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EX MACHINA (Read 4569 times)
Apr 14th, 2015 at 2:33pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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Sort of a companion piece to HER, except this time the A.I. has a physical flesh & blood, er... artificial skin and circuits manifestation.
Writer-Director Alex Garland has some fine SF credits to his resume having written the screenplays for the excellent NEVER LET ME GO and 28 DAYS LATER among others. He uses that knowledge of genre to craft a story which delves deeply into the world of what it is to be human vs. a machine. The famous Turing test is at the crux of the tale.
On a purely visual level, EX MACHINA works very well within a modest budget (of course, limiting most of the movie to one location and 4 actors helps stretch those dollars). Still, the illusion of Ava the robot is seemlessly achieved through a combination of practical and CGI effects. The sets are spartan, but, fully realized and effective.
Where the movie falters is that there is far too much cat & mouse verbal sparring, despite the fine work of Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac. Like with his screenplay for Danny Boyle's flawed SUNSHINE, Garland seems determined to undercut the awe and wonder of the science fiction aspect with petty plot machinations. Fortunately, the themes here are so rich that they overcome most of those issues. And, the finale confounds one's expections on more than one level - but, in a quite satisfying way in the end (even if it is a bit far fetched). Still one wishes that so much time hadn't been spent on the hoary cliche of defeating the Mad Scientist gambit.
EX MACHINA is a good entry into the expanding sub-genre of A.I.. More focus on the "I" and less on the "A" (artificial plot complications) could have resulted in something truly great, but, it's certainly worth seeing on the big screen.

...
 
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Reply #1 - May 9th, 2015 at 1:20pm

Jay Seaver   Offline
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I'm not sure I liked it quite as much as The Machine - a similar premise that went in a different direction a year or so earlier (most notably by letting the AI feel less human) - but pretty impressive.
 
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Reply #2 - May 9th, 2015 at 4:43pm

David the Projectionist   Offline
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It was junk.
Once again, you have people who can come up with interesting ideas but no notion of what to do with them, or where to go with them.
I'm supposed to believe that a man -- an alleged genius (always interesting how writers of average or below-average intelligence try to portray geniuses) -- has a "research centre" in the middle of nowhere, with no back-up personnel, no doctor on call, no security guards, nothing anywhere at all? If he slipped on those rocks he liked to climb he'd die of exposure in no time flat. If he took a bad drunken fall he might never be found; never recover. Whats wrong with this picture?
Hes also too stupid to have an emergency kill switch? Really? He has back-up files of previous models who turned violent, & he didnt think to install an all-crash button? "Hey, my android might escape -- especially seeing as Ive designed this entire exercise around that idea -- and I dont have any way to turn it off in the event it out-thinks me? I'm one damn dumb genius!"
The power fails regularly & all the doors lock, and he doesnt stop to think that a permanent fail would strand him? And he doesnt have an out? We're talking Sarah Palin levels of stupidity here, folks!
Epic fail. And it ends badly, as most movies do these days. No one knows how to write anymore, O brave new world. Cry
 

I have seen the future, and it is sucky digital....
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Reply #3 - May 11th, 2015 at 4:10pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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Ah, the modern day John Simon strikes again.

You only focus on the nitpicky stuff. Yeah, I had problems with all of those, too. BUT, you miss the richness of the thematic elements, the cool visuals and the good acting.

Forest for the trees and all that....

David the Projectionist wrote on May 9th, 2015 at 4:43pm:
It was junk.
Once again, you have people who can come up with interesting ideas but no notion of what to do with them, or where to go with them.
I'm supposed to believe that a man -- an alleged genius (always interesting how writers of average or below-average intelligence try to portray geniuses) -- has a "research centre" in the middle of nowhere, with no back-up personnel, no doctor on call, no security guards, nothing anywhere at all? If he slipped on those rocks he liked to climb he'd die of exposure in no time flat. If he took a bad drunken fall he might never be found; never recover. Whats wrong with this picture?
Hes also too stupid to have an emergency kill switch? Really? He has back-up files of previous models who turned violent, & he didnt think to install an all-crash button? "Hey, my android might escape -- especially seeing as Ive designed this entire exercise around that idea -- and I dont have any way to turn it off in the event it out-thinks me? I'm one damn dumb genius!"
The power fails regularly & all the doors lock, and he doesnt stop to think that a permanent fail would strand him? And he doesnt have an out? We're talking Sarah Palin levels of stupidity here, folks!
Epic fail. And it ends badly, as most movies do these days. No one knows how to write anymore, O brave new world. Cry

 
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Reply #4 - May 12th, 2015 at 10:58am

David the Projectionist   Offline
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I'm not "wrong," we just disagree.


L.A. Connection wrote on May 11th, 2015 at 4:10pm:
You only focus on the nitpicky stuff.


Which was so glaringly & obviously stupid that it knocked me out of the movie. Movies are self-contained worlds. If it's a stupid world, it's a stupid movie. The frigging Fifth Element was better thought-out than this.


Quote:
BUT, you miss the richness of the thematic elements, the cool visuals and the good acting.


The photography was miserable: the usual flat, poorly-lit, post-manipulated digital crap. The acting was adequate, considering how incompetently the script was written. As for "richness of thematic elements," what are you: twelve? Put down the Wonder Woman comics, Tony, and start reading some Conrad.


Quote:
Forest for the trees and all that....


"God is in the details." No details, no God. No God, no art.


Quote:
Ah, the modern day John Simon strikes again.


I admire Simon tremendously, & were he still reviewing, you can bank he would lay into this piece of garbage with a lusty relish & his usual nasty invective that would leave my capsule review breathless.
And it's still junk.
 

I have seen the future, and it is sucky digital....
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Reply #5 - May 12th, 2015 at 5:48pm

pogo   Offline
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Thank you Tony & David.
Your reviews are in such contrast that you have made me want to see it just to see who I agree with.
Heard an excellent interview with one of those responsible for the film. It was excellent in that the interviewer exposed what is clearly an important aspect of the film, namely the look behind the AI.
What was interesting about THAT was that in its design the designer/director was very well aware of the six to eight notable precursors of Ava, going back to Metropolis, and their first thought was exclusionary - to make sure that this creation could in no way be confused with earlier conceptions. Other points were made, including the elephant in the room. Why so obviously female?
But David's points are not about the design of the AI. Neither are LA's. Knowing me, I will see it eventually. If soon - will comment.
« Last Edit: May 13th, 2015 at 11:12am by pogo »  

Thars only two possibilities:Thar is life out there in the universe which is smarter than we are,or we're the most intelligent life in the universe.Either way, it's a mighty sobering thought-WaltKelly
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Reply #6 - May 14th, 2015 at 2:59pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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pogo wrote on May 12th, 2015 at 5:48pm:
But David's points are not about the design of the AI. Neither are LA's. Knowing me, I will see it eventually. If soon - will comment.


Actually, I did: "EX MACHINA works very well within a modest budget (of course, limiting most of the movie to one location and 4 actors helps stretch those dollars). Still, the illusion of Ava the robot is seemlessly achieved through a combination of practical and CGI effects. The sets are spartan, but, fully realized and effective."

Never mind David. He's a proud 7% -er that loves to be in the minority. And, his hero John Simon wouldn't have hated EX MACHINA - he wouldn't have "lowered" himself by even seeing it. (and disparaging EX MACHINA's intelligence by comparing it to THE FIFTH ELEMENT? WTF?!!)
 
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