Featured: Anticipating Arrival
This weekend is going to be one of the most exciting of the entire year for us. Denis Villeneuve is a favorite of ours and his new film, Arrival, is our #1 most anticipated film of 2016. On Episode 153 way back in January, we talked about Villeneuve’s strengths as a director and why Arrival could be his best film yet. Don’t get me wrong, that is not a reflection of Villeneuve’s previous films, but more so his continuous progression as a director and now with more resources. His early films, such as Incendies, Maelstrom, Polytechnique and Enemy, are clearly smaller in scale with almost no marketing behind them. Prisoners was Villeneuve’s first foray into Hollywood with a great cast and somewhat of a budget, and he proved he could conjure something both provocative and something audiences would go see in theaters. This led him to Sicario, which was equally successful, even garnering a few Oscar nominations for the film. I fully expect Arrival to feature the same prowess we’ve always seen from Villeneuve, and these new resources give him more space (ahem) for creativity and imagination. And that my friends, is very exciting to me.
Each of Villeneuve’s last four films have fought for spots in my Top 10 or my Top 20 of their respective years. Sicario made it as high as #3 on my particular list last year, I absolutely loved that film. He’s a filmmaker that continues to impress on every level. I love his attention to detail and how that not only brings nuance aesthetically, but how that helps influence the characters in his films. As a result, he renders worlds that are blistering to watch with some of the most interesting characters you’ll see in a given year. Additionally, he’s very good at delivering the very best out of his actors. Hugh Jackman’s performance in Prisoners is arguably the best of his career. Benicio del Toro probably should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor last year too. And while this may be crazy to say, I think Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy is equally as good as his performance in Nightcrawler, which was the best of 2014. At any rate, my point is that Villeneuve is able to get great performances out of his actors, a trait that is underrated when it comes to his direction.
Arrival features Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, two Oscar-nominated actors that have proven their worth in dramatic roles. And you’re going to put them in the hands of Villeneuve, in a thinking sci-fi epic? Hell yeah, I’m there. Arrival also features the likes of Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg as well, who are also very good in their own right. Everything on paper screams that this could end up being one of the year’s best films. And given Villeneuve’s track record, that wouldn’t surprise.
What about you? Are you excited for Arrival?
Here’s what else is coming to theaters this weekend:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
The Love Witch (limited)