Two things more on the movie:
1. I figured out what the soundtrack did to the movie. It is like your eyes are watching one movie while your ears are listening to another. Now it is possible that is what the director was trying to achieve, but it did not work. At least for me.
2. I just remembered. It struck me at the time, but I forgot when I wrote the last post. At the end Carraway writes “The Great” over the “Gatsby” typed on the cover page of his manuscript. It is very schizophrenic writing. I will try to post the screenshot if I can find it somewhere online. The T of “The” is almost a J. The E is very curved. The T and E in “Great” are both angular/straight. What’s with that?
First read this io9 review of the film.
The movie Star Trek Into Darkness is a nice film, let down by plot holes especially in the second half. JJ “Lens Flare” Abrams manages to make another visually brilliant movie. It was good not great.
One word review: disappointed.
I felt no connection to the film at all. In a “within and without” metaphor there was too little within (involvement in the story) and too much without (popping out of the story especially with the anachronistic sound track). Talking about the sound track, just the fact that in the New York apartment scene when Myrtle pops in a vinyl record, a bass thumping Kanye West raps away (Carraway and Tom Buchanan’s wild night in New York meanwhile, is given such an MTV vision of excess that you can imagine Luhrmann and Jay-Z were only minutes away from throwing Skrillex in on the backing track: metro.co.uk). There is similar musical madness everywhere else through the film, including the party scenes at Gatsby’s house. See also this Pitchfork review of the music: Most of the cars in The Great Gasby crash and so does Luhrman’s soundtrack and this Vice.com article that asks, who let the Great Gasby soundtrack happen? Come on, this is Jazz age stuff, could they not have picked any music that kept to the film’s glitz and glamour?
This is the first film in a while that I actually almost nodded off to, catching myself on the verge. This was despite the visual impact of the movie. Perhaps the fact that I saw this at R-City contributed as the 3D was affected by crosstalk and the seat cushions kept pushing the 3D glasses off my nose each time I set my head back.
This one piece of conversation between Gatsby and Carraway probably is the best “meta-review” of the film (the room full of daisies scene):
Gatsby: Do you think it’s too much?
Carraway: (shrugging) I think it’s what you want.
Gatsby: (thoughtful) I think so.
You can imagine Luhrman’s doubts/voice through Gatsby’s here.
Washington Post has an interesting article on racist tendencies across the world by Mark Fisher. While asking someone if they are racist would not provide any useful information, racism (here) is measured by the percentage of people who when asked to pick from groups of people they would not want as neighbours answered “people of another race.”
The map in the article shows a wide variation across countries as would be expected. The “western” especially Anglo and Latin countries scored well, as did Scandinavia. In the middle ground were Eastern Europe and China. What surprised me was the list of countries where over 40% or more indicated racism: Hong Kong, Jordan, Bangladesh and India. Among these India had the least score. We love to disparage Pakistan at every level in this country. But Pakistan belongs in the less racist camp in this survey.
Now living in India I can attest that there is a lot of racism here. Colour of skin and looks matter a lot to many people. This is despite the fact that it is one of the most diverse nations on earth (in terms of race, language, religion and so many other factors). But I find it hard to believe that we are so horribly ranked in this survey relative to other countries.
There must be something else that explains this. Maybe there is some error in the survey itself or in the way the question was posed. Was the question translated well? Are there cultural reasons why the question was incorrectly understood?
Why are the scores of Hong Kong and China so different? Are the Japanese so much less racist than the Chinese who in turn are less so than Koreans?
Still, it was sobering to read.
Deepak Shenoy at Capital Mind blog has done some good work on house prices and transactions across major cities in India and asks the question: is there a housing bubble? His basic conclusion appears to be that different cities are at different stages of a housing cycle. The larger metros seem to be in a consolidation / early fall stage of the cycle.
Quoted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
State officials have said the possibility of a fire reaching the radioactive materials is remote.
Good piece at the Ümlaut on the emergence of Bitcoin and how the lessons of free banking in America and Scotland may apply. Clearly the beneficiaries of seignorage are unhappy with the emergence of Bitcoin: witness the latest report that the US CFTC (the commodities / derivatives regulator) is looking into Bitcoin. Fundamentally seignorage occurs when the value of a currency is greater than the production cost. In the case of paper or digital currencies (like the US Dollar), the marginal cost of production is very close to zero. Thus there is significant seignorage to be earned. The emergence of an alternate currency is a threat to this free profit mechanism.
Well, effectively anyway. Via MR, a WSJ blog post on “distressed debt” type buyers willing to buy Cypriot bank deposits at a discount. This is the first step to arrive at an exchange rate between Cypriot and “core” euros. As I have said before, the imposition of capital controls and fear of a tax on deposits (equivalent to a change in the value of deposits in Cyprus banks vs. those elsewhere in the eurozone) have created a system where Cyprus has effectively left the eurozone. Not to mention the threat of end of TARGET2 participation which would have finally killed off the single currency. Now there appears to be the first steps towards trading Cypriot bank deposits. The legality of trading bank deposits is not clear. So this is still early days.
I got quoted by the Mint paper today.
“We don’t want to get into asset allocation. If an investor wants to choose how much he wants to invest in gold, equity or debt, then the financial planner can do his asset allocation. We wanted to keep this scheme simple wherein he buys all three asset classes, in almost equal weights,” says R. Sivakumar, head (fixed income and products), Axis Asset Management Co. Ltd.