I’m split about J. Edgar

J. Edgar

It’s not too often I’ll go see a movie based on the star, but Leonardo DiCaprio is usually a good choice. With J. Edgar, it looked like a great story about the troubled man who made the FBI into the law enforcement power it is today, so off I went to see it.

Acting

As J. Edgar Hoover, DiCaprio conveyed the frailty of the man with his mother, the overcompensating dominance with those in the bureau/politics, and the extreme paranoia against anything foreign, especially communism. I found it hard to feel for Hoover since he rarely let his emotions show, outside of anger.

Armie Hammer, as Hoover’s long-time second in command, had much more of an emotional role to play. As a man who was so clearly devoted to Hoover, he always seemed to have to keep him in check when he got out of line, but he hardly faltered, even though Hoover never really showed the affection he wanted until they were old men.

Makeup

Since the story took place across two different times, when the characters were younger and old, a lot of makeup magic was needed to make sure the characters looked like their real life counterparts. As an older Hoover, they did a tremendous job on DiCaprio. Aside from a few scenes he looked as close to the real man as they could make him. On the complete opposite side of the spectrum was Hammer’s makeup. As an older Tolson, his face looked like it had a blob of plastic thrown on with slits for a mouth and eyes. It unfortunately took away from the movie as I was distracted every time he was on screen.

Plot

My biggest issue with the movie was the story. I’m not sure what they had in mind, but to me it seemed like a 2hr, 17 min dump of everything that happened to hoover from the time he began his rise to his death. The lack of focus along with the sometimes awkward jumps back and forth in time made it hard to stay focused and into the story.

Finally…

In the end I could forgive some of the bad makeup and the acting was brilliant, but the neverending story simply made this movie boring for me. Since I’m so torn, I give J. Edgar a 2.5/5.

If you saw the movie, what did you think?

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Conflicted over the G20 conflicts

This weekend’s G20 in Toronto saw some of the most astonishing acts I’ve ever seen in my city. My feelings on what happened are quite conflicted and I’m sure many Torontonians are feeling the same.

I’m all for people peacefully protesting for causes they believe in; this is a right we all have, living in a democratic country. At the beginning, many of the protesters were in fact being peaceful from what I could see on TV. If this continued, I’m sure the police wouldn’t have acted as much as they eventually did. It was only when the infamous Black Bloc decided to join in, that everything decided to hit the fan.

It’s now common knowledge that these thugs aren’t there to protest for any cause, but to cause damage and incite rioting. After all of this happened, the police were taking no chances with protesters, blocking them off at all points and trying to disperse them wherever they could. At this point, I fully supported the actions taken by the police and G20 security forces, however it would’ve been much more advantageous to all if they’d stopped them before causing the damage . It’s very easy to judge forces on their actions, but I’m sure it’s much more difficult for them to plan on where/when they’ll specifically attack.

They did step up their take down of others, after the fact, who had changed out of their black garb and into regular civilian clothing. With all the surveillance downtown, many were probably caught and in other seemingly non-violent protests, the police took out individuals they deemed suspicious.

Many say they were attacking innocent people but if they have intelligence that rioters are texting to mobilize troops then it makes sense to take out people texting. I wasn’t there and I’m sure there are those who will disagree with me, but if police are also telling people to repeatedly to back away and they don’t? Well that that also gives them reasonable cause to take action, in my opinion.

On Sunday night there were many people who were held up at Spadina Avenue & Queen Street West for about four hours. Quite a few, even members of the media, were detained or arrested. The thing is, most of these people weren’t protesting anything, but say they were just in the area. The question that I asked all weekend was, if you’re not protesting anything, why are you putting yourself in such close vicinity of the officers who you know are arresting people who get too close? Many people would’ve solved much strife by listening, or just staying home. That being said, many of these people were held in the pouring rain for much of the time and not provided with any kind of shelter – that’s not acceptable. What’s even less acceptable was the fact that after holding people for so long, they eventually let many go since they had no space for them in the chartered TTC buses. It just goes to show they had no legitimate reason to hold them to begin with.

