Films you may have missed during the Covid19 lockdown

Host (2020)

Following on from my previous post about films to watch during the Covid19 lockdown. Now the cinemas are starting to open, I thought I’d write another set of films and TV I have watched between June – August.

The list of films I usually post are ones you may not have seen or skipped over.

Films

Archive

Target Number One (2020)

Based around a true story, its a slow but insane story of drug addict Daniel Leger. Being built up as a major international drugs smuggler. Its well worth a watch

Irresistible (2020)

Quite funny film written by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show fame. Really points the finger at the system of money which drives the elections and politics in America. No one gets away clean in this one

Swallow (2020)

There are a short list of films I will only watch once a year as they are just uncomfortable. I’m going to add Swallow to this list. Its a difficult subject reasonably told but a bit slow in parts.

Archive (2020)

Intriguing AI type film, its no Ex-Machina but it will surprise you in the end. Solid Sci-fi which slowly builds and hits you out of nowhere. I don’t want to say anything more.

The Rental (2020)

Every Airbnb nightmare ripped large with hidden cameras and a over bearing host. Nice little twists and the tension is about right for this thriller rather than horror.

One Night in Bangkok (2020)

This reminds me very much of Hummingbird and Vengeance. Its a bit slow in places but there are some soft twists and the character development does help you feel for them.

Host (2020)

Not a fan of horror, only because I find the jump silly and the gross parts just stupid. Host surprises as its of a moment, while we are in the pandemic using zoom. Host comes along and leans right into it. Well worth watching even if your not into horror.

Ava (2020)

I mentioned in the last review a film called The Rhythm Section and its similarity to films like Anna, La Femme Nikita, etc. Its a good film and likely better than the Rhythm Section thanks to Jessica Chastain’s performance.

TV

Tell me who I am

Tell Me Who I Am (2019)

Yeah I know it was available in 2019 but I hasn’t come across it till someone mentioned it to me recently. What a story and then it gets very dark very quickly. It reminds me of the film called Rewind which I recommended a little while ago. Both are worth your time and patience around this incredibly difficult subject

On the Record (2020)

I heard bit of the story during the peak of the movement but it got drowned out by other women’s experiences. Its clear it didn’t get the absolute attention it deserved and for f-sake, Russell Simmons and others are pretty untouched. For the record, Russell has stepped down from his positions in Def Jam Recordings and other companies as a result of these allegations. He moved to Bali where there is no extradition treaty to the U.S.

Alex Rider (2020)

I wasn’t sure about this one. It kinda fell under the radar for what ever reason, but it surprised me. Its well thought-out and well told. Its a got a lot of production behind it and it really shows. Expect a series 2 maybe?

Upload (2020)

I wrote about Upload early in the pandemic, comparing it to the now ended Good Place. There’s a lot of comparisons but its going to take a season or two to get up that level. Get the first season and enjoy potentially the start of something special?

A better way to review books online?

A good read

Angela is absolutely right in her post about the sorry state of Goodreads.

Last year, I lamented the poor design of Goodreads — a much-needed platform where readers can review books they’ve read and track those they want to. Poor search functionality, ugly aesthetics, an embarrassingly terrible recommendation algorithm, and buried club and group features make the site unpleasant to use. Since the story came out, Goodreads hasn’t done much to improve its deficiencies. Instead, it seems content to rest on its laurels as a near-monopoly owned by Amazon, benefiting from its massive existing user base while being, apparently, deserted by its design team.

It is a joke, even ebay has made changes to improve not just the look but experience of their system (not to say its great however). Goodreads feels like sites before web 2.0 boom. Regardless it has a massive audience, I can’t work out why either?

The post talks about all the different examples people are doing to create their own goodreads alternative using sites like Glitch and Medium. Its a good-read (pun intended) but I found it interesting there was no mention of some of the indieweb (hreview microformats) and fediverse systems (Bookwyrm).

Of course all of them require more technical effort than a webly, glitch, etc but I thought it would be worth mentioning.

Tenet was it worth the wait? kinda yes?

This is a spoiler free review of Tenet, yes … Although I’d love to discuss it with others who have seen it soon.

I gave Tenet 8 out of 10. Yes its worth watching, twice (this is what I have done). You will need to see it twice to fully appreachate all of whats going on. The cinematography is top notch in Tenet, expect awards for this.

