— Moana

Moana Movie ReviewThe latest musical extravaganza from Walt Disney Animation Studios follows the adventures of a young woman who finds her own voice and forges her own identity as she becomes the first female leader of her people. It’s a complete blast with a great message. But for all its thrills, laughs and musical joys, it’s hard not to recognize a certain poignancy as it relates to our current political landscape. Maybe that’s just me, though. My rave, at

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4 Comments on “ — Moana

  1.  by  Finn Keating McMahon

    I believe I commented my top 10 last year, so why break tradition now? You may remember me as the guy who had “Straight Outta Compton” and “Star Wars” on his list. While I still hold those films very close to my heart, I was able to see far more independent fare this year, making me feel more confident to be able to craft a legitimate end-of-year list. So, without further ado, let’s get to it! (Sorry, one more thing: this list is centred around Irish release dates, although for the most part, I think, these films were released everywhere this year):

    10. The BFG – Yes, I know I said there’d be a wider range of films on this list, but I need to be 100% honest when writing this list, and so, Steven Spielberg’s latest family go-round made the cut. While I don’t imagine many kids were dazzled by “The BFG” (come to think of it, I don’t think many parents did either), but for me, this was a quietly conversational wonder.

    9. Where to Invade Next – Yes, he’s one-sided, but he’s shamelessly one-sided, and, as the late great Roger Ebert once put it, a classic rabble-rouser. I realise is satirically snarky persona can be too much for some , but for me, two hours of Michael Moore waltzing around Europe with an obnoxiously corpulent American flag is pure nirvana (Ireland shares many of America’s problems, so I’m allowed to like this movie, I promise!)

    8. Embrace of the Serpent – Ciro Guerra’s Columbian adventure drama is a real breath of fresh air, the kind of movie that extends a cinematic arm to the audience to grab you and not let go for another two hours. Filmed in beautiful, luscious black-and-white cinematography, and dealing with spiritually resonant themes, this is a small gem of a movie worth checking out.

    7. Knight of Cups – As I go through this list, I realise it seems as though I made it to be as contrarion and provocative as possible (Sorry about that – I believe the movies will get more bearable as we go on), but I really do love Terrence Malick’s latest effort. By stripping away the dialogue and plot driven elements that drive the vast majority of mainstream cinema, Malick reduces film to its most basic components, and while it would be egregiously annoying if every film were like this, when Terrence Malick does it every few years, he truly does cut deep to find the soul in need.

    6. Moonlight – Okay, perhaps I’m cheating a little here, but for good reason. I went to America for the first time with my cousins last month, where I bullied them to go see “Moonlight”; even at the expense of “Fantastic Beasts” (which I am also looking forward to seeing), and boy was it worth it! Beautiful, emotionally shattering, and with a final reunion likely to go down as one of the greatest moments in cinema history, what can I write about “Moonlight” that hasn’t been written already?

    5. Wiener-Dog – Todd Solondz’s typically misanthropic dramedy was a quietly heartbreaking gem. It’s final scene, much like that of my number six slot, is guaranteed to give any film-buff goosebumps. It may not have been the most media-hyped movie of the year, but it certainly deserved to be one of them.

    4. Nocturnal Animals – “Nocturnal Animals” would be a terrific twisty thriller in its own right. With scenes of gut-wrenching suspense and darkly comic dispositions, Tom Ford’s latest exercise in style could have been just that – great style. But what too often goes overlooked is the metaphorical but vast thematic depth that Ford brings to the material, which, at the end of the day , is what makes “Nocturnal Animals” so compulsively watchable.

    3. The Revenant – Back to the really Irish release dates for this one, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu proved to the world that his dazzling masterpiece. “Birdman” was no fluke; while he went through a lull period after his phenomenal debut “Amores Perros” with the glum, heavy-handed “21 Grams” and “Babel”, he has since proven himself as one of the greatest film makers of his generation. The Revenant was a beautiful evocation of the most elemental of human emotions, while simultaneously delivering a classic swashbuckler. Just great stuff.

    2. Anomalisa – How could anyone dislike Charlie Kaufman’s animated comedy-drama? It is beautiful, hilarious, heartbreaking and provocative (and it contains one of the most tender coital scenes in cinema history). Ironically, for a movie made with puppets, “Anomalisa” is arguably Kaufman’s most grounded and down-to-earth film. But it still contains that Classic Kaufman Magic, and that’s what I love.

    Honourable mentions:

    “Hell or High Water”

    “Captain Fantastic”


    “Captain America: Civil War”

    “Hail, Caesar!”

    1. American Honey – I was rather disenfranchised to learn the Whattheflick crew had a general distaste for Andrea Arnold’s latest. Not because I think my opinion is the definitive litmus test for film, but because Alonso and Matt will never be capable of seeing what I saw, and I saw an outstanding masterpiece. Part pop-musical, part Homeric Odyssey, part moody satire, “American Beauty” uses it’s boldly repetitive aesthetic to celebrate youthfulness, coming to terms with one’ sinner self, unspoken homo-eroticism that seems to plague the behaviour of young straight men, and the American Dream. I realise that the owner of this site could not attend the Whattheflick screening, but if she’s reading and still hasn’t seen it, I highly recommend she does so. Thanks for reading; on to 2017!

    •  by  Finn Keating McMahon

      Whoops! Meant to comment this on the top ten of the year instead (obviously). If there’s a way of changing it, that’d be great, but if not, I guess it’s fine here. Although it might get lonely with no fellow comments to hang out with.

      •  by  Finn Keating McMahon

        I also meant to say “American Honey ” and not “Beauty “. I’m writing all this on my phone, which is never a good idea.

    •  by  Christy Lemire

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts — I like your picks! I have indeed seen American Honey by now. Its rhythms grew on me. It’s probably Shia La Beouf’s best work.