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Week In Review

The 168 Turnaround: Watson vs. Dragon Boobies

THIS WEEK: May 29 – June 4, 2011

PERSON OF THE YEAR: Do you pay attention to The Webbys?  You know, the award ceremony that celebrates great Internet achievement?  If you don’t, then maybe you should, especially since they’ve just awarded The Person of the Year Award to Watson, the IBM computer that gained considerable attention for beating all-time Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.  Beating them on Jeopardy, that is; not, you know, beating them to death.  Watson’s a computer, after all, and if most science fiction is to believed, then nothing good can come from his existence.  Personally, I side with Canadian sci-fi writer Robert J. Sawyer who offers a more positive perspective on artificial intelligence in his WWW trilogy (Wake, Watch, and Wonder).  For more info on the Webbys and Watson, click here.

LEAKED DRAGON: When The Hangover Part II hit the big screen a week ago, much attention was given to the red-band trailer for David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo that ran before it.  And, sure enough, as we’ve come to expect from the director of Fight Club and The Social Network, the trailer is gritty, fast-paced, and filled with a desperate urgency.  The Trent Reznor and Karen O cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” doesn’t hurt either.  But the real news hit when this trailer, which wasn’t supposed to be available anywhere except for before screenings of The Hangover Part II, was leaked onto the Internet.  But was it a leak?  Or was it a plant—the first step in a viral marketing campaign?  That, it seems, is the big question.  In any event, you can view the red-band trailer here (be warned, the trailer contains brief nudity) and view the green-band version below (both trailers are relatively the same).  Fincher’s self-described “feel bad movie of Christmas” hits theatres this December.

TOPLESS DRAGON: Speaking of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the film’s first international poster has hit the web.  I don’t usually talk about film posters, but I’ll make an exception for this one.  A while back, director David Fincher mentioned that he wanted Rooney Mara (the film’s titular star) to appear topless on the poster.  Well, the poster’s here, and Mara is certainly topless, though not entirely exposed (thanks to some well placed lettering).  To be honest, I like the image, and think it goes a long way toward setting the tone of the film.  Neither sexy nor sensual, the poster casts an image of vulnerability, but also of the potential for animal ferocity.  It’s powerful and gritty, and not likely to be seen at cinemas anywhere in North America.  Boobies, as you know, are the devil here.  Head on over to Jo Blo to see the poster.

TWITTER BOOK CLUB: After last week’s news of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses being recast on Twitter, I was somewhat hesitant to follow up on a story about a new Twitter-based book club.  But then I got over myself and my silly distrust of new(ish) social media.  As it turns out, Northeastern University journalism professor Jeff Howe, the man behind the book club (1book140), is hoping to spark global interest and conversation with this project, and has already shifted into high gear with the club’s first pick, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassain.  Personally, I fear that the 140 character tweet limit will diminish the quality of discussion.  But, then again, I’d love to be proven wrong.  For more info, head over to the CBC.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: George Lucas Strikes Back
I’m not a Star Wars geek, though I do enjoy the original three films.  My opinion of the prequels is pretty much what you’d expect.  But maybe there’s a good explanation behind their general awfulness.  This video offers a unique perspective.  If only it were true.

The 168 Turnaround is a week-in-review column, a place for me to reflect on the week’s most interesting pop culture news items.  If it mattered to me or I think it might matter to you, then it will be here.  If I’ve overlooked an important news item, or if you have a comment or question, please leave a response below.  Thank you for reading.

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