Animated short film
Winner of 102 International Awards.
Animated short film
Winner of 102 International Awards.
From Mental Floss.Com
Oh boy, I must say I have not seen any of them. Wow ! Super heroes, vampires, and cartoons mostly. People are giving up on reality. Lou
Marvel’s The Avengers (#1)
The Dark Knight Rises (#2)
The Hunger Games (#3)
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (#4)
The Amazing Spider-Man (#5)
Madagascar 3:Europe’s Most Wanted (#9)
The Lorax (#10)
Men in Black 3 (#11)
Wreck-It Ralph (#12)
Apr 5, 2012 by zombiwok
John Carpenter’s masterpiece. Hidden beneath the illusion of everyday life, alien economists are developing the Earth as their own third world. Roddy Piper stumbles onto their plan and the shit hits the fan.
A telling social commentary on greed, consumption, a crippled economy, propaganda and the growing schisms between the rich and poor. As relevant as ever.
Starring Roddy Piper, Meg Foster, Keith David.
It’s been 30 years since the release of Blade Runner and 10 years since Minority Report. Both are rich sources of predictions about the future. But what has actually come to pass?
Based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner – the tale of a hunt for four dangerous “replicant” humans – is a classic envisioning of a dystopian future, set in 2019 Los Angeles.
Minority Report, based on a short story by Dick of the same name, and set in Washington DC in 2054, is another cornucopia of technological possibility, where crime is predicted and therefore prevented.
So which predictions in these movies have been fulfilled?
As well as English, some of Blade Runner’s 2019 LA residents speak a patois mixing European and east Asian languages.
There has certainly been language shift in Los Angeles, most notably a doubling of the number of Spanish speakers (those who speak the language at home) in the past 30 years from 1.5 million in 1980 to 3.6 million in 2010 (including Spanish Creole).
Internationally, Spanish is also significant and futuregazers have gone as far as predicting that one day Mandarin Chinese could become the default language of business worldwide.
Speaking to the New York Times in 2009, French linguist Claude Hagege, author of On the Death and Life of Languages, said that Hindi and Mandarin could replace English some day.
John Anderton, Tom Cruise’s character in Minority Report, dons a data glove to use a rather elegant gesture-based interface. Wired magazine reported back in 2008 that such interfaces would soon become a reality.
John Underkoffler, the scientist who developed the system for Minority Report, set up Oblong Industries to develop and market it. He told TED in 2010: “We’re not finished until all the computers in the world work like this.”
The triumph of touchscreen interfaces is an obvious prelude. The Apple iPhone has offered “pinch”, “pull” and “swipe” features for the past five years, and the Microsoft Kinect games system allows users to control the action with their movements.
The most recent addition is the Leap gesture-based computer interaction system, launched in May. The USB device tracks an area of 8 cu ft for movement, and is capable of differentiating between fingers, thumbs and pencils.
While gesture-based interfaces might seem imminent, at the other end of the prediction spectrum there’s hover cars, a concept that is yet to become reality.
As well as flying, vertical take-off and landing, the police car used by Rick Deckard – played by Harrison Ford – in Blade Runner is capable of ground travel.
The car driven by Anderton in Minority Report has an electric engine, body panels that change colour, is self-cleaning and can repair itself. The doors and ignition require a DNA match, meaning it is not easily stolen.
That’s not to say there are no flying cars. In April, TekGoblin reported that US company Terrafugia had created the first prototype flying car which meets the standards of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
But with an expected price tag of about £180,000 ($280,000), it looks like car travel in the air will still not be a daily occurrence for many.
While hover cars are still fantasy, the iris scanning of Minority Report is a reality for many air travellers.
In the film, crime has been eliminated with the aid of technology that constantly monitors citizens. Wall-mounted devices scan human eyes to confirm identity.
“Spielberg hired a team of futurologists to predict technologies,” says John de Nardo, editor of SF Signal, a speculative fiction blog.
Even though they cannot be used on moving individuals, as in Minority Report, iris detection devices are used at border agencies all over the world, and were in use at Manchester and Birmingham airports until relatively recently.
Facial recognition technology has been developed and has been rolled out in 25 bars in San Francisco. In this case the technology is not being used for national security – but to provide a snapshot of the type of crowd frequenting these establishments.
The iris recognition technology led to Anderton being bombarded by images targeted specifically at him.
“We are not far away from that,” says science fiction writer Robert J Sawyer. Already, internet advertising can be personally tailored to match users’ interests.
The parallels between services like Google’s DoubleClick and the Minority Report scenario have been made. There has also been much discussion about Facebook ads being based on information users share about themselves.
In 2011, a report by the Centre for Future Studies predicted that advertisements would soon be able to adapt to our moods – a technology known as “gladvertising”. And according to Digital Ape, the effect of Intel’s new digital signage systems will be video feeds that can tailor ads to the age and gender of shoppers. Intel itself says the system will release “commercial, financial and entertainment information to specific people groups at specific times”.
