Susan, a wealthy art gallery owner (Amy Adams) is living a plush life in LA with her husband (Armie Hammer). As the marriage seems to be crumbling behind the facade of fortune, Susan unexpectedly receives a manuscript from her first husband, Edward (Jake Gyllanhaal). As she reads the novel, she becomes so engrossed that it begins to effect her in ways she never expected, and question how her life has gone.
2016 is drawing to a close, and it ends up it was a pretty damn good year in movies. Here I’ll take a look back at my favorites of this year, of the films that I have seen.
This is not ranked, because I fucking hate ranking things. If I had to pick, Moonlight would probably be #1.
Anyway, on with the list.
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Dennis Villeneuve has been making quite a name for himself the last few years. Films like Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario have shown that his name belongs up there with the best of his contemporaries, like Fincher, Aronofsky and the like. Arrival just reaffirms that with an expertly shot film that shines a light on not only how the human race would deal with alien contact, but how we deal with each other.
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It was 20 years ago when James Donahue’s sister disappeared in the Black Hills Forest while filming a documentary on the local legend the Blair Witch. Since then, he has always wanted to find the truth of what happened to her, and hoped she was still out there somewhere. One day he finds a video on youtube of a mysterious woman covered in mud, running though the same house that appeared at the end of Heather’s footage. When he finds out the footage came from a tape found in the woods recently, a group of his friends (including a film student named Lisa) decide to go with him to document his attempt at finding closure.
Following the massive success of The Blair Witch Project, Artisan Films wanted a sequel, sooner rather than later. Artisan got in touch with the writers/directors of the first film, but they turned Artisan down, saying they wanted to wait a few years to make a great sequel. After that Artisan commissioned 3 separate scripts for a Blair Witch 2 and went in search of a director.
At the same time, documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger was meeting with Artisan to try to get his own film made. Artisan passed on it, but asked him if he would be interested in the Blair Witch sequel. After reading the scripts he said he didn’t like any of them, but instead pitched his own idea for the film. Artisan immediately hired him to begin work on it, the film that would become Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.
While The Blair Witch project hinted at a larger mythology surrounding the events of the film, it didn’t really go too in depth. Fortunately, an opportunity to explore the legends and events appeared when it was decided to create some new content to promote The Blair Witch Project on Sci-Fi channel prior to its release. The end result of this was the faux documentary “Curse of the Blair Witch”.
It was the summer of 1999. The movie world was just catching it’s breath from The Matrix, a film which changed how we think about action films and how they are made. Little did everyone know, it wasn’t the only genre redefining film coming that year. No, not long after there was The Blair Witch Project.
Filmed in the woods in Maryland over 8 days for a budget of $22 thousand, somehow The Blair Witch Project defied all expectations and went on to earn just under $250 million worldwide. Through a combination of raw/realistic performances, gritty production and first-of-it’s-kind viral marketing, The Blair Witch Project became a powerhouse, spreading like wildfire through word of mouth and turning into an unlikely blockbuster.
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