The 2016 FilmToppings Summer Movie Awards

Summer is always an interesting season for movies. Now that summer has ended, I bring you my 3rd annual summer movie awards! You guys all voted on Instagram for your favorite of each category, and here are the results:

Best Cinematography: Star Trek Beyond

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Best Visual Effects: Kubo and the Two Strings

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Best Score/Soundtrack: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

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Best Director: Anthony and Joe Russo – Captain America: Civil War

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Best Actor: Ryan Gosling – The Nice Guys

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Best Actress: Angourie Rice – The Nice Guys

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Worst Movie: Independence Day: Resurgence

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Best Movie: The Nice Guys

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These are the winners of this summer’s awards ceremony! This summer had some unexpected disappointments but also some pleasantly outstanding films, including ones that won these categories. What did you think about this year’s summer movies?

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Sully

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After successfully landing U.S. Airway Flight 1549 on the Hudson River, saving all 155 lives on board, captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is deemed a hero by the news and everyone around him, but soon, a new investigation forces Sully to put his job, family, and reputation on the line.

The 2016 Oscar season continues to soar with Clint Eastwood’s Sully, based on the famous and heroic Hudson River landing January 15, 2009. Tom Hanks is no less than I expected from him as the heroic pilot and protagonist of the film. Don’t expect that single show-stealing scenes you get from most Oscar-hopeful/nominated performances, but Hanks becomes Sully throughout the film and watching him in this movie was nothing like watching an actor recite lines in front of a camera. One of the reasons Hanks is my favorite actor currently working in Hollywood is that he never needs to “overact” in order to deliver a great performance. He exaggerates his the way the script tells him to feel, instead you are able to understand his emotions with the smallest expressions from Hanks. Aaron Eckhart also delivers an impressive performance as Sully’s co-pilot Jeff Skiles, delivering a great personality and some humor as well. This movie is also very prestigious from a technical standpoint. The editing is marvelous and the cinematography is quite remarkable, especially in the plane-landing sequence that had me on the very edge of my seat, even though we all know the outcome. Eastwood directs and constructs the sequence to make the audience feel as if they are on the flight and really experiencing the scene, without needing to use loud sound effects and excessive use of cuts. The rest of the scenes are also directed so well that for a while, it’s even hard to believe that it all actually happened. Whenever a scene ends triumphantly, most films will have people cheering and clapping to indicate that something great has happened. Instead, the way Sully would bring you a scene like this is by having you listen to the exchange of dialogue, and ending the scene afterwards. Sully never exaggerates but is still so powerful with storytelling and emotion. This movie is not only a celebration of the miraculous event that occurred on the Hudson 7 years ago, but a celebration of human nature and how selfless and great us humans can be.

Tensely shot, incredibly acted, and magnificently directed, Sully is easily one of the greatest films this year, with Tom Hanks marvelously portraying a heroic pilot that the film proudly honors, and Eastwood directing a true story to its true potential. Don’t have anything else to do? Go watch Sully.

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The Light Between Oceans

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After a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia rescue a baby from an adrift rowboat, they must decide whether to keep her and raise her as their own or report her to the police. Derek Cianfrance has brought us something truly beautiful with The Light Between Oceans, a poignant, tear-jerking, well-acted piece of film that will impact you emotionally like no other movie this year. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander are astonishing in the film’s lead roles. Fassbender conveys every little emotion his character feels without having to use words. I don’t know if his performance here can beat what he gave us in last year’s Steve Jobs, but this film is undoubtedly another great example of how incapable Fassbender is of delivering anything less than great. Vikander fabulously helps carry the film and delivers what is by far the greatest performance of the year. It was hard to imagine her out of character for a moment because of how impeccably and marvelously she portrayed her role. She brings so much emotional strength that it even becomes disturbing in a few scenes. I haven’t seen too many performances like her’s in recent years. Rachel Weisz is also emotionally exquisite in her strong supporting performance.

The Light Between Oceans doesn’t only bring the best out of its A-list actors. The cinematography is dazzling and the score from Alexandre Desplat is easily the best this year. Every shot in the film is captured so gorgeously and perfectly, and it’s all accompanied very well to Desplat’s marvelous soundtrack. The movie tries very hard to get you emotional and depressed, and thankfully it doesn’t miss. Some scenes in this film managed to break my heart and almost made me shed a few tears. There are parts that are very tough to watch, so I’d only recommend this film for teens and older, but every one of these scenes are boasted by the cast’s strong performances and nearly flawless directing. I’m so impressed by how Cianfrance was able to put all of this to film and capture it so powerfully. All of this is what ultimately makes The Light Between Oceans a modern cinematic achievement.

The Light Between Oceans is gorgeously shot, acted, and directed, and is easily one of the best and most depressing films I’ve seen in theaters this year. It slows down a tad in the final act, but there’s no doubt to say this is the first true Oscar contender of the year. I can’t understand what critics find to be so mediocre about this movie, and I’d highly recommend you go see it if you’re 14 or older.

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