Fraley 2016 Movie Guide




“La La Land” –  Stone & Gosling are heartbreaking in Chazelle’s dazzling L.A. musical

“Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins explores three life stages of gay black man’s identity struggle

“Fences” – Denzel stars/directs Viola Davis in brilliant adaptation of August Wilson play

“Jackie” – Natalie Portman is Oscar worthy as Jackie Kennedy after JFK assassination

“Hell or High Water” – Jeff Bridges hunts Chris Pine in “No Country”-style crime drama

“O.J.: Made in America” – Eight-hour doc is powerful document on U.S. race relations

“Captain Fantastic” – Viggo Mortensen surprisingly hilarious raising family off the grid


3 1/2 STARS

“Arrival” – Amy Adams translates alien communications in Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi gem

“Loving” – Jeff Nichols quietly effective look at interracial marriage case Loving v. Virginia

“Hidden Figures” – True story of black women who made history behind scenes at NASA

“De Palma” – Doc about Brian DePalma is insightful, personal look into director’s career

“Lion” – Dev Patel & Nicole Kidman give heartfelt roles as lost boy searches for home

“The Salesman”Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) chills with Best Foreign Flick winner

“Manchester By the Sea” – Casey Affleck gives heartbreaking, overrated portrait of grief

“The Handmaiden” – South Korea’s Chan-wook Park directs a twisting erotic thriller

“Deadpool” – Marvel’s R-rated superhero is hilarious ‘Mortal Kombat’ meets ‘Orgazmo’

“Sully” – Tom Hanks is heroic Sully Sullenberger in this inspiring Clint Eastwood drama

“Love & Friendship” – Beckinsale dazzles in comic take on Jane Austen’s “Lady Susan”

“The Birth of a Nation” – Sundance champ on Nat Turner hurt by off-screen controversy

“Cafe Society” – Woody Allen remains prolific with “love rectangle” in ’50s NY vs. LA

“Elle” – Isabelle Huppert tracks down rapist in Paul Verhoeven’s chilling erotic thriller

“Nocturnal Animals” – After unnecessary opening, Tom Ford unleashes a stylish thriller

“Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson explores 1st conscientious objector to win Medal of Honor

“Kubo & The Two Strings” – Search for magical armor a triumph of stop-motion animation

“Light Between the Oceans” – Fassbender-Vikander-Weisz shine in morality melodrama

“A Monster Calls” – Fantasy about power of storytelling via Liam Neeson tree monster

“Toni Erdmann” – German international darling explores rare father-daughter relationship

“Miss Sloane” – Jessica Chastain gives power performance as a ruthless D.C. lobbyist

“Life, Animated” – Doc about boy who deals with Autism through Disney animated films

“The Jungle Book” – Disney turns Kipling’s classic into a star-studded 3D/IMAX wonder



“Doctor Strange” – Cumberbatch tames superhero ego in wonderfully weird origin story

“Southside With You” – Indie gem explores first date between Barack-Michelle Obama

“I, Daniel Blake” – Palme d’Or winner explores frustrating red tape of disability benefits

“Zootopia” – Disney animated romp boasts surprisingly deep social commentary

“13th” – Ava DuVernay delivers searing doc on  racial disparity in U.S. prison system

“I Am Not Your Negro” – Doc narrates James Baldwin’s unfinished novel on racism

“Silence” – Jesuit priests suffer in Japan as Scorsese explores faith vs. doubt

“Denial” – Rachel Weisz & Timothy Spall courtroom drama about Holocaust denier

“Allied” – Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard mine WWII intrigue in Zemeckis spy romance

“Civil War” – Marvel Phase 3 kicks off with crowded but wildly entertaining romp

“Snowden” – Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers career role in Oliver Stone’s biopic

