Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Rating: 7 of 10

movie poster Nocturnal Animals (2016)A dark and depressing story within a story, yet also triumphant and empowering.

Synopsis: “An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.” (source)

My thoughts: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS will resonate most with viewers who:

* have been dumped for the very thing that first attracted their ex (e.g., sensitive, creative, loyal);

* broke up with someone because, whether consciously or subconsciously, they knew it’s what their mother/ father/ family/ society wanted them to do;

* threw away a great partner on a whim, only to years later realize that person was “the one”; or,

* had their heart broken and used their writing to exact revenge.

Be warned: The opening credits will likely cause discomfort. Keep an open mind about what Susan (Amy Adams) is trying to convey with that exhibit. From that point forward I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Tom Ford is an excellent storyteller, and he uses the story-within-a-story frame to tell us everything we need to know and understand about Susan and Edward. I’ll admit, the ending left me…conflicted. On the one hand, I was like “Dammmmmn!” On the other hand, I was like “Awwwww!”

If you’re someone who can see the same situation from different sides, you’ll understand why I was left somewhere in the middle of satisfied and dissatisfied. But, as the credits rolled, I walked out of the theater with a big smile on my face.

Highly recommended if you enjoyed movies like MR NOBODY or MEMENTO.

Check out NOCTURNAL ANIMALS official website and trailer on Focus Features | on IMDb | on Twitter

(Watched at AMC Lennox 12/7/2016)

Arrival (2016)

Rating: 10 of 10

movie poster Arrival (2016)At whatever point you’re at in your life right now, if given the opportunity, would you do it all over again? You’d experience all the highs, every low, the moments of pure bliss, and the situations you didn’t think you’d survive.

Synopsis: “When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team — led by expert translator Louise Banks (Amy Adams) — races against time to decipher their intent. As tensions mount between fearful governments, Banks discovers the aliens’ true purpose and, to avert global war, takes a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.” (source)

My thoughts: The only movie, of 261 movies watched in 2016, that I gave 10 stars. I had to make myself not buy another ticket and watch it again immediately.

Normally, if someone I know in real life hasn’t seen a movie yet, I keep my opinions to myself so as not to taint their expectations. There was no way I could do that with ARRIVAL. I told everyone I knew they HAD to see it *cough* andloveit *cough* or else I would shun them. Only half serious…

Unfortunately, I can’t share much in the way of specifics; one of the things that makes ARRIVAL a spectacular film is learning the truth right along with Louise. All I’ll say is, if you enjoy sci-fi movies that wrinkle your brain and punch you in the feels, you won’t be disappointed. Not since JUNEBUG and SUNSHINE CLEANING has Amy Adams given such a deeply affecting performance. Her portrayal of Louise Banks reminded why I adore her as an actor and why I watch all her movies.

I wanted to read the short story on which ARRIVAL is based before watching the film, but I couldn’t resist; the trailer just looked too damn good! It’s on my to-read list for 2017, though. “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, available in the collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, published by Small Beer Press. Those I know who’ve read it tell me it’s excellent.

Check out ARRIVAL Why are they here? | official website and trailer | on IMDb | on Facebook | on Twitter

(Watched at AMC Lennox 12/5/2016)