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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Comments Off on Oscars 2017: Moonlight won best picture (eventually), but is it actually any good?

Oscars 2017: Moonlight won best picture (eventually), but is it actually any good?

Oscars 2017: Moonlight won best picture (eventually), but is it actually any good?

Andre Holland as Kevin and Trevante Rhodes as Black on Moonlight. Alex Hibbert (left) as Chiron and Mahershala Ali as Juan.
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Mahershala Ali poses in the press room with the award for best actor in a supporting role for “Moonlight” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) Photo: Jordan Strauss

By now, the entire Western world knows they gave the best picture Oscar (briefly at least) to the wrong film on Monday. But what about the flipside of that equation? Did they eventually give it to the right one?

Most cinemagoers can’t answer that question because Moonlight is one of the least-seen best picture winners in Oscar history.

In , it has taken barely $1 million since opening on 26 screens a month ago. With the average n ticket costing $13.60, that’s about 74,000 paying customers.

In the US, it had taken $US23 million ($A30 million) by Oscar day. Their average ticket price is $US8.73, suggesting an audience of 2.63 million or so. Even so, that’s just 0.82 per cent of the population.

Only one best picture winner – The Hurt Locker, in 2010 – had done less business than Moonlight at the time of its win, a shade under $US15 million (worldwide, and mostly post-Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War film eventually crawled to $US49 million). La La Land, by contrast, has so far taken $US369 million.

In all the confusion and excitement over Monday’s stuff-up, it was easy to lose sight of how significant Moonlight’s win really was – and not just because of the money.

This is a morally and formally challenging movie about a young gay black man journeying from bullied child to troubled teen to gangsta. How many gay black men have you seen on film before? How many gay black gangsters?

The central character, Chiron (pronounced Shy-rone), is played by three different actors at three different ages: as a boy of eight or so, nicknamed Little (Alex Hibbert); as a teenager (Ashton Sanders); and as a grown man who has taken the name Black (Trevante Rhodes).

All three performances are remarkable, though it was Mahershala Ali who won the best supporting actor Oscar for his turn as Juan, the Miami drug dealer who becomes a kind of father figure and, eventually, role model for the fatherless and near-enough motherless Little after rescuing him from a gang of neighbourhood bullies.

The story is structured in three acts (the screenplay was adapted from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unproduced play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue; McCraney and director Barry Jenkins also won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay) but it is totally filmic, playing with framing, focus, light and sound to create a picture of dislocation, disorientation, fractured identity. The very structure of the thing helps us understand Chiron never had a chance to become whole.

Moonlight doesn’t glamorise the drug life, but it does probe beneath the cliches to suggest that sometimes a dealer may be something other than a monster (it is, though, a lot less forgiving of addicts, presumably because its crack-addicted mother is drawn so closely from McCraney’s and Jenkins’ own life experiences).

To return for a moment to the messy business of money: Moonlight reportedly cost just $1.5 million to make. It could hardly be at a greater remove from the bloated budgets and empty effects of so much Hollywood moviemaking. And at that price, it’s already looking like a canny bit of business for Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B, which has just collected its second best picture Oscar in four years (after 12 Years a Slave in 2014), and its fourth straight nomination in the category.

After two years of #oscarssowhite controversy, there was a whiff this year of an over-correction. Certainly the presence of Hidden Figures – crowd-pleaser though it is – among the best picture nominees was a surprise, and Fences was more deserving of a Tony than an Oscar (Viola Davis’ win was thoroughly deserved, though).

But there was nothing tokenistic about Moonlight’s success. It’s as bold, brave and innovative a piece of filmmaking as you’re likely to see this year.

All that’s left now is for people to do just that. See it.

Karl Quinn is on facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on twitter @karlkwin

Comments Off on The new investment strategy that’s better than index funds

The new investment strategy that’s better than index funds

The new investment strategy that’s better than index funds

Core plus satellite could be a winning investment strategy. Photo: AP Photo/ESA/HOYou’ve probably come across the term “index tracking” – I’ve written about it extensively in this column.
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At its simplest, it’s buying the returns of the market cheaply. The idea has been around for a very long time, but it’s the advent of exchange traded funds (ETFs) that has made index investing popular.

ETFs track the returns of all sorts of markets and are listed on the n sharemarket with units in them bought and sold just like shares.

