Friday, June 14, 2024

Tag: Oscar Isaac

Annihilation (2018)

Title: Annihilation
Rating: R
Directed by: Alex Garland
Written by: Alex Garland
Based on the novel by: Jeff VanderMeer
Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac
Release Date: 2/23/2018
Running Time: 115 minutes

Official Site

What did you think of this film?
Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X – a sinister and mysterious phenomenon that is expanding across the American coastline. Once inside, the expedition discovers a world of mutated landscape and creatures, as dangerous as it is beautiful, that threatens both their lives and their sanity.

Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Special thanks to Michael for this submission

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Title: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio Del Toro
Release Date: 12/15/2017
Running Time: 152 minutes

Official Site

What did you think of this film?
The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Memoriam: In loving memory of our princess, Carrie Fisher

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Promise, The (2016)

Title: The Promise
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Terry George
Written by: Terry George, and Robin Swicord
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale
Release Date: 4/21/2017
Running Time: 132 minutes

Official Site

What did you think of this film?
It is 1914. As the Great War looms, the vast Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople (Istanbul), ITS once vibrant, multicultural capital is about to be consumed by chaos.

Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac), arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries.

Photo-journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale), has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father.

When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men even as Michael hangs on to a promise from his past. After the Turks join the war on the German side, the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities. Despite their conflicts, everyone must find a way to survive — even as monumental events envelope their lives.

Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Time to Choose (2015)?


Title: Time to Choose
Rating: NR
Directed by: Charles Ferguson
Written by: Chad Beck and Charles Ferguson
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Peter Agnefjall and Tasso Azevedo
Release Date: 6/3/2016
Running Time: 100 minutes

Official Site
Buy on Amazon

This film explores the comprehensive scope of the climate change crisis and examines the power of solutions already available. Through interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and brave individuals living on the front lines of climate change, Ferguson takes an In-depth look at the remarkable people working to save our planet.

What did you think of this film?

During Credits? Unknown


After Credits? Unknown

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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)*


Title: X-Men: Apocalypse
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by: Simon Kinberg, Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Olivia Munn, Michael Fassbender, Evan Peters, Sophie Turner, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, James McAvoy, Tye Sheridan, Monique Ganderton, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lucas Till, Lana Condor and Stan Lee
Release Date: 5/27/2016
Running Time: 144 minutes

Official Site

Following his acclaimed work on X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, director Bryan Singer takes the franchise to new heights with X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, in which the X-Men battle the original and most powerful mutant — Apocalypse. In 1983, the invincible and immortal Apocalypse is set free after being entombed for several millennia. Enraged that his kind are no longer treated as gods, Apocalypse assembles a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto, to destroy humankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. To end Apocalypse’s path of global destruction, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Professor X (James McAvoy) lead a team of young X-Men in an epic showdown with a seemingly unstoppable enemy.

During Credits? No

After Credits? Yes

Click to see whats: after the credits

Special thanks to Ivan A. for this submission

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Mojave (2015)


Title: Mojave
Rating: R
Directed by: William Monahan
Written by: William Monahan
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund and Walton Goggins
Release Date: 12/3/2015
Running Time: 93 minutes


A suicidal artist goes into the desert, where he finds his doppelgänger, a homicidal drifter.

What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review – 3.5 out of 5 Stars

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is missing and a new government run by the dark side has taken power. General Leia (Carrie Fisher) sends the rebel pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to retrieve information that could lead to his whereabouts. Elsewhere, a disillusioned storm trooper named Finn (John Boyega) tries to escape from his life and a badass scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) finds a robot that leads to a heap of trouble. When Finn and Rey unite, they meet friends like the aging Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and foes like the mysterious Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

At this point, it feels a bit anticlimactic to be reviewing The Force Awakens. Everyone who’s reading this has probably seen it already and I doubt this review will be influencing anyone from seeing or not seeing this movie. It’s too soon to say whether The Force Awakens will be able to stand the test of time like A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back but I can definitely say one thing; Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a film made for the fans. However you feel about that statement will probably decide how much you love this movie. Personally, I feel a bit for both sides.

