Movie Review: “True Story”

Starring
Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones, Ethan Suplee, Robert John Burke
Director
Rupert Goold

Jonah Hill and James Franco have shown off their dramatic chops in a variety of projects over the past five years, earning Oscar nominations along the way (Hill for “Moneyball” and Franco for “127 Hours”), but for some reason, it’s still difficult to imagine the pair starring together in a movie that isn’t a comedy. Perhaps it’s their association to Seth Rogen’s all-star group of friends, yet no matter how weird it might be to see them sharing the screen in a starkly serious drama like “True Story,” they do a commendable job with the material. The film is pretty standard fare that, considering the crazy-but-true nature of the story, deserved something a little more memorable than this, but it’s to no fault of the actors involved.

In late 2001, journalist Mike Finkel (Hill) was fired from his job at the New York Times when it was revealed that he fudged some of the facts in his latest feature about child slavery in West Africa. Around that same time, Oregon resident Chris Longo (Franco) was arrested for the murder of his wife and three kids after briefly hiding out in Mexico where he had been posing as Finkel. The reason? He was a fan of his work. When Mike learns about these strange events, he contacts Chris requesting to speak with him, who agrees to tell Mike his side of the story in exchange for writing lessons and the promise that nothing will be published until after the trial. For Mike, it’s a chance to redeem his career, but as he spends more time with Chris and becomes convinced that he may actually be innocent, he’s unwittingly pulled into Chris’ game.

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Movie Review: “Ex Machina”

Starring
Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno
Director
Alex Garland

Screenwriter Alex Garland has worked almost exclusively in the science fiction genre (from “Sunshine,” to “Never Let Me Go,” to “Dredd”), so it comes as no surprise that his directorial debut occupies a similar space, this time focusing on the decades-old debate of artificial intelligence. Making a movie about A.I. isn’t exactly a novel premise, but Garland has a really good track record when it comes to putting a fresh spin on familiar material (see: “28 Days Later”), and he doesn’t disappoint with “Ex Machina.” A smart and chilling piece of sci-fi that packs a punch, the movie is so self-assuredly efficient in the way that it utilizes its various parts that it doesn’t feel like the work of a first-time filmmaker at all.

Domhnall Gleeson stars as Caleb, a young programmer at Internet search engine Blue Book who’s just won an office-wide lottery to spend a week with the company’s reclusive but brilliant CEO, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), at his remote home/research facility in Alaska. Although Caleb is excited just to have the opportunity to meet and hang out with the tech genius, Nathan has other plans: namely, to enlist Caleb’s assistance in conducting a Turing test on his newest creation, an incredibly lifelike robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander), in order to determine whether the artificial intelligence can pass as human. But when Caleb begins to develop feelings for Ava during the course of their conversations, he begins to question whether her sexuality has been programmed by Nathan or if her mutual attraction is real. As he digs deeper into Nathan’s research, Caleb discovers that there’s more to his work than he’s letting on.

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Dine From Your Mobile – How technology has changed the way we eat

Observant restaurant owners have noticed that more and more customers use their mobile devices before and during meals. Many use their smartphones to view menus before getting seated. It has also become popular for diners to take photos with their smartphones so they can share their experiences with others.

This trend could have a big effect on the restaurant industry. The National Restaurant Association notes that 40 percent of family-dining restaurants plan to spend more money on social media efforts in 2015. Approximately 50 percent of casual and fine-dining restaurants plan to follow that trend.
Restaurateurs know that mobile devices and social media play an increasingly important role in success. Devoting money to social media presence makes sense for restaurants that want to attract more tech-savvy customers.

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Understanding Casino Games

roulette table and players

Maybe I’m old school, but I still love visiting a casino with friends now and then, or even hosting a poker night in my apartment. There’s just something refreshing about good drinks, good friends, and good games. But too many times I’ve had buddies join in who had no idea what to do when they actually approached a popular game like poker, blackjack, or even roulette. It’s as if they think, “Oh, I’ve seen Rounders and Ocean’s 11, it’ll just kick in when I take my seat.”

Not exactly!

It doesn’t bother me that a lot of people don’t know how the most basic casino games work. At this point, most of us are playing these games online and in apps anyway, and everything is streamlined and simplified to be idiot-proof. But if you’re like me and have an appreciation for the actual games and the thrill of gambling, read on for a basic explanation of some of the most popular games.

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Another World: Dubai Etiquette and Culture Tips for Tourists

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Dubai is a fascinating destination and a great place to enjoy a vacation. If you are looking for somewhere exotic and completely different, you will find it here. However, one thing that you have to be careful of is that the customs and culture here are very different from back home.

There are a few things that you should avoid doing while you are in Dubai if you want to get the most from your stay, and a few etiquette tips that you may want to follow. Here is what you need to know when you arrive to enjoy your stay and avoid experiencing any problems.

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