SILENCE (2016)

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“I feel so tempted. I feel so tempted to despair. I’m afraid, the wait of Your silence is terrible. I pray but I’m lost, or am I just praying to nothing? Nothing. Because You’re not there.”

SILENCE illustrates the spiritual dilemma and emotional struggle of belief and doubt. How far one could withstand suffering? How much sacrifice could one spare for the sake of their faith? Which by its definition is a thing only you can answer.

The cinematography is admirable beyond anything. Well-thought framing. Beautiful perspective shots. One of the main reasons I patiently waited for the film.

Ultimately, as Martin Scorsese defines it: “SILENCE is the story of a man who learns so painfully that God’s love is more mysterious than he knows, that He leaves much more to the ways of men than we realize, and that He is always present … even in His silence.”

THE WHITE HELMETS (2016)

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“Any human being, no matter who they are or which side they’re on, if they need our help, it’s our duty to save them.”

The White Helmets is a group of voluntary rescue workers who put their lives on the line to save civilians between the rubbles of Syria.

I guess I understand why this won the Best Documentary Short Subject at the Oscars 2017. This documentary starts with heartbreak yet ends with hope.

A heartfelt display of selflessness, courage, and love in the havoc of war.

“I’m willing to sacrifice my soul for the sake of the people. This job is sacred.”

LA LA LAND (2016)

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A charming romance dedicated to the dreamers fighting to follow their passion while paying nostalgic homage to Hollywood musicals of the Golden Age and the forgotten grace of classic jazz.

If you appreciate the beauty of filmmaking, La La Land is worth seeing for its mezmerising display of lights & colors, camera movement, set design, and costumes. Such a brilliant showcase of cinematic splendor.

ARRIVAL (2016)

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I waited so long for this to arrive here only to be let down that it didn’t feel as “profound” as everyone said. At least to my experience.

With its own complexity, Arrival is a cerebral science fiction unlike the generic alien encounter stories out there. Sadly, the profoundness is too subtle for me to perceive just like in most Villeneuve works (Prisoners, Enemy). I can only comprehend the ideas on the surface, not the deep whatever philosophical concept Villeneuve trying to convey.

That being said, the movie was great and I was just lost in translation.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

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Rogue One: Another Daddy Issue Story

Rogue One’s time frame is too far from Revenge of the Sith to be called Episode 3.5. The entire movie is merely the extended version of A New Hope’s opening scene.

This is the most menacing Vader has ever looked in the franchise. Full-on badassery! Gareth Edwards certainly knows how to work those Vader bits (including the dad joke that got me choked).

Donnie Yen’s Chirrut steals the spotlight for me. He’s probably the most well-written and performed character in Rogue One. And also K-2SO, the second snarkiest robot after TARS from Interstellar.

Last but not least, the honorable mention: The CGI faces. Smooth.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (2016)

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For a spin-off, Fantastic Beasts seems pretty detached to the Potterverse. Apart from essentially connected to Grindelwald, it is a(mericanized) whole new whimsical world with its own terms and rules.

The storyline feels underdeveloped and crammed up, which is rather disappointing considering JKR writes the screenplay herself. She supposedly has plenty of time to tell more backstory since it will be made into a pentalogy!

But great thing is, you can see her signature writing and how good she creates the characters and how she builds their relationships. You’ll grow fond of the new gang once you get to know them.

The actors are well-cast, but there is only one scene stealer. By Merlin’s beard, doesn’t Colin Farrell look dapper in that overcoat?! The actual fantastic beast in the film. Rawr.