Her (2013) – Reviewed

In Her, artificial Intelligence finally comes to the world. It’s personal, and everyone can have it in their networked computer. Once activated, your new operating system will pattern its personality around your own, based on a computer analysis of your personality.

Her Movie Still

In the new world of extreme connectivity and dwindling availability of leisure time, Theodore is a personal letter writer. He expresses thoughts for people to their loved ones, despite his own emotional withdrawal. The unthinkable happens when he is finally able to share his innermost thoughts… with his OS, Samantha.

The plot is absolutely brilliant. The fact that Samantha is an artificially intelligent operating system remains central, and finds, in that restriction, new ways to paint about love. Situations occur which could happen under no other circumstance. The turns are real surprises. The close proximity of the couple’s communication guarantees there are no chase-her-down-at-the-train-station-before-she-leaves-town moments.

When they fell in love, it was different. And special. And probably never seen before in a film. Not just the love story with Samantha, but the love story between Theodore and his wife. The love story between Theodore and his best friend. The love story between others that are in love with Theodore and Samantha’s relationship. Continue reading

Edge of Tomorrow – Reviewed

Edge of Tomorrow movie posterA horrible marketing campaign made it easy to dismiss Edge of Tomorrow as simply Groundhog’s Day meets Starship Troopers although, as with the vast majority of science fiction offerings, Edge of Tomorrow is a refreshingly clever concept wrapped in stale clichés.

I think it’s important to note that I walked into this movie with fresh eyes, having never read the novel, All You Need Is Kill, the Japanese Manga, or the American graphic novel.

Tom Cruise takes a turn at thwarting this year’s popcorn flick alien invasion, as happenstance grants him a seemingly endless number of temporal Mulligans. Cruise plays Major William Cage, a military promoter who is uncomfortably shoe-horned into taking part in a beach landing along the coast of France (the first of several seemingly purposeless allusions to World Wars I and II) that we are led to believe will be either a staged photo op against marginal resistance or the pivotal moment in humanity’s five year struggle for survival. The human soldiers seem completely unprepared for the threat they face, a fact that stands in stark contrast to the half-decade humanity has spent combating this threat. Cage is killed, only to be inexplicably resurrected at the beginning of the same day. Instead of devolving into a cinematic video game, it’s at this moment that Edge of Tomorrow truly begins to shine. The pacing intensifies, bolstered by editing that is borderline brilliant (some may recall our director, Doug Liman, was also at the helm for the film editing masterwork The Bourne Identity). Action and humor are seamlessly woven into an extended montage as enthralling as any I’ve seen since Disney’s animated feature Up. The concept alone justifies Edge of Tomorrow’s existence and makes it the best science fiction film of the year thus far. Continue reading

Robocop (2014) – Reviewed

Robocop Review Poster

Robocop, the 1987 cult classic, is remade here with a slick video game interface and injected with political posturing.

Alex Murphy is destroyed and rebuilt again, but not before a lengthy and necessary introduction. One of the problems with a remake, is that the new world has to be distinguished from the original. In this world, corporate interests are out of control, but not with the same hyperbole as the original Robocop series. Samuel Jackson fills in as a news "journalist" who in actuality is a mouthpiece for Omnicorp, a maker of military grade robotics. The metaphor is not subtle. Corporations want to replace people with robots, and will spend any amount of money to overturn the laws against this.

The first time Robocop (and the action bar) leaps thirty feet over a barricade, we feel excited. But eventually the surprise simmers down to a guy shooting other guys while running through tunnels. It’s as if all the intellectual capital was spent in giving Murphy a shocking new physiology, and there was none left for visualizing action. Continue reading

Mars et Avril – Reviewed

Mars et Avril movie posterMars et Avril: Jacob Obus is a 75 year old jazz musician, collapsing into darkness and isolation. He is world famous. His instruments are completely unique, not just in look, but in function. Each is modeled after a woman’s body and he never speaks to the models. This all smacks of misogyny, objectification and womanizing, as Obus blows on, strokes, fondles, and generally makes love to those bodies each time he plays the stage.

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All Your Scifi Are Belong To Us

Chris and Jonah Nolan, the brother duo behind The Dark Knight, Memento, The Prestige, and Inception, are slowly destroying and fulfilling my dreams.

Science fiction, as a film genre, has been perceived by studio insiders as expensive and unwarranted. A genre that doesn’t cross quadrants. A specialty for geeks. It didn’t matter how many times directors, producers and writers pointed to Star Wars or The Terminator. For every Star Wars, there were a hundred Ice Pirates, Time Bandits and Cyborgs. Millions of begging fans are crying out for their favorite stories to be told on film, yet movies like Akira, Ghost In The Shell and Snow Crash haven’t been made yet. Hollywood has been too slow to keep up. Continue reading

Primer – Reviewed

Primer defies stereotypes, eschewing art house tropes, while proving there’s one sure way to make a great movie: start with the writing.

Primer movie poster

When a geek cohort find themselves accidentally inventing a device in their lab/garage, what they end up with is more powerful and dynamic than any other invention. This device could change everything in their personal lives and possibly guide the future of the entire planet. Through the lens of the characters, the viewer is left pondering tremendous moral quandaries. Continue reading