Monday, June 10, 2013

A fast-moving industry

Last week I demonstrated to my colleagues how cool and down with the kids I was by knowing about the Dark Internet, and proposing that we collaborate on a report incorporating stuff like encrypted digital cash, Silk Road, and the ToR network. I had the satisfaction of discovering that they hadn't heard of most of this.

This morning the ToR network and the subject of the Dark Internet was on BBC Radio 4's utterly mainstream middle-of-the-road Today program.  Even mentioned the way that ToR was created by the US Navy. I feel very superfluous.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Review of 'Behind the Candelabra'

Sad, gritty, depressing film about Liberace's young lover. No positive depiction of relationships between gay men as based on love and respect; just damaged people exploiting each other and adding to the damage. Liberace is implausibly in the closet (did anyone not know he was gay? Really?), and following plastic surgery on himself, insists that the young Scott also has facial surgery to make him look more like Liberace himself. Surely anyone who doesn't walk at this point is damaged beyond words, and probably beyond repair.

But Scott goes through with the surgery and spends the rest of the film with strangely shiny cheekbones. Guess Matt Damon (actually quite good in this film) didn't want to actually have surgery, and popping speed to stay slim (the California diet, apparently).

Michael Douglas good as Liberace (did he give interview about getting throat cancer from so much cunnilingus to re-assert his heterosexuality in the aftermath of a credible performance as a gay man?). But the film is not enjoyable to watch. On the positive side, it's nice to be reminded that some things do change for the better.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Review of 'The Great Gatsby'

At times this seemed sort of empty and dragged a bit - too much sweeping footage of the beautiful houses and gardens, too many CGI aerial shots of 1920s New York. But it comes to life in the depictions of the dark side of city life - the ash dump between Long Island and Manhattan, the speakeasies, and so on.

Not sure why the party scenes had to have hip-hop tracks - to bring Fitzgerald to a new generation? Since the yoof now seems to be rather fond of 1920s music, albeit with a drum and base overlay (electroswing) that seems unnecessary.

Liked the casting - though Daisy seems a bit dull, so that it's hard to see why Gatsby is so infatuated with her.

Liked the way it actually brought the text of the book into the film, through words (typewritten and handwritten) scrolling across the screen. Loved the way that it captured the despondency of the ending - Fitzgerald's greatness is surely his ability to not succumb to the relentless optimism that seems to characterize almost all cultural output in America.