So perhaps the ads that targeted Anderton are not too far away.
Predictive policing is a big part of Minority Report, in which three psychics, known as pre-cogs, have the ability to see into the future and therefore help stop criminal activity.
“It’s about the notion that criminality is innate in people,” says Sawyer.
Obviously no force in the world is going to be putting psychics at the heart of their strategy, but there has been growing interest in the idea of mapping future crime trends and even predicting which individuals could become a problem.
In 2006, Tony Blair said state intervention could become “pre-birth even” as it was possible to predict that children born in some circumstances could later become anti-social.
Memphis Police Department in Tennessee is working with IBM on a system that analyses crime trends to predict where police should be deployed. IBM say this has helped reduce crime by 30%.
And while we cannot reliably predict who will commit crime in the future, neuroscientists are investigating a way to predict mistakes. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study recording neurological patterns which preceded errors.
This could lead to a system that allows us to intercept our mistakes before we make them – so we won’t need the police to do it for us.
While the replicants in Ridley Scott’s film seem to be synthetic humans rather than true robots, the film still explores the idea of artificial intelligence.
A key device in the movie is that the replicants do not have a normal emotional range, something that can be detected using a “Voight-Kampff” test to measure empathic responses.
There seems an echo of the many tests used now to measure advances in AI.
Sawyer points out that already scientists have developed machines which can be awarded the Loebner Prize, being deemed human-like by a team of experts.
This is based on a test devised by mathematician Alan Turing to determine whether machines can think and use natural language.
But Prof Colin Allen, director of the cognitive science programme at Indiana University, says technology is “not very close” to a machine which can fully pass the Turing test.
At the moment, the closest is IBM’s Watson, which beat human contestants on US gameshow Jeopardy.
Companies have not yet been able to create a machine that can combine human behaviour and language with the mechanics of human movement, Sawyer adds.
Blade Runner envisioned a world where the majority of humankind has chosen to live in more pleasurable “off-world colonies” run by private companies. If such an event happens in the future, it might well be the work of the private sector.
The California company SpaceX last month successfully sent an unmanned cargo capsule to the space station. SpaceX intends to put seats and a life-support system in its Dragon vehicle, so it can double up as an astronaut taxi. The firm would then sell rides to Nasa, which currently has no means of its own to launch astronauts.”
We are now in an era of “gradual decrease in state funding available for space exploration programmes”, says Sawyer.
“The political will is not there right now for that kind of exploration,” says Karen Burnham, editor of Locus magazine. She points out that Nasa funding fell below 1% of American federal spending in the 1970s and currently represents a mere 0.5% of the 2012 budget.
Although private companies have begun to take over, Burnham says they are a long way from being able to colonise other planets. The private sector has not yet found a way to make space exploration “profitable” beyond 25,000 miles up.
So it looks doubtful that humans will emigrate to other planets by 2019, even though if Newt Gingrich had won the Republican nomination for the American presidential election, he had discussed building a Moon colony to house 13,000 people by 2020
Drawing on the themes in Dick’s original story, Blade Runner raised ethical issues surrounding the consequences of creating intelligent life forms in our likeness.
The complication in the film particularly is that the replicants are not robots – they are made of organic materials and bleed, just as humans do. But they lack empathy and were artificially created.
“The question that Blade Runner raises is whether we should award personhood status to machines,” says Dr Anne Foerst, associate professor of computer science at St Bonaventure University, New York.
Blade Runner goes “way beyond” the question of artificial intelligence, using the metaphor of technology to explore why society decides certain groups of people are acceptable and others not.
Getting intelligent robots to conform to moral rules is a live area of debate and research, Allen says. At the moment work is under way on developing a control system for military robots “to make sure they abide by the rules of combat”, and creating robots for use in the care of elderly people.
To BMC. May all your dreams come true.
One of the most wired nations in the world, Sweden has long been a battleground between those who support file-sharing and the music and film industry. The Nordic state gave birth to the world’s largest filesharing website, Pirate Bay.
Registering the Church of Kopimism is a way to avoid “persecution,” said the website of the group, which was given official recognition by the Swedish state last month.
Kopimism’s name is derived from the words “copy me” and as its website makes clear it supports all forms of downloading and uploading files and sees copyright laws as violating freedom of information.
“We believe that information is holy,” said Isak Gerson, who calls himself the “spiritual leader” of a church whose key symbols are “Ctrl C” and “Ctrl V,” the keyboard short cuts for copy and paste.
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My creative contact/blogger Dolly Honeybee All about lemon (she is worth a visit but be prepared to be befuddled by her creative genius) re blogged this post. I had forgotten about it, and it is an outstanding little video, so I am putting it up for a day or so for those who missed it.
