Maniac 2012 remake Mannequin Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Jan Broberg, Liane Balaban, America Olivo, Morgane Slemp, Sal Landi, Genevieve Alexandra, Megan M Duffy Marilyn Manson, Fusebox, Scalping, Breathing, Sexy Goths, Tattoos, Tits, Gobjob, Staplegun, Hair, Wigs, Mannequins, Flies, Throatstab, Voyeur, Razor, Achilles Heel, Hogtied, Handstab!, Mouthstab!, Clever, Gutpunch, Disarmed, Skinned Alive

Maniac (Remake – 2012): the deranged and murderous owner of a mannequin shop crosses paths with an artist who understands his appreciation for the figures. Not for the faint hearted, this is packed with violence and gore; in all of the graphic scenes you keep thinking ‘they’ll cut away from it now… Now… NOW?!?!’. These gut-wrenching effects are paired with a deranged and explicit sound design, which makes this very unnerving and creepy to watch. Elijah Wood is sufficiently creepy-looking and charming – although he doesn’t get the same chance to push his range as this version is mostly shot from his point of view (POV). Because of the POV shooting, brutal sound effects and explicit gore you feel more like a participant than an observer, which works disturbingly well in the voyeuristic and chase sequences. The original Maniac is great, and still holds up today, but times have changed and this one ups the ante in every aspect, becoming more shocking by comparison, whilst retaining a certain retro ‘video nasty’ / ‘classic exploitation‘ vibe (aided by plenty homages and similarities to the original, and an exquisite post-Drive 1980s synth soundtrack.) On a scale of ‘one to creepy’ this is CREEPY AS FUCK and – like the original – although this is 100% unrecommendable, the Maniac remake is an exploitation and slasher masterpiece.

Score: 9/10

Maniac 2012 Remake Lucie Lucy Sexy Goth, Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Jan Broberg, Liane Balaban, America Olivo, Morgane Slemp, Sal Landi, Genevieve Alexandra, Megan M Duffy Marilyn Manson, Fusebox, Scalping, Breathing, Sexy Goths, Tattoos, Tits, Gobjob, Staplegun, Hair, Wigs, Mannequins, Flies, Throatstab, Voyeur, Razor, Achilles Heel, Hogtied, Handstab!, Mouthstab!, Clever, Gutpunch, Disarmed, Skinned AliveManiac 2012 Remake Lucy Licue Sexy Goth Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Jan Broberg, Liane Balaban, America Olivo, Morgane Slemp, Sal Landi, Genevieve Alexandra, Megan M Duffy Marilyn Manson, Fusebox, Scalping, Breathing, Sexy Goths, Tattoos, Tits, Gobjob, Staplegun, Hair, Wigs, Mannequins, Flies, Throatstab, Voyeur, Razor, Achilles Heel, Hogtied, Handstab!, Mouthstab!, Clever, Gutpunch, Disarmed, Skinned Alive

ABCs of Death Blood Baby Blocks Letters Logo

The ABCs of Death: Horror and Horror-Comedy anthology consisting of 26 short films from different directors, including some of the best and most notorious in the genre. The brief is simple; small budget, unlimited imagination, and be as anarchic, ambitious and outrageous as you can. Although there are a couple of stinkers, on-the-whole there are a lot of interesting, fun, and exciting segments in here; and hopefully it will be a gateway into world cinema, as the ‘foreign’ shorts are generally a cut above in terms of story and execution.

Score: 7.5/10

ABCs of Death Youngbuck Pedophile Archery Hunting Antlers Deer

Apocalypse (Nacho Vigalondo): Some great use of black humour and physical effects. Great opener. 8/10

Bigfoot (Adrian Garcia Bogliano): Babysitting done right. Bogyman style Mexican ‘Snowman’. 8/10

Cycle (Ernesto Diaz Espinoza): Mini Triangle/Timecrimes style horror. Garden hoez! 7/10

Dogfight (Marcel Sarmiento): Best animal acting I’ve ever seen. Good mini plot & twist. 8/10

Exterminate (Angela Bettis): A campaign of terror from a spider. Too CGI reliant, but good fapping humour. 5/10

Fart (Noboru Iguchi): Some classic Japanese madness; schoolgirl lesbians overdosing on their teacher’s farts. 7/10

