In practice, content recommendation is difficult to get right (as you’ve probably noticed while scrolling through countless “recommended for you” duds on streaming video providers). There are so many subtleties baked into a good movie or TV show that extend beyond blunt user behavior profiles. Maybe this is why it took an empathically minded French film fan, rather than an engineer, to solve the problem of good recommendation and bring it into the realm of 2.0.
About a dozen years ago, smack-dab in the middle of the Bush II administration’s misadventure in Iraq, a friend despairingly said to me, “I feel like everything I’m being told is a lie.” I shared her despair, which has, of course, returned—on steroids—during this year’s fraught, overwrought presidential campaign. I’m agitated hourly (no, make that every waking minute) by the thought that a shameless liar of Donald Trump’s magnitude might conceivably be elected to the world’s most powerful post, but, frankly, I’m also irritated by Hillary Clinton’s unbecoming lapses from the truth and her incurable (it appears) penchant for secrecy.
Arguably the greatest movie musical ever made, Singin’ in the Rain is celebrated as much for its songs and dances as its behind-the-scenes lore: Gene Kelly’s 101-degree fever while filming the title number; Donald O’Connor taking to his bed with exhaustion after filming “Make ’Em Laugh”—only to have to reshoot it days later due to a camera malfunction; Debbie Reynolds rehearsing until her feet bled. But of all the “making of” stories, the most impressive is that Reynolds, only 19 at the time, learned to dance in just three months to play leading lady Kathy Selden.
Thursday, September 22
As we wait for next Monday’s big brawl,
Let us sip pumpkin-spice alcohol,
Say goodbye to the summer
(What a climate-change bummer),
And look fearfully forward to fall.
Pas Très Jolie
It is done. Angelina and Brad
Are not one “Brangelina.” It’s sad.
Now they’re two. Now they’ve split:
Ms. Jolie. Mr. Pitt.
No more Pitt-Jolie hyphen. Too bad.
Edward Snowden was the agent behind the 2013 revelations of the National Security Administration’s vast international and domestic spying operation. But Snowden claimed he didn’t want to be the focus of the story. In Laura Poitras’s extraordinary 2014 documentary, Citizenfour, Snowden twice demurs: “I’m not the story here,” he insists, and then, later, “I don’t want to get myself into the issue . . . where it takes away from the stories that are getting out.”
New York–based software company Kaltura recently made headlines when it received a $50 million investment from Goldman Sachs. But it wasn’t Kaltura’s first large backing from an outside investor. Since its founding in 2006, the company has had a total of three big funding rounds totaling $110 million. Why are so many betting big on what appears to be just another video delivery company?
One of the most respected awards in fiction, the U.K.-based Man Booker Prize has been crowning a literary champion every year since 1969. This year’s “Booker dozen,” as it’s known—a list of 13 titles selected by a panel of judges—has now been winnowed down to six outstanding books. With no mainstream names on the short list, and with many eras and genres represented, it’s difficult to pick a favorite to win.