🎞 Eyewitness (1981)

Watched Eyewitness from Twentieth Century Fox
Directed by Peter Yates. With William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Plummer, James Woods. Eccentric Vietnam War vet turned janitor claims to have witnessed a murder of a man tied to international political underground in order to get the attention of a TV reporter he has a huge crush on. The cops suspect his loser best friend.

I expected way more out of Peter Yates and Steve Tesich, particularly with this cast. Ultimately the lack of a coherent screenplay killed the entire piece.

The relationship between the two leads was awkward and unrealistic beyond words. The first act was modestly engaging and the third act was great, but there was absolutely no logic, sense, or reasonable motivation in the second act to tie any of it together. I would get into plot holes and lack of motivations, but it’s just too painful to contemplate.

It was somewhat entertaining to see the cultural portion of the  early 80’s and particularly a portrayal of evening news post Network, but before the rise of A Current Affair and the mantra of “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Watched on Netflix

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🎞 The Fifth Estate (2013)

Watched The Fifth Estate from DreamWorks
Directed by Bill Condon. With Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Carice van Houten, Alicia Vikander. A dramatic thriller based on real events that reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century's most fiercely debated organization.

More interesting than I would have suspected. I’m not sure how close the portrayal comes to the original person, but it’s interesting to have a “personality” to put with the person. The best part of the movie is the portrayal of the ranges of reactions to the concept of WikiLeaks and its mission. I could have done with better treatment of some of the “coding” portions of the film which were generally not done very well–I say this having seen it on television with a rewind button at my disposal as well.

Not something I would jump to see again soon in the future.

Watched on Netflix

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🎞 The Founder (2016)

Watched The Founder from The Weinstein Company
Directed by John Lee Hancock. With Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini. The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into the biggest restaurant business in the world, with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.

Ray Kroc was apparently a far more complex character than I had expected he would or could be. Not that I’ve been a big fan of McDonald’s before, but I have less respect for it as a corporation now, but more respect for its true founders.

It’s an interesting quirk of fate that this film premiered on January 20, 2017 and the parallels that Kroc has with the 45th president who was inaugurated that day.

Watched on Netflix

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🎞 The Imitation Game (2014)

Watched The Imitation Game from The Weinstein Company
Directed by Morten Tyldum. With Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech. During World War II, the English mathematical genius Alan Turing tries to crack the German Enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.

–an interesting sentiment repeated through the film

I think this was one of the most interesting moments in the film with a very interesting double entedre:

Of course machines can’t think as people do. A machine is different from a person. Hence, they think differently. The interesting question is, just because something, uh… thinks differently from you, does that mean it’s not thinking? Well, we allow for humans to have such divergences from one another. You like strawberries, I hate ice-skating, you cry at sad films, I am allergic to pollen. What is the point of… different tastes, different… preferences, if not, to say that our brains work differently, that we think differently? And if we can say that about one another, then why can’t we say the same thing for brains… built of copper and wire, steel?

I was a bit worried that this film would miss out on one or two crucial technical details that the wider audience should be at least be made aware. It succeeded in presenting all of them, including the concept of a telegraphic “hand”.

The exertion scenes of Alan running were a bit too on-the-nose for me as a proxy for his mental effort and work, particularly given the rest of the general tenor of his character. It was an interesting cinematic and emotional trick however.

This was an incredibly well put together film. I was far more impressed than I had expected to be.

Watched on Netflix

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📺 Fresh Off the Boat: S4 E6 “A League of Her Own”

Watched Fresh Off the Boat S4, E6: "A League of Her Own" from ABC
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. With Randall Park, Constance Wu, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler. After coming out of the closet to Honey and Jessica, Nicole struggles with telling Marvin, fearful that her father will be disappointed in her. Meanwhile, Louis wants to manage the Cattleman's Ranch softball team on his own, so Jessica decides to coach the rival team from The Denim Turtle to prove that she is the superior manager. Chaos is sure to ensue when everyone gathers for the big game at the Greater Orlando Bar and Restaurant tournament.

📺 Body of Lies (Warner Bros., 2008)

Watched Body of Lies (2008) from Warner Bros.
Directed by Ridley Scott. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong, Golshifteh Farahani. A CIA agent on the ground in Jordan hunts down a powerful terrorist leader while being caught between the unclear intentions of his American supervisors and Jordan Intelligence.

