Friday, November 11, 2016



This week in theaters it's time for yet another alien invasion in "Arrival" starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Then there's the Naomi Watts psychological thriller "Shut In" that someone "forgot" to screen for the critics. If you're already feeling that holiday spirit, you might want to check out the dramedy "Almost Christmas". In limited release, you absolutely have to go see Ang Lee's groundbreaking war drama "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk".

Synopses, details, critical reception, trailers, clips and more after the jump.



Official Synopsis

When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team--lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams)--are 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.

Film Details

  • Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma

  • Director: Denis Villeneuve

  • Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

  • Running Time: 116 min.

  • Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language

Critical Reception

  • Rottentomatoes: 96% (171 fresh, 8 rotten, score: 8.4/10)
  • Metacritic: 82 out of 100 (46 positive, 3 mixed, 1 negative).

With an overwhelmingly positive reaction from critics, "Arrival" is being hailed as the champion of modern sci-fi thanks to a powerful story filled with intellectual and emotional delights, and a great performance from Amy Adams. Like Christopher Nolan, director Denis Villeneuve has a perfect movie streak, so far.


Shut In Movie

Official Synopsis

SHUT IN is a heart-pounding thriller starring Naomi Watts as a widowed child psychologist who lives an isolated existence in rural New England. When a young boy Mary (Watts) is treating goes missing, and is presumed dead, she becomes convinced that his ghost is haunting her and her bedridden son.

Film Details

  • Starring: Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay, Charlie Heaton, Oliver Platt, David Cubitt, Alex Braunstein

  • Director: Farren Blackburn

  • Genre: Drama, Thriller

  • Running Time: 91 min.

  • Rating: PG-13 for terror and some violence/bloody images, nudity, thematic elements and brief strong language

Critical Reception

  • Rottentomatoes: N/A
  • Metacritic: N/A

Not screened for critics. That always spells trouble. "Shut In" has the benefit of starring Naomi Watts and young "Room" star Jacob Tremblay, but it's probably just another mediocre thriller. Proceed with caution.

Clips, Images, Posters and More



Official Synopsis

A new comedy from writer/director David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim) and producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like a Man series, This Christmas), Almost Christmas tells the festive story of a beloved patriarch who asks his family for one gift this holiday season: to get along. If they can honor that wish and spend five days under the same roof without killing one another, it will be a Christmas miracle.

Film Details

  • Starring: Danny Glover, Omar Epps, Gabrielle Union, Mo'Nique, Nicole Ari Parker, Usher

  • Director: David E. Talbert

  • Genre: Comedy, Drama

  • Running Time: 112 min.

  • Rating: PG-13 for suggestive material, drug content and language

Critical Reception

  • Rottentomatoes: 42% (14 fresh, 19 rotten, score: 5.2/10)
  • Metacritic: 53 out of 100 (9 positive, 9 mixed, 4 negative).

It's not the worst movie you're going to see this holiday season, but surely "Almost Christmas" won't win any awards, nor will it earn a place among the classics that everyone revisits each year. As it stands, it's a decent little movie, with a talented cast that carries it to the best of their abilities.



Official Synopsis

The film is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn, who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, has been hailed as a hero and brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad - contrasting the realities of the Iraq conflict with America's celebration back home.

Film Details

  • Starring: Joe Alwyn, Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Makenzie Leigh, Barney Harris, Steve Martin

  • Director: Ang Lee

  • Genre: Drama, War

  • Running Time: 110 min.

  • Rating: R for language throughout, some war violence, sexual content, and brief drug us

Critical Reception

  • Rottentomatoes: 48% (20 fresh, 22 rotten, score: 5.2/10)
  • Metacritic: 53 out of 100 (9 positive, 12 mixed, 2 negative).

"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" has proven to be quite divisive among critics. Some were engaged by the film's technological experiment and thought that the film's message comes through quite well, while others were disappointed by the gimmickry and felt it ruined an otherwise decent drama. Whatever you might make of these opinions, one thing is certain, this is a film you should see for yourself before passing judgement.

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