Star Trek Beyond goes beyond anything imagined by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in the 1960s, and that's not entirely a good thing. The characters' names are the same, and their starship is still the Enterprise, but the spirit of the classic TV series and feature films is gone. In its place is relentless violence, incomprehensible action, overcooked computer graphics, and silly videogame physics. Star Trek Beyond strives for relevance by offering a bioweapon plot to destroy the United Federation of Planets and its hug-me philosophy, but it's just drapery for the frequent fights. This "reboot" story arc needs a reboot.
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Finding Dory is a cute sequel to Pixar Studio's Finding Nemo (2003) and has even better computer animation. It won't matter if you haven't seen or can't remember the previous film, because the plot is pretty simple: a memory-impaired fish named Dory (perfectly voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) tries to find her long-lost parents. She gets help from two clownfish (voiced by Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence), a shape-shifting octopus (Ed O'Neill), and various other sea creatures. It's fun but repetitive and overlong for a kid's movie. Viewers young and old alike may get restless as each scene basically repeats the same theme.
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.
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.
>> See more mini-reviews, including Hello, My Name is Doris ... Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ... Anomalisa ... The Revenant ... The Big Short ... Star Wars: The Force Awakens ... Brooklyn ... Spotlight ... Steve Jobs ... The Martian ... 99 Homes ... Grandma ... Rikki and the Flash ... Inside Out ... Amy ... Jurassic World ... Love & Mercy ... San Andreas ... Tomorrowland ... Ex Machina ... Danny Collins ... Cinderella ... Chappie ... and many more!
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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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- Fujifilm X20 Camera Review. An illustrated field test of a high-quality compact camera, the Fujifilm X20.
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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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