After some pondering, I’ve decided that I’d like to go back to double features. The only exceptions, which are quite a few, will be theatre viewings, festival screenings, screeners, Disney and Hong Kong film reviews.
The first double feature to kick off the year are back to somewhat of a alphabetical order formula. Hopefully this time, I’ll get through the alphabet a second round although I can already see it being double featured somewhat scattered as there is at least one Disney title in between. I’ve been meaning to watch Arrival forever and it finally landed on Netflix and then as I try to get through a lot of the titles I’d like to watch on Shudder, my husband chose The Burrowers.
Let’s check it out!
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O’Brien, Tzi Ma
When twelve mysterious spacecrafts appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors. – IMDB
I always end up slapping myself everything I finish up a Denis Villeneuve as to why it took me so long to catch up with his film. Although, I’ve seen more of his films before he broke out in Hollywood which are also titles that I always suggest everyone to watch. Arrival is a breathtaking experience, both in its story telling execution and its character development as well as the cinematography and the setting (in the beautiful province of Quebec more rural areas).
Let’s start with the cast. The main players is Amy Adams who plays Louise Banks. She is fantastic as she is not only smart but also incredibly sensitive as a character that always gets questioned for her risky approach and dedication and fascination of deciphering this alien language and her defense of the situation. There is a level of obsession as she is constantly surrounded by the symbols that she is given as she dives into learning the language. Playing opposite here is Jeremy Renner who is more of the scientist of the operation who is fascinated not only by the situation but seemingly more so by Amy Adams character here and rightfully so. He defends and supports a lot of her decisions. Playing the Colonel, who pretty much runs the operation here is Forest Whitaker who is amazing as always. To be fair, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker are all actors that I absolutely enjoy watching so Arrival already had the winning cast for myself.
With Denis Villeneuve at the helm of this, there is always a darker atmosphere here. The urgency of the situation and the threatened environment of the world is definitely a selling point here as it feels quite authentic if the world were to have 12 alien spaceships land in 12 difference places how everyone would react. However, as the story unfolds and Louise Banks figures out the linguistics of it all, we also get brought into the world of what this all is about and to avoid any spoiler territory, it is a thought – provoking and meaningful sort of ending. Arrival is a definitely a must-watch!
The Burrowers (2008)
Director (and writer) J.T. Petty
Cast: Clancy Brown, David Busse, William Mapother, Jocelin Donahue, Karl Geary, Doug Hutchison, Laura Leighton
In the Wild West a rescue party sets out to find a family of settlers that has vanished from their home under mysterious circumstances. – IMDB
We’re huge fans of monster movies. Tremors is a hit at our house and The Burrowers honestly reminded us a bit of that when we were just looking at the poster. However, The Burrowers is a rather Western style horror film as it is centers itself around a feud between the Americans and their prejudice thoughts on the Amerindians being involved all the deaths and disappearances happening. For that reason, it does sometimes feel like the movie forgets what its trying to do. It does do a good job at the hatred between certain characters towards the Native Americans and while the story wants to use that as well to drop the little clues here and there to show what The Burrowers are actually and their goal, at point, it goes so slow that it seems to lose its momentum and heads directly into the boring spot more frequent than I’d like.
To be fair, I’m not one to pick at slower paced films. However, The Burrowers seems to be just a lackluster experience. Somehow, I ended up being more affected by the brutality and the depth of the hatred and the actions of a certain character towards Amerindians than actually the threat of The Burrowers themselves. The idea of The Burrowers was a good villain when the whole story pieced together however, the execution of the story itself just didn’t work for me.