Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Film Review

Loki’s scepter, remnant from the first crossover film, which had been used for its power to draw forth two more beings of inordinate ability and skill in twin brother and sister Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, a speedster and telekinetic mind-warper, respectively. After the battle, the Avengers end up with the scepter’s possession, which Tony Stark uses to try to create an army of artificial-intelligence entities that will work to shield Earth from possible alien threats in the future. However, the first AI creation emerges, and its belief is that to protect Earth from harm (as Tony puts it, achieving “peace in our time”), that means eradicating the ones most responsible for its perilous situation — humans. It’s now up to the Avengers to keep this new entity, dubbed “Ultron”, from succeeding in its mission of protection

Ex Machina (2015) Film Review

Set sometime in the future, Domhnall Gleeson plays coding programmer Caleb Smith, an employee working for ‘Blue Book’, the world’s most popular search engine by a long shot. He has been summoned by virtue of a contest by the company’s founder, mega-billionaire Nathan Bateman, to his remote, high-security home/research facility in Alaska (exteriors shot mostly in rural Norway) for a week in order to help provide learned research into artificial intelligence. Caleb is soon introduced to Ava, a sleekly designed and highly advanced robot resembling a human, and he’s told to spend his time testing her (a ‘Turing Test’) to see if she truly is self aware. With Nathan off drinking, or unable to watch due to sporadic power outages, Caleb and Ava converse about sundry topics, and while her body in clearly artificial, the man can’t help but be drawn to her. But, is this part of the design, or is something more organic and unpredictable afoot?

Unfriended (2014)

The entirety of the film is the view from the laptop screen of teenager Blaire Lily,whose very private Skype conversation with boyfriend Mitch is rudely interrupted by a trio of friends looking to chat up the clique. It’s the first anniversary of the suicide of their classmate, Laura, who offed herself after being cyberbullied following the posting of a dreadfully embarrassing video of her on YouTube. When a sixth participant in the group chat appears, and Blaire begins to get private messages on Facebook from Laura’s dormant account, she immediately suspects one of them is playing some sort of very sick joke. Or, perhaps it is a malicious hacker. Or, perhaps worst of all, could it truly be Laura contacting them from beyond? If so, they’re all in trouble, as they’re told they will die if they leave the chat, and “Laura” has a lot of information to expose about them all they wouldn’t want anyone to know, especially within that very clique of friends.