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2015 Updates

2015 in Review: 4/6 – 4/12

Everything I wrote last week.

Bringing Humanity to the Screen: Paul Walker & “Furious Seven”

Should this kind of special effect become more commonplace and better implemented, such speculation may fade away, the same way audiences these days don’t wonder about other kinds of CGI effects too much. For now, though, it’s an unavoidable side effect of the route Wan and co. decided to take. Perhaps a viewer somehow unaware of the real-life context wouldn’t spot the fakery—not consciously, anyway. Subconsciously, though, they might sense that something was up with Brian.

The Cinephile’s Guide to L.A. Film Fests in April

April generally isn’t considered a noteworthy time for the film world, save for the fact that, in recent years, studios have explored it as an early proving ground for Summer blockbusters. But if you live in a big city, there’s always something interesting going on. And since we live in Los Angeles, there’s an embarrassment of interesting events happening this month. Here’s what April in L.A. has to offer cinephiles of all kinds.

Fartificial Intelligence

Think of it as the Nolan method: If a movie talks about big ideas enough, it can convince an audience that it’s actually engaging with them in a meaningful way. At least Nolan films are sporadically exciting, though. Not so for Ex Machina, a mostly torpid trudge through various AI story tropes. It’s so involved in its scenario that it devotes at least half its runtime to laying it out, reinforcing it, and preemptively answering any question an audience member may ask. This is smart only if “plot hole” spotting is considered a legitimate form of movie criticism — it isn’t. Even if it was, it’d still be deathly boring.

By Dan Schindel

Born and raised in Maryland and currently based in New York, Dan Schindel is an associate editor at Hyperallergic, freelance culture writer, and available for any copy-editing/proofreading needs you may have. This website was originally a blog called Days of Docs, and chronicled his attempt to watch and review a documentary every single day for a whole year. He was mostly successful at this, and now he knows everything. He puts this knowledge to use by writing about movies, TV, games, books, comics, art, and more.