Arrival is directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker and it is a Sci-Fi Mystery film about humanity’s first contact with an unknown form of life, I need to make one thing clear I will not talk about any plot points or events in my review because this is one of those films that is best watched completely unaware of its premise and events, I personally considered this movie my most anticipated movie of 2016 but I fully avoided all trailers for it and I think that made my experience much better.
Coming from films like Enemy, Prisoners and Sicario; Villeneuve made a name for himself after three critical hits but with Arrival I think he has hit his career peak which is really high praise especially after last year’s Sicario that was on almost every critic’s top 10 list, Villeneuve’s direction shines throughout the film and it is the driving force behind the film, every scene and storyline has its own purpose and they all come in together at the end to play into the main mystery of the film which is written on the poster, I did walk out of the film with a questions because not everything is clear at the end but one thing is clear the point of the film and the story that it was telling was beautifully told and delivered.
Arrival also comes with one of the best Cinematography and visual designs of the year that makes its haunting score and sound design deliver an experience like no other, it is expected from the same team that delivered Villeneuve‘s previous titles and it was one of the things I was really looking forward to it and it delivered it perfectly.
Amy Adams is without a doubt one of the best actresses working today so it is natural and expected that she will deliver a great performance, but it wasn’t just that she disappeared into her role and it felt like she really was the character that she was playing it is in my opinion her best performance since Doubt and without a doubt* one of the best performances of the year and I really hope she gets the recognition she deserves come awards seasons, Renner and Whitaker both give great performances but they don’t shine as much as she did and her character is the center of the film so it is not a gripe.
Verdict : if you are a fan of films like Interstellar, Contact and Close Encounters of a Third Kind like me you will love Arrival, this is a masterpiece and really feels like an answer to people who say “Hollywood doesn’t produce good films anymore” go watch Arrival that is a good film you are welcome.
*I only noticed that after I wrote that paragraph and I decided to keep it in, you are welcome.
Doctor Strange is directed by Scott Derrickson and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams and it is the introduction of the latest Marvel character Doctor Strange.
I need to explain something before I get into the actual movie, Marvel Universe has a lot of different sides for example we have the scientist who use science to get stronger like Ironman and Hulk, we have people like Captain America and Spider-man and Ant-Man who are also their creation, we also have the highly trained government agents like Hawkeye and Black Widow, The gods like Thor and Loki, the Aliens like Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange marks the entry of Magic to the MCU. Keeping that in mind the movie comes with a ton of Exposition which could have been disastrous if not done properly, and I am glad to say it was done really really well.
The film stars Stephen Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch as one of the top sergeants alive and arrogance and ego gets into a car crash that makes him lose the use of his hands for surgery, when medicine fails to cure his condition he seeks other means and that leads him to The Ancient One played by Tilda Swinton and then he begins his journey toward becoming a Sorcerer. meanwhile a former student of the Ancient One played by Mads Mikkelsen has stolen a forbidden spell and is planning to destroy the world in some fashion.
The performances are top notch as expected from a cast of this caliber especially from the leading man, he brings depth and emotion and humor to his character which made me instantly care about him, maybe I am being a fan boy because I like Cumberbatch a lot and Doctor Strange is one of my favorite Marvel characters but despite that I really like his screen presence and he is really fun as Strange. the rest of the cast is as good if not even better in case of Tilda Swinton she is marvelous as a complex and mysterious character. Mads Mikkelsen is also great despite the fact that his character is a bit weaker than the rest.
One of the high points of the film is the really amazing visual effects, it is really beautiful and can make you feel like you are tripping on LSD, there is a sequence at the beginning that reminded me a lot of 2001 A Space Odyssey’s wacky sequence and it is really beautiful, the inception like vibes you get from the action scenes are really beautifully made and it is really one of the highlights of the movie.
Verdict : Doctor Strange is a great movie serving as an origin story for the new MCU comer, he is going to be one of the Flagship characters for post Infinity War MCU so I suggest you go and watch this amazing film.