Rane has written 61 reviews for films during 2016.

  • Jackie

    Jackie

    ★★★

    Idiosyncratic, to be sure, but finding it slips away as easily as most other awards season biopics. Mica Levi's wavering score deserves all the praise it gets and cinematographer Stephane Lorraine composes some aggressive close-ups and snapshot compositions. But Portman's performance/accent contains as many highs as it does lows, and even three (!) framing devices can't keep the narrative from jumbling to near incoherence. This looks and sounds like a good movie, but the image can't quite measure up to the legacy it's creating for itself.

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    ★★½

    An empty franchise one-off with flat characters, a plodding narrative and the requisite space opera spectacle needed to buy off the fanbase. It's fine, it's okay, it's acceptable, whatever. RIP Carrie Fisher, and thank you for making me feel SOMETHING while watching this.

  • Love Actually

    Love Actually

    ★½

    Is this the HOCUS POCUS of the Christmas season? Because it's utter garbage.

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★½

    Probably isn't the most important or necessary film of 2016, but it's clearly the best I've seen. Can't remember the last time I saw a movie in which every directorial decision is made correctly. Chazelle proves himself to be the best new Hollywood director in a long while, and one of my favorite working filmmakers. Most surprising and effective is hidden beneath the layers of romanticism, nostalgia and instant-classic score (all with the meta-text you'd expect from a self-aware musical)…

  • Manchester by the Sea

    Manchester by the Sea

    I must be dead inside, because that much-adored Michelle Williams scene made me feel nothing. Everything here is solid, from accused sexual assaultant Casey Affleck's performance to Lonergan's masterful control of tone, but doesn't come close in achievement to the messy masterpiece that is MARGARET. Hoping a rewatched at a more emotionally available time will prove me wrong, because I hate to thing I'm missing something.

  • The Edge of Seventeen

    The Edge of Seventeen

    ★★★½

    Captures the hideous experience of teen years with most of the sharp edges intact, but the ending wraps up a bit too neatly for the preceding narrative. All performances are great, Steinfeld especially, and each character (teens and adults alike) feels like an actual human until the very end. Didn't care much for the handsome asshole vs. nice guy trope, but at least Hayden Szeto sells it with genuine hilarity.

  • Arrival

    Arrival

    ★★★★

    A truly cinematic experience in glorious conflict with modern modes of Hollywood filmmaking, but its optimistic outlook on communication's abilities to reach understanding is the film's most otherworldly aspect at this particular moment in time. And while I adore the use of film language (particularly its use of the auditory and flashback-cuts) as another means of interpretation and communication, I have a sneaking suspicion that a rewatch may punch some large holes in the movie's most affecting moments. But movies like ARRIVAL simply aren't made often, and that deserves unreserved appreciation.

  • Kung Fu Panda 3

    Kung Fu Panda 3

    ★★★

    Feels perfunctory as a third installment, too beholden to previous films and easy jokes. Still, it's bright and fun and I love that DreamWorks is producing a multi-part wuxia epic, so it gets a pass.

  • Holy Hell

    Holy Hell

    ★★★★

    We're this not the year of OJ: Made in America, this might be my pic for doc of the year (so far). Needs less VO and over-explains both Michel and his disciples' various rationales, but otherwise terrific. Love the bleached-out aesthetics of the old video footage, especially compared to the talking heads' sharp realism.

  • Sully

    Sully

    ★★½

    Oddball pseudo-biopic that morphs into a lifeless celebration of Sully and his Great Heroic Act, with a decent but overly-long (and overrated) takeoff-and-crash sequence sandwiched in the middle.

  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

    Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

    ★★★½

    Perhaps the most heartening aspect of this very, VERY funny film is the healthy sense of humor most contemporary musicians appear to have about themselves. Except Taylor Swift, of course, but she's a murderer so who cares.

  • Little Men

    Little Men

    ★★½

    Takes an admirable stab at exploring the nuances, contradictions and repercussions of gentrification, but the narrative and characters are too limp to make much impact. One scene does do a nice job capturing hypocrisies in parent-child relationships, but not much else of note here.