2015 holds two upcoming sci-fi thrillers about transcending human limits. Aprils Ex Machina finds Domhnall Gleeson exploring feelings with highly advanced, feminized artificial intelligence, while this summers Self/Less sees Ben Kingsleys consciousness transferred to the fit ass Ryan Reynolds (not dissimilar from how that new Fox Frankenstein pilot is described!) in a bid at immortality. Of course in both cases, complications arise.
Ex Machina is the feature directorial debut of writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Dredd). The film boasts a serious look, one of beautiful landscape, modern architecture and neat lights across a stellar cast including Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander (transcending humanity as A.I. Ava and a thankless role in this winters Seventh Son). In the film, Gleeson plays Caleb, a programmer at an internet-search giant, who wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company’s brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Testcharging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathans latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava, a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticatedand more deceptivethan the two men could have imagined.
Meanwhile, Self/Less comes from visually spectacular filmmaker Tarsem Singh (The Fall), and finds an extremely wealthy man (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer undergo a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body’s origin and the organization that will kill to protect its cause. Hopefully Self/Less boasts more of Singhs visual splendor than is apparent, because it otherwise seems fairly familiar, as this new body holds old secrets and a research organization proves devious.
Ex Machina sees its U.S. Premiere at Austins SXSW next week before a national release on April 10th from A24.