Weekend Roundup: Ex Machina, more Daredevil, BORGIA (2011) & a new obsession

I thought I’d take a bit of a break from MSPIFF to give you a bit of a rundown of how last week’s been going so far, which is perhaps one of my favorite weeks so far in terms of movie-viewing.

In case you’re wondering what those three movies are… well, I’ve reviewed two of them: Clouds of Sils Maria, Girlhood and the third one is Ex Machina, which turned out to be even better than I expected.


It’s also cool to have Ex Machina‘s director Alex Garland actually answered my question hours before I saw the screening, thanks to IMDb’s Twitter Q@A using the hashtag #ExMachinaChat.

This is Garland’s directorial debut and it’s certainly one of the best sci-fis dealing with the ‘what does it mean to be human’ theme. Visually it looks cool and the story is genuinely thought-provoking. I’ll review that when MSPIFF is over, but if you haven’t seen it yet, l can’t recommend it enough!

I also saw more episodes of Netflix’s Daredevil, we only have two more episodes to go and the waiting for second season will be agonizing! Man, episode 10 and 11 were especially phenomenal. I love the Nelson vs Murdock one as it showed the back story of how they’ve become friends since becoming room mates in law school. It’s an emotionally-gratifying and revelatory episode whilst the action scene continues to be as phenomenal as ever.

Daredevil_ep10_11The spirituality aspect of Matt Murdock’s story is intriguing as it’s perhaps the first superhero who’s faith is integral in his role and the show doesn’t shy away from it. I find the dialog between Matt and his priest/personal confidant and their discussion about whether the devil truly walks amongst earth fascinating and insightful in terms of the protagonist’s motivations. Nice to see Claire (Rosario Dawson) making an appearance again in episode 11: The Path of the Righteous. I’ve always found Charlie Cox to be a gorgeous Brit but he looks REALLY good on this show, and he’s clearly worked out a lot for this role, ehm. I LOVE Claire’s comment about seeing Matt shirtless again. Amen to that, sista 😉

Speaking of REALLY gorgeous man… I have a new obsession… some of you on Twitter might’ve noticed it 😉 It happened almost instantly when I saw Not Another Happy Ending precisely two weeks ago and ever since then I have watched that Scottish rom-com over a dozen times, I think that’s a record!

NotAnotherHappyEnding_CafeNotAnotherHappyEnding_finaleI will have to do a Stanley Weber appreciation post at some point, he’s the first French actor I’ve ever had a massive crush on … as you know I almost always go for the Brits. But the second I beheld his c’est magnifique physique (and THAT irresistible wavy hair!) and heard him speak, I was a goner [le sigh] My penchant for the criminally-underrated AND the unjustifiably-obscure actors continues… why hasn’t Hollywood discover him yet? Come on!!!

Ehm, now that I got that out of the way …. inspired by Margaret’s awesome list post of cinematic/TV gems she saw because of her actor’s crushes, I just might have to do one of my own. One of those gems is definitely this Canal+ production of BORGIA, not to be confused with Showtime’s The Borgias that’s also about the notorious Italian family in the 15th and 16th century. This is the one created by Tom Fontana (Homicide, HBO’s Oz) with John Doman as Rodrigo Borgia.

BORGIA_Canal+BORGIA_JuanBorgiaStanley plays one of Rodrigo’s son, Juan. I’ve only seen four episodes so far and oh boy, Juan Borgia is one naughty, naughty boy. Basically his character is a psychopath and a sexual predator, which is completely different role from what I’ve seen him in Not Another Happy Ending. The entire BORGIA clan is morally bankrupt all around, and the actors portray them VERY well. The most infamous chapter of the history of the Catholic church certainly made for some fascinating historical drama.

What I’m looking forward to this week:

WaterDivinerScreeningBeen waiting to see Russell Crowe’s directorial debut for ages.
I first posted the trailer here over a year ago!

So that’s what I’ve been watching & obsessing about. What about you?