This sounds like a mixed reaction but there are a lot of things to admire. For starters, this is a terrific looking movie. I had issues with J.J. Abrams that I’ll get to later but I still think this is his most well directed film to date. Say what you will about the story, this is a movie that feels huge. Abrams understands how important this movie is for many people and he uses the occasion to present the world in a way that feels larger than life. One of the things that people disliked about The Phantom Menace was how lackluster the experience of being in another Star Wars felt. In the Force Awakens, the world is captured through these sweeping, giant shots and possibly the best visuals effects in the franchise to date. Everything about how this movie looks and sounds is top notch. The cinematography is stunning, the production design is marvelous and the costumes and the makeup are perfect. The thing I loved most about The Force Awakens was the time spent just looking at these places that they created. The movie is well paced and it never feels boring or disinteresting. I could go on for hours about the music by John Williams. As much as I love some of his work with Spielberg, it’s refreshing to watch him step away from the more melodramatic, manipulative music he’s done in recent years. The score here is a mix of some of the older, more notable bits of music from Star Wars as well as some new works. It’s exciting and it captures a lot of the magic of the original soundtrack.

The technical aspects are the areas where pleasing the fans was beneficial to the final product. Abrams has created a movie that reassures fans that there’s still some magic left in that world they fell in love with while growing up. There’s wonder, there’s life here that Lucas didn’t bring to the prequels. You feel excited and in awe of these planets and creatures in a way that couldn’t me mustered from The Phantom Menace.

If the looks and the sounds of the movie are where it excels, the screenplay is where the movie gets dragged down a little bit. It’s not a horrendous screenplay tied to a great filmmaker like Sicario or It Follows but there’s a lot of things about it that feel somewhat repetitive or simplistic. So what did I enjoy about it? Firstly, I liked the way it handled the characters from the previous movies. It was a brilliant move on their part to make the hero from the original movies go missing. The disappearance of Luke Skywalker shows the audience that time has changed and that there are new heroes to find with the old ones like Luke serving as the wise, old trainers reminiscent of Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi. The relationship between Han and Leia is also a bittersweet highlight. They haven’t seen each other for several years but they don’t seem angry or upset after meeting again after all this time. They acknowledge that what they once had was lost but they seem to know that deep down, they’re still in love. It’s subtle and sweet in a way that was missing from the similar relationship between Jones and Marion in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Han Solo also gets some charming scenes with his friend Chewbacca and Harrison Ford gives one of his more energetic performances in a while.

I also enjoyed the villain Kylo Ren because he succeeded in doing in 20 to 30 minutes of screen time what Anakin Skywalker couldn’t do in 3 movies. Both are confused, less prepared young men that begin to move towards the dark side. It works mainly because Adam Driver is a significantly better actor than Hayden Christensen but it also works because the movie manages to make Ren intimidating and weak at the same time whereas Skywalker was just plain whiny and pathetic in the prequels. He’s scared and inexperienced but he ends up making decisions that are legitimately twisted and evil. And while Skywalker’s final transformation came in the form of an overlong fight, Ren’s final choice for the dark sides comes in the form of a shocking, quick scene that will leave a far bigger impact than the entire 5 or 6 hours of Anakin’s character arc.

To a lesser extent, I admired the new heroes like Finn and Po. Finn is this emotionally damaged storm trooper who decides to rebel against what everyone else is doing. There are a lot of fascinating places you could take this character and I’m interested to see how he transitions to the real world or if he will try to free the other storm troopers in the later films. As it stands, they don’t really manage to explore many of these things but Boyega’s performance as well as good writing set up what could be potentially the most interesting arc of the three new main characters. Po also starts off strong in the movie due to the acting of Oscar Issac and the friendship he creates with Po is fun to watch. After the first act, he disappears from the movie for longtime and then shows up again near the end. It’s an entertaining character that I assume they’ll do more with in the next movie.

The problems I had with this movies script could probably be summarized with the character of Rey. She does cool things and she has some potential, but there are not a lot of things that she’s doing that feel new or memorable. She’s likable and you know she’s important but they write her with such little creativity that you can’t help but feel that she was forgettable. As much as I enjoyed many things about this movie, there’s a lot here that will please the fans but probably won’t please moviegoers who want new or original ideas. Everything that’s great about this movie is either a retread or a follow up of previous movies. The things I liked that did feel new felt pushed aside for something that’s a lot more repetitive and safe. The new evil government feels just like the old one. The big bad creature Ren looks up to is very similar to emperor Palpatine and there big bad plan here is to literally make an even bigger version of the death star, I think you can guess how that works out for them.

