The Jungle Book seamlessly blends live action with computer graphics to bring unprecedented life to Rudyard Kipling's story of a young boy raised by wolves in the jungles of India. Child actor Neel Sethi brilliantly plays Mowgli, the orphaned "man-cub" who can talk to animals and who wants to continue living among them. When menaced by the ruthless tiger Shere Khan, however, he reluctantly begins a journey to live with his own kind. Various animal characters are amusingly voiced by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, and the late Garry Shandling. To keep within a reasonable running time for restless children (108 minutes), the movie wisely condenses the novel. But it also contains several violent scenes that may frighten young childrenmuch more so than Disney's 1967 animated version.
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Eye in the Sky stars Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman as British military officers waging antiterrorist warfareby remote control. Using real-time satellite links, they coordinate with drone pilots at a U.S. Air Force base in Las Vegas, intelligence officers at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., a national security adviser at the White House, a British cabinet minister visiting Singapore, and Kenyan Army special forces in Nairobi. Their joint mission to capture some high-value terrorists suddenly changes when they discover a suicide-bomber plot. Now they face a decision: Should the drone fire missiles at the terrorists despite the high probability of civilian collateral damage? This tense, well-made drama explores every aspect of this dilemma except oneit's nothing new. All weapons cause collateral damage, and all military commanders waging war from remote locations make decisions that will kill innocent people (including soldiers). Some historical context would have made this good film even better.
Hello, My Name is Doris stars Sally Field as an aging spinster who becomes infatuated with a much younger co-worker. It's a drama, it's a comedy, and it's good. Leading roles for 70-year-old women don't come along very often in Hollywood, so Field seizes the day. She nails her character's combination of bleak loneliness and residual youthfulness. Max Greenfield plays her object of affection in a cool straightforward fashion, creating room for Field's more lavish performance. Tyne Daly contributes atmosphere as Doris's close friend. Although the story is fairly predictable, screenwriters Laura Terruso and Michael Showalter resist the temptation to be crude or unkind.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is loosely based on Kim Barker, a newspaper reporter who spent years covering the U.S. war in Afghanistan. In this entertaining Hollywood version, Barker is a frustrated TV newswriter who volunteers to become a war correspondent, despite her inexperience. Tina Fey skillfully blends gravity and levity in this role. The focus is on ex-pat life in a war zone, not the war's politics, strategy, or tactics. Between occasional forays into the field, the foreign journalists live in a fortified Kabul "guest house" and engage in drunken parties, casual sex, and tricky relationships with the locals. Change the scenery and it could be the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon in the 1960s or almost any war-correspondent enclave since World War II. Billy Bob Thornton is great as a U.S. Marines general but can't quite match Robert Duvall's U.S. Cavalry general in Apocalypse Now (1979).
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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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