The intimate, psychological sci-fi of Humans

Humans has already been a big hit for Channel 4. Ryan looks at what makes its low-key approach to sci-fi so brilliantly effective...

Warnings: contains mild spoilers for Humans episodes one and two.

A delicious air of tension hangs like cobwebs over Humans, the Channel 4 and AMC co-production which began airing earlier this month. It presents a near-future where a new breed of robots - called Synths - are both cheap and commonplace. They clean our schools, look after our elderly and do our cooking and cleaning.

The Synths carry out their menial tasks with serene eyes and an eerie half-smile, yet not everyone is comforted by their presence. Take Laura Hawkins (Katherine Parkinson), for example: a busy mother of two, she returns home from work one day to discover that her husband Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) has purchased a Synth called Anita (Gemma Chan) to help with the household chores.
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‘Automata’ DVD Review

Stars: Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Andy Nyman, David Ryall, Javier Bardem, Andrew Tiernan, Lyubomir Neikov, Krasimir Kutsurapov, Geraldine Somerville | Written by Gabe Ibáñez, Igor Legarreta, Javier Sánchez Donate | Directed by Gabe Ibáñez

Thirty years in the future, mankind struggles to survive as the environment deteriorates. Technology combats the prevailing uncertainty and fear with the creation of the first quantum android, the Automata Pilgrim 7000. Roc corporation has set forth security protocols to ensure mankind maintains control over the manufactured population. However, as Roc insurance agent Jacq Vaucan investigates cases surrounding defective androids, he begins to uncover the secrets behind who is really manipulating the Automata Pilgrim 7000 – and the truth is far more complex than the make or model of any machine.

Take I-Robot, Blade Runner and a hefty tome on the philosophy of life, remove most of the action, stir in a
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Ultron and the meaning of robots and AI in modern Sf movies

Age Of Ultron is about evil AI, and Ex Machina’s about a sentient robot. Ryan explores the link between these and other modern Sf films.

It’s an idea as old as literature itself: a lifeform is created, only for it to behave in a way its maker hadn’t anticipated - and sometimes with fatal consequences.

Writer-director Joss Whedon has drawn attention to the parallels between Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein and Avengers: Age Of Ultron, the latest opus in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Whedon’s reading of Marvel comics lore, Bruce Banner and Tony Stark create Ultron - an artificial intelligence intended as a global defence program, but instead turns against the Avengers and humanity in general.

Brought to life by a peformance-captured James Spader, Ultron’s a charismatic example of a recent wave of AI characters in the movies. We’ve seen sentient, mutant
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Automata Blu-ray & DVD Release Details

  • DailyDead
Starring Antonio Banderas, Automata is making its way to Blu-ray and DVD later this month. Here’s a look at the cover art and final release details:

“In a future where Earth’s ecosystem verges on collapse, man-made robots roam the city to protect dwindling human life. When a robot overrides a key protocol put in place to protect human life, Roc Robotics insurance agent Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) is assigned to locate the source of the manipulation and eliminate the threat. What he discovers leads Vaucan, Roc Robotics and the police into a battle with profound consequences for the future of humanity.

Automata has a runtime of 110 minutes and is rated R. For more information on the film, please visit”

Directed by Gabe Ibanez, Automata stars Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott, and Robert Forster.

Street date: November 18, 2014

Run time: 110 Minutes

Rating: R

Blu-ray Srp:
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Fascinating New Trailer For Sci-Fi Thriller Ex MacHina Lands

The amazing new trailer has landed for the film, Ex MacHina.

Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller.

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company’s brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).

Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test—charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated––and more deceptive––than the two men could have imagined.

Fans of the genre have been indulged recently with an influx of robot-themed films. From Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6 to Spanish director
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‘Automata’ feels too slight and ripped off to be successful sci-fi


Directed by: Gabe Ibáñez

Written by: Gabe Ibáñez, Igor Legaretta Gomez, Javier Sanchez Donate

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Melanie Griffith

USA, 2014

Following up 2009’s Hierro, Gabe Ibáñez goes from domestic to sci-fi mystery with Automata. Set in 2044 Ad, when solar storms turn Earth into a radio desert and reduces the human population, robots have become a staple for survival. A corporation called Roc, in particular, creates a line of robots called the Automata Pilgrim 7000s to assist humans in their quest for living, building the walls needed to protect mankind. Security protocols have been programmed to prevent robots from harming any form of life, and from altering themselves altogether. In this dark and dystopian future, plucked from a chapter of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner or Danny Cannon’s Judge Dredd, the audience follows Roc insurance investigator Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas). Burnt out and pessimistic,
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Antonio Banderas Ups Production, Direction Priorities

Antonio Banderas Ups Production, Direction Priorities
Madrid – Antonio Banderas is not done yet. Currently shooting “Altamira” – his first majority Spanish film in two decades, outside his own productions and collaborations with Pedro Almodóvar – Banderas, one of Spain’s biggest Hollywood success stories, imagines a future based out of New York, Madrid and his hometown Málaga in Andalusia, Spain.

