My Fave Movie Moments in 2016

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Due to family circumstances I missed many of this year’s best films.

So, in lieu of a 2016 top ten movies list, here are my ten favorite movie moments I enjoyed this year!

  1. The Nice Guys—Ryan Gosling on a public toilet when the stall door opens. His attempt to control his gun, manage his cigarette, fold up his newspaper and pull up his pants is a nice piece of physical comedy in an underappreciated movie.
  2. Deadpool—The opening credits. Best ever.
  3. Doctor Strange—His shoutout to the song Feels So Good by Chuck Mangione. (Prompted me to Google Chuck and learn that he’s still alive!)
  4. The Jungle Book—Bill Murray’s voice work as Baloo. (Honorable mention to Christopher Walken voicing King Louie.)
  5. Captain America: Civil War—The epic intramural fight scene. Also, Iron Man’s nickname for Spiderman. He calls the young webslinger “Underoos.”
  6. The Boss—The street fight between two groups of women is hilariously funny, although the rest of the movie disappoints.
  7. Zootopia—The sloth at the DMV scene was tipped in trailers but still is clever and memorable.
  8. Hail, Caesar!—The Gene Kelly-like dance scene anchored by Channing Tatum. Beautifully staged and shot. And funny.
  9. Sully—The scene depicting the Hudson River landing looks real. Great work by Clint Eastwood’s effects team.
  10. Finding Dory—All the screen time given Hank the shape-shifting octopus. Yo, Pixar, Hank needs his own movie!
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The Jungle Book

Is it possible for a movie to feel like a classic, but also seem fresh and original? Even though that may seem like a contradiction, director Jon Favreau’s new version of The Jungle Book has both qualities.

This is classic Disney stuff. Well, yes, it’s a remake of the 1967 animated Disney film.

It has the elements we’ve seen in numerous Disney films and TV shows. Animals interacting with humans, angrily and peacefully. Cute kids (human and animal). Benevolent adults and threatening adults (animal and human). Absent parents (human and animal). Moments of peril—some a bit frightening—and moments of sweetness. A manipulative—in a good way– soundtrack that plays almost constantly.

And a wise voice-over narration. On the Wonderful World of Disney TV show, it was generally the folksy Rex Allen Jr. Here it’s Ben Kingsley, who also voices the Panther, Bagheera, a good guy who helps guide the young man-cub Mowgli (the amazing Neel Sethi) through his upbringing in the jungle. (Sethi is an Indian-American, born in New York City, and he is brimming with charm and acting talent.)

The animals look realistic and move believably, thanks to actors wearing motion-capture gear and rapidly advancing CGI technology. There’s a reason the credits say the movie was made “in downtown Los Angeles” and that’s the outstanding work of the tech crews based there.

Along with Sethi’s charm and athletic skill, the highlights of the movie are two of the characters Mowgli meets in his quest. Baloo, the bear, is voiced by Bill Murray (who sings Bare Necessities) and King Louie, a monster gorilla, voiced by Christopher Walken (who sings I Wanna Be Like You). They are big characters, physically, and they make a huge impact on the story.

Other voice talents who shine are Idris Elba as Shere Khan, the menacing tiger; Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, the wolf mother; Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, the snake; and Garry Shandling as Ikki, the porcupine.

Clocking in at 1:45, The Jungle Book moves at a fast pace that will keep kids of all ages engaged. For those who might say, “Why did they need to remake this movie?—the first one was just fine,” let me suggest you go SEE the new version and you’ll understand why. The Jungle Book is not flawless, but it is an impressive, entertaining movie. (Spring for the IMAX 3D screening if you can.)