The Great Gatsby May, 2013, Directed by Baz Luhrmann Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire Rated: PG-13 Review: 8 / 10
By Doug Lane
There is no better time for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic The Great Gatsby to be remade for modern audiences. The themes that pervaded Fitzgerald’s life in the roaring twenties are still relevant in 21st century. And who better to bring this story to a modern audience than the same man who brought Romeo + Juliet to that same audience back in 1996. Baz Luhrmann’s aesthetic choices may falter at times, but for the majority of the movie, they hit their marks with precision.
Luhrmann is a very visceral director, allowing the scenery to shape his characters. His films are always bright and vivid; they appeal to our visual sensories. Imagine seeing Oz turn to color for the first time, and that’s the atmosphere Luhrmann likes to create. This sometimes gaudy sense of atmosphere can sometimes come at the expense of the characters, but in The Great Gatsby, the two work in a mutual relationship.
Luhrmann’s film starts out slow for the first half hour, allowing the movie to settle on our disenchanted narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire). Then immediately following, the movie sprints forward, perhaps leaving some of the audience disoriented. The scenes look great, but Luhrmann packs as much exposition into these following few minutes before slowing way down again. This effect creates confusion as to what's happening on the screen. While this misstep is a minor one, it’s a repeated problem.
Bioshock Infinite Developer: Irrational Games Publisher: 2K Games Date of release: March 26 Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, OS X forthcoming in summer
By Doug Lane
The greatest trick of Bioshock Infinite is the idea that it’s just a video game. If anything, Bioshock Infinite transcends familiar conventions and delivers something entirely different.
Very rarely while playing this game did I think it was just a video game. I didn’t recognize myself sitting in my 3rd story apartment with a 27-inch flat screen television, grasping a PS3 controller. No, I was living the video game. I felt the anxiety and confusion upon seeing the city of Columbia flying above the air in 1912. I felt the cool breeze whispering throughout the city. I felt awe and insignificance at the towering city and it’s inhabitants, and how they had found their Eden. These things weren’t merely felt but lived.
The immersion of this game is a rare quality barely felt in any form of media. From the very opening mission, you get lost within Columbia. Details such as the shrines of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to hummingbirds buzzing around flowers are not escaped. I constantly found myself just wandering around the city, studying the miniscule details such as propaganda posters and toys at the shopping mall.
The player assumes control of Booker DeWitt (Troy Baker), an ex-military agent whose debt gets him way over his head. “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt” is constantly reminding Booker throughout his trip to Columbia. The girl is Elizabeth (Courtnee Draper)—the “lamb of the prophet,” a Christ-like figure prophesied to bring Columbia to glory. With her big, beady eyes, her engaging wit and charm, and an optimism that seems unbreakable, Elizabeth is the perfect foil for Booker. Locked up in her tower with only a limited literary understanding of the world, she thinks she understands the horror of the world. But this is no Disney movie.
It's been a busy weekend around here taking advantage of the nice weather to get some things done around the house after being out of town on business all week. I've been fixing, mending, painting, welding, cleaning, weeding, shoveling, raking, and producing video too.
Tonight's musical interlude is Brave Combo, who will be playing a free concert in Lewisville June 11th as part of the Sounds of Lewisville. Best part about the free concert: Not having to see those goofy graphics from the video.
Speaking of the City Council, Councilman Neil Ferguson offered this update by Facebook: TJ Gilmore and I made the rapid turnaround trip to Austin on Monday to meet with the Chair of the House Environmental Regulations Committee along with Rep. Ron Simmons regarding HB1873 (Camelot Landfill expansion) that Ron authored for our benefit. Also joining us were Carrollton Mayor Matthew Marchant, the Carrollton City Manager, TCEQ execs including the DFW regional director, plus House Representative's staff and a consultant for Carrollton. It was a full conference table. Might have hoped for a more clearly positive result, but have no doubt that we what we accomplished along with Carrollton was vitally important. The job is far from done, but very glad we all went. Somewhere on TJ's phone are pictures we took of each other on the north side of the capitol as proof we made it there.
In New York, parents are concerned that student data is being shared with private companies providing information services. One of those companies is a subsidiary of News Corporation, which owns Fox News, and was recently embroiled in scandal over privacy violations for hacking voicemails.
Laurence Lessig says we need to reclaim the Republic from the “Lesters” - the small percentage of Americans providing the funding for political campaigns, and the people to whom politicians seem to be beholden.
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am your firefighter. I'm the one who shows up at the firehouse for my shift, and I'm the one who shows up when the pager goes off. If we passed each other on the street, you most likely wouldn't recognize me. My face may not be familiar. But rest assured, I am your firefighter. I am a brother; a sister; a mom and a dad; a son and a daughter; and, yes, a grandfather and grandmother.