55 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: Ex Machina, more Daredevil, BORGIA (2011) & a new obsession

  1. Been doing DAREDEVIL myself and finally caught up to ep. 10 Nelson vs Murdock. What a great series and wonderful presentation of the comic book character. Doing ep. 11 The Path of the Righteous as soon as I get home tonight!

    1. Nelson vs Murdock is such a great episode isn’t it? I LOVE how the actors fill the roles so well and they just work together so beautifully. The Path of the Righteous is excellent too, and the finale is WOW, just WOW!! Not gonna spoil anything, just watch it!! 😀

  2. I’ll rent Ex Machina, I do like Alex Garland’s work. I watched the rest of the episodes of DareDevil over the weekend, very satisfying season. Hopefully they can keep up the good writing and storyline for next season.

    I picked up Cowboys & Aliens at Best Buy for $8 and watched that too. I haven’t seen it since I saw it at a theater 4 years ago, it’s still a crappy movie as I remember. Such a waste of talent and money, you’d think a movie with James Bond and Indiana Jones teaming up to fight aliens in the wild west would be fun and exiting, it’s the exact opposite.

    1. Ex Machina is REALLY good Ted, he’s definitely got a career as a filmmaker after establishing himself as a screenwriter. Wish Hollywood would throw money at him instead of Neil Blommkamp.

      Ahah, I haven’t seen Cowboys & Aliens and probably never will.

  3. Glad you liked Ex Machina, Ruth. I will look out for your review. I enjoyed that one.
    I had a film marathon on Saturday and watched Two Days, One Night, As Tears Go By, Festen (aka The Celebration) and finally Chef, which I think you liked? It was a good Saturday!

    1. I’m impressed how good Ex Machina was, I love the slow-burn suspense that’s genuinely absorbing. That’s quite a lot of movies, I’m curious about Two Days, One Night but yeah, I like Chef, that was quite a pleasant surprise. Did you like it too? I thought even Sofia Vergara was good in it.

      1. Yeah it really kept me guessing, Ex Machina. There were a couple of points where I had no idea which way the story was going!
        I did like Chef. Not a brilliant movie but after sitting through three subtitled films in a row it was nice to go back to the English language and watch something that was really easy to follow! I like Favreau and John Leguizamo, but some of the other supporting roles and cameos (Hoffman, Johansson, Downey Jr) were way too distracting.

  4. Very much looking forward to seeing Ex Machina. I’ll probably have to wait a while, what with Age of Ultron coming out here this Thursday, but it’s definitely on the list. I’ll be on the look-out for your review.

    Nelson vs Murdock was a great episode. And yes, completely agree, it will be an agonising wait for S2. I still have no idea what their plans are for it. Will we have to wait until all of the MCU series finish for more Charlie Cox and DD? I hope not!

    This week I am most looking forward to The Avengers. I am ridiculously excited about it.

    For now, I must be off to begin my Stanley Borgia adventure.

    1. Hi V! You won’t be disappointed w/ Ex Machina! Wow, Age of Ultron is arriving this week in the UK?? I’m actually not all that excited for that one, I mean I’ll probably enjoy it, it’s just not on my highly-anticipated list.

      I’m finally done w/ Daredevil. OMG it’s such an excellent finale. Now the waiting IS gonna be agonizing! I sure hope we won’t have to wait too long!

      As for BORGIA, well the series proved to be quite absorbing, though I wish there’s more screen time for Stanley’s character Juan. He’s really a despicable character but oh soooo yummy looking whenever he’s on screen. But if you REALLY want to see him in his mighty gorgeousness, you MUST watch Not Another Happy Ending. I’m not even into rom-coms but it’s absolutely delightful to watch because of him.

  5. I really want to see Ex Machina as I like the stuff that Alex Garland has done. I’ll probably see it in the coming weeks as I’m short on cash as of this point.

    1. If you like Garland’s work, well this could be his best yet, both as a writer AND director. Plus all three actors are simply amazing.

    1. Hello Ryan! I’ve heard great things too and they live up to the hype! I have high hopes for Crowe’s debut, plus I quite like the premise which sounds like personal project for him.