Besides that, there’s just a lot of beats in this movie that felt added because they had to be there. There has to be a point where the protagonist is reluctant to become the hero even though she hasn’t shown reluctance before said point. There has to be a scene where the old mentor gets killed by the bad guy. If the direction embraces Star Wars just right, the writing embraces Star Wars a bit too much. The movie goes over a lot of the same territory it has in the past whether you’re talking about the characters or just simple clichés. Creed also had a lot of elements in its story that came from older Rocky films but that movie also had a lot of things in it that were fresh and ambitious. The new things in the new Star Wars are either pushed aside for the old or end up being just blatant copies of the past. This isn’t a complaint that destroys The Force Awakens for me but it is a complaint that covers the entire film. I can only hope that the next movie will expand on the new stuff more and will try to make more of its own thing in the future.

So hopefully you know what I now mean when I say that “a film for the fans” is a mixed compliment. J.J. Abrams creates an amazing world that reminds you of everything you loved about Star Wars with stirring music and magical visual effects. But he takes the nostalgia a bit too far and he creates a story that’s extremely reminiscent of previous movies for better or worse. We get a lot of great moments with older characters but we also get a lot of cool, new things that get overshadowed by repackaged storylines. Either way, The Force Awakens is still a fine enough start and it’s fun enough as a big, blockbuster action film to go see this holiday season. The real Star Wars film that I’m looking forward to is the one that’s coming up next that’s directed by Rian Johnson. It seems fitting that they are handing over this franchise to the man who has made arguably the best science fiction movie of the decade so far.


Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 12/18/2015

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong’o, Warwick Davis, Max von Sydow, Maisie Richardson-Sellers and Tim Rose

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Screenplay by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt

Based characters created by: George Lucas

Ex Machina Review – 5 out of 5 Stars

I would love to see someone watch a double feature of Ex Machina and Her. If Her was a person telling us to come and embrace the strange and beautiful places where technology is taking us, then Ex Machina is the person screaming at us to run away while we can from the complex, questionable artificial intelligence which we are creating.

This is one of those incredible films where the moment it ended I wanted to dive back into the mysterious, absorbing world writer/director Alex Garland had created. I wanted to talk to someone in great detail for hours about what they got out of the questions and theories that the film brings up. There’s no way not to have a fascinating discussion after seeing something like this. Ex Machina is more than just your average Frankenstein style take on the artificial intelligence. It’s an absorbing look into the inevitability of technology transforming into a more evolved version of ourselves. We get to experience the first step in the evolution of the next great species, something that we ourselves built.

I’ll try to keep the synopsis to the bare minimum but I should warn you that it’s probably better to read what follows having actually watched the flick. What you need to know is this; Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young programmer working at one of the biggest companies in the world. He ends up winning a contest to come and visit the giant, near underground home of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), the reclusive CEO of the company. When he gets to Nathan’s home, Caleb discovers that he will be the first to experience the artificially intelligent robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander) that Nathan has created.


The movie distinguishes itself firstly by taking place mostly inside the house of Nathan. If Apple were to make a house, this would probably be what it would look like. You’re stuck inside this minimalist, underground home with countless hallways and a slick, metal design for most of the movie. Garland was clearly inspired by Kubrick’s The Shining as the production design seems built to make you feel a sense of imprisonment throughout. He wants to make you feel the trap we are making for ourselves in the developments we’re making. The cold, distant architecture of Nathan’s home at least sets up the mysterious tone the director is trying to get across. A lot of period pieces get credit for the production design but the realistic yet surreal sets that were built for Ex Machina are equally if not more fascinating to explore.

The film also establishes itself by only featuring three big characters throughout, four if you’re counting Nathan’s quiet and secretive assistant Kyoko. That not only helps with the isolation of the production design but it also allows for truly brilliant conversations to sprout between Caleb, Nathan and Ava. The movie hits its peak when you’re watching these well developed, richly crafted characters discuss their vastly different outlooks on this strange, groundbreaking situation. The revolution doesn’t come through violence or fights but rather through a series of enrichingly written discussions.

