Tag Archives: Arrival

Golden Globe Awards (2017)

This is my fist film blog of the New Year, so as it was the 74th Golden Globes last night, I have decided to start the year off with a post on the best films of the previous year/those still yet to be released.

Below are the lists of the film/television winners and nominees from the award ceremony hosted last night, held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Of those I have seen, the winners are rightly so – and those I have not yet seen, I am extremely excited to!

Similarly, the hype surrounding this award ceremony has made me pumped for the Academy Awards that are to be held on the 26th of February 2017.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
‘Moonlight’: Winner
‘Hell or High Water’: Nominee
‘Lion’: Nominee
‘Manchester by the Sea’: Nominee
‘Hacksaw Ridge’: Nominee


Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
‘La La Land’: Winner
’20th Century Women’: Nominee
‘Deadpool’: Nominee
‘Florence Foster Jenkins’: Nominee
‘Sing Street’: Nominee


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Isabelle Huppert (‘Elle’): Winner
Amy Adams (‘Arrival’): Nominee
Jessica Chastain (‘Miss Sloane’): Nominee
Ruth Negga (‘Loving’): Nominee
Natalie Portman (‘Jackie’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actor in Motion Picture – Drama
Casey Affleck (‘Manchester by the Sea’): Winner
Joel Edgerton (‘Loving’): Nominee
Andrew Garfield (‘Hacksaw Ridge’): Nominee
Viggo Mortensen (‘Captain Fantastic’): Nominee
Denzel Washington (‘Fences’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actress in Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Emma Stone (‘La La Land’): Winner
Annette Bening (’20th Century Women’): Nominee
Lily Collins (‘Rules Don’t Apply’): Nominee
Hailee Stenfield (‘The Edge of Seventeen’): Nominee
Meryl Streep (‘Florence Foster Jenkins’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Ryan Gosling (‘La La Land’): Winner
Colin Farrell (‘The Lobster’): Nominee
Hugh Grant (‘Florence Foster Jenkins’): Nominee
Jonah Hill (‘War Dogs’): Nominee
Ryan Reynolds (‘Deadpool’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Viola Davis (‘Fences’): Winner
Naomie Harris (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Nicole Kidman (‘Lion): Nominee
Octavia Spencer (‘Hidden Figures’): Nominee
Michelle Williams (‘Manchester by the Sea’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (‘Nocturnal Animals’): Winner
Mahershala Ali (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Jeff Bridges (‘Hell or High Water’): Nominee
Simon Helberg (‘Florence Foster Jenkins’): Nominee
Dev Patel (‘Lion’): Nominee


Best Director – Motion Picture
Damien Chazelle (‘La La Land’): Winner
Tom Ford (‘Nocturnal Animals’): Nominee
Mel Gibson (‘Hacksaw Ridge’): Nominee
Barry Jenkins (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Kenneth Lonergan (‘Manchester by the Sea’): Nominee


Best Screen Play – Motion Picture:
Damien Chazelle (‘La La Land’): Winner
Tom Ford (‘Nocturnal Animals’): Nominee
Barry Jenkins (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Kenneth Lonergan (‘Manchester by the Sea’): Nominee
Taylor Sheridan (‘Hell or High Water’): Nominee


Best Motion Picture – Animated
‘Zootopia’: Winner
‘Moana: Nominee
‘My Life As A Zucchini’: Nominee
‘Sing’: Nominee
‘Kubo and the Two Strings’: Nominee


Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
‘Elle’ (France): Winner
‘Divines’ (France): Nominee
‘Neruda’ (Chile): Nominee
‘The Salesman’ (Iran, France): Nominee
‘Toni Erdamann’ (Germany): Nominee


Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Justin Hurwitz (‘La La Land’): Winner
Nicholas Britell (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Jóhann Jóhannsson (‘Arrival’): Nominee
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka (‘Lion’): Nominee
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch (‘Hidden Figures’ (Nominee)


Best Original Song – Motion Picture
City of Stars – Justin Hurwitz (‘La La Land’): Winner
Can’t Stop the Feeling! (‘Trolls’): Nominee
Faith (‘Sing’): Nominee
Gold (‘Gold’): Nominee
How Far I’ll Go (‘Moanna’): Nominee


Best Television Series – Drama
‘The Crown’: Winner
‘Game of Thrones’: Nominee
‘Stranger Things’: Nominee
‘This is Us’: Nominee
‘Westworld’: Nominee


Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
‘Atlanta’: Winner
‘Black-ish’: Nominee
‘Mozart in the Jungle’: Nominee
‘Transparent’: Nominee
‘Veep’: Nominee


Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’: Winner
‘American Crime’: Nominee
‘The Dresser: Nominee
‘The Night Manager’: Nominee
‘The Night Of’: Nominee


Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Sarah Paulson (‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’): Winner
Riley Keough (‘The Girlfriend Experience’): Nominee
Charlotte Rampling (‘London Spy’): Nominee
Kerry Washington (‘Confirmation’): Nominee
Felicity Huffman (‘American Crime’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Tom Hiddleston (‘The Night Manager’): Winner
Riz Ahmed (‘The Night Of’): Nominee
Bryan Craston (‘All The Way’): Nominee
John Turturro (‘The Night Of’): Nominee
Courtney B. Vance (‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’)


