What REALLY goes on in a job interview? Find out in the new revision of "Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed" by Tony Medley, updated for the world of the Internet . Over 500,000 copies in print and the only book on the job interview written by an experienced interviewer, one who has conducted thousands of interviews. This is the truth, not the ivory tower speculations of those who write but have no actual experience. "One of the top five books every job seeker should read," says Hotjobs.com. Click the book to order. Now also available on Kindle.


Ex Machina (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 110 minutes.

OK for children but some total female nudity.

This is the best, most credible, of the artificial intelligence movies to date. The essence of the plot is that Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) takes an assignment at a secluded mountain estate of the company’s brilliant, reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). His task is to be the human component in a Turing Test, a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.

The machine he meets is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a gorgeous robot created by Nathan. But she’s an obvious machine with a beautiful face, apparently large, albeit clothed, breasts, but arms and legs and torso of a machine.

Tightly written and directed by Alex Garland, this is a fascinating thriller as Caleb puts Ava through various tests throughout the week establishing a rapport leading to a conclusion nobody could have anticipated. Gleeson, Isaac, and Vikander all give outstanding performances, buttressed by terrific understated music.

The last artificial intelligence movie I saw was the deplorable Her (2013), involving a man who falls in love with the disembodied computer voice, a movie that was so silly it defied credibility. Here, because Ava is a robot that Caleb can see as well as communicate with, what happens is far more believable.

While much of it is conversation between Caleb and Ava, Garland keeps the tension up and the pace moving by tackling many thought-provoking existential issues. I hesitate to single out any of the three stars because all give wonderful, spell-binding performances, but perhaps Vikander is the one who carries more of the load because she comes across as extremely sexy, even when you know she’s just a machine. But Gleeson and Isaac keep up with her.

Special mention must go to Andrew Whitehurst who was responsible for the visual effects that converted Vikander into the robot Ava, which took six months in post-production. Also aiding the film were the high-quality music by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury, and the cinematography by Rob Hardy, both of which keep things on an uneven keel.

I wasn’t expecting much when I walked in, but I came out pleasantly surprised, indeed rewarded, by what I had just seen.