The Internship

June 30, 2013 at 6:19 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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This Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn vehicle is more of a sports film than a technology film. The Internship is about how one team of mis-matched unwanted geeks learn to work together and win the team internship challenge at Google.

Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) are two out of work salesman who sense that the writing on the wall for a ‘bricks’ and decide to get on the ‘clicks’ bandwagon. They talk themselves onto the Google summer intern programme.

It turns out to be a team challenge: the team of interns who comes out on top will all be guaranteed jobs at Google. Things look bad when the guys end up on the team of leftovers – interns that no other team wanted, because they were seen as being weak performers or lacking in social skills (given that these are all geeks, the team collectively has a pretty low Emotional Intelligence rating). Billy and Vaughn of course have a massive learning curve – because they know nothing about technology. But they are good with people and selling, and have lots of life-knowledge; they end up leading the team.

At first, as with any sport film, the team does not do so good, but once the team bonds – a quidditch against the ‘mean’ team and fight at a night club – they start ‘kicking butt’. There is the usual hiccup or two along the way when Billy and Nick are separately tempted back to their previous lives as salesman. Heck, Billy and Nick, especially Nick, put the mental skills they honed learning up about their clients, to learning about technology.

Google may have great products, but Google still need people who understand the products and the associated value proposition, and can sell it. Which is what Billy and Nick do at the end.

Rose Byne (Dana – a Google executive) ends up playing the love interest.

I expected some real cringe moments, and there were some. But they were all related to Billy and Nicks’ in sales. They were crass, crude, and unnecessary – a lazy way to show the bad side of sales and the toilet humour did the film no favours.

The film posed a number of questions, and I would like to share my personal answers to two of them:

  • Is it alright for an intern to take food home?

    This question should never come up, because interns should be spending 24 hours on the campus. ‘Home’ is just where you tell your mum where you are staying! [Food is free on the Google campus]

  • Can we make emacs the default editor for unbuntu?

    Noed and vi forever 🙂

This film makes a great fist of creating a form of quidditch for muggles.

The Great Gatsby

June 16, 2013 at 10:23 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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Saw the remake of the The Great Gatsby the other night at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington.

Plot elements discussed

I have not read the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, nor the Robert Redford film, so I was not sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. The 142 minute film held my interest and attention.

It is a love triangle as seen and described by the cousin of the girl. The ‘girl’ is Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan); the other points of the triangle are Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) and Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio); and the cousin is Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire). The Buchanans are ‘old money’ and Gatsby is ‘new money’ – so ‘new’ that it is a little ‘dirty’. In the end it is Gatsby’s obsession that leads to his downfall, and it is Carraway’s humanity that is his.

The story is set in the 20’s – prohibition, colourful times, and jazz music. The scenery is amazing, conspicuous consumption by the rich is the norm: amazing gardens and every party a production. The rich are very self absorbed and isolated from everyday life.

I found that the 3D did not add to the story, at times it was a distraction.

Flow State

June 16, 2013 at 9:03 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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as always, the beginning of the ski season – in New Zealand – is marked by the screening of Warren Millar’s latest ski epic. This year it was named Flow State.

It is packed with the usual amazing snow scenery and ski-and-board action. Well it is normal by Warren Millar standards the rest of us just dream.

The heli-ski action is just amazing.

This year there is more footage from the perspective of the skiers and boarders – the cost, size, quality of helmet / chest mounted cameras coming down, coming down, and yet going up.

This year was also a first in two other aspects: patriotism and global warming. It looks like the ski resort of Vale was originally the training base for the 10th Mountain Division during World War II. One Nordic / Alpine skiing sequence was only possible because the winter pack ice had retreated from the Nordkinn Pennisula, and they were able to sail a yacht up the fiord.

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