I think we can start off with the wonderful performances starting with Taraji P. Henson. She perfectly captured the incredible juggling act that African American single mothers had to endure to this very day. Most times she didn’t even really have to speak for you to feel the tension she experienced between raising her children, going to work, and dealing with the common everyday racism during the 1960s. Octavia Spencer was her usual phenomenal self. Probably the biggest surprise was Janelle Monáe. She was humorous and held her own as if she had been acting for years.
Right off the bat you can tell that the cinematography for La La Land is off the charts. It’s simply a visually stunning film. The dance and choreography was definitely a highlight of the film as they were all executed perfectly. Given the fact that this film feels like a Broadway play in some instances, it was nice to see the camera rarely pull away during many of the song and dance routines. That essentially helps you really appreciate the excellent performances from the main characters.
In case you’ve forgotten, Denzel Washington can act like no other. Not only did he direct this Broadway play adaption, but he’s at the top of his game as the lead character as well. His delivery of anecdotes will keep you intrigued just as much as each of the other characters who listen attentively. What I really appreciated about Denzel’s character is that he was a really complex person. You didn’t know whether to root for him, feel sorry, or hate him. In a sense, he was probably reflective of many parents and/or husbands that some people could easily relate to.
One of the most obvious highlights of this film will be the many musical performances. There were a number of popular hits that will be relatively familiar. One thing that helped this film was the fact that it did play off of the American Idol audition angle. It was enjoyable to see the characters that were bad to really outstanding. Similar to the movie Zootopia, Sing does a nice job of blending a variety of animals to evoke most of its jokes and humor. While it strives to be funny, there were actually a few touching moments. (The Father/Son Gorilla moment kinda got to me.)
As you can probably tell from the trailers, Assassin’s Creed is definitely action packed. For fans of the Assassin’s Creed video games, there are some familiar elements to look forward to in the movie. We get some nice chase scenes and a fair amount of fight scenes. There’s a variety of close combat scenes and various weapon use. You can also bank on the signature parkour that is featured throughout the film.
Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence’s chemistry is a nice focal point for the film. It really drives home the romantic/love story angle for the majority of the movie. However, without giving anything away (and depending on which trailer you’ve seen), this film does raise some very interesting topics surrounding the issue of consent. (I think my feminist friends will have a field day with this film.) What I appreciated about Passengers is that it will really challenge some moral positions given some of the decisions that are made by the characters.
It goes without saying that you’re in store for a classic, teary-eyed Will Smith performance. At this point it’s kind of difficult to determine if he can get any better than he already is. While Smith is portrayed as the main character, this film was more so an ensemble. Kate Winslet, Ed Norton and Michael Peña were all at their best.