The Family: The Brotherhood
By Donte M McNeal

Based in Michigan, Donte's Playground is a blog by Donte M McNeal. His posts range from nonsensical ramblings about anime, in-depth reviews of books and television/film, to random spurts of philosophical babble.

Year's End Roundup Pt. 2: Movies

Year's End Roundup Pt. 2: Movies

Well, I went over my favorite TV shows already. So, today I'll be tackling the most memorable and enjoyable movies I've seen this year. Again, in no particular order, because I don’t want to put that pressure on myself.

Hush

Tell me the masked killer isn't creepy

Tell me the masked killer isn't creepy

Ok, so I found this movie randomly on Netflix when my mom and I were looking for one to watch. I saw that John Gallagher Jr. was playing in it, and since I’m a fan of his, we decided to check it out. And boy am I glad we did!

Hush is about Maddie, a deaf writer who is living in the woods so she can live a more solitary life, but this peaceful life is thrown into disarray when a masked killer shows up at her window. He proceeds to toy with her as most killers tend to, and when he realizes she can’t hear, it only heightens the psychological games at play. I don’t know where Mike Flanagan (the director) got the idea for the movie but the way he utilized Maddie’s deafness added an extra layer of tension to the story. Not to spoil anything, but there’s a scene where everything just goes deadly silent, no pun intended . . . oh who am I kidding? Pun definitely intended, but in all seriousness, when all the sound drained from the movie and when got a taste of what it was like for a terrified Maddie, the unease that grabs you is unlike any other I’ve felt while watching a movie this year, apart from one or two. Kudos to Flanagan for that.

There are twists I didn’t see coming, scenes that threw me for a loop (wont’ spoil those), and great performances from the leads. I never knew Gallagher could play such a menacing killer or believable creeper. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked this one.

Captain America: Civil War

Okay, how could I not talk about this one? Marvel is known for its “everything is connected” universe and it couldn’t be more evident than it is in Captain America: Civil War. We see characters that have been explored starting with 2008’s Iron Man, spanning over five years of movies that culminated “Phases” with the two Avengers movies. These characters that have been gracing the big screen over the past few years include mainstays like RDJ’s “Iron Man,” Chris Evan’s “Captain America” and Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow,” and relative newcomers like Elizabeth Olsen’s “Scarlet Witch,” Anthony Mackie’s “Falcon,” Don Cheadle’s “War Machine,” Paul Rudd’s “Ant-Man,” and okay, I’m rambling now. Anyway, all these characters come together and add weight to a great character-driven story in Civil War, centering around the unchecked activities and collateral damage the Avengers cause whenever they save the world.

We get some of RDJ and Chris Evan’s best performances as Tony Stark and Steve Rodgers, and you get to see the implosion of the Avengers by way of an admittedly contrived plan by the “antagonist” of the film, Zemo. I can overlook that because the performances in this movie are top notch, which is saying something for a comic book movie. Even if you don’t care about the characters like I do, you can appreciate the action and drama (especially everything RDJ/Tony Stark related) presented. If you haven’t already seen this one, you’re missing out.

Plus, new Spiderman!

Probably my favorite so far

Probably my favorite so far

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I’ve talked about the Marvel blockbuster I enjoyed, but I haven’t forgotten DC’s offering by way of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now, let me get this out of the way first: I’m not a fan of Superman . . . like at all. Can’t stand him. That said, I enjoy the darker take on the usually bright character, but I’m aware he won’t stay that way. The main reason I have this movie on my list is because, you guessed it, it’s the first time a live action version of the Holy Trinity of DC is on screen together.

I mean, just look at that!

I mean, just look at that!

Geeking out aside, Zack Snyder knows how to deliver a visually appealing movie, even if it’s a dark one, and BvS has that going for it at least. It’s fun to look at, if only for the action and the existence of the Trinity. Oh, and a kickass Batman/Bruce Wayne portrayal by Affleck, who I never thought would don another cowl again after that Daredevil trash from the early 2000s that shall not be mentioned again. Seriously though, Affleck quickly became one of my two favorite things from this movie, with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman being the other. With everything wrong with this movie, they got those things right, and that makes me happy.

Deadpool

2016 isn’t complete without addressing the R-rated behemoth that is Deadpool. After leaked test footage went viral (thanks Ryan!) and drummed up interest in a feature film, Deadpool was greenlit, and America loved it. Whether it was the perfect casting of Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with the Mouth, or the fourth wall breaking throughout the movie, or the great comedy, or the stellar action, or the adlibbed quips thrown in here or there, or the—doesn’t matter, this movie was awesome. End of discussion.

Green Room

Now, this one was one I wouldn’t have even known about had someone not told me about it. I’m really glad they did, because it was sooo good. I like when normal people are placed in abnormal situations, and what’s more abnormal than a punk rock band witnessing a murder at a Neo-Nazi bar and having to fight for their survival? Yeah, I’d say tha’ts pretty abnormal, wouldn’t you?

Green Room is a brutal movie. The deaths are cold, sudden and happen awkwardly at times, because half of the characters are nothing more than musicians forced to fight for their lives in order to survive being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Neo-Nazis, led by a crazy calm Patrick Stewart, are heartless individuals who’ll do what they have to to help a “brother,” and the lengths they go are pretty unbelievable. The gore in this one was top notch, the suspense great, and the characters’ chances believably screwed. Unfortunately, it was the last film Anton Yelchin was a part of before his passing; he was a great talent and will be missed.

Welp, that’s all for my favorite movies of 2016! Hope you enjoyed the read. Next up? Favorite anime of the year, topped off with favorite books after that. Till next time, stay golden Ponyboy.

 

Year's End Roundup Pt. 3: Anime

Year's End Roundup Pt. 3: Anime

Year's End Roundup Pt. 1: TV Shows

Year's End Roundup Pt. 1: TV Shows