A few new movies available for rent were released this week–all worth your time and seeing but for different reasons. In order of preference, here you go…
First up is one of my Top 5 movies for 2015 (so far!):
The cerebral dog-fighting in Ex Machina makes this movie one to watch. The human species hasn’t been this challenged by evolutionary creatures on film since Charlton Heston’s spacecraft landed back on Earth in 1968’s Planet of the Apes. Between all the generated algorithms, programming languages and source codes rests a fight to be the dominant species. Ex Machina provokes an unusual and unique look into the viewer’s soul through computerized search engine results and robotics. Only later, upon further reflection, does the film download another afterthought for us to contemplate; our society’s over-reliance on high-tech instruments for communication, information and the ability to function in today’s world.
Ex Machina is an appropriate and timely movie on humans and our interaction with artificial intelligent forms. Whether it’s a home computer, laptop, tablet or cell phone, our lives are being controlled, managed and stored by these devices we hold dear to us. No longer do they only know what we think. Now they’re understanding how we think. The information we input into our computer and electronic gadgets makes them powerful and influential parts of our life. But how much power and influence do they really have over us? You’ll know the answer to that question the next time you misplace your phone.
Ex Machina is rated R for graphic nudity, language and sexual references with some violence. Its running time is 1 hour and 48 minutes.
Another solid movie, but one that squarely belongs in the Romance/Foreplay/Chick Flick/Date Night categories is The Longest Ride. This movie made my Top 10 films of 2015 (so far!), due to a solid script and above-average performances by the cast. Including this guy:
The Longest Ride
Clint Eastwood’s offspring, Scott Eastwood, stars as a professional bull rider set on making a comeback on the rodeo circuit and reclaiming his #1 world ranking. Competing for Eastwood’s attention and some action are Sophia (Brittany Robertson), a Wake Forest senior beauty, and Rango, a 2,500-pound Brahma bull. The self-proclaimed “Toughest Sport on Dirt” is now even more difficult for Eastwood’s Collins character.
The film’s greatest strength is the realism it provides of the professional bull rider’s life. Eastwood comes across as very believable atop the dangerous, wild beasts. Part of this is due to his upbringing around riding, but mostly it reflects his understudy of two-time World Champion Justin McBride for this role. To anyone who has seen Eastwood’s post-filming, viral YouTube bull riding session, it’s apparent the real-life son of Dirty Harry doesn’t sidestep risks. Additionally, the film’s super, slow-motion cinematography captures the bull riding peril frame-by-frame, offering audiences an up-close and personal look at rodeo cowboys. All of which makes The Longest Ride a perfect Date Night movie event.
Not The Longest Ride…NSFW. Mechanical
The Longest Ride is rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action. It’s running time is 2 hours and 8 minutes.
For fans who enjoyed the 2012 sleeper hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, you will find this sequel entertaining and watchable, but without nearly as many satisfying accommodations and perks as its first adventure.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
After a sluggish beginning to the film, too many tortuous and convoluted storylines unravel–none of which can be salvaged with the thin, transparent screen time afforded to them. The most promising side dish is Richard Gere’s character, who’s central to the movie’s overall plot, but remains underdeveloped and underutilized throughout.
This film does provide several amenities which help it gain momentum leading up to a spectacular ending. The movie’s most appealing aspect is the majestic Indian attire and vibrant dancing found in Sonny’s long-awaited matrimony to the smoldering Sunaina. Once again Academy Award-winning director John Madden captures the allure and beauty offered by India’s rich culture and traditions. His intimate and insightful look at India through this film’s camera lens, is enough to even make the travel guide giant Fodor’s jealous. And that alone may be worth watching this one for travel enthusiasts. If you saw the original and haven’t seen this follow-up yet, go ahead and rent it.
“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is rated PG with a running time of 2 hours and 2 minutes.
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"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office". - Judy O.