"Arrival" is, apparently, a deliberately boring movie with a great cast. I am certain that I can be entertained by Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner reading the phone book at each other for two hours, and that just might have been more entertaining than this movie, which is pretentious, soporific, and kind of dumb. The film is based on a 1999 novella which uses the (mostly discredited) Sapir–Whorf hypothesis to address the concept of determinism, and deals with the fundamental conundrum of the topic by painting it pink and pretending it doesn't exist. (That is, it states that one can exercise one's free will in a deterministic universe by whole-heartedly accepting one's fate.)(Please note, my knowledge of the novella "Story of Your Life" is hearsay; I have not read it. But it is multiply confirmed hearsay.) The film builds on this dubious pedigree by adding a "human paranoia is evil" plot (which is a true statement, but boring) and a lot of dumb special effects. (We won't warn the major characters about the weird gravitic effects because they won't be as visually impressive for the audience if we describe them before they can see them.) In the end, this is EXACTLY the movie I feared it would be from seeing the trailers, and my hope of a pleasant surprise was thwarted. I don't regret seeing the film, because I think that some moderately intelligent discussion may come out of it. And there were two REALLY good scenes. (One of them involved the word "kangaroo", and the other involved a white board...)
In other news... Paperwork, home maintenance, and some BAD back trouble of mostly unknown origin that has mostly cleared up. Life goes on.