Tag: Adventure

A.I. Movie Festival: Classic Intelligence!

A Depressed Press SeriesPart 12 of 12 of A.I. Movie Festival

HAL 9000In the past few weeks I’ve covered over a dozen examples of A.I. in film. They’ve ranged from simplistic, overly fantastical, stories of 8-bit computers achieving sentience and emotional beach-balls causing national disasters to serious, cerebral explorations of what the true meaning of intelligence, life and existence really is.

For each movie that I covered, there are a dozen more that I neglected. To close on a high-note, then, I’d like to touch on a handful of classic personal favorites that have helped to mold the genre.

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A.I. Movie Festival: Unnecessary Intelligence!

A Depressed Press SeriesPart 6 of 12 of A.I. Movie Festival

Jinx, Space CampA.I. has provided filmmakers with a wonderful tool to explore the human condition. We can guiltlessly examine the absolute best and worst aspects of ourselves in a safe and approachable way. The reflective interaction between man and machine has produced some of the most iconic moments ever set to film.

Then there are other times. Times where A.I. is introduced and your only reasonable reaction has to be “What the fuck?” Here are two of those times.

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A.I. Movie Festival: 80’s Intelligence!

A Depressed Press SeriesPart 4 of 12 of A.I. Movie Festival

Tron, MCPThe 80’s was a great time for A.I. in film. We had reached a point, technologically, where the idea of smart machines seemed more inevitable than fantastical. Crucially, filmmakers could also assume their audiences were computer literate enough to understand more advanced concepts. Just as importantly, they knew that the audience wasn’t too savvy. A flurry of technobabble could make ridiculous claims sound reasonable and in the 80’s we got a lot of technobabble.

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Movie Review: Jurassic World

IMDB, Jurassic World“Jurassic World” on IMDB

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi, 124 Minutes, 2015

1993’s “Jurassic Park” [IMDB] is a touchstone for a generation. The movie melded some of the richest, most evolved practical effects ever created with, then, bleeding-edge digital effects to bring every child’s fantasy to life: dinosaurs. After dragging audiences through two stunted, heavy-handed sequels, this movie promises nothing less than a rekindling of that original magic.

Spoiler: It doesn’t do it. There is no rekindling.

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Mega Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

“Mad Max: Fury Road” on IMDBIMDB, Mad Max, Fury Road

Action/Sci-Fi, 120 Minutes, 2015

George Miller’s [IMDB] original Mad Max trilogy is an enigmatic classic. 1979’s “Mad Max” [IMDB] told the story of a vengeful cop losing his humanity against the backdrop of civilization on the brink of collapse. It was the only offering not set in a desert wasteland and, more importantly, the only story about Max, himself.

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Watching The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones with Teenage Girls

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” on IMDBIMDB, The Mortal Instruments, The City of Bones

Action/Fantasy, 130 Minutes, 2013

There has been an unending glut of young-adult fantasy romance adapted to film since the successes of “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games”. Authors are going to have to start leveraging love trapezoids because we’ve literally run out of triangles.

Still, it was my daughter’s 13th birthday and she wanted to watch this with her friends. They were deeply invested in the books and they promised – cross their hearts! – that they would watch it.

Teenage girls lie.

Teenage girls lie a lot.

Giving the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think that they intend to lie, but lie they do. I was able to capture this timelapse of them “watching” the movie. Does it look like much watching is getting done?

Phones, giggling, moving around, phones on sticks, snacks, jumping on each other and jumping off the furniture. These are, I remind you, huge fans. Personally, I was less animated and able to pay more attention.

Not that I really needed to. The basic framework is so terribly familiar: a blank teenage girl discovers that she’s actually incredibly special and is part of a fantastic hidden world. She then spends the whole movie moaning over, but never choosing between, two guys. The teenage girls squealed like… well, like teenage girls, when the blank girl started kissing the amazingly effeminate guy, but a few did argue for the merits of the nerdy guy.

The plot is built from common ingredients in a different blender: angels and demons, werewolves and vampires, secret societies and ancient feuds. The good guys have hidden a magic cup that the bad guys want. Really important information is delivered with a British accent, because.

The special effects are nice enough and the pacing is pretty good when not bogged down by the kissing parts. Teenage girls seem to enjoy ignoring it while looking at their phones. The whole thing is basically harmless.

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

IMDB, Kingsman The Secret Service“Kingsman: The Secret Service” on IMDB

Action/Adventure, 129 Minutes, 2014

In the past decade we’ve been flooded with gimped, sanitized PG-13 action movies. Bloodless, asexual, effects-driven action replaced the hard-hitting, foul-mouthed classics of the 80’s and early 90’s. Similarly, spy movies drifted away from fun, gadget-filled contests between womanizing gentlemen agents and volcano-habitating super-villains to gritty, dystopian melodramas featuring corrupt governments and more double-crosses than a confirmation ceremony for twins.

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Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

IMDB, Avengers, Age of Ultron“Avengers: Age of Ultron” on IMDB

Action/Adventure, 141 Minutes, 2015

The tent pole of the Marvel cinematic universe is back with a vengeance after the massively successful 2012 “The Avengers” [My Review]. The entire main cast returns joined by many smaller characters from the various individual films. Joss Whedon [IMDB] is also back at the helm; rumors have it, for the last time.

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Movie Review: Big Hero 6

IMDB, Big Hero 6“Big Hero 6” on IMDB

Family/Adventure, 102 Minutes, 2014

This was a good movie. A fun movie. No complaints really. Solid, if clichéd, characters, cool visuals and some weepy-eyed moments. Heck, Disney went all out on this by (sorta) orphaning this hero twice! Everybody knows that a Disney hero isn’t worth shit unless they’ve got at least a few dead family members (yes, Merida, Bob Iger’s going to get your parent’s Scottish asses any minute now).

Still… was it really all that?

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