See Ghost in the shell at midnight?

I have to say I’m pretty excited to see the Ghost in the Shell live action remake, that I bought a ticket for the 1 minute past midnight (0001) release on Thursday morning in the Odeon IMAX.

When I bought my ticket, the cinema seemed super quiet with only 12 people, which is suprising. So you have plenty of time to get you’re ticket and join me.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of going to the cinema late at night but I kind of love it. To be fair I watched Interstellar at 5am, Dark Knight rises at 8am, etc and I quite like it. Of course I would only do this for films which I felt was worth it, and I think Ghost in the Shell is certainly one of those.

I mean just look at the first 4:44mins

Films you may have missed 2016

Here’s some films which I watched recently, which seemed to sneak under the cover for what ever reason. All worth watching at least once… I kept the spoilers to a minimum but there might be slight light spoilers, which you can get by reading the description of each film pretty much.

The Escort

The Escort

This film puts a spin on the pretty woman thing, it could be seen as the anti-pretty woman film. Our heroine/Natalie is smart, quick thinking and knows what needs to be done. Shes very practical about everything, which is kind of refreshing. You could draw parallels with the girlfriend experience but it’s much more fun and doesn’t take itself so seriously.

Interestingly all the men in this film seem to be a little dim, at least in comparrison to Natalie.

Eye in the sky

Eye in the sky

If you haven’t seen this film you are missing out on quite a intense film. The premise is simple, do they launch a targetted drone attack on a house in Kenya? One with a known terrorist that has been confirmed. But it’s complex and gets more complicated as time goes on, the exact thing you don’t have time! The pace and suspense in the film is great.

Everybody involved do a great job portraying the decision process and you can feel the tension in the air. It’s also one of Alan Rickman last films before he died.

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The Lobster

I have no words to explain the Lobster except if you liked I heart Huckabees, you will be in good company here. It’s kinda crazy but being very into how people date find it hysterical. There’s also some deep rooted messages about societys push to bring people together and not being complete without someone else. You can never be happy alone, well if you are; you get turned into a animal.

Very weird film you have been warned!

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Victoria

I saw this late one night and was kinda gripped. To be fair the first time I saw it, it was German language with no Engliah subtitles. The English parts had subtitles in German; it was quite unique from a outsiders point of view.

Victoria is a Engliah woman working in Berlin and goes out one night alone (as I have done many times). She understands a basic amount of German to get the basics done but she meets up with 3 men that night. They have an experience like no other. My instant thought was she was in danger of being attacked or worst. I kept saying “go home, leave, turn back.” What actually happens is on the verge of crazy, and makes me think hummmmm next time I go wondering the streets of Tokyo, San Diego, NewYork, Bucharest maybe I should be a little more careful?

Good film, highly recommend trying it first time without english subtitles to get the full effect of being in Victoria’s position. Being daze and confused about what they are saying; will add a lot, even if you know a bit of German.

Room

Room

This film was quite popular so I won’t be surprised if you already seen it. Imagine living in a small room for you’re whole life! Not being able to leave ever and having a young child which has never known outside that room. Its quite a unbelieveable story but its the detail which drives the drama. Can’t really think of a film like it really except maybe 10 cloverfield lane.

Even lambs have teeth

Even lambs have teeth

I’m not a horror fan (not because I’m scared of them but I don’t jump at scary bits and find gore just boring) however, I found even lambs have teeth more thriller with horror elements. Its a basic plot but it kinda reminds me of kill bill and falling down in the second part. Revenge is certainly served and it’s vicious!

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Knock knock

Temptation is killer and a bit like Victoria, you are wondering where things are going. I guess unlike that film, most people (mainly men) will be saying keep going. What the hell, what difference does a night make? Well the results of that are shocking. Yes its drama but on another level.

Good reminder to keep you’re wits about you, not cave into temptation and bloody think! When you know its going to drop you into the deep end, just stop and think! This is the lambs have teeth type crazyness without the gore.

We are your friends

We are your friends

I won’t lie it’s hated by many but I just found the film great for focusing on dj and dance culture. It’s certainly no Kevin and Perry go large but it’s not going to be a classic like human traffic. Maybe it’s more like groove crossed with the drama of go.

