What I’ve Been Watching

Image result for bohemian rhapsody filmBohemian Rhapsody—you already know the plot and it’s a tad long but the music is great and Rami Malek is fabulous as Freddie Mercury. The movie culminates with a virtually shot-by-shot recreation of the legendary Queen performance at Live Aid, considered by many to the greatest live performance in all of rock and roll. A little puzzling why they didn’t use the original. Worth seeing in the theater, if you don’t have a home theater.

Crazy Rich Asians – the all Asian cast made it notable and the shots of Singapore are great but it’s only average as a romantic comedy. The leads lack chemistry.

The Last Kingdom (Netflix)—I’ve watched all three Seasons and enjoyed them. Season 3, however, is beginning to lose its legs. The on-again, off-again love affair between King Alfred and Uhtred has worn its course and I swear I’ve seen the jump in the boats and row away under falling arrow scene more than once before. Still, it’s not boring.

Bodyguard (Netflix) —taut British thriller. I enjoyed it and at 6 episodes it’s less of an investment than some series.

Homecoming (Amazon Prime)—sold as a Julia Roberts endeavor. She’s fine but the real star is the mysterious atmospherics and unusual shots and edits. I didn’t realize till the end of the first episode that this was a Sam Esmail show. Ah, now it all makes sense. If you liked Mr. Robot, give it a shot. I haven’t finished the first season and I may not, so I can’t say for certain whether the investment is worthwhile.

Daredevil (Netflix) I have already mentioned. Now cancelled, despite a great third season.

The Man Who Would be King (Amazon Prime) – a John Huston classic featuring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. One of my favorites. Based on a story of Rudyard Kipling which was based on the true story of Josiah Harlan, Prince of Ghor.

Image result for aT ETERNITY'S GATEAt Eternity’s Gate: A stirring and powerful performance by Willem Dafoe as Van Gogh. Directed by Julian Schnabel, himself a noted artist. The camera work–meant to convey a “you are there” point of view and also the sometime madness of Van Gogh–was disconcertingly jumpy at times. Schnabel would have done better stepping back and placing more trust on Dafoe’s performance and also the cinematography of Benoît Delhomme. Oddly, Schnabel insists Van Gogh was murdered when suicide is the accepted account and one that rings true, even to the film itself.

Machines (Amazon Prime)–an excellent documentary illustrating a day in the life of a textile factory in Gujurat, India. The pictures do the work, very little commentary. Dickensian. Especially striking to an economist , how inefficiently the factory is being run. Quality control, inventory management and maintenance are clearly atrocious. I am reluctant to claim something is inefficient but we have strong experimental evidence that management quality in these firms is very low and that better management could more than pay for itself.

Comments

"The Man Who Would Be King" is indeed a great film; I hadn't realized there was a real-life adventurer who may've inspired Kipling's story. And that Harlan was involved with the creation of the US Camel Corps.

Yes, it's a wonderful movie. I love how Masonry ties it all together back to Alexander the Great.

Not all are worthwhile terrible blog. If you hear any news within market of one's blog, appropriate size tire that you post the game.
Accept it or not, that's exactly what Google wants you to do. http://www.xmhxxy.com/comment/html/?60856.html

I don't totally know your tastes, but my wife and I were glad we stuck it out to watch the whole 10 part series. If you do, though, make sure you don't end the last segment while the credits are running. A key thing happens in the last few seconds after the credits.

Which series are you talking about? Homecoming? I loved that series!

Since when did AlexT become Scott Sumner? What does he think of Narcos? The first episode involves the torture murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, 'based on a true story'.

As someone who spent a month as an MBA intern at a (large) textile firm in Gujrat/Rajasthan - the potential for QA and inventory management improvements are huge but even bigger are potential gains by just better strategy.

I did this internship when MFA was about to be repealed, that had a tremendous change in sector and opened markets up. Indian firms were ahead of Bangaldeshi and Chinese firms till that point in so many areas, but their inability to use that opportunity was horrible. They were so disinterested in selling more to west that it was shocking to me. Why are big, strong firms so skeptical of the 'new big opportunity' is understandable but not when it is clear as a daylight that this thing will change your industry.

http://www.oecd.org/site/tadicite/48133866.pdf

https://heartsleevesblog.com/the-changing-landscape-of-the-global-garment-industry-post-mfa-f170d8e3232e

Alex: " I am reluctant to claim something is inefficient but we have strong experimental evidence that management quality in these firms is very low and that better management could more than pay for itself."

And your comments suggest that the Indian consumer economy should be smaller, ie, workers should be paid less so Indians buy less consumer goods in general.

The best economic policy for India is to generate more economic activity outside India, less inside India?

Ie, replicate the US economic policy of the past four decades to make consumers spend less by paying them less to work, mostly by promoting buying imported goods whenever possible to starve US communities of consumer spending.

