Thursday, January 5, 2017


By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

It was a busy, fun year in Philly/Foodie Events too, but you can see a wrap up of those posts on the #PhillySpotlight page.  So this is just a run down of some movie highlights from 2016:

1. The First Movie I Saw in 2016 was 45 YEARS starring 2 actor’s actors Charlotte Rampling & Tom Courtenay (it was part of last year's Awards season, but in Philly it was released in January). 45 Years is one of those unassuming, quiet, yet very powerful and memorable films about an older couple examining their marriage in light of some unexpected news. I went to Bryn Mawr Film Institute for the screening and after the Inquirer’s film critic, Steven Rea, moderated a discussion, which I got on video. The excerpts are posted to T&T’s Youtube channel. 

 2. The Most Overlooked Movies RACE the biopic about four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens (Stephan James) competing in Germany under Hitler's rule.  Jodi Foster’s MONEY MONSTER featuring George Clooney as a Jim Cramer type host of a Stock Market show which gets held hostage by a disgruntled investor. QUEEN OF KATWE dir Mira Nair about real-life Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi also starring David Oyelowo & Lupita Nyong'o. A BIGGER SPLASH starring Tilda Swinton as a rock star on holiday in the Mediterranean with her younger boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) when her ex-manager/lover (Ralph Fiennes) shows up with his supposed daughter played by Dakota Johnson and the two of them just disrupt everything.

3. I Had 3 Independent Filmmakers Specifically Send Me Their Screeners: HOW TO PLAN AN ORGY IN A SMALL TOWN written and directed by Jeremy LaLonde is really about what the title suggests, just short of pornographic, but I'd consider it a comedy in the vein of a Christopher Guest movie. And then, I guess because I posted that, filmmakers/actors Tara Karsian & Andrea Grano sent me their film BFF’s about best friends who go away on a couples retreat, for a pre-paid vacation, but must pose as lesbians in order to qualify for the free trip. While there they start to examine if their close friendship could be more. Frank J. Petka and Pat Taggart produced a doc THE BILLBOARD BOYS about an 80’s Allentown radio station contest where 3 contestants competed to see how long they could live up on a Billboard to win a modular home. Surprisingly, this film turned out to be my most view post of the year!

4. Because You Know I Love Superhero Cinematic Universe Movies my most anticipated films of 2016 were Xmen: Apocalypse, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange. I was happy with all of them, but Captain America Civil War would be tops, followed closely by Doctor Strange. Suicide Squad was the weakest, but saved by Margo Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn.
NOW I'm looking forward to in 2017...

[The Lego Batman Movie (Feb 10) No one could have predicted the original Lego Movie when it came out in 2014 would rack up over 400 M world wide, but it was infectious and clever, with one of the best characters being Will Arnett as a Lego Batman. Logan (March 3) The 3rd standalone Wolverine movie starring Hugh Jackman as the indestructible X-men superhero. This movie is based on the Marvel old man Logan comic books and is supposedly Jackman’s last Wolverine movie; although that may not mean he won’t be a part of future X-men movies.  Most anticipated is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. (June 17th) which brings back dir. James Gunn and the whole awesome cast Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel & Bradley Cooper and new mixed tape soundtrack. Wonder Woman (June 3) Gal Gadot who we all got introduced to in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice seems to have what it takes to hold down her own movie. And then surprisingly, they're releasing Justice League (Nov) in the same year, which brings all the D.C. superheroes together. The summer also brings Spiderman Homecoming (July 7th) Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spiderman was introduced in Captain America: Civil War) Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) will act as Parker's mentor. And lastly, we also get Thor: Ragnarok (Nov 3) (Chris Hemsworth) who we saw at the end of Doctor Strange, which means more Benedict Cumberbatch and his equally appealing cape.]

5. Most Disappointing MovieGHOSTBUSTERS not because of the casting of women, but because the script was badly handled and the jokes were DOA. Most Disturbing Movie Elle Fanning in NEON DEMON - one word: Cannibalism.

6. Foodiest MovieSAUSAGE PARTY created by Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill personification of food in a grocery store, it goes way too far, ending in a graphic food orgy, but I have to say, it took food porn to a whole new level!

