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This Week In Movies: ‘Almost Christmas,’ ‘Arrival,’ ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

11.7.2016 | By |

We’re beginning the second week of November (jeez, holidays are already here!) and as we march down the award season months, this particular week we see a putative award season film from Ang Lee – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. This film has had some buzz, not only for a Lee film being released, but also because of the new technology it is using.  The movie was shot in 120 frames-per-second 3D with 4K clarity. People have already complained it looks “fake” and it is “distracting”. Nevertheless, critics are mixed about it and it looks like it won’t live up to the hype nor to “Life of Pi”.   We’re also seeing this week a Top 10 2016 movie and potential Oscar Best Picture film in Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi film Arrival. It’s a slow burn, but one with profound themes on communication and existentialism. Some docs are also releasing that seem interesting, but one film I’m looking forward to is Almost Christmas. It follows in the vein of Last Holiday or The Best Man Holiday, where images of family black life around the holidays that Hollywood rarely presents. Listen to our podcast for our in-depth reviews of this week’s releases and more. What movie will you watch? 

 INDIE & LIMITED RELEASES

Seasons (PG, 1hr 35m, Documentary)
Director: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud
Synopsis: Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud (Winged Migration) return to the lush green forests that emerged across Europe following the last Ice Age, when the ice retreated, and the cycle of seasons was established.

National Birds (1hr 32m,  Documentary)
Director: Sonia Kennebeck
Cast: Jesselyn Radack
Synopsis: Drone whistleblower interviewed about borderless information gathering by the government.

WIDE RELEASE

Almost Christmas (PG-13, 1hr 52m, Comedy)
Director: David E. Talbert
Cast: Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Danny Glover, Mo’Nique
Synopsis: A new comedy from writer/director David E. Talbert and producer Will Packer, Almost Christmas tells the festive story of a beloved patriarch who asks his family for one gift this holiday season: to get along.

Arrival (PG-13, 1hr 56m, Drama, Suspense/Thriller)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg
Synopsis: A linguist leads a team of investigators to try and communicate with extraterrestrial visitors.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (R, 1hr 50m, Drama)
Director: Ang Lee
Cast: Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund
Synopsis: 19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks the film shows what really happened to his squad – contrasting the realities of war with America’s perceptions.

Elle (R, 2hrs 10m, Drama/Thriller)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling
Synopsis: A successful businesswoman gets caught up in a game of cat and mouse as she tracks down the unknown man who raped her.

Shut In (Drama, Suspense/Thriller)
Director: Farren Blackburn
Cast: Naomi Watts, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, Oliver Platt
Synopsis: A heart-pounding thriller about a widowed child psychologist who lives in an isolated existence in rural New England. Caught in a deadly winter storm, she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.

The Anthropologist (1hr 21m, Documentary)
Director: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller
Cast: Mary Catherine Bateson, Susan Crate, Margaret Mead
Synopsis: This doc considers the fate of the planet from the perspective of an American teenager. Over five years, she travels alongside her mother, an anthropologist studying the impact of climate change on indigenous communities.

The Love Witch (2hrs, Comedy, Horror)
Director: Anna Biller
Cast: Samantha Robinson, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Laura Waddell
Synopsis: In this special presentation of director Anna Biller’s latest independent feature, beautiful young witch Elaine is determined to find a man to love her.

Kiki, Love to Love (1hr 42m, Sex, Comedy)
Director: Paco León
Cast: Natalia de Molina, Álex García, Jacobo Sánchez
Synopsis: Through five stories, the movie addresses sex and love: Paco and Ana are a marriage looking for reactivate the passion of their sexual relations, long time unsatisfied; Jose Luis tries to recover the affections of his wife Paloma, sit down on a wheelchair after an accident which has limited her mobility; Mª Candelaria and Antonio are a marriage trying by all way to be parents, but she has the trouble that no get an orgasm when make love with him; Álex try to satisfy Natalia’s fantasies, while she starts to doubt if he finally will ask her in marriage; and finally, Sandra is a single woman in a permanent searching for a man to fall in love. All them love, fear, live and explore their diverse sexual paraphilias and the different sides of sexuality, trying to find the road to happiness.

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