Monday, September 29, 2014

The Quiet Ones (2014) *

Predictable "thriller" with nothing special to recommend it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes - Bloomberg View

"It's an extraordinary document. There is not space here to do it justice, but the gist is this: The Fed failed to regulate the banks because it did not encourage its employees to ask questions, to speak their minds or to point out problems.

"Just the opposite: The Fed encourages its employees to keep their heads down, to obey their managers and to appease the banks. That is, bank regulators failed to do their jobs properly not because they lacked the tools but because they were discouraged from using them."

via @bnroj

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Colin Kaepernick of San Francisco 49ers reiterates that he didn't use N-word - ESPN

"Initially, Kaepernick said he did not say anything to Houston, though he was flagged for 'inappropriate language' and fined $11,025. Then, after Sunday's loss at the Arizona Cardinals, Kaepernick said he does talk on the football field when he was asked about Houston changing his story but that he did not say anything 'racially derogatory' toward Houston.

"Is that his final word on the matter, that he said nothing of a racial matter that night?

"'Yes,' Kaepernick said. 'I've said that multiple times.'

"Coach Jim Harbaugh, meanwhile, continued to back his quarterback. 'I have never heard Colin use that word,' Harbaugh said. 'And I've never heard him lie.' Then does Harbaugh think the reports are inaccurate? 'I think what I think,' he said. 'I'm very attuned to hearing that word, and I've never heard him use it.'"

What idiots. Both Kaepernick and Harbaugh. Why can't they just tell the truth in plain English? Rarely is a player fined for inappropriate language on a football field so it IS a legitimate news item. And we are told, the only reason a player would be fined in that manner is for use of the now infamous "n" word. So why lie about it? Heat of the moment, anger in battle, entirely forgivable, but now after such horribly stupid equivocation NOT forgivable. And Harbaugh! Too much these guys.

Billionaire must let public access Martins Beach, judge rules - SFGate

"The beach battle has focused national attention on California laws that are supposed to guarantee public access to coastal areas. The 1972 California Coastal Zone Conservation Initiative, which created the 12-member California Coastal Commission, and the California Coastal Act, passed in 1976, prohibit homes or developments from blocking access to beaches. They essentially make the entire coast, including all beach property below the mean high tide line, public property."

One of the great things about the greatest state.

Sinister (2012) *

Too long and you never really care about the main character since he is such a smug obnoxious prick (spot on casting by the way). You can see the scares coming from a mile away thanks to the noisy soundtrack and the completely unrealistic and cliched lighting.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Yes, it's official, men are from Mars and women from Venus, and here's the science to prove it - Telegraph

"The first big surprise happens before birth. All men in the world today are essentially biologically modified women, because we all start our embryonic lives as females (that is why, for example, men still have breasts, even though they serve no function). The biological differences that can be found between the bodies and brains of males and females are largely due to the way these embryos develop in the womb."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) ****

Gorgeous cinematography, compelling subject, sharp direction add up to a wonderfully multi-layered film. Be warned: you'll never be satisfied with your local sushi place again.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Long, Hot Summer (1958) **

An over the top, Hollywood cartoon version of Southerners, is entertaining nevertheless thanks to a fine cast trying hard to keep some sense of reality in the proceedings.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Terry Gilliam on His Epic New Dystopian Film The Zero Theorem | WIRED

"There's probably $500,000 of savings in there in improved technologies—for example, Christoph and Melanie Thierry recorded some new lines on their iPhones while he was in Berlin and she was in France, emailed them back to me, and they're in the film. We couldn't have done that a few years ago."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Myth That Sold the Wall Street Bailouts

"The second Great Depression mythologizers — including Geithner, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and the editorial board of The Washington Post — assume they can say whatever they want and that people will accept it because they are important people whose conventional wisdom is rarely, if ever, challenged. They even managed to retain their authority after failing to see the economic threat posed by the housing bubble. The bottom line is that for these people, the goal was saving Wall Street — full stop. Whether the rest of the country suffered was beside the point."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Drag Me to Hell (2009) **

So-so "horror" flick which may have been ripped off from an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, nevertheless provides a nice showcase for Alison Lohman who is in nearly every scene.

A Most Wanted Man (2014) ***

A terrific final performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman and a great eye for visuals by director Anton Corbijn elevate this necessarily talky "spy v. spy" film to something memorable.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Cronos (1993) **

Technically well made but despite an interesting premise, the story goes nowhere and the thrills/chills are so-so.

Monday, September 08, 2014

A Void in the History of September 11th

"Thomas Kean remembers finally having the opportunity to read those twenty-eight pages after he became chairman of the 9/11 Commission—'so secret that I had to get all of my security clearances and go into the bowels of Congress with someone looking over my shoulder.' He also remembers thinking at the time that most of what he was reading should never have been kept secret. But the focus on the twenty-eight pages obscures the fact that many important documents are still classified—'a ton of stuff,' Kean told me, including, for instance, the 9/11 Commission’s interviews with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Bill Clinton. 'I don’t know of a single thing in our report that should not be public after ten years,' Kean said.

Items are classified to protect power.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Your Brain on Metaphors - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Lakoff and Johnson’s program is as anti-Platonic as it’s possible to get. It undermines the argument that human minds can reveal transcendent truths about reality in transparent language. They argue instead that human cognition is embodied—that human concepts are shaped by the physical features of human brains and bodies."

Monday, September 01, 2014

Dear Murderer (1947) ***

Clever and effective British murder mystery that features a terrific performance by gorgeous Greta Gynt as a femme fatale if there ever was one. Nicely directed with minimal music cues and excellent pacing.

Looper (2012) **

Inventive but confusing time travel yarn fails to make us care for the protagonist who is after all a cold blooded serial killer for hire. After a while nothing makes sense at all.

Lost Horizon (1937) **

Too talky and melodramatic, but there are moments mainly thanks to impressive production and the talents of leading man Ronald Coleman.