“I saw Tom Ford‘s Nocturnal Animals last night,” the email begins. “A BAFTA and British Oscar voters event. Ford, Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhal and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were all there. Great group of talent. The film was well received and I liked it a lot, but Ford’s handling of the material makes it feel more emotional in retrospect than it was on the screen.

“By making a story about a woman so cold that she’s lost touch with everything in her life, we end up with a cold movie. The music, cinematography and actors, however, elevate it to a level of fascination that kept me in. I hope Michael Shannon gets some award attention. He was amazing as always.

Amy Adams in Nocturnal Amnials

“I asked you about an Arrival screening. Anything coming up?”

My reply: The only really interesting thing about Nocturnal Animals, which may strike a chord with this or that industry person but is going to more or less die when Joe Popcorn enters the equation, is the ending when [redacted but it involves something that happens between Gyllenhaal and Adams]. That’s it. That’s the only thing that grabbed me. Okay, that and Shannon’s cancer-ridden sheriff. But then Shannon is always good so it’s almost de rigeur when he scores yet again.

Again, my initial Toronto review.

Sorry but I can’t see Arrival again. I couldn’t stand it when I saw it at Telluride. Okay, it begins with a seriously intriguing premise, agreed, but after 45 minutes or so I began to numb out. The aliens, the starfish hands, the endless semagrams…later. And I half-hated the way it cheats about time and the fate of a certain off-screen character — the biggest cheat since Spielberg lied about the identity of the guy in the Normandy cemetery in Saving Private Ryan.

A condensed version of my original Telluride Arrival review (“Heptapod Barada Ixnay“).