If you are in love with movies, this Valentines Day is for you! A great week full of new titles including a sci fi thinker, a brutally honest teenage tale and a story about the effect of war at home. These are your new releases for February 14, 2017.
First up this week is director Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival. Amy Adams plays linguistics professor Louise Banks, who has been called upon by the military to try and figure out a way to communicate with mysterious aliens ships that have landed all around the world. As Louise and theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) face the strange beings and try to decipher their unusual language, time may be running out as tensions rise around the globe as to the purpose of the alien visit.
Arrival is another great sci fi film that joins the ranks of fantastic recent films like Interstellar, The Martian and Passengers. Director Villeneuve has a knack for films with style and substance and often a tangible sense of dread and Arrival is a fine example. The cast are all brilliant, especially Adams, the effects are superb, subtle and feel authentic, and the story keeps you guessing right until the end. Sci fi is absolutely in the midst of a renaissance and Arrival will surely be regarded as a modern classic.
Next up is a new teen film that may just redefine angst. The Edge of Seventeen stars Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine, an awkward young girl having trouble finding her place in the world. And things are just getting more difficult when her perfect older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) starts dating her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). But hopefully with some guidance from a teacher willing to listen to her problems, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), Nadine might just make it out of high school alive.
The Edge of Seventeen really grabbed my attention right out of the gate because it is rated R. This is unusual for a movie about a teen but it uses that rating to be more honest about the feelings of a teenage girl and how she expresses them. There is tons of language and sex talk which, surprise, is what a seventeen year old talks about. The story is relatable, touching, honest and damn funny. Steinfeld is an actor to look out for, she has been doing great work since her debut in the 2010 Coen Brothers film True Grit and even has a successful singing career happening simultaneously. The Edge of Seventeen is teen angst at it’s authentic best.
Lastly this week is the new Ang Lee film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Newcomer Joe Alwyn stars as Billy Lynn, a 19 year old soldier who becomes famous after a heroic act in Iraq and returns home to participate in a Thanksgiving Day football halftime show before being redeployed. Throughout his day using flashbacks the true events in Iraq are revealed as Billy tries to cope with the realities of war.
Ang Lee is one of the best filmmakers out there and always brings a real sense of story to his films. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is no exception and is based on a best selling novel of the same name. Newcomer Alwyn is very good here and has a great screen presence, you can’t help but think you have seen him in other films. The story is a fascinating one as well depicting the difference between what the public is shown through media and what the reality of situations is. I am sure Billy’s story is a familiar one to veterans of recent war’s and I am sure the film must hit some pretty powerful notes with people closer to war. It feels authentic, tells a powerful story of a young man trying to cope with the effects of war and with facing returning to it. Another fascinating story from Lee.
Also of note this week is the sequel to the cult vampire film Stake Land, Stake Land II, the tragic true story of Christine Chubbuck as played by Rebecca Hall in Christine and the new HBO show Quarry: The Complete First Season.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday February 14, 2017
Action Horror Double Feature
All I Need
Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season
Beavis & Butthead: The Complete Collection
Bigfoot: The Movie
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Blaze and the Monster Machines – Race into Velocityville
Bleed for This
Cartoon Network: The Powerpuff Girls V1 - Tiara Trouble
Down on the Farm
Five Nights in Maine
Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Stars
One Million Years B.C.*
Psycho Killer Triple Feature
Quarry: The Complete First Season
Scooby Doo: Shaggy’s Showdown
Sisters of the Plague
Stake Land II
Star Trek Enterprise: The Complete Series*
Sugar Skull Girls
The Bible Stories: Genesis
The Bible Stories: Jeremiah
The Burningmore Deaths
The Crooked Man
The Edge of Seventeen
The Tree of Wooden Clogs* - Criterion Collection
We Are the Flesh
*Catalog Blu-ray debut