By Jay Stone, Postmedia News December 19, 2011
Photograph by: Paramount Pictures/GK Films, handout
The year in movies will be remembered as a year of apocalypse: the colliding planets of Melancholia, the gathering (and perhaps imaginary) storm of Take Shelter, the vicious rebellion of monkeys in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the peaceful reunion at the other side of the river in The Tree of Life, plus various other assorted explosions, battles, and whatever Michael Bay might have been up to. But the best films were movies about something more lighthearted. They were movies about the movies: the glory of silent films and the imagination of the earliest filmmakers. The world wasn’t ending in 2012. It was just looking back.
1. The Artist: An enchanting and unusual film – a black-and-white silent movie – that will have you tap-dancing out of the theatre. French director Michel Hazanavicius borrows from several Hollywood legends and prototypes (including A Star Is Born, Singing in the Rain and Sunset Boulevard) for this ingenious fable about a silent star whose career fades with the advent of talkies and a young starlet who sees her celebrity explode at the same time. It’s a tribute to artful silent cinema, but it’s also a sweet love story that is wonderfully told in the faces (including that of a terrific Jack Russell terrier named Uggy) of its charming cast.
2. Hugo: Martin Scorsese redefines 3-D in this astonishing family film about a young orphan who lives in the clock tower of a Paris train station in 1930. There’s a Dickensian drama in his life, but the movie’s plot – all gears and gimcracks – is mostly in service of a tribute to the history of movies, especially the genius of French pioneer, Georges Melies. Scenes from some of Melies’ 500 films pay loving and joyful homage to the magical early years of cinema.
3. The Descendants: Alexander Payne’s masterful control of tone is what makes this comic tragedy surprising: We may know where the plot is heading, but moments of sudden grief and surreal humour alternately surprise us and provide constant delight. George Clooney, showing the cracks in his smooth surface, has never been as good as he is in this tale of a Hawaiian lawyer who learns that his comatose wife had been cheating on him.
4. The Tree of Life: Reclusive director Terrence Malick emerges from hiding with this magisterial epic about a childhood in Texas under the control of an angry and disappointed father (a fine performance by Brad Pitt), and also – steady now – the very foundations of the universe itself. The poetic, visual storytelling relies on small moments (billowing curtains, a sudden butterfly) to build a slow but moving masterwork.
5. Margin Call: An A-list cast – including Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci and Jeremy Irons – anchor this smart examination of the American financial crisis. First-time filmmaker J.C. Chandor immerses us in a hermetic world of greed and amorality, as the first signs of economic collapse are detected at a New York investment bank and everyone must run for cover. The choice between coming clean or making one last killing is a darkly apt metaphor for predatory capitalism.
6. Bridesmaids: The funniest raunchy comedy of the year, with Kirsten Wiig as a perennial bridesmaid helping a friend organize her wedding. The film has its share of low laughs – the bridal-dress poop scene is a classic of its sort – but it’s also infused with a sense of female intimacy. You learn a lot about the conventions of women’s relationships (she who organizes the shower, rules the friendship), and also discover, if Hollywood is listening, that there’s a gold mine of humour there.
7. Shame: Michael Fassbender gives perhaps the bravest performance of 2011 in this tragic, forbidding and graphically sexual tale of Brandon, a New York City businessman who is addicted to sex. British director Steve McQueen, who is also a visual artist, makes New York into a gleaming nocturnal prison for Brandon, whose illusive relationship with his sister (Carey Mulligan) adds to the sense of unease and sexual adventure.
8. Rango: A chameleon comes to a dying Western town (called Dirt), poses as a sheriff named Rango, and cleans up the bad guys – not to mention a scheme to steal water that wouldn’t have been out of place in Chinatown – in this wonderful animated comedy. Johnny Depp shows great comic chops as the voice of Rango, and director Gore Verbinski fills the screen with offbeat jokes, delightfully oddball characters, and a pretty relevant moral, to boot.
9. Drive: A Hollywood staple, the car film, gets a European twist in this existential thriller about a mysterious stunt driver for the movies who doubles as a getaway man for criminal gangs. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn creates a mood of noble pessimism – another salute to the genre – and Ryan Gosling portrays the driver as a kind of anti-superhero. The result is the essence of cool.
10. Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen’s time-travel love letter to a golden age in France is set at a time when tough-guy writers like Hemingway and creative madmen like Dali were at the creative centre of the world. It’s a light concoction – the message is that the past is always bathed in nostalgic idealism – but it’s hugely entertaining.
Honourable mentions (in alphabetical order): The Adventures of Tintin, Cafe de Flore, Contagion, Hanna, The Ides of March, Moneyball, The Mill & The Cross, Our Idiot Brother, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Take Shelter.
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