Arrival — A Movie Review

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Dec 072016
 

arrivalmovieposterWhen mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team – led by expert linguist Louise Banks – is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), Ted Chiang (based on the short story “Story of Your Life” written by)
Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Michael Stuhlbarg, Forest Whitaker

Runtime: 116 min; Rated: PG-13; Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi; Released: 11 Nov 2016

Veteran’s Day was a holiday for me, but not Lay, so I went to watch this movie. It was well worth the ticket price. Continue reading »

Vantage Point

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Mar 142008
 

Movie Poster for Vantage PointEight strangers with eight different points of view try to unlock the one truth behind an assassination attempt on the president of the United States.

Director: Pete Travis

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Edgar Ramirez, Zoe Saldana

I took about half the day off to make up for a holiday I wasn’t able to take because of a training class. It’s been sprinkling rain since about 11 a.m., which is actually pretty nice, so I decided to see an afternoon movie. I find that’s a great way to really feel like you’re playing hooky.

Obviously, the movie I selected was Vantage Point. These sorts of political thriller, terrorism plot films are generally fairly formulaic. Vantage Point took something of a unique approach to presenting the complete story. The story actually starts at what might be considered the middle of the film, and then telling it from eight different points of view. Be warned, this could be mildly irritating for some people because after you see one point of view everything is suddenly rewound and shown from the next person’s point of view (this is done six times) before they all converge into a finale filled with one adrenaline-fuelled car/chase sequence.

I admit it was a bit cumbersome, and I was growing impatient, but by the fourth “rewind,” I was totally into the story, and it did have a lesson about how we each perceive what is going on around us. I’m rating the move about a seven.

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The Last King of Scotland

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Apr 222007
 

The Last Kind of ScotlandBased on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin’s regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s

Directed by
Kevin Macdonald

Genres
Drama, History, Thriller

Cast
Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Simon McBurney, David Oyelowo, Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga, Adam Kotz, Barbara Rafferty, David Ashton, Giles Foden, Andy Williams, Martina Amati, Peter Salmon, Michael Wawuyo

Much of what you will see is true, and did occur in Uganda’s history. Amin’s doctor, played by James Macavoy, is the main fiction in the movie, but one would think they are watching a historical event. Macavoy’s character is so real. The doctor grows from a free thinking, adventure loving, womanizer, to a scared, concerned, and enlightened person. The viewer watches through Macavoys eyes as he witnesses the horrors of Amin’s (Forest Whitaker’s) presidency and regime.
How can an actor terrify you without saying a word, without even hardly moving his face or body? I’m not sure how he does it, but Mr. Whitaker does it over and over again in this movie. And then he turns around the next minute and becomes giant hug-able teddy bear superhero.

This movie will scare the viewer because of its realism, and how it builds up to a tension that is hard to endure. The visuals are not for the squeamish. Go ahead and hide your eyes during the “tough” scenes. It is still worth seeing this movie for the fast paced story, realistic drama, fascinating tale, and for the unbelievable acting. By the end of the movie the audience is exhausted, but satisfied that they saw a worthy flick.

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Phenomenon

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Jun 262004
 

Phenomenon (1996)

An ordinary man sees a bright light descend from the sky, and discovers he now has super-intelligence and telekinesis.

Directed by
Jon Turteltaub

Genres
Drama, Romance, Fantasy

Cast
John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, Robert Duvall, Jeffrey DeMunn, Richard Kiley, Brent Spiner, Vyto Ruginis, Bruce A. Young, Michael Milhoan, Sean O’Bryan, David Gallagher, Ashley Buccille, Tony Genaro, Troy Evans

VHS

This is defnitely a favorite movie of mine. John Travlota did a great job playing a man who develops an unbounded intellect after seeing a bright light. I won’t give away much of the story, but I thought it was a great exploration of the possibilities of our brains.

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