January movie wrap-up 1

Remember how I had that movie project and failed spectacularly? That was fun. It’s a new year, I’ve set myself a slightly overambitious goal and made a slightly obsessive spread sheet in an attempt to hold myself more accountable. Because I’m not watching movies for fun. This is a task that I must stick to religiously. Or just cause I like lists. Also I ramble on like no one's business, so I decided to split it up. So these are the first two movies I watched.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The first movie I watched this year was the Spaghetti Western classic The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It’s from 1966, was directed by the Italian director Sergio Leone and stars the young, gorgeous and not crazy Clint Eastwood. It also stars Eli Wallach as a Mexican, which is excellent casting. The movie is about three men, Blondie or “the Good” played by Clint Eastwood, who isn’t blond by the way, Angel Eyes or “the Bad” played by Lee Van Cleef, and Tuco or “the Ugly” played by the aforementioned Eli Wallach. Tuco and Blondie are a team and are scamming people by Blondie handing Tuco over to the authorities for the reward money, then saving him as he is about to be hanged.
Angel Eyes is a Union officer who is also a mercenary, looking for gold he has been told is buried somewhere. Blondie and Tuco also find out about the gold and go to find it. It’s great. There are basically no women with speaking roles in the whole movie and there’s so much testosterone you feel like you might drown in it. There are a lot of meaningful glances and amazing eyebrow action. In the first like ten minutes of the movie no one speaks, Angel Eyes and some guy just sit and stare soulfully at each other and eat. It’s amazing. It was weird, and it was sort of convoluted, and it took for fucking ever. Because it was made in the 60s and movies were slower. The score is incredible, and the movie is shot beautifully. I really liked it. Clint Eastwood was incredibly gorgeous and was dressed like a French novelist from the 70s, which is a great look in the Wild West.
So I really liked it. It was very cool, and very long, and slow, and beautiful.

Just look at him. Gorgeous weirdo.

Ex Machina
This is a new movie. Well it came out in 2015. It’s about the Turing Test essentially. A young coder named Caleb wins the company lottery. The prize is for him to go to the CEO’s retreat in the mountains somewhere, for a week. It was filmed in Norway, and it’s gorgeous, and it’s in some sort of fancy pants house where the CEO, Nathan, has created a robot, Ava. He wants Caleb to interact with Ava and decide whether or not he has Artificial Intelligence and a conscience, basically perform a Turing Test. He spends hours with her every day, talking to her and getting closer to her. While he’s there he begins to wonder about himself, and about how Ava feels about him, and he begins to wonder what Nathan is up to, and he finds Nathan’s interactions with Ava and Kyoko, the only other person there, more and more disturbing.
It was absolutely gorgeous. It’s a sci-fi psychological thriller. The longer Caleb stays the more he starts to doubt himself. And the more Nathan seems crazy, and his rampant alcohol intake and weird views on women is making him just, a bunch of fun. He has clearly been by himself for too long, surrounded by his AI. I found it interesting that the Turing Test Caleb performs is much more advanced, sort of. The idea of a Turing Test is you interact with a computer, without seeing it, and if you think it’s a person, it passes the test. In this test, Caleb already knows that Ava is a robot, but will he still determine that Ava has an AI, because if he spoke to her without seeing her she would pass with flying colours, so that test is no longer interesting. It’s so gorgeous, and it’s so creepy, and weird, and it’s so slow and beautiful. The music is absolutely gorgeous and it sets the scene incredibly well. I thought it was amazing.
I also thought the performances were incredible. The two main relationships are Nathan and Caleb, and Caleb and Ava. Caleb is played by Domnhall Gleeson (also known for Bill Weasley, General Hux), and he does a stellar job. I was so surprised that he had an American accent, no clue why, but I thought he did it well, and I think his character was interesting and well played. He is sort of beautifully and weirdly complex, and just magical. Nathan is played by Oscar Isaac, who is just gorgeous and magical, and a genius. He is great at being both brilliant and sad and sort of deranged. I loved him. Their relationship is great. They don’t really know how to interact. They’re both nerds, and so excited about code, and they can connect there, but they’re so different. Nathan is Caleb’s boss. Ava is played by Alicia Vikander, and she is stellar. It’s an interesting character. She has to portray an AI who is trying to be as human as possible, and I think she did an excellent job, both her characterisation and how she moved her face and hands, it was really well done.
All the stars and thumbs and everything. It’s so good.

So those were the first two movies I watched this year. And there will be more, and it will be great.