  6. Can’t wait to see Clouds Of Sils Maria Ruth! I haven’t seen Not Another Happy Ending either, but I might have to give it a try if it’s good enough for 12 rewatches 🙂 I really enjoyed the Showtime series, Borgias, so I’ll definitely look out for the French version too.

    1. Hi Natalie! You’ll appreciate Clouds of Sils Maria, we need more female-centric drama like that one. Ahah, well Not Another Happy Ending is a decent rom-com but it’s EXTRA special because of Stanley Weber who’s the male lead, soooooo swoon-worthy. BORGIA is actually done by Canal+ which is a UK company, so it’s in English w/ American/Euro cast.

      1. Just checked and BORGIA is available on Amazon here in the UK so I’ll try and check it out soon. Is it as bloodthirsty as the Showtime version or a bit more restrained? Really liked Jeremy Irons and Holliday Grainger in that version.

        1. Hi Natalie, well I haven’t seen the Showtime version but here’s an article that compares the two, if that helps: http://www.exurbe.com/?p=2176

          I think the StudioCanal version (BORGIA) is more historically-accurate but also more brutal & graphic in its depiction of sex & violence. I like Irons but John Doman makes for a charismatic and terrifying Rodrigo! Stanley’s Juan Borgia is bad to the bone… I mean he’s basically a psychopath!

          1. I like the sound of it being more historically accurate. The Showtime version was already pretty violent, so I’ll have to brace myself. I’ve been watching Fortitude and that sets a new bar for violence and gore, so I should be prepared!

            1. I didn’t know which one Fortitude was, I had to google it. I think Borgia might be more violent, esp the Medieval torture scenes, hiiih

  7. Jesus Christ, 12 times in 2 weeks? Well that is…a lot 🙂 I really want to see Ex – Machina and I hope I’ll see Clouds of Sils Maria tonight and I’m one of those people who will enjoy it, I saw very mixed opinions on this one

    1. Ahahaha, are you saying you didn’t watch Fugitive Pieces as many times in that same period? 😛 Yeah when I’m obsessed I’m REALLY obsessed, it’s really an affliction that doesn’t happen often, all hell breaks lose!! 😉

      I hope you enjoy Clouds of Sils Maria. It’s not flawless, but I still rate it VERY good due to the performances of the three female actors. Ex Machina on the other hand, is darn near perfect IMHO.

      1. Oh God no, I’d never have time, unfortunately. I watched some scenes more than twice but that’s it.

        I thought Clouds was a bit too metaphorical at times but the performances were absolutely superb

        1. Oh I actually didn’t watch the FULL movie a dozen times, maybe just half of that in 2 weeks, but I’ve played ALL the Stanley scenes over and over even whilst I’m working on my computer in the office. Luckily sometimes I can actually have movies playing in the background whilst I’m working and the movie is available on HULU, so that’s why I could watch something that often 😛 If it’s not available on streaming I won’t be able to do that.

          Glad you like the performances in ‘Clouds.’ The story is not perfect but the performances definitely elevate the film!

  8. Ex Machina! Oh, I’ve only heard nice things and I’m glad. I read ‘The Beach’ written by Alex Garland years ago and loved it a lot more than the film adaptation. Glad to see he’s been successful behind the lens. Can’t wait to see this, Ruth.

    1. Wow, I thought Garland only wrote the screenplay, not the novel. So he’s a triple threat then, he could handle novel writing, screen writing and now directing. Ex Machina is excellent Cindy, shares some plot similarities to The Machine but even better in its execution.

  9. I can’t wait to see Ex Machina, and Clouds of Sils Maria. I’m only on episode 3 of Daredevil, but I’m loving it so far. Charlie Cox IS a gorgeous Brit. I do miss his Irish accent he had on Boardwalk Empire though. That was sexy.

    1. Hi Brittani! Charlie Cox is gorgeous, though at times he looks so cute, not exactly the kind of look appropriate for Daredevil, ahah. He’s in Boardwalk Empire? I have to seek out the episodes w/ him in it now 😉 Ex Machina and Clouds of Sils Maria are excellent, hope you get to see that soon!

