Fri, Sep 10, 2010

: Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D

Typical of these kinds of films, this is less of a movie than a series of set pieces. They don’t always join together or make much sense (the beginning sequence is especially bewildering), but often they are quite fun and entertaining. The hyped 3D in this isn’t much: a few of the slow-motion action scenes include 3D bullets shooting toward you. I did like the 3D rain in a couple of scenes. But I wouldn’t recommend you pay extra for the 3D. The film itself is not bad. It’s not great, even among the others in this series, but it does have a few terrific moments, some nice action scenes, a few scares, and some interesting scenery. The plot is… well, nonsensical would be charitable. But then these movies don’t really need a plot more that “a group of people trapped by killer zombies.” That the film tries to be more than that is reaching and comes across as pretentious. I also wasn’t too impressed with the ending, which is one of those annoying “stop in the middle of a sentence and wait for the sequel” endings. But overall, a fun film if you like zombie movies. If you like the previous ones, you’ll probably like this one.

Topic: [/movie]


: Talent is Overrated

Author: Geoff Colvin

Cool book with a simple premise: that what makes great performers — in any field — isn’t innate “talent” but hard work. Lots of evidence and research is cited to prove this point, showing how even child prodigies aren’t so prodigious when we really examine them. For instance, Tiger Woods’ father starting teaching his son golf when the boy was 18 months old! Is it any wonder he was a “prodigy” by age five? The reality is simply that by that age Tiger had already had more golf experience and training than most of us do in our entire life, and by the time he was an adult, he’d been working extremely hard at his craft his whole life. Of course Tiger had drive and a keen interest in golf. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have kept up with his training. But basically any of us could be a great performer in any field we want simply by working really hard at it.

I like this premise because it makes more sense to me than the idea that some people are just born with a genetic disposition to do something like write or make music or trade stocks. The truth is we’re born with no skills at all. We might have certain physical gifts that help us or family that lean us in a direction (i.e. literary parents are more likely to read to their young children who will grow up with stronger verbal skills), but it’s up to us to do the work.

The book’s well-written but takes a lot of pages to make its simple point. I suppose if you’re inclined to disagree with the point you may need the additional convincing, but I really like the idea that there is no such thing as talent, only skill, so I didn’t need much convincing. The good thing about the book is the way it has changed my thinking: I am literally deleting the word “talent” from my vocabulary. I will replace it with “skill.” Think how that changes your perspective. If I say to you, “You don’t have any talent for singing” versus “You don’t have any skill for singing.” With the first phrase, you’re likely to just give up and not try. But with the second, you might think, “Hey! I could learn that skill.” In other words, this book is inspiring and empowering. Well worth the read.

Topic: [/book]