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Review: Arrival

Denis Villeneuve delivers a sci-fi masterpiece

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In the past two decades, only two directors –Alfonso Cuarón, who won for Gravity in 2013, and Avatar’s James Cameron in 2009 – have been nominated for the Best Director Oscar for sci-fi films. That both have come in the last seven years may, optimistically, point to a slight thawing in the Academy’s stance to the genre, but it’s small comfort to anyone who cares about such things.

Perhaps, with his latest effort Arrival, Denis Villeneuve will do what Christopher Nolan was unable to, what Ridley Scott was unable to, what the Wachowskis and Neill Blomkamp and Duncan Jones and Spike Jonze and Alex Garland were unable to. Perhaps he’ll join that illustrious and exclusive club.

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The echo-ey chamber

In defence of the multiplex

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The multiplex cinema experience is oft-maligned. Justifiably so, sometimes. There are the people who seem pathologically unable to put away their phones. The mess and broken seats. The half-hour of ads and trailers. The lighting. All those fucking nachos.

To say there’s room for improvement would be like saying I’m kind of looking forward to Dunkirk. (Of course I am. It goes without saying. Everybody is.) Showcase has, to its credit, recognised this, and responded with reclining seats and a borderline-comical expanse of legroom. Other chains too will need to shape up if they want to keep cinemagoing a national pastime in the age of on-demand everything.

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