ABCs of Death Toilet Claymation Killer Toilet

Gravity (Andrew Traucki): POV death by drowning. First stinker on the reel. 2/10

Hydro-Electric Diffusion (Thomas Malling): Steampunk Nazi Stripper Cat in XXX Loony Toons. 5/10

Ingrown (Jorge Michel Grau): Bathtubs, needles, scratching, vomit. Proper nasty & hard-hitting. 9/10

Jidai-geki (Yûdai Yamaguchi): Seppuku gone wrong. Very funny and awesome gore / FX. 8/10

Klutz (Anders Morgenthaler): Animation of a poop that just wont flush. One of the tamer segments. 6/10

Libido (Timo Tjahjanto): Very dark Mortal Kombat style masturbation competition. Unsettling and provocative. 9/10

Miscarriage (Ti West): Not scary, not well made, one cheap shock. Worst thing on the reel. 1/10

ABCs of Death Ingrown Bathtub Scratching Needle Murder

Nuptials (Banjong Pisanthanakun): Laugh out loud marriage proposal with a parrot. Charming and witty. 9/10

Orgasm (Bruno Forzani / Héléne Cattet): Feels more experimental and artistic-based than horror/gore. 4/10

Pressure (Simon Rumley): A prostitute doing a ‘crush film’ to pay the bills. Poignant and harrowing. 8/10

Quack (Adam Wingard / Simon Barrett): Too meta! A segment featuring the directors talking about their segment. Zzzzz 5/10

Removed (Srđan Spasojević): Surreal skit about a man being hacked to bits for his celluloid skin. Gross FX, potty mouth! 6/10

Speed (Jake West): Babes in the Desert trying to avoid death. Attitude, sass, style and striking visuals. 8/10

Toilet (Lee Hardcastle): A kid’s irrational fear of toilet training. Claymation madness! 9/10

ABCs of Death Libido Jacking it pedophilia impalement

Unearthed (Ben Wheatley): POV Vampire Vs Angry Mob. One of the slicker and better made efforts. 8/10

Vagitus (Kaare Andrews): Big action featuring a baby-eating robot and fertility. Slick CGI. 9/10

WTF! (Jon Schnepp): Another Meta segment, but genuinely WTF. Zombie clowns, pervy animation, hippy visuals & bloody babes. 6/10

XXL (Xavier Gens): Plight of a fat woman in today’s image-obsessed world. Repulsive SFX, hard-hitting story. 8/10

Youngbuck (Jason Eisener): a paedophile teaches a kid to hunt. 1980s montage style, mental, absurd, and great fun. 9/10

Zetsumetsu (Yoshihiro Nishimura): most outrageous segment; a topless Nazi babe with a big penis fights a girl firing veg from her lady garden. 9/11 depicted on tits; 3/11 (Fukushima disaster) on buttocks. Sex, violence, lesbians, and a fittingly OTT finale. 7/10


Fargo Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Keith Carradine, Russell Harvard, Adam Goldberg, Rachel Blanchard, Oliver Platt

Fargo (Season 1): when a contract killer ends up in their small town he changes the lives of an insurance salesman, police woman, and grocery tycoon forever. This does well to instantly match up with the mood of the Coen Brother’s Fargo movie – there’s lots of crossover details that are familiar but not directly copied: pregnancy, outlandish hitmen, ice scrapers, car accident, salesman, the Mike Yanagita scene… It feels properly connected, instead of a forced spin-off.  It looks and feels very cinematic, even more so than the movie, and the score gives it even more heft – allowing this play more like a 10-hour movie than an episodic crime show. Although with this format it’s probably better to binge this as there’s a lot of nice and subtle callbacks to earlier episodes throughout the season. Given the screen time involved this is an actor’s dream; we spend lots of time seeing the main characters established and developed. Martin Freeman is great as the timid but very watchable asshole, but Billy Bob Thornton makes this show for me with a majestic performance as a creepy, dangerous and almost admirably smart hitman. Fargo’s lead and ensemble casting is stellar, and paired with the well-penned characters, really makes the show a joy to watch. The humour is also bang on; leveraging silly accents (a gift that just keeps on giving), and making the most of the trademarked ‘awkward, absurd, nihilistic, crimson coloured’ Coen style. This is the backbone of most episodes, however episodes 7, 8, and 9 feel a bit stretched and empty compared to the rest. Overall Fargo is one of the most promising new shows on TV, and I can’t wait for Season 2.

