Movie: Ex Machina
A few minutes into Ex Machina, I suddenly realized - this was not really a science fiction movie. It was a traditional gothic dressed up in the trappings of sci-fi. I don't mean this as a bad thing, at all: if anything, I was more intrigued. Domhnall Gleeson as Jane Eyre to Oscar Isaac's tech genius Rochester? Sign me up. But though this was basically fun to watch, I wound up disappointed as the movie went on: it was well-made but very predictable, it didn't explore any of the philosophical issues it brought up on any but the most surface level, and the ending was unsatisfying (and/but the friend I watched with and I agreed that, the way things were set up, we couldn't come up with an alternate ending that would have satisfied us).
Other points of note:
1. One of the most coincidentally interesting things about the movie was the way the cast was made up of actors from much buzzier current movies (Domhnall Gleeson of Brooklyn and Star Wars and The Revenant, Oscar Isaac of Star Wars, Alicia Vikander of The Danish Girl). It was neat seeing them in these very different roles, and they all did fine jobs with what they were given.
2. I am in no way an expert on A.I., but I know enough about tech in general to often be annoyed by ridiculous portrayals in movies, and this was somewhat less ridiculous than most. I didn't yell at the screen about it, in any case.
3. However, I DID yell at the screen about the terrible sound mixing, and I am certainly not an expert in THAT, so that tells you just how bad it was.
Availability: Streaming on Amazon Prime.
Visual Effects: While watching, I actually forgot that Alicia Vikander's character was being played by a human woman rather than REALLY A ROBOT so . . . yeah, I guess the effects are awardworthy!
Writing (Original Screenplay): Nope. Reasons above!