I am writing to you in an effort to clear up some misinformation. You may have heard lately that firefighters make too much money or don't want to respond when the rooftop siren on the firehouse wails, that they don't care and have lost their grip on the true meaning of being a firefighter. Rest assured, they haven't. They still very much do care and do more to stand that post than ever before. We train in the skills of firefighting; emergency medical services; hazardous materials; specialized rescue; and, yes, in weapons of mass destruction. The list is long and can range from the basic to extremely technical. We do not sit around the firehouse and play checkers like you may have read in a children's book. We stand ready to respond to your emergency no matter what it is. You see, I am your firefighter.
We sleep in a firehouse or with a pager next to our bed at home, ready at any moment to respond to someone in need. Our response to those who need us is done so without prejudice. We don't perform a credit check or make you submit an application. We respond to your needs immediately without regard as to who you are or what status you carry in the community. We take care of the wealthy and the homeless, and we will treat your children, your grandmother, and your home or business as if they were our own. This is not a practiced or trained skill but a way of life for your firefighter. To us, it's not a job or even a profession; it's a calling--one that involves the thrill of helping others in their time of need. You see, I am your firefighter.
A colleague of mine quipped the other day that the only religion he believes in is his own. "Sure," I countered. "You piously believe in your own opinion."
Which pretty much sums up every debate I've ever had on religion. Liberals will tell you Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jewish hippie who hated money and communed with the outcasts of Roman society. He threatened the status quo and was executed for it. From this narrative "real Christianity" means challenging authority and helping the poor and the disenfranchised. It's an all-inclusive religion based on tolerance and peace. Also they're vehemently opposed to capital punishment.
Conservatives will tell you Jesus battled Satan. They see Satan everywhere: Muslims, Jews, Communists, single women, sex, homosexuals, hippies, Satanists, Atheists, rock music, rap music, facial hair, the Pope, Obama, government spending, China, drug use and (the one I'm totally on board with) yoga. In their Bible there's war and punishment. There are rules, and if you follow them you don't incur god's wrath. It's simple, it's rigid and it's biblical. "Tolerance" is code for Christians being persecuted for their beliefs. Also, Jesus loved guns.
The calendar says Monday is April first, but lately it seems that foolishness occurs year-round.
As one who devoted much of his life to the family business of pranking people, I'm often asked if folks are more difficult to trick today than six decades ago when my dad, Allen Funt, invented "Candid Camera." After all, we're now so dialed in and media savvy, certainly we're less susceptible to jokes—practical or otherwise.
Fact is, people are more easily tricked than ever.
Multi-tasking has a lot to do with it; hardly any moments remain when we focus our complete attention on just one thing. We're easily distracted, and any magician will tell you that distraction is the key to fooling people. Also, technology has made such incredible leaps that almost anything seems possible, and thus believable.
But the perfect storm for chicanery is in media. Ease of access via the Internet, coupled with speedy distribution that leaves fact-checkers in the dust, is creating a robust market for fake news—if you like that sort of thing. How difficult can it be to fool Americans at a time when an alarming percentage of them tell pollsters they use Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" as a primary source for news?
Very pleased to announce the results of the City of Lewisville’s 2013 Warrant Round Up conducted February 18th through March 10th. The short story is that it was a success, and actually a bigger success than last year.
The stats for this year are: Total arrests = 695; Total Gross $ Collected = $161,115.83, and Total Face Value Cleared (which means jail credit/bonds posted) = $295,453.61. By comparison, 2012 results were: Total arrests made = 672; Total Gross $ Collected = $153,079.51; Total Face Value Cleared = $277,713.10.
Outstanding job by all who made this happen, with the obvious lion’s share of credit going to our excellent Lewisville Police Department. Great job by the Lewisville Municipal Court as well.
The Lewisville Texan Journal invited all candidates for the Lewisville City Council to complete a questionnaire so that we and our readers could understand their experience, qualifications, and points of view. We will present each candidate's answers in full in their own articles here.
Representatives of law enforcement agencies and courts from approximately 300 jurisdictions across Texas recently announced combined efforts to host the seventh annual “Great Texas Warrant Roundup” beginning Saturday, March 2.
The roundup is designed to target thousands of defendants with traffic, parking, city ordinance, penal code and higher charge warrants from participating jurisdictions. It is believed to be the largest joint operation of its kind with arrests expected to continue for several days. Hundreds of thousands of notices were recently mailed statewide by participating entities.
Numerous counties, justices of the peace, constables and municipalities of all sizes will participate in the roundup.
Specific information as to the number of outstanding warrants, how to take care of warrants prior to arrest, and any other special roundup activities or events may be obtained by contacting the representative for each agency. Affected persons are urged to contact the appropriate jurisdiction or jurisdictions during the next two weeks to dispose of their cases voluntarily to avoid the inconvenience of arrest at home, work, or school. The City of Lewisville Municipal Court can be contacted at (972) 219-3799.