Score: 8/10

What if YOU’RE right, and they’re wrong?

Fargo Police Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Keith Carradine, Russell Harvard, Adam Goldberg, Rachel Blanchard, Oliver Platt

OK – so you’re officially in to foreign cinema, and want to be a little more adventurous. Here‘s a is a list of foreign films that are suited to those looking to further explore the more engaging, unique, and interesting movies that other countries have to offer. These are ‘middle of the spectrum’ movies: they require more effort and attention than the previous list for beginners, but aren’t quite the ‘hardcore’ existential or often divisive films that need to be cryptically pulled apart.

This article also has an intentional modern bias. Most of he ‘Best foreign films’ lists appear to have been voted for, and compiled, by older people who only seem to watch a small and predictable list of films made before 1980. That’s utter bobbins, and completely pisses me off. Like music, art, or photography, there’s great things being created all the time. Apologies for the completely arbitrary number but I’ve been deliberating over this list for over three months.

Amores Perros

Amores Perros (Love’s A Bitch – Mexico): three different lives brought together by a car single crash. An intricate, intertwined, and multi-layered drama that follows and connects a fashion model, dog-fighter and homeless assassin. This is a raw, authentic, and unflinching look different social classes in Mexico City. It’s 153 mins long, but packs in three fleshed out stories with overlapping themes of violence, family, and inequality. Despite being Alejandro González Iñárritu’s (Birdman) first film, you knew straight away he was someone special. Storytelling in its purest form. TRAILER

Sex and Fury 01 Reiko Ike, Akemi Negishi, Christina Lindberg, Ryôko Ema, Yôko Hori, Naomi Oka, Rena Ichinose

Sex and Fury (不良姐御伝 猪の鹿お蝶 Furyō anego den: Inoshika o-Chō – Japan): a highlight of the ‘Pinky Violence’ genre (think nudity and nunchucks). This is a refreshing combination of kick-ass female lead, breathtaking visuals, a historical setting, and a revenge story that leans heavily on crimson-splattered action set pieces. Put that all together and you’ve got a supremely high-quality exploitation film that is the blueprint for Kill Bill. Proof that ‘video nasty‘ / exploitation movies can be well-crafted and visually spectacular; beautiful and brutal in equal measures. TRAILER

City Of God Brasil Brazil Lil Ze Rocket Drugs Crime Gangs

City of God (Cidade de Deus – Brazil): an honest, visceral, and no-holds-barred drama that follows a group of kids in Rio favelas from childhood in the 1960s through to the 1980s, and how the city and its people changed. It got Oscar nods for direction, cinematography, editing, and writing, so you know it’s a well-made piece of cinema. With such an ambitious scope, and featuring mostly non-actors this was an enormous gamble, but it paid off big time, and has a legacy of one of the best foreign movies ever made. Often referred to as ‘The Brazilian Goodfellas – lets just call if GoodFavellas from now on? TRAILER

Oldboy Korean Movie

OldBoy (올드보이, Oldeuboi – Korea): an unrivaled tale of epic revenge. Everything about this film is exceptional. There’s a grand and intriguing story, meticulous direction, intense action scenes, a nice layer of humour, and the finale to end all movie endings. Every time I watch OldBoy it blows me away. It’s fantastic and cinematic but rooted in reality by sublime, career defining, performances. It sits perfectly in the middle of a trilogy, and you can’t go wrong with Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, or Lady Vengeance either. An original masterpiece that didn’t deserve a Hollywood, or Bollywood, remake – it’s arguably the best film from one of the world’s best film-makers. TRAILER

tillsammans-(2000) Together Lukas Moodysson 2

Together (Tillsammans – Sweden): Explores the life of an over-populated ‘hippy commune’ house in 1970s Stockholm. A micro drama about real people, that manages to be satirical, funny and poignant at the same time. The housemates are vegetarians, homosexuals, hippies, confused teenagers and alcoholics: basically a comedy scrip-writer’s wet dream. It sports a great ensemble cast, a masterful director coming in to his prime, and the happiest ending to a film I can remember seeing – Football and Abba. Between this and Fucking Amal, arguably Lukas Moodysson’s finest era. TRAILER

Infernal Affairs Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Chapman To, Gordon Lam, Kelly Chen, Sammi Cheng, Berg Ng, Wan Chi-keung, Dion Lam, Elva Hsiao