“American Honey” – Cannes standout sends Sasha Lane on Midwest jaunt

“Rogue One” – “Star Wars” Chapter 8 marches to beat of own Imperial drum

“Paterson” – Jarmusch’s quiet exploration of Adam Driver’s bus driver poet

“Moana” – Auli’i Cravalho & The Rock sing animated tunes by Lin-Manuel Miranda 

“Patriots Day” – Third Wahlberg-Berg pairing recalls Boston Marathon bombing

“Elvis & Nixon” – Shannon-Spacey mine comedy from 1970 Oval office meeting

“Race” – Biopic tracks Jesse Owens defying Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

“Zero Days” – Alex Gibney’s timely doc explores consequences of Stuxnet virus

“Weiner” – Doc chronicles sexting scandal of Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner

“The Girl on the Train” – Blunt’s killer performance keeps so-so script on the rails

“Finding Dory” – Pixar’s underwater sequel recaptures the “Finding Nemo” magic

“Demolition” – Gyllenhaal plays widower in offbeat comedy by Jean-Marc Vallée

“The Witch” – Eggers’ shocking horror flick more visually impressive than narratively

“20th Century Women” – Bening runs hipster boarding house in 1979 Santa Barbara

“Star Trek: Beyond” – J.J. Abrams left, but sci-fi franchise is still firing on all cylinders

“The Magnificent Seven” – Denzel reunites with Antoine Fuqua for his first Western

“Fantastic Beasts” – J.K. Rowling spinoff is so-so, but a delight for Harry Potter fans


2 1/2 STARS

“Hail Caesar” – Coens’ Hollywood lampoon cluttered with sideshows, but funny quote

“The Infiltrator” – Cranston goes undercover to prevent drugs spilling across the border

“American Pastoral” – Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut is heavy-handed and cynical

“Deepwater Horizon” – Peter Berg nails gripping action, misses big picture of Gulf oil spill

“Me Before You” – Emilia Clarke-Sam Claflin find chemistry in tearjerker based on book

“X-Men: Apocalypse” – Sequel is no “Days of Future Past,” but “X” still marks the spot

“Secret Life of Pets” – Animation is “Toy Story” unleashed, asking what pets do all day

“I Saw the Light” – Hiddleston is convincing Hank Williams in often superficial biopic

“Hands of Stone” – DeNiro-Ramirez shine but biopic covers too much of Durán’s career

“Bridget Jones’s Baby” – Great seeing Zellweger back, starts hilarious, gradually fizzles

“Money Monster” – Foster holds Clooney, Roberts hostage in compelling, implausible film

“The Accountant” – Affleck combines Will Hunting & Jason Bourne as ass-kicking savant

“Jason Bourne” – Damon delivers nonstop action, but 5th film pales to the original trilogy

“13 Hours” – Benghazi film isa  fine tribute to those who risk all, but film doesn’t take risks

“Legend of Tarzan” – Solid cast makes mostly fun, if forgettable, new take on old classic

“Ben-Hur” – Remake delivers thrilling chariot race, but can’t match Wyler’s 1959 classic

“Ghostbusters” – Purists can chill; ladies are game, but not much new here in this reboot



“Huntsman: Winter’s War” – Great cast lost in effects-driven sequel no one really wanted

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” – Tom Cruise action sequel fueled by paternity questions

“The Choice” – Nicolas Sparks finds chemistry between leads, but cliche weepy ending

“Batman v Superman” – Affleck takes on Cavill in dark, crowded DC superhero crossover

“Suicide Squad” – Margot Robbie shines as Harley Quinn, but the sloppy script is a mess

“The Lobster” – Greek absurdist black comedy is a total snoozer, but points for originality

“Inferno” – Tom Hanks returns in weakest chapter of Ron Howard-Dan Brown franchise

“Now You See Me 2” – Star-studded magician sequel has too many tricks up its sleeve

“TMNT: Out of Shadows” – CGI turtles make us miss Jim Henson’s puppetechtronics

“Zoolander 2” – Stiller-Wilson sequel starts off funny, quickly plunges into stupidity



“Independence Day: Resurgence” – Alien blockbuster sequel sorely misses Will Smith

“Knight of Cups” – Terrence Malick’s latest shatters line between profound, pretentious

Review from Past Years:








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