China actively increases the cost of living, just as the US did as policy from the 30s to the 70s. The American Dream was a much higher cost of living, ie, a car or two parked on land with a 1000 sq-ft house on it, instead of walking from a 600 sq-ft rental for a family of five to the nearby factory, or maybe paying the fare for a trolley ride to the factory.

What is India doing to produce better manafement? Greatly expanded public education, and nearly free job training and college, like the US did as policy from the 30s to 70s? And then US employers devoted lots of money in educating workers, which required costly golden handcuffs to keep cheap employers from poaching trained and experienced workers that cost years and tens of thousands to produce.

(IBM stood for I've Been Moved in the 60s and 70s in "high tech", which was simply "high growth industry" or "manufacturing" back then - sales and marketing simply supported the firm's factories.)

'and that better management could more than pay for itself'

While ensuring that none of the money trickles down to those doing the work, if management American style is a model.

That's correct. No worker in the USA is paid. It's in the Constitution.

So much for trying to be succinct, and not quoting the entire passage after Dickensian - 'Especially striking to an economist , how inefficiently the factory is being run. Quality control, inventory management and maintenance are clearly atrocious. I am reluctant to claim something is inefficient but we have strong experimental evidence that management quality in these firms is very low and that better management could more than pay for itself.'

Then assuming a reader would understand that in terms of pay for the workers, whatever benefits the managers brought would not be reflected in increasing the pay of their workers.

My reaction to "Dickenson" was to think of this week's NPR Ted talk segment by clearly leftist WSJ writer Leslie Chang:
https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=243717512

What Are The Lives of Chinese Factory Workers Really Like?

"GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's the TED Radio Hour from NPR. I'm Guy Raz. And our show today is all about misconceptions. So here's something we all know, right, it absolutely sucks to be a Chinese factory worker. Right?

(SOUNDBITE OF VARIOUS NEWS REPORTS)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: Long hours and low wages. Forced labor, dangerous environment...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: Work environments are dangerous and living conditions are humiliating...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: And a growing number of these workers are either killing themselves or trying to.

RAZ: Leslie Chang was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal in China for 10 years. And she wanted to see for herself if in fact it was so hard to be a worker in a Chinese factory. Here's the opening from her TED talk.

(SOUNDBITE OF TED TALK)

LESLIE T. CHANG: Hi. So I'd like to talk a little bit about the people who make the things we use every day. Our shoes, our handbags, our computers and cellphones. It's taken for granted that Chinese factories are oppressive and that it's our desire for cheap goods that makes them so. So this simple narrative equating Western demand and Chinese suffering is appealing. Especially at a time when many of us already feel guilty about our impact on the world. But it's also inaccurate and disrespectful. Chinese workers are not forced into factories because of our insatiable desire for iPods. They choose to leave their homes in order to earn money, to learn new skills and to see the world.
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Bodyguard is indeed taut, although so riddled with plot flaws (virtually all of which would be spoilers, so I'll refrain from listing them her) that one despairs from its acceptance for the future of plausibility in fiction.

It was a very mediocre show, mostly watchable because I enjoyed Budd's Scottish accent and constantly sad face.

I also enjoyed Bodyguard.

Thanks for the recommendation for the film about the textile factory in Gujarat -- why do you think it gets away with being run so inefficiently?

Greatest liver performance in rock and roll is Woodstock by far. Queen were just a one trick pony.

I dunno man. I saw some pretty impressive liver performances during college parties.

I just finished season 2 of Amazon’s Patriot. It’s funny and at moments reminded me of some Wes Anderson films.

I have generally not found any of the marvel/superhero tv shows to be that great. FX’s legion was alright but I don’t think anybody, including the director and writers, actually know what is going on.

Patriot is pure, undiluted genius. Season 1, at least.

Season 2 contained a lot more useless padding, and had fewer brilliant bits, and spent far too much time trying to insert characters who had no business being there. It should have just created new characters.

Still, it did contain the funniest scene of the whole series ("Guns of Paris" musical bit involving a grocer).

If it had all just been 3-4 episodes tacked on to the end of Season 1, it would have been perfect.

I liked Season 1, and Season 2 has it's moments, but it got a bit too morose.
Some favorite bits would be where Ichibod explains about Romanian accordian boy slavery so that John will have an excuse to shoot someone.

My husband didn't seem to mind that "shield maidens" probably weren't a thing.

>is beginning to show its legs.

Yeah, that's not an expression. Anywhere. Ever. In the history of Earth.

The Last Kingdom is pretty, pretty, pretty.... bad. imo

"Free Solo," the documentary about the first person to climb El Capitan without ropes, is amazing, and deserves to be seen on a big screen. My 13 year old loved it, too.

The ending to Homecoming is contrived and underwhelming. Don't worry about not finishing it.

I enjoyed The Bodyguard, The Last Kingdom, and The Man Who Would Be King, which I haven't seen for a few years. I also enjoyed Shetland and The Stranger, a Korean series.

