The best thing about the movie A.I. Rising is its poster. Clearly an attempt to ride on the coattails of the infinitely better Ex Machina, these two movies don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph, but there you go, I just did.
Tina (Eva Melander) is an unprepossessing customs officer at a an international ferry port; she looks different from other people due to a chromosome flaw as she will explain. She also has a unique talent of being able to smell fear and guilt on people, making her an exceptional asset for border security. She is an honest, diligent person, but her facial deformities scare most people off and she feels most at home in nature and with animals.
If you think of Crazy Rich Asians as My Big Fat Chinese Wedding you sort of get the picture. Take a handful of Chinese ‘deep’ cultural values of ‘Tradition’ and ‘Family’ and ‘Honour’ and juxtapose these with the American ‘shallow’ belief in ‘Follow Your Passion’; then add insane amounts of money, old and new, and you have the basis for the bananas plot.
Annie (Rose Byrne) lives with her boyfriend Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) and they find themselves in a deep rut, something she sort of know but lacks the chutzpah to do anything about, and something he seems too self-obsessed to realise. Actually, Duncan is obsessed with someone else: Tucker Crowe, an obscure American rocker who disappeared in the middle of a gig sometime in the 90s.
Catrin Cole (played by Gemma Arterton) appears married to a handsome but struggling artist/painter Ellis Cole (Jack Huston), and against his wishes decides to get a job in order to shore up the couple’s frail finances. She is hired as a writer to help the established writing team. Catrin is sent to investigate a potentially stirring tale of a pair of twin sisters who take their drink father’s boat to Dunkirk to help in the rescue, and concludes that, despite some serious issues, the material may make a flagship propaganda film.
Oh to be young and in love, in 1980s Ireland… How do you win over the girl of your dreams? Impress her! The fact that you’re the lead singer in a band is surely a winner. But hang on, Conor is not a singer, nor is he in a band… Luckily the naive optimism and creativity of youth quickly solves those minor problems, with a bit of help from various random schoolmates and his older brother Brendan on the one hand, and a bit of hindrance from his parents and the school principal on the other. And so his wooing of Raphina begins…
A giant starship is on a century-long journey to a recently colonised planet, carrying five thousand colonists plus crew in suspended animation. The ship is highly advanced and is self-repairing and self navigating, so no human crew are required; this ship’s complement will be woken when the ship nears its destination. The film opens when one of them, an engineer called Jim (Chris Pratt) is awakened from his sleep, and quickly discovers that he is not only the only one awake but that there are still ninety years left in the journey. Needless to say, this is unwelcome news…
Woody Allen has now made 51 movies, and so by now we have a rough idea what to expect. In his twilight years his recent movies continue to attract top notch actors, and his ear for conversation remains as sharp as ever. The humour may not these be quite as a laugh put loud funny as in his “early, funny films” as he noted in “Stardust Memories’ but he can still write a good one-liner.
The Colonia Dignidad (‘Colony of Dignity’) was a religious cult in Chile, led from 1961 by Paul Schaefer, a fugutive from Germany following accusations of child molestation. The Colonia Dignidad was shrouded in secrecy, with up to 300 residents living in the colony behind barbed wire, working mainly as farmers, and never allowed to leave the colony. Whilst trying to portray an image of peace and order to the outside world, over the years it has become clear that the colony suffered daily incidents of torture, (child) rape, and other forms of physical and mental abuse as a means of ‘spiritual growth’.