Tony’s Movie Review: ‘Arrival’ is smart sci-fi

Amy Adams (L) and J.J. Abrams at the Los Angeles premiere of "Arrival" on Sunday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 11, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Out of the three new releases in theaters today, only one was screened for critics.

“Arrival” stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker in the new science fiction thriller. Although the film is receiving a lot of critical praise (a 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes with a 99 percent Audience ‘Want to See’ rating), the film doesn’t look like it will break the spell cast by “Doctor Strange.”

Industry predictions have “Arrival” opening behind the Marvel film and fighting for a third place slot with newcomer “Almost Christmas,” starring Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union in a reunion film about a dysfunctional family whose members gather for their first Christmas since their mom died. Both new films are predicted to take in around $16 million this weekend.

I have the feeling “Arrival” will take over second place from “Trolls” doing better than expected business.

Predicted to open in eighth place with an estimated $3.5 million, the horror film “Shut In” stars Naomi Watts and Charles Heaton. The film tells the tale of a widowed child psychologist living in an isolated rural New England where she takes care of her invalid son. She opens her home to a young boy needing her help, but soon realizes there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Below is the weekend box office prediction from

Doctor Strange Disney $38,000,000
Trolls Fox $26,000,000
Almost Christmas Universal $16,500,000
Arrival Paramount $16,000,000
Hacksaw Ridge Lionsgate $9,110,000
The Accountant Warner Bros. $3,990,000
Boo! A Madea Halloween Lionsgate $3,870,000
Shut In EuropaCorp $3,500,000
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Paramount $3,000,000
Inferno Sony/Columbia $2,770,000


Video Review:

The Arrival
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker
Rated PG-13

When a dozen mysterious spacecraft land on Earth, 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.

“Arrival” is a very smart and intricate science fiction film that celebrates humanity’s intelligence, instead of the cliché-ridden plots we’ve seen far too much of. In this uplifting movie, the characters aren’t treated as plot-points or just there to deliver catchphrases.

Amy Adams, who portrays Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist given the task of deciphering the cryptic language of the newly arrived aliens, turns in a remarkably detailed and compassionate performance. The film sits squarely on her shoulders as she begins to uncover the real meaning behind the alien’s messages.

Jeremy Renner is Ian Donnelly, a witty scientist who uses his dry humor to make his scientific points. Renner stands back in his performance and rightly lets Adams take the lead, never overshadowing her in his performance.

Forest Whitaker also puts in a terrific job as the military liaison, Colonel Weber. Unlike sci-fi films of the past, Weber is written as an intelligent and thoughtful man who weighs the incoming information and isn’t so quick on the draw.

The film is directed by Denis Villeneuve, whose previous works (“Prisoners” and “Sicario”) show a dark and unsettling side of humanity. “Arrival” is very much an optimistic movie, as it doesn’t use battle scenes to engage the audience or move the story forward.

In the end “Arrival” is an amazingly crafted film. It gets an A and is rated PG-13.


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