🎞 Margin Call (Lionsgate, 2012)

Watched Margin Call from Lionsgate
Follows the key people at an investment bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. Director: J.C. Chandor; Writer: J.C. Chandor; Stars: Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore
An interesting morality play of sorts. Not quite as compelling as The Big Short. Though there was some finger-pointing and drum beating on the morality issue, it wasn’t nearly as on-the-head as I expected it to be.

More interesting to me would have been some of the backstory of the people letting things slide along the way. I would have liked to know and see more about the last-minute dealmaking a trading firm does when it has an incredibly good idea that it’s not going to be a going concern anymore. Here this piece was sadly brushed under the rug a bit as was the broader effect on the every day consumer.

Watched via Amazon Prime on iPad.

Margin Call, Lionsgate, 2012

🎞 The Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros., 2014)

Watched The Edge of Tomorrow from Warner Bros.
A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies. Director: Doug Liman; Writers: Christopher McQuarrie (screenplay), Jez Butterworth (screenplay); Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson; Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
I’ve had this on the HD-DVR for ages and I’m not sure why I’d skipped over it so many times. I should have known that Doug Liman wouldn’t disappoint.

Certainly an entertaining ride for a time-shifting movie in the vein of Groundhog Day (1993) for the time function while more similar to Inception (2010) for the action and drama.

Live. Die. Repeat. The Edge of Tomorrow

📺 Charlie Rose: GOP Health Care Bill; March Madness

Watched GOP Health Care Bill; March Madness - Charlie Rose from Charlie Rose, 03/15/2017
Journalists Bret Stephens of the WSJ and Reihan Salam of The National Review on the growing divide within the GOP over health care. A preview of the NCAA's March Madness with NY Times columnist William Rhoden, Washington Post sportswriter John Feinstein, and Joe Nocera of Bloomberg View.

Taking a quick lunch break to exercise the mind a bit.

The discussion on politics here is very smart and sober and lays out a better path for what the Republican party and the executive branch should be doing right now to have a chance to keep their seats in the quickly approaching midterm elections.

I was leery about the NCAA March Madness conversation, but it actually managed to be the shining star of the episode–a difficult task given the strength of the first half!

📺 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, S22, E80 – March 13, 2017 | Comedy Central

Watched The Daily Show, Season 22, Ep. 80 - March 13, 2017 from Comedy Central
President Trump fails to provide evidence that Barack Obama wiretapped him, Hasan Minhaj and Roy Wood Jr. announce Third Month Mania, and Lee Daniels discusses "Star."

The treatment of the ubiquitous correspondent on Korea being interrupted by his children was great. The interview with Lee Daniels brought up some interesting paradoxes about race in America which aren’t commonly discussed.

📺 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, S22, E79 – March 9, 2017 | Comedy Central

Watched The Daily Show, Season 22, Ep. 79 - March 9, 2017 from Comedy Central
Trevor and Jordan Klepper sing to "forgotten" Americans, Team Trump threatens to erase climate data, and Alynda Segarra discusses Hurray for the Riff Raff's "The Navigator."

Poignant, but not as strong an episode as usual. I was thinking that Jordan was a horrible washboardist and was shocked that it came back as a topic in the interview. I hope Segarra’s album is awesome, in some sense to make up for my total disinterest in her interview. I sampled some of her music and Spotify and it’s just not my cup of tea.

📺 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Season 22, Ep. 78 – March 8, 2017 – Tressie McMillan Cottom | Comedy Central

Watched The Daily Show, Season 22, Ep. 78 - March 8, 2017 from Comedy Central
The GOP unveils a disastrous replacement for Obamacare, Michelle Wolf details Ivanka Trump's problematic brand of feminism, and Tressie McMillan Cottom discusses "Lower Ed."

The Ivanka takedown was just brutal.

Celebrity Jeopardy | SNL

Watched Celebrity Jeopardy from Saturday Night Live, Season 40, 2015

Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) tries his best to keep contestants Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond), Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon), Tony Bennett (Alec Baldwin), Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald) and Matthew McConaughey (Jim Carrey) in line.

Celebrity Jeopardy!: Kathie Lee, Tom Hanks, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds | Saturday Night Live

Watched Celebrity Jeopardy!: Kathie Lee, Tom Hanks, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds from Saturday Night Live, Season 34, 2009

Kathie Lee Gifford (Kristen Wiig), Tom Hanks, Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond) and Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald) take on Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) in a new round of "Celebrity Jeopardy!"

FBI Simulator | Saturday Night Live

Watched FBI Simulator from Saturday Night Live, Season 41, 2016

A training exercise puts an agent's (Kenan Thompson) ability to distinguish between a threat (Beck Bennett, Leslie Jones, Jon Rudnitsky) and a harmless civilian (Aidy Bryant, Larry David, Vanessa Bayer, Bobby Moynihan) to the test.

