With 100’s of films released each and every year, it’s hard to keep track of which one’s are worth your hard earned dollars. Lucky for you, we’ve got a bead on them all. Especially now as long-form television programming is flexing it’s muscles more than ever, and film is becoming more relegated to Big-Hollywood blockbusters and off-season art-house fare.
And now a days, who wants to drop a mint seeing a big film at an impersonal cineplex with teens on cell phones, etc. etc.? With a few exceptions, this list should be cause to seek out the small film house or the bargain matinee that might just reinvigorate the reason why we should never forget to frequent the theater: Escape.
In Alphabetical Order, with suggested beer pairings
Hell or High Water (Dir. David Mackenzie) – An allegorical tale of two brothers fighting to survive in West Texas despite a withering economic climate and seemingly overwhelming financial burdens. They take to robbing banks, raising the hackles of a cantankerous Texas Ranger (comically portrayed by Jeff Bridges) and beginning an unforgettable chase throughout the Texas Panhandle. Likely the funniest and most action-packed drama of the year. Beer Pairing: Shiner, Bock.
La La Land (Dir. Damien Chazelle) – Passionately given life by the acclaimed director of Whiplash, this musical love story unites a jazz musician with an ambitious, would-be actress. Looking to overcome the everyday drama of life in the big-city, the two revel in each other’s passions for the arts through song. Musicals rarely follow through with this much depth and drama at their core, but La La Land pulls it off with it’s romantic, classic feel and stellar performances. Beer Pairing: Phantom Carriage, Bergman.
Moonlight (Dir. Barry Jenkins) – Based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, the film is a tale of one boy’s growth into a man, told in three acts. Portrayed by three different actors, he deals with the hard truths of a rough upbringing in Miami, while grappling with his sexuality. The film is a deliberately paced portrait, bathed in light and beautifully shot. Considered by many to be the best film of the year, it will likely be the most awarded film of the year too. Beer Pairing: J. Wakefield. Haterade
Manchester By the Sea (Dir. Kenneth Lonergan) – An uncle, played by Casey Affleck, takes on the possibility of raising his nephew who recently lost his father. In his transition to this temporary fatherhood, he must revisit the ghosts of his past, while his nephew explores his own teenage lust and rekindling a relationship with his estranged mother. The film shimmers with impressive acting and some of the year’s best writing. Beer Pairing: Cape Ann Brewing, Fisherman’s Forge DIPA.
Paterson (Dir. Jim Jarmusch) – the film’s protagonist Paterson (adeptly portrayed by Adam Driver) is a bus driver in a town by the same name in New Jersey. While he follows a relatively mundane routine, his days are filled observing his passengers and writing poetry in a notebook. His supportive wife, in many ways his opposite, pushes him to embrace his subtle passion for life. Another well crafted and deliberately detailed film, it extracts the extraordinary from the seemly humdrum pace of life. Beer Pairing: Carton, Regular Coffee
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dir. Gareth Edwards) – While considered to be a stand-alone film, it fits right into the middle of the Star Wars epoch, complete with all the expected intergalactic action. And once again the story focuses around a rag-tag group of unlikely heroes, lead by the strong and clever Jyn, aiding the Rebels as they try to gain an upper hand on the Empire. Not purely an action flick, though it provides thrills, adventure and has been widely praised by audiences and critics alike. Beer Pairing: Revolution, Deth’s Tar Imperial Stout