Set within the remote planet of Brooklyn intelligentsia, Ricky D’Ambrose’s hourlong Notes on an Appearance relays a narrative teeming with incident — death, disappearance — through an elusive yet methodical style. Establishing shots are few and far between. A scene might consist almost entirely of a tableau of physical objects; an early one features an overhead perspective on a table, hands motioning in and out of frame — setting down a water glass, pouring coffee — as idle café chatter fills the soundtrack. D’Ambrose implies the characters commuting via close-ups of the New York City subway map and the aural roar of a train tearing across the tracks. The movie’s first shot, of a polite postcard scribbled in blue pen, not only sets the story in motion but even condenses into a few jotted-off sentences a continent-crossing journey. We learn that David (Bingham Bryant) has plans to travel from Milan to Brooklyn, where he will hook … [Read more...] about Ricky D’Ambrose’s Minimalist “Notes on an Appearance” Is Obsessed With Absence
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The robots are here, as well as the data systems that make it possible to work faster, cheaper, from a distance, through your smartphone. Here are three recent Philly examples: On the road Last winter, when homes and businesses were burning extra bottled-gas fuel and frozen roads slowed deliveries, AmeriGas, the nation’s largest propane distributor, put its new data dashboard to work pinpointing which trucks to roll where to reach the most users, in the worst weather, by the fastest way possible. “It’s a magical tool,” says Jerry Sheridan, CEO of King of Prussia-based AmeriGas, referring to the “district dashboard” system, designed by Radnor-based Qlik, which splits nearly 2 million AmeriGas customers in all 50 states into 640 retail zones handling five million deliveries a year. “Now, a manager can see where all his drivers are, six or seven trucks out at any one time. [If] there’s an emergency, a driver can see how … [Read more...] about Hints of Philly’s robotic future: Drones and data dashboards speed deliveries. Will this cut jobs?