Ex Machina: Humans vs A.I… of course

Ava in Ex Machina

Ava, the robot featured in Ex Machina

I had the chance to see the new movie Ex Machina (pronounced: Ex Ma-Khi-na) in a sort of “boutique” theater, the ArcLight Theater in Bethesda.  The ArcLight presents a more upscale theater-going experience, which turned out to be perfect for Ex Machina, as it’s an upscale telling of the “humans vs A.I.” theme that is usually represented (crudely) by the Terminator franchise, (genocidally) by Galactica or (lightly) by Star Trek.

And for “upscale,” how did it do?  Masterfully.  Overall, a five-star experience—if you’re okay with science fiction movies that don’t feature space ships and ‘splosions and ask you to use more than five brain cells at a time.  (Oh, yeah, there’s a bit of sexual language and nudity, so leave the kids at home.)

Read on; no spoilers ahead.

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Cloud Atlas: Doomed to fail in the U.S.?

Cloud Atlas poster

Cloud Atlas (Warner Brothers)

Cloud Atlas, the new Warner Brothers movie, seems at first glance to be everything a movie should not be in the U.S.:  It has an intelligent story; it doesn’t feature any action heroes; the major romantic interests in the story all fail; and part of the storyline takes us into the future, automatically insuring an entire host of potential viewers will dismiss the movie as sci-fi right off the bat, and avoid it like the plague.

In fact, so far the most vocal complaints about the movie have been either about a lack of understanding of the story or a complaint about the heavy use of prosthetics to turn the lead actors and actresses into different people, different personalities, different races, and even different genders, running from storyline to storyline. Continue reading