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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Ex Machina' [Blu-ray + Digital HD]
(Oscar Isaac, Domhnail Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Chelsea Li, Corey Johnson, et al / Blu ray / R / 2015 / LGF)

Overview: A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking female A.I.

Blu ray Verdict: The fact that it was filmed with an estimated budget of just $20,000,000 is not surprising when you take into consideration that, for two thirds of the movie there are only the same three characters on screen, and that for 98% of the movie it is set in an "underground bunker' somewhere far, far away!

That said, and with a quote on the back of the Blu ray cover art that reads: "Necessary and Unforgettable. Ex Machina is a Classic," one does have to wonder just what movie this review (with the Associated Press) had actually watched!! For, in short, 'Ex Machina' may well have an interesting premise to initially explore, but within 20 minutes it has turned bland, boring, and come the last third, overrated and excruciating for the eyes to keep feeding into the brain!!

Breaking it down to it's basic plot element, 'Ex Machina' has a simple one: Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a reclusive programming genius, treats one of his employees to a week at his remote estate with Ava, an enigmatically charming robot who's meant to wow (or seduce) her visitor into believing she has human tendencies. Although this appears to be no real challenge, both Nathan and Caleb (Domhnail Gleeson), the unlucky employee, egotistically assume they control the experiment.

The rest is a foregone conclusion. Now, as much as I like Nathan's OTT approach to his underground lifestyle, and admire him for having created his own sexy, non-English speaking, and disco freak Japanese servant, style is no substitute for ideas. Where other films might explore the potential ironies or paradoxes of artificial intelligence, 'Ex Machina' reduces the human condition to basic animal attraction. When not quoting philosophers or scientists, Caleb is a voyeur and Nathan is the inventor of elaborate sex toys. Ava just happens to be a spectacular example, of that I'll give you.

Coming full circle to the nerd, Caleb, he is just so nerdy that he falls head over heels in love with the AI girl within about 60 seconds, never mind that parts of her body are transparent plastic with electronics and machinery glowing within! He's also not smart enough to wonder how the super-smart tech billionaire hasn't figured out that the power outages have to be related to his robot, or to realize that it's not a good idea to have conspiratorial conversations in a house that has electronics bulging from every orifice!

Also, security cameras would obviously be hooked up to the mains power with no backup, right? The production quality of the VFX is surprisingly high for what looks like a low-budget film, which makes you wonder how they failed so badly on the story and acting bits. Perhaps all the money went into cameras and CGI. Or maybe into bribing hordes of people into writing positive reviews, hence dumping down the review columns all the negative ones! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

"Through the Looking Glass: Creating Ex Machina" 5-Part Featurette
8 Behind-the-Scenes Vignettes
SXSW Q&A with Cast and Crew