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Showing posts from May, 2015

Review - Ex Machina

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Ex Machina (2015), R, 108 minutes - I know that it only May - ok, the end of May - but so far this year, this is my 'best film that not enough people have seen'.  Unfortunately, I'm not helping change that much as it has now cycled out of theaters (at least in my area).  Because of scheduling of show times, it took me a couple weeks to get to see it myself, and then I've been dragging my feet getting around to this review.

Ex Machina utilizes a minimal cast led by Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson to explore the possibilities of true artificial intelligence (AI).  Caleb (Gleeson) is a programmer for a tech development firm who wins a drawing to spend a week with the company's founder Nathan (Isaac) at his remote estate.  After arriving, Caleb he learns that the real reason for the drawing was not to reward an employee with a week long meet and greet with Nathan, but to help in the testing process for his latest project: an AI he calls Ava (Alicia Vikander).  Nathan…

Review - Tomorrowland

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Tomorrowland (2015), PG, 130 minutes - Tomorrowland is a film that has intrigued me since I saw the first teaser trailer.  I had heard good things about George Clooney's involvement in this family friendly sci-fi flick from Disney and the fact that it was co-written by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof (and directed by Bird) certainly didn't hurt either.

Clooney provides the star power to help draw in an older audience, but Tomorrowland actually centers on a teenage girl named Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), the daughter of a NASA engineer (Tim McGraw) with a seemingly unlimited imagination, positive outlook, and a bit of a rebellious streak.  When the film starts, she's arrested during one of her many attempts to hijack the cranes being used to decommission a NASA launch pad (once the pad has been deconstructed, her father is out of a job).  After her father bails her out, she finds a pin in her belongings that she has never seen before.  When she touches it, she is transporte…

Review - Mad Max: Fury Road

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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), R, 120 minutes - George Miller returns from a stint directing more family friendly films (Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, Happy Feet Two) to reboot his iconic character first introduced to the world thirty six years ago in 1979's Mad Max (starring Mel Gibson).

Taking place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of a world, the film opens with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) munching on a two headed lizard and thinking to himself about one thing: survival.  Moments later he is run down and abducted by a group of War Boys, minions of the land's ruler Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne - who also played the primary villain Toecutter in the 1979 original).  This sequence kicks off what becomes an almost two hour, pedal to the metal car chase that only slows for plot advancing dialog on a couple of occasions.  The basics: Immortan Joe controls all of the precious natural resources around The Citadel and limits their distribution to in order to subjugate his people.  …

Review - Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), PG-13, 141 minutes - What does one do to follow up a film that becomes a global phenomenon and banks more than one billion dollars at the box office? If you're Joss Whedon, you co-create a television series within the shared universe (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) then take the reigns of the follow up film; taking the Avengers on a romp around the world, neutralizing another global threat, and officially solidifying them as Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Not having to worry about introducing the world to these characters, Whedon throws us right into the fray as the Avengers: Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) - lay siege to a H.Y.D.R.A. stronghold under Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's (Thomas Kretschmann) command. A mission that uncovers the artificial intelligence (A…