Chappie: A Soul in a New Machine

Set in the too-close-for-comfort near-future of 2016, Chappie is a take on artificial intelligence that focuses on emotion instead of intellect. According to his creator, Chappie is gifted with “proper, full artificial intelligence”—which, here, includes the ability to love.

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The Visit: Worth Stopping By

The Visit is quite an effective little horror film about two children meeting their grandparents for the first time. It relies on nothing but finely-tuned acting and sharp camera work to make it scary. And it was—I jumped, I flinched, I gasped in shocked surprise. Is it derivative? Absolutely. Is it predictable? Frequently. Is it scary? Yes, indeed.

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Fantastic Four: Missed Again

I didn’t want to trash Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, there are precious few aspects of it to praise: The cast was good. Some of the effects were pretty cool, especially the interdimensional travel. Doom was imposing with his fused metal skin and tattered cloak. The young Reed and Ben were cute. However, the whole thing ultimately fell flat.

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Ex Machina Thinks Before It Speaks

Ex Machina, written and directed by Alex Garland, is a beautiful, quiet, well-told little movie. It has complex characters, low-key effects and minimal flash, and gives its audience space to contemplate the hazards of artificial intelligence. In its understated way, Ex Machina gets under one’s skin.

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Ant Man: A Little Bit of Fun

It’s mid-way through the summer, and we need a refresher, little light super hero entertainment. And now we have Ant Man! It’s hard to be epic when your hero is the size of an ant. But it’s easy to be pretty harmless fun.

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