science

Why Watch? So none of us really understand the God particle and why it’s (probable) discovery is so important to those of us outside the world of white lab coats and colliding stuff we can’t see. Fortunately, this video is as fun as it is informative. Thanks, cartoon physics stuff! What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Why do we remember “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” less than “We’ll always have Paris”? Do we remember it less? This rhetorical question, of course, comes from AFI’s list of 100 Most Memorable Movie Quotes. It’s also a question in the minds of every screenwriter desperately trying to create something memorable. The next “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid” or “You talkin’ to me?” So how do we craft a line that gets repeated by everyone and buried into the collective hippocampus. Now, science has an answer. Or they’re at least groping toward one. According to Technology Review, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Miziland and researchers at Cornell University analyzed 1,000 lines listed by IMDB to be memorable and compared them to lines of similar length, spoken by the same character at or around the same time in the movie to figure out what made them stick. The next step? Asking people who haven’t seen movies to figure out which line they’re faced with is the one that’s remembered. You can even do it to see for yourself. The results are interesting, but they leave out a crucial element: the context of the movie. Studying syntax and syllables is one thing, but you can’t beat “I know” as a response to “I love you.” You also can’t beat hundreds of millions of people seeing a movie to spread a line of dialog around.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? In this inspired documentary from Brent Hoff, scientific subject matters have five minutes to love as hard as they can in order to get their neural pathways to spike with oxytocin. There’s the old man committed to his wife of 50 years; the old woman who sees love as an evolution; the middle-aged man who’s been in love many times before; the young woman with a sweet boyfriend; the young woman who wants to see love as a universal; the young man focusing on his ex-girlfriend; and the 10-year-old boy who will try to win by sharing the love of a family member. “I can’t believe I picked a guy that, for fifty years, has just allowed me to be who I am.” Beyond a compelling subject, the documentary is shot in a sleek, modern style with an indie-synth score that wraps the clinical nature of it all in the warm glow of joyous human faces.. It’s fascinating, it’s humane, it’s science. Sweet, sweet science. Watch it and think really hard about someone you love. What will it cost? Only 14 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Why Watch? The future was three years ago, and this short film can prove it. As a promotional tool for the video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution, director Rob Spence (who goes by the name Eyeborg after a shooting accident left his eye replaced by a camera) decided to find out where technology stands today in relation to the science fiction of the game by meeting with some real-life cyborgs and the scientists behind the tech. This slick documentary, clocking in at a brisk 12 minutes, will astonish. What does it cost? Just 12 minutes of your time. Check out Deus Ex: The Eyeborg Documentary for yourself:

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Criterion Files

Andrei Tarkovsky was openly dissatisfied with his Solaris (1972), even though it has endured as perhaps the master’s best-known work, because he felt he didn’t successfully “transcend” the science-fiction genre as he later claimed he would seven years later with Stalker, a film that truly has few directly identifiable ties with the genre it purportedly emerged from. But knowing Tarkovsky, “transcending the genre” here doesn’t mean new interpretations of a familiar formula, but rather implies that Tarkovsky didn’t felt he accomplished what he sought to do in each of his works: make cinema a high art form comparable with the other arts. I respectfully disagree with Tarkovsky’s assessment of his own work. In fact, it is the clearly identifiable ties that Solaris has with its genre that helps the film achieve a specifically Tarkovskyan transcendence. While the filmmaker has a gesamtkunstwerk-approach to elevating cinema as an art form by integrating other great works of art into this work of art (an aspect especially apparent here in the film’s library scene), in Solaris Tarkovsky palpably struggles with the legacy of the genre he’s working in, and in doing so, copes with cinema’s own artistic language while putting forth a unique aesthetic that can singularly be experienced in cinema: the controlled experience of time.

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Adorable primate or your future master? Oscar-winning documentarian James Marsh has a new movie coming out this summer that takes a look at yet another icon of the 70s. Man on Wire was a crazy, tightrope-walking Frenchman and Project Nim is a crazy, sign language-learning chimpanzee. Clearly, Marsh has a type. Nim digs into the science of the world famous experiment that first set out to bridge the gap between the two species, and from the trailer, it looks like it will unearth heartwarming and unpleasant aspects alike. Check it out for yourself:

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Criterion Files

Welcome to Guest Author month at Criterion Files: a month devoted to important classic and contemporary bloggers. Each Wednesday for the month of April, a writer and fellow Criterion aficionado from another site will be giving their own take one one of the collection’s beloved titles. This week, David Blakeslee, writer for CriterionCast and Criterion Reflections, takes on Jean Painleve’s Science is Fiction set. Tune in every week this month for an analysis of a different title from a new author. With the attendant buzz and ephemeral fanfare that accompanies a new Criterion release now faded after nearly two years and 100 additional spine numbers, I think it’s safe to say that Science is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé is one of the most easily overlooked DVD sets in the Criterion Collection. Lacking anything in the way of sexy celebrity star power, built around the career of a director unfamiliar to most contemporary movie fans, and mainly because it’s relegated to the seemingly dry and stale category of “nature documentaries,” Science is Fiction probably doesn’t leap off the shelf into the hands of even the bravest blind-buyers. Who can blame them for simply concluding that Disney, National Geographic and the BBC’s Planet Earth and Life series, in all their Hi-Def 1080p glory,  have surpassed these primitive, mostly black & white curiosities? And yet, I think I can make the case that this impressive three-disc set is one of the most entertaining, versatile and rewatchable titles that Criterion has issued. […]

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As we all know, the world is going to end in 2036 after mankind’s preventative measures against global warming attract a meteor the size of Nigeria and pull it right down on top of New Italy. Yet, even though we’re armed with this powerful knowledge, we still lose our minds a little bit when we see signs of natural disaster right out of our religious texts. So why are we so concerned with the end of all things? NASA thinks movies are the culprit, an assertion that’s entirely correct.

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Angels & Demons moving along nicely after writers strike. Hanks and Howard return with more adventures of Dr. Robert Langdon: Harvard symbologist by day, terrorism fighter by night.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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