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All Posts, page 8

  1. Love, Death & Robots, Season 1

    Watched 27 March 2019

    There is only one episode that actually delivers on what I was hoping for, combining great animation with stylish art direction and exploring cool, mature themes: Zima Blue.

    There are four of five others that aren’t plain edgelord teenager bullshit, but they’re nothing to write home about.

  2. ‘Game of Thrones’: The Last Show We Watch Together?
    vulture.com

    Matt Zoller Seitz:

    TV doesn’t feel the same when you watch it that way. It’s more of a solitary experience, no matter how many fellow fans discuss it with you on social media. And it necessarily reduces the level of excitement surrounding a season or series finale because the show has been deprived of that measured pace of one episode per week, with six days of contemplation and anticipation in between each chapter, all leading inexorably to that last run of episodes during which the fans, who’ve spent years living and breathing this thing, come to terms with the totality of the accomplishment, and ready themselves for the exquisite and horrible moment when the storytellers swing that sword at our necks and the birds take flight and the credits roll for the last time.

  3. Glass

    Watched 4 April 2019

    This is the superhero equivalent of a zombie movie where the characters keep saying the word “zombie” all the time.

    The writing here is even worse than Split. The core plot device (what Sarah Paulson spends most of the movie doing) simply doesn’t work! It never felt the least bit believable. It’s a premise completely at odds with Shyamalan’s direction in the previous films, what he’s been showing us this whole time. It doesn’t work for the viewer, and it shouldn’t have worked for the characters — which makes it a double-whammy of dumb. This is, of course, all done in favor of a big twist (and, in my case, a big sigh).

    I really might have to revisit Unbreakable, which I thought was cool however many years ago I watched it. I’m hoping it holds up.

  4. Split

    Watched 3 April 2019

    Have Shyamalan’s films always been this shallow? Nothing feels real outside the very narrow confines of what is happening. Dialogue is often poor, with way too much “as you know, Bob” going on. And all the buildup fell flat for me — I was neither shocked nor emotionally invested. I guess I’d better not rewatch Unbreakable, or risk disappointment.

  5. Us

    Watched 29 March 2019

    Very weird and cool and artsy, but also funny — and it all fits together perfectly. I liked how subversive the plot structure felt; I often had no idea where it was going to go next, and that made for a really great experience. I went in completely blind, and it paid off quite handsomely. I watched the trailer afterwards, and boy is it spoilery! Don’t watch trailers, kids.

    It’s impressive how strongly this film pairs with Get Out. They’re certainly different, but there’s a clear style forming. Jordan Peele is carving out a really cool niche for himself.

  6. Yet Another JavaScript Framework
    css-tricks.com

    Great writing on this well-researched story, by Jason Hoffman:

    At first glance, the bug appeared to be fairly routine, most likely a small problem somewhere in the website’s code or a strange coincidence. After just a few hours though, it became clear that the stakes for this one particular bug were far graver than anyone could have anticipated. If Firefox were to release this version of their browser as-is, they risked breaking an unknown, but still predictably rather large number of websites, all at once. Why that is has everything to do with the way MooTools was built, where it drew influence from, and the moment in time it was released. So to really understand the problem, we’ll have to go all the way back to the beginning.

  7. What the Theranos Documentary Misses
    newrepublic.com

    Avi Asher-Schapiro makes some good points about The Inventor that I failed to consider:

    Missing from the film, however, is any sustained effort to understand how Theranos interacted with the larger economic and social forces that nurtured it. In the hands of Gibney, the rise and fall of Theranos is reduced to a sort of personality puzzle, driven by the banal questions like: What was Elizabeth Holmes thinking? Is she a liar? How could seemingly competent investors be so misled?

    That’s a shame, because the story of Theranos is so much more than that. At its root, it’s a parable that cuts to the central dysfunctions in the American economic and political order, one that should dismantle our notions of meritocracy and put a strict limit on our forbearance for elites. It illuminates how the rich and well connected occupy different strata of life, enjoy a completely different set of opportunities from the rest of us, experience a different kind of justice, and are so often immune from consequences. Though the film gives some glimpses of these dynamics, they are always in the background, shadowed by other far less compelling narrative impulses.

  8. Dev perception
    adactio.com

    Jeremy Keith:

    It’s relatively easy to write and speak about new technologies. You’re excited about them, and there’s probably an eager audience who can learn from what you have to say.

    It’s trickier to write something insightful about a tried and trusted (perhaps even boring) technology that’s been around for a while. You could maybe write little tips and tricks, but I bet your inner critic would tell you that nobody’s interested in hearing about that old tech. It’s boring.

    The result is that what’s being written about is not a reflection of what’s being widely used.

  9. Stuffing the Front End
    bridgestew.com

    Bridget Stewart:

    How many features are built-in to a framework or library that your app doesn’t need yet (and may never need)? How much can you hold back from the package you send to the web? How dependent are these modules and bits of code on one another? To me, that sounds like a lot of analysis up front to pick apart a tool before I even write a single line of code to be truly productive. It is also the antithesis of Progressive Enhancement, which strives to start with the bare minimum necessary to make it work and build up from there.

  10. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

    Watched 24 March 2019

    “You want it to be true so badly, and even for me, I was working with these devices every single day, and she could still kind of convince me. When I think back on those conversations, I just think, how did she do that?”

    I had only a surface-level understanding of the Theranos story, so to me the subject matter was absolutely gripping. The idea behind the company was so good, so elegant, that you do just want it to be true.

    As a documentary, it’s articulate and well-framed, but also somewhat bland and needlessly repetitive. Alex Gibney’s films, when they really click for me (this one and Going Clear most of all), seem to do so largely despite his direction, not because of it.

  11. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

    Watched 16 March 2019

    I knew nothing about Enron before watching this, and I came in expecting explosive revelations. But the most shocking aspect here is just how little I was shocked by the whole scandal. We truly are living in a golden age of grifting. Things like this are now, if not normal, expected.

  12. Grifters Gone Wild
    nytimes.com

    More on scammers, by Maureen Dowd:

    As Maria Konnikova wrote in her book, “The Confidence Game,” “The whirlwind advance of technology heralds a new golden age of the grift. Cons thrive in times of transition and fast change” when we are losing the old ways and open to the unexpected.

    We are easy marks for faux Nigerian princes now, when chaos rules, the American identity wobbles, and technology is transforming our lives in awe-inspiring and awful ways.

    See also, on Wired: Nigerian Email Scammers Are More Effective Than Ever.

  13. Scammers: They’re Just Like Us
    buzzfeednews.com

    Prompted by the college admissions bribery scandal in the US, the hosts of Do By Friday had an interesting discussion about grifting on a recent episode of the podcast. This article by Tom Gara was mentioned by Max Temkin and caught my attention:

    We are living in a golden age of grifting. For an ambitious scammer in 2018, this is like being a sculptor in 1500s Florence — every major force at play in our world is like a wind at your back. In politics, a team of all-star grifters now runs the United States, and their fake-it-till-you-make-it ethos bleeds into everything it touches and elevates aspirational young con artists into national figures. Technology now allows you to create and maintain an entirely constructed identity, giving you not just the tools to manipulate your image and massage the truth of your everyday life, but also an audience hungry to consume that image and believe in it.