An intelligent A.I. thriller
Alex Garland, author of "The Beach" and screenwriter of "28 Days Later," makes an impressive debut as a director with "Ex Machina" (R, Lionsgate), spinning an unsettling thriller. Caleb, an eager young computer programmer played by Domhnall Gleeson, wins a weeklong stay at the secluded estate of his boss, tech titan Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Caleb is tasked with matching wits with an artificial intelligence machine Nathan has constructed, to judge whether it possesses genuine human consciousness. Nathan's A.I. comes in the form of a pretty animatronic woman named Ava, who does a number on Caleb and her charismatic, manipulative inventor.