Almost Christmas Arrival

Christmastime, Aliens and Ghosts: November 11's New Movies

Friday, November 11, 2016 Rob Samuelson

How did we get here already? This weekend the word Christmas appears in the title of a new release. Not yet, calendar, not yet. There's other stuff to make us forget that the throes of winter are almost upon us, so let's see what's available to us moviegoing folk this time weekend.

Photo credit: Arrival Movie/Facebook

Almost Christmas
Director: David E. Talbert
Writer: David E. Talbert
Starring: Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Danny Glover, Mo’Nique

Following the death of the family matriarch, an upper middle-class family (the trailer suggests a political career for someone in the family) gets together for the holidays to eat, drink, play football, and generally be merry while they mourn. They also must try to avoid doing that thing all families do at the holidays: desiring to kill each other. Divorces lead to finding long lost neighborhood love birds, baked meals catch on fire, people almost fall off the roof, you get the deal. Having actors like Omar Epps and Danny Glover around can’t hurt the comedy in this movie from Baggage Claim filmmaker David E. Talbert.

Director: Denis Villeuneuve
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg

Once “they” (the aliens, of course) get here, all bets are off. How would we respond? In the world of director Denis Villeuneuve, the answer appears to be, “cautiously.” Amy Adams plays a linguist hired by the government to try to communicate with a race of aliens whose giant, contact lens-shaped ships hover over various parts of the world. There appears to be a ticking clock and Jeremy Renner is also there, which is often a great idea for a movie. After Villeuneuve’s Sicario and Enemy, I’m on board with whatever the heck he wants to do. Sign me up, especially when it’s science fiction.

Shut In
Director: Farren Blackburn
Writer: Christina Hodson
Starring: Naomi Watts, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, Oliver Platt

When a child psychologist played by Naomi Watts finds herself caring for her brain dead son (Charlie Heaton) following a car accident that took her husband, she isn’t sure what to do. Out of grief and probably some misplaced compassion, she takes in a creepy little kid (Room’s Jacob Tremblay), who promptly disappears and is presumed by the world to be dead. Insomnia and guilt conspire to make her not know what is reality and what isn’t, and once the ghosts start causing trouble around the house, everything goes kooky. This looks pretty paint-by-numbers as far as horror-thrillers go, but you never know.

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