Tag Archives: Denis Villeneuve

Arrival (2016): the most humanist sci-fi film of the past decade

Science fiction is a genre too often misunderstood as something entirely fictional and futuristic. But if we dig deep and undress the carefully constructed metaphors (such as the presence of aliens, monsters and human mutants) we will find that the foundation of such films is always a commentary on our contemporary world. Somewhere under the surface, between the lines, science-fiction is always addressing our political, socio-economic or environmental situation, tapping into our collective fears and with a cathartic ending reassuring us that, no matter what dangers the humanity faces in a certain socio-historical moment, everything is going to work out just fine. Whether it is a sci-fi movie from the Cold War era, influenced by the nuclear threat and fear of communist Russia taking over the world, a post 9/11 alien-invasion movie that taps into people’s fear of terrorist attacks, or an environmental catastrophe movie from the early 2000’s when the reality and undeniable threat of global warming entered into our collective consciousness – there is always an important correlation between a science fiction story and an era in which it was made, even if such films do not always approach these subjects in the most impartial and non damaging way. But this is where Arrival so extraordinarily stands out from alien films that we have seen in the past, proving itself to be one of the most outstanding and humanist science fiction films of the past decade.

You can find the rest of the review here.

Most anticipated films of 2015

A fellow blogger Keith inspired me to make my own list of the most anticipated films of 2015. Here are some films that deserve your attention this year:

  1. The Trap: Harmony Korine’s new film. Do I need to say more? Anyone who knows his work understands my excitement. And if you by any chance haven’t heard of this genius yet: go watch Spring Breakers this instance!
  2. Mistress America: Noah Baumbach is back! And so is the adorable Greta Gerwig. And because I’m pretty sure that much of Frances Ha‘s charm and accurateness about female friendships came from Gerwig and not from Baumbach, I’m excited to see that they continue to collaborate as co-writers. Alex Ross Perry already demonstrated how much better the film works if it’s co-written by a man and a woman (his The Color Wheel was co-written by Carlen Altman, while his latest film, Listen Up Philip, written by Perry alone, seriously lacked some female perspective). Baumbach’s films are much more charming and optimistic since Gerwig entered the picture. I really hope their collaboration will continue in the future (it’s a little nerve-racking since their creative partnership depends on their personal one, but I hope they manage to make it work).
  3. The Lobster: Greek New Wave is returning, but this time with an international cast. After Yorgos Lanthimos’s great success with Dogtooth and Alps, finding producers for new projects doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore. The Lobster was co-produced by Greece, UK, Ireland, Netherlands and France and it’s cast includes (wait for it!) Léa Seydoux, Colin Farrel, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly. After reading film’s summary, I got a feeling that it will be just as weird and disturbing as his previous work – and this couldn’t make me happier.
  4. Flashmob: I can’t even begin to imagine what will Michael Haneke do this time. The title definitely sounds intriguing.
  5. Louder Than Bombs: after his heartbreaking 2011 drama Oslo, 31. august, Norwegian director Joachim Trier is returning with a film that was co-produced by Norway and USA and stars Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert.
  6. Umimachi Diary: new film by one of the greatest contemporary Japanese filmmakers, Hirokazu Koreeda. For those not familiar with his work, I strongly suggest you watch his latest film Like Father, Like Son, or some of his older masterpieces, like Still Walking from 2008, or After Life from 1998.
  7. That’s What I’m Talking About: Richard Linklater’s next project. It most definitely won’t be as great as Boyhood, but still… it’s Linklater and he hardly ever disappoints.
  8. Sicario: Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is an expert for haunting and twisted dramas, and I expect this one to be no different from his previous work. If he didn’t get your attention yet, go watch last year’s Enemy, or his 2010 film Incendies.
  9. Knight of Cups: Terrence Malick’s new film, starring Christian Bale and Natalie Portman. With filmography that includes masterpieces such as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Tree of Life, Malick’s easily one of my favourite currently working American directors.
  10. Love in Khon Kaen: film by Thai independent film director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who’s probably best known for his film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, that won him Palme d’Or at 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
  11. The Revenant: after last year’s success of Birdman I think we’re all in anticipation of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s next film with Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio in the main roles.
  12. Macbeth: Shakespeare’s drama directed by Australian director Justin Kurzel, best known for his 2011 crime/drama film Snowtown. And if that doesn’t sound exciting enough for you, here’s another great news: Michael Fassbender will play Macbeth, and his wife will be no other than the exquisite Marion Cotillard.
  13.  La La Land: Damien Chazelle, whose second feature film Whiplash is currently still playing in the theatres, is soon coming back with another musical drama: this time about a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress, played by Miles Teller and Emma Watson.
  14. La giovinezza: Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, who won last year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Film for The Great Beauty, is returning – and this time with no other than Jane Fonda, Michael Cane and Harvey Keitel in the main roles.
  15. Bessie: Dee Rees’s second feature film. After her promising 2011 debut Pariah I can’t help but be excited about this biopic about blues performer Bessie Smith (although biography films aren’t really my thing). The fact that she’s an African-American female director makes it even more exciting.

Films I’m least looking forward to?

Fifty Shades of Grey and everything that David O. Russell plans to do in the future.