September 18th, 2008

Slartibartfast

Synecdoche New York, Easy Virtue, Inkheart, Medicine for Melancholy, Blindness

Synecdoche, New York     HD480p 52MB   HD720p 135MB    Clip1   Clip2   Clip3
Trailer for the directorial debut of writer Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation.). A theatre director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is mounting a new play. His life is looking bleak. His wife (Catherine Keener) has left him to pursue her painting in Berlin. His therapist (Hope Davis), is better at plugging her best-seller than she is at counselling him. A new relationship with the alluringly candid Hazel (Samantha Morton) has prematurely run aground. And a mysterious condition is systematically shutting down each of his autonomic functions, one by one. Worried about the transience of his life, he leaves his home behind and gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in New York City, hoping to create a work of brutal honesty. Dianne Wiest, Michelle Williams, Emily Watson and Jennifer Jason Leigh round up the cast.
The trailer makes it very clear that this will be just as mind-bending as Kaufman previous movies. Can't wait.
Edit: Very extensive interview with Charlie Kaufman.

Easy Virtue     15 MB
Turbulent, romantic comedy about an American divorcée (Jessica Biel) who meets her new in-laws (Kristin Scott Thomas, Colin Firth) after tying the knot with a young Englishman (Ben Barnes) on the spur of the moment in France. Based on the play by Noel Coward.
While I wouldn't expect the whole movie to keep the pace of the trailer it nevertheless seems to have the potential to be very entertaining with its mix of slapstick comedy and snappy dialogue.

Inkheart     HD480p 55MB   HD720p 87MB
The full trailer for the big screen adaptation of the popular fantasy novel written by German author Cornelia Funke. It revolves around a girl (Eliza Bennett) whose father (Brendan Fraser) has the power to bring characters from books to life by reading aloud. When a villainous ruler (Andy Serkis) and his band of rogues from a children's fable kidnap the man, his daughter and her friends, both real and imaginary, must rescue him. Dustfinger is played by Paul Bettany; Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren and Sienna Guillory are also part of the cast. Directed by Iain Softley (K-PAX, The Wings of the Dove).
Since the trailer looks fairly decent I have no idea where the problem lies, but, unfortunately, experience shows that if a movie gets delayed for many months and then has a scheduled start in the US in early January it's a good idea to adjust expectations. It heightens the chances for a positive surprise.

Medicine for Melancholy     23 MB
Low-budget, romantic drama about a one-night stand told through two African-American twenty-something's dealing with issues of class, identity, and the evolving conundrum of being a minority in a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco - a city with the smallest black population of any other major American City. When Micah and Jo stumble into the brightness of a sunny San Francisco day after a hook-up, Jo can't wait to escape the uncomfortable silence, but a shared cab ride and a lost wallet soon bring a well intentioned Micah to her front door. As caution turns to curiosity, the young couple sets off on a romantic ramble through eclectic neighbourhoods and their own lives as they swap views on everything from the meaning of blackness to the letting go of heartbreak.
Available reviews from festivals are very good, comparisons to the two Before movies with Delpy/Hawke seem to be justified. Though, I have to say that I don't feel it from watching the trailer, but I'm curious.

Blindness     7 MB
Different UK trailer for Fernando Meirelles' (The Constant Gardener, City of God) movie adaptation of the novel by Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago. It's a dramatic thriller about a doctor's wife (Julianne Moore) who becomes the only person with the ability to see in a town where everyone is struck with a mysterious case of sudden blindness. She feigns illness in order to take care of her husband (Mark Ruffalo) as her surrounding community breaks down into chaos and disorder. Gael García Bernal, Alice Braga, Sandra Oh and Danny Glover are also part of the cast.
Apparently, after the screening in Cannes that got very mixed reviews, director Meirelles did a major re-edit of the movie, making quite a few changes and also got rid of the voice-over that many deemed unnecessary. Reviews of the new version from Toronto were more positive.
Detective Reese

Financial Crisis

In recent days the headlines from the financial markets have dominated the news. I've so far seen only very few posts here on Livejournal that deal with the subject. Which isn't too surprising since the financial markets aren't the most talked about topic around here.
Nevertheless, I was wondering if, even though most of you won't be affected, some of you have questions about what is going on and wanted to provide a forum for general discussion (civilised, of course), as well as offering to answer questions about the situation. At least as best as I can or give links where you can find some further information.

The reason why I make this offer is because when I don't look for trailers on the internet I trade stocks for a living. I do that for seven years now and before that I worked for just as many years in the brokerage department of a bank as an analyst and portfolio manager. I certainly don't know everything but I think I have an idea of what's going on and maybe I can help put some things into perspective. So don't be shy!

What happened so far.
The imbalances in the financial economy built up over many years. Mainly it is a problem of people and institutions building up too much debt, they were living beyond their means. Individuals used too much credit card debt or took out higher mortgages than they could afford. Companies leveraged their balance sheets (either deliberately so or were forced by short-sighted investors) by using more debt in relation to equity. Banks and other financial institutions became less prudent in their lending practises, helped by less regulatory oversight and a very accommodating US central bank that for some reason thought it is a good idea trying to attempt abolishing the business cycle.
Collapse )

What to do with your money.
It's late in the game, in the last few days the markets have entered the "panic phase". Experience shows it is very rarely a good idea to make decisions in situations when the Joker has taken over and chaos reigns. Nevertheless, depending on your situation it can still be a good idea to think about making adjustments to where you have your money invested. (The same, of course, also always goes for debt of any kind.) It can also be a good idea to make plans for a time when the situation will be calmer. For specific questions, arranging a date with your bank or your financial advisor might be a good idea.

A lot of websites right now offer some information about the current situation and I have collected some links. Most of them are US centric, but a lot of what's being said applies worldwide. Depending on your situation, not everything is useful advice but it should provide a starting point for a search for further information.
If you have some more useful links, please leave them in a comment and I will edit the post.

Collapse )