Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps

The sequel to an awesome film from the 80s with the catchphrase Greed is Good, said by Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas (of Catherine Zeta Jones fame). We see the aftermath of Mr. Gekko's downfall, his time repaid to the state and he emerges like a phoenix from the ashes, reborn, as a bear, you know the type. they're the type who say every indicator indicates a catastrophe, and every sign is pointing down. He tells the world, that well, the world is going to end, and you're Fraked.

What does this mean for you, dear viewer? Nothing much really. The sequel, Money Never Sleeps, reminds me of a quainter time, a less frantic time, where people loved each other because of some idealistic moral compass, when Greed actually was good and not world ending. And above all else, it reminded me of a time when movies were great because they had a story to tell. If I had to distill it down into a nucleus, this movie is probably trying to be a love story. But of what we never really know, of money? Of capitalism? Of the girl? Of something we can never attain? And to simply be blunt, it's not a great movie. Why? It tried to be a bad movie. The special effects looked like it was lifted from the 80s. But y'know slightly slicker. The plot, was beyond predictable. There was literally a point in the movie when I said in my head – "He is going to be F***ed" and just 3 minutes later, he was f***ed. And not even in any spectacular way, but via phonecall from a hapless scientist who never received the money. I mean really. Did the viewer think it was going to be any different?

The two lead characters, played by Carey Mulligan and Shia Le Boeuf were… interesting. They definitely weren't great and at one point I actually wondered if I believed that they were really in love. But I like to give them credit and say that they were actually trying to be realistic, i.e. this is how a real person would probably act if faced with the world ending financial crisis, y'know not well. Carey's acting is passable and it's really fun watching her emote her way to an expression, and Shia comes from the Legolas school of acting, where it's feels as though he's got to tell his face to say the words "F*** You" and then he'll say the words "F*** You". But all in all, it makes for an … interesting performance, certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but you can't help but feel that you need a bit more acting to believe it. They were too real, to make for good entertainment.

The star, by miles, though was Michael Douglas, the years have not slowed him down, and he still has the cut throat look of a shark out to eat your limbs for lunch. His performance, will remain forever in my heart as one of the finest by a??villain??ever. But you cannot help but feel that he is slightly let down by his fellow cast members as well as though he had to prove that he needed to finish the story of this great character. Frank Langella, as the vaguely manic boss who is backstabbed by his old colleague is amazing but??gratuitous??as the only reason why Shia's character needs to stay angry throughout the film, and at some point you kind of forget he ever existed which is a shame as his performance, as with any Langella performance was sublime. And finally, that fogey old man? Who whistles? He's a little scene stealer every time he shows up.

The cinematography and the editing though were hit and miss, and many a time I was wondering why on earth did they pick this angle to shoot this scene, or felt generally distracted with the choice of wider shots that distract your attention from the action actually happening on the screen. As I said, it feels as if this film is of a different time, and maybe just maybe so is the choice of direction and story line. I liked the film, and I loved Gordon Gekko, but do I want to rewatch this film? Not really. Do I recommend you run out and go watch it? Not really, despite it's redeeming qualities, the overall package made for a predictable and slightly boring ride, which is quite a feat, considering how ridiculous the 2008 crash actually is when you think about it.

3/5 Stars

Op Ed: Gen Y can’t "settle down"? Why should we settle in the first place?

From my title you can already tell that this is not a happy smiling blogpost. My generation, a local newspaper is asserting, is basically a bunch of children who do not have the self-control or faculties to lead a normal balanced lifestyle that the GRAND OL' GOLDEN years have led. This article, found in a local free newspaper, has basically reduced an entire generation of people into a cliche. One that needs a condescending smile and maybe years of group therapy to protect and hopefully, save.

This article engages several professionals to provide possible reasons for not "settling down", vis-a-vis "economic downturn, high youth unemployment, the extended "post-retirement" employment of seniors, the longer time needed for career preparation, the availability of funds for longer periods of education, as well as a greater variety of life options". And as you read through it makes the apparently strong counter point about how individual choice and having a "'me-first' mentality" which thrives on "instant gratification" seems to have caused this problem. I must categorically state that this is completely flawed and must be the wrong conclusion that is to be drawn from the statements made by these academics. I assert that whilst the economic downturn etc. may have caused this problem, we should not make it sound as though some how all these issues have have merely a passing relationship with the issues at hand. They're linked in the important sense that the world has changed, and with it comes changed circumstances, but making it out like Gen Y is choosing to be individualistic is patronising, and ultimately, wrong.

