Sunday, March 25, 2018

AFT Awards: Top 15 Scenes of the Year

This is a special category of the 11th Annual AFT Film Awards, my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. These are my fifteen favorite scenes of the year, listed in alphabetical order by film title. Click here to see previous years of this category. Beware spoilers for these films.

Joi (Ana de Armas) is first introduced, seen in his apartment constantly changing what she is wearing in the middle of a normal conversation with K (Ryan Gosling), a masterful display of the visual creativity at work in an imagined future where desire is one commodity that is quite well-serviced.

Joi takes it one step further, bringing home a human prostitute that K can actually have sex with, positioning her projected image over the prostitute’s body and creating the illusion of melding with her, yearning for a humanity that she can’t possibly achieve.

For all of its action scenes and spectacular intensity, it’s one of the quieter moments that stands out most in this film: when all hope seems lost and those little boats finally arrive to save the day, a joyous and miraculous sight after such devastation has been felt with no seeming salvation to come.

This odd film – one that taught me that maybe I should read plot descriptions rather than just relying on seeing the names of stars – took its most hilarious turn when, in trying to intimidate the thieves who stole Ruth’s laptop, Tony (Elijah Wood) throws his weapon of choice into the wall, confusing and startling all.

This somber, lonely film was at its most effective when those prisoners of wars sentenced to clean up the bombs planted by their army first encountered an explosion, one that showed just how careful their work has to be and how easily and unassumingly a deadly consequence can occur and end a life.

After Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Will (Dan Stevens) decide to sleep with other people just to see what it’s like before spending their lives together, the funniest and most utterly shocking moment comes when Lydia (Gina Gershon) pushes Will to do whatever he’s always wanted him to do, prompting him to spit in her mouth, eliciting a shocked reaction followed by a shrug of acceptance.

The extended opening scene of this chilling thriller sets a perfect tone for the entirety of its content, introducing Christopher Abbott’s Elwood as he comes into a diner to do a job that turns violent very quickly and ends up with more than one mourning widow left to pick up the pieces.

In a film filled with sweet, great moments, the one that sticks out is very early in their courtship, when Emily (Zoe Kazan) decides to call an Uber and Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) readily accepts the trip, forcing them to spend more time together in a fitting modern-day romantic development.

This film series always has spectacular stunts and logic-defying sequences, and this film’s signature scene comes early on when Dom (Vin Diesel) drives a car backwards while it’s on a fire for more than a short time, staying calm and proving that he can handle anything behind the wheel.

The most memorable and impactful moment in this transformative film finds Halley (Bria Vinaite) treating Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) to a blowout meal at Waffle House just to get back at Ashley (Mela Murder) for daring to judge her parenting, taking every opportunity to make her friend miserable.

This underappreciated comedy from Sundance had a lot of laughs, and the scene that garnered the most was one of the quick snippets in which Anne (Amanda Seyfried) interviews people to find out about Harriet (Shirley MacLaine), where a man describes her as a horrible woman before his collar is unveiled to give some extra weight to that statement.

This scene is highly controversial since it’s the one that made people hate this movie that some boiled down to one in which a woman has sex with a fish, but it’s also one of the most beautiful examples of how this film portrays its characters and gives them humanity, demonstrated by the smile on Elisa’s face and the glow on her new partner’s skin as water leaked down onto the theatregoers below.

Though this film took some lamentable turns later on, the beginning of its main character’s woes was still immensely intriguing, as Christian (Claes Bang) steps in to help a woman being chased by a man on his way to work only to find that his phone, watch, and cufflinks have been stolen when he checks his pockets.

Early on in this great thriller, Amanda (Olivia Cooke) trains Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) on “the technique,” tearing up while watching a movie only to reveal that anything is possible with a little acting and giving plenty of insight into her psyche.

Things turn bad very quickly for David (Josh Wiggins) and Cal (Matt Bomer) at the top of a mountain with snow falling fast when David’s hand is bitten by a bear and the gun goes off, setting in motion the intense journey home.

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