Movies reviewed this week: Arrival, Lion, The Edge of Seventeen and in Long View: Live by Night (Starring: Ben Affleck).
I’ve been waiting months for Arrival to make its debut in Muscat and I have to say that I’ve not been disappointed. But sci-fi fans who are used to the usual alien invasion films à la the shoot ‘em up style of, say, Independence Day, will be in for a surprise. Arrival, it has to be said, is a gripping movie carried by a brilliantly restrained Amy Adams, who plays linguistics professor Louise Banks.
When 12 elongated, egg-shaped spaceships land in key locations around the world, mankind goes into panic mode. And this is where Banks comes in. As a linguistics expert, she is drafted by the army to make contact and communicate with the aliens – but first she needs to learn their language. As the world sits on the precipice of war, Banks finds herself racing against time to solve the mystery as to why the extraterrestrial visitors have arrived on earth.
Based on the short story, Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, this is a thinkers’ movie – it’s about the language of miscommunication, about different cultures, about how people view the world around them so differently from others. Kind of where we are now, in reality. However, Chiang’s novel was published in 1998.
Also starring Forest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner, it comes as no surprise that critics the world over are hailing Arrival as the best sci-fi film of the year, if not in years. And I have to agree with them. If there’s one film you should watch this year, it has to this.
Review by Felicity Glover
Based on a true story, Lion is a moving film that follows five-year-old Saroo who is lost on the streets of Calcutta after being separated from his family during a train ride. He is thousands of kilometres from home and has to fend for himself until a family from Tasmania, Australia, adopts him. But 25 years later, Saroo, played by Dev Patel, decides it’s time to find his real family and what follows is a journey of hope and discovery. A definite weepie that stars Nicole Kidman, who plays Saroo’s adoptive mother; Rooney Mara and David Wenham.
Our teenage years can provide some of the most awkward experiences of our lives – more so in this day and age when everything is preserved forever on the likes of YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms. And it’s no different for high school junior Nadine (rising star Hailee Steinfeld) who is part of the uncool clique while her older brother Darian, is the typical all-star popular guy. And that’s where Nadine’s troubles begin, when Darian starts dating her best friend. But an unexpected friendship with a thoughtful boy could be her saving grace. Also starring Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick, it’s a fun movie for the teens.
Oscar-award winning actor Ben Affleck stars in and directs Live by Night, a gangster film set during the Prohibition period of 1920s America. Affleck plays Joe Coughlin, the son of a Boston police superintendent set on making his own way in the world rather than following the rules of his strict upbringing. But after crossing a powerful mob boss, Joe heads to Florida, where he finds himself once again on the wrong side of the law. Live by Night is a step away from Affleck’s usual roles – we have to say that Argo, which he also starred in and directed, is one of our favourites – so it takes a little getting used to. Still, we are looking forward to its release next month. Also stars Zoe Saldana, Brendan Gleeson and Chris Messina.
Oman release date: January 12, 2017