Film Friday #218

Ex Machina (2015)

Coder, Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson) works for Bluewolf, the world’s number one search engine (think Google of the future). When he wins a competition to spend a week at the remote luxury home of reclusive Bluewolf founder, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), he can’t help but be excited. On arrival things are immediately a little odd. Nathan is in equal parts over-familiar and distant, which makes Caleb uneasy but as soon as Nathan shows him his work, he can’t help but be sucked in. Nathan has been working on an artificial intelligence, which he has modeled into a female robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander). Nathan wants Caleb to spend the week with Ava testing whether she has actually become self-aware or whether she is just demonstrating her programming. Caleb quickly finds himself drawn to Ava but confused as to whether Nathan has just programmed her to flirt with him or whether she genuinely likes him… and the confusion isn’t helped by the unexplained power cuts where the cameras go down and Ava tells Caleb he can’t trust Nathan. As Ava starts to make her appearance more and more human to drawn Caleb in, Caleb becomes suspicious of Nathan’s behaviour and begins to see himself as Ava’s rescuer… but who is playing who? I have to admit that this little science fiction thriller made me feel uncomfortable throughout. This is as much down to the clinical but very authentic seeming future setting as Isaac’s portrayal of Nathan, who is brilliant, tortured and also suffering from one of the worst superiority complexes I have ever seen portrayed on screen. Vikander is also great as the ethereal Ava, appearing both sympathetic and somehow not quite human at the same time. I can’t pretend that Ex Machina is wonderfully original but it is creepy and unsettling and definitely worth a watch for sci-fi fans. [SPOILER ALERT] I found it odd that someone as controlling as Nathan based his security system on identity cards rather than biometrics but I did like seeing an artificial woman triumph over two self-obsessed men. 3.5/5

Excuse me, ma'am but your stomach is glowing

Robot PMS: like normal PMS but shinier

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

When Kingsman Agent, “Lancelot” dies saving his mentor, Harry “Galahad” Hart (Colin Firth), Harry leaves a medallion with “Lancelot’s” young son, Eggsy (Alex Nikolov) and promises him a favour one day in the future. Seventeen years on Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is an East End delinquent who has squandered his potential on drugs, petty crime and mischief. When Eggsy gets himself into trouble with his mother’s (Samantha Janis) boyfriend’s gang and is subsequently arrested, he decides to call in his favour. Harry comes to his rescue and offers Eggsy the opportunity to train as a Kingsman Agent and become the next in a long line of Lancelots. But it won’t be easy. Eggsy isn’t the only potential recruit and in amongst the rest of the uber-posh potential agents he is a total fish out of water – not to mention his own history of self-destructive behaviour. At the same time celebrities are disappearing and billionaire philanthropist, Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) might just have something to do with it. There is no denying that Kingsman is ridiculously silly and totally over the top and not all of its hit the mark (I am talking about the Danish princess at the end here… *cringe*) but what it is is fun… glorious, glorious fun. I mean who doesn’t want to see Colin Firth in a suit kicking the ever loving shit out of people? And who doesn’t think Jackson is inspired casting as a super villain who can’t stand the sight of blood, especially when accompanied by an amputee henchwoman with blades for legs? Egerton does a good job of playing Eggsy with just the right balance of thuggishness and charm, which makes him easy to root for. I do wish that it had treated its female characters to just a little bit more development, especially Eggsy’s fellow recruit, Roxy (Sophie Cookson). Basically if you liked Kick-Ass you will probably like this and if you didn’t… well you probably won’t.  4/5

Eggsy's wet dreams were getting a little out of control

Eggsy’s wet dreams were getting a little out of control

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) lives in the fictional hybrid future city of San Fransokyo with his brother, Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney) and aunt, Cass (voiced by Maya Rudolph). Tadashi is a robotics student while Hiro is wasting his considerable talents participating in illegal bot fights. After Tadashi tricks Hiro into visiting the university to see his research project, a healthcare robot called Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit), Hiro realises that he desperately wants to enroll too. But first he’ll have to get through a prospective student showcase where he’ll have to impress Professor Robert Callaghan (voiced by James Cromwell). Hiro’s invention is a great success and both Professor Callaghan and business tycoon, Alistair Krei (voiced by Alan Tudyk) are interested. Unfortunately a terrible tragedy occurs and Tadashi is killed, leaving Hiro lost in grief. When he accidentally activates Baymax he also discovers that his invention that he believed was destroyed has been appropriated by a mysterious man in a Kibuki mask. Hiro realises whoever is behind the mask is probably responsible for Tadashi’s death. So with Baymax in tow Hiro gets back in touch with Tadashi’s friends and the group uses their robotics skills to turn themselves into superheroes ready to take on Mr Kibuki…  but who is behind the mask and what does he want? Big Hero 6 looks amazing and Baymax is both cute and hilarious, as is Tadashi’s friend, Fred (voiced by T.J. Miller). And once the action gets going it’s really fun to watch, the problem is that it takes aaaages to get there and consequently Disney’s latest outing feels really, really long. It’s hard to describe it as more than adequate and ultimately very forgettable. 2.5/5

Does my bum look big in this?

