Alicia Vikander in ‘Ex Machina’/Image © Universal Pictures International
Editor's Note: "Ex Machina" another example of AI taking over screens, Academy Awards that don't pay the rent, and more in our Daily Blunt.
The new film "Ex Machina" (trailer below) offers yet another opportunity to explore the strange relationships humankind will share with advanced AI systems (see also: last year's "Her" and the recent season premiere episode of "Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man"). The Independent uses this movie as a dark mirror for peering into our tech future and pondering what will occur after the phenomenon that scientists call The Singularity, a term which itself has been popularized by sci-fi. Worst case scenario? We're all robot chow.
Good luck, future soon-to-be-named Oscar winners -- but please remember, not even this will secure your fate. Dianne Wiest, who earned acting trophies for "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Hannah and Her Sisters," admitted to The New York Times this weekend that she's having trouble paying her rent. Someone needs to get her on one of those HBO series so she can keep her West 79th Street address; the actress has been a treasure in everything from "Edward Scissorhands" to "Synecdoche, New York."
Speaking of too much intelligence, we now know that e-readers track information about what you've read -- and how much of it. For example, publishers now know that fewer than half of British and Canadian readers who downloaded Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch actually finished it. This poses interesting questions about a world in which we know exactly how readers engage with their reading material. If you stop halfway through a book, does it reflect an editorial problem, or an authorial one? Or is it even a problem at all? Please raise your hand if you've ever set down a book halfway through, and finished it a year or more later.
You may not have seen all of 2014's best movies, but that won't keep you from appreciating the year in posters. Never forget this was the year in which someone advertised a film by showing Udo Kier's O-Face. This particular reviewer, however, reserved his greatest praise for Scarlett Johansson's murky mugshot in "Under the Skin."