I posit a new paradigm, a more feasible and ultimately less denigrating paradigm. Maybe the new normal is constant movement. And people who don't want to and cannot accept that are unable to accept the new reality of today, one that REQUIRES the ability to rapidly shift from one point to the next, and one where, the ability to think outside of hierarchy, the routine and the norm is highly valued, and required for success. Perhaps we cannot expect a settled life in this 21st century world where, Dubai is 7 hours away, London 12, and a mere 24 hours notice is required before you need to pack a bag for 6 meetings in 4 different locations, across 5 different time zones, with 9 airlines, and you're expected to return in 72 hours ready for a full day of work.

Could it be that our generation's so called inability to settle down is an example of a new settling. That we are no longer bound as our parents were to one position and one spot for the rest of our lives. I can bore you endlessly with examples. But here's one that's personal to me, my parents'. They have had an inability to stay put for years now, because the competitive field at their level of work is highly intense and jobs often require constant movement, and working in different countries in wholly different fields and in wholly different situations is not only desirable but normal. Is it a sign that their lives are unsettled and somehow unplanned, or worse that they are having a period of extended adolescence? Of course not. They're merely doing exactly what it is their situation compels them to. And herein lies the point that makes me most riled up. Every generation will do exactly what it needs to do to advance their own agenda. If the previous generation needed to stay in one job and work their way to the top to succeed, who's to say that this generation needs a new model for success?

What this article presented as news, and as fact, is merely an example of writing for an agenda. The article hides behind it's databut does not deal with the real issue at hand. Singaporean Men are getting married later in their lives, is that because they're immature and don't want to settle down, or maybe it's because Singaporean women are gaining more success in their careers and no longer need to be married off quickly and get settled down. Career restlessness? What about thinking of it along the lines of, the jobs just aren't that satisfying, the work isn't that great, or even turning it around, there's just better opportunity in other jobs, that the person can put himself to greater use and hopefully to greater gain. This article makes no attempt to present the numbers in an unbiased fashion but chooses to be controversial and ultimately one-sided.

Finally, this article is a smorgasbord of cherry picked quotes, particularly in its choice of interviewing the 23 year old graduate. It felt completely shaped and self serving. He is merely one example of a person who personifies the long list of issues plaguing our youth and to somehow single him out as an example of what is ultimately presented as failure, is patently wrong. What if he's waiting for an opportunity? What if he simply doesn't want a job and wants to spend some time relaxing, because he knows he's not going to have an opportunity to do so for the next 20 years. And we do not know that he's doing this as part of a "me-first" mentality, he could be spending more time helping his parents, caring for his siblings, doing social work. The article even uses his quote to contrast against his friends, who are getting married and are getting HDBs, but the question that needs to be asked is what if they're abnormal, what if their marriage ends in chaos because again of those issues highlighted above, the final quote this 23 year old says is the most revealing " Getting a job would give me more certainty in life, but it will not make me feel more settled", even in this we see exactly my point, we can no longer rely on the idealised vision of what we can or should do and ultimately must create our own vision of the future. We do not need to look very far to realise that this person, as uninspired as he may be, is wholly unexceptional, and more importantly, is not presented in a fashion that explains why we should take him as proof positive of our collective generational failings.

I am ultimately disappointed by this article, the fact that it was felt important enough that it deserved front page billing and yet is riddled with holes and incoherence makes me wonder what the editorial process actually is at this local newspaper.

Rome Again

Spending time with a friend in a foreign country often has the effect of making a friend become a dear friend. And my Winter Trip to Rome has certainly made Marina, my dear Friend. Even though we are now fast approaching the next winter, I have learnt that there is nothing more fun and more fulfilling than simply spending some time with no expectation of a great time or of failure.??

Marina let me loose on the land, on the land I've grown to love and adore. It was a grittier experience this time when I got to feel the rain on my face, the travel of the people, the supermarkets and the nooks, crannies and various other corners. I found my inspiration for the greatest piece of work I've put together for my University life thus far from a piece of fish. I made tiramisu in the dead of the night and finally flew away with a pain in my heart and a promise to return.