Arrival

Image: Paramount Pictures

In a post 9/11 world, having multiple phones around you going off and receiving requests to turn on a news channel is sure to inspire fear. For linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), an attack is not what she finds, but instead, the arrival of interplanetary visitors.

12 identical pods set down at seemingly random coordinates around the Earth; and with no governing body, the human race soon discover how hard it can be to work together. In an effort to understand what the beings inside these devices want, US army officer Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) enlists the help of experts such as Banks and theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).

What could be described as animalistic sounds make up the spoken dialogue for the visitors, suggesting that beings don’t have to speak a seemingly humanoid dialect to be considered sentient and intelligent. Their written language however, is where things truly start to get interesting.

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Hacksaw Ridge

Image: Cross Creek Pictures

This is not a movie. This is a retelling. A recount of the events that occurred during the World War II Battle of Okinawa, and of the service of one man in particular.

Virginian boy, Desmond T. Doss, like many other young men at the time, enlisted in the American Army to serve during the second war to end all wars. The reason Doss was different from those he served alone side, was his refusal to bear arms. Due to Doss’ beliefs, he did not carry a weapon for the duration of his time in the army. Instead, he served as a medic.

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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Image: Paramount Pictures

From Washington D.C. to a New Orleans Halloween parade, Jack Reacher will go wherever he needs to find the truth behind this latest conspiracy.

When Major Turner (Cobie Smulders) finds herself framed for espionage, her new contact Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) must dive back into the world of the military to help her uncover the truth.

Action, violence, cars, guns, you should know the drill by now. It all adds up to lots of noise and cringing when that particularly hard hit lands. One thing that is a little different is that our hero really gets his butt handed to him a few times. Yes, he’s a highly trained MP (sorry, ex-MP), but so are the people he’s up against. They are trained to fight and to kill. So it stands to reason that Reacher will get as good as he gives.

If you haven’t seen this film’s predecessor, fear not. While the main character is returning, you don’t lose out on any of the story line if you start here.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

Image: 20th Century Fox

New neighbours are always interesting, but suburban couple Jeff and Karen Gaffney get more than they expected when the Joneses move in.

Jeff Gaffney (Zach Galifinakis) works in HR. His wife Karen (Isla Fisher) is an interior designer. They live a quaint and happy life in their suburban cul-de-sac, raising their two sons, going to barbeques, and enjoying time with their nice, normal neighbours. After sending their sons to summer camp, the couple come home to find that the empty house on the street has been sold. Enter the Joneses.

Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie Jones (Gal Gadot) are unlike anyone else living in the Gaffney’s street. With Tim finding his career as a travel writer and Natalie running a food blog and following her passion to help orphans, these two beautiful, young, well-travelled individuals seem too good to be true. Of course, this is where the action kicks in. The Joneses are in fact spies. Jeff and Karen are soon dragged into the world of espionage.

The slightly bumbling nature of the characters as they try to look suave is a little reminiscent of the Spy Kids movies. Not that that’s a bad thing. With a few jokes and plenty of action in the form of car chases and gun fights Keeping Up with the Joneses does make for an enjoyable movie. The lack of crude humour is definitely a stand out feature for this film. While there are a few adult references, there’s not an overabundance of swearing or sexual references that are so common these days.

As far as action and comedy goes, Keeping Up with the Joneses should be pleasing for a wide audience.

Doctor Strange

Image: Marvel Comics

Latest in the Marvel cinematic timeline, Doctor Strange is yet another success.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an accomplished and respected neurosurgeon. At the top of his field, Strange has everything he could want or need. When tragedy strikes, Strange finds himself without the use of what he perceives as his most important tool, his hands. From there, we’re thrown into a story of rediscovery as the doctor searches for a way to fix his hands and return to his previous standing, only to find that he’s destined for something else entirely.

Benedict Cumberbatch as our leading man plays his part well. Portraying the intelligence, and cockiness that goes with it, before finding some humility. The development that Strange goes though during the movie makes good use of Cumberbatch’s ability and experience with different characters.

The special effects used at the climax of the film are absolutely stunning. For anyone with sever motion sickness, this might prove an issue; but if you can struggle through it, then totally worth it!

Perhaps one of the biggest features of this film is the lesson that you are more than you might think. We often find our niche in life and, while that’s great, occasionally something happens that leaves us without that safety blanket. This is the point where people either break, or shine.

Dynamo: Seeing is Believing

Image: Andrew Timms

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln. Creating a future of his choosing is exactly what one boy from Bradford did.

Sometimes, the smallest of gestures can move you to take the biggest leaps. For magician Dynamo, his small gesture came in the form of a green matchbox from his beloved grandfather. I won’t say much more on the matter for fear to ruining any surprises, but just know that I for one, am glad for that little match box.

In his live tour, Seeing is Believing, Dynamo proves just that. While I have enjoyed watching his television series, it by no means does justice to this man’s talent. In a world where so often we see so much bad, having just a little bit of magic is a great thing. Live on stage, over 15 years of dedicated work are brought together for our entertainment.

Dynamo proves that laughter and amazement are good for the soul, and that you can achieve anything with your life if you are willing to try hard enough. And perhaps the most important lesson this boy from Bradford has given us is to never stop. Learn what you want to learn; and when you have that down, learn something else.

“Man’s quest for knowledge drives us forward as a species. Every thought, every idea we have matters.” – Dynamo.

Inferno

Image: Columbia Pictures

As time goes on, the population of the earth has been and continues to expand exponentially. There is a theory that with overpopulation we are destroying the human race’s chances of survival. What happens when an individual decides to take action against that?

Director Ron Howard returns for this third film based on the books by Dan Brown. When symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) finds himself in hospital being treated for a head wound and no memory of the past 48 hours, it becomes a race against time and people unknown to find out what he had been working on.

With the assistance of Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), Langdon has to crack the puzzle leading to the next plague as the future of the human race hangs in the balance.

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Girl Asleep

Image: Windmill Theatre

Based on the stage production of the same name, Girl Asleep brings the feeling of live theatre to the cinema screen. With its teen drama, unusual cinematography, and 70’s everything, this film is really rather difficult to describe accurately.

Greta (Bethany Whitmore) has moved to a new town, started a new school, and had to meet new people; none of which is going overly well for the fourteen-year-old. In an effort to help, Greta’s mum Janet (Amber McMahon) decides to throw a party for her daughter’s fifteenth birthday. And invite all of Greta’s class mates.

After run ins with mean girls, best friends, and boys, Greta finds herself in her room, hiding away from her own party. Solace is found in an old music box and soon, the emotionally strained teen find herself falling asleep to the familiar tune. Only to wake up in a very unfamiliar reality.

In what can only be described as an incredibly quirky and surreal dreamscape, Greta has to fight her demons and learn her lessons.

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