Best Performance by an Actress in A Television Series – Drama
Claire Foy (‘The Crown’): Winner
Caitriona Balfe (‘Outlander’): Nominee
Keri Russell (‘The Americans’): Nominee
Winona Ryder (‘Stranger Things’): Nominee
Evan Rachel Wood (‘Westworld’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actor in A Television Series – Drama
Billy Bob Thornton (‘Goliath’): Winner
Rami Malek (‘Mr Robot’): Nominee
Bob Odenkirk (‘Better Call Saul’): Nominee
Matthew Rhys (‘The Americans’): Nominee
Live Schreiber (‘Ray Donovan’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Tracee Ellis Rosh (‘Black-ish’): Winner
Rachel Bloom (‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’): Nominee
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (‘Veep’): Nominee
Sarah Jessica Parker (‘Divorce’): Nominee
Issa Rae (‘Insecure’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Donald Glover (‘Atlanta’): Winner
Anthony Anderson (‘Black-ish’): Nominee
Gael García Bernal (‘Mozart in the Jungle’): Nominee
Nick Holte (‘Graves’): Nominee
Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Olivia Coleman (‘The Night Manager’): Winner
Lena Headey (‘Game of Thrones’): Nominee
Chrissy Metz (‘This is Us’): Nominee
Mandy Moore (‘This is Us’): Nominee
Thandie Newton (‘Westworld’): Nominee


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Hugh Laurie (‘The Night Manager’): Winner
Sterling K. Brown (‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’: Nominee
John Lithgow (‘The Crown’): Nominee
Christian Slater (‘Mr Robot’): Nominee
John Travolta (‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’): Nominee


Cecile B. DeMille Award
Meryl Streep: Recipient





‘Arrival’ (2016) – 7/10





I am not really into sci-fi as a film genre. Unless it is part of the ‘Alien’/’Predator’ franchise (which undoubtably includes ‘Prometheus’ (2012)), then generally I am not interested. This is the attitude I sadly went into the cinema with before watching ‘Arrival’ last week, which is the new drama mystery sci-fi film directed by Denis Villeneuve.

I really did not like the advert for this film. I thought it looked like a stereotypical American “feel-good” movie about discovering UFOs, and communicating with other life forms in the universe in a sickly self-righteous way. However, I feel that these scenes were purposefully chosen to give this illusion, and gave little away of the actual plot of the film, and that the film in fact had another dimension.

‘Arrival’ is a film in which 12 pod-shaped extraterrestrial spacecrafts mysteriously land in different locations around the world – one of which being America. Consequently, the US Army recruit Louise Banks (Amy Adams), who is a Professor of Linguistics at one of America’s top universities, to help communicate with the aliens, along with Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), a theoretical physicist. The pair manage to make contact with 2 of the “heptapods” (the 7 limbed creatures aboard the craft), and Louise discovers that the aliens use a written language of complicated circular symbols to communicate with. They begin to learn that the symbols correspond to basic vocabulary, but are unable to decipher whether the aliens know the difference between a ‘weapon’ and a ‘tool’. Consequently, America, along with 11 other nations that the spacecrafts landed in, struggle to find out what the aliens’ purpose on Earth actually is, as these nations face different obstacles (like political barriers) that they have to overcome before time runs out.

Although the film appears like a generic UFO film, hinting at what America is capable of should a spacecraft land in the US, there is another dimension to this film that I really liked. As mentioned in my previous posts, I do not like spoiling the plot of a film, so will not give the twist of the film away. Instead, I will speak about how my expectations of the film (i.e. that this was going to be shit) were shattered, and the strengths and weaknesses of the film – avoiding any spoilers.

From the advert, I thought that Ian (Renner) looked like an arrogant scientist, who was going to be a hinderance (like most stereotypical scientists in such films) to making vital discoveries. However, he helps Louise (Adams) interact successfully with the aliens, makes crucial theoretical discoveries and, beyond his initial introduction in the film, is not annoying at all. Similarly, I thought that Professor Banks was going to be a weak, flawed character, by letting her emotions get in the way of her work. This, to some extent, is accurate. However, she uses this to break forward and pushes herself in order to strive in her work. Consequently, I thought that the casting of this film was extremely good, and that the advert did not do them justice. This includes CIA Agent Halpern (Michael Stuhlbarg), and Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), both of whom take assertive figures of authority.

