Here we are with the second half of the big December/January modern movie mini-review dump! Part 1: HERE

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Miss Sloane (2016)
This was one of my favorite new releases of the 2016 thanks in large part to a stellar performance by Jessica Chastain. The film on the whole takes many turns toward melodrama, but that makes for a very entertaining political drama.

(Image via MJJ Community)

Moana (2016)
If I had seen this in December rather than January it would have landed on my list of my top 20 film discoveries of the year (which I shared in my yearly viewing recap). It’s another one that lands among my favorite new releases of 2016. There are several songs that are pure fun (“You’re Welcome,” “Shiny”) but the film also has a lot of heartfelt moments. I loved Moana’s connection with her grandmother (which almost made me cry, on more than one occasion) and the fact that the story was completely focused on her quest to save her island (as much as I do love the more romantic Disney classics).

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Noel (2004)
I watched this near the end of December and disliked it so much that it nearly extinguished my Christmas spirit. Big-name stars like Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams couldn’t save this dysfunctional American cousin of Love Actually.

(Image via Flickering Myth)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
As I’ve mentioned on the blog before, I’m only a casual fan of Star Wars, having watched all of the films at least once but not having an encyclopedic knowledge of every character, planet, and plot point. For me, this film was another enjoyable entry into the ever-growing Star Wars catalog. Swiftly paced, Rogue One had no trouble holding my attention. I liked the cast, and cast of characters, especially Cassian and the snarky, reprogrammed droid K-2SO.

(Image via Movie Mezzanine)

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
Not quite as memorable or lovable as its predecessor, but a fine time-passer. The plot with the hotel inspector reminded me somewhat of Christmas in the Clouds, though of course less romantic. Judi Dench is, as always, wonderful to watch!