Monthly Archives: February 2013

AMC Best Picture Showcase

Last Saturday and yesterday a couple friends and I attended AMC movie theater’s Best Picture Showcase. This is an event where the movie theater shows all the nominees for Academy Award for Best Picture. I first attended back when there were only 5 movies. Over the past few years there have been as many as 10. This year there were nine: Amour, Les Miserable, Argo, Django Unchained, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Lining’s Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty.

I’d call this year of the memorable slap. Almost all of these have a scene where a character looking the other in the eye slaps the other. It is like it is a theme for the year.

One of the reasons I like attending this event is the entire slate of movies are overall quality movies. Though, I did enjoy some far more than others.

Amour: Hard to watch as the story of an elderly woman having strokes and falling apart is way too familiar to me. I do have to say the portrayal was pretty accurate.

Les Miserable: I have never seen the play. I think if I had, then I would find it more entertaining. Instead, the constant singing was more annoying.

Argo: One of the two I saw prior. Just as entertaining the second time through. It mixes danger and humor well. Probably should hate it because it took too many liberties with the history, but I don’t? My #1 pick for best picture.

Django Unchained: As to be expected, this was Inglorious Bastards with a different bad part of history and to out do the over the top violence.

Beasts of the Southern Wild: The Life-Sucks-But-We-Will-Overcome nominee, it felt preachy. Most damning were the aurochs. They felt completely off putting.

Life of Pi: The tiger at times looked like Puss In Boots from Shrek. So adorable. Visually amazing through over a dozen scenes. The story was pretty weak and dumbed down.

Lincoln: The second of the two I saw prior. The makeup and casting were amazing. Some strangely supernatural lighting as in one case Robert Lincoln’s face is well lit under his hat so we can see his expression while the Sun is in the background. I happen to enjoy political speeches, but this was even boring to me.

Silver Lining’s Playbook: Love is the best mental health medicine? True love. Not “I want to be in love with her” stalker infatuation.

Zero Dark Thirty: Any movie that upsets Congressmen enough to want hearings is a keeper. Okay, it is not a sequel to the Hurt Locker, but both movies use an emotionless tone. I think it is Biegelow’s point that war’s greatest atrocity is sapping those involved of their emotional humanity. Gun fire and explosions sound more real in this movie than most movies. My #2 pick, I think.

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American Chinese

Chicago Cubs Logo

Chicago Cubs Logo

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Bears logo

Chicago Bears logo

From a logo design perspective, the United States should adopt Chinese. For logos that are the first letter of the entity, the designer has to do something special to distinguish it from all the others using the same letter. This came to me watching a rapper in a video wearing a baseball cap with a “C” on it. At first, I thought Chicago Cubs, but then I recalled their logo is a very simple “C” and did not have the wishbone at the left. Running through baseball cities in my head, I realized it was a Cincinnati Reds logo as it was a red cap with a white letter. After some Googling, I see I might have been thrown off by another Chicago team, the Bears. Their logo is the same C I saw but in red rather than on red.

Atlanta Braves Logo

Atlanta Braves Logo

University of Alabama Athletic Logo

University of Alabama Athletic Logo

I have the same trouble with the Atlanta Braves and University of Alabama. As local people are often fans of either, I more frequently see them. And fail to correctly identify them. (Though probably I should have gone with Green Bay and UGA.)

Logo confusion is bad enough for a designer. Logo confusion for other sports teams seems like a budding trademark war. The whole point of a logo is to be distinctive and recognizable. There is only so much one can do with a letter. The English alphabet only has 26 letters. Too much modification takes away the form of the letter until it no longer represents an acronym of the name.

A solution to too few letters could be for the United States to adopt Chinese. With over 6,000 characters, there are plenty more from which to choose. I cannot see that really happening any time soon, especially for this reason.

The look on some people’s faces for suggesting it could be entertaining.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

TED Talk: What we’re learning from online education

MOOCs are still the buzz in 2013. The best quote I have heard about them is that they replace an in-person class like Facebook replaces a social life. Of course, Facebook is my main social life….

I do sense a hope that MOOCs will replace a whole education or at least credits (think AP courses).

If the video below does not work, then try Daphne Koller: What we’re learning from online education.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4