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One, Two, and Three...

which movie am I reviewing?

I did a bit of a binge this past weekend. I saw three different movies, and I don't feel guilty about it at all. 
I saw the new Avengers: Age of Ultron on Friday night, Ex Machina on Saturday morning, and then I finally caught The Woman in Gold earlier this afternoon. All 3 of them were really excellent movies and all very different from each other.
Avengers is a total summer-popcorn-superhero-action-movie. It never gives you anything you wouldn't want to see in that kind of movie. There were a couple things that I found uneven (the opening sequence really bothered me for some reason and was hard to overlook to get into the movie quickly), but nothing that would make me dislike the movie. I definitely went in with expectations that were way too high. I think one of my major issues is that the first Avengers movie was all about bringing the team together. This one was more about planting the seeds that will tear the team apart in the upcoming Civil War. My personality, my neuroses, my issues make it so that I desperately want a happy ending for every movie, every story, ever. This movie, though it has a good resolution, it's not a happy ending. They're even building a bit of a romance, which then fizzles by the end which was a HUGE let down for me.  Yes, I know I'm being unrealistic, and when you make movies like this that are part of a larger universe like Marvel has created, you need not only internal storylines, but story arcs that reach across movies. I understand it, but it made it harder for me to enjoy.
Ex Machina was opposite to Avengers in so many ways that I can't even conceive of. It had a tiny cast: only 3 primary actors with only one other appearing on camera for more than a split second. The whole thing was set in a single location. It was a psychological twister and you never know anyone's motivations until the very end, and even then, you're not sure. I'm posting the trailer below, but honestly, it's a movie that doesn't lend itself to previews. The film is about a guy who goes to the secret bunker-type house deep in the woods to administer a Turing Test on a new computer/ android/ artificial intelligence created by the super-smart, super-rich guy who owns the bunker. The movie is all about the question: what makes us human? It also tickles those underlying parts of our psyches that we don't want to admit to: our darkness is also part of our humanity. I don't want to give anything away, but always question motives.
The Woman in Gold was, again, completely different from the others. Where Ex Machina and Avengers: Age of Ultron are both science fiction, this one is based on a true story. Going into it, you know then ending because it wouldn't have been made into a movie otherwise, but the story is so moving, it's still worth a watch. Especially after watching Ex Machina, I wanted to deny the brutality of humans, but somehow forgot that this movie involved Nazis. I cried at least 3 different times because I was so moved by the storyline and the beautiful acting of Dame Helen Mirren. Tatiana Maslany plays the younger version of Maria (Mirren's character) and just does such a beautiful job of it. (I'm beginning to believe that Mislay could act circles around Meryl Streep; the woman is incredible.)
All-in-all, a great weekend!
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