There’s nothing quite like a night at the cinema. This February, we’re spoilt for choice with a variety of great new films on circuit. These are the ones we recommend you see on the big screen:
Synopsis: M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a life-like doll programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by brilliant toy-company roboticist Gemma, M3GAN can listen and watch and learn as she becomes friend and teacher, playmate and protector, for the child she is bonded to. When Gemma suddenly becomes the caretaker of her orphaned 8-year-old niece, Cady, Gemma’s unsure and unprepared to be a parent. Under intense pressure at work, Gemma decides to pair her M3GAN prototype with Cady in an attempt to resolve both problems — a decision that will have unimaginable consequences.
Editor’s thoughts: “M3GAN is a horror film with a difference – it’s scarily ‘real.’ A brilliant take on when AI goes bad, the film follows the journey of Megan, a next-generation toy doll programmed to mimic a real child. Designed to be a companion to children, she is programmed to educate and support while listening, watching and learning. Before long, however, she stops obeying commands and leaves a trail of destruction when she decides to go after anyone that has ‘wronged’ Cady, her handler.
While the film can be classified as a science fiction horror, it’s not that far removed from reality and showcases the potentially negative or ugly side of artificial intelligence, which really makes one think about AI in the real world, and the effect it could have on us in the future. The pacing is perfect, the dialogue is clever and while the film handles serious subject matter, it is filled with brilliant one liners and funny moments that had the audience laugh out loud. The inclusion of humour really sets it apart from other horror films and series like Black mirror, which tackles similar subject matter.
I think the film would be enjoyable for anyone that enjoys horror, science fiction or thrillers, and judging by its performance at the Box Office in the US, it’s set to be one of the best horror films of 2023.”
Synopsis: Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, BABYLON is an original epic set in 1920’s Los Angeles. The film features an ensemble cast led by Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva and includes Jean Smart, Jovan Depa and Li Jun Li. A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.
Director’s thoughts: “I wanted to look under the microscope at the early days of an art form and an industry, when both were still finding their footing,” says Chazelle, “and, on a deeper level, I liked the idea of looking at a society in change. Hollywood underwent a series of rapid and at times seemingly cataclysmic changes in the 20’s, and some people survived, but many didn’t. In today’s terms, we would call it disruption. You look at what these people went through, and it gives you a sense of the human cost that accompanied the kind of ambition that attracted so many people to Los Angeles at that time. There’s a darker side to the story of that transition than I’d seen before. It went beyond the arrival of sync sound to include a host of new moral codes — finally culminating in the Production Code of the 30s — and the reorganization of a more free-form, unregulated community into the global corporate industry that we know today. Coinciding with all of this is Los Angeles morphing from a mostly rural desert town at the start of the 20s to one of the world’s major megalopolises by the decade’s end. A lot of gleaming new buildings and soundstages rose from the ashes, but the human wreckage was considerable.” – Damien Chazelle
Knock At The Cabin
Synopsis: While vacationing at a remote cabin, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand that the family make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. With limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.
Editor’s thoughts: “I’ve never seen an M. Night Shyamalan film I didn’t enjoy, and Knock At The Cabin did not disappoint. The film depicts every person’s worst nightmare and leaves viewers in suspense for the entire duration. Part thriller, part horror and part drama, it tells the story of a young family held hostage by four strangers, who force them to make an unthinkable choice in order to avoid an apocalypse.
Is the threat to civilisation real? Are these people just deranged? The film leaves you guessing until the very end, and for much of the duration, you may find yourself completely clueless as to what is really happening, and how it all might end. It makes for a thrilling watch and leaves you at the edge of your seat in anticipation of each character’s next move.
True to Shyamalan, the film has an eerie atmosphere throughout. There’s a constant threat hanging over the family and their fear is palpable, yet unimaginable. I enjoyed the various flashbacks included in the movie, as each one gives a little more insight into the couple’s relationship and their journey in adopting their young daughter, making them so much more “human” and enabling the viewers to feel sympathy for them.
The ending isn’t predictable – the film leaves you guessing until the very end, and there is never a dull moment. I highly recommend a trip to the cinema for this one!”