And they are cheap with management fees a fraction of a per cent.

However, there is a danger that anyone who buys an ETF that tracks the n sharemarket, for example, ends up investing in the 10 or so largest stocks by market capitalisation – the stocks that dominate our market.

The n sharemarket is top-heavy by international standards; a few large stocks at the top with a long tail of minnow stocks.

Investing in an ETF tracking the largest 200 n-listed companies means investing in the big banks and the big miners – hardly a diversified investment strategy.

But there is an idea called core plus satellite – where there’s a core of low-cost index trackers with satellites added – that may give investors the best solution of all.

The satellites could be those active managers who have a good chance of more than earning their fees as study after study shows that most don’t earn their fees.

They could be shares themselves – growth shares for those who are still accumulating their savings and want share price growth, or income stocks, the big dividend payers for those who need income.

I asked Tim Murphy, director of manager research at investment researcher Morningstar, how the strategy could work in practice.

He says the actual splits between core and satellite will depend on the asset class and the growth versus defensive split based on investors’ personal circumstances, which is why financial advice is recommended.

Murphy says, in terms of the satellites, funds that invest in smaller n companies have a better track record than other types of share funds in adding value after fees.

Most trustees of self managed super funds prefer to use direct investments, and especially listed investments rather than unlisted managed funds.

Of the n shares component, there could be a core of, say, 70 per cent and satellites worth 30 per cent, Murphy says.

Instead of ETFs, the core n shares exposure could be one of the big listed investment companies (LICs), such as n Foundation Investment Company (AFIC) or Argo Investments.

These big LICs pay fairly steady dividends. And while they are active managers, these older LICs are managed conservatively with costs that are comparable to ETFs.

Sometimes LIC share prices can get out of whack with the value of the underlying portfolio.

That means that the share price can move above or below the value of the portfolio holdings and so care has to be taken when buying and selling shares in them.

Follow John Collett on Twitter.

Comments Off on James O’Connor stood down by Toulon over cocaine bust

James O’Connor stood down by Toulon over cocaine bust

James O’Connor stood down by Toulon over cocaine bust

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal. Photo: Dan MullanToulon owner Mourad Boudjellal says troubled former Wallaby James O’Connor has “problems” and will be suspended for testing positive to cocaine but does not want to “prolong” the process of deciding his future at the club.
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Early on Wednesday, it was announced that O’Connor had been stood down for a week by the club following the incident that resulted in O’Connor and former All Black Ali Williams being arrested for an alleged drug deal outside a Paris nightclub.

The 26-year-old met with Boudjallel on Tuesday (local time) and was informed of the decision with his future to be decided by the Top 14 club next week.

Reports translated from French newspaper Le Figaro quoted Boudjellal as saying he was not going to “renew” O’Connor’s contract, however the actual word he used was “prolong” and in the context of contract negotiations.

“Let’s say that for its extension of contract, it has relaunched the debate. We are not going to prolong it,” Boudjellal told Le Figaro. “We’re already going to try to manage this season. But I do not want to overwhelm him.”

Boudjellal’s interview suggests he has not a made final decision as to whether O’Connor will depart Toulon, but made it clear he was unhappy with the incident that may have spoiled any chance of a Wallabies comeback.

“He is a kid who has problems, who is 26 years old,” Boudjellal said. “I will not kill him either. Whatever decision I would take, I will consider everything. I’m not here to destroy him.

“He will not escape a lay-off, of course. Then we’ll make a decision. There are two different cases. On one side we have a 36-year-old (Ali Williams) whose career is over, and on the other a 26-year-old whose career, I hope for him, is not over.

“James made a mistake, and it is difficult to defend. What shocks me most is that we have a Saturday game that is very important ??? and I have a player who was in a nightclub in front of the Arc de Triomphe at 3 o’clock in the morning with I do not know how many grams of alcohol in the blood and who, in addition, consumes cocaine.”

Boudjellal said he would make it his mission to get to the bottom of what happened as well as suggesting that cocaine was being preferred by players in the French provincial competition to alcohol.

“I still want to know who knew the dealer,” Boudjellal said. “I really feel, and it is only me, that in many clubs, cocaine has been invited a little in the festive environment. And that’s a bad thing. We had the alcohol stage, now it’s a step up because cocaine is festive, it disappears easily. It has to stop. So I want to know if it is an isolated case or if there are other players who like to party.