    1. Not completely sold on Daredevil?? Man you’re tough to please Mikey!

      So you’ve seen The Water Diviner? Well I’m gonna stay away from reviews until I’ve seen it.

  10. Three movies I have not seen, but which I’m now very much looking forward to. Also have been hearing a lot of good things about Daredevil, so might have to start watching that as well. I’m looking forward to checking out Avengers, which I’ll see tomorrow (couldn’t be bothered to go to the first screening tonight at 00:00 till 02:45, I’m just too old for that)

    1. Hi Nostra! You should check out Daredevil, it’s really good! Ahah, I can’t do midnight screenings either, too sleepy by that point.

  11. I cannot wait for The Water Diviner! Like…OMG!!!!

    Also, your three films that may make your Top 10 are three films I’m dying to see so badly (as you know). UGH!!!!

    1. Hi Drew! I hope you get to see it soon man, esp given how much you love Crowe. And I hope you get to see the other 3 soon too, esp Girlhood.

      THANK YOU for noticing my new banner, you’re a pal!! 😀

  12. Glad you’re enjoying Daredevil, Ruth. I finished it last week and thought it was the best show so far of 2015. Especially amazed at D’Onofrio’s performance as Fisk. Stellar work.

    1. Hi Rodney! We are on the same page about Daredevil, glad to hear! Yes D’Onofrio’s performance as Fisk is excellent, nice to see a fabulous hero + villain matchup!

  13. Good stuff Ruth. I haven’t been able to get excited for Ex Machina but you have stirred my interest. I feel compelled to look it up now. And I too am excited for The Water Diviner. I really hope it delivers.

    1. May I ask why you’re not excited about Ex Machina? I’m always intrigued by the man vs machine storyline and this one actually has some spiritual aspect (whether intentional or not) that appeals to me. I just got back from The Water Diviner, I enjoyed it despite some slow parts, but Ex Machina is a far better film.

      1. I love sci-fi but EM just hasn’t resonated with me. Part of it may be the ‘graphic nudity’ that is in the ratings description box. I haven’t really gave it a lot of attention. I do love Oscar Isaac though.

        1. Y’know what, I get it Keith. I’ll be the first to agree w/ you on full frontal nudity which is almost always unnecessary. But in this case, I feel that the nudity is not gratuitous and believe it or not, it’s integral to the story. Oscar Isaac is BRILLIANT as always, but both Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander are excellent here as well. I’ll be writing my review on it soon.

  14. Ex Machina sounds interesting. I’ll look forward to catching it. Water Diviner is also one I hope to see at some point.

    Incidentally, I hope to finally watch another flick tonight. Should have a review for you tomorrow.

    1. Hi Josh, Ex Machina is excellent. One of the best and most immersive sci-fi I’ve seen in years. It’s astonishing as it was made w/ limited budget, I mean a fraction of something like Elysium. Water Diviner is a decent debut from Crowe, worth your time for sure.

  15. Ex Machina looks great, and I’m also looking forward to The Water Diviner. I’ll start Daredevil eventually. I’m actually working on season 1 of The Wire at the moment. 🙂

    1. Hi Josh! Ex Machina is excellent! The Water Diviner is a decent debut from Crowe, good but not great. You’re watching The Wire? I think John Doman is in that show too, he’s using the same American accent in BORGIA too, ahah.

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  17. Great post! LOVE the new banner 🙂 Damn, Charlie Cox IS looking good! Really want to see Clouds of Sils Maria and Ex Machina (that was a great answer by Garland, BTW).

    Wow, a dozen times? That’s intense. Guess you really have a crush on Stanley. He’s handsome but I wasn’t too wowed. Great hair, though.

    1. Hi Fernando! Thanks for the kind words about the new banner 😀 Yes Charlie Cox looks a lot manlier than he was before and he works out quite nicely.

      Ahah yes it’s a pretty intense crush and it hits me without warning! Never been into French guys before, but hey, there’s always a first time 😉

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