My View: Arrival (2016) PG-13 When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team led by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks, and the team, race against time for answers. With splashes of Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Nolan's Interstellar and Zemeckis's Contact, director Denis Villeneuve brings us highly creative, original and moving film about attempting to communicate with a species that seems so different from us, but just might be coming from the same common ground. Louise has to use not only her intellect to try to communicate with the aliens but also must use her humanity as well. Adams is scintillating as the woman who is the key to being able to communicate the aliens. She gives a multi-layered performance that shows Louise's strength and her vulnerability, sometimes at almost the same time. Adams has always projected a likeability in her performances, and it's essential in this film as we, the audience, have to be able to root for her character to persevere, no matter how small the rabbit hole she is taking us down. Arrival is full of wonder and amazement while creating a tension-filled ending that you will be thinking about long after this film has left the theaters. If we do ever encounter aliens, let's hope we have the brains and leadership that are displayed in this film. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Arrival Website
Indiefest: Christine (2016) R Christine (Rebecca Hall) works as a reporter for a small TV news station. All she wants is to be the best reporter that she can be, but she just may be her own worst enemy. Director Antonio Campos brings us this film based on a real person, Christine Chubbuck, a troubled and awkward reporter who had lofty goals but was probably destined to work in small markets for the rest of her career. Campos does the almost impossible, making Christine a sympathetic character, humanizing a very complicated person who had a lot of problems. Much of the credit for making a rigid and sometimes unlikable person come to life is Rebecca Hall. Her performance is dazzling, as she makes this socially awkward, determined person come to life. Hall has Christine's mannerism down, making her a person who has trouble relating to ideas such as dating or dealing with a boss you don't agree with. Hall works well with the other actors in the film, especially Michael C. Hall, who plays George, the cocky anchor that Christine is so enamored with. While I did not enjoy the final scenes of the film, those can be overlooked because of the Academy Award level performance by Rebecca Hall. You may not always like Christine, but because of Hall, you get to know her and understand why she ultimately did what she did. My Rating: Full Price Christine Website
My View: Almost Christmas (2016) PG-13 Widower Walter (Danny Glover) wants his children to spend Christmas at his house. If they survive the experience, it will be a “Christmas miracle. Will Packer, who has produced films such as Think Like a Man (2012), About Last Night (2014) and The Wedding Ringer (2015), makes films that audience have a good time watching but are highly predictable. There will be a break up (probably due to infidelity), there will be a star-crossed couple that will get back together, family is placed first in importance, and there will be some sort of happy ending. While I found this film mildly amusing, there were three women seated next to me at the screening that laughed so hard I was worried one of them would have a heart attack. Almost Christmas isn’t a bad film. I just don’t think it was as funny as it could have been and it’s simple, predictable ending could have been written better. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Almost Christmas Website
Indiefest: Loving (2016) PG-13 Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) get married in 1958. They are sentenced to prison in Virginia because they are an interracial couple. It’s a story of incredible courage, and we suffer at every indignity the Loving’s suffer in this film. Being told that your love is illegal and you must leave your home and family if you want to stay together, is heartbreaking and focus the Loving’s to make incredibly tough choices. Nichols lets us into their world slowly, letting us understand the time-period and just what they were dealing with on a daily basis. Joel Egerton absolutely embodies Richard Loving, the bricklaying country boy who falls in love with his whole head and heart. It’s an incredible performance of a man who takes simple pleasures and makes them his to savor. He has found a channel into this man’s soul and lets us all understand the man with a screen presence that while strong, also seems to sink a little into doorways. Ruth Negga gives an equally powerful performance as the woman who is defiant in her love for a man that is her soul mate. Negga gives Mildred an air of strength and steely resolve, whether trying to survive alone in a cell or deciding where to have her child. Nichols has done a masterful job of making this true story real and meaningful. The Loving’s story is one for the ages, and this film will stay with you for a long time. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Loving Facebook Page
Indiefest: Tower (2016) Fifty years ago a man rode the elevator to the 27th floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, killing 16 people and wounding 32 others. This film doesn’t tell his story but the story of the people on the ground, some of which risked their lives to help others. The film uses rotoscoping animation and actors to retell in a documentary format this harrowing day in American history. This engrossing film is as suspenseful as any big, edge of your seat Hollywood suspense film. The animation is distinctive and really helps the storytelling. This is one of the best films of the year and should not be missed. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Tower Website
Forgotten Film: Cross Creek (1983) PG In the 1930’s Marjorie Rawlings (Mary Steenburgen) moved from New York City and high society to Florida’s Everglades so that she could write. But the surroundings are not as isolated as she would like and she encounters an old, grizzled man (Rip Torn), a young store owner (Peter Coyote) and a young girl (Dana Hill). All these people along with the setting would be the inspiration for her novel “The Yearling.” Steenburgen shines as the fish out of water but determined Rawlings. Peter Coyote, playing the love interest and Alfre Woodard, as the neighbor who takes Rawlings under her wing, give masterful performances. The real star of this film is the outstanding cinematography that highlights the rugged but beautiful land. My Rating: Full Price Cross Creek Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Christine: Chicken Wrangler
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Manchester by the Sea (2016) R When his brother Joe dies, Lee (Casey Affleck) is forced to take care of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) in his hometown. The big problem is coming back to your hometown; you have to see people you left to avoid. Critics that have seen this movie are saying that Affleck and Michelle Williams, who plays the ex-wife, give Oscar caliber performances. Manchester by the Sea Website
Until Next Time!
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