Month: June, 2015

Ex Machina

First time director Alex Garland explores the sinister side of aritificial intelligence. Yes, it is a path that has been well trodden over the years, so it is good to see some fresh ideas breathed into the genre. Specifically, Garland asks why it is that we feel the need to imbue artificial intellengence with sexuality. His answer proceeds to gouge out the male gaze with a white hot poker of female vengeance … it is an oddly liberating experience. As a thriller Ex Machina stands tall as a well produced and absorbing product of entertainment. But more importantly it is a well considered feminist parable of our times.

Rating: 5 stars.

 

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Into the Woods

Into the Woods is a mish-mash of uninspiring fairytale characters that meander their way through a seemingly endless list of quests. Biting off way too much, this film sinks under its own weight and rapidly becomes a disjointed mess – even Meryl Streep can’t save it. The musical medley between the two princes (Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen), aptly titled “agony”, is ironically the film’s only redeeming scene, however, it’s title sums up my experience of this film.

  

Slow West

Slow West is a simple love story; Boy meets girl, girl leaves for America, boy follows girl. Despite its very simple plot I found Slow West to be well paced and thoroughly engrossing. The production is a boiling pot of nationalities; directed by a Scotsman (John Maclean), starring a couple of Australians (Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn), a South African New Zealander (Caren Pistorius), and an Irish German (Michael Fassbender), shot in New Zealand, but set in America … the result is met with a slew of wonderful ambiguities that place the film rather precariously within the western genre. Special mention goes to the Central Otago landscape which is shot with an almost magical quality by Scottish cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Philomena, The Angel’s Share).  Well worth watching.