Its what Nolan is so good at, immersive pacey stories, in Tenet he’s run a little wild with the complexity. Don’t worry there is moments of calm and explaining whats actually happening throughout the film, but not a lot to make it feel boring or make the audience feel talked at.

We all know Nolan loves playing with the 4th dimension of time, although Tenet isn’t about time travel as such. Its likely the easist way to explain it to people but when you see the effect it makes for more difficulty than it needs to be.


It is complex yes but not Primer complex (spoilers ahead)… If you put Memento at one end and Inception at the other. It would be somewhere in the middle, although the actual concept of inversion is somewhere closer to the 5th dimension tesseract of interestellar. Nolan helps the audience understand the concept slowly then drops the ball on you but helps by colour coding whats actually happening from which point of view. It makes sense when you see the scene.

Tenet has all of Nolans mates (Sir Micheal Cane, Kenneth Brannagh, etc) are in the film but this time I think for the first time, the stars of the film are minorities not white men. I won’t say much more but Nolan plays with this throughout the film to good effect. Its a stark contrast to a number of previous films which he has been critisied for. Its got everything of the other big Nolan films except I would suggest the heart of Interstellar. The story with Kat is believeable and maybe if I saw the full uncut version (I saw the IMAX 12A version) I might feel stronger for Kat and her motovations. Its not as strong as the relationship of Coop and Murph in Interstellar.



There is signs of Nolans notions of storytelling too, with John David Washington actually calling himself the protagonist, then being cut down to say he’s one of a few protagonists. Nolan made clear this needed to be shown in CInemas especially the IMAX and I agree, the aspect ratio is 2.20 : 1 and its shot with lots of close up shots, making you feel like a mouse looking up a lot of the time. Its 100% shot with IMAX cameras and going to be a interesting crop on 1.85:1 (widescreen)

Question I had and sure others have (without reading the reviews), will there be a second Tenet? Tenet doesn’t do what inception did at the end but like interstellar could easily make a sequal if there was interest. There is a lot of bigger view questions which are not answered and could make a neat sequal.

Is Tenet actually a Inception sequal or prequal? I would say no but there is a parts missing where they could fit together quite nicely. I would suggest if this is true, Inception would be the prequal to Tenet with the CIA and rouge figures using technology for different purposes than first intended.

End of the day its a very good film but not going to knock Inception off the top spot.

Updated Thursday night

The Falken asked me, was it worth the risk?

I realised I didn’t actually say much about my experience of going to the cinema during Covid19. This is the context which is why Tenet was so important to cinema.

I went to the VUE Manchester which is in the city centre, meaning I could walk to the cinema and back home without using any transport at all. Bookings were done online, when you book there is 4 seats either side of you also booked (aka 2 per side). If you book for 2 people, exactly the same is applied instantly after confirming. This is also where they capture your info for the UK government track and trace

Booking cinema tickets

The seats are the modern cinema seats so there is quite a distance between people in front and behind. On arrival to the cinema, there is the usual one way in and one way out. There is no kiosk with people just ushers with PPE directing you. I believe you can buy a ticket from a automated kiosk which happened to be on the ground floor and away from everything else. Of course there is hand sanitizer everywhere and its the good stuff, which sprays and melts into the skin without much rubbing.

Ticket checks are done with the e-ticket/barcode on your phone at a safe distance. There are arrows everywhere and the food and drinks are still available but everything is now behind the counter. Entry times are staggered with longer adverts and more trailers (also kinda funny seeing the trailers for films which should have been out in April/May/June 2020! This is certainly something you would have thought Hollywood would have a grip on – certainly a reason for object based media).

The cinema doesn’t feel full with only a capacity of about one quarter (objectively). Like most of the UK masks are required indoors except when eating & drinking. As the cinema is a mix, you can walk around with no mask but its discouraged.

I personally wore my mask on both days I visited the cinema, all the time on day one and all the time except when eating icecream during the adverts and trailers. I certainly wasn’t the only one, as most people I could see before the lights went down were wearing masks in the cinema.

I choose the first showings of the day to insure the cinema would be very cleaned and setup for the next day. Having worked in cinemas in the past I know how little time you get to clean in between showings. I assume the times would change to allow more cleaning time now, but it seems to be another 10mins on top of the usual 20mins. Maybe there might be more staff cleaning now?

Generally I felt quite safe, the IMAX is a massive theatre with a lot of space even if someone gets up in the middle for the toilet (although they needed to go out the back down the stairs and back in from the front again), there is plenty of space to walk in front for a split second. If I was in a smaller cinema I might feel less safe.

