Tag Archives: Forest Whitaker


Movie:  Arrival

Rating:   4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   The day has finally come when intelligent beings from another world have landed on earth.  Not just one spaceship, but twelve of them each located in a different country, massive in size and shaped like elongated eggs.  They hover a few feet above the surface of the ground, and whoever is inside make no effort to leave their ship.  Naturally a worldwide pandemonium breaks out speculating on their purpose, wondering if the aliens’ intentions are peaceful or hostile, and how to respond to the situation.  The stock market drops a whopping 2000 points the first day, and Americans go on a gun buying spree until the ATF puts a cap on new gun licenses.

The twelve governments hosting the alien space craft cautiously set up a network of communications to exchange information about the aliens, which is very little and slow to come by.  The chief obstacle is communication.  The aliens do have a method of communicating, but it is so radically different from humans that it may prove impossible to relate to the visitors.  The U.S. Army sends Col Weber (Forest Whitaker) to recruit the best linguist available, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), and she is choppered to the top secret camp next to the alien craft along with physicist Dr. Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).  They spearhead the labor intensive effort to determine how to talk to an alien species, and find out the crucial answer as to why they have come.

This is a terrific movie with an engrossing story that is delivered by an A list cast.  Having said that, a word of caution to movie goers who associate stories about aliens coming to earth with movies like War Of The Worlds and Independence Day, cause this movie is nothing like those action flicks.  For lack of a better word, this is a cerebral experience that forces the viewer to be patient, and pay close attention to connect the dots as the scientists painstakingly work to understand the aliens.  There is suspense that builds, and a satisfactory conclusion if you hang in for the ride.  I suspect if there is ever a real UFO landing, this is how governments would respond.   One of the best film experiences of the year.

Dialogue Nuggets:   Radio Caller – “If this is some sort of peaceful contact why send 12?  Why not just send one?”

Louise – “Why don’t we just talk to them before we start throwing math problems at them?”

TV Anchor – “800,000 march on Washington to protest their handling of the crisis.”

Ian to Louise – “I’m curious.  Are you dreaming in their language?”

Louise – “If all I ever gave you was a hammer.…”  Col Weber – “Everything becomes a nail.”

Louise – “Time isn’t the same for them, it’s non-linear.”

Chinese General Chang to Louise – “18 months ago you did something even my superior could not do.  You changed my mind.”







Movie:  Southpaw

Rating:  4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the undefeated, undisputed light heavyweight  champion of the world.  He grew up as an orphan in the child services system, with little education and no skills.  But he learn to use his fists and a desire to make something of himself into a lucrative career, and married his first love Maureen (Rachel McAdams).  Maureen and their child Leila is Billy’s whole life, and he has provided a mansion for them to live in and all the trappings of a luxurious life they would never have dreamed of from their humble beginnings were it not for his prowess in the boxing ring.

Billy Hope has been fighting for a number of years, and as the saying goes, it not the years it’s the mileage.  Hope’s fighting style is basically offense, and while he eventually wears down his opponents in the tradition of Rocky Marciano, he takes a lot of punishment in getting the victories.  Maureen, the brains of the family, is seriously concerned about her husband’s physical well being.  She advocates more rest and fewer fights, and she manages the finances and keeps an eye on the hangers-on that are part of a sports champion’s life.

But uneasy lies the head of he who wears the crown.  Immediately after Billy Hope defends his title in Madison Square Garden, a young and talented Colombian fighter Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez) is eager for a title shot with the champ.  Escobar resorts to taunting and baiting Hope to get his attention and force the champ to agree to a fight.  Ultimately, Escobar’s tactics lead to tragic results for a number of people.

This is a terrific film.   It has elements of tragedy, greed, human frailties, hope and redemption mixed in to keep the viewer riveted to the story line.  Jake Gyllenhaal got his body chiseled and buff as any real boxer could, and gives an Oscar worthy performance.  The boxing scenes are authentic, as Gyllenhaal is actually throwing and taking real punches.    Rachel McAdams does a fine job in her supporting role, as does old pro Forest Whitaker in his role as boxing trainer Tick Wills.  This is a Weinstein Company production, and it is surprising they released the movie this early in the year, as it should compete for several Oscars, including Best Picture.  Check it out; best boxing film since Raging Bull.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Maureen to Billy before a fight – “Don’t get hit too much!”

Maureen to Billy after the fight – “Can you get your socks off?”

Escobar to Hope – “You ain’t never been hit by a real man.”

Maureen – “You’re going to be punch drunk in two years if you keep this up.”

Escobar – “I’ll take your belt and then your bitch!”

Tick Wills – “I’m going to introduce you to something new.  It’s called defense.”

Tick Wills – “You go out there and kick his ass.  I want to see Billy the Great!”