The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) Possibly the most famous old-school sci-fi flick ever! – Movie Review

Movie posters used to be kind of a big deal.

Maybe you remember the line “Klaatu berada nikto”

Yes, that is the actual spelling. pronunciation will vary depending on accent and user! From Wikipedia, the original script supposedly.

From such movies as Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness, well this is where that famous phrase is from! This phrase was cooked up by Edmund North for the screenplay, as was all the alien language. The actual meaning is unknown, but has been theorized to mean many different things. The most heart-warming interpretation, is “There’s hope for Earth if the scientists can be reached.” The most literal is “I die, repair me, do not retaliate.” Both quotes taken from

The effects hold up pretty well on a modern era viewing and the acting is great! Michael Rennie is great, as the benevolent but stern alien visitor and the kid, Billy Gray, nails his gosh shucks demeanor with a Gee Whiz even I believe. One bit in the middle sounds like it was taken from Mr. Wizard! Can we go meet the scientist? Well, sure! Golly, that’d be swell Mr. (not actual dialog) The damsel, Patricia Neal, is equally swell, showing her concern for her son and yet her undeniable interest in this handsome stranger. Not to ruin it, but you almost want a little 80s movie cliche in the end with her character. A must-see film. The message of the movie is still extremely relevant and powerful. Mankind must give up its warlike ways, or face total annihilation, for the safety of the solar system and beyond. Specifically, nuclear annihilation. Science-driven, the movie sidesteps the political system in favor of a global scientific appeal to peaceful activities. 9 of ten: all scales. An arguably great movie.

The Wonderful Art of Bill Sienkiewicz – A Master of Illustration and Fine Art

Superman burning America?
Here’s one you might recognize! Brock Samson from the Venture Bros. cartoon. Bill did the art for the first DVD I believe!
Frankenstein’s monster obviously. Done in a classic style, yet the broader brush strokes are unmistakably Bill!
This is from Elektra, the comic book, a previously underrated character mostly known as Daredevil’s sometime girlfriend. This is some of the art that made me a fan of Bill’s.
Another from roughly the same period showcasing his versatility.
Another killer Elektra picture. Probably an alternate cover. How did he even do those raindrops? Impressive. Nice one Bill.
Everyone’s favorite plucky Gaul, it’s Asterix! Done in an inimitable Bill style, while retaining the identifying elements like a boss! Look at the sense of movement and the wild but controlled brush or pen strokes!
This looks like it’s from the New Mutants comic, a spin-off of X-Men. It shows off Bill’s bad-ass lettering style. I loved his comics for their super punk, almost going out of the box, wild style.
I remember reading this one when I was a kid, I couldn’t tell you what is was about, Joker is a psycho etc. but I remember this cover!   –  the official site and with artwork for sale!

See the above links for even more art and more about Bill! Thank you for the awesome, inspiring art Bill!

I’m an asshole! Bill is not just an amazing artist, he also wrote some of the coolest comics. Thanks Wikipedia for  externalizing my memory. I knew that!

Quatermass and the Pit (1967) Beyond Classic Sci-fi Flick – Movie Review

So cool, it gets two pictures! Does that second one look familiar at all? Kind of like the skull in the opening sequence of… I don’t know… Venture Brothers!? I don’t know the connection but this film is made by Hammer Films and the Venture Brothers have some connection, perhaps only stylistically? Anyway, this movie is classic! OK, quick research break! They are connected at least stylistically, in that they both involve “Science Heroes”! And one of the co-creators and stars of Venture Bros. is named Doc Hammer, so… there’s that! Plus… the music is thematically based on this period in terms of orchestration?

While digging some portion of the London Underground, archaeological remains are found and scientists are brought in. Quickly they discover not only ancient human remains but some strange pod of unknown material! It goes on from here and demonic Martians show up, but it is a tight tense science-driven masterpiece of the genre.

9 out of 10 on the sci-fi scale. 6 out of ten for normal people, still interesting but more as a time capsule both of movie making and the genre for this audience. Make it part of your Saturday Sci-Fi Double Feature!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) No Milla Jovavich? – Movie Review

So, I believe that this is Seth Graeme-Smith’s first big novel, which is weird, because Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, adapted from his second book came out as a movie first. Whatever, anyway. This movie is fun historical fiction. The style is, kind of like whatshisname’s who did Resident Evil and the 3 Musketeers remake, but definitely better done. Hot chicks killing things reminds me of his movies, hence the no Milla comment, but honestly this is a real movie. The mechanism of this movie is inlaid in the title. It is literally Pride and Prejudice with zombies added. The dialogue is delightful and the girls are properly plucky! The one male lead is kind of funny looking, but properly wooden. The whole thing fits together quite cleverly, weaving the original dialogue into a more action-packed version than the original novel! (Which I haven’t read. ) Not a bad Saturday night movie, and a successful movie in that both guys and girls can be persuaded to see it. I give it 6.5 of 10 for watchability and entertainment value. It has to lose a few points, just for the necessary but cheesy bits. The action is mostly OK. A few too digital moments, I’m talking to you exploding bridge, but overall a fun movie!

