Davis: Another take on communicating with ETs

Amy Adams takes on the role of communicating with aliens in Arrival, from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve

Amy Adams in Arrival.

There have been many movies featuring extra-terrestrials in which the aliens are not necessarily belligerent such as E.T., Contact, Starman, Cocoon, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Like many of those movies, to communicate with the aliens it took a different perspective of reality as well as a good knowledge of mathematics, physics and even music.

In Arrival (not to be confused with The Arrival, a 1996 alien invasion movie starring Charlie Sheen), 12 giant alien spaceships suddenly appear and hover over earth.  Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner star as a linguist and mathematician, respectively, recruited by the U.S. military to attempt to communicate with the alien creatures.  Meanwhile, the media frenzy surrounding the alien presence creates concern and escalating paranoia around the world. Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners) had been wanting to direct a science fiction for a while and settled on adapting the award-winning novella “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang.

Like Contact and Close Encounters, much of the story and suspense is created through the insecurity of not knowing the intentions of the aliens while trying to figure out a way to communicate by understanding the reality that the aliens perceive.  While this kind of sci-fi may not have as much action as some, it will likely do what the genre does best — open our minds to different ways of thinking and allow us to see ourselves from a different perspective.

Arrival was well received at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival and currently holds a 100 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes saying that “(It) delivers a must-see experience for fans of thinking person’s sci-fi that anchors its heady themes with genuinely affecting emotion and a terrific performance from Amy Adams”.

If you are looking for something different to watch in a movie theatre this week, Landmark Cinemas Grand 10 has two different choices.  If you want to see a movie from the other side of the world, Chaar Sahibzaade 2: Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur is a sequel to the 2014 historical animated film that depicted the bravery of the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh and his four sons. The sequel is set after their deaths and will portray the journey of Sikh military commander Banda Singh Bahadur from 1708 – 1716. It is presented in Punjabi with English subtitles.

The Grand 10 is also showing Globe on Screen’s presentation of Richard II, continuing a celebration of 400 years of William Shakespeare.  Richard II shows on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 10 a.m.

And if none of these catch your interest, last week’s new openings, Dr. Strange, Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge are all popular with both critics and audiences (all three received a coveted “A” CinemaScore). Also, Landmark Cinemas Encore in West Kelowna has a fantastic selection of movies at discount prices this weekend: Sully, Deepwater Horizon, Suicide Squad, Pete’s Dragon and Storks.

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