The characters are a little wolly but it doesn’t matter as the music speaks for everybody in this movie.

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Race

Such a great film and Jesse Owens story is so amazing. Facing the racism from the germans is one thing but also from your own nation and team mates is hard to take. Its crazy to remember even in 1936, there was such vicious racism in the states. If you are not outraged, sadden and uplifted by the end of the film, you need to check your human attributes (no spoilers). It is an incredible story and told extremely well in this film. Do not miss this, its one of my films for 2016.

Also don’t forget my beautiful broken brain, which I have wrote about previously

The screen is kinda up or rather down?

Cubicgarden's home cinema

Thanks to a friend’s wife, we were able to get the IKEA tupplur projector screen up today (its really a 2 person job). On the evening I set the little panasonic projector back up and tried out Inception (what better?)

It works just as Ikea hackers and AV forums suggested and after another trip to IKEA, they finally had a extendable rod (they never had one previously) to pull the whole thing down. Unfortunally due to the change in living room layout, I can’t really have the projector on the bottom of the coffee table anymore (there is only so far keystone will go). But once positioned on top of the table and after dropping the resolution down to XGA instead of 1080p (the projector doesn’t really support anything over 1024×768 and tends to cut off the rest, but at least my Kodi machine outputs the same image to both outputs, meaning I don’t need to unplug or blank one screen each time)

So with all that in mind, there is one problem. The screen doesn’t seem to pull back up. This looks to be a problem that might mean refitting the screen again.

In the meanwhile, I’ll be standing on a the step ladder pulling the screen back up!

Inception as a TV programme?

Film references

Following the success of Limitless the TV series, maybe its time for Inception the TV series? I mean its been talked about in many circles, heck there was the motion comic, and even REM which became Awake.

Jonathan Nolan has been behind Person of Interest for quite some time, and even helped out Christopher Nolan (brother) and creator of Inception.

They say TV is the new Cinema, well maybe its time? Christopher? Chris please?

Inception as a TV series?

inception the cobol job

Myself and Chris were talking about a number of things at breakfast in Vivid Lounge as we do. We got talking about the Marvel and DC universe and the state of cinema and TV media.

I mentioned, TV is the new cinema.

Forget what you’ve read about cinema’s dominance over the small screen. Television has plenty to teach the movies about characterisation, storytelling and breaking new talent.

And the differences and experience between Cloud Atlas and Sense 8 for the Wachowskis. TV allows for build up and character building cinema can only dream about. This is especially good when thinking about universes such as the Marvel one.

Chris said he would love to see inception as a TV series? I obviously am in total agreement.

This isn’t anything new but it certainly got me thinking about other films which could be better told in a TV series and heck a game/experience?

It strikes me that any film with plot device like eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, chronicle, etc… could work. Similar to person of interest, where small things happen every episode but theres a over arching plot leading to something much bigger.

An ex-assassin and a wealthy programmer save lives via a surveillance AI that sends them the identities of civilians involved in impending crimes. However, the details of the crimes–including the civilians’ roles–are left a mystery.

I mention person of interest because the director is Jonathan Nolan, who is Christopher ‘Inception’ Nolan’s younger brother.  Who knows maybe a Inception TV series isn’t as far fetched as first thought?

Films you may have missed in 2014/15

There has been some great films recently… including Kingsmen, Selma, Interstellar, Citizen four, The intimidation game, Theory of everything, etc.

But heres a bunch you may have missed…

71
71

71 is a movie that I usually wouldn’t enjoy but unlike unbroken (which started well but pulled too many heartstrings). The 71 tells a story about the conflict in northern Ireland. Its got a few small twists and turns but takes you in for a good ride.

I Origins
I Origins

This one is a interesting tale which hinges on the balance of science and spiritual belief. Like Lost Its hard to describe but its a heros journey as the man of science tries to grapple with things which directly conflict with what he can prove. I like the style of the the film as most scenes look simply gorgeous and the focus on the human eye was always going to be a winner from a photography point of view.