Throughout the film, there are flashbacks to Professor Louise Banks’ life, which come to light whilst  she is trying to decipher what the aliens’ are communicating. These include visions of Ms Banks’ family life, as well as her becoming a renowned linguist. I thought that these scenes were shot beautifully (lots of shallow depth of field was used), which symbolise their poignance and meaning to her. Therefore, I thought that the film was edited extremely well.  This film was edited by Joe Walker (best known for his work on ’12 Years a Slave’ (2013) and ‘Sicario’ (2015)), who I think did a dramatic yet poignant edit of this non-linear film, and used CGI in a tasteful and understated way (considering that it was a sci-fi film). Similarly, the soundtrack for ‘Arrival’, which was composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson (best known for ‘Sicario’ (2015) and ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014)), beautifully complimented the edit. The accompaniment and soundtrack was dramatic where it needed to be, yet light and reminiscent in the appropriate places. Likewise, the human interactions with the “heptapods” were made that more atmospheric and daunting by the special effects.

In short, I thought that ‘Arrival’ was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. It was not the best UFO film I have ever seen, but kept my attention and was overall very entertaining. I thought that the CGI used was  spectacular as it was not excessively used, and instead was quite understated for a sci-fi film. Sometimes, CGI heavy films completely underwhelm me. For example, I felt that as ‘Gravity’ (2013) was a very CGI-oriented film, and as I hadn’t watched it in the cinema, could not get my head around why people liked it so much…. Although ‘Arrival’ is a film intended to be seen in the big screen, I feel that there is enough interesting plot and back story / does not solely rely on special effects, to get away with this. Therefore, I would recommend this film, but am unsure I would have had such a warm reaction coming out of the film had I not gone in with such low expectations. True fans of the sci-fi genre will love this film.


Films to Get Excited About

I haven’t been writing much, so this is just a quick post to get back into the swing of things…These are 3 films coming out in the New Year that look amazing.

 La La Land

Release date (UK):
17th January 2017

Written and directed by:
Damien Chazelle

– Ryan Gosling
– Emma Stone
– John Legend
– Rosemarie DeWitt
– J. K. Simmons

Romantic musical comedy-drama

‘La La Land’ is  about Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress who waits on movie stars, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz musician who plays cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, both of whom aspire for greater things. As success hits, the fabric of their love affair begins to fray, and the American Dream they worked so hard to maintain begins to tear them apart.

Why to be excited:
This film is written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who wrote and directed ‘Whiplash’ (2014), which is one of my favourite films about music. Chazelle did such a fantastic job of recreating the passion/emotion musicians feel at striving to hit their musical potential in ‘Whiplash’ (both J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller did amazing jobs), so I am extremely excited to see what he does with this musical. ‘La La Land’ has the appearance of a classic Hollywood style romance film (with the movie studio settings, the mood lighting and the romantic colours), which I adore. I only like certain romance films, and this has the winning composition to be included in this list. It looks really classy, and Ryan Gosling is devastatingly handsome, and I can’t wait to watch this….





Release date (UK):
20th January 2017

Written and directed by:
M Knight Shyamalan

– James McAvoy
– Haley Lu Richardson
– Anya Taylor-Joy
– Kim Director
– Betty Buckley

Psychological Thriller

‘Split’ is about a man named Kevin (James McAvoy), who experiences extremely bad schizophrenia (a mental illness where Kevin is able to change his body chemistry with his thoughts – he essentially has a split personality). He kidnaps a car of 3 girls, and holds them captive. They then have to deal with Kevin’s 23 different personalities in order to help them escape. However, a final personality (“The Beast”) begins to materialise…

Why to be excited:
This film is written and directed by M Knight Shyamalan, who is best known for his film the ‘The Sixth Sense’ (1999), which in my eyes is an absolute classic, and still retains the impact it had on me when I first watched it! Similarly, last year I watched ‘The Visit’ (2015), which is another psychological thriller that I frequently recommend to people as it blew me away. This is because M Knight Shyamalan’s films are predominantly psychological thrillers, which have a style that border on horror (as they are so dark). Their psychological element toys with your mind, and make you unsettled and captivated in the same instance, which is why they leave such a lasting impression. From the advert, I can tell that ‘Split’ will no less do this, especially with James McAvoy at the helm. Definitely another film I am extremely excited to see!





Live by the Night

Release date (UK):
13th January 2017

Directed by:
Ben Affleck

Written by:
Ben Affleck and Dennis Lehane

– Zoe Saldana
– Ben Affleck
– Elle Fanning
– Scott Eastwood
– Chris Sullivan
– Sienna Miller

Gangster crime thriller

‘Live by Night’ is set in 1920s America during the Prohibition era, when an underground network of gangsters helps to ensure the flow of booze to speakeasies across the country. Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) is the son of the Boston Police Superintendent, but turns his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. However, Coughlin crosses a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his moll, which ultimately ends badly.

Why to be excited:
I studied American Studies at University, and this my favourite era in American history (I love the music, literature, fashion, and overall culture of the 1920s). There is something about gangster films that are so seductive and badass, that it’s just hard to get a gangster film wrong. Furthermore, there are a lot of big names behind this film (it is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, and is edited by Oscar-winning William Goldenberg – to name a few), and is written and directed by Affleck himself. I am so excited about this, as the last film I watched with him in (that he had written and directed) was ‘The Town’ (2010), which was a modern-day bank robber film, and was just perfect. ‘Live by the Night’ has the same potential.#
2017 looks amazing for films (especially with the Oscars just around the corner).