Confessions of a researchaholic

February 14, 2017

Ghost in the Shell

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 5:20 pm
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There is a peculiar kind of pleasure for senior people to reminisce their junior experiences, as I discovered after getting older.

The first trailer closely matches the original anime, which is also available on Netflix.

Like many contemporary Japanese anime, the story can be confusing for people not familiar with the genre. But it seems quite clear from the second trailer, and different from the original story.

Race can be a sensitive issue for Hollywood, but watch how the Japanese react to the casting of this movie. This should be no surprise for people who understand the Japanese culture in general.

April 5, 2015

Furious 7

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:40 am
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They actually parachuted the cars for real instead of CG ๐Ÿ™‚

March 7, 2014

Double-edged sword

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:32 pm
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I found Bobby Fischer against the World a fascinating documentary about a particular kind of talent (chess) of a unique individual (Bobby Fischer, widely considered as the greatest chess player of all time who later self-destructed into an outcast) at a particular era (cold war, with chess being one of the competitions to showcase US/Soviet supremacy).

One interesting point pursued in the movie is about the specific type of brain that enables superior chess play may also cause certain psychological issues.
One can make a more general point in that unusual brains, as double-edged swords, can produce special talents as well as abnormal behaviors, as have been seen in geniuses across different disciplines such as musicians, artists, scientists, and mathematicians.

December 22, 2013

Two recent movies

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 11:51 pm
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Every computer scientist’s wet dream:

Every computer scientist’s nightmare:

July 28, 2013

The matrix concert

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 1:54 pm
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I went to the Matrix in Concert with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Don Davis, who is also the composer for the Matrix trilogy.

Basically, what they did is to play the first matrix movie with music accompanied by the orchestra.
I enjoyed the show for a variety of reasons: I am a fan of the original movies, the visual setup (black dressing + green lighting) is fitting, and the music integrates seamlessly with the movie.

The most interesting aspect is that the music adds (yet) another layer of performance + reality, over the original movie, which is already layered. The music starts with the opening scenes and ends after the end credits. So the entire show starts before the movie starts and ends after the movie ends. In a movie theater, most audience would walk out during the end credits, but we should sit through this one. (It was very funny to see a few folks who left during the end credits.)

What has not changed is that I want to be agent Smith if I can choose to become one of the characters.
๐Ÿ™‚

February 14, 2013

Liberal art

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 6:40 pm
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This is a random collection of thoughts after watching this movie, liberal arts, on a recent flight.

I like the movie; it is funny, informational, and the characters are cute (especially the one played by Elizabeth Olsen).

I finally got what it meant by liberal art college: basically, the kind of schools that trains one to be a generalist rather than for a specific profession. Quote from the movie: “I majored in English and minored in history just to make sure I am fully unemployable”.

I think computer science is some kind of liberal art: writing good codes is a lot like writing good proses, designing good algorithms is a lot like designing good plots, and making good UIs is a lot like making good plays!

From now on I am going to proclaim I do liberal art, in a more employable fashion.
๐Ÿ™‚

August 1, 2012

Perfectionist

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:57 am
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I highly recommend this documentary, about a world renowned sushi chef achieving perfectionism. I agree with a lot of what he said, many of which are applicable for any profession.

July 21, 2010

Inception

Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 10:40 am
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**** spoiler alert ****
**** spoiler alert ****
**** spoiler alert ****

My one word movie review: tensor.

Explanation: Inception is a layered version of The Matrix.

Overall, Dark City, The Matrix, and Inception are my 3 most favorite movies in this category.

December 15, 2009

Toon shading

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 6:52 pm
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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZkag7M_i5A&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

Appleseed: Ex Machina is the best toon shaded animation I have ever seen. It really beats 2D cel animation.
I am too busy right now to write down more details, but just checkout this movie if you like anime or computer graphics.

Also, don’t miss the bonus features. I find it particularly interesting that the American crew talked about the “amazing collaboration” between Chinese (John Woo, producer) and Japanese (Shinji Aramaki, director) as though these two countries ought to start the third world war instead of collaborating on animation projects.

October 29, 2009

Mongol

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:27 pm
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I watched this movie a few nights ago. It is about Genghis Khanโ€™s early life, between his childhood and his unification of the Mongolian tribes. I guess people might expect or want to see his more (in)famous later life for conquering the entire world, but that belongs to a (rumored) sequel. I actually prefer to watch his early life as that part is less well known.

The movie is unique in several aspects. The dialogues are primarily in Mongolian with occasional Mandarin. Mongolian sounds interesting, kind of halfway between Mandarin and Korean, even though the Mongolian spoken by most actors in the movie are not very authentic. (I have probably heard more authentic ones from real Mongols in Beijing airport.) The scenery is gorgeous, and in fact so difficult to film that the director has been thinking about cutting short or even canceling the sequels. The plot is a bit loose and incoherent, but the style nicely (and maybe coincidentally) reflects the mythological nature of Genghis Khanโ€™s early life and the nomadic Mongolian life style around that time.

The Mongols also possess certain historical fascination to me. The Chinese history books, authored primarily by the Han Chinese, naturally debased the Mongols (and any other ethnic minorities) as barbarians and describe their histories mainly as window dressings of the greatness of the Middle Kingdom. As far as I could recall I have never read a sufficiently accurate and non-biased recount of the Mongolian history. (The history text books authored by the Nationalist government in Taiwan around my time did not even recognize Mongol as an independent country.) This is sad, as the Mongols have made major impacts to world history and geography during their great conquering around the thirteenth century, however short living their empire was. As analyzed by certain historians (e.g. see False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World, by Alan Beattie), the Mongols could be responsible for the formation of dictatorship/authoritarian countries like Russia, Iran, and China, which were actually more liberal than the Europeans prior to the Mongolian invasion.

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