Faults
Faults

This reminds me of the Martha Marcy May Marlene. Its all about mind manipulation, brainwashing and deprogramming, its pretty wrong. It also reminds me of Suicide Kings, but faults goes much deeper. Watch and be shocked… Reminds me I need to read the back story for this.

Whiplash
Whiplash

Everytime I watch this, I side with one side or the other. I keep thinking who wound whom up and when they could have stopped. But honestly the ending is excellent and will have you punching the sky. If you missed it in the cinema, get it in DTS and play it loud!

Kill the messenger
Kill the messenger

Very good film which surprised me as I knew nothing about it. Then as it unfolds you realise this is actually a true story not just the stuff you heard about. I understand why I didn’t get much attention but it deserves so much more.

Predestination
Predestination

Time travel! You know how much I love time travel films. Predestination is good but its not quite a Donnie Darko. Its more of looper I would say but worthy of a good watch a few times over to understand what is going on.

time lapse
Time lapse

This movie is a surprisingly good time travelling film. It feels on the lower end of the budget, but not a primer style budget. Its a good story told but certainly doesn’t have the depth of primer. Its quite constrained and I guess compared to Predestination, its slightly less confusing.

Project Alamnc

Continuing with the time travel theme. Project Alamnc feels like a cross between Primer, Timelapse and Chronicle in filming style. Its a MTV film, so its full of teenagers partying and usual music stuff. Even with all that, its quite a solid movie with the ups and downs. The ending is a let down but if you compare it to other teenager films it stands its ground well.

Open Windows
Open windows

I don’t quite know what to say about this film except it kind of jumps the shark so many times you have no idea what on earth is going on. Maybe its because I’m not paying too much attention everytime I see it but I’m keep wondering what on earth? The computer screen stuff is hysterical too but reminds me of a higher budget welcometothescene.

I give it a year
I give it a year

Its not usual that I can recommend a rom-com but this one has some hairy balls. Its funny and tragic but even though you know whats going to happen at the end, its interesting to see their marriage break down and the things they do to get it back on track. The premise that some people are simply not suitable for each other is a worth while message throughout.

The Business of Film with Mark Kermode

Mark Kermode and Ray Winstone

I have to give film critic Mark Kermode’s series about  the economic realities of the film industry, a thumbs up. Its in 3 parts and available forever as a podcast. Its well worth listening to if you are a film fan

Ep 1: Development Hell

Mark Kermode charts the cycle of ‘development hell’, where producers turn in scripts, listen to conflicting opinions and resubmit their work hoping for that magical green light.

I especially love the donnie darko reference and I do think Matthew Vaughn has a very good point.

Ep 2: Getting to the Screen

Mark Kermode examines how films get financed and distributed. The challenge, of course, is that nobody knows the ultimate appeal of the film.

I’m really feeling this as I try and put a project I’m working on forward (I’ll explain more in the future).

Ep 3: The Business of Showing

Mark Kermode considers the crucial moment in a film’s life – the opening weekend. Marketing may convince us of a film’s merit but a tweet can ruin even the most inventive campaign.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this type of thing many times over this blog but its fascinating to hear regardless.

No more Orange Wednesdays

Orange Wednesday say goodbye

EE which is Orange and Tmobile combined recently announced there will be no more Orange Wednesdays from Wednesday 25th Feb 2015.

“Orange Wednesday launched over a decade ago and at its peak was a massive success and an iconic promotion,” the company said in a statement.

“After 10 great years our brand has changed and our customers’ viewing habits have also evolved so it’s time to move on.

Yep I thought so…

Recently cinemas have been offering their own 241 deals on days like Tuesdays and Mondays to boost attendance. O2 tried emulate Orange Wednesday with their own thing.

Although something smells like the cinemas may have wanted more of a cut that originally agreed. I wouldn’t be surprised…

This would also mean (if it still ran) no more Salford Cinema Club.

What is with Nolan and the simultaneous releases? Not a review of Interstellar

Interstellar IMAX ticket

It seems to me like Christopher Nolan is the only one worth getting out of bed early or late for. Over the last few year, I got up for Inception at 12am, Dark Knight rises at 5am and now Interstellar at 8:15am. All have been in the Manchester  (which is thankfully a real 70mm IMAX).

