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The Best Films of 2016


Year: 2015
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins
Cinematographer: Dan Laustsen
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam
Country of Origin: USA
Rating: R
Time: 119 min.



Sal from Crome Yellow and I are really excited about Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak. Like REEAALLLLYYY excited! Forget what the trailer shows you, this film is truly a gorgeous gothic love story that is a feast for your eyes and soul. An aspiring writer Edith (Wasikowska) marries the charming and seductive Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) and she finds herself swept away to his remote gothic mansion in the English Hills where him and his sister Lady Lucille (Chastain) resides. Able to communicate with the dead, Edith tries to decipher the mystery behind the ghostly hauntings in her new home.



As stated in my trailer reaction of the film, I was worried that the "ghosts" were going to be too cheesy but having seen the film, the imagery works seamlessly into the story. There are so many elements in this story from the intricate and exquisite production design to the sweeping soundtrack to the dazzling cinematography makes this "horror" story a truly opulent and extravagant film experience. But above all, it's the powerful performances by Hiddleston and Chastain that puts the cherry on top of this stunning tragic love story. I cannot express how much I adored Crimson Peak! I hope everyone loves it despite the film being marketed incorrectly because it really is a film worth feasting on! 


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Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.

Like most girls growing up in the 90s, I was fed a steady diet of witchery thanks to Sabrina the Teenage Witch,Charmed and of course everyone’s favorite gothic guilty pleasure, The Craft. My interests eventually changed and a fascination with having powers shifted my attention to the Harry Potter series. Then last year, my love of the dark arts was revived by the coven of witches in Witching & Bitching, a Spanish film following a group of desperate thieves-on-the-run who stumble into the home of some ancient sorceresses. Witching & Bitching has everything you want in a maddening Halloween film, a man dressed up as a machine gun wielding Jesus, growling witches on the hunt for men’s blood and a grotesque gargantuan woman thrice the size of Bigfoot ready to squash her opposition. There isn’t a single thing in this film that isn’t outright bat-shit crazy, but the real MVPs are the witches, or to put it more accurately, cannibalistic witches?!

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Elizabeth Lo's remarkable short film, Hotel 22 documents one night on the 24-hour bus in the California Bay Area which serves as a shelter to the area's homeless. Lo is a Stanford University MFA student who spent countless nights on the bus to get to know the environment and people. With 6 days of shooting and over 30 hours of footage, Lo condensed the film to make the story seamlessly feel like only one night. Enter into the unfiltered and raw lives of the many homeless and their safe haven that is Bus 22. 

The short film premiered at Sundance Film Festival which was met with praise, eventually leading Lo to be named one of the "25 New Faces of Film" in Filmmaker Magazine. It's the short's observational yet immersive filmmaking style that immediately makes Hotel 22 an engrossing watch. I was actually surprised when it ended because I wanted to know more about these unique characters who are ironically living in the booming money town of Silicon Valley. Lo is currently expanding Hotel 22 into a tonally different feature that will premiere next year that will focus on more of her interactions with her subjects. I definitely cannot wait Elizabeth, I cannot wait!


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Year: 2015
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Cinematographer: Roger Deakins
Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Daniel Kaluuya, Jon Bernthal, Victor Garber
Country of Origin: USA
Rating: R
Time: 121 min.



As you all know, my love for Denis Villeneuve is boundless! I always have total faith with every one of his films that my mind will be totally obliterated after its viewing. Villeneuve's latest film, Sicario follows the story of an idealistic FBI agent, Kate, who is enlisted in a government task force to aid them in the raging drug war that is happening at the border of Mexico and the U.S. With a strong cast consisting of Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Daniel Kaluuya, Jon Bernthal and others, all play a powerful role in this complex and hazy game of the drug war that's a lot bigger than they initially thought.



Emily Blunt gives a nuanced performance that will surely get her an Oscar nod. The suffocating atmosphere permeates at a steady pace throughout the film to truly show the increasingly suffocating and helpless reality we are all living it. It's ruthless in content, immaculate in form, and sweltering bleakness in atmosphere. The music by Jôhann Jôhannson's adds another level of moody sinisterism that's just on the verge of devouring you. 

I did my Director Series of Denis Villeneuve a while back where I rank his films from best to the worst! (If that's even possible!) I came out of the theater just stunned at what I had just experienced. It wasn't what I had expected but immediately knew that after the numbness of my body faded and the full process of this film was felt that Sicario would be considered one of the best films of this year, if not the decade.

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