Snowden documentary wins Oscar

Laura Poitras won an Academy Award yesterday for her documentary Citizenfour about Edward Snowden that I reviewed favorably. In this photo from the awards ceremony last night, we see the three winners: producer Dirk Wilutzky (far left), Poitras next to him, and editor Mathilde Bonnefoy (far right). Glenn Greenwald and Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills (who now lives with him in Moscow most of the time) joined them on the stage
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Beware of the blob!

I came across this video that shows what happens when you embed ferromagnetic particles into putty to make it magnetic and then put a neodymium magnet (these are very strong magnets) near it. The caption to this video says that it was taken over 1.5 hours at three frames per second and then played back at 24 fps. (This cannot be right because then the playback should be a little over ten minutes and not 52 seconds.)
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Film review: Dear White People (2014)

I watched this much-talked about film recently. It was interesting but not quite what I expected. I expected a more biting comedy about the kinds of racial tensions that exist on elite college campuses that seek to have a diverse student body and yet struggle to make minorities feel welcome, making mistakes that are can be awkward, patronizing, and cringe-inducing. It is something that the college I work at also struggles with.
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What the success of American Sniper says about America

I have not seen, and do not plan to see, this film about a real life sniper Chris Kyle who apparently has the deadliest kill record in US military history. While some critics say that Clint Eastwood’s film portrays war in a complex way, it may have been too nuanced because the public seems to have reacted to it with jingoistic pride at the way that Kyle gunned people down in the war in Iraq, making it a huge success at the box office. The fact that Eastwood put the word ‘American’ in the title seemed to me that he was saying that Kyle somehow represented America and this undoubtedly would have colored people’s perceptions to think of this film as an exercise in patriotism.
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Why I likely will not see Selma

Today is the day that the US commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man whom I admire greatly and have written about before many times so will not repeat those views. But I will likely not be going to see the new film Selma, that deals with the civil rights struggle of which he was such a big part and uses a key event of that struggle to tell the story, even though the film has been praised.
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Film review: The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

This is the story of two restaurants directly across the street from each other in a small French town. One is run by a Frenchwoman (played by Helen Mirren), a long time resident of the town who is proud that her restaurant is a well-known and classy place that has earned a much-coveted place in the Michelin guidebook of fine restaurants. But it has just a one star rating and she lusts after being promoted to two stars. The other is a new restaurant run by an Indian family that decided to start a new life there after their van broke down. Mirren resents the presence of such a déclassé establishment next to hers and tries to ensure that they fail and leave.
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How did they do that?

Stephen Colbert is a huge fan of the Hobbit world created by J. R. R. Tolkien and is familiar with the most minute aspects of it. When I saw that he was going to interview Smaug (apparently is a character in some of the books) I thought it would be someone dressed as the character and was wondering whether it would be worth watching since I am not a big fan of the books or the films. I am glad that I did because it was really something to see.
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