On a whole it was good both times and I’ll visit when WW1984 hits the IMAX. By the way, I’m not so keen on the tag line in the UK for Tenet of “Bond on acid”

Don’t understand intersectional diversity, after this you will

On this landmark 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, historians Martha S. Jones and Daina Ramey Berry reflect on what the 19th Amendment means for Black American women. The women’s suffrage movement was a predominantly white cause, one that sacrificed the involvement of Black suffragists in return for support for the 19th Amendment from Southern states. The 1920 legislation enfranchised all American women, but it left Black women, particularly those living in the South, to fight racial discrimination when registering to vote and going to the polls. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that this type of racial discrimination was prohibited by federal law.

Vox

1920 – White women in America finally gained the absolute right to vote

1965 – Women of colour in America finally gained the absolute right to vote

Its always sad to hear the past mistakes we have made, but even worst when we are making the same mistakes. For me this makes very clear the absolute importance of intersectional diversity. You could imagine a lot of joy in 1920 but only for one section of women, the importance to look beyond one aspect of diversity.

A open conversation about race with Tara & Stef from Truly Inc

During a very busy time over the last few months, I recorded a number of podcasts including the ones for the tech for good live (which I highly recommend listening to).

One of my friends from the past the incredible Tara Hunt aka Miss Rouge interviewed me for the Anatomy of White Supremacy in Marketing podcast (Anatomy of a strategy podcast). We sat back and just chatted, so theres a lot in the podcast which was cut but the core parts were contextualised and added to the 30min podcast.

I really enjoyed the conversation with Tara Hunt and Stef Forester (not related as she lost a R somewhere in the name). It was late night (almost midnight) when we recorded and although I was standing at my standing desk, we could have kept on going for another hour easily.

If I can offer a tip for new listeners of the Anatomy of White Supremacy in Marketing podcast. I would start with Tara and Stef talking about the bigger reasons for the podcast.

For the past few months, between COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests, we’ve opted to put a pause on AoaS to create space for other conversations (with the exception of the episodes with Laura Fitton and Joe Jackman, which we thought were relevant to the COVID-19 discussion).

Now, we see that our silence on the topic of Black Lives Matter was akin to saying, “This is not our problem.” This was wrong and it took a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion facilitator, Karlyn Percil of KDPM Consulting Group, calling me (Tara) out on this silence to knock me out of my comfort zone (and white fragility).

So, Stef and I sat down and decided that we need to do the work and speak up about it and that this podcast was a fantastic place to start. This episode is the introduction to a series (which will be as long as it needs to be) of conversations with Black professionals in various parts of the marketing industry on their experiences, perspectives and insights into how marketing – as an industry, an institution and as a practice contributes to the perpetuation of white supremacy and anti-Black racism.

Then naturally the interview with moi before listening to the other great interviews which currently there is Anatomy of Code-Switching with Cher Jones.

Civilization is falling apart?

Junk found on the beach
Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

I like a lot of what Umair Haque writes but this one titled 2020 is a Warning That Our Civilization is Beginning to Fall Apart. I will be frank is pretty terrifying. I say terrifying not from a fear point of view although its pretty scary for that. Almost all the points Umair makes, I find it very difficult to counter them in any reasonable way.

Are you beginning to get what I mean by “accelerating pulsation of disaster” yet? As we head into the age of catastrophe, a new range of calamities will become our dismal new normal. They’ll recur, in cycles. Only each time the cycle spins, they’ll get worse and worse. Megafires, megafloods, pandemics, extinctions.

His lasting point is strong and draws lot for us to think/reflect on.

Its extremely sobering to read and worth it even if it doesn’t offer any strong solutions

Manctopia: Manchester’s housing boom

Manctopia

When I first heard there was going to be a TV documentary about Manchester’s building boom, I was very sceptical it was going to do the justice to the sheer amount of building going on in Manchester and its effect on the people.

Manctopia: Meet the people living and working in the eye of Manchester’s remarkable housing boom.

After watching the first episode I thought it did do a good job. Theres reasonable number of view points from some people living on the streets to a person looking for a multi-million pound 3 bedroom penthouse with great views of the city.

Its of course strange to see where I live in the shots and seeing the backstory of the buildings opposite me in Piccadilly East. Wondering if Ancoats, Angel fields, Ponoma and Salford Quays will make it into future episodes.

Its available on BBC iplayer and BBC two every Tuesday at 9pm