“It’s my personal feeling. I do not have any proof, but I feel that it has been a bit of a challenge in the rugby world because alcohol is perhaps not enough. I do not know.

“I would remain surprised if this is an isolated case.”

Meanwhile on Tuesday night, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika weighed in on the issue on Fox Sports’ Super Rugby: Kick & Chase programme, saying: “It’s disappointing for him.”

“(But) we’ve got to take the football out of it for a second and say ‘he’s obviously a good lad deep down. Otherwise he wouldn’t be in this game.

“If he wasn’t, he’d be off doing other stuff. He wouldn’t want to play footy, be in a team sport, have the camaraderie around him being in that.

“So there’s a good lad in there somewhere and you’ve just got to leave the footy out of it for a minute and let the guy get the assistance he needs to get back personally first of all and then see what happens with that with footy.”

Comments Off on National Red Balloon Day 2017YOUR PHOTOS

National Red Balloon Day 2017YOUR PHOTOS

National Red Balloon Day 2017YOUR PHOTOS

National Red Balloon Day 2017 | YOUR PHOTOS centralschoolofdance Today our Summer School students visited the Charlestown Fire Station to take some photos to prepare for #nationalredballoonday What a worthy cause to support- our friendly Fireys are so amazing! #csod #ballerina #love #dance #dancer #gorgeous #firefighter #amazing
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primechildrensdentalcare National Red Balloon Day 🎈🎈🎈#thankyoufireys #nationalredballoonday2017 #firefighter #thankyouforyourservice

jennakate_b Happy Red Balloon Day 🎈 #redballoonday #tohonourourfirefighters #youngestrecruit #offtochildcare #bitcute

kate_hodgson Thank you #nationalredballoonday #nrbd #simplewaytosaythanks #thankyoufireys

jwimbs Massive shout out to @glenw and all the #firies for their tireless work for the community #nationalredballoonday 🎈🎈#qfes

evergreenemily #thankyoufireys #qfes #nationalredballoonday #firefighter #myniecelily 😁🚒💦🔥

kimbadistrictcouncil Today is National Red Balloon day🎈🎈🎈a day to say thank you to our fireys and also to our local businesses who support their volunteer efforts during work hours. Our community thanks you for your service and encourages any community members that would like to know more about volunteering to speak with a CFS member. #nationalredballoonday2017 #thankyoufireys #thankyoulocalbusinesses #countryfireservice #cfs #redballoons

thepurpleempire Red balloon day 🎈🎈🎈#redballoonday #thankyoufireys #thebasin #cfa #99redballoonsgoby

elizabethleecanberra Today is #redballoonday🎈a day to say #thankyoufireys for your bravery and service when we need it most

luc11e Happy National Red Balloon Day 🎈 🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈#thankyoufireys #boxhillnelsonrfs #thankyou #volunteers #morningsinthehills #nswrfs #nswruralfireservice

ambogeoff Well today I’m thanking all the great people I have met over the last 12 months! What an awesome bunch of people who are my 2nd family! Last year was a fun ride – bring on 2017! #redballoonday #thankyoufiries #nationalredballoonday 🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒

luc11e Morning shout out to my fellow RFS volunteers on National Red Balloon Day 🎈 #thankyoufireys #volunteers #thankyou #boxhillnelsonrfs #nswrfs

justkath4 It’s #nationalredballoonday2017 today – February 28 !! Shouted myself a stubby holder – ordered last week and arrived in the post today – just in time !!! Cheers to all the #Fireys ❤️️ Love your work !!! More #CFSVolunteers are needed always.. have a think about signing up ✨👍✨

lego_qfes Happy Red Balloon Day to all those firefighters out there! #qfes #rfs #rfbaq #rfsq #qldfire #lego #lego_qfes #redballoonday @qldfire

annamayde Happy face! Messy moosh and all 😜 (She enjoyed that red velvet cupcake!) Celebrating Red Balloon Day – thanking our local firies for all that they do! #redballoonday #thankyoufiries #messymoosh #happyface #redvelvetcupcakes #proudofdaddy #localheroes

thepurpleempire Red balloon day 🎈🎈🎈#redballoonday #thankyoufireys #thebasin #cfa #99redballoonsgoby

