The novel Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer, is really terrific. It’s good enough that you should just stop reading this now, go read Annihilation (it’s short, only 125 pages or so) then come back. Because I’m a realist I’ll assume you didn’t do that, but to avoid spoilers about the novel I’ll just say this: Annihilation is kind of sci-fi and almost horror — it’s like Tarkovsky’s Stalker crossed with H.P. Lovecraft. It is unusual and unsettling, and all the major characters are women.
Alex Garland just did some great work with Ex Machina, and he is set to write and direct an Annihilation movie. Now he has Natalie Portman in talks to play the lead role. That is excellent news. Read More »
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Talking in details about Ex Machina is difficult without spoiling some of the film’s biggest reveals. Writer/director Alex Garland has crafted a fascinating sci-fi thriller and, in speaking with both he and star Oscar Isaac, we had to talk about some of the bigger questions the raised by the end of the film.
On the topic of one particular question, the actor and director had opposite ideas about how things would have played out. In discussing some of the facets of the ending, Isaac offers interesting insight in what the film pretends to be, what it actually is, and what the characters are thinking. Below, read the director and actor talk about the Ex Machina ending. And, of course, major spoiler warning. Read More »
Alex Garland‘s directorial debut Ex Machina knocked us out with its combination of provocative writing, impeccable craftsmanship, and detailed performances from Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander. The film has played around the world and is gradually expanding across the United States.
Now there’s one more Ex Machina trailer to see, and it’s a doozy — a brief but dense treatise on the dangers of the development of artificial intelligence, set to some of the film’s darkly ominous score, by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury. Oh, and the film’s distributor has also released a video featuring the great Ex Machina dance scene. No spoilers in noting that (it’s official marketing, after all) but for those who’ve already seen the film, the second video below is going to be your jam. Read More »
Alex Garland‘s Ex Machina feels familiar while also being unique. It may be the latest in a string of films about artificial intelligence, but the look of the movie, the tension it creates, and the surprises within do everything to separate it from films such as Her, Transcendence and Chappie.
Garland, making his directorial debut, had all of that in his head when shooting Ex Machina. He purposely avoided every other piece of new pop culture out there that may have lined up with his movie, but he also used older movies as a reference to make something fresh. The result is an electric, frightening film that’s achieves great deal from three characters (played by Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson) dealing with some very heavy issues.
In our interview with Garland, we talked about how he maintained tension on set, as well as the connections the film may have had with stories like Black Mirror, some of his aims in creating this story, the beautiful design of the robot Ava and whether or not he asked his lead actors about their roles in Star Wars. Below, read our Alex Garland Ex Machina interview. Read More »
Fans love to complain that good sci-fi isn’t released any longer. Alex Garland‘s Ex Machina, however, is good sci-fi. The passage of time may even turn it into great sci-fi. The film stars Oscar Isaac as Nathan, a billionaire savant who created a fictional analog to Google. He invites Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), one of his employees, to his secluded home in order to test a new piece of technology. That technology is a beautiful, mysterious, artificially intelligent robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander).
After that setup, the film is very careful about letting us know what is really going on. Caleb, Nathan and Ava all seemingly have their own agendas in a very tense, very exciting sci-fi story that surprises from the first moment to the last.
We were lucky enough to speak to Isaac about this great movie. He discussed how he shaped such a fascinating, yet seemingly familiar character, creating tension on set, the influences on the character – including Stanley Kubrick – and, of course, some discussion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and X-Men Apocalypse.
There are no spoilers here. We’ll post those after opening weekend. For now, read our Oscar Isaac Ex Machina interview. Read More »
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Ex Machina, the directorial debut from screenwriter and producer Alex Garland (Never Let Me Go, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Dredd) may be the antidote for your original sci-fi blues. At least that’s what the response in the film’s run in the UK and other countries suggests, and what the very positive reviews out of SXSW seem to indicate. The film went over particularly well in its US debut at the festival last weekend.
Garland has crafted a film in which a programmer and a CEO, played by Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac test, and are tested by Ava (Alicia Vikander), a powerful artificial intelligence. The film sounds like the next step in an evolutionary ladder that goes from Frankenstein to Blade Runner, and you can see a new Ex Machina trailer below. Read More »
Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015 by Angie Han
The subject of A.I. (and/or the singularity) is one ripe for cinematic exploration, and explore it we have — in Her, in Transcendence, in Chappie, in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron and Terminator: Genisys. But as that list shows, the actual quality of those films has been all over the map.
Happily, Alex Garland‘s Ex Machina seems to fall on the higher end of the spectrum. After years of writing haunting sci-fi scripts for other people, Garland finally makes his directorial debut with this simple story about two men (Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson) and a beautiful but slippery A.I. (Alicia Vikander). Get the Ex Machina early buzz from SXSW after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 by Angie Han
Before Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson go gallivanting about some galaxy far, far away, they’ll be tangling with robots right here on planet Earth. Alex Garland‘s Ex Machina has Gleeson playing Caleb, a programmer selected to help his company’s CEO Nathan (Isaac) test his new artificial intelligence experiment Ava (Alicia Vikander).
At first all seems well, with Ava impressing both men. But as in every AI movie ever made, things don’t quite turn out the way the guys expected. Watch the new Ex Machina trailer after the jump.
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For years, there has been the potential for some combination of director Danny Boyle, screenwriter Alex Garland and producer Andrew Macdonald to return to the story they originated in 28 Days Later. That film, a “viral outbreak” zombie story set in London and the English countryside, was an early example of digital cinematography and a big influence on the explosion of interest in zombie films. It spawned one sequel, 28 Weeks Later, and now Garland says that the three men have started to talk seriously about making a third film. Read More »