7. Big Year For Animated Movies – Plethora of Animal Animation - Zootopia, Angry Birds, Finding Dory, Kung Fu Panda 3, Storks, The Secret Life of Pets, Pete’s Dragon, Ice Age Collision & Sing. Then we had Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Music" give Trolls a lift. And 2016 Sexiest Man Alive, Dwayne Johnson gave voice to a DemiGod in Moana. The critics went wild for Kubo and the 2 Strings. My favorite is a toss up between the sheer nuttiness of The Secret Life of Pets particularly Kevin Hart as a maniacal bunny rabbit; and the wonderful message of Zootopia which shows the dangers of judging people by who you assume they are, instead of finding out their true nature.

Ice Cube, Le Anne Lindsay, Deon Cole

8. Favorite Interview – I had a really good rapport with Matt Johnson and Matt Miller of OPERATION AVALANCHE the movie that supposes if the moon landing where faked, it was carried out by Junior Harvard graduate FBI agents who are also independent filmmakers. My recent interview with Damien Chazelle writer/director of Whiplash & LA LA LAND felt very lucky considering all the press and attention that movie musical is getting. It was an awesome opportunity to interview someone as high profile as Tyler Perry when he was in Philly promoting BOO A MADEA HALLOWEEN but the most fun interview was with Ice Cube and Deon Cole for BARBERSHOP 3:THE NEXT CUT they were just plain cool and the atmosphere was so casual and chill.

9. TV Show That Felt More Like a Movie STRANGER THINGS – I binged the 8 episodes of this Netflix original series created by the Duffer Brothers, which is a loving homage to some of the 80's most beloved movies. Like Lean on Me, Goonies, Poltergeist, ET, several Stephen King movies, Heathers which actually starred Winona Ryder, who’s the big name in the show. Along with a real 80's throw back, Matthew Modine. Stranger Things is set in the small fictional town of Hawkins Indiana where nothing usually happens until a young kid goes missing and we find out about a government Laboratory in town doing experiments to create human weapons, one said weapon, a young girl (Millie Bobby Brown) accidentally opens a portal to an alternate universe. The story and set up unfolds with just the right pacing and time given to each character. It’s horror, but the humor is on point, especially for those into 80’s nostalgia.

10. Favorite films of 2016 - Denzel Washington's FENCES is a masterpiece of acting, Nate Parker's BIRTH of a NATION should have received more critical acclaim. I can understand why people are crazy for Kenneth Lonergan's MANCHESTER BY THE SEA and Tom Ford's NOCTURNAL ANIMALS deserves a hearty nod. My second place winner is Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, about making contact with Alien beings. I liked the mix of science & spirituality, the global aspects, it’s all very thoughtful and conceivable....

Pic: T&T Subscribers who won tickets to preview screening and me at Riverview Theater

However, my pick for BEST FILM OF 2016 is HIDDEN FIGURES
I've seen it twice and I've cried tears of joy each time. I'm so glad these amazing women with incredible minds, have now been publicly recognized for their gifts and talents which contributed to our country's space travel. I never would have known women, let alone women of color, worked at NASA in the turbulent 60's. And then to find out they made significant contributions in the areas of math, science and getting the first man on the moon, is just mind blowing!!! But more than all this. It's a really good movie! It's lively, at times humorous and Pharrell William's soundtrack perfectly captures the sound of the times. Taraji P. Henson was snubbed for the Golden Globe nominations, let's hope the Academy gives her her due. She really holds you in rapt attention as she navigates her way through a white man's world and still finds time to raise 3 daughters and fall in love. The other leads Octavia Spencer & Janelle Monae are incredible as well. What I love most is that all three women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, & Mary Jackson) were so proactive, they never just waited their turn or thought, I'm just lucky to be here, they each made goals in their areas of expertise and saw them through with heart and inventiveness. Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons & Kirsten Dunst also have excellent roles in telling this American story.
T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 5 outta 5

I wrote a more traditional, less personal review of Hidden Figures for the LAMB Association click image to view

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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