Haunted Elevator (ft. David S. Pumpkins) | Saturday Night Live

Watched Haunted Elevator (featuring David S. Pumpkins) from Saturday Night Live, Oct 23, 2016
A haunted elevator attraction tries to spook its riders (Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon) with an original character, David Pumpkins (Tom Hanks). #SNLoween
In preparation for understanding:

Live Q&A: ownCloud contributors create Nextcloud

Watched Live Q&A: ownCloud contributors create Nextcloud from YouTube
Ask questions in a live Nextcloud Q&A Hangout with Frank Karlitschek and Jos Poortvliet, moderated by Bryan Lunduke at 18:00 PM Berlin/Amsterdam/Paris time, 10:00 AM Pacific time on June 2nd, 2016.
Nextcloud Q&A Hangout with Frank Karlitschek and Jos Poortvliet, moderated by Bryan Lunduke at 18:00 PM Berlin/Amsterdam/Paris time, 10:00 AM Pacific time on June 2nd, 2016.

🎞 The Holcroft Covenant (Universal Pictures, 1985)

Watched The Holcroft Covenant from Universal Pictures, 1985
The son of a German General becomes part of a mysterious conspiracy to gain hidden Nazi funds.

Directed by John Frankenheimer. With Michael Caine, Anthony Andrews, Victoria Tennant, Lilli Palmer.
I expected far better than this from Frankenheimer and Caine. I didn’t realize until after watching it that it was made in the mid 1980’s. It plays far more like a 70’s plot including the music and the cinematography. I’ve not read the Robert Ludlum novel, though I suspect as is the case for others in his canon that the book was far better than the film version, particularly for late 70’s/early 80’s material.

I watched this as a poorly cropped and overly letterboxed version on Amazon Prime, so the quality was certainly lacking from that perspective.

While there was a reasonable amount of suspense throughout, it’s not the directing that creates the ride, but really the liberally applied music which, while not great, was probably the best part of the experience. Those interested in what sound can do for a plot should study this piece.

In all, the plot was a muddy and convoluted and didn’t play itself out well at all. Tom Cruise’s first Mission Impossible was clearer. Frankenheimer had a few nice films, but it’s middling fare like this that squarely peg him as passable journeyman for most of his career.

Caine had one or two nice quips in the picture and was serviceable, but didn’t have quite the personality that shines through in many other pictures. The overall cast was great, they just weren’t given much in terms of plot or dialogue.

Some of the highlight quotes for me:

[Spotting a car tailing them]
Noel Holcroft: Probably just another Sunday driver. But on the other hand, as it is Tuesday, why don’t you put your foot on the gas and see what happens.

Noel Holcroft: May I suggest, that it is extremely difficult for a man, in a gray flannel suit, to behave naturally, while riding on a horse in the middle of the night, waiting for someone to shoot at you!

Leighton: Oh, dear, oh, dear. Assumption, Mr. Holcroft, is, as they say in my profession, the mother of fuck-up.

Leighton: Naughty, naughty, Mr. Holcroft. You mustn’t speak to strangers. Could be harmful to the health.

Leighton: There’s a lot of villainous characters lurking about. I’m glad to say that most of them are mine.

Noel Holcroft: I have a friend who lives in the country, and it’s supposed to be an hour from 42nd Street. A lie! The only thing that’s an hour from 42nd Street is 43rd Street!

🎞 Creed (Warner Bros., 2015)

Watched Creed from Warner Bros., November 25, 2015
The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.

Directed by Ryan Coogler. With Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad.
An interesting picture, but not nearly as good as I was led to believe it would be. There was some reasonably well created drama, but I far preferred the first in the series as having more heart.  This was better than some of the cheeseball sequels in the middle of the series however and was well written, directed and acted.

Watched on Amazon Prime streaming over Kindle Fire.

Authagraph by Hajime Narukawa [ 鳴川 肇 ] | TEDxSeeds 2011

Watched The AuthaGraph Map from TEDxSeeds 2011 | YouTube
An endless world map: Viewing the world through "Authagraph"

"Mr. Narukawa is the inventor of Authagraph, a world map designed to fit the world into a rectangle while almost perfectly maintaining the continents' relative size. It is mathematically impossible to precisely project the earth's sphere onto a rectangle. As such, previous methods would succeed in either taking on a rectangular shape or being true to the size ratio and shape of each continent, but never in both. Authagraph is groundbreaking in that it takes on both of those qualities, making it applicable to various themes such as sea routes, geology, meteorology and world history in ways never thought possible.
Instead of abstracting the globe into a cylinder, then a plane, as the more common Mercator projection map does, the AuthaGraph turns the Earth into a tetrahedron, which then unfolds in any number of ways.  The map can then be tessellated similar to the way that we can traverse the planet–without ever coming to an end.

Rather than having just one focal point—the North Atlantic in Mercator’s case—nearly any place around the Earth can be at the center. The effect also means that the relative sizes of countries and their locations are much more representative than prior maps.

Those who remember the Gall-Peters Projection map featured on The West Wing will see that this is a step better.

For more details, see also Japanese Designers May Have Created the Most Accurate Map of Our World: See the AuthaGraph | Open Culture