So was Interstellar worth getting out of bed early for? YES and I’ll be watching it again on Sunday.

Interstellar

No spoilers

Interstellar is a love story told over space and time. It very much reminds me of Voices of a distant star and Contact. Both emotional and stunning to watch. Attention to detail is incredible too. It does pull at the heart strings and you can’t help but shed a tear here and there.

8.5/10 for me and I’m not the only one.

Update….

Oh and thanks to Jaz for pointing out that there’s actually up to 6 different versions of Interstellar available. I went for the 70mm IMAX originally and then watch it again in standard 35mm at the Cornerhouse Cinema on Sunday. The difference is certainly the quality of some shots but also the lack of immersion.

Inception is a metaphor for cinema?

Abandoned Cinema

…One of the coolest ideas behind the film “Inception” is that the entire film was widely reported on the internet to be a metaphor for cinema. Cinema creates an artificial dream world and invites the audience into that dream that we then fill with our subconscious. We already have dream sharing technology. It’s called cinema.I am a story junkie and I am immersion junkie.

The dream is real…? Now that makes sense…

I had never heard this but then again at the build up of Inception, I was kinda of busy. Mind blown!

This was taken from a interview with Jason Silva. It really got me thinking while reading it on my kindle today. I specially love this reply to Why are you so fascinated about what happens to our brains when we watch movies?

Diana Slattery writes that Immersion is a “necessary precursor for any kind of interpersonal persuasion or transformation to occur”..  Janet Murray writes that we “long to be immersed” and that we “actively metabolize belief in story”… because we are effectively narrative beings.

I’m fascinated by the liminal spaces we enter when we are absorbed by cinema: that magical borderland between dreams and reality, the space of archetype, of myth, of madness and ecstasy, the landscape of the imagination, freed from the constraints of time/space/ distance.
Cinema is the realm of subjectivity. The only technology that allows us to enter the mind of another.  Cinema is cartography for the mind.   As Gene Youngblood wrote: “cinema reflects mankind’s historical drive to manifest his consciousness outside of his mind in front of his eyes”
Love it… We long to be immersed, we have always wanted to manifest our consciousness for others to be immersed in…

Let Her… talk to you

Her.

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

This is a really good film. Some parts are funny and some parts are tragic. But this isn’t a review of a really good film but rather a look at the technology in the film her. There might be some mild spoilers and I would recommend not reading till you’ve seen it in full.

When I first heard about Her, I thought oh no here comes another S1mOne. Don’t get me wrong S1mOne is ok but gets a little silly in parts. Her on the other hand is smart and although it does go towards the obvious, it pulls back and finds a new more interesting path.

Adrian sent me a link to wired’s piece about the UI design in her.

A few weeks into the making of Her, Spike Jonze’s new flick about romance in the age of artificial intelligence, the director had something of a breakthrough. After poring over the work of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists trying to figure out how, exactly, his artificially intelligent female lead should operate, Jonze arrived at a critical insight: Her, he realised, isn’t a movie about technology. It’s a movie about people. With that, the film took shape. Sure, it takes place in the future, but what it’s really concerned with are human relationships, as fragile and complicated as they’ve been from the start.

The film is certainly about people and our relationships in the age of artificial intelligence. Reminds me very much of the book which imran gifted me which I’ve still not read completely, love in the age of algorithms.

But whats really interesting is the simplicity of the technology. Pretty much every interaction is with voice. There’s little interaction with screens, although there are giant screens in some of the shots. Even the camera which the main character uses looks underwhelming simple. I can only suggest in the near future we started to solve the power/battery problems of today.

We decided that the movie wasn’t about technology, or if it was, that the technology should be invisible,” he says. “And not invisible like a piece of glass.” Technology hasn’t disappeared, in other words. It’s dissolved into everyday life.

Here’s another way of putting it. It’s not just that Her, the movie, is focused on people. It also shows us a future where technology is more people-centric. The world Her shows us is one where the technology has receded, or one where we’ve let it recede. It’s a world where the pendulum has swung back the other direction, where a new generation of designers and consumers have accepted that technology isn’t an end in itself-that it’s the real world we’re supposed to be connecting to.

