It Follows is an astounding achievement for modern horror, yet a… MoreIt Follows is an astounding achievement for modern horror, yet a complex one. The film takes its time building suspense, something it does extremely well, but it requires a great deal of patience. As a whole, it is a relentlessly ominous and atmospheric experience with an dreamy 80s soundtrack. Carpenter and Craven fans, this one's for you.
If there has been any film in the past decade that has reinvigorated… MoreIf there has been any film in the past decade that has reinvigorated my love for vampire films, it is A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. The film is a brutal, relentless, and absolutely gorgeously directed masterpiece. Marketed as "a black-and-white Iranian vampire horror-western," the film is an atmospheric and cinematically breathtaking work of art. It is dark, brooding, and violent, and high praise must be given to Sheila Vand for perfectly encapsulating her alluring and malevolent role as "The Girl." A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is gothic horror at its best, and definitely not one to be overlooked.
Artificial intelligence has been a common theme in the science fiction… MoreArtificial intelligence has been a common theme in the science fiction genre for almost a century, whether in plays, novels, television shows, or of course, cinema. The moral implications of creating sentient robotic life, or rather, robotic life that can cognitively think and feel emotions like a human being, have also long been portrayed and debated. For the most part, classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey to this weekend's newest sci-fi thriller, Chappie, have taught us one thing: dabbling with artificial intelligence does not end well. Don't do it. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. In this sense, Chappie isn't really treading any new ground, but that doesn't take away from the film being a playful, satirical, and gory good time.
Chappie starts off promising enough, set sometime in the future in the South African city of Johannesburg, where armed and armored robots are utilized as police forces, greatly reducing the crime rates in the city and saving numerous civilian lives. The inventor of these robots, Deon Wilson (played by Dev Patel from The Newsroom, Slumdog Millionaire), is reaping the success of his creations, yet his sights are set on something of a much larger nature: sentient robots. For over three years, he has been working on software to create a robot that can rationalize and experience emotions in the same way humans can. After long nights of vigorous reconfiguration, Deon finally cracks the code and immediately goes to the CEO of Tetravaal, the company creating and distributing said police robots, for permission to integrate the program into one of the robots as a personal experiment. After being turned down, he sits gloomily at his desk as he stares at an inspirational cat poster pinned to his wall, providing the emotional breakthrough he needs to rebel against the company and create his own sentient robot. Looking past the glaring ridiculousness of this scene, Deon manages to steal a robot from the factory before being mugged by a group of thugs with the intention of threatening Deon to shut down the robotics program to perform a heist.
Yolandi and Ninja from the popular rap-rave group Die Antwoord play outlandish, criminalized versions of themselves in the film, forcing Deon to revive the robot with his sentience software, and here begins the life of Chappie. Deon's software appears to be a success, and much unlike the hardened, police-trained robots utilized in the country, Chappie is immediately afraid of his surroundings, hiding beneath a counter like a small child. Chappie is an innocent, adorable robot that learns to speak, act, and love like a real human, and it is a true feat to watch. Of course, it is not long before he is corrupted by the hardened criminals he is surrounded by, spouting vulgarities in a manner that is much more humorous than it is offensive. Much to Deon's discontent, Chappie is soon sporting gold chains, walking like a thug, and performing a series of robberies, yet he always maintains an air of compassion and innocence, unaware of his wrongdoings. The juxtaposition of Chappie's kindhearted nature with the cruelty of the real world is both gripping and distressing to watch, particularly as he tries to make sense of the world around him.
Chappie is one of the funniest and cutest robot entities to exist in both classic and modern sci-fi, and that in itself makes the film worth a watch. Additionally, Hugh Jackman playing the jealous and villainous Vincent Moore adds a vividly dark layer to the film as it progresses, leading to a violent and dauntingly climactic finale. As a whole, Chappie is a highly entertaining film with loads of laughs, explosions, and heart. However, it remains quite simple-minded as a story, never truly making any sort of original or foreboding statement about the dangers of artificial intelligence. At the end of it all, Chappie is an amusing popcorn film for sci-fi fanatics, but it is by no means a thought-provoking one that will linger with audiences after it is over.
The Last 5 Years is an ingenious satirical musical that blends the new… MoreThe Last 5 Years is an ingenious satirical musical that blends the new to the oldies in a witty and poignant manner. But it becomes so dark and convoluted that it is hard to find any purpose in it, perhaps due to its cynical nature. Regardless, it is a uniquely whimsical and beautifully relentless tale. Its opposite-occurring plots as the film progresses makes it an especially interesting watch.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is the first great film of 2015, by far.… MoreKingsman: The Secret Service is the first great film of 2015, by far. Immeasurable wit, insane gore, and a totally surreal and original script. I haven't had such a blast at the theater in a long time. Definitely not one to be missed.