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THE ARTIFICE GIRL: 2022 (A Prime rental for $6.) The story is deceptively simple: A team of special agents discovers a revolutionary new computer program to bait and trap online predators. After teaming up with the program's troubled developer, they soon find that the AI is rapidly advancing beyond its original purpose. However simple the story is, it generates profound questions about AI, the hot topic these days. Franklin Ritch wrote, directed and stars in The Artifice Girl, playing a programmer named Gareth whose new creation sparks vital questions about self-awareness and consent. Tatum Matthews stars as the AI “girl” (Gareth’s creation) used to lure online predators, and she is terrific. So are the rest—3 in all—of the cast. Working with a micro budget, limited cast and locations, Ritch has created a remarkable film. As Ty Burr says, “tiny in scale but ambitious in concept, and it’s smarter and more thought-provoking than most movies with ten times the budget. As with all cautionary tech tales, the creation becomes smarter and maybe even more human than the creator, but The Artifice Girl isn’t a horror movie, despite what the trailer strains to sell it as. Rather, it’s a surprisingly tender drama of ideas that at times reminded me of a variation on the 2001 Spielberg/Kubrick film A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” Gary and I loved the movie and found it thought provoking and haunting. It proposes an answer to the questions that plague the world: What does the future look like with AI? While we won’t be around to see it, it’s a question that will be asked over and over again in the coming years. Don’t let the trailer scare you away from seeing this impressive movie. GRADE A

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