It’s been said many times, but these meetings, where nothing new is apparently done, should be taking place at the UN or on secure military bases, if they insist on having it in a different country each time. The over $1 billion cost to tax payers is ridiculous coming from a summit that is supposed to discuss creating a more fiscally sound world economy. That money, as we all know, could go to countless different causes and make many peoples’ lives better. And what about the cost of repairs to many businesses who have had their facades destroyed and others who have had to close for security reasons? I didn’t have feelings either way toward this summit until it came to my city, but now I wish it never did.

Please check out the Toronto Star’s photo blog on the G20 protests.

No place for cheap talkin’

Last night I made a trip back to Centennial College where I spent the majority of my life after high school. No it wasn’t for a class, but for Talk is Cheap,¬† an UN-conference put on by the Corporate¬† Communications & PR students.

The sessions

We got there a little late so ended up missing the opening discussion on Social Media & Haiti but fortunately I was able to make it to School Board Social Media with T.J Goertz and Stuart Oakley from the TDSB; Being a Community Manager with Mary Pretotto from Rogers (obviously); and finally I’m not here to make friends! with Jaime Woo.

School Board Social Media:

I want to say any time I see anything to do with the government taking part in social media they automatically get kudos from me. It’s important that the TDSB is getting out there and providing that outlet where there was was none before.¬† The most active forum I found the TDSB takes part in is their blog; here is where they answer questions/concerns the most. The Facebook/Twitter presence is great, but my biggest criticism (and I noticed a couple in the twitter stream felt the same way) is the lack of conversation; this isn’t a big knock – it comes with time. Starting small (actually being there) is the important step. As long as questions are being answered on the Facebook and Twitter pages I see no fault in what they’re doing. Eventually though it’s important to build and promote that conversation (questions, contests, etc.) and not just answer concerns in a reactive way.

Being a community manager:

My co-worker Mary Pretotto is the Community Manager on the Social Media team here at Rogers. You likely know her as @RogersMary and she’s out there engaging with Rogers customers on Twitter, Forums, Blogs and wherever else she needs to be. The gist of her presentation dealt with building that relationship with customers online and turning it into a positive one (if negative before). She broke down how the team is separated into proactive (ie. RedBoard blog posts) and reactive outreach (ie. Twitter, forums), but engagement online is done by different members of the team, depending on the issue. Come question time it was interesting (and a bit surprising) to see the majority were professionals looking to incorporate or grow social media at their organizations. They were looking out to Rogers for guidance and best practices. It went well and I can’t wait to see her present again! (As you may know I currently work at Rogers, but I’m not a spokesperson – this is just “In Sean’s Opinion” – heh.)

I’m not here to make friends:

Jaime Woo‘s presentation compared how people use Twitter to various reality show scenarios. The title was a bit misleading, as someone brought up during question time, because the entire presentation was about how to engage and make friends on Twitter. Once over that hump, the analogies began making a little more sense. It essentially boiled down to: be real on Twitter, being fake leads to high school (or reality show) drama, and share as much as you want, but within reason.

In the end

It was a fun time heading back to Centennial for the first time since graduation. The CC&PR class put on a great event and it went off without a hitch. I can’t wait til next year!

Rewriting Canada’s national anthem

There’s much discussion on the Internets, radio and TV about the Canadian Government taking a look into complaints about our national anthem. Yes, taxpayer money is being spent looking into and possibly changing our national anthem because of the line “True patriot love in all thy sons command”… okay well specifically the one word in that line – “sons“. They say it’s not inclusive enough to women – which on a certain level is true, but if we changed that, should we start making other changes? Maybe we should change the part where it says “God keep our land glorious and free!” because I’m sure a few people are offended by that – I don’t see that happening, though.

I’m not always the biggest supporter of nationalism, but Canadians just finished showing the world how we’re united and proud, singing our anthem at curling matches for goodness sake; what terrible optics this “debate” gives off.

Optics aside, we’re attempting to recover from one of the worst financial meltdowns ever, plus there are always those other pesky issues with poverty, health care or education that always demand attention and we’re focusing on verbiage in a song. Let’s move on and deal with things that actually matter.

Where do you stand on the national anthem debate?

For your added amusement (or pain) check out Classified’s version of Oh Canada. I hope this doesn’t end up becoming our national anthem – we can all agree on that, I’m sure:

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