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Film Clips 11.10

Nov. 8, 2016
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Almost Christmas PG-13

The adult children of a dysfunctional family gather at their parents’ home for Thanksgiving. Because their father (Danny Glover) is grieving during this first holiday following their mother’s death, he asks the children to please get along for once. Naturally, the kids would rather blame one another than listen to dad, so they bicker and scheme about ways to intensify one another’s misery. We know just how they feel because shrill comedies of this ilk have been trotted out every holiday season for the past decade. 


Arrival PG-13

This widely acclaimed adaptation of Ted Chiang’s novella thoughtfully approaches how we might communicate with an extraterrestrial species. Amy Adams portrays linguist Louise Banks. She, along with physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), introduces herself to the alien heptapods parked in egg-shaped spaceships encircling Earth. Banks opens her heart and mind to the heptapods’ ability to perceive some events before they occur. When concerned officials demand Banks quickly ascertain the aliens’ intentions, she insists that rushing her attempts to communicate could easily start an accidental war. Donnelly becomes Banks’ ally and staunch supporter—even as she discovers her own reality irrevocably changed by contact with the aliens. 


Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk R

Following a harrowing Iraq battle, 19-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) and his fellow Bravo Squad soldiers are paraded as heroes during half-time at the Thanksgiving Day Dallas Cowboys game. In contrast to the official story, flashbacks reveal what really happened to the squad during its fateful battle. Director Ang Lee and cinematographer John Toll use 3D film shot at five times the normal 24 frames per second combined with 4K resolution. The surreal effect makes you want to “reach out and touch someone.” 


Shut In PG-13

Recently widowed, Mary (Naomi Watts) is an insomniac and sole caregiver to her semi-comatose, paralyzed teen son. It’s a snowy winter at her isolated home when, hoping to lift her depression, Mary volunteers to foster an orphaned lad. Happiness turns to despair when the orphan goes missing and Mary’s own son shows signs of abuse. Torn between paranoia and hope, Mary wonders if lack of sleep could be causing her to hallucinate. Hmmm. She’d do well to remember that “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.”


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