I think Wired is right, the movie is a total U turn on the likes of Minority Report and Blade Runner. There is a great scene where our main character is lying on the grass in a field. He’s talking to the AI like she is lying right next to him. The cinematography actually applies it from the camera angle.

The technology is there but it feels like that Internet of things dream, the technology is embedded everywhere. Not the Google Glass style future. something much closer to ubiquitous…

All of these things contribute to a compelling, cohesive vision of the future — one that’s dramatically different from what we usually see in these types of movies. You could say that Her is, in fact, a counterpoint to that prevailing vision of the future — the anti-Minority Report. Imagining its world wasn’t about heaping new technology on society as we know it today. It was looking at those places where technology could fade into the background, integrate more seamlessly.

After that Wired goes into depth about the User Interface being vocal and how its a perfect fit for the cinema. I don’t disagree but its only one of many types of User Interfaces which can be available. I do agree its a nice depart from touch interfaces which is in most films.

But the AI isn’t simply voice alone (this has been done many times in cinema too), its context sensitive, its perceptive! This is what brings the sense of magic to the exchanges. The AI seems like she is there talking and taking it all in. All those subtle gestures, human expressions, etc. They are all taken into account, making the AI seem very human.

…we’re already making progress down this path. In something as simple as a responsive web layout or iOS 7′s “Do Not Disturb” feature, we’re starting to see designs that are more perceptive about the real world context surrounding them-where or how or when they’re being used. Google Now and other types of predictive software are ushering in a new era of more personalised, more intelligent apps.

Arthur C. Clarke said…

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Her is does have a magic quality, its not the best film I’ve seen this year but its one which I do think will cause a trend showcasing different user interfaces in movies, instead of defaulting to the usual push/pull/touch interfaces.

Its well worth watching and enjoying, just don’t think about S1m0ne beforehand.

The joy of going to the cinema alone

(What is up with Flickr’s new embed system!)

Den of Geek talk about the benefits of going to the cinema by yourself

I remember my first time. May, 1995. A Wednesday. A student house in Coventry, and I uttered the fateful words “anyone fancy the cinema tonight? There’s a film called Hackers that looks great”. And not one of them wanted to come, the selfish bunch. Too interested in playing Doom on their PC, watching The Bill or listening to this ‘Britpop’ stuff. They certainly weren’t busy cleaning the kitchen.

So I made my mind up, walked out of the house and settled down at the Odeon by myself. I loved every minute of the Jonny Lee Miller/Angelina Jolie electro nonsense on my lonesome. And I’ve been enjoying the joys of solo cinema for many years since.

I’ve been known to like going to the cinema by myself sometimes and the reasoning isn’t far wrong…

  • Common sense…
    I want to watch this film and I usually ask on twitter, etc. If no ones up for it, I go anyway. Last film I watched alone was Gravity in IMAX3D. Friends moaned that I was going to late in the night.
  • You get to read the free cinema magazine
    Heck no, it was a chance to sneak into other movies and see the trailers. Back in the day, there was time between the showings but thanks to the multiplexs you can literally walk out of one and into another one (the greed, means they try and fit more into less time)
  • It’s about the film
    Absolutely… Sometimes you don’t want any of the nonsense chatting, you just want the film and nothing else.
  • Together, alone
    The whole of idea of the defunked Salford Cinema Club was to go together but end up choosing the film you really want to watch. To be fair only a couple of times did we actually split up the group. But the idea was always there.
  • It’s all down to you
    Nothing better than picking the seat you want. Small ice cream and This is another reason why I quite like going to the cinema late at night because theres the minimum of disturbance from kids and punks throwing stuff around.

Some of the best films I’ve watched have been alone including Inception, The Matrix, Donnie Darko, etc… Ok not all of them have been in the cinema but they have all been in a darken room

My Top Films for 2013

Trance

Its been a interesting year for films. The time between cinema and download seems to have shorten and some films surprised even me. I didn’t include Prisoners, World War Z, This is the end, Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and many others.

