Showing posts with label amy adams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amy adams. Show all posts

Monday, February 13, 2017

Arrival (2016) inspires beauty and terror in humanity

Film blog Arrival movie review
Photo Credit: Arrival / Paramount Pictures
Aliens invading Earth forces humanity to take drastic action. Suspicion and premature counter-attacks are sparked by world leaders and civilians trying to protect themselves. What do we do to quell panic? get answers? defend our turf? Director Denis Villeneuve tackles the complexity of humanity in Arrival.

Based on Ted Chiang's short story Story of Your Life, linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) are recruited into a special military operation to communicate with the creatures which initially harbor ill intentions. Together, the duo work with other countries to prevent war.

The science fiction genre has had a rough go recently. Audiences can mostly count on a franchise like Star Wars to transport them to another galaxy, while others have failed to live up to the hype like Independence Day: Resurgence. Ones that aren’t quite so loud like Interstellar, which invites big ideas about human nature falls short either in the story or execution. There isn't a 'wrong kind' of sci-movie, but quietly, with its characters, story, and interaction with extraterrestrial beings, Arrival hits all of the right notes.

For one, the ever dependable Amy Adams leads with grace and complexity. Louise is wholly composed character when the end of the world hits, sticking to her normal routines like lecturing her classes and watching the news in her office. When she’s recruited by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), that same sense of perseverance continues even as the government's higher-ups are counting on her to deliver. She’s resourceful to go about making contact the right way, and through her progress, we see her confusion and trepidation in a fractured environment.

Her quest isn’t about needing to see or speak to the aliens, but the beauty of language and how all races can try to understand one another. Language isn’t only verbal: it’s symbolic, visual, emotional, changes time, and derives from the intention of the giver by the receiver. You learn from the other person as you much as you may learn about yourself. Open lines of communication between person to person and country to country is vital whether or not there is an impending war going on between humans or against unknowable beings. There is beauty and terror in having the patience to not immediately go on the defensive. Even if the world itself takes a bleak turn, eerily mirroring our own shortcomings as well as our ability to connect and discover, Banks's expedition is one of endurance and tenderness.

The film's atmosphere is haunting and ethereal. Despite how chaotic the world becomes from these foreign visitors, the production design and the hypnotic score gives the journey a sense of awe and curiosity. The alien's tetrapods, in particular, are fascinating. From the outside, they are massive cocoons hovering mere feet off the ground, and inside, resemble a television stuck on a static channel as they communicate in Rorschach-test blots. The film's coloring may be muted, but the cinematography is vast as if Banks is just on the cusp of discovering life-changing secrets. The movie takes place on Earth, but one feels like we've been transported to another world.

Villeneuve has become one of the most popular directors by critics in recent years, and it’s not difficult to understand why. He has a keen sense of creating and world-building abstract ideas into intimate stories. This tale of aliens landing is gripping and patient, filled with love, hope, and determination. Almost above all else, Arrival explores human and non-human conflicts to provoke questions, and it's truly one of the best in a long time.

Rating: ★★★
Similar to: Close Encounters of The Third Kind
Have you seen Arrival? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Stars I Love: Amy Adams

"If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" When I first heard actress Amy Adams answer  "Green" quite blondily in the film Drop Dread Gorgeous (1999) I was in love.

Years later, and this actress became a four time Academy Award nominee. And her career has never slowed down. She kicks ass and takes names in every film, photoshoot, red carpet event - you name it. You just can't merely call her an actress. She's a super one.

From her early start as the bimbo classmate trying out for Miss Mount Rose American Teen Princess in Drop Dead Gorgeous and playing inexplicably adorable Daddy's girl in Catch Me If You Can, she's incomprehensibly able to fit every single role.

Her supporting role in the 2005 film Junebug confirms how easily she's able to capture then break our hearts. Not appearing in the film for more than a few scenes as pregnant Ashley, she earned the Academy's attention with a heartbreaking scene where she grieves over the loss of her newborn baby. This was the first of a few downright worthy Oscar nominations to come.

With Enchanted, Adams made every little girls' dream come true by transforming the 2D princess into a 3D world. Critics praised and audiences had no choice but to agree. She was exquisitely innocent, girlish, and had a heart of unbelievable gold. Playing Giselle paved the way for Adams like Julie Andrews and Mary Poppins; she was cemented as an icon for younger audiences around the world and as a showcase actress who could take the most innocent roles and make them work realistically.

This 5'4" firecracker just keeps churning out versatility like none other. Adams is able to curse up a storm and battle against five New Jersey sisters in The Fighter, and then change into lovable effervescent friend in The Muppets. These little movie name droppers don't even cover some of her invincible roles as out-nunning Meryl Streep in Doubt, going Marilyn Monroe-esque in Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, or tackling leading lady indies like Sunshine Cleaning. The funny thing about Amy Adams is even if the movies sucks - which is rare - she always comes out as a favorite. (The Wedding Date - comes to mind).

Let's just take a moment to admire her face and style because it's honestly not one too bad to gawk at.

Many actresses can well-disguise themselves in indies and blockbusters, but somehow their transformations are always tracked - maybe because their off-screen fame is bigger than their on-screen ones, or their pathetically more valued for their beauties than their talent. Adams, along with a small special legion of leading ladies, has been able to take her doughy wide eyes, red hair, and overwhelming talent to be more than just a red carpet clothes hanger or a feminine sidekick.
"I think a lot of times we don't pay enough attention to people with a positive attitude because we assume they are naive or stupid or unschooled. But what if she sees the truth about her life, understands it all and ultimately makes the choice that this is what she wants? Is she goofy? Yes. But she could ultimately be the most intelligent person in the movie."
Like an actress from Old Hollywood, her off-screen isn't personality wrapped up in publicity or tabloid propaganda. Neither in interviews does she try to be outrageous, forcefully quirky or manifesting personalities to suit different interviews. She's always herself; genuinely likable, smart, a bit of a fan girl (to her leading men), and someone who has fun with show-business but wants to make a lasting career with every film.

Her small town roots as an employee at the Gap and musical theater transformed Academy Award nominated powerhouse. When commenting on one of her Oscar appearances, Adams admitted to having an existential crises sitting next to Sean Penn and Meryl Streep; questioning she didn't belong there and that it all could be taken away. Nobody in their right mind can ever take away what is rightfully hers; a shining beacon in cinema.