Monday, February 29, 2016

George Kennedy, ‘Cool Hand Luke’ Actor, Dies at 91 - SFGate

Kennedy’s grandson Cory Schenkel told TMZ that Kennedy had been in failing health since the death of his wife Joan slightly more than a year ago, and had been in hospice care for a month.

"He was smiling... That's right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn't know it 'fore, they could tell right then that they weren't a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke. Hell, he's a natural-born world-shaker."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Witch (2015) ***

Like Barry Lyndon, a mostly successful attempt to make a period film from the perspective of the time portrayed not the time it was made. Director Eggers does not, as yet, match the visual genius of Kubrick but his film is remarkably concise, direct, well acted and thought provoking.

Aeon: Consciousness Creep

But who’s to say machines don’t already have minds? What if they take unexpected forms, such as networks that have achieved a group-level consciousness? What if artificial intelligence is so unfamiliar that we have a hard time recognising it? Could our machines have become self-aware without our even knowing it? The huge obstacle to addressing such questions is that no one is really sure what consciousness is, let alone whether we’d know it if we saw it. In his 2012 book, Consciousness, the neuroscientist Christof Koch speculated that the web might have achieved sentience, and then posed the essential question: ‘By what signs shall we recognise its consciousness?’

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Zero Theorem (2013) ***

There's a lot to chew on in this Gilliam fantasy that isn't fully realized but comes tantalizingly close. Terrific supporting performances from Lucas Hedges and Mélanie Thierry.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Anomalisa (2015) ****

Another brilliant Charlie Kaufman flick where nothing much happens and characters don't learn any life lessons or change. You know, like real life.

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) **

Despite the nice work from its leads and the gorgeous Swiss countryside, it never seems to rise above its "A" soap opera story line to something meaningful to non-actors.

Monday, February 08, 2016


"We also use 'consciousness' for all sorts of ideas about what we are. Most of these are based on old myths, superstitions, philosophies, and other acquired collections of memes. We use these in part to prevent ourselves from trying to understand how we work-and in older times that was useful because that would have been such a hopeless quest. For example, I see that lamp in this room. That perception seems utterly simple to me-so direct and immediate that the process seems quite irreducible. You just look at it and see what it is. But today we know much more about what actually happens when you see a lamp. It involves processes in many parts of the brain, and in many billions of neurons. Whatever traces those processes leave, they're not available to the rest of you. Thus, the parts of you that might try to explain why and how you do what you do, do not have good data for doing that job. When you ask yourself how you recognize things, or how you chose the words you say, you have no way to directly find out. It's as though your seeing and speaking machines were located in some unobservable place. You can only observe their external behaviors, but you have no access to their interior. This is why, I think, we so like that idea that thinking takes place in a mental world, that is separate from the world that contains our bodies and similar 'real' things. That's why most people are 'dualists.' They've never been shown good alternatives."

RIP Marvin Minsky.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Hail, Caesar! (2016) **

A fine cast, impeccable production but disjointed and disappointing. Comes across as a series of sketches about studio-era Hollywood but there's no rug to tie it all together. Smart, but no heart.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Blue Crush (2002) **

Formulaic sports flick but the Hawaiian locales and appealing cast are worth it.