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Tag: Eric Heisserer

Arrival Movie Review (2016) | Denis Villeneuve Helms a Masterpiece

Wonderstruck! Dumbfounded! Arrival movie confounds you as it crushes dams of conventions. It is the arrival of a change, a different outlook at the word ‘alien’. So many movies we have seen hitherto, all showing aliens in an ugly limelight, branding them destroyers, marauders or invaders. It used to paint the same old picture with its destructive cliches.

Arrival movie changes everything. Your perception about strangers in our land. It stresses on the fact they could be here for a reason other than war. The movie unfolds gorgeously from a stupefying elusive pickle into a mind-boggling explosive revelation. That’s the entire driving force on which Arrival runs.

Direction of Arrival Movie

Denis Villeneuve stays highly revered in my head owing to all the uncanny topics he picks. He isn’t afraid to experiment, takes bold awe-inspiring risks and literally fuels avant-garde cinema. His direction abounds with intelligence that nips at our traditions of perceiving movies. He challenges us to think, knocking us out of our comfort zone. It’s ballsy, different and simply remarkable. Something we don’t see everyday in cinema today. Primarily because such films vexes many, and then all the movies end up becoming nothing but moderate crowd-pleasers. But this man right here, never ceases to take risks.

still of Amy Adams as Louise Banks and Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly in Arrival movie

In particular I love how Denis Villeneuve imparts tranquil focus to his frames. Everything happens for a reason. It merges and overlaps with wistful thinking and asks of you to do the same. In those momentary transitions you are forced to hear your thoughts, you think of the possibilities and given his reputation try to envision the figurative side of the story.

Plot of the Arrival Movie (Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Created on a story by Ted Chiang titled ‘Story of Your Life‘ the movie runs beautifully making up stunning placid frames for its plot. To understand the movie truly you must get this first: There is no definite order! It is a ragbag of tenses. And Denis, the genius he is, intermingles them often supersedes them brilliantly amongst each other. The main theme goes like this:

Louise Banks is an insanely gifted linguist who is sought after by a US Army Colonel to communicate with alien spaceships that have landed on Earth. She meets physicist Ian Donnelly who has also been hired to accompany her for the job.

still of alien letters and symbols from Arrival movie

I loved how Denis decided to show repercussions of alien arrival. Betwixt his poised frames we get to see our world flame up in chaos, even though all alien ships did was stand still on our ground. The contextual insinuations that human mind read are beyond our grasp. It goes on to show how humans are akin bubbles waiting to explode with a mere instigation without comprehending the what, the why and the how of a situation.

What then follows is constant prodding in order to understand the language of the aliens to figure out their true purpose of visit. The final revelation is so huge (and yes it has time theory entailed) that I have decided to pen a separate article to expound it better. But really, you need to watch it to experience that climactic relentless pile driver yourself.

You can pre-order Arrival movie here:


Music and Screenplay

The music of Arrival has been given by none other than 2 times Oscar nominee Johann Johannsson himself.  It is beautifully done, you have to live it to truly experience it. It being an art movie, limited words get spoken. But those that are there try to expand how huge the subject of language is. Also, there are pretty cool one-liners that don’t fail to titillate your ears every now and then. Like when Ian Donnelly confesses:

You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.

What also constantly elevates the movie is an artful performance by Amy Adams. Being the lead protagonist, the driving force, the film basically revolves all around her. If it weren’t for her, things would have been really different. A nod to the movie casting there! Great Job.

The Final Verdict

Arrival is not for everybody. I learnt this the hard way as I was compelled to hear two of my friends, who accompanied me to watch the movie, snore profusely throughout the movie. It was ‘their’ loss of course. Because it was only by the time we reach the end that we get to learn the colossal secret. It wraps up beautifully around the concept that eludes us throughout. It almost brings back memories from Christopher Nolan‘s magnum opus Interstellar movie.

Read Interstellar movie review.

You know what else really makes me happy? It is the director’s next colossal project. It is none other than Denis Vileneuve himself who helms the Blade Runner sequel with Jared Leto and Harrison Ford in the vanguard. Can’t wait for that one as well.

You can check out the trailer of Arrival movie here:

Lights Out Review (2016) | Intriguing and Appalling

Lights Out has everything you wish to see in a horror movie. But there are instants herein that stop it from reaching petrifying levels of a great riveting horror flick. It doesn’t retain the flair of a slow paced scare. However, within its nimble charisma lies its true heart throbbing dread. Also, Alexander DiPersia is a pleasant discovery in the movie. He encounters its ghost in the most thrilling setup ever.

