Author: rl

Don’t Date Robots: A Love Story

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Unlike most “evil robot” stories about mankind’s hubris in creating artificial intelligence, Ex Machina isn’t just concerned with the notion of building sentient robots—it also warns us about how we should interact with said robots once they inevitably arrive. (Apparently, dating them isn’t the best idea. Sorry, Japan.) Warning: there are spoilers in this review. Advertisements

Review: ‘Noah’

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Proving once again that no genre can hold him, Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler) tackles the story of Noah in, uh, Noah. Russell Crowe portrays the titular character who receives apocalyptic visions from God and, with the help of his family (Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson et. al.) builds an ark to survive the coming deluge. Also, Nick Nolte is in here somewhere. See if you can guess where! I think you’ll be surprised … […]

Review: ‘The Lego Movie’

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Legos! 21 Jump Street directors (and Clone High USA creators, for those of you who watched MTV before it became completely worthless) Phil Lord and Chris Miller show they aren’t afraid of a challenge by bringing us The Lego Movie, the story of an average minifigure’s (Chris Pratt) quest to save his expertly constructed world from the machinations of WHO CARES LEGOS Ryan: At first glance, a whole movie about Legos probably sounds like a ridiculous idea, a shameless cash-grab […]

Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

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The second installment of The Hunger Games saga finds heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in a distant dystopian future again faking romance and wielding her trusty bow and arrow in the Capitol’s arena. Ryan: In my experience, there are two elements any sequel needs to have to be successful. The first is escalation—in other words, whatever’s at stake in the sequel should ideally be of greater importance than its predecessor. The second is subversion—a conscious […]

Review: ’12 Years a Slave’

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From Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) comes 12 Years a Slave, which follows a free black man from New York in the mid-19th century named Solomon Northrop, who is kidnapped and enslaved in the deep South for – surprise! – twelve years. The film is based on a true account. Rebecca: Going into 12 Years a Slave, I expected it to be good, great even. 12 Years has been heralded as the frontrunner for this upcoming […]

Review: ‘Captain Phillips’

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The latest of approximately fourteen million prestige movies being released this season, Captain Phillips teams Academy Award winning-director Paul Greengrass with Tom Hanks, who is TOM HANKS. The film recounts the 2009 hijacking of an American container ship off the coast of Somalia, as well as the harrowing events that followed. Ryan: In many ways, Captain Phillips is the polar opposite of the last film we reviewed—Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity–within the spectrum of exceptional films. There’s […]

Review: ‘Gravity’

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In Alfonso Cuaron’s first movie since 2006’s Children of Men, the long-gestating space film Gravity, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as astronauts who struggle to survive after an unexpected debris field devastates their space outpost and kills their crew.   Rebecca: If you are going to see Gravity, see it in 3D, in as many Ds as possible. Over-D, if you can. See it in IMAX. Wear the goofy glasses, people. Because this is […]

Review: ‘Don Jon’

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In Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a porn-obsessed New Jersey bartender who learns via his relationships with two women ‑ his physical ideal (Scarlett Johansson) and a mysterious older classmate (Julianne Moore) ‑ the difference between sex and intimacy. Ryan: For a 32 year old, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a pretty impressive professional career. He co-starred in a long-running sitcom, worked with some of the best directors in the world, and founded his own production […]

Review: ‘Oblivion’ v. ‘Elysium’

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So this week we have two similar beasts: the Tom Cruise science-fiction vehicle Oblivion, which recently became available on DVD, and the Matt Damon dystopian feature Elysium.  Elysium comes from the director of District 9 and shares similarities with that film. In addition to liberally using shaky cam, director Neill Blomkamp again sets his near-future tale in bleak slums, and again his hero must overcome his own weaknesses, realizing his potential and sacrificing for the […]

Review: ‘Pacific Rim’

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From Guillermo Del Toro, director of the Hellboy films and Pan’s Labyrinth, comes Pacific Rim, a summer blockbuster in which a renegade band of international soldiers mans giant robots to dispatch invading monsters.  Ryan: So, I’ve been thinking about the concept of the inner child in the context of film watching. Historically, I haven’t really identified with the idea—I don’t feel like I have some inner child who enjoys things my outer adult does not. When I enjoy […]