That is a sign of the times. The recipient of an honorary Goya at Spain’s 2015 Academy Awards, as an actor, Banderas is currently starring – and sporting a Victorian beard for the purpose – in Hugh Hudson’s family-skewing historical drama “Altamira,” co-stars in Patricia’s Reegen’s ”The 33,” in post; appears in Paramount Pictures’ The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” and in Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups.”

As large questions remain about Spain’s future state financing structures, Banderas is emerging as a possible lynchpin between the U.S. industry, its finance, distribution muscle, studio facilities,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'Aut?mata' (2014) Movie Review

Can we all agree this ever growing science-fiction trope of technology evolving beyond human thought into other realms of understanding is a bit played out at this pointc We have seen it done well in Spike Jonze's Her to poorly in Wally Pfister's Transcendence, and those are just from the past twelve months (and are not the only two to grapple with this issue). From Blade Runner to I, Robot, we have seen just about every way to tell this type of story, and until we find a new way, there should be a moratorium put on it, which brings me to the subject of this review: Aut?mata. This pushes itself as a thinking man's thriller, and it is neither thought provoking or thrilling. It recycles the same points all of its predecessors bring up while lulling you to sleep. The film takes place in 2044 A.C.
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Exclusive: Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith Talk Rogue Robots in 'Automata' (Video)

In Gabe Ibáñez's sci-fi thriller "Automata," a solar flare has zapped a big chunk of humanity, and what's left is pretty dismal. The 22 million people left on earth use robots for practically everything, which means the Roc robotics corporation is large and in charge. Antonio Banderas stars as Jacq Vaucan, an Roc employee who investigates claims against the 'bots and whether or not Roc is at fault when one of their products goes haywire. (Hint: It's usually your fault, you silly human.)

Vaucan's newest assignment is to investigate a robot that was supposedly fixing itself, which, in this world, is against the second law of robotics. Unfortunately, the robot was shot by a crazy cop played by Dylan McDermott, so all Jacq's got to go on is a handful of robot parts. In this exclusive clip, Vaucan brings his findings to a scientist and robotics expert played by Melanie Griffith,
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Wamg Talks To Automata Director Gabe Ibáñez

Automata begins with foreshadowing text:

Millions of robots witness the decay of the human civilization.

Millions of robots ruled by two security protocols:

First protocol: prevents the robot from harming any form of


Second protocol: prevents the robot from altering itself or other robots.

This thought provoking science-fiction film tells the story of an insurance agent of Roc robotics corporation who routinely investigates the case of manipulating a robot. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

The film stars Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott and Robert Forster.

Read Travis Keune’s review Here.

For fans of the genre, I can’t emphasize enough how much you need to see this stunning film.

In September I spoke with Automata’s writer/director Gabe Ibáñez. Like Stanley Kubrick, he has a profound understanding of the genre.

For Ibáñez, his own fascination about the theory of technological singularity,
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Automata Hits Theatres This Weekend!

For all you science fiction fans who complain that nobody's releasing original or thought provoking genre fare into cinemas, this is your chance to put your money where your mouth is and head to the theatres to see Gabe Ibáñez's stellar Automata (review).

So, what's it about? In a dystopian future, Antonio Banderas plays as insurance agent who investigates claims against defective robots. The robots (dubbed "Pilgrims") are governed by Asimovian laws of robotics that cannot be undone. But, when seemingly self-repaired robots starts turning up , it quickly becomes apparent that something, or someone is aiding the robots become sentient.

Au [Continued ...]
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Opening: Automata, Intense And Gripping Science Fiction

Spanish filmmaker Gabe Ibáñez's long-awaited second feature Autómata is an intense and gripping dystopian story, bordering on European surrealism within a classical narrative. Certainly, many current films present a weary and negative view of humanity's future, be it death by plague, war or environmental disaster. In Autómata, humanity might be ending with a whimper, but the planet, and the sentient beings it might leave behind, suggest a cyclical mythology in which people might be just a blip, but not without substance. Set in the mid-21st century in an unknown city, when desertification has decimated the global population and robots do most of the dirty work, Antonio Baderas plays Jacq, an insurance agent who checks on people's claims of defective robots. The robots are supposed to...

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Interview: Automata Director Gabe Ibáñez Talks Banderas, Robots, And The Future

Opening in the Us tomorrow, Autómata is a dystopian science-fiction film starring Antonio Banderas, set in a future where the human population is decimated, the world practically a desert, and robots are evolving. I spoke with director Gabe Ibáñez at last month's Fantastic Fest about his view of humanity's future and working with the Spanish star.Do you think the human race is doomed?That wasn't necessarily what I had in mind when I created the landscape of the film. It works for the story, that's the idea in the film, but I don't think we're going in that direction. So much of what you see in the film, though, is already happening. In different places, violence, environmental problems. It might not be as bad as in...

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AUTÓMATA – The Review

Robots. Ever since the dawn of science-fiction arose from the industrial revolution, it seemed inevitable that technology would play a major role in the future evolution of mankind. Or, perhaps, as some would suggest, skip evolution all together as human beings become extinct and the fruits of our scientific prowess take over as the top of the Earthly food chain. Wherever we fall on that debate, the ultimate question remains… what will the continued advancement of technology look like and how would humanity fit into the long-term picture?