Plot of Lights Out

The video project of the same name that had gone viral three years ago, has been finally moulded into an artistic piece. Augmenting it further is a thrilling story to tell an imaginative tale that walks on a thin edge of palpability. Still the magic works!

After making a series of shorts, David F. Sandberg finally gets a fully-fledged project under the aegis of James Wan. What’s reassuring is that he delivers too. He includes Lotta Losten to the tale giving her a cameo of sorts, trying to revive the lost lights out video and then furthers the tale with new elements.

Still of Lotta Losten as Esther in Lights Out Movie

Direction of Lights Out Movie

David F. Sandberg’s inexperience transpires at a lot of junctions, wherein you could point, “He didn’t think this through!” It is like you can almost taste the lack of percipience in his work. There is passion in his job alright, the love for horror so loud and clear, that you can find it lurking at weird corners. But there is always a sense of thoughtful trepidation missing from his cinema that seemed to have primped down his work into a mere 1 hour 21 minute affair.

You can feel as if he was on a constant canter to reach the end. Maybe the short in him will take some time to wear off. Even though his direction barely reached the levels of horror veterans, he still manages to weave out something above mediocrity, and that is what counts.

Characters (Spoilers in the Dark Ahead)

Sandberg’s entry into the horror world receives three cheers from people all across the globe, owing to his unpredictability. He breaks horror clichés in many ways.

still of alexander dipersia as Bret in lights out movie

Alexander DiPersia as Bret Owns it

The first coming straight from a character like Bret. Alexander DiPersia who plays boyfriend to Rebecca, cannot be simply ignored. Breaking banality profusely the character fits like a rare gem in the movie. He isn’t a hero exactly, and yet he survives Diana’s attack on three occasions with sheer presence of mind. We generally tend to think boyfriends die first, because they are not important to the tale, but Sandberg decides to break the chains of platitude by keeping Bret alive and breathing. Within his limited screen-time, Alexander DiPersia delivers too.

There is this rare moment where Alexander DiPersia’s Bret is almost a dead guy, and yet he revives himself twice or thrice with his sheer presence of mind. Watch out for that bit!

Teresa Palmer’s Rebecca

The second most important character is that of Rebecca played by Teresa Palmer. She has this constant confident mien that she wears like a pro at odd hours. The only problem is that she condescends and patronizes Bret beyond limit, so much that you begin to wonder why Bret’s with her in the first place. Yet she packs in an uncommon poise that seems to fill you up with pluck too.

Still of Rebecca and Martin in Lights Out movie

Others

Martin, played by Gabriel Bateman, her brother isn’t a wuss either. He is scared, terrified, but he always comes around. He has peerless tricks in his pockets that he comes up with to stay safe.

Billy Burke has a small cameo too in the prologue of Lights Out Movie.

Shortcomings

Apart from the directorial issues Lights Out had, there were other things that don’t go ignored either. Screenplay of the movie was terrible. At one point Martin drops a truism as if it was jostled out with originality. It seemed kind of stupid and forced needless to say.

When Rebecca is engaged in a face-off with Diana, she asks Bret to take Martin away. But when there’s a gunshot you see Bret still holding onto Martin unperturbed by what’s going on in the house. There was a gunshot for crying out loud. Why didn’t he come up with dozens of searchlights, or even better if he was short on time, light up the car lights and point it towards the house so there was at least some light that could save the inmates.

Still of Diana clawing raking and scratching the floor in lights out movie

Another question that miffs you is how come Diana plays with lights sometimes moulding them to her will, and then sometimes forgets to switch them off. The constant disconnect in the plot like that makes Lights Out like a sieve of implausibility.

Also, you cannot completely overlook the fact that despite knowing that Diana is in the house, characters give in to sleeping in the house with Sophie. They were all so unprepared even though they knew the truth. That was a tad too much.

The Final Verdict

Darkness has forever intrigued us. There is something about its still aura that has us questioning us our sanity. A topic that will forever haunt us, just by its sheer fancy. David F. Sandberg milks the fact enough. I am afraid, not properly but he still manages to fabricate us a good horror flick.

If we don’t look in the direction of the downside-darkness of the Lights Out movie we still have something that is way above thousands of pointless horror movies. To that we nod him welcome.

A must-watch horror fans.

Check out the trailer of Lights Out movie here: