Staff Favorites of 2016 - Movies

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“Staff Favorites of 2016” lists The Day’s staff members’ favorite moments in the arts this year, from local exhibits and concerts to new releases on film, in music and print, and on television. Here, we share our favorite films from 2016.

“Hell or High Water”

Besides being a thoroughly entertaining modern-day Western, this drama captures the economic-frustration-of-the-little-guy moment in America. Two small-town brothers (the excellent Chris Pine and Ben Foster) are desperate to get enough money to save their family’s ranch from foreclosure — and they decide to rob banks to do it. Jeff Bridges is aces as the Texas Ranger on their trail.

— Kristina Dorsey

“Bad Moms”

Uproarious and human and raunchy and touching, “Bad Moms” is “Bridesmaids” for the mom set. Well, and for anyone who likes a good, cheeky comedy. Special shout-out to Kathryn Hahn for her foul-mouthed turn as the most rebellious of the mothers.

— Kristina Dorsey

“The Lobster”

So weird, so fabulous. Colin Farrell is a sad-sack singleton who must find a mate in 45 days or be turned into an animal of his choice. Hey, I said weird, right? The actors perform with a flat affect in this strange alternate world.

— Kristina Dorsey

“Manchester by the Sea”

This is a low-key, beautifully realized portrait of grief.

— Kristina Dorsey

“Keanu”

This movie isn’t a wall-to-wall success, but Key and Peele are so funny and engaging as a team, you’ll be drawn in. The story, with these milquetoast pals pretending to be gangsta to grab their cat-napped kitten back from a criminal, is just a platform to let the two stars riff. (Note: I saw “Keanu” before George Michael died; I’m not sure how the gag of the young hoodlums becoming fans of Michael’s music will play now.)

— Kristina Dorsey

“A Bigger Splash”

Amidst all the sexual gamesmanship in the gorgeous Italian-island setting, the real attention-getter is Tilda Swinton’s performance as a rock star who barely speaks because of voice surgery. Leave it to Swinton to be more eloquent than most actors out there even when she’s saying nothing.

— Kristina Dorsey

“Sing Street”

A 1980s throwback by the writer-director of “Once” about a struggling Irish teen who starts a band and finds himself. Beautifully realized.

— Kristina Dorsey

“Amanda Knox”

Few movies have stuck with me like “Amanda Knox,” a chilling Netflix documentary that retraces the lurid coverage of American student Amanda Knox’s ordeal in Italy, where she was twice convicted and twice acquitted in the 2007 murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher. In case you never see the British press, let’s just say the tabloids went absolutely bonkers over what the Italian prosecutor depicted as a lurid sex murder. In the film by Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst, we see British reporters delighting in the latest dirt on “Foxy Knoxy,” and we relive the circus, with its ringmaster a doltish Italian prosecutor who seemed to dream up scenarios — and ruin a woman’s life — because he so loved the coverage. But what makes this powerful is Knox herself, now back at home in Seattle and speaking of the anguish of being branded for life with a media scarlet A. She is a riveting figure when she stares into the camera and says, “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you.” It is a chilling indictment of media excesses to see another young woman who, like Monica Lewinsky, had her identity stolen to enhance the profits of a best-selling media narrative.

— Milton Moore

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