Movies Watched -- Blade Runner 2049

Added on by C. Maoxian.

2 hour 43 minute running time. Let me repeat that: 2 hours and 43 minutes. Yeah, it's long, really long.

I wanted to see this one in the theater when it first came out but didn't get around to it at the time. The first Blade Runner was such an important movie for me (and most other boys of my generation, I'd guess). I saw it in the upstairs theater of Oneonta 1&2 on Chestnut Street back in 1982. My buddy Jimmy D's mom took us to see it (I wonder what she thought of it ... no chance to ask since she died of breast cancer a few years ago). I was afraid they'd ruin the franchise, but they didn't.

Anyway, despite its length, I guess this is a worthy sequel. The sets are amazing ... the cinematography, the effects, the costumes, all great. The new spinners with their retro head and taillights. The Vangelis-ish soundtrack. A lot of nice touches. Paying respect to the original in multiple ways (the Atari product placement, the smashing through the wall, etc.), well done, tastefully done. I wonder what the budget was. No expense spared because some guy my age is in charge of approving the budget, and it meant as much to him as it did to me.

I didn't buy that the Wallace Corp. couldn't track down Harrison Ford on their own. But... these are quibbles.  Gosling goes off baseline ... but he's not going to kill any non-replicants in the first place. If you've been holding back on seeing this, I recommend you give in and see it. And not just for the hologram love scene.

I like Bilge Ebiri's take on it: "It’s everything, and more, and too much, and somehow not enough ... Careful, dutiful, and beautiful, Blade Runner 2049 cannot achieve the sublime slipperiness of Scott’s masterpiece. Whether it even needs to is up to you."

 Ethnicity: Cuban

Ethnicity: Cuban

Evil Genius

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Watched this four episode Netflix documentary about a bank robbery in Erie, PA ... it was disturbing ... this group of lowlife misfits, led by a mentally ill woman, planned a bank robbery which was done by a simpleton pizza delivery guy ... they put a locking collar holding a bomb around the guy's neck ... he told the police a group of black guys had done it do him (because that's what the masterminds told him to say -- he must have been semi-retarded, they didn't explain this fact well).

They show the footage of the bomb going off, which was really nasty ... I wasn't prepared for that. He bled to death, but I can see why they didn't approach him right away after the bomb went off.

Law enforcement does not come across well in this series ... local law enforcement doesn't communicate well with the Feds (FBI, ATF) ... no one seems super competent. It took years and years to solve this thing, when it should have taken a couple of days. Erie's a small city. Sad, tragic stuff, but see it if you're interested in "true crime" shows.

Notes for Chat with Traders, Episode 162

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Episode 162 ... Mike Bellafiore (69:12)

  • Runs prop trading firm, SMB Capital, established 2005
  • Partner is Steve Spencer
  • Stages of becoming a trader: 
  • First stage: consistency; second stage: size; third: breadth; fourth [missed it]
  • Put your trades in TraderVue to measure your results
  • Foundation: Is it a good stock to be trading? Is there news?
  • Need passion for trading, and a really solid training foundation, and perseverance
  • Big winners at his firm all trade differently
  • You need to discover your niche by experimenting
  • Recommends reading Carol Dweck's book, Mindset
  • Period of historically low volatility hard for traders, no opportunities to make money
  • Had to develop trading strategies that make money in low volatility market
  • Then when volatility returns, be able to switch back to old methods
  • Have to be able to adapt when conditions change
  • Post your daily trading report card (consistency, sizing, etc.), not your daily P&L 
  • Austin somebody in Sydney is a great role model for a daily report card, follow on Twitter
  • Daily routine: did you sleep well, did you exercise, did you review your charts after the close?
  • Agrees with Blair Hull that all great things are created by teams, not individuals
  • Archive different trades: e.g., the breaking news trade (like MTCH on FB news day), tag it in TraderVue
  • Build your playbook, know the setups that you trade well
  • Joint venture with Kershner Trading Group, for some scanning technology?
  • Make $4000 a month consistently [cube farmer salary], then increase your size (dollar risk) little by little (up 20% a month)
  • Have $1000 of dollar risk per day, risk 20% on one trade ($200), self limited to five trades a day
  • Don't go from risking $1000 a trade to $5000 -- jump too great, get bigger gradually
  • Don't think about making a million dollars, think about making $1500 a month
  • First step in progress is to lose less, next step is to breakeven, then $1500 a month, then $4000, then $10000, etc.
  • Takes three years to start making money even if you have the best resources (technology, coaching, plenty of capital)
  • Keep plugging away, go from 20 yard line to 30 yard line
  • Twitter: @MikeBellafiore

Movies Watched -- Ingrid Goes West (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

97 minutes so under the sacred 100 minute mark. Got it because it has Elizabeth Olsen in it and I like her face -- she has a plastic surgery nose without having had plastic surgery ...and I think she's talented. This movie was disturbing. I guess the message is that you should make an Instagram video of your suicide attempt to gain followers (sympathizers), and get a hashtag named after you. Sick stuff.

