Instant Gratification: “Ex Machina” and four other good movies to watch on Amazon Prime and Netflix

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Pick of the week: “Ex Machina (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. In Alex Garland’s sleek sci-fi thriller, a young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) is tasked with evaluating the humanity of an android (Alicia Vikander) built by his boss (a great Oscar Isaac). Naturally, complications ensue. Garland largely dodges deeper questions about humanity and identify, instead making a beautiful and tense movie that’s something special.

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“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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