Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Secret of Kells: Movie Review

C & I saw The Secret of Kells tonight at the Bijou (it's not yet out on DVD), and it was a delight. This animated feature combined realistic drama—Irish monasteries under attack by Vikings in the 8th century—with Irish myth. We've seen stories of Irish myth combined with realism filmed with enchanting results in The Secret of Roan Inish and Into the West, but never by an animated film. The visuals were spectacular, unlike anything produced by the American studios. The figures were highly stylized and geometrical. (It reminded me of the art of Tommie de Paola, but my date differs with me on this.) The music, all manner of Irish music, worked well with the film, and the mythic and realistic portions of the story meshed to create a seamless narrative. At one point we see the main character battling an ouroboros. A film for the Jung at heart! I must say that this film is not for young children. The Northmen (Norsemen, Vikings) are scary, and the film portrays vividly the fear and destruction that these marauding warrior wrought. If you have children who can deal with these haunting images (also attacking wolves), I highly recommend this film for them as well as the adults in the family. Having seen Up! and The Fantastic Mr. Fox, I can say that this film presents the best visual fare, truly incredible, and probably the best entire package of an animated film (although I must say that I did like Mr. Fox and friends). Highly recommended.

Taleb Meets Erwan Le Corre

Taleb hooked-up with Erwan Le Corre, and here (127—"Learning From Erwan Le Corre & Robust Exercise") Taleb writes about his encounter. Mr. Wild Fitness meets Mr. Mathematical/Skeptical/Literate/Philosopher, and the later (Taleb) sings the praises of Le Corre's regime. This should come as no surprise, as Taleb came onto the idea of evolutionary (or paleo) fitness from Art Devany, one of the founders of the movement. Check out this Youtube and this one of Le Corre to get a sense of what he's about. It looks fun and makes a lot of sense. It provides some food for thought for us gym rats and perhaps even yogis.


Some quick notes on Le Corre:

  1. From the fact that one shot shows him running across an aqueduct, the seashore shots, and that he's French, I'll be those scenes were shot in the south of France, Provence, perhaps. In any event, the countryside looks beautiful to me, one of the places I'd definitely like to go and hang. We drove through Provence once, but at about 100 mph, which detracted from my ability to enjoy the scenery.
  2. Le Corre's MovNat seems a lot like parkour, only in the wild. Both look like a great deal of fun.
  3. All this makes me eager for summer to come & perhaps some time to put on my Five Fingers and go out hiking. The res isn't Provence, but it has some good hiking opportunities.

Krugman: The Emperor Has Few Clothes

In his column today, Krugman discusses financial reform, and he makes a point worth repeating: the financial sector has become a huge portion of the economy without adding a great deal of real value. Krugman argues that the financial sector doesn't do nearly as much as they claim. Indeed, of late, they've mostly just gambled with our money. As someone who does not make widgets, and whose "product" is relationships (legal), I understand that our contemporary economy might be dubbed "beyond widgets". Somewhere, however, you have to make and sell stuff. It's great and crucial to allocate capital and make investments, but these activities have to amount to more than Ponzi schemes. Krugman's article reinforces my belief that measuring economic well-being by dollar signs, or even by the sheer amount of stuff that one has, doesn't provide an accurate portrayal of well-being; in fact, it creates a deceptive measure of well-being.