In Damien Chazelle’s romantic, musical ode to classic Hollywood, Ryan Gosling takes a combination of words that would usually inspire a heavy sigh — aspiring jazz musician — and transforms it into an incredibly charming performance, as only Gosling can. As Sebastian, Gosling croons and plays piano to such swoon-worthy effect that you might (understandably) assume that his musical skills are nothing more than deceitful movie magic; you’d be wrong. Long before La La Land, Gosling fronted a real-life band that released just one very lovely album in 2009 and subsequently vanished.
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The musical never completely died as a movie genre, but it did lay dormant for a good long while throughout the 1980s and ’90s, with only the occasional throwback like Pennies From Heaven, Newsies, or Everyone Says I Love You popping up, like an old memory. Back then, the movie business largely conceded its tradition of song-and-dance to Disney cartoons and MTV, assuming — wrongly — that the idea of flesh-and-blood actors breaking into big numbers in the middle of narrative feature films had become too cornball for the modern mass audience.
Horror is one of the most flexible film genres, encompassing everything from the broadly fantastical to the disturbingly real. Because of that, it’s sometimes hard to nail down exactly what belongs on a “best horror” round-up and what doesn’t. Undoubtedly, genre aficionados will quibble about what’s on and what’s off the list below, not just because of differences of opinion over quality, but because of disagreements over definition.
Our ongoing celebration of the year in cinema wouldn’t be complete without a few (or 1500) words about our favorite actors and actresses of the year. With the staff of ScreenCrush finalizing their lists of 2016’s best movies (you can already read Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer’s top ten here), we had to take a moment to celebrate the men and women who made the movies so memorable. And with some actors already breaking out of the pack and getting a lot of acclaim from critics groups and voting bodies, we decided to try to pick at least a couple names that aren’t popping up as frequently among the year-end awards. So we love you, Natalie Portman in Jackie and Mahershala Ali in Moonlight, but we decided to throw a little extra love some other performers’ way.
What a difference six months makes. Back in the summer, the world of film was all gloom and doom. Television was great; the movies were terrible. One respected critic even speculated that someday the world would look back at 2016 as “the year that movies died.”
Colin Trevorrow, Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Josh Trank are just a few of the names among those that have transitioned from acclaimed first-time indie filmmakers to first-time blockbuster directors. The list of filmmakers who have made that giant leap includes very few women, and it’s something that Disney and subsidiaries Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios have been working to address. Change comes slowly, and it’s been even slower for Star Wars, which has yet to hire a woman to direct any of their upcoming films. While it’s definitely a priority for Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, we might have to wait a bit longer for it to happen.
Or a little trauma can be deceptive. Tonight’s episode of Westworld, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” named after a famous composition by Johann Sebastian Bach, showed both. For some characters, trauma opens their eyes to the reality that they’ve deliberately avoided. For others, trauma blocks them from discovering a truth.
Over nearly 80 years, the 56 feature films from Walt Disney Animation Studios have become beloved and instantly recognizable their iconic fairy tales, memorable comic-relief sidekicks, terrifying villains, and some of the greatest songs in cinema history. This week heralds the release of Disney’s latest animated film, Moana, which boasts songs co-written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. So there’s no better time to compile a list of the 25 best songs in animated Disney history — with a couple of important pre-list caveats. First, to avoid overloading the list with songs from only a few films, each movie here could only be represented by a maximum of two songs. Second, this list has films in the official Disney animation canon only, so nothing from Pixar or even The Nightmare Before Christmas. With that in mind, here’s the list!
The big emotional climax of Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t a lightsaber battle or a dogfight in space or even two characters talking. The last scene of 2015’s Star Wars saga revival follows Rey, a young woman from a desert planet, as she finally locates Luke Skywalker, the reclusive former hero of the galactic Rebellion. Without saying a word, Rey approaches Luke, reaches into her bag, and offers the Jedi master his old lightsaber.
Given how much space physical media takes up, it’s hard for movie buffs to say no to the great promise of “cloud storage,” and the idea that we could summon anything we want to watch with just a couple of clicks. But so far, reality hasn’t matched the hype. Streaming services have been focused on exclusives and original programming, to the extent that the only way to have access to everything available is to spend hundreds of dollars a month on subscription fees. Meanwhile, older films keep disappearing from the digital archives; and even items that cinephiles “own” sometimes become inaccessible whenever software updates or a site shutters.