Best Of 2016: Visual Effects and Cinematography

Continuing my picks for the Best Of 2016, here are my five picks for Visual Effects and five for Cinematography.

5) Star Wars: Rogue One
I think the film itself has a lot of really high-quality special effects. Most of the film is special effects, and that helped me appreciate the quality of them overall.

4) Captain America: Civil War
From a flawless Spidey to the Ant-Man scene, there are a few moments of visual goodness that helped this film get on the list.

3) Arrival
They didn’t have the “overuse” working in their favor. There are a lot of scenes that don’t require the big effects, but when they come, they look fantastic. The ships looked realistic, as did the aliens, and their “writing on the wall”. Probably the least amount of individual shots of any film on my list, but still a lot to love here.

2) Warcraft
I actually thought the visuals in Warcraft were up to snuff. I felt like the Orcs were realistic, and the visual effects team created a visually stunning world for them to live in. I can tell they put a lot of money into the visuals, and I just wish it had paid off for them more financially.

1) The Jungle Book
Are you kidding me? Of course this is my top pick. Those animals! Talk about hyper-realistic. They did such an amazing job bringing CGI animals to the big screen. I’m sure people swore that Jon Faverau cheated and used reali animals, but he didn’t. That’s how good the visual effects team was here. Bravo. Best Visual Effects of 2016.


5) The Lobster- Thimios Bakatakis
I wasn’t a huge fan of the film, but I think the film had a strong conceptual look throughout the film, due in part to Bakatakis, who maintained the film’s quirky bleak look through all three acts.

4) Hell Or High Water- Giles Nuttgens
This is just a beautifully shot film. Again, as with the score, in order to reinvent what a modern western can be, you have to strip away the conventions of the genre and reinvent new rules. Nuttgens didn’t have horses to shoot, or dusty small towns. He had cars and paved roads. He made the film look absolutely stunning.

3) Silence- Rodrigo Prieto and Michael Ballhaus
Scorsese always has great looking films. He always knows how to get the most out of his cinematographers, and Silence is no exception. This is an absolutely gorgeous film to look at, which is even more impressive because at times it has an almost claustrophobic feel to it. He takes every opportunity he can to impress us visually, showing us a very different Japan.

2) Arrival- Bradford Young
This film has so many great shots. From across the landscape in Montana, to the shots around Amy Adams’ house, to interior shots of the ship. This is such a well shot film.

1) La La Land- Linus Sandgran
Hands down the best cinematography of the year. From the opening sequence on the freeway, to the dance number in the hills, to Gosling and Stone dancing in the stars, This film is visually stunning in every frame. It’s my pick for Best Cinematography of 2016.

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