I think I got about 45 minutes into this before I realized I had seen it before when it came out. Apparently it hadn’t made a big impression on me. While interesting, I hope I’ll remember not to delve into it a third time.

📺 Grace Notes 2017: Erica Baker, Diversity & Inclusion Post-mortem | YouTube

Watched Grace Notes 2017: Erica Baker, Diversity & Inclusion Post-mortem from YouTube

"500 million dollars spent on diversity and inclusion in this industry. For any project, when you see that kind of spend, with such a low return on investment, you're facing a failure. In tech, when we have a major failure, we have a post-mortem.

So we're going to do a post-mortem today."

In this talk, Erica Baker, Engineering Manager at Patreon, walks us through an interactive post-morterm on diversity and inclusion initiatives in the tech industry.

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📺 How to speak so that people want to listen | Julian Treasure | TED via YouTube

Watched How to speak so that people want to listen by Julian Treasure from TED via YouTube

Have you ever felt like you're talking, but nobody is listening? Here's Julian Treasure to help you fix that. As the sound expert demonstrates some useful vocal exercises and shares tips on how to speak with empathy, he offers his vision for a sonorous world of listening and understanding.

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📺 The agony of trying to unsubscribe | James Veitch | TED via YouTube

Watched The agony of trying to unsubscribe by James Veitch from Ted via YouTube

It happens to all of us: you unsubscribe from an unwanted marketing email, and a few days later another message from the same company pops up in your inbox. Comedian James Veitch turned this frustration into whimsy when a local supermarket refused to take no for an answer. Hijinks ensued.

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📺 This is what happens when you reply to spam email | James Veitch | YouTube

Watched This is what happens when you reply to spam email by James Veitch from TED via YouTube

Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, months-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal.

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📺 The Marvel Symphonic Universe | Every Frame a Painting on YouTube

Watched The Marvel Symphonic Universe by Every Frame a PaintingEvery Frame a Painting from YouTube

Off the top of your head, could you sing the theme from Star Wars? How about James Bond? Or Harry Potter? But here’s the kicker: can you sing any theme from a Marvel film? Despite 13 films and 10 billion dollars at the box office, the Marvel Cinematic Universe lacks a distinctive musical identity or approach. So let’s try to answer the question: what is missing from Marvel music?

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📺 Vancouver Never Plays Itself | Every Frame a Painting on YouTube

Watched Vancouver Never Plays Itself by Every Frame a PaintingEvery Frame a Painting from YouTube

Perhaps no other city has been as thoroughly hidden from modern filmmaking as Vancouver, my hometown. Today, it’s the third biggest film production city in North America, behind Los Angeles and New York. And yet for all the movies and TV shows that are shot there, we hardly ever see the city itself. So today, let’s focus less on the movies and more on the city in the background. Press the CC button to see movie names and locations.

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📺 “The Big Bang Theory” The Tesla Recoil, Season 11 Episode 8

Watched "The Big Bang Theory" The Tesla Recoil, Season 11 Episode 8 from CBS
Directed by Anthony Rich. With Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg. Howard and Leonard become upset after they discover that Sheldon has been working with the military without telling them; Bernadette asks Raj to investigate her suspicions that Ruchi is attempting to take her job away from her.

Not as good an episode as usual. Some of the Kripke part was funny, but overall there was just too much pettiness and not enough comedy here.

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📺 “The Big Bang Theory” The Geology Methodology

Watched "The Big Bang Theory" The Geology Methodology, Season 11 Episode 7 from CBS
Directed by Mark Cendrowski. With Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg. Bert asks Sheldon to collaborate on a project with him, Sheldon becomes dubious others finding out because he thinks geology is beneath him. Raj begins dating Bernadette's Indian coworker.

a nice little episode–you’ve gotta love Bert

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📺 Blue Bloods “Pain Killers” Season 8 Episode 9 (CBS)

Watched Blue Bloods "Pain Killers" Season 8 Episode 9 from CBS
Directed by John Behring. With Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, Len Cariou. Danny and Baez join a narcotics task force to track a drug supplier; Baez comes into contact with drugs and gets an accidental overdose; Jamie and Eddie work to protect a rehabilitated sex offender; Frank forms an unlikely alliance with Mayor Dutton.

Episodes have gotten a bit more interesting lately. This one wasn’t too bad, though I’m still debating giving up on the series.

The political machinations between the PC and the governor were a bit odd and difficult to follow and seemed a bit like phony drama to me.