Anomalisa is an unusual independent film that uses puppet stop-motion animation to tell a rather bleak story of a man with a bleak life. The main character is a semifamous author of a business book on customer relations. During a trip to deliver an inspirational talk to customer-service reps, he has a potentially life-changing experience. Although he suffers from a disorienting brain disorder that makes every person's face and voice seem identical, he meets a young woman whose actual face and voice are distinct. To him, she's an anomaly, and her name is Lisa (thus "Anomalisa"). This interesting film was funded as a Kickstarter project and is thoroughly professional, but it's vaguely unsettling. Be forewarned that it's not an animated movie for kids. The language and sex scenes are definitely for adults.
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The Revenant is a harrowing drama about an 1823 American frontiersman who struggles for survival after being left for dead by his buddies. Based loosely on a true story, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio in possibly his best performance to dateand certainly his most strenuous. Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, 2014) inflicted extreme conditions on his cast and crew in Alberta and Argentina to make this outstanding film. Better than almost any other, it captures the savagery of frontier life without sacrificing the humanity. At times, though, it tests our credulity. (Where is the frostbite and hypothermia?) But by the end, The Revenant earns its place in the modern re-examination of American frontier history that was shamelessly whitewashed by most Hollywood productions.
The Big Short recounts the Crash of 2008 from the viewpoint of maverick investors who bet big bucks against the fast-rising housing market. While almost all the experts ignored the growing bubble, these money managers bought credit-default swaps (in effect, insurance policies) that would pay off when the bubble burst. But this movie isn't a dry documentary. It's a fictionalized story based on true events from Michael Lewis's best-selling book of the same name. It actually makes complex financial maneuvers understandable and entertaining, and it even warns when the story deviates from reality. The stellar cast includes Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, and Melissa Leo, all of whom are Oscar winners or nominees. This film would make a great double feature with 99 Homes (2015), which recounts the crash from the viewpoint of a typical Florida homeowner.
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Here is an index to more than 180 of Tom's computer articles from BYTE Magazine published from 1992 to 1998. (BYTE ceased publication in June 1998.) Most articles are still available online and include the original photographs, figures, and screen shots.
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- The Death of BYTE Magazine. In 1998, after 23 years of operation, BYTE Magazine was shut down by its new owner, CMP Media. A year later, CMP launched BYTE.com as a very different web-only publication. To learn the inside story about what happened to the world's second personal computer magazine, see Tom's Unofficial BYTE FAQ: The Death of BYTE Magazine.
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