Rapid Review: Ex Machina (2014)

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ex machina poster

“One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction.”
– Nathan

SYNOPSIS: Caleb, a 26 year old coder at the world’s largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to Nathan, the reclusive CEO of the company. But when Caleb arrives at the remote location he finds that he will have to participate in a strange and fascinating experiment in which he must interact with the world’s first true artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl. – via IMDB

ex machina

GRADE 8.5I have been looking forward to seeing this for a while, the concept sounded very interesting, and like something both myself and my fiancé would enjoy because it contains both of our professions/fields of study. Boy, were we in for something! Ex Machina was so much more than I expected to be, and I was engrossed pretty much from the second it started. The story reels you in and then just gets the ball rolling quickly, and before you know what it happening you are in for a serious trip. The cast is very limited, but it is perfect for this movie, it is not bogged down by a multitude of unnecessary and flat characters. We were both at the edge of our seats throughout, convinced that at some stage Alex Garland would drop the ball. That happens all too often in sci-fi… great premise, and it all starts so well, and then they manage to do something that sours it all. I just want to commend Garland for giving us a great movie. Througout, I was not completely sure what was going on, and every time you think you have a handle on things, the aspects change, and you start to rethink everything you have seen. The conclusion was great for me, I loved it. It really stretched the idea of a machine with or without emotion to the extremes, and about the validity of this Turing test that was being administered. There is so much to talk about in this movie, but I can’t really because I truly hate spoilers and don’t want to ruin anything for anyone. You have to see it at least once though. Really. I loved the way the movie was shot and how the dialogue flowed, how it got really technical in places, but never so much as to lose a viewer. The performances all round were strong ones, and their interactions with each other were wonderful. The score fit everything perfectly, too, and the slightly washed out look the movie had was so suited for the story that was told. There were so many things going on at any given moment, and your attention is demanded for every second of the film’s run time. What I do know, however, is that everyone should see this movie at least once. If you are a programmer, you are going to love it, if you are into psychology, I think you will enjoy it, and if you like sci-fi then I am sure you will be all over this. I can see,  however, how it won’t be for everyone, but those that appreciate this type of thing will really like it. Okay, that’s all I can really say without spoiling anything, though if anyone wants to talk more about this, you know where to find me! I was a fan and so was my fiancé, and he isn’t usually easily impressed by things like this. I can see myself watching this a few times to come still. What a fascinating movie!

Rapid Review: Revolutionary Road (2008)

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revolutionary road poster

“Look at us. We’re just like everyone else. We’ve bought into the same, ridiculous delusion.”
– April Wheeler

SYNOPSIS: Frank and April Wheeler always see themselves as far-removed from the conventionality of suburbia. Yet that is exactly what creeps up on them when they buy a house in Connecticut. He toils 10 hours a day in a job he hates, while she, as a 1950s homemaker, yearns for fulfillment and passion. Rebelling against the torpor of their lives, the couple plan an escape that may push them to their limits. – via Google

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD DANCEREVOLUTIONARY ROAD WE WILL BE OKAY

GRADE 7.5I really enjoyed Revolutionary Road. I suppose true love is not quite as the couple would have imagined after surviving the Titanic and all that. Alright, I am kidding. It started off very sweet, and the couple that was adorable married and had their perfect little life, but soon the cracks and splinters in their relationship were visible. Do not be mistaken, this is not your average romantic film, overly predictable and soppy as sin (I really cannot stand those to begin with), but this one was different. It approached the whole thing in another light. It was sweet to see the Wheelers try so hard to get things together and get them right to live their lives to the fullest, but the longer you watch, the more cracked April seems. Yep, I mean it. The longer I watched, the more I was like damn, this woman is losing the plot and hiding all her decisions and justifications behind her husband, and then when realism sets in, he is the awful one. As a couple they also have to fill out the role of parents and look after their children, and the whole affair becomes a painful and tangled mess. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, it was a good drama and well-constructed, with a deeper looked into marriage, expectations, and then the reality of everything. DiCaprio absolutely shone in this movie (as if I would think anything else – but seriously, he was just excellent), and between him and Michael Shannon they really carried the film for me. Kate Winslet and Kathy Bates were also worth checking out, as always. Winslet was particularly well cast to play April, and her and DiCaprio manage to work very well alongside on another. Michael Shannon was a massive draw, and he played his role incredibly well here. He was brutally honest and didn’t really have a social buffer, but he was the one that told things like he saw them, and they were invariably correct. He had a strong character, and is definitely worth looking into. I know that not everyone is going to love this film, but I thought it to be solid, well put together and littered with great performances.