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This is Ian Ozsvald's blog (@IanOzsvald), I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

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18 October 2005 - 0:28Entrepreneuring and Serenity

Wow, now it’s been a full month since I last posted. Time flies when you’re busy. I’m glad to say that I’ve finished the Government (DTI) entrepreneurship grant that I’ve been working on since April – and not only did the DTI like the report, they’ve also paid promptly. I’ll say more on that later, for now I’m glad to have my evenings and weekends back. Entrepreneuring outside of a full-time job sure sucks away the months.

I took the chance to go see Serenity last week. I’m glad I went – the film was very fine. So fine in fact that I’ll go again and I’ll happily pay Hollywood a second time. I can’t think when was the last time I voluntarily gave Hollywood my money a second time. Serenity is cool.

It has already made the IMDB Top 250 Movies of All Time (at position 139 as I write this, beaten by Indy Jones and the Last Crusade). I’m still blown away when I look at the breakdown of age/sex ranges for votes on the film – the demographic “Females aged 18-29” beats everyone else with a solid score of 9/10. Women loving sci-fi this much? I’m just a boy, I don’t understand.

I’ll finish on a quote from the Captain:

Y’all got on this boat for different reasons, but y’all comin’ to the same place. So now I’m asking more of you than I have before. Maybe everything. Sure as I know anything, I know this: In a year or maybe ten, perhaps even on this very ground, they’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people better; and I don’t hold to that. I aim to misbehave.

No Comments | Tags: Films

29 August 2005 - 23:59Review: The Island

The Island

Hmmm, John had warned me that it was going to be a long film. Clones grown for body parts, a Ewan McGregor (Lincoln Six Echo) with a really bad American accent and a film that was about twice as long as necessary.

After about an hour when our good-boy clone Lincoln Six Echo has escaped into the real world and has a new identity, they could have finished the film with a nicely ambiguous and slightly dark finish (a la Gataca). But ohhhh no, we have to have a Hollywood happy ending which takes another (long) hour.

Why couldn’t the crack-team of ex-Navy Seal assassins shoot straight? Why did Lincoln Six Echo grow new memories of the real world when he was always kept in a confined environment with no outside contact? Why did we have the way-too-obvious product placement? We’ll never know.

Wikipedia has a good entry including notes on controversy (noting the way too prominent product placements) and symbolism. They also link to the fictitious Merrick Biotech website which has been ‘hacked’ by anti-cloning activists (this is all fiction, of course) – including videos. This is a nice bit of marketing I think.

It gets 6.8 over at IMDB and I’ll give it a Thumbs Sideways. I await the day we get a good Sci-Fi flick where the trailers don’t give the entire plot away in 30 seconds and the marketing droids don’t get to sell every scene to the advertisers. Maybe I’ll go watch Kubrick’s 2001 again (but heck, didn’t Bell get some product placement in there as well?).

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18 July 2005 - 18:27How It Should Have Ended

Most excellent – go see the Star Wars Episode IV (that’s the original 1970s one) ‘alternative ending’. There’s also an alternative ending for The Matrix Revolutions (not bad, good critique) and Saving Private Ryan (a bit silly really). 5-15mb each, several minutes long.

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2 July 2005 - 23:50Review: War of the Worlds

Oh heck, I’m not going to say much about this – Spielberg does it again. Aliens turned up a million years ago and buried giant killing robots underground. We missed them and built cities over them. They sit in space and watch us for years then zap pilots down into the robots so they can mince humans and make us into fertilizer.

SPOILER ALERT: If the aliens have been watching us for ages, why didn’t they watch the 1953 original and remember to wear encounter suits, lest they succumb to the same ‘flu as the others? Silly aliens.

Still, it’s a much better film than A.I. and the flaming train was a moment of genius. But the ending? Oh, so Minority Report. Thumbs neutral, I guess.

[EditJohn points out that the technical term for a thumbs-neutral is ‘meh‘]

3 Comments | Tags: Films

27 June 2005 - 19:45Open-Source principles applied to films?

Joss Whedon, producer of the foolishly cancelled Firefly series (which was absolutely amazing, and so stupidly cut short by Fox) is taking a novel route to the release of Serenity, the film that (hopefully) ties up the loose ends of the series.

Rather than keep the movie under tight wraps before the September 30th release, instead he’s presenting a set of mini-previews around the States. What’s novel is that anyone can see these early production runs – so early that some scenes just contain placeholder special effects and temporary music, and the fans can give feedback and help make the final release a success.

This feels like an application of the open source movement’s mantra: release often, release early which helps refine great software like the Firefox browser in the face of MS’s bloated Internet Explorer. The early reviews of Serenity are good, hopefully this’ll beat the usual pap that comes out of Hollywood.

Very cool, I for one can’t wait to see Serenity.

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8 June 2005 - 13:15Sin City

Great opening scene (Sin City). Then confusion. There was I expecting a linear narrative, only to find several comic-book stories in one film. Sucker me, didn’t see that one coming – I kept trying to piece the bits together.

There’s Brucie Boy as Hartigan nearly acting again, then shot oh-so-nearly dead. Next up we have steely-jawed Marv and then the film ended. But it didn’t. Now another story. Then the opener, again, and kinda leaning back to the second story, with an ending that mirrors the opener. Sorta. Oh heck.

Two pints of Theakston Old Peculiar helped right my mind after. Classic film noir, with orange and red, along with white blood. A mix of old T-Birds and Porsches and a modern Ferrari, some mobile phones, guns and kick-ass narrative. Thumbs up. I think. At least the good guys weren’t all sporting iPods this time.

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6 June 2005 - 13:48Blade Trinity

It always looks bad when they start the movie by explaining what’s happening right to the camera. Oh oh. But then…joy! We have the inspired addition of Van Wilder: Party Liason‘s Ryan Reynolds as an ex-vampire playboy gay vampire-killer, with his collection of one-liners and silly faces. But the vampire Pomeranian dog?

The music was cool and the fight scenes not half-bad, but not a touch on the original Blade‘s blood-from-the-ceiling nightclub meat fest. Oh yeah – the good guys have new shiny Macs and iPods, the bad guys have old clunky PCs. Does that make me a bad guy too?

Thumbs up for a good ol’ lazy morning film – won’t engage your brain but won’t make your brain try to escape your head either.

1 Comment | Tags: Films

18 May 2005 - 20:49Kingdom of Heaven is rubbish

I went, I saw and I wasn’t that impressed. And this silly person even says

Orlando Bloom, actually surprisingly, was able to carry the movie as a lead. I was surprised he had the heft to do it, but I agree with the critic who said that the beard helped. He was a man, not a boy.

No, he’s an elf. And a very thing young one at that. Pity, because I was in Morocco whilst they were filming around the battlements of Essaouira and I’d rather expected more, ho hum.

No Comments | Tags: Films