No time like the present to get started on reviews of 2016 movies. Here's the first five I've seen this year.

1. (939.) The Big Short (2015)
Fantastic. I'm not going to lie; I didn't think that director Adam McKay was capable of this. It's both funny and smart. It occasionally relies a bit too much on the "shaky cam" to liven up scenes of people talking, but that's allowable in a movie that is almost exclusively people talking. I'd recommend this movie to anyone without reservation.

2. (940.) Black Moon (1975)
This French fantasy film makes no sense, and not just in the stereotypical way that American audiences claim that French films make no sense. Clearly Alice in Wonderland is the model here, and it succeeds in evoking the general sense of wonder and confusion. However, the individual scenes all seem to want to be visual metaphors for something unexplained and indecipherable. Strictly for fans of the Theater of the Absurd.

3. (941.) Selma (2014)
This biopic has the finish of a first-class feature film, but somehow lacks the drama you'd expect from the struggle for Civil Rights. Maybe that's because I knew the outcome of all the major players. (I'm left wondering if the movie's glowing reviews were because of its subject and no so much its execution.) Worth seeing once.

4. (942.) The Class of 1984 (1982)
In this very, very early Micheal J. Fox role, the young actor plays. . . a bullied high school student. (He's not the star. His teacher, Riptide's Perry King, is.) Part Blackboard Jungle, part Death Wish, this film isn't really interested in reality, just tapping into the innate horror everyone has about being an outcast in high school. It's not terrible.

5. (943.) The Quiet Man (1952)
This movie is a classic. Everyone tells you so. Personally, I found it underwhelming to the point of boredom (although Maureen O'Hara is stunning). Why does it take two hours for the story to go exactly where you know it's going from the beginning? And don't even get me started on the sexual politics. (I don't care for Taming of the Shrew, either.)

More to come.

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To be continued...


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