peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2015 04 23 ExMachina

Ex Machina

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$9.50, 4.55pm, Landmark at 2828 Clark, newly refurbished. For Oscar Isaac, who was missing the cat so much that he retreated to a Garden of Eden, grew a mullah beard and created a woman. Or several women. As you do when you're the head of Google. Or a thinly veiled Google. Domhnall Gleeson here is similar to what he was in Frank: the uncool, uninteresting interloper around whom the story nevertheless revolves while more charismatic actors/characters wait on the sidelines. The movie proposes something of an extended Turing test, which is superficially shiny but really just shows the writers aren't as familiar with the idea of closure as Turing was. While I have absolutely nothing against the idea of Swede Alicia Vikander playing the robotic ingenue Ava, cold as an ex-girlfriend, I always thought GOFAI (now "strong" AI) would produce a disembodied mind that would build a body for itself, employing our primitive industrial robots to do so: closer to the Wintermute or Skynet model. I guess the imagined endgame is not so different; see also Bladerunner. Surely there's a thesis to be written comparing the robot rearing techniques of plutocrats and South Africans.

Tali for dinner after, at Taj Mahal on Halsted. Middling.

Manohla Dargis was entranced. Anthony Lane observes the positronic precursor to Isaac's gel.