Arrival is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us Amy Adams' language skills, a new Cinemax show, an Ang Lee Iraq War movie, a PBS Civil War show, and a gay porn crime drama starring James Franco.
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My wife is a language nerd.  Technically, she’s a master linguist having received her degree from Indiana University many years ago.  As such, she has many language-nerd friends.  Which means I have many language-nerd friends. Arrival is a film in which Amy Adams plays a linguist who saves the world from an alien invasion using her language-nerd powers.  All of those aforementioned friends were terribly excited by this film.  

I am not a language nerd.  I’m not particularly interested in grammatical intricacies as one can easily tell by constant abuse of the rules in these weekly picks.  I do however like a good science fiction story and the general consensus is that Arrival is exactly that.

A little more of the plot.  Twelve unidentified flying objects enter Earth’s atmosphere.  Contact is made but no one on Earth understand’s what the aliens want.  Enter Amy Adams and her linguistic magic.  Slowly, she learns more and more about their written language, but the world’s population’s fears grow wilder by the day.  Will she be able to communicate with the aliens and avert an intergalactic war?  I can’t wait to find out.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

The Tree of Wooden Clogs (Criterion Collection):  Winner of the 1978 Palme d’Or at Cannes, this Italian neorealist film tells the tale of four families working for one landowner in an isolated Italian estate. I gather that it's a rather slow-going affair, beautifully capturing the lives of these peasants and their mistreatment by the landowner, but something worth watching.  When your in the mood for that sort of thing.

The Edge of Seventeen: Hailee Steinfeld, Blake Jenner, Haley Lu Richardson, Kyra Sedgwick, and Woody Harrelson star in this teen dramedy that keeps getting compared to John Hughes movies of the '80s.  That’s enough for me to want to watch it.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk:  Ang Lee’s war drama about an Iraqi war veteran who is welcomed home as a hero, but as the film unfolds we realize a person’s actions in war aren’t always heroic or even laudable.  Lee shot the film at a higher film rate than normal, which when projected correctly makes things look hyper real, like we are experiencing PTSD along with the protagonist.  Unfortunately, most theaters were unable to project it at the correct frame rate which caused a bit of an uproar.  I can’t find any info on whether the Blu-ray will be able to show it correctly or not.

King Cobra:  Christian Slater, Molly Ringwald, Alicia Silverstone, and (of course) James Franco star in this sordid gay porn drama.  It is based upon a real life story about two rival porn companies and the star they both wanted which ultimately turned deadly.  The reviews have not been really kind, and I grow tired of Franco constantly showing up in these sorts of films, but still, I’m intrigued.

Mercy Street: Season 2:  PBS series starring AnnaSophia Robb and Mary Elizabeth Winstead about two Civil War-era nurses working for a Virginia hospital that services both Union and Confederate soldiers.

Quarry: The Complete First Season:  Cinemax series about a disillusioned Vietnam vet who returns home to Memphis in 1972 and gets offered a job as a hitman by a mysterious man only known as The Broker. 

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