At the Movies: November 11

Loving, Shut In, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Arrival, Almost Christmas

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This week at the movies: Loving; Shut In; Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; Arrival; and Almost Christmas.

Loving

Interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love and were married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C., but the family ultimately tries to find a way back to Virginia. Starring Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Michael Shannon, and Nick Kroll. Based on a true story.

Rated PG-13. Directed by Jeff Nichols. Historical Drama. 2h 3m.

What the Critics Say:

“Nichols — director of Take Shelter, Mud and, most recently, Midnight Special — tells the Lovings’ story in a way that feels immediate and modern, and not just like a history lesson.” – Time

“There are few movies that speak to the American moment as movingly — and with as much idealism — as Jeff Nichols’s Loving.” – The NYTimes

Our Take: We are already moved by this incredible, uplifting love story. This one is definitely on our list (it’d be perfect for a date night!).

Shut In

Mary (Naomi Watts) is a child psychologist who lives in isolation in rural New England after her husband dies in a horrific car accident. The tragedy also leaves her 18-year-old stepson Stephen (Charlie Heaton) in a bedridden, catatonic state, making him completely dependent on her. When one of Mary's young patients goes missing and is presumed dead, she becomes convinced that the boy's (Jacob Tremblay) ghost is now haunting both her and Stephen. Also starring Oliver Platt.

Rated PG-13. Directed by Farren Blackburn. Drama/Thriller. 1h 31m.

What the Critics Say:

Shut In looks possibly a cut above the rest. The trailer has its own flavor of dread, and when it starts tossing in elements like insomnia and a barren winter landscape, I developed a moderate sense of the willies.” – Cinema Blend

Our Take: Halloween may be over, but this flick will still spook you to the core – especially since it stars Naomi Watts, the queen of supernatural thrillers…

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Nineteen-year-old private Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn), along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, what really happened to the squad is revealed, contrasting the realities of the war with America's perceptions. Based on the novel by Ben Fountain. Starring Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker, and Garrett Hedlund.

Rated R. Directed by Ang Lee. Historical Drama. 1h 50m.

What the Critics Say:

“The film isn't simply a technological experiment; it's also a highly original, heartfelt, and engrossing story. And part of the power of it lies in the way that those two things are connected.” – Variety

“The book is propelled by the breakneck velocity and scattershot jokiness of Mr. Fountain’s prose, but neither frenzy nor insouciance is exactly Mr. Lee’s speed. He is an elegant, contemplative filmmaker, observing strong emotions with a careful balance of sympathy and detachment. And even the chaos of combat and the circus inside the stadium have a choreographed, almost serene quality.” – The NYTimes

Our Take: Ang Lee? Say no more – this Oscar-winning, artistically gifted and experimental director clearly knows how to make an exceptional movie. We can say with utmost confidence that this one is going to be groundbreaking in the film world.

Arrival

Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when humongous spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind. Also starring Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.

Rated PG-13. Directed by Dennis Villeneuve. Sci-Fi/Mystery. 1h 58m.

What the Critics Say:

“What’s remarkable about ‘Arrival’ is its contemplative core — and, of course, Ms. Adams’s star performance, which is no less impassioned for being self-effacing. This film is very much a product of its time — open to other dimensions of existence, though coolly observant in the process.” – The Wall Street Journal

Our Take: Sci-fi fans: you will not be disappointed by Arrival and its enthralling story about very close extraterrestrial encounter. We also think Amy Adams is just a gem. Brace yourselves – there’s gonna be lots of aliens in this one…

Almost Christmas

Walter (Danny Glover) is a retired automotive engineer who lost the love of his life one year earlier. Now that the holiday season is here, he invites his four grown children and the rest of the family to his house for a traditional celebration. Poor Walter knows that if daughters Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and sons Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie T. Usher) can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle. Also starring Mo’Nique and Omar Epps.

Rated PG-13. Directed by David E. Talbert. Comedy. 1h 52m.

What the Critics Say:

 “If there is any reason, besides an annual craving for cinematic Christmas cheer, to see ‘Almost Christmas,’ that reason is Mo'Nique. Heck, the Mo'Nique bloopers at the end of the film are worth the price of admission… ‘Almost Christmas’ encompasses every high, low, in-between, culinary mishap and electric slide that makes the holidays what they are.” – The Chicago Tribune

Our Take: Clearly Mo’Nique steals the show in this funny family flick, so get ready for some big laughs and a big leap into the holiday spirit – ‘tis (almost!) the season, after all…