Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie
Nathan (Oscar Isaac), an unquestionably immoral search engine CEO, has created the world’s ultimate artificial intelligence — Ava (Alicia Vikander). He hires programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) to test whether she could pass for human. Every story about too-human AIs ends up in the same place: disaster. Ex Machina is no exception to the cliche, and yes, the humans come out the worst for it here (as usual). But this thoughtful, visually striking film isn’t afraid to examine the uneasy female-robot-male-creator dynamic that so often crops up in the tech conversation, nor is it willing to provide any comforting balms of hope for either man or machine.
Plays at 1, 3, 5 and 9 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Movie Museum
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
Everyone has seen the ubiquitous “Straight Outta” memes that have taken over the Internet in the last few weeks, and everyone has heard of N.W.A — if not the group, then certainly its still-huge members. Keep in mind that former members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre produced this straightforward biopic, so no, you won’t find anything too controversial or negative here. But it is still a compelling story to tell — one of violence and anger on California streets, an old story that still has too much resonance in America today. The film’s first act is stronger than its second, which struggles when the band parts ways, but what a beginning it is.
Opened Aug. 14 in wide release
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL
Fifteen-year-old Minnie (Bel Powley) begins this film with exuberant joy: She’s just had sex with her mother’s 35-year-old boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard). This is no Lolita or Hard Candy, though — it’s a bouncing coming-of-age story about a girl becoming an adult in a world where no one acts like one. The film’s success is simple: It never forgets that this is a story told by a 15-year-old girl, and it captures all the arrogance, optimism and courage that come with that. Skarsgard does an impressive job keeping his smarmy character sympathetic, and Kristen Wiig enjoys herself as Minnie’s free-spirit mother.
Opens Aug. 28 at Kahala Theatre