I think you were way too kind to Crazy Rich Asians. Here is my review, from China Daily, https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Lg9WdsWVERWMxHi_uAUWiw?fbclid=IwAR2LiBJ-D-BcHDFuEowx-C1P-w8tNH3e0Mq_ikF7U8yFudWXivtc9C6Dp4s

Your review (and others in Asia) make the good point that Hollywood apparently thinks Asians should applaud this film (which is a so-so rom-com) because apparently nobody else on the planet has made a film recently with an all Asian cast...

"Best rock concert" is essentially a conversation that can only start with the routine recording and/or broadcasting of rock concerts. So, what you really mean is: best RECORDED rock concert.

Sorry, this is an itch I gotta scratch:
It's Michael Caine, not Michael Kaine.

Yes, now I feel small, but it's been bothering me.

If that spelling could be corrected, I'd feel better. Could this be an opportunity for one of those new service jobs? With the help of a very small computer at Google China, could I correct the internet?

The Man Who Would Be King is a simply splendid film. Brilliantly structured. It begins by warning you that it will end badly, so that when you see how it in fact ended, you're cheered.

Series of tweets about it here, if you like to be reminded: https://twitter.com/Ed_Realist/status/1038641635481907200

Crazy Rich Asians: Does no one (else) think it a total hoot that a movie supposedly so bent on celebrating ethnic Chinese wealth has a name that's clearly designed to scoot its way past the ethnicity censors in America? These aren't Crazy Rich Asians; they're Crazy Rich Chinese.

It is true that it helped with the politically correctness index but that was the title of the book (fortunately.)

considered by many to the greatest live performance in all of rock and roll

Name one person who believes that. As someone who was in high school at the time - the target demographic for rock music - I remember no one being impressed by Queen at Live Aid, they were already considered somewhat embarrassing in the US. A bunch of aging baby boomers have foisted this nonsense on us.

In retrospect those Live Aid concerts seem even more contrived and fatuous than they did at the time.

Here you go:

Queen's iconic performance at Live Aid in July 1985 has been named the world's greatest rock gig in an industry poll.

Jimi Hendrix's appearance at Woodstock in August 1969 came second...

More than 60 artists, journalists and music industry executives contributed to the survey

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4420308.stm

Right, there are many niches and genres and sub-cultures in rock music. Maybe the commenter was in an ardent punk fan group. He's correct that there was a significant group of people who viewed Queen as a kitschy group that exemplified arena rock and found some of their greatest success in coming up with sports stadium chants.

I was pretty close to being one of them. I was in grad school rather than high school, didn't even bother to watch any of those big televised concerts, and although I didn't exactly disdain Queen, I didn't think particularly highly of them at the time.

But over the years I've come to realize that they had some good talents, including Mercury's stage presence. Maybe that concert was even one which started to convert the skeptics and made Queen an easy choice for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I had a similar but more flip-floppy attitude about Led Zeppelin. They pretty much invented the stereotypes about pretentious heavy metal musicians. But I eventually realized that their music kicks butt regardless.

Sports stadium chants yep, pretty funny when "A Knight's Tale" used it at the first joust, just so perfect tongue in cheek moment.

If you're watching The Last Kingdom, you should be watching Vikings, now in it's fifth season. It's better, and told from the perspective of the Vikings, which is more interesting than the usual British perspective on history. The last season is also starting to make some missteps (go away, sexy fighting priest!), but the three interlocking story lines are essentially all solid.

Other things to worth watching:

The Haunting of Hill House
Patriot
The Terror
Outlander (a guilty pleasure)
Deutschland 83 (or 86 for season 2)

Maybe it's my imagination, but that photo of Defoe as van Gogh reminds me of Krugman.

Honestly, did you personally WATCH Queen's performance at LiveAid in 1985.

I think this is one of those things that people are overrating. I remember precisely no one talking about this performance between 1985 and 2010.

I DID watch it live, and I thought it was pretty good. Still do (and maybe it's even great, on rewatching). And maybe it was the best thing that day; most performances at these things are fairly mediocre.

FWIW: the thing that I do remember people talking about back when I was 20 (gasp) was Phil Collins playing at both shows.

Collins also played drums filling in for John Bonham for the Led Zeppelin 'reunion' performance at LiveAid.

Speaking as a drummer (heh), Phil was my main man as a kid.

As someone who spent a month as an MBA intern at a (large) textile firm in Gujrat/Rajasthan - the potential for QA and inventory management improvements are huge but even bigger are potential gains by just better strategy.

I did this internship when MFA was about to be repealed, that had a tremendous change in sector and opened markets up. Indian firms were ahead of Bangaldeshi and Chinese firms till that point in so many areas, but their inability to use that opportunity was horrible. They were so disinterested in selling more to west that it was shocking to me. Why are big, strong firms so skeptical of the 'new big opportunity' is understandable but not when it is clear as a daylight that this thing will change your industry. http://www.kedaimovie.club

Does anyone tell the truth about rock stars?

I hate movies with all those close ups. A Star is Born was almost unwatchable.

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