Does my bum look big in this?

Get Him to the Greek (2010)

When record company intern, Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) is tasked with escorting rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) from London to Los Angeles to perform at a tenth anniversary gig at the Greek Theatre he thinks it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. If only he knew the shit storm he was walking into. After his most recent album, African Child, bombed Aldous has fallen off the wagon spectacularly and his behaviour is more outrageous and volatile than ever before. Despite being a sweet guy and a devoted boyfriend, Aaron is immediately sucked into the whirlwind of Aldous’ party lifestyle, finding it more and more challenging to keep him under control. Is he going to get him to the Greek in time or is he going to destroy his and Aldous’ career in the process? Although Hill and Brand are both seasoned comic actors, the funniest person in whole movie is actually Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, playing Aaron’s boss, Sergio. He nails every one of his lines and his text messages to Aaron are hilarious. Brand is perfect playing the stereotypically excessive, Aldous because he’s basically playing himself and Hill is great as a character stuck between being in awe of his idol and wanting to kill him. There are some amazing little elements thrown in that take Get Him to the Greek to the next level, including Aldous’ ex-wife Jackie Q’s (a scene-stealing Rose Byrne) songs, which are all pretty much about her, erm, rear entrance, nods to Aldous’ role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and some great cameos from Pink and Lars Ulrich. It has to be said that the best scene is probably the party at Aldous’ father’s (Colm Meany) house that leads to the memorable “stroke the furry wall” sequence. Not every joke lands and both Aaron and Aldous can get a bit much after a while but Get Him to the Greek is one of my favourite modern comedies and endlessly rewatchable. 4/5

Run, before rap music gets us!

Run, before he mind fucks us!


  1. I had a fun time watching ‘Get Him to the Greek’, too. Fun and stupid. Ex Machina looks good.

  2. Abbi

    So much fun and so stupid!

    Let me know what you think of Ex Machina if you get to see it. It really creeped me out.

  3. I think I have missed my chance with Ex Machina, meaning I have to wait until it comes out on DVD. So excited for it though. Next on my list is Kingsman though – it looks epic.

    Haha, you really didn’t like Big Hero 6, but I totally agree with you on Get Him to the Greek. I might have to watch that again very soon!

    1. Abbi

      I hope you enjoy Kingsman. I had so much fun with it.

      Get Him to the Greek is funny every time I watch it!

  4. theipc

    I think I’ve finally been talked in to seeing Kingsman although I’ll wait til it’s out to rent….

    1. Did my review help talk you into it?!?! Lol 😉

      1. theipc


        1. It’s super violent…

          1. theipc


            1. You’ll also like the end joke.

              1. theipc

                I HOPE!!!!!!!

    2. Abbi

      I think you might really like Kingsman, There’s enough violence and craziness to satisfy even the harshest critic.

  5. What s shame about Big Hero 6.

    1. Abbi

      Loads of people loved it so don’t take my word for it.

  6. We feel pretty similar about Ex Machina but not Big Hero 6! 😉 Oh well… I did love that one. Mainly thanks to Baymax! I already knew we felt similar about Kingsman (ugh – that final joke…). Never seen Get Him To The Greek – I thought I’d find too many of the people in it annoying but maybe I should check it out.

    1. Abbi

      Well, you know me and animated movies and Disney. It takes a lot to win me over. I did think Baymax was adorable though.

      Get Him to the Greek has irritating elements but it’s clever enough that it hopefully won’t get on your nerves and Puff Daddy really is that funny.

  7. I’m very curious about Ex Machina, it helps that one of the characters shares my name which I don’t see all that often. Excited to see Kingsman tomorrow (hopefully), but too bad you weren’t that big on Big Hero 6, I really loved it!

    1. Abbi

      Your name is Ava??? 😉

      I really struggle with Disney so me not liking Big Hero Six probably isn’t the best indication of whether it was actually good or not.

  8. Great post! Cannot wait to see Ex Machina. I’m watching Kingsman on Monday (and for free, yay!) Not very interested in Big Hero 6 and Get Him to the Greek was funny enough, especially Rose Byrne.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I really hope you enjoy Ex Machina and Kingsman as much as I did. Rose Byrne is hilarious in Get Him to the Greek. That bit where she’s being interviewed with no underwear on is brilliant.

  9. Nice work! Few movies I am looking forward to here!

    Big Hero 6 to you sounds like how Wreck It Ralph was for me…everyone seemed to love that and I hated it.

    1. Abbi

      I also hated Wreck It Ralph. Hahaha!

      1. Then I likely won’t like this 😛

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