New in Home Entertainment – July 14, 2015

ex machina

New in Home Entertainment

July 14, 2014

Ex Machina
Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
This frightening yet sophisticated and addictive piece of science fiction follows an eccentric billionaire (Oscar Isaac) who has invented a robot with artificial intelligence in the image of a beautiful young woman (Alicia Vikander). In an attempt to test her level of AI, he hires a young genius (Domhnall Gleeson) to visit his hidden estate and interrogate the new life-form. While very artsy and with a limited cast, the film does an excellent job of taking itself in many different directions. While many movies attempt to put you into the head of the hero, this film excels at placing you in the young visitor’s shoes. The whole thing is treated like a mystery with a naive but brilliant detective guiding the way, helping you to figure out the complicated puzzle presented to him. But once the puzzle is solved, the Pandora’s box opened is unexpected and wonderfully twisted. Smart, dark sci-fi thrillers like this are so rare that I can’t help but relish the chance to enjoy them when they pop up. A

Merchants of Doubt
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
From the director of the Oscar-nominated documentary Food, Inc., Robert Kenner, comes this frightening true tale of the spin we’ve been fed for decades by corporations who need us to believe their lies in order for their businesses to succeed. From smoking to global warming, the movie uses magicians and their slight of hand as a metaphor for the lies being told to us on a daily basis and the damage those lies do when they are blindly believed by a gullible public. While many will take the information provided as mere conspiracy theory and essentially the same spin the film accuses others of, the filmmakers go out of their way to show the recent history of propaganda and the dangers it has had on its victims in order to make its very important case. Yes it doses meander in places and there is most certainly a bias towards ideologies belonging mostly to the left and against right wing agendas, but I did feel their case was stated justly and without overt factual error. That being said, I do feel that the movie is preaching to the choir. It’s audience most likely already knows most of the material and I doubt many ditto heads are going to look to the film for a paradigm shift. B+

The Salt of the Earth
Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving images of violence and human suffering, and for nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
For forty years, photographer Sebastiao Salgado has traveled the world to capture the struggles of human existence with his camera. This Oscar-nominated documentary from famed German director Wim Wenders and Salgado’s own son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, looks at Salgado’s rich life experience through his photography and his evolution from capturing the despair of man during times of genocide, famine and exodus to the hope of man through his own efforts to regrow a major rainforest in South America. For many, Salgado is a rock star in his field, but for folks like me, who have never heard the name before, there is much to be learned and appreciated. And to elevate the story is the stunningly beautiful photography which has turned me into quite the fan. This documentary does what a great documentary should: takes you to places you never even knew you wanted to go with the end result being a fantastic voyage. A-

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