Infernal Affairs (無間道, 无间道 – Hong Kong): a powerful and simple concept – the triads have a mole in the police, and the police have a mole in the triads… who’s cover will be blown first? While on paper it’s technically a gangster/action film’s success rests on moments of high tension, drama and suspense; scenes where characters are just about to be made by the opposing side. The cream of H.K. actors push this single concept story from great to amazing. The Departed remake is a fantastic film, but this is still superior in every way. TRAILER

Persepolis Marjane Satrapi Vincent Paronnaud IRAN PUNK IS NOT DEAD

Persepolis (France / Iran): A coming-of-age story about a young, liberal, Iranian at the beginning of the strict Islamic revolution. Most reviews splurge on and on about how great this film looks – and this is true – but the biggest draw of Persepolis is the phenomenal story. It balances an interesting history of Iran, with the small-scale drama of how the regime affected individuals, free speech, feminism, art, culture… There are tragedies, shocks, and heart-warming humanity which make this an engrossing watch. TRAILER

Survive Style 5+ Vinnie Jones

Survive Style 5+ (Japan): it’s impossible to describe what this is like to watch – although this trailer should give you a rough idea. Imagine an intense dose of the West’s ‘crazy Japanese culture’ stereotype perception, but it just works! It’s five offbeat, stories set in a colourful, hyper-designed, pop-art, exotic, and garish world. It’s one of the maddest, most memorable, and most enjoyable films you’ll ever see. If you take cinema as a visual medium – this should be the holy text! The world needs more movies like this. A true one-of-a-kind – and I will be recommending this until the day I die. TRAILER

Headhunters Aksel Hennie Synnøve Macody Lund Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Jamie Lanister

Headhunters (Hodejegerne Norway): A NorwaySweden joint venture based on a Jo Nesbo book – it doesn’t get more Scandy than this. The film translates well up to the big screen as a very tense suspense-thriller that only lets up during moments of comically graphic violence and ultra black humour; which give the audience a few seconds to catch up with their breathing. It’s well-directed, well-acted, well-written, and a great example of a smart, serious, dramatic yet darkly comic crime caper. Better than the best bits of the (original) Dragon Tattoo movies. TRAILER

A Bittersweet Life Lee Byung-hun Kim Jee-woon

A Bittersweet Life (달콤한 인생, Dalkomhan insaeng – Korea): a loyal mob enforcer’s life is thrown into disarray when he refuses his bosses orders. This is a meticulously directed film where, although quite minimal, every single shot in reveals something else about the characters or keeps the story’s momentum going. The performances are strong, and the action scenes are intricate, innovative and flawlessly executed. It’s the second Korean revenge film on this list, but where OldBoy is unique, daring, and rich – A Bitterswet Life is simple, stripped down, raw, and emotive. TRAILER

JCVD Mabrouk El Mechri Jean-Claude Van Damme

JCVD (Belgium): the ultimate anti Jean-Claude Van Damme movie where he plays himself, in real life, during a bank robbery where he reflects on his career. Although it flirts with self-indulgence at times, Van Damme turns in a sensational performance that peaks with a 6-minute long single-cut soliloquy with his heart on his sleeve. It’s an Oscar-worthy show from a man who most people believe can’t even act – and makes you wish he’d been offered more A-list roles. Probably the least accessible film on the list, but you’ll get the most from this if you’ve seen – or care for – other JCVD movies.

Pans Labrynth Guillermo del Toro

Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno – Spain / Mexico): while most of Del Toro’s work contains an element of duality this one is split between two contrasting settings; the harsh reality of Franco’s Spain circa 1944, and a wild fantasy underground labyrinth. The film is eerie but seductive; violent but captivating; and contains some big emotional punches. One of the main reasons this works so well is Del Toro’s background in SFX – the physical effects and CGI are masterfully blended to create completely immersive, and non-distracting settings & characters. Like other true auteurs (Besson, Chan-Wook, Almodóvar, Noe, Jeunet…) you always know when you’re watching a Guillermo del Toro movie, and Pan’s Labyrinth is his masterpiece to date. TRAILER

Paprika Parade Full Satoshi Kon, Yasutaka Tsutsui, Doctor Atsuko Chiba, Detective Toshimi Konakawa, Doctor Kōsaku Tokita, Doctor Toratarō Shima, Megumi Hayashibara, Tōru Furuya, Tōru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori, 

