They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

Can You Tell If It's A Machine Or Turing?

We often do movies ON Thanksgiving. Usually not on Christmas Day. It didn't matter this year, we ended up on a little road trip. So, given the gorgeous blue sky afternoon forecast for Boxing Day, We decided to do our Christmas breakfast today and our Christmas dinner tomorrow. Because we really wanted to get to this movie.

We had a very leisurely morning, after getting to bed around 4am. From 9 to 11, we had WGVU-FM burbling on in the background -- they were rebroadcasting the annual Paul Winter Consort Winter Solstice Celebration from St. John the Devine in New York. Nice way to laze around. (grin)

Now at 8am there were a scattered bed of puffy pink tinged clouds against a pale blue sky. When we were coming home, there were pink and orange clouds chasing the setting sun. In between another lovely day near 50°F.

The movie theatre parking was packed. We had to go to our second alternative lot to find a handicapped spot. Even better, after getting our seats, they announced our show was sold out. Real mixed audience, with lots of people older than us.

The Imitation Game [PG-13]
Celebration North Theatre #3 3:00pm 2x$8.50

Some movies, like Titanic, you know what is going to happen. I know a bit about Alan Turing and the Enigma machines -- and what happened to Turing. So from my point of view it was nice that they didn't pull the punches, but they didn't dwell on some things either. The audience had some strong reactions to several things that Are Not Fair And We Don't Do It That Way Anymore. But... my hands are tied here. Yes, we won the war, but I don't want to talk specifics here.

The movie is based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges and stars the he-is-everywhere Benedict Cumberbatch. Also Keira Knightley, in another excellent period role, at a time when despite the Marie Curies of the world, women in science and math were easily ignored. WGN America's Manhattan addresses similar issues. We bounce between WW II, post-war and at school pre-war. Indeed, they filmed it at Bletchley Park and his school, Sherborne.

Enigma, of course, was the German code machine with a horrendous number of possible configurations, such that the Nazis considered it unbreakable. Having a stolen machine in British possession wasn't good enough. Without the settings, it was useless. Turing's genius was to come up with a machine that could sort through the possibilities.

I knew the machine was called the bombe, because of its ticking sound, but they didn't mention that in the movie. They didn't go too far in the codebreaking or the machine's function very far -- the story had much bigger fish to fry.

Some of the secondary characters are excellent -- the guy from MI6, played by a guy who always reminds me of Stanley Tucci, is particularly delicious. The film has some aspects in parallel with A Beautiful Mind and The Theory of Everything. But of these three geniuses, it is ironic that poor crippled Stephen Hawking ends up getting the best deal?

Wikipedia mentioned that Turing's recruiting crossword was reprinted by the New York Times on 27 November 2014 -- solve it in under ten minutes and perhaps you could have worked at Bletchley Park...


Trailers: Terminator Genesis we saw the other day -- great stuff. Then next November, there's some Ridley Scott HALO movie? The Second Best Exotic Hotel will, as most sequels do, not have the innocence of the first. But that doesn't mean we won't see it. Mordecai is the dumb art heist flick with a bumbling Johnny Depp and a very poised Gwyneth Paltrow. At only 100 minutes, unless I hear OUTSTANDING reviews, we'll pass. Much classier is The Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren and a gorgeous Gustav Klimt painting of her aunt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which was stolen by the Nazis. True story. But Selma is the class act here. I've heard very good things about this film -- and it is so rare to have something appropriate to see on MLK Day in January.

Dr. Phil

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