Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicario, Prisoners, Incendies) versatile and prolific creative streak continues with Arrival, an emotionally arresting, visually inventive science fiction based on the award-winning Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Professor of linguistics Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is enlisted by the US government to decipher the language of extra-terrestrials who initiated first contact. She is accompanied by scientist Ian Donelly (Jeremy Renner) on a mission to determine the purpose of their mysterious visitation. As the military manoeuvres around the operation become increasingly fraught, the two outsiders are drawn together in their search for understanding in this tense and emotional sci-fi drama.
The story is underpinned by an extremely resonant interest in the importance of translation, not only the direct challenge of decoding this new language, but also in the forging of international cooperation between countries to prevent conflict. A universe away from traditional alien invasion films, Arrival is ultimately a cinematic paean to human life – its intimacy, complexity and grandeur, and to what keeps us connected to each other – communication, memory, and the experience of love and loss.
Science Fiction 2019 102 mins Director: Justin Benson
Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan star as a pair of New Orleans paramedics who encounter a series of bizarre deaths linked to a new designer drug with otherworldly effects.
Thriller 2019 104 mins Director: Brandon Cronenberg
In the near future, a cool and ruthless assassin who uses other people’s bodies to carry out execution-style killings comes unstuck when her latest vehicle resists.
Documentary 2019 92 mins Director: Damon Gameau
Award-winning director Damon Gameau embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like if we embraced the best solutions to improve our planet.
Science Fiction 2019 98 mins Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg play a pair of first-time buyers who get more than they bargained for in this twisted fable about the horrors of suburban living.
Science Fiction 2018 113 mins Director: Claire Denis
The messiness of sex, the mysteries of birth and the moving spectacle of devoted parenting in the face of impending oblivion create a potent atmosphere in Claire Denis’ English-language debut.
Science Fiction 2013 126 mins Director: Bong Joon-ho
After a global catastrophe launches the world into a new ice age, the last of humanity are trapped on a high-speed train that circles the globe infinitely.
Best Films of 2017
Drama 2016 119 mins Director: Matt Ross
Viggo Mortensen plays the father-gone-primitive in this wonderful award-winning comedy about an off-grid family.
Drama 2016 100 mins Director: Ken Loach
Ken Loach’s powerful, Palme d’Or-winning invective against welfare injustice captured the mood of modern Britain and became his biggest box office success.
Thriller 2016 112 mins Director: Tate Taylor
Emily Blunt stars in the adaptation of the best-seller about a divorcee who entangles herself in the investigation of a missing young woman.
Comedy 2016 162 mins Director: Maren Ade
A lonely prankster upends the life of his high-powered daughter in a riotous comedy, deep and sharp.
Drama 2016 137 mins Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams shine in this devastating, Oscar-winning drama from Kenneth Lonergan about a man’s painful hometown return.
Drama 2016 87 mins Director: Peter Mackie Burns
Emily Beecham stars in a powerful character study about a 31-year-old chef who's drifting through her London life, until she witnesses a shocking event…
Featuring Jeremy Renner
Drama 2013 117 mins Director: James Gray
Marion Cotillard plays a Polish immigrant struggling to survive in 1920s New York, in this acclaimed drama from James Gray (We Own the Night).
War 2008 131 mins Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director Academy Award in 2010 for this visceral, thrilling story of an American maverick bomb disarmer in Iraq.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Crime 2015 121 mins Director: Denis Villeneuve
Emily Blunt plays the FBI agent enlisted for a special operation against Mexican cartels, in this pulsatingly tense thriller from Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners).
Drama 2020 118 mins Director: Agnieszka Holland
Agnieszka Holland’s fascinating biopic of Jan Mikolášek, a 20th century Czech herbalist whose great success masked the grimmest of secrets.
Documentary 2021 86 mins Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Creative dual-portrait documentary of Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, two of the greatest figures in 20th Century American Literature.
Romance 2020 116 mins Director: Boaz Yakin
Incorporating expressive and exultant dance sequences, Aviva is a restless modern love story that explores the complexities of gender dynamics.
Comedy 2020 106 mins Director: Lawrence Michael Levine
At a remote lake house, a filmmaker plays a calculated game of desire and jealousy in the pursuit of a work of art that blurs the boundaries between autobiography and invention.
Documentary 2020 86 mins Director: Lisa Rovner
The remarkable untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to transform how we produce and listen to music today.
Documentary 2019 105 mins Director: Pat Collins
Director Pat Collins’ sublime portrait of the renowned American folklorist and ethnologist, Henry Glassie, who has spent a half century documenting the artistic processes of traditional craftspeople.