Paprika (パプリカ, Papurika – Japan): a genuinely fearless animation that explores technology, mythology, reality, iconography, dreams, and the psyche. A 50/50 mix of breathtaking & vibrant visuals paired with thought-provoking concepts – you could show Paprika to an intellectual or a toddler, and they’d both be captivated for the duration. It put’s Hollywood’s ‘Cartoons are for kids lol’ attitude to shame, proving that you can do ‘Miyazaki for adults’. As the strapline proclaims: ‘This is your brain on Anime‘. Where can I buy this drug? I want more! TRAILER


Europa (Zentropa – Denmark): Before he was all about controversy and pushing everyone’s buttons Lars Von Trier actually started out as a promising straight up director. Part of his ‘Europa Trilogy’, Europa is LVT at his finest, employing 100 years of cinematic techniques to make this 1991 film feel like a 1930s Noir classic; told through fractured, surreal, and dreamlike visuals. While it’s not a weighty story, imagery is king here, and there are buckets of it – leaving you to wonder why he went in for Dogma, and hasn’t really shaken off that visual style since. TRAILER

Legend of the Drunkern Master 2

Drunken Master II (醉拳二, Zuì Quán Èr – Hong Kong): generally considered to be the one of the best Jackie Chan movies; and finishing with one of the greatest fight-scenes ever put to film, there’s a lot of grand claims that follow this picture. With a fairly weak plot, the film is completely defined by JC’s unique brand of entertaining slapstick, breathtaking, jaw-dropping, and highly innovative fight-choreography. He’s like Bruce Lee and Buster Keaton, but on better form than both here – mix it up with some unbelievably dangerous elements like fire-breathing, and hot coal stunts and you’re on to a winner. Most importantly, Drunken Master is great fun to watch. TRAILER

y tu mama tambien Diego Luna Gael García Bernal Maribel Verdú Alfonso Cuarón

Y Tu Mamá También (Mexico): Alfonso Cuaron is third director of the modern Mexican boys club (with Iñárritu and del Toro). Before the technical accomplishments of Gravity and Children of men, he made this indie-spirited, passionate, and fiery road-trip movie about love, loss, sexuality, and youth. All three leads are fantastic, but whereas the very young Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna went on to be Latino superstars, the female lead – Ana López Mercado – hasn’t worked since. A solid story, great performances set against a very interesting political background make this a genre-topping road trip to remember.  TRAILER

Ulrich Muhe The Lives Of Others

Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen – Germany): in the final throws of the GDR (East-Germany) a Stasi police officer has to spy on a writer and his lover, but slowly becomes immersed in their lives. The best thing about the intentionally slow pacing is that it gradually sucks you in, more and more, until you’re completely gripped. Ulrich Mühe steals the show with a dialogue-light, nuanced performance as officer HGW XX/7; going from a cold and by-the-book interrogation instructor, to a complex and divided human being. The other cast members, especially Sebastian Koch, put in stellar shifts too. On paper this sounds like a non-event, but it’s as solid a drama / thriller as you could ask for. TRAILER

Only Human Guillermo Toledo Marián Aguilera María Botto Fernando Ramallo

Only Human (Seres queridos – Spain-Argentina): a Jewish lady takes her new Palestinian partner to meet the family; naturally everyone’s dysfunctional. I know what you’re thinking: that sounds like Meet the Parents!? #LOL”. It’s absolutely not, because this is actually smart, witty, and laugh-out-loud funny. Although the story hinges on an intense political divide this film is as apolitical and innocent as they come – it almost feels like a ‘classic’ comedy; playing heavy on stereotypes, slapstick and some black comedy elements. My biggest complaint about Spanish cinema is that it’s usually over-dramatic, but it works perfectly in here. TRAILER

Which foreign film would you recommend for intermediates and why?

Please leave your film suggestions and reasons in the comments.
I’ll hopefully have enough to create a follow-up post – which would credit your entry and link back to your website.
Remember though, these are NOT the best foreign films per se, but the best ones for helping people explore the more interesting movies in world cinema.