London has Fallen (2016) Another Apocalyptic Die Hard Clone- Movie Review

I didn’t realize the first movie Olympus had Fallen or White House Down or whatever, had any demand for a sequel, but the soulless suits in Medialand have evidently decided there was. So, color me surprised, but moving on. Bad guys have incomprehensibly managed to catch all the good guys with their pants down, and they totally take out London, and only Gerard Butler? can save the people who are left, from the first terrorist attack. Oh yeah, be afraid of random terrorists. (SPOILERS, because fuck this movie!) So, some brown skinned guy hates America, London etc, because his whole family was killed in a drone attack, because he is a bad guy, but any sympathy you have is nullified by his actions, Gerard Butler kills people like a sociopath, or the worst cop ever. So at the end, you are all Yay? Everyone bad dies, and the reason for everything, is just glossed over, and Morgan Freeman sits in a room and prank calls people with missiles. Frankly, an odd movie. The kind of movie that should really have a lot of  explosion or  destruction porn, because story? Character development? NO.

Damn, this movie could have been in any language and you would get what is going on. So, I guess it’s a good American product for export? I don’t know, the shots of London getting fucked up are for people who hate England? Weird movie.

3 of 10. There were like 2 cool explosions or something. Watch only if you are bored ,or whatever. I might have fallen asleep or my brain might have turned off during it.

Kill Command (2016) Movie Review – Yes, This Movie has Robots

the kind of animatrix-y face that only a robot mother could love. from Kill Command

Kill Command is a B-movie… but is it a good B-movie? Yeah! It’s OK. It doesn’t try super hard, and that is a good thing. Robot design is decent, although like most CGI, they don’t seem to weigh enough, or on the same note, they move too fast. Oh, right. Um, some military dudes and this chick from the company that makes all of their guns and equipment, get sent on a training mission and things go awry from there. The scenery is nice, cinematography is solid, yeah, I would give this a Saturday Double Feature showing. Some nods to better sci-fi, but mostly kind of a military flick, with robots standing in for random bad guys.

3 of 5 on the B-movie scale. 4 of 10 on the normal people scale.  scores low due to lack of interest in robots by general populace.

Did you know some numbers are illegal?!

Illegal prime

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An illegal prime is a prime number that represents information whose possession or distribution is forbidden in some legal jurisdiction. One of the first illegal primes was found in 2001. When interpreted in a particular way, it describes a computer program that bypasses the digital rights management scheme used on DVDs. Distribution of such a program in the United States is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[1] An illegal prime is a kind of illegal number.

“This is a good short lesson in public key cryptography. We also learn why a particular prime number that starts with 85650789657397829 and has 1402 more digits is an illegal number. If you have a DVD player, you are in possession of the number.”

This would seem like a case of math defeating copyright law but….

Sources: Illegal prime – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks

There’s something magical about Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). I still remember when I trained my first recurrent network for Image Captioning. Within a few dozen minutes of training my first baby model (with rather arbitrarily-chosen hyperparameters) started to generate very nice looking descriptions of images that were on the edge of making sense. Sometimes the ratio of how simple your model is to the quality of the results you get out of it blows past your expectations, and this was one of those times. What made this result so shocking at the time was that the common wisdom was that RNNs were supposed to be difficult to train (with more experience I’ve in fact reached the opposite conclusion). Fast forward about a year: I’m training RNNs all the time and I’ve witnessed their power and robustness many times, and yet their magical outputs still find ways of amusing me. This post is about sharing some of that magic with you.

Musings of a Computer Scientist.

Source: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks

A lot of information, but a side-product is a new work by Shakespeare!

Why, Salisbury must find his flesh and thought
That which I am not aps, not a man and in fire,
To show the reining of the raven and the wars
To grace my hand reproach within, and not a fair are hand,
That Caesar and my goodly father's world;
When I was heaven of presence and our fleets,
We spare with hours, but cut thy council I am great,
Murdered and by thy master's ready there
My power to give thee but so much as hell:
Some service in the noble bondman here,
Would show him to her wine.

O, if you were a feeble sight, the courtesy of your law,
Your sight and several breath, will wear the gods
With his heads, and my hands are wonder'd at the deeds,
So drop upon your lordship's head, and your opinion
Shall be against your honour.

Hehe. Check it out!