Movies

Peter Suderman Reviews Ex Machina

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Universal / A24

Like most critics, including our own Kurt Loder, I really enjoyed Ex Machina. Here's the opener to my review:

Over the past 40 years, science fiction, once the domain of geeks and nerds, has taken over the multiplex. Yet most of the films that pass for big-screen science fiction these days are just action movies pumped up with wow-inducing futuristic gizmos.

It's rare to see a sci-fi film that harkens back to the genre's origins as a literary test bed for speculation about the ways that technology might evolve — and require humans to change in the process.

But that's just what "Ex Machina" is. The directorial debut of Alex Garland, the screenwriter behind the space horror movie "Sunshine" and the revisionist zombie flick "28 Days Later," "Ex Machina" is a spare, beautiful, masterfully crafted exercise in pure science fiction storytelling.

Smart and talky, but also intensely engaging, it plays like a movie version of the sort of story you might find in venerable science fiction magazines such as "Asimov's" or "Analog" at their peak. It's one of the best science fiction films I've seen in years.

Read the whole review in today's Washington Times. 

Officially, the movie opened last week, but it only played in four theaters. After very strong performance at the box office on the screens where it did play, however, it's expanding nationally this week (although not to a full wide release, which won't happen until next week), so you might be able to see it if even if you don't live in one of the small handful of that got the initial limited release. 

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  1. “Yet most of the films that pass for big-screen science fiction these days are just action movies pumped up with wow-inducing futuristic gizmos.”

    Really? Maybe I should watch more SciFi, then!

  2. Last week after Loder reviewed it, I found out about the limited release. Bummer. Glad to see it made money and will be more widely available. A definite must see for me.

  3. Since shitty, eurotrash art house dreck is the only thing that Loder likes, I think I shall pass on this.

  4. Yet most of the films that pass for big-screen science fiction these days are just action movies pumped up with wow-inducing futuristic gizmos.

    We already tried sitting through Solaris, dude. I will stick to the gizmos, the action and the spandex-wearing alien chicks.

  5. They can’t all be Equilibrium.

    1. Holy shit that was an awful movie.


      1. Fuck you. I’m going to cry in the corner now you monster.

  6. This Sunday, I’m hoping to attend the Mpls-St.Paul International Film Fest screening of the Vietnamese sci-fi film Nuoc 2030:

    (Most of) Vietnam is submerged underwater and people live on houses built on stilts (which exist currently in SE Asia – I’m guessing that’s where the filming was done).

    It’s a murder-mystery blah-blah-blah…

    One of the few films that look interesting at the fest.

  7. the screenwriter behind the space horror movie “Sunshine”

    Deal killer.

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