While I’ve always found vampires and their associated to be fascinating, with my fascination comes a picky, almost elitist view of how they should be: monstrous, dangerous, and—while they can and should have intelligence and character, the fact that they’re monsters should always lurk in the background. Also—and really, does this even need to be said?—NO SPARKLING. [Read more…]
Come with me if you want to see a better movie than Terminators 3 and 4!
Before I tell you exactly what I think of Terminator: Genisys, here’s my nutshell review of each movie in the series so far, so you know where I’m coming from:
An excellent sci-fi action movie teasing just on the edge of horror, and a true sci-fi classic. My favorite of the series.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
An even wilder action ride, with a little more emotional depth, and ground-breaking F/X, though as time passes, I find I prefer the artistry of the first movie just a little bit more. (It’s a shame the trailer spoiled the biggest twist for most people.) Also the first R-rated movie I saw without permission. Sorry, Mom & Dad.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Not without its charm, and I did like the twist at the end, but ultimately forgettable.
A disappointing, pandering waste of a film that I saw once and can no longer even really remember beyond the fact that, no sir, I did not like it. [Read more…]
Well holy flerking schnit, that was an awesome experience!
A couple of days ago I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road with a couple of friends. It was something of a spur-of-the-moment thing. I hadn’t originally been that excited for Fury Road. It was on my mental list of movies I’d probably see if I got around to it, but would likely end up renting. (Note that many movies on that mental-rental list—hee hee, rhyming!—are often forgotten between the time they’re in theaters and the time they’re available on DVD.) [Read more…]
A few weeks back I made a quick post about Ex Machina, a sci-fi film written and directed by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Dredd), declaring my interest after seeing the trailer. It’s still in limited release here in the United States, but tonight I got the lucky chance to see a free screening here in downtown Seattle attended by Garland himself.
After a young programmer named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a company lottery to spend a week at the secluded home of CEO and tech genius billionaire Nathan (Oscar Isaac), Nathan asks him to spend that week performing the Turing Test on the android Ava (Alicia Vikander) to determine whether she possesses true artificial intelligence. Isolated with a technological marvel and an intimidating eccentric monitoring his every moment, Caleb’s Turing Test swiftly enters uncomfortable territory.
Ex Machina is an excellent, thought-provoking, science fiction film that intrigues its audience as much with its atmosphere as with its ideas. From the beginning, through both the secluded setting and the subtle, unsettling undertones of Isaac’s portrayal of Nathan, an undercurrent of creepiness pervades the film. Nathan’s home is more research laboratory than a house. Keycards control access. Doors lock during intermittent, unexplained power outages. Caleb is not allowed access to the outside world due to the sensitive nature of Nathan’s work. Yet the film keeps the viewer off-balance with occasional–and well-placed–bouts of humor that both a) keep the tone from feeling so single-minded as to be tiring and b) accentuate the creepiness for the contrast.
Which isn’t to say that Nathan and his home aren’t the only sources of creepiness here. Vikander plays Ava with a charming, innocent seductiveness that draws Caleb and the viewer closer to her despite the unease of knowing that he’s interacting with…what? A machine pretending at being sentient, or an actual consciousness? And if the latter, then just what does that mean?
Ex Machina kept me guessing. Most of the time, I didn’t quite know where the film would wind up. It doesn’t telegraph its ending, and as the details of every step along the way unfolded themselves, rarely was it ever what I expected (save for once–and that’s not to say that’s a bad thing, either). It’s a bit of a mind-screw in a number of ways, which I won’t spoil here.
Furthermore, the film avoids clichés that one often finds in stories dealing with androids, A.I.s, and humans. It also avoids telling the viewer exactly what to think about what occurs, but rather presents itself and lets us decide what to think about it all. In fact, in a Q&A after the film ended, when asked what message he wanted audiences to take away from this film, Alex Garland responded that his goal was not to give a specific message but to start conversations, as the subjective nature of experiencing it could lead to many different points of view.
So here’s your tl;dr: Ex Machina is a thought-provoking, eerie, mind-game of a science fiction movie, and you should go see it because I said so.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of JM Guillen’s writing since I first read his dark fantasy novella The Herald of Autumn, and as fellow writers we’ve reviewed and helped get the word out about each other’s books. Yet the reason that I’m so willing and able to do so is simple: Every book of his that I’ve read so far has been SO FRELLING GOOD!
I recently finished reading Rationality Zero, Guillen’s self-described science fiction espionage horror novella, and I’m happy to say that it’s no exception.
I have faced the zombie at the base of Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill and emerged victorious!
Okay, so I can’t take all the credit. I was part of a team, and together we kicked the crap out of the zombie known as Doctor Oxy and escaped her room of puzzley terror! Well, all of us except for Clint. Clint got bit. But his sacrifice was not in vain!
You probably want to know just what the holy heck I’m talking about, huh? [Read more…]
WHAT DID I JUST WATCH?!?! Did this movie just– OH MY GOD!
That’s a summary of what went through my mind during much of Kingsman: The Secret Service, and I mean that in a very good way, because holy shit, this movie was fucking insane and I loved every single minute of it. SEE IT! [Read more…]