There were some class-based vibes that interested me... "Taylor" (E. Olsen) and her idiot brother, "Nicky," are rich kids (they have great teeth and snort coke after all). Ingrid, the mentally ill girl, is using the meager inheritance her mother left her to pose as someone who belongs in Taylor's set. I thought that she was running out of money, but somehow she comes up with another 50K to buy the desert house next door. That was a stretch but necessary for the climax, I guess. 

Ingrid is kind of homely (imperfect teeth, imperfect skin) but she has big eyes and a great bod. Anyway... spoilers ... if Ingrid and the pothead had killed Nicky in the desert, they probably wouldn't have gotten away with it, so it's just as well that they didn't (though I sorely wanted it to happen). Pom Klementieff, a mixed-race beauty, plays "Harley Chung," a #CrazyRichAsian, no doubt.

There are some funny scenes, but overall this was just disconcerting, and the ending didn't work for me. Yellow rating if you're interested in the terrors of being a slave to Instagram.

Rex wasn't thrilled.

 Lower, get down lower, Miguel. You mean, like, dee floor?

Lower, get down lower, Miguel. You mean, like, dee floor?

Movies Watched -- Call Me By Your Name (2018)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

130 minute running time so at least 30 minutes too long. A homosexual love story. I guess the teenage boy had sex with the hot local girl as an experiment, but that doesn't make sense to me if I understand homosexuality correctly. I once had a poker buddy who was gay and I asked him if he ever fantasized about women, and he said, "ewwwww." But sexuality is something of a mystery so who knows. 

Larry Gopnik was the kid's dad, and he told him at the end that he was gay, I guess, though he had a beautiful chain-smoking wife (who says they are "Jews of discretion," which made me laugh). And the older blonde guy (Armand Hammer, yes, an heir, supposed to be 24 here but looks closer to 30) the kid falls in love with tells him later on that he's engaged to be married (to a woman, obviously). 

Anyway, gay love stories ain't gonna fly in Omaha, though the setting (an ancient villa in northern Italy) is really beautiful, and the teenage kid is appealing, since he has the Roman nose and plays piano and is fluent in three languages, at least. They have money and servants and great bones and thick wavy hair and cul-chah and everything is so fabulous and charming ... you want to puke. 

Peter Rainer gets it: "...  it’s rare to see a movie of this sort that is so markedly nonjudgmental, the lack of sharp conflict doesn’t make for a terribly invigorating experience. Although it ends on a powerful, bittersweet chord, the movie is a bit too determinedly soothing for comfort."

Exactly, no one has a hissy fit ... no smashed china, or schnozzes.

I like Kate Taylor's take: "... as the al fresco dining, the refreshing swims, the liberal parents and the forgiving girlfriend pile up, the effect becomes precious and the film shifts from languid to long ... this multilingual, almost-pre-AIDS idyll does not stretch credulity ... but it can try the patience." She forgot to mention the ridiculous gay couple visiting from Paris in their pastel suits.

My favorite critic, Rex, predictably loved it ... "rhapsodic and heartbreaking ... a masterpiece of subtle emotions, intense sensuality and breathtaking beauty." Oh, Rex, you old fag.

 I wanna be bad.... 

I wanna be bad.... 

Sign of the Times

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Inspired after watching the latest season of Bosch, I'm (re-)reading a number of old Harry Bosch novels ... I liked this bit from The Burning Room (2014): 

"[Bosch missed] the old Los Angeles Times. In 1993 it was big and strong, its editions fat with ads and stories produced by a staff of the best and brightest journalists in their field. Now the paper looked like somebody who had been through chemo -- thin, unsteady, and knowing the inevitable could only be held off for so long."

Bosch -- Season Four

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I watched the fourth season of Bosch more or less in a binge. Ten episodes, around an hour a piece. It's good TV, not great TV. It's above average TV. Streaming on Amazon Prime. My screencaps with comments below: 

Delta Towns Wearing Satin Gowns

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Great song by Nanci Griffith ... can't go wrong name-checking Loretta and Merle ... this was recorded on September 11, 1991. That's Mary Chapin Carpenter in polka dots. I love both these women. The Indigo Girls sang their (one?) great song, Hammer and a Nail, at this show too.

When you can't find a friend, you've still got the Spotify. 

Movies Watched -- Wind River (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

106 minutes so just over the sacred hundred minute mark. W.D. By movie, hard to watch. Well crafted and tragic ... a crime / mystery / thriller movie ... I love Elizabeth Olsen, totally blown away by her performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene, so a fan for life. Also stars Jeremy the Ugly Jason Bourne Renner.

