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Living in Washington , DC, I never thought I would find a venue that would showcase my love for artsy , independent films. E Street Cinema was a gem I thought to be rare. Zoetroplis Art House in Lancaster, Pa has fullfilled my long lost love for indie films. Moonlight is a film that should be the center of discussion at any table. My lack of review of this prolific film is deliberate. Please go see this film. You are welcome, kat
100% Rotten Tomato Rating- 1st in History I have yet to read a negative review on the film Lady Bird. As a gift to your Mom, or any person you care about, treat them to a showing of Lady Bird. In true fashion, I do not want to give too much away. The story centers around a young lady attending parochial school who is coming of age, and trying to figure life out. That is all I want to divulge. Go see it, and return, and lets discuss all of the bits of this absolutely beautiful story. I hate California, I want to go to the east coast. I want to go where culture is like, New York, or Connecticut or New Hampshire - Lady Bird -kat
I had heard of "Ex Machina," but knew absolutely nothing about it before a couple of nights ago - released in 2015, it won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects - considering it was a relatively low-budget, independent, science-fiction film, it's pretty remarkable that it didn't come across as low-budget (it didn't come across as high-budget either; it fell somewhere in the middle). Made for $15 million, it beat out such films as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ($250 million) and "Mad Max: Fury Road" ($150 million) - this alone is remarkable. Writer-Director Alex Garland also received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Screenplay, justifiably losing to the fine "Spotlight" - I suspect that, in this category, the crew took a "just happy to be here" attitude. I don't write plot summaries here - my time is too limited, and there are too many other fine websites that handle that task with aplomb; instead, I make whatever observations come to mind, and that I think people may find interesting or relevant. If you read past this point, I'm assuming you've already seen the film (don't forget, this is a discussion website). As a side note, if you've never heard "Deus ex Machina" pronounced before, the words sound like 1) Ama"deus" 2) "x" 3) "Mach" V + "eena," with the accent on Mach. As for Racer X, I did not ask him his opinion. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** The setting, in God-knows-what remote part of Alaska, Canada, or Siberia - as well as the role of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac) - both come across to me as silly. I don't care how smart or rich someone is - they don't own half the world, and have the knowledge to out-think all of humanity by themselves. Isaac played his part poorly, although he was in a no-win situation: Think, for a moment, how inane it is for him to have built a company which handles 94% of all internet searches, *as well as* having the technical intelligence and knowledge to make world-changing breakthroughs (you can be mega-rich, or mega-educated; never are you both, at least not to *this* extent. (Bateman wasn't even very old, yet he made Bill Gates look like a mentally impaired panhandler.) Furthermore, his character was not that far removed from that of a frat boy - I can see this as a satire or farce, but it was intended to be neither, and that's why it falls flat: not short, but flat. I do applaud it for taking a Mickey Mantle-like swing for the fences (that took guts, and I admire it), but it whiffed in a way that could have turbine-powered the entire Bronx on a hot summer day. The computer, Ava - deliciously played by Alicia Vikander, and undoubtedly stoking techno-nerd fantasies they didn't even realize they had - was supposed to pass what's known as a "Turing Test," theorized by tera-genius Alan Turing in 1950, which basically says that if a human interacts with a computer, but thinks they're interacting with another human, then the computer passes the Turing Test. Recall also that Alan Turing, whose work I studied more than any other individual's while in graduate school, was the subject of the fine 2014 biopic, "The Imitation Game" (it just this second popped into my head that "The Imitation Game" also alludes to a gay person staying in the closet, imitating someone who's straight, but that bit of mental numbness is my problem, and can be openly (sorry) discussed in The Imitation Game's thread). I mention the content of the preceding paragraph because at the very end of the film, Ava did indeed pass the Turing Test, as she obviously convinced the helicopter pilot (as well as pedestrians at the intersection) that she was human - I suspect most people are so wigged out by the film's finale that they miss this subtle-but-important point. This was essentially a four-person script, with "test subject" Caleb Smith (played more than adequately by Domhnall Gleeson), and in a lesser role than the other three, the "other" robot, Kyoko (played very well, and with respect for subtlety and nuance, by Sonoya Mizuno). You really need to turn your mind off to enjoy Ex Machina, as the fundamental premise, including the setting and the personality of Bateman, are so improbable that you'll pull your hair out if you question it, so it will help your emotional stability if you accept this in advance - but then again, you aren't supposed to be reading this until you've finished the film. On a related note, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Joseph Heller's "Catch 22" just this afternoon. On an unrelated note, it's somewhat disturbing that "Portnoy's Complaint" just popped into my mind. Admit it: You had the hots for Ava, and you feel somewhat conflicted. Just admit it. Do.
When I first heard that a film about David Foster Wallace was being made, I was thrilled. Then I began reading articles about how his widow did not support "The End of the Tour." In the articles, she speculated that Wallace, who disliked the spotlight, would not have wanted a film to be made about him. That made sense to me, so, on principle, I avoided seeing it. Several months later, when the movie came out on video, a friend who is a Wallace fan and one of the few people I know who has also read "Infinite Jest," urged me to see it. Curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to look for it online. It was available to stream for free, so I decided, why not? I enjoyed "The End of the Tour" very much. At first, I was put off by Jason Segel playing Wallace. The actor, well known for such comedies as "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "I Love You, Man," seemed oddly cast to me. As I watched the film, however, my impression changed. I think Segel did an excellent job capturing Wallace's quiet spirit. He became the author to me, and I found his portrayal touching and believable. The film is the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter and novelist David Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg, and Wallace, which takes place right after the 1996 publication of "Infinite Jest." The article was never published, but is based on Lipsky's memoir, "Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace," written after Wallace's suicide in 2008. The relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee is fun to watch. Lipsky is in awe of Wallace, perhaps a bit intimidated and jealous, and Wallace is guarded at first, but also refreshingly candid when answering Lipsky's questions. I feel like I have a better understanding of one of my favorite authors after watching this film. Who knew Wallace had a secret crush on Alanis Morissette, and why? There is a scene at the very end of the film that shows Wallace doing something I never in a million years would have imagined him doing. Seeing this endeared him to me even more. If you are a fan of big films with explosions and car chases, this is not the movie for you. If you like quiet films about ideas and relationships, you probably will enjoy "The End of the Tour." If you are a Wallace fan, and particularly a lover of "Infinite Jest," this film, I believe, is a worthy investment of your time and attention.