minority who may not already know, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is no prequel, nor is it a sequel to the ever-popular Harry Potter franchise. Although keen Potter aficionados will testify that Harry did possess a textbook titled as such, this spin-off film follows the adventures of the author of this text book, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who has traveled from London to New York in 1926. Written, of course, by the same author – J.K. Rowling, the events within FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM takes place seventy years prior to those from the Potter Universe and marks her first foray into screenplay writing. Something which she will be doing for all of the five movies planned for the franchise!

Directed by David Yates, filmmaker behind the last four Harry Potter films, it’s almost impossible to imagine that any genuine fan of this genre, and in particular of the Harry Potter films, could leave the cinema in any way unsatisfied by what they’ll be seeing throughout FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. This is a truly entertaining and visually captivating fantasy fable that boasts a plot which summons an opportunity for endless visual creativity, in which it flourishes, and features several first-class filmmaking attributes.

Completely filmed in the United Kingdom, the production design, visual effects and special effects combined succeed brilliantly in transporting the audience to this world of wonder. The cause for much of the enchantment being experienced is also arguably the most outstanding quality of FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM – the creation, design and execution of this magical world and its inhabitants. While these aspects of the film could very well leave you in awe, the storyline trajectory won’t be wowing as many people. Nor will Eddie Redmayne’s occasional mumbling of his lines, but that isn’t how you’re going to be remembering your FANTASTIC BEASTS experience. And it shouldn’t be, for this fantasy/adventure movie which is guaranteed to entertain its all-ages audience, is positively deserving of your ticket purchase at as large a cinema screen as you can find!

3.5 out of 5 

Trailer
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Viewer Discretion
M – Fantasy Themes and Violence 

Moviedoc wishes to thank Jesse from Roadshow Films, Roadshow Films and Hoyts Chadstone for the invitation to the Australian Premiere of FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.

Review by Moviedoc 
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