I admire the film for not taking the easy route when it came to the main character of Caleb. They could’ve made him just your average schmuck who gets sucked into this wacky situation that’s beyond him. Instead, Caleb is made to be this brilliant, intellectual who can hold his ground against a genius inventor and an enigmatic robot. There are points where I was trying to figure out the ways in which the other two characters could be putting him into a trap and I was surprised how many times Caleb was able to confront and address these theories that I had. This movie easily could’ve made him an ordinary guy with clear intentions but the movie adds a layer of mystery even to him. You begin to question if he’s working for someone or if he has ulterior motives for the things that he’s doing. Though Gleeson’s subtle performance is often overshadowed by the more loud and inventive performances of Isaac and Vikander, it’s still great work from him and it’s another film he can add to the quickly increasing resume he has built for himself over the past year with this and Frank, Unbroken and Calvary.


Nathan on the other hand is certainly eccentric but you often find yourself wondering to what degree his madness is. You can see him as having gone crazy but you also get a lot of moments where he comes off as a normal guy with a habit of heavy drinking. One moment he’ll be comparing himself to a god and the next he’ll be making a reference to Ghostbusters. What are the areas this character is willing to go to in the accuracy of his invention? What is his moral code when it comes to the treatment of his creation? A lot of people may know and praise him from Inside Llewyn Davis or A Most Violent Year but I think this might be the first time I’ve been deeply impressed by a performance from Oscar Isaac. Of the three performances in the film I think I might enjoy Isaac’s the most because there’s a wide range that he gets to show with the character whether it be humor, terror or arrogance among other things. The conversations him and Caleb have are riveting to watch because you’re getting some insight into this sarcastic, cynical genius who you can’t take your eyes off of because you’re trying to find the full intent of his character.

Mark my words, Alicia Vikander’s performance as Ava will go down as one of the best debut performances of the year. Ava is interesting as a robot because her character takes into consideration something that many artificial intelligence films don’t notice, attraction. It becomes clear quickly on that Caleb is becoming attracted to Ava but the big question ends up being how much of her attraction to Caleb is real. Unlike in Her where you can almost immediately tell that there is something at least sympathetic about Samantha, Ava appears human at times but also at times has errors and you have to wonder if it’s in fact real. Does she have any sympathy for other human beings? Would her release into the world cause further chaos or peace? What will be her reaction when she meets her creator? You are juggling this endless collection of questions that haunt you about Ava long after the final shot comes and goes.

The big end theme isn’t what truly makes the film original so much as the way it is delivered. In the conclusion of the film, Ava is shown to be the clear dominant one of the three. This robot that has been built to satisfy the desires of Caleb is like a smarter, stronger version of him and the robot has the same amount if not more power than Nathan but lacks the laziness and human faults. The film ends with the only certainty being that the AI will live another day in a larger world and what her next move will be is beyond us. Ava to me symbolizes the start of the next great species and what will lead to the fall of mankind. We have built this machine that can imitate emotions without the flaws of actual human beings. The only possible step after that is that these machines will be able to outthink us and corner and entrap us into extinction. The people who invented them will be destroyed and the men they were supposed to service will be forgotten and made unnecessary.

It sounds like something you’ve seen before but never in the way Garland presents it. The movie often looks like it’s being shot from the eyes of a security camera that’s being hidden within the walls, following our main character. The more I thought about it, that camera is Ava stocking and observing the battles of the two main characters. The movie plays out like this mental game of dominance being played in dimly lit halls between the human and the machine. Caleb and Nathan spend a lot of the time lying to each other in trying to prove that they are better than the other. This movie is about people tricking each other and ultimately it’s about why the robots would probably win this game. Even the smartest of humans are capable of failure and Ava can use a single weakness to get rid of all your other pieces in this metaphorical game of chess.

Years from now, students will be writing long thesis papers of the meaning of this film. Everything here from the score to the characters feels damn near perfect. Ex Machina has amazing performances, ambiguous characters and themes that will make you think twice before buying that next big piece of tech. From the first minute I was mesmerized by the simple yet unique way in which Alex Garland presented the bleak, cold future we might have to look forward to. This year can’t be so bad if I’m already giving my best possible rating for a film so early on in the year.


Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: April 10, 2015

Rating: R

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Corey Johnson and Sonoya Mizuno

Directed by: Alex Garland

Written by: Alex Garland

Ex Machina (2015)


Title: Ex Machina
Rating: R
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac
Release Date: 4/10/2015
Running Time: 108 minutes

Official Site

A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.

What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Note: Animated computer line art plays in the background during the credits.

Most Violent Year, A (2014)


TITLE: A Most Violent Year

RELEASE DATE: 12/31/2014


In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city’s history.

What did you think of this film?

Official Site



During Credits? No

After Credits? No

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