Annihilation (2018)

annihilation-movie-poster

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply. (IMDb)
Ultimately unhelpful flash-forwards and -backs mar an otherwise immersive (viscerally more than intellectually–the ending didn’t satisfy) sci-fi experience initiated by the haunting homecoming scene early on: solid turns, an intense score, and monumental visuals carry the film from spooky (see the first wake-up) to grisly (see the bear attack; stomach cut) to weird (see the trippy cave scene), with just an unforgettable¬†sense of “WTF is going on!?” (both in awe and terror) pervading it all.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

Ex Machina (2014)

A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking female A.I. (IMDb)
The gorgeous and isolated setting here is mesmerizing, and the contrast between the largely windowless indoors and lush outdoors offers a cool visual aid to the human vs. machine theme that runs throughout. Isaac and the other leads are excellent, and the eerie soundtrack works well with a tight story that gets darker with each scene to create a fantastic sense of growing uneasiness that does falter a bit in a slightly muddled climax. All told, however, this is a great, haunting sci-fi thriller.
8.5/10 (Amazing)