WANTED Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED. Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson,

Safety Not Guaranteed: a journalist and two interns head off to investigate a classified ad about a man who’s about to go time-travelling. Inoffensive Indie soundtrack, check. Strong indie cast, check. Mumble-core indie dialogue, check. Welcome to 2012’s feel-good quirky, low-key, shoe-gazing, Sundance-bait movie of the year. The director (Colin Trevorrow) puts a big bet on you fawning over Aubrey Plaza and finding her hilarious & irresistible: she’s in most scenes/shots and feels like the absolute focus – I personally don’t dig her that much, which pulled the film down a little for me. There’s also a fairly substantial side story with college ex-girlfriend, which is obviously filler, and I would have preferred to have spent more time with the funnier characters (like Karan Soni riffing off Napoleon Dynamite). But hey, the director went on to do Jurassic World, and a Star Wars film so he probably knows more than me! The acting’s good, script’s funny, characters are well-drawn, but the film itself feels like it’s trying three or four different half-assed angles (comedy, conspiracy, heartbreak…) and not sticking to one in particular. It would have been good if the ending had been explored further too. Although greatness isn’t guaranteed, this is actually way better than I thought it would be, for an entire film based on a single picture as old as the internet. It’s got highs, lows, and is a bit deeper and more engaging than most indie films – showing that quirky can still be funny and entertaining.

Score: 6.5/10

Safety Not Guaranteed CAR Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kristen Bell, William Hall, Jr., Jeff Garlin, Colin Trevorrow Safety Not Guaranteed GUN Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kristen Bell, William Hall, Jr., Jeff Garlin, Colin Trevorrow


American Sniper MURICABradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Navid Negahban, Sammy Sheik, Mido Hamada


American Sniper [Spoilers]: follows the life of America’s deadliest sniper from childhood hunting and adolescent rodeos through four tours (+1,000 days) in the Iraq war. Unsurprisingly, this film boasts typical Eastwood directing hallmarks; it’s taut, oppressive, fairly downbeat, and contains superfluous racism; told with no-frills direction or distractions from the story, which is heavily centered around emotions and individuals. The one thing that’s most problematic – at least to foreign audiences – is the cheesy portrayal of Kyle’s blindly patriotic all-Americanism, and although it’s not a particularly glamorous account, the film feels like a glorified highlight reel of a war and sniping ‘legend’. Even the ending – after showing Chris Kyle graphically kill dozens of men, women, and children, and mention 100s more – the film couldn’t even show his fate, at the other end of the barrel. The biggest reason to watch this is Bradley Cooper’s magnetic performance, showing the highs and lows of being a famous/infamous killing machine. All things considered, American Sniper comes out as somewhat mediocre; it tries to show a fresh – personal – perspective of the effects of war, but uses the full range of war film clichés like the worried wife, absent father, soon-to-be-married guy getting his shit ruined, and a crow-barred-in big action finale; which is poorly shot and difficult to follow. If you have the time to spare something like Generation Kill (which this references at least a couple of times) is a far more effective, balanced and entertaining way of seeing America’s role in the Iraq war.

Score: 5.5/10

American Sniper Bed Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Navid Negahban, Sammy Sheik, Mido Hamada

American Sniper Rifle Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Navid Negahban, Sammy Sheik, Mido Hamada


Ex Machina Ava Caleb Nathan Kyoko Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, Alex Garland

Ex Machina: a young programmer wins a contest to spend a week with his boss to complete every nerds fantasy; participating in the ultimate Turing Test with a sexy humanoid robo-babe!! There’s no doubting that it’s an ambitious movie; it’s not particularly dumbed down, leaning on some quite technical programming / A.I. terminology and dialogue – there’s no explosions or robots hitting robots in here, and the focus isn’t solely on the droid-meets-boy angle. It’s a fun film to watch because the script and acting are continually misleading and distracting you – hinting that a person or story may go down one path, which isn’t always the case. The direction’s solid, especially for a first-timer – there’s a sustained creepy and unsettling tone, especially once the plot gets rolling, which is aided by an ominous electronic score, crafting a slowly unraveling spiral that even dabbles with horror and body horror elements towards the end. The coldness of the house/facility, and TrollHunter-esque organic, wild and remote scenery also play a large part. My only real issue with this is that the last 5 minutes include some seriously lingering shots of nudity, which felt unnecessary – especially given that the characters are covered for most of the duration. The slickness and simplicity of  Ex Machina is like a shiny facade, behind it are dozens of bigger questions about humans, creations, robots, A.I., ethics, religion… although it’s hard to tell if this is all deliberate, as it’s somewhere between Blade Runner / A.I. lite and a slicker, stripped back Frankenstein – with a hardware and firmware updates, of course.

Score: 7.5/10


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