Alex Garland is known for writing a number of science-fiction films, both 28 Days Later, Sunshine for Danny Boyle, as well as Adapting Kazuo Ishiguru’s novel Never Let Me Go for Mark Romanek, and even the most recent adaptation of dystopian-justice comic, Dredd.
Garland’s directorial debut is the single location, three-hander drama, Ex Machina, starring Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander. It premieres in North America on March 15 (and has had a positive response from other markets for which the film is already in commercial release) at SXSW Festival, before a commercial release on April 10th.
A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.
“Want to see something cool?” Check out the trailer below.
Ahhh, Millennium Entertainment, prolific purveyor of second rate trash cinema, and the ersatz heir to Cannon/Golan-Globus. Usually I try to ignore their star-driven exercises in formula, but this one, directed by a woman (April Mullen), which might be a first for the company, caught my eye.
Canadian cult actress Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary) stars as an ass-kicking, Memento-memory’d woman out for revenge after a violent thug (Christopher Lloyd, chewing scenery magnificently) had her husband killed. Another cult Canuck actor, Michael Ironside (a personal favourite), plays the cop out to catch (or help?) her before she gets the job done. Blend that up with oversaturated colours, crazy shifts in tone, and other forms of acute lack of restraint and I am all in. Hopefully this Domino-lite will get some limited theatrical somewhere, but I’m not holding my breath considering it has been out on BLU-Ray in The US since January.
I’m finally starting to figure out the appeal of Kristen Wiig and all it took was seeing her in a handful of movies where she plays the same sort of character: likeable but somewhat pathetic individuals who, none the less, manage to be less pathetic at the end than at the beginning of their journey. They’re always a little humerous and Wiig is always great but in Welcome to Me (review), Wiig elevates from great to brilliant.
Welcome to Me is uncomfortable to watch. Wiig’s Alice quite obviously suffers from mental health issues and laughing at her antics is a bit icky but the movie somehow tows the fine line between creepy and funny and I came away with a new sense of awe not only for Wiig but for the rest of the cast, particularly Wes Bentley who hasn’t been memorable in years.
I love this movie.
Welcome to Me opens May 8. Fingers crossed it finds an audience that appreciates the genius.
Will Andrew Niccol’s latest capture the imagination and box-office in a similar fashion to American Sniper? On the surface, both films share a number of commonalities, not the least of which are soldiers having to kill their enemies from afar, with a certain unquestioning detachment. Niccol has made a career out of questioning the emotional and psychological significance of where we are and where we are going in terms of technology and its applications; from the sci-fi genetics drama Gattaca (also starring Ethan Hawke) to synthetic actors in S1Mone, to his screenplay for Peter Weir’s The Truman Show. Here he gets to play in the theater of the current Middle East and drone warfare. I think Good Kill will be better than American Sniper, but likely ignored by the public at large due to a falsely perceived copy-cat-itis.
In an air-conditioned shipping container somewhere in the Nevada desert, a war is being waged. Behind a door that reads “YOU ARE NOW LEAVING THE USA,” five flight-suited US Air Force officers operate drones that hover above “zones of interest” in the Middle East. At the press of a button, tiny targets viewed on computer screens vanish in plumes of smoke, as in a videogame. Egan (Ethan Hawke) used to live to fly. Now, he spends eight hours each day fighting the War on Terror by remote control and the remaining time at his suburban home, where he feuds with his wife (Mad Men’s January Jones), and numbs his boredom, rage, and guilt with alcohol. When Egan and his crew are told to start taking orders directly from the CIA — which selects its targets based not on personal profiles but patterns of activity — the notion of a “good” kill becomes even more maddeningly abstract, and Egan’s ability to comply with his superiors’ directives reaches its breaking point.
Bent Hamer’s quirky, visually formal romantic comedy was one of the most surprising pleasures at last years Toronto International Film Festival. In matters of science and love, if you get down to the most first-principle measurements at atomic levels, it’s more of an agreed upon reference than actual fact. What a novel and unusual way to articulate a life! The film might be on the nose at times and it’s driest of dry Norwegian humour is a bit of an acquired taste, but it is so brilliant and beautiful in how it goes about itself, that I fell in love with 1001 Grams, unequivocally.
When Norwegian scientist Marie attends a seminar in Paris on the actual weight of a kilo, it is her own measurement of disappointment, grief and, not least, love, that ends up on the scale.
Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson’s Spring is one of those savvy genre films that mixes up two distinct film styles, the Richard Linklater walk-and-talk with the body horror creature feature. The result is something sweet, and something new. Check out our review of the film here, and the give the new trailer, which is about as spoilery as the comparison in the previous sentence, a watch. No worries about spoilers, with this film, the devil is in the details, and the joy is in the execution, the surprises lie elsewhere from the plotting.
A young man in a personal tailspin flees the US to Italy, where he sparks up a romance with a woman harboring a dark, primordial secret.
Fittingly, the film will be released this…wait for it…this Spring.
Handsomely artificial, lush steam-punk production design, and an excellent cast (Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska), Crimson Peak, judging by the trailer, seems to continue Guillermo del Toro’s recent ‘inert’ dramatic streak. To put it bluntly, the actors look trapped by the sets and costumes, and the CGI so utterly out of place in this Turn of the Screw/The Innocents kind of homage, that I hope there is much more than meets the eye. Have a look at the trailer below (although judging by the millions of views on Youtube, you’ve probably already seen it by now. Feel free to weigh in on the comment section.
Set in Cumbria, in a crumbling mansion in a largely rural and mountainous region of northern England in the 19th century, young author Edith Cushing discovers that her charming new husband Sir Thomas Sharpe is not who he appears to be.
Compared to World War II, the First World War gets the shaft when it comes to representation on the big screen. Sure, there’s War Horse, All Quiet on the Western Front, Lawrence of Arabia, and Gallipoli, but overall, it seems for every film tackling the first, there are a dozen dealing with the second.
So, I’m always looking forward to a good WWI flick. Even if Russell Crowe’s upcoming The Water Diviner isn’t about the war itself, it is about the effects of that war–in particular, the effects of the Battle of Gallipoli on Australian families who lived with the consequences of their youth being sent into that particular senseless and avoidable slaughter.
Crowe, who directs as well as stars, plays a father who travels to the fallen Ottoman Empire (Turkey) to track down the remains of his boys. The trailer may be a bit heavy handed and give away a little too much of the plot, but overly dramatic is when Crowe is at his best.
The Water Diviner was Australia’s highest grossing film last year and won Best Film at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. It opens stateside on April 24, 2015.
Nobody can make schlock work like Cameron Crowe. His particular brand of RomCom Americana is simply unparalleled. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone, but it is at least working on a different level (for higher or lower) than anyone else making these kinds of movies. For me, I’m mostly on board; a couple of clunkers in there maybe – though “clunkers” might be too strong of a term – but for the most part, Crowe is an auteur.
Though it’s been four years since his last picture (which seems to be his modus operandi), to be fair he made three pictures in one year at the previous interval. So now he’s back with what feels a little bit more like the Cameron of old: dysfunctional relationships, quirky chemistry and only halfway funny one-liners/sequences that are actually really funny (or at least heartfelt) because Crowe brings something special out of his actors (see Cuba Gooding jr.).