Tag Archives: Alicia Vikander

The Man From Uncle (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

THE MAN FROM UNCLE

Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Guy Ritchie (screenplay), Lionel Wigram (screenplay)
Stars: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander

Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.

Running Time: 1 hour 56 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 66% Audience 73%

Why I Watched it: I had watched the TV on reruns as a kid, my mother was a big fan, it was a pretty good show so I knew the source materiel, I will say I was worried about Guy Ritchie directing it.

Thoughts: I will say I’m always a little worried when they make a movie out of an older show, The Man From Uncle is from the 60′s a much different time and even though they were doing it in the time period I was afraid they change the characters and try to make it more modern cause let’s be honest the kids don’t know this show. Also being a fan of the show I had a bias watching a new movie with old characters.

What I liked: The first thing is that Guy Ritchie did a good job not turning it into a big loud slick Guy Ritchie movie, it is slick and pretty well directed but he did stay pretty true to the source material.

I liked the look and I liked that it was a period piece, they didn’t try to convert the show to the modern time, the best part for me was Henry Cavill he was not only very slick and cool but I liked his take on the character, he took things in stride, he wasn’t yelling and screaming and he wasn’t trying to macho it up too much, he was a thinking man’s spy and a criminal. He did have chemistry with Armie Hammer, of course this was the beginning of the partnership so of course they had to be at odds. It was also good to see that Alicia Vikander had a somewhat fleshed out character and that she wasn’t just playing the love interest. I also liked Elizabeth Debicki, I liked her look and acting someone to watch for. I did like that Vikander was the love interest for Hammer and not Cavill.

The plot was fine, these kind of movies have to have something to do and the story was decent enough, they had stakes, they had to work together. What I liked most about the film was the tone, this was a tough back film for me, some people call it slight but I liked the slick and fun films where the actors got to have fun, look good and be witty. It was somewhat of a light tone but that’s what the show was, and if the movie nailed anything almost perfect it was the tone and look.

There was a couple of nice bits, one was Hammer and Cavill arguing over women’s fashion and there’s a really cool bit with Cavill being drugged, realising it but also knowing there isn’t anything to do about it so he’s talking and also getting a pillow and a place to lay down so when he falls he won’t hurt himself, very cool.

What I didn’t like: They changed the characters especially Illya Kuryakin, they also changed Solo has well don’t recall him being a thief in the series. If there was a flaw in the film it was casting Hammer he’s fine a decent to good actor but playing a Russian not his strong suit and he did stick out, I think they should have gone more rugged with that character to balance out Solo. The film was also a tad long at almost 2 hours, it did drag a bit and I also wished they would have made this a more stand alone as clearly this was suppose to be set up for another film.

Final Thoughts: I liked it, it was a change of pace for me something lighter and more breezy, it made me smile a few times and overall enjoyed watching it.

Rating: 7/10

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Ex Machina (2014) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

EX MACHINA

Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac

Caleb is a programmer who works for Bluebook an internet search engine company and is selected through the guise of “winning” a prize to his bosses retreat or so he is lead to believe and ends up participating in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a humanoid A.I. named Ava.

Oscar Isaac plays Nathan, the head and creator of The Bluebook Corporation who specially selects Caleb to test out his latest creation. Caleb’s role is to determine whether Ava, a female robot played by Alicia Vikander, is the first truly artificially intelligent lifeform.

Ex Machina has only three main characters throughout the movie and the retreat buried inside and on the side of a mountain gives the sets a claustrophobic feel as most of the activities are set inside the building with no windows. The sets are also very clinical in presentation and adding the lighting from very bright lit rooms to sudden darkness in the next shot. If anything all these ingredients appear to be deliberate by director Alex Garland who not only directs the character of Caleb to have an uncomfortable week away from his life but also the audience member.

Very early on in the movie you can sense there may be issues in the relationship with Nathan and Ava (hence why Caleb is called for) in fact thinking about it I’m not sure I can recall all three characters interacting together on screen once and perhaps this is why the feel to the film in slightly unnerving as there is no relationship development between all three but as paired off from Nathan and Ava’s clear uncomfortable tension to Nathan and Caleb relationship where it appears at the beginning Nathan specifically handpicked Caleb as the best programmer and looks like he just wants to share his creation with someone he likes and wants to befriend.  But the most interesting relationship is the one between Caleb and Ava for me.

I like the way Caleb wasn’t portrayed as someone too much in awe of this creation which suggests pretty much right away that the character has an understanding, an open mind and an interest in Ava. There are numerous twists and turns along the way as the story unfolds but early on we are given the impression that Caleb is not in full possession of the facts and reasons behind his visit to Nathan’s headquarters.

Ex Machina is a great movie that intrigues and pulls you into a beautifully written script and will intoxicate you scene by scene as the story unfolds. Isacc and Gleeson’s characters although aren’t exactly developed fully still interest and perhaps works in the story of two strangers, working, understanding and appear to have a mutual respect for each other’s work.

Alicia Vikander for me stole the show as Ava and portrays a realistic A.I. Humanoid who strangely you relate to and sympathise with instantly. The story itself relies up to a point the early exposition and it is not until there is a power failure within the compound that Ava can say to Caleb under no closed circuit surveillance and Nathan’s watchful eye that Caleb shouldn’t trust Nathan as he isn’t what he appears.

This point in the movie is bang on the money as it just came at the right time and made the storyline in my book more complex and really made me think, who do I trust here? Is Ava’s intelligence so far advanced that she is either developing concern? Or more worryingly is she that developed that she has her own agenda?

Watching this really does make you think how far can a machines Programme develop and where would it stop. Also concerns with Nathan’s character all but confirmed that he also has his own agenda and it was only now I was sensing Caleb appears to be the pawn in this game as his feelings for Ava are growing stronger.

Visually Ex Machina is clever. I wouldn’t say stunning as in the sets but the CG for Ava was outstanding and you almost forget that it’s an actual living breathing actor under this illusion. The movie is also fast-paced, subtle and a complex take on this genre. The last 15-20 minutes are probably the best executed scenes I’ve watched in a while and will leave you stunned at its twist and will also leaving you feeling and thinking……what next? Highly recommended.