One ridiculous standoff scene doesn't ruin the whole thing ... this is violent, ultra-violent. Vengeance, not forgiveness (or the Feds). And a tearjerker, won't be a dry eye in the house. It wasn't bad. I can recommend it. The first movie from 2017 that I can recommend, but be emotionally prepared ... it's going to put you through the ringer.

(Rex liked it too.)

 Guess I'm never gonna get to Ojai

Guess I'm never gonna get to Ojai

Painted My Heart

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Ranky Tanky from Charleston, SC ... never would have discovered them without Spotify's Discover Weekly: 

Movies Watched -- Detroit (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

142 minute running time so way way way too long, 40 to 50 minutes too long. Made by Kathryn Bigelow, who is on my permanent shit list for working with the security-industrial complex to make her War Porn pic, "Zero Dark Thirty." Anyway, this is a re-creation / dramatization of some atrocity that happened during the Detroit race riots of 1967.

Apparently three black men were executed in cold blood by some Detroit policemen, but who knows the real story? Digging this up is just going to add fuel to the whole Black Lives Matter fire, while simultaneously cashing in on it. Don't get me wrong, I'm as appalled by racism and police brutality (murder) as the next guy, but I also appreciate a more nuanced take on historical events. 

Red rating given the length, yellow rating if you're interested in one particular take on history.

 Beaver Cleaver asks one more time: Where is the starter pistol?!?

Beaver Cleaver asks one more time: Where is the starter pistol?!?

Movies Watched -- Get Out (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

104 minutes so close to the sacred 100 minute mark, but I still watched it at 1.5-2x ... weird one, not badly made, I can almost recommend except for the fact that I was unable to watch it at normal speed for some reason. Combination thriller / comedy / horror movie. Stars Daniel Kaluuya (a Ugandan name); Marnie from Girls, you know, the pretty girl whom everyone hated. Marnie's brother is terribly cast, some kid with greasy hair and a white-trash mustache channeling Johnny Depp. Sort of a Richard Dreyfuss guy plays Dad, with Jobs-ian black turtleneck, and Catherine Keener is Mom. 

Check it out if you get the chance, it comes closest to getting a green rating of anything I've watched from 2017 so far.

 You are feeling sleeeepy

You are feeling sleeeepy

Movies Watched -- American Made

Added on by C. Maoxian.

115 minute run time but it had really long end credits ... still could have been tightened up 10 to 15 minutes. Tom Cruise as Tom Cruise, always charming and he doesn't seem to age ... playing a pilot who funneled US government money and guns to the contras in Nicaragua, and Colombian cocaine back to America ... "mock documentary" bouncy cam drives me nuts.

Didn't realize that they brought contras to Mena, Arkansas to train. Makes light of the whole fiasco, how ridiculous it all was, but there's real tragedy here, and of course Barry Seal was murdered in the end (as was his brother in law). Not badly made, but it only earns a yellow rating. Manohla Dargis said it best: "'American Made' goes down easily, especially if you don’t let the historical record with its real-world stakes bother you."

 White Pendy

White Pendy

Movies Watched -- The Red Turtle (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

80 minutes so within the sacred 100 minute mark ... watched at normal speed even though there was no dialogue. Animated with some neat lighting effects. A fable or a parable, I don't really know the difference. You have to figure out what it's trying to say on your own, you can impose your own meanings. I didn't hate it but I wouldn't recommend it either. Yellow rating.

 Survivor

Survivor

Movies Watched -- Baby Driver (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

112 minutes so at least 12 to 22 minutes too long. A W.D. By movie, somebody's baby (pun intended). This movie had a lot going for it since it was quirky (the orphan with tinnitus angle) and had an attractive young leading couple, but ultimately I wasn't thrilled with it. It's trying to tap into the Fast & Furious franchise, I guess. Target demographic: boys who are into cars, chases, crashes, drifting, parkour, crime, violence, being the "wheelman," etc.

I'm not a prude, but there was too much swearing and violence for me, it was unnecessary. Cut out 15 minutes, reduce the swearing and violence by half and it would have been a better movie.

SPOILERS: token gangster black guy (Jamie Foxx, whom I liked in "Collateral"), don't worry, he's killed. Token Asian guy, don't worry, he's killed. Token Latina, don't worry, she's killed. Unshaven Don Draper, toting guns, do worry, he's killed, though very late in the movie. Creepy homosexual, Kevin Spacey, playing the same mastermind bad guy role he always does, this time sporting dyed hair and Gene "The Conversation" Hackman glasses.

Lots of great music that will appeal to late Boomers, all of Gen-X, and early Gen-Y. Odd to see a city movie that's Atlanta-based, nobody sounds like they're from Georgia. Product placements up the wazoo. Paid homage to "Heat," which was nice to see. Green rating for teenage boys, yellow for the general adult audience.

(Ann Hornaday didn't like it; Adam Graham didn't like it; Tony Lane didn't like it.)

 Oddball Crew

Oddball Crew