  1. Trance
    I can’t tell you how great this film is. Its smart, quick and emotionally something I didn’t expect. All the characters are sharp and the sound track is up there with the best. I would go as far as to say, the film is like being in a trance, the way parts keep jumping in and out.
  2. Cloud Atlas
    Although officially it came out for most of the world in 2012, it didn’t hit the UK till Feb 2013. I have seen this film so many times and it still has emotional depth and a sharp storyline.
  3. Now you see me
    After watching the fight of the Prestige vs the Illusionist. I thought I’d had enough of magicians on the big screen. But I like what happens in Now you see me. 4 magicians working together and a twist which I didn’t believe could work. Plenty of replay value.
  4. Gravity
    I watched this at 2330 in IMAX 3D and was simply blown away. I never like 3D movies but all that space, just worked with the 3D effect.
  5. The Great Gatsby
    I didn’t know much about the Great Gatsby, so the whole story was brand new for me. And what a story it turned out to be. Not only that the cinematography and art direction was up there with other Baz Lurman movies.
  6. Oblivion
    When I first watched this film I was not impressed then I watched it again weeks later and started to enjoy it more and more. Once again Tom Cruise who I’m not a massive fan of but he’s a bloody good actor. Good idea well executed and even watchable again and again.
  7. Fast & Furious 6
    I didn’t expect to enjoy this much but I remember me and Jude decided over Pizza we were in a hollywood smash mood and decided to watch it instead of a range of other movies at the time. Fast 6 didnt disappoint. Very action packed, but a nice heist along the lines of Takers. Fast 6 certainly has found its niche and if fast 7 does what it promises, we’re in for more action packed heisty fun.
  8. Upside Down
    Maybe less well known that the others. The context is explained in the first 3mins and the rest of the story is a traditional love story. What makes it special is the theming, characters and cinematography. Each scene looks a lush and I’m glad I gave it a chance.
  9. Pacific Rim
    Like Fast 6, pacific rim has a simple story to tell. Massive Monsters (Kaiju) vs Massive Jaegers. Nothing more complex that devastation and carnage.
  10. Man of Steel
    I was disappointed with Man of Steel. I felt Nolan and Snyder would be great, but it seems Synder took the reins in the first of the trilogy. Don’t get me wrong I love Snyder’s cinematography and art direction a lot. But Sucker Punch and 300 holds nothing against Inception and The Dark Knight.

Cloud Atlas is finally coming this way…

Cloud Atlas and Mapo, Seoul
I won’t lie, I’ve already seen Cloud Atlas a few times.

I couldn’t wait and I’m very glad I did, as the film is so complex and very true to the book. Everytime I see it I’m amazed in how rich the plot is and how amazingly gorgeous the each scene looks and feels.

As usual I want to see this in the cinema, ideally at the Manchester IMAX.

The Official UK Release date for Cloud Atlas is Friday 22nd Febuary.

I’m not certain it will be in the IMAX but I’m going to watch it on the Friday…

Who’s with me?

Don’t forget to Tweet seat

cinema "Batalha" #4

Tony Tweets a piece following my blog about what cinema could learn from TV.

The theater may seem like the least appropriate place to check your Twitter feed, but that’s exactly the kind of behavior a Minnesota venue is encouraging with the launch of a designated “Tweet Seats” section. The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis opened up its Tweet Seats for the first time this week, for the first of four performances of The Servant of Two Masters. Priced at $15 a ticket (compared to the $34 a standard ticket costs), the seats are all located in a balcony-level section where, according to the theater, spectators’ Twitter habits “will not be disruptive to other patrons.”

Tony is worried this might effect the way films are actually made but as I blogged it could be interesting for cinema…

My biggest problem is the light and sound phones generate when I’m trying to watch the film. If the seats are up above or right at the back, then it could work? Although the back seats are usually for couples not really interested in the film… Won’t even tell you what I’ve found in the backseats while I’ve been working…

End of the day, its coming like it or not Tony and others…

…regardless of how theatergoers choose to allocate their tweet time, the Guthrie and other venues seem more willing to embrace the mobile habits of contemporary audiences, rather than discourage them. Theaters in Boston launched similar experiments late last year, as have the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera and New York’s Public Theater

Now is the time for the Cinemas and the movie industry to get behind this and do some interesting prototyping…

Sign me up people…!