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  1. Lumines Remastered

    Played 23 December 2019 – 15 January 2020 on Nintendo Switch

    It’s cool, but I’d rather just play Tetris.

  2. Don’t forget: disasters and crises bring out the best in people
    thecorrespondent.com

    Some welcome positivity from Rutger Bregman:

    For every antisocial jerk out there, there are thousands of doctors, cleaners and nurses working around the clock on our behalf. For every panicky hoarder shoving entire supermarket shelves into their cart, there are 10,000 people doing their best to prevent the virus from spreading further. In actual fact, we’re now seeing reports from China and Italy about how the crisis is bringing people closer together.

  3. The Outsider, Season 1

    Watched 13 January – 9 March 2020

    First half was great: intriguing mystery and plot developments, great characters. Then the mystery is completely resolved, and the second half is mostly seeing the characters catch up with what the audience already knows and doing lots of talking in cars. It ended with a whimper, and I was disappointed.

  4. Picross S

    Played 12 January – 11 March 2020 on Nintendo Switch

    I love me some Picross, but they really phoned it in with the UI and controls in this one. No touchscreen support and no option to use the right stick means you can never really play one-handed, and that’s just incredibly frustrating for such a simple game.

  5. Celeste: Farewell

    Played 9 September – 23 December 2019 on Nintendo Switch

    The Progress screen in Celeste, showing full game completion, at a cost of over 23 thousand deaths and 66 hours of gameplay.

    Not many games have rewarded me with such a deep sense of accomplishment. Celeste gives me life.

  6. Wonder Woman

    Watched 8 March 2020

    I’m glad women can use violence for good too, but this movie is… kinda basic? It’s as if they couldn’t get approval for “girl power” without putting in some bad tropes and clichés to balance it out. Yes, representation matters, but it depresses me that this is what we’re settling for as progress. Excusing it as an escapist piece of pulpy action would be fine, but I don’t think it’s very good at that, either.

  7. Casino Royale — How Action Reveals Character
    youtube.com

    Lessons from the Screeplay:

    An action scene, just like any other scene, should help expose a character’s true self. But in the case of “Casino Royale,” the opening action sequence needed to do even more than that. It needed to introduce the world to a whole new James Bond.

    So today, I want to dissect the film’s freerunning chase sequence to see how it uses action to develop the characters, to examine how it forces the protagonist to make choices which reveal his key characteristics, and to demonstrate how its underlying structure brings Bond’s deepest flaw to the surface.

    Casino Royale is the best.

  8. Ford v Ferrari

    Watched 10 February 2020

    Silly me, I thought this was going to be a film about famous automotive designer Carroll Shelby designing and building a car from scratch. Nope, at some point Matt Damon just pulls a tarp and there it is — the car got designed and assembled off-screen and just needs some tweaks under the hood. The design differences that give Ford an edge over Ferrari are never quite explored except for “ours is faster” and “Italians are arrogant.” I guess dramatizing the design process doesn’t quite fit into the standard cookie-cutter biopic formula.

  9. Little Women

    Watched 7 February 2020

    This story has a point to make and the film certainly gets to it. The nonlinear editing wasn’t hard to keep up with, but it feels like an attempt at injecting more nuance and challenge into a script that didn’t have much of either. There are several effective emotional moments, but as a whole it just didn’t reach me on a very profound level. It might simply not be for me, or I might have ruined it by watching Uncut Gems right before.

    Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh were brilliant. I know Emma Watson is like that in real life too, but on camera her acting always looks a bit over the top. And I can’t say I cared for Laura Dern’s performance as the saint-level impossibly emotionally stable mother. And boy was casting Bob Odenkirk a mistake — I couldn’t control my laughter when he showed up, and all attempts at seriousness just failed whenever he was on screen.

    Despite all the faults I saw in it, I still very much enjoyed my time with the film. It’s refreshing to see a drama where everyone is just so nice every now and then.

  10. Uncut Gems

    Watched 7 February 2020

    The world feels a little different after watching Uncut Gems, and I don’t know that I can pay a bigger compliment to a work of art.

  11. The Good Place, Season 4

    Watched 13 October 2019 – 7 February 2020

    A perfect conclusion to the most wholesome show I’ve ever seen. Life sure is a wave.

  12. Frustration grows in China as face masks compromise facial recognition
    qz.com

    Ah, the irony. Anne Quito:

    Face masks are mandatory in at least two provinces in China, including the city of Wuhan. In an effort to contain the coronavirus strain that has caused nearly 500 deaths, the government is insisting that millions of residents wear protective face covering when they go out in public.

    As millions don masks across the country, the Chinese are discovering an unexpected consequence to covering their faces. It turns out that face masks trip up facial recognition-based functions, a technology necessary for many routine transactions in China. Suddenly, certain mobile phones, condominium doors, and bank accounts won’t unlock with a glance.

    And beyond quotidian transactions, the technology is a linchpin in the Chinese government’s scheme to police its 1.4 billion citizens.