cfa_district20 🎈🎈National Red Balloon Day February 28th 2017🎈🎈 A day that thanks our heroic Aussie Fire Fighters. Please join us in saying THANK YOU FIREYS. 100% of profits go directly back to Fire Services 🚒 #nationalredballoonday #firefighters #thanks #cfadistrict20 #every1comeshome

noica_x I was gonna post this tomorrow when February kicks in, but today is just as hot and windy as next month will be. National Red Balloon Day is on 28 Feb. If you enjoy heroes and dancers as much as you enjoy staying safe and alive, please support our brave firewomen and men! You can buy red balloons 🎈 from www.nationalredballoonday苏州模特佳丽招聘 and learn more. These delightful ballerinas from @centralschoolofdance visited their local fireys to spread the word and also remind you to stay hydrated in this ridiculous summer! PS: My birthday is on the 6th, buy me a red balloon! Or maybe give your valentine one. #dance #ballet #nationalredballoonday #firefighters #ballerinas #summer

TweetFacebookNational Red Balloon Day is held annuallyto honour the work of n professional and volunteer firefighters.

Those who wish to say ‘thanks’ are encouraged to put up red balloons on letterboxes, fences and business windows on February 28 each year.

Scroll through the gallery above to see how people paid tributeto their local fireys in 2017.

Comments Off on NRL concussion: James Graham changes tune on head knocks

NRL concussion: James Graham changes tune on head knocks

NRL concussion: James Graham changes tune on head knocks

James Graham after being knocked out against the Roosters in 2015. Picture: Getty ImagesBulldogs captain James Graham says players will continue to be frustrated when they are forced from the field with head knocksbut believes the NRL should be laudedfor trying to protect them from themselves.
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The handling of concussions is a major talking point after James McManus began legal action against former club Newcastlefor allegedly breaching its duty of care to him in a series of incidents.

Graham has been a vocal critic of the NRL’s concussion protocols, believing players rather than club medicos are in the best position to make a call on whether they return to the fray. The English international said in March 2015: “Why does a doctor tell me I can’t go back on? Why can’t that be my choice?”

But he has been reading the latest medical and scientific literature and evolving his perspectives on concussion. Hesaid much of the research was ambiguous and incomplete, but the NRL should be praised for protecting players whose instinct was to stay onthe field.

He said players “possibly” needed to be protected from themselves.

“Fundamentally I support the NRL’s stance on it and the protocols that are in place now, but I would like to see certain aspects of it improve in terms of the testing to get back on,” he said.

Some experts have publicly urgedhead office to appoint independent doctors to screen concussed players, but Graham said it could be difficult for unfamiliar doctors to tell if a player was behaving unusually.

“One of the things with concussion is the personality change,”Graham said. “So if you’ve got an independent doctor who has no relationship with that player, how are they going to make a judgement call on if their personality has changed?

“The doctor at the Bulldogs, I have a good relationship with. He knows my personality, so I think he can make a call more on that than, ‘Can you balance on one foot for 20 seconds [with your eyes closed]?’I couldn’t do that [now].”

In a quest to garner more data on concussions, the UKRugbyHealthproject, led by Leeds Beckett University, is expanding to . Concussion researchers includingHeadsafefounder Dr Adrian Cohen are encouraging retired players to become part of the research project.

“The long-term effects of participation in sport need to be understood and acknowledged in order that we can care for players today and into the future,”Dr Cohen said.

Graham said there were many grey areas when it came to research into grey matter.

“There is so much we don’t know about concussion,” Graham said. “Someone will see that movie with Will Smith in it and they all of a sudden become an expert on concussion when a lot of facts in that movie [are in dispute].

“Not many people know about the genetic side of being predisposed to concussions, so it’s hard to label everyone the same. It’s not black and white, concussion.I personally don’t believe it’s as easy as that.

“Having said that, you’ve got to have safety first, otherwise you’re going down a slippery slope. What’s good for the goose is not necessarily what is good for the gander. You have to protect all the players.

“I’d like to see it case by case, but I don’t think it’s as easy as that. It’s a very difficult subject for people to tackle.It’s a difficult situation to get right when the stakes are so high.

“We all know about the recent press about Canterbury and the stakes and the pressure that brings. Then you have a player who may or not be concussed.

“If you bring in certain protocols that stop certain things happening, that’s got to be a good thing.”