This may be the singularity’s mainstream moment. Popularized by sci-fi author Vernor Vinge, the term refers to a theoretical point at which machines eclipse humans in intelligence, and beyond which pretty much everything changes. Kurzweil is its preeminent latter-day apostle, and he was recently hired as an engineer by Google to work on hastening its arrival by teaching computers to understand English. Now we’ve got Captain Jack Sparrow explaining it in a voiceover.
Tag Archives | Movies
Some overnight cartoon fun courtesy of a group of five students from the 3D design and animation course at Idèfagskolen in Tønsberg Norway. Cheating the Grim Reaper should be this easy!
From FC Student Blog:
… Read the rest
In his book, Making Comics, Scott McCloud created a chart categorizing artists according to four intentions — what artists are most interested in, in creating art. His categories are:
- Formalist — The Formalist is interested in examining the boundaries of an art form, stretching them, exploring what the form is capable of. The Formalist is interested in experimenting, turning the form upside-down and inside-out, moving in new, bold, untried directions, inventing and innovating. Formalists are the cutting edge, the avant-garde, the ones willing to break tradition and established ways. Strict narrative or craft is not as important as trying something new and unexpected, playing with and breaking traditional concepts, getting to the heart of understanding what art itself is.
Years ago, while a student at USC’s Cinema Production Department, I took a class taught by Arthur Knight, whose The Liveliest Art: A Panoramic History of the Movies was a standard textbook at colleges and universities all over the world. In it he argued that cinema was the liveliest art because it incorporated all arts. It’s a notion that was dear and sacrosanct to all of us cinephiles. For centuries it was cathedrals that incorporated all arts; then it was opera; in the 20th century, supposedly, cinema. Nowadays that’s hardly the case. Hollywood blockbusters are made for the PG-13 audience, except for a few “serious” movies that aim at Academy Awards recognition and, under the pretense of being socially or culturally relevant, are generally platitudinous. Then there are the inevitably marginal “independent” movies that, far from incorporating all arts, are minimalistic not only in production values but above all in content.… Read the rest
It has been said that this is the year of the black film. Three have stood out as the Oscar buzz begins in earnest.
First, there was The Butler, later Lee Daniels’ The Butler, after a studio pissing-match about who owned the title. The heavily rewritten and sanitized story of a black butler in the White House became a platform for celebration as a cast of Hollywood heavyweights led by TV Queen Oprah Winfrey offered a praise poem to civil rights victories in which they included the election of Barack Obama.
Some critics like one at the Daily Mail felt the film was over the top: “It has been given a rather overly generous dashing, as if by a nervous butler, of dramatic license. Not historic license, though. No, every major development in the civil rights story is ticked off…what you might call the Forrest Gumping of Forest Whitaker.”
The Guardian said it “plays fast and loose with the facts” as the “central character becomes a cipher for the changing fortunes of African Americans in the 20th century.”
The underlying idea: turn civil rights into a feel-good story.… Read the rest
This is probably more helpful than the current MPAA rating system in use here. Via the Washington Post:
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Four Swedish movie theaters touched off a heated debate across Stockholm last month — and in the English-language media this morning — with the announcement that they plan to begin publicly labeling films that pass the so-called “Bechdel test.” The metric gauges whether a film meets a bare minimum standard for developed female characters.
Promoters are encouraging theaters to stamp its “A” logo on the movie posters and pre-roll screens of any film that (1) has at least two female characters who (2) talk to each other (3) about something other than men. A surprisingly high proportion of films fail this test.
In the weeks since, it has been covered in a dozen newspaper columns and earning the endorsements of Equalisters, Women in Television and Film and a popular cable movie channel and, controversially, the blessing of Anna Serner, who presides over Sweden’s state-funded film institute.
The film All Is Lost has been released to unanimously raving reviews. Critics are greatly satisfied with both the film itself and Mr. Redford’s performance, which is wonderful since he is the one and only actor in it. A seasoned gentleman leisurely crossing the Indian Ocean all by himself on an elegant sailboat faces a number of contretemps. Things go from bad to worse until he’s forced to abandon ship and board the lifeboat. More tribulations await him there.
It’s a good man-versus-the-elements yarn, and I found myself rooting for the mariner (we never get to know his name) because, as a fellow human being, I certainly wouldn’t like to be in his predicament. Having said that, my rooting for the mariner wasn’t nearly as wholehearted as it should have been, because a simple but essential detail kept nagging at me.
Years ago, while doing research for a novel of mine, Leeward & Windward, I studied a book by Don Biggs entitled Survival Afloat – How to Prevent Disasters on the Water – Or Survive if One Occurs, copyrighted in 1976 and published presumably then (there is no release date in my copy).… Read the rest
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Durban, South Africa: It was Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and the international day of service in his honor. The reports were that the man they call Madiba was recovering, according to upbeat accounts from his wife of 15 years and daughter Zindzi from his marriage to Winnie.
Happily, on that night, it was also a time of celebration as film fans packed into the annual opening of the film festival in Durban.
For 34 years, the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) has brought a world of cinema to the East coast of South Africa with an impressive range of films, filmmakers and related events. The screenings are often packed with over 150 films or more on display.
The Festival is organized by the Center for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, up on the big hill overlooking Durban. In recent years, its setting went from the academic to the commercial, from a mountain to a beach, with the opening this year, once again, based in cinemas at the Suncoast casino where it is attended by a multi-racial, and multi-generational crowd.… Read the rest