In the Dark

Aliens: The Good and the Bad

Arrival
21 Laps Entertainment 
Directed by Denis Villeneuve 
Screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on Ted Chiang’s novella
Distributed by Paramount Pictures 

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Produced by Film4 and TriStar Pictures 
Directed by Ang Lee
Screenplay by Jean-Christophe Castelli from Ben Fountain’s novel 
Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing 

When is the last time you saw a film in which a man politely asks a woman if she would like to make a baby and receives a sweet smile for his answer?  Search as I may, I can’t find a single instance on Rotten Tomatoes, not even in the devil-may-care pre-code 1930’s.  When this question leapt from the soundtrack of the new science-fiction film Arrival, I was, as they say, flabbergasted.  True, I had read this exchange in the novella from which the film has been adapted, but I never expected it to survive the prurient scissors now wielded by Hollywood’s censors, the connection between sex and procreation being so vexed a topic today.  That it did survive is not the least of this film’s considerable charms.

Arrival was adapted from Ted Chiang’s The Story of Your Life, which, on the page, seems as unlikely a candidate for cinematic adaptation...

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