“Ex Machina”: These are the droids you’re looking for

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“Ex Machina” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance. R, 1:48, three stars out of four.

Novelist Alex Garland wrote the screenplay for Danny Boyle’s “Sunshine,” which aimed for being an epic science-fiction film but somehow got distracted into becoming a serial killer thriller along the way.

Garland wrote and directed “Ex Machina,” which also aspires to be heady sci-fi. But this time Garland, who seems to be unable to resist the lower pleasures of genre, lets the film turn into something of an erotic thriller. But while “Sunshine” was fatally undone by its tonal shift, the mixing of genres works well in Garland’s beautiful and tense film.

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“Frank”: How to get a head in the music business

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“Frank” is now available on iTunes and VOD. R, 1:35, three and a half stars out of four.

The old rule in Hollywood is that if you have a handsome movie star in the lead role, don’t obscure his features. No mustaches, no beards, no fake noses.

And one would presume that a giant papier-mache head would also be right out.

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