Writer and director Gabe Ibáñez returns five years after revealing his first feature film Hierro (2009) with AUTÓMATA. He dips his quill into the rich ink pot that is science-fiction to tackle the difference between man and machine, or the similarities that emerge beneath the blinding veil of fear and hatred. This may sound all too dramatic, but at its core, AUTÓMATA is
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Review: Sci-Fi 'Automata' Starring Antonio Banderas

A mid-budget science-fiction effort that borrows so freely from so many other genre favorites, “Automata" barely has an original piece of circuitry in its mainframe. In fact, this writer could have taken the easy way out and simply filled this review with the slew of motion picture and literary titles the film draws its many “inspirations” from and called it a day. Yet at the same time, it’s hard not to give a backhanded compliment to Gabe Ibanez, who used to be an animator before venturing into directing live-action genre fare, since he doesn’t let his second feature dive too far into shameless schlock territory. He manages to execute the technically and philosophically ambitious screenplay with at least a small degree of credibility. When it comes to seeking halfway decent examples of hard science-fiction in film, the kind that don't awkwardly dilute the ingredients of the genre with slapdash attempts at action,
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Class and Robots Explored in a Dystopian Future in Automata

It's too easy to say that Gabe Ibáñez's Automata is less than the sum of its visuals, which a lot of people will do, because it's really pretty. The film's design evokes peak-period Jean Giraud, whose gorgeous science-fiction illustrations inspired Ridley Scott's films Alien and Blade Runner, and therefore every subsequent depiction of a future built up from the accretion of successive decades of engineering. In this near-future dystopia, solar flares have altered the Earth's environment and deserts are expanding across the continents. An economic underclass, mostly ignored by the story, lives in shantytowns on the periphery of a great walled city where residents are served by robots, their history related via an artful photojournalistic monta...
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China’s Le Vision Pictures Eyes Global Tentpoles With New La Offshoot

Expendables 3 co-financier, Le Vision Pictures, is set to be the latest Chinese film company to set up shop Stateside with an La-based operation. It will look to launch with a $200M fund geared towards making tentpoles for the global marketplace. While skepticism in Hollywood may be high over the glut of Chinese investment in the business without much tangible progress so far — witness the fallout over Jeff Berg’s just-shuttered Resolution Talent Agency following claims Chinese investor Bison reneged on its financial commitments — Le Vision does have the benefit of a deep-pocketed parent in LeTV, one of China’s top three online video platforms. In August, LeTV announced plans to raise $430M through a round of share issues to aid its expansion across a range of innovative online and finance products. That round valued LeTV at over $6B. Le Vision Pictures, which ranked third in overall box office in China
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Automata | Review

I, Robot: Ibanez Saddles Asimov for Arresting A.I. Concoction

Spanish director Gabe Ibanez makes an impressive sci-fi entry with his sophomore feature, Automata, an exploration of ethical treatment of more technologically advanced creations that supersede our own intelligence. Meanwhile, the end of mankind is nigh. Though it’s sure to be compared to any number of classic sci-fi efforts, most notably Isaac Asimov’s famed robot in revolt chronicle I, Robot, which received the Hollywood gloss treatment a decade ago with Alex Proyas at the helm, Ibanez strikes an interesting comparison to another recent indie sci-fi release, James Caradog’s The Machine, an exploration of the inevitable outcome of self-awareness in creatures artificial or otherwise. In a sea of recycled cinematic endeavors, Ibanez stands out as an exciting new voice in the genre with this emotionally resonant and thematically rich film.

In the not too distant future, the depletion of the ozone,
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‘Autómata’ Review: Antonio Banderas Recycles Robot Clichés, But the Effects Are Great

  • The Wrap
‘Autómata’ Review: Antonio Banderas Recycles Robot Clichés, But the Effects Are Great
Watching director Gabe Ibáñez's “Autómata,” it's hard not to note and appreciate the skill, will and invention brought to the effects sequences, a mix of practical magic and CGI trickery, nor to marvel at how Ibáñez's film gets a billion-dollar look out of a “mere” $15 million. As a demonstration reel or test clip, there's no doubt that “Automata”‘s finest moments would get Ibáñez some well-deserved work. But I come to bury “Autómata,” not to praise it; every innovation or nicely-finessed moment of work is outweighed by a lumbering, slumbering, overlong running time that's the bulky, rattling container for every.
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Fantastic Fest 2014: Automata Channels Technological Anxieties [Review}

Whether you know it or not, you’re probably familiar with the Singularity. If you've seen “2001”, “Blade Runner”, “The Terminator”, “The Matrix”, “I Robot”, “Transcendence” or any number of sci-fi films in which robots and/or computers advance beyond (and often turn against) their masters, then you’ve been gradually indoctrinated to the idea that one day our technology will become more sophisticated than us, and when that day comes we may find our spot at the top of the food chain in serious jeopardy. “Automata”, director Gabe Ibanez’s apocalyptic story of a dying earth and a rising robot consciousness, is the latest sci-fi film to tackle this hypothesis, and works really well as an examp [Continued ...]
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