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Monthly Archives: July 2010

 

Inception is an absolutely brilliant scifi drama.

I’ve been very excited to watch the film ever since I saw the trailer a few weeks ago. It is the first Hollywood film that I watched this year in theaters, and I definitely recommend that you watch it on the big screen.

Inception is the story of a team that tries to plant an idea into a target’s mind as he’s dreaming. The plot is layered with multiple flashbacks, five or six levels of reality, and at least one major subplot. As you can guess, the film isn’t going to let you go without challenging you. It’s got to be the most complex plot I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. The way it unfurls and unfolds is done gradually, but by the end of the movie, I didn’t feel like I had a perfect understanding of it. You definitely need to watch twice to fully understand it. Or you can go to the Wikipedia article.

Aside from the complexity, the one unmistakable aspect of the plot is its originality. The film explores the nature of reality in the same way that the Matrix does, but through the avenue of the dreamworld. It challenges your notion of how dreams and memories work. The subconscious is given a very real manifestation. It gives you a new way to look at the passing of time and the act of creation. Creation as pure as a dream’s construction is a concept to be further explored.

The characters are cast accurately and portraying emotion very well. Dialogue is usually back-and-forth, which works well for the frantic pacing of the film. But at the same time, its done in way that adds emotion and a real human element to the film. Its not just another heist film where materialism is king. It deals with guilt, grief, and love. Humor is sprinkled in, but isn’t consistent, which sits fine with the gravity of the film.

As with the plot, the special effects are mindbending. Cities folding onto themselves, fights with shifting gravity, shattering objects shattering. Its worth going to the theater, or at least watching it on Blu-ray, for these. Although the focus of the film is most definitely the plot, the special effects greatly add to it. Also, the editing especially adds to the film, especially in the final scene.

I’d wholeheartedly recommend this film to anyone who is willing to navigate the maze that it is. It is the best movie to have come out this year. Watch Inception in theaters while you still can. It’s brilliant.

College Board sent AP scores to my university, UT Austin, a few days before I sending them officially through mail. You could also pay $8 to get the scores through telephone as early as June 1, but that seemed like a waste of time. It might make decisions about which classes to take easier for incoming college freshmen, though. Here are the scores and how they apply to my degree requirements.

Calculus BC: 5 as predicted. BC wipes out all math requirements for business; however, I need the next class in the sequence, multivariable calculus, for computer science.

English Literature & Composition: 5 as predicted. This score wipes out my core humanities credit, required by both degrees.

Chemistry: 4, though I predicted a 5. This was my one disappointment. I was very confident during the actual test though. But it makes more sense considering the grades I got in the class. This test completes a science track, of which I need two. I have three science tracks, so this is a bit superfluous. I realized that I should have taken some other class that fulfills a requirement, namely AP Psychology, which fulfills a social science credit.

European History: 5 as predicted. The only history I need is American History. I’m pretty sure this only counts as an elective credit. I don’t need elective credits really, because my CS classes will count as electives for business and my business classes will count as electives for CS.

Physics C: 4 on Mechanics and 5 on Electricity & Magnetism. I was really surprised with this one. I predicted I would get something like a 3, if that. The only explanation is that the curves on the exams are ridiculous. All of my other friends were surprised too. I realize  just because I got the scores I did doesn’t in any way make me as qualified as having taken the classes in college. For CS, this satisfies a science track. But for business, just taking credit for Physics B is enough. I can’t take credit for both Physics B and C for business. Both satisfy core requirements, but I don’t know why there is this discrepancy.

Macroeconomics: 5 as predicted. I need both micro and macroeconomics to declare a major in business in my sophomore year. This test gets me on my way to doing that.

Microeconomics: 4 as predicted. This was the only AP test I’ve ever taken that I was unsure about getting credit for. Luckily, a 4 gives credit for microeconomics. As I had only self-studied the night before for this exam, I surely don’t have the knowledge I’d have if I took the actual class. However, I’m not too keen on taking microeconomics, so I’ll use the credit. I think I got the general principles of micro down though. I don’t think the specific graphs and other details will be referenced much in later business classes, so I’m probably fine claiming credit for this exam.

Government: 5 as predicted. This test, coupled with the Texas government test that I took at orientation, gets rid of one of the two government credits I need.

Overall, the scores were satisfactory. Over the past three years, I’ve taken 16 AP tests, of which 12 were 5s and 4 were 4s, an average of 4.75. I received full credit for all of them. They cost me $924, but saved me much more money. I haven’t calculated exactly how many credits I received through AP tests, but at the rate of $500 per credit hour, I think I got a significant return on investment.

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