I said Arrival is a good film and the only SF film I would recommend to somebody else in I don’t remember how long, you’re not getting much more out of me!
Ex Machina left me with the feeling it was the kind of SF with training wheels for peoples who make a point of not caring about SF, because “you see? we’re not geeks, were actually popular in high school!”
I wonder how those who loathe The Big Bang Theory (I didn’t BTW) felt about this movie.
The general take left me also in two minds, with AI being such a hot topic that already affects almost every aspect of life for a shockingly large number of people, with the potential to radically transform society, possibly in the short term, too, Ex Machina goes for this …Hitchcock styled play? that seems weirdly out of time (and touch), like theorizing ‘what if an AI achieved sentience’ is nobody ever thought of before.
That’s interesting because Clarke certainly wasn’t religious, and Kubrick was also not religious in the usual sense, whereas Sunshine’s plot is centered around the sun as an all-consuming, uncaring fire god that gives life, and takes lives, and an obsession for it that is a virus of the mind in much of the same way some actual religions are.
Anyway, same as Moon (2009), another underwhelming moving pic, in my book: “…it’s hard SF, baby. They don’t make’em like this anymore”.
Even though you want to shoot whoever wrote the silliness of a quarter of the ship bursting out in flames because the overly intelligent ship’s AI was over-ridden, and didn’t do anything until one second too late, what a masterful timing, because the script needed that to go wherever it wanted to go next.
That’s just hard to swallow.
I also laughed from time to time, then again I don’t worship Gordon “greed is good” Gekko as my role model: its main characters (and Di Caprio’s of course) are so in-your-face, over the top amoral, that their actions transcend into the field of surreal humor, and I couldn’t help myself.
Certainly not because I thought they were great people (I’m still in favor of the Golgafrinchan solution), it’s also out of doubt, as far as I’m concerned. that that is the reaction the film is looking for, same as some good ole bits of ultraviolence in Trainspotting, but a different, non-physical, type of violence.
Cinema is about manipulating audience about the same way (sure enough, you don’t go for ALL of their savings and, oversimplification, look at this, don’t look at that, now I’ll play with your emotions, your mind is won) a point I think Prestige made more elegantly and without risking to give a false impression (I hope) that it could be siding with the bad guys.
Wolf of Wall Street has the viewer take a hard stare at some of the problems with the Capitalistic system, how money in practice is just a parlor trick, a virtual faucet that can be ripped open by those who can look past the immaterial cages that lock most people in, and an actual cage for those who don’t know how or refuse to. However I felt this point was undermined by the film being so keen on appearing like not passing judgment, that it only made a token effort (like the Ferrari changing color half way through a sequence as the narrator/protagonist breaks in) to distance itself from scam artists, and that IMO weakens it, not less than if it took a stern “this is the Old Testament Retribution you get for messing with poor folks!!!1!” stance.
It’s not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, IMO, but I feel ambivalent about it; probably will watch again, if I have the chance, see if, with the benefit of hindsight, I can glean something more out of it.
Really, it looked to me like half of the time the bear was trying to romance Di Caprio in a definitely non-platonic way, but couldn’t quite manage, because of the ever present plantigrade-human divide, a topic on which it would take breaks from time to time to ponder and sulk about, before resuming its thoroughly ineffective lovemaking-slash-venting.
It also stretched for innumerable minutes, like literally there was no effing tomorrow, but you can say the same about the whole film so…
Gravity does this thing in that it has this story that could stand on its own two feet (like Bullock’s character at the end), but then the writers felt compelled to shoehorn in an MD in orbit, installing telecommunications boards on the Hubble Space Telescope for Only God Knows What Reason.
It’s like you can hear the gears whirring in Cuaron’s mind: what? an engineer? who the hell cares about engineers? Are they even human? It must be an MD, because MDs save lives! And Average Joe doesn’t understand advanced diagnostic instrumentation isn’t designed or even operated by MDs anyways! Hell, if someone hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t know either! Shanti, shanti, who cares!
Not content, they gave the character an absolutely bullshit backstory that’s shoved in your face, because god forbid! the emotional side of a film should never be subtle, especially if set in space, complete with a dead daughter and the inevitable life-on-auto-pilot (ha! ha!) argument.
But make sure you don’t miss the poignant symbolism of Bullock’s character going from fetal position in weightlessness, to standing like a real man (whoops) against Gravity, that’s what they teach in film school, I guess.