Rattlesnakes by Julius Amedume

I recently watched Rattlesnakes by Julius Amedume. I was very impressed at every aspect of it. Of course I don’t want to spoil this great film, so here’s a reasonably spoiler-free review by dgarcia-15120

Jimmy Jean-Louis McQueen was superb! The final scene gave me the goosebumps! People, this is a psychological thriller! Brother in law, coworker, friend, battered wife, obsessed woman (kind of “Fatal-attraction”). You need to analyze each character and their motivations, relationships, and backgrounds to finally be hit with the brilliant final scene. Julius Amedume added a new dimension to the already fascinating Farrow’s characters making them even more believable. The atmosphere, the acting, the locations, everything was well staged. If you are looking for a fast paced, light entertainment movie, this may be not your movie, and you may find it “slow”. But, if you like to be psychologically trilled, immersed, amazed, and be astonished by an unexpected ending, then you shouldn’t miss this one.

Normally I would hold out for one of my film you might have missed (not to say it won’t be in the next one). But as the talented director/writer Julius is the person who wrote and directed BBC Visual Perceptive dramathe break up. Julius I first met while at University and he was talented even back then.

You can easily imagine him being the next Christopher Nolan?

Of course I’m not the only one who thinks this is a great film.

Rattlesnakes is available on Amazon prime and can be found elsewhere. If you are into tense thrillers, you will love it along with many others.

 

 

Films and TV for the lockdown or films you may have missed in late 2019/early 2020

Uncorked

Someone recently said to me, there can’t be that much films since all the film studios are shut due to Covid19? There will be a delay but people forget how much media is made everyday (no idea where the hours of youtube videos per hour is now).

Anyhow there’s a lot of media to watch and here’s a few noteworthy ones

Films

The assistant

Empathy, Inc

Quite indie sci-fi shot in black and white, its a interesting  pretense which plays out to a surprising  ending. Well worth seeking out.

Vanilla

Romantic comedy as such but with a edge, quite fun and charming.

The half of it

Another romantic drama/comedy which although not as edgy as Vanilla, still has something different to bring to your mind. The end church scene is some divine intervention.

The Rhythm Section

I quite like these films like Anna, La Femme Nikita, etc and this one is well told and executed well.

She never died

Never really a horror fan but I like this indie horror/thriller which has a great feel to it. The film feels like Black Mirror’s Metalhead crossed with Jessica Jones.

Official secrets

My friend recommended this one to me and its quite something. Always love these court room battles but know this is very true is just insane. No wonder there was such a worry about the UK – American relation.

Just mercy

Like official secrets, court room battles around real cases is always compelling. Just mercy touches so many emotional levels and does it without actually tugging on them.

The assistant

Slow and calculated film timed perfectly around the movement. What I find interesting is to see the everyday attempts by women to stop harassment knocked back in subtitle ways.  This won’t be a surprise for most women and any minority of course.

The platform

Most people have heard of this one and its actually quite a interesting take on the nature of human and kindness. Well worth watching a couple of times once you get over the shock value it provides.

Uncorked

I liked this one because of the relationship with the father. It could have easily been a whole film about prejudice but its so much more.

Dark waters

This one dropped under the radar but it very apt as we all discuss the importance of human values in our capitalist society. Is the money worth peoples lives?

The good liar

Such a smart and compelling story. I can’t say anything more about it than just find it and watch it. You won’t be disappointed if you like thriller dramas.

The coldest game

Good fun drama around around a chess game during the cold war. The tension and cinematography are great  and well worth your attention.

TV series

Gangs of London

Devs

I mentioned here already. Fantastic TV series by Alex Garland (the creator of Annihilation, Ex Machina and other great films. Stunning to watch and lots of deep routed theories.

Gangs of London

I was tipped off to this currently running TV series by a friend. I usually find some of the UK production lack the levels of realistic violence (sounds weird saying that) but I’m impressed with this TV series as it has the right balance of standout moments, character development and narrative.

The last dance

A documentary about Air Jordon? You got me! Annoying ESPN have spun it out over 10 episodes.

Watchmen

If you haven’t seen the Watchmen TV series, I highly recommend this to all, especially those who are fans of the original comic and film. I won’t spoil this TV series but its as deep and meaningful as the film and comic book.

#covid19 has affected the way I see TV & Films

 Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Where’s your social distancing guys?

It didn’t take long for the impact of Covid-19 to totally affect the way I see films and TVs. I can’t help but think every time a character touches another character or even comes within a couple of meters.

Where’s your physical distancing!!!

A review of my 2019 resolutions

Me with birthday ballons

2019 has been quite challenging for me and I know many others!

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively decreased to 36 mins,   My average sleep this year has been 7 hours 20mins (down from 2018). Average deep sleep has been 4.03 hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 54,325 conversations, have 33345 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
  • Have 111,540 photos and 3,971 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 267 open tasks and completed 2,876 over the year
  • Been on 52 trips including Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Bristol, Guernsey, Madrid, Amsterdam, Venice (first time in Italy), Berlin, Helsinki, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Nottingham, The Hague, Bath, Newcastle this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Supergirl and film was John wick 3, Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 655 hours watching films (16.2 a month) and 300 hours watching TV series (37.5 a month)
  • This year I started a gratitude diary which now has 7,303 words

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2019.

  1. Head further a field with the scooter
    Again I missed this one and its very unlikely this will happen before the UK leaves Europe.  Theres still an idea of visiting my  friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany. But this may change massively if I move to Amsterdam?
  2. Ride a roller coaster in yet another country
    This also didn’t happen this year, although I did go to Madrid again and ride lots of coasters in the scorching 41c sun. Also I decided to give the rollercoaster park in Helsinki a miss this year. Next year I’ll be in looking out for coasters in other countries including South Korea.
  3. Look after myself better
    Didn’t do so badly but theres a lot of room for improvement. I do a lot of walking when away from home but Volleyball isn’t as intense as it use to be due to not being in the team now.
  4. Spend more time in the UK
    This happened I think and my partner agrees.
  5. Enter the bake off at work
    This is a yes, I baked some banana bread with chilli chocolate inside and it was very nice except when I took it to work things didn’t quite turn out as expected.  But I did get six peoples vote and there’s photos of the caroline reaper chocolate volcano cake here.
  6. Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
    This needs some work, as I didn’t go to any events this year at all from memory.
  7. Do more with my Estonian e-residency
    I did extended my e-residency another 2 years and I do use it as ID when entering some physical businesses. Its not quite what I was thinking about but it slightly counts. I did also look into using it as another form authentication for some services and finally setup a email address for it.
  8. Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
    I spent a weekend at IndieWebCampBerlin and the following days at Republica19. It was quite an amazing and my follow up to R&D with a lunch time lecture with this presentation.
  9. Make some changes to the flat
    I finally started by finally removing the filing cabinet to the local dump, getting a large Billy bookcase in my partners new car (with the roof down in the Manchester rain). I bought a sitting and standing desk which is smaller but yet to put it up due to having the existing one still in place. I didn’t realise my Jerker desk is over 20 years old! I’ll be offering it on ebay in the new year if anyone is keen to have it?
  10. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    This needs to happen in 2020, I had a couple of evening with my new projector, but nowhere what I was hoping for. My partner and friend had not seen Inception so we had fun with that one evening. Another friend suggested she had never seen Kill Bill, so that could be a back to back session with the projector and surround sound system.
    When it comes to the dinner parties front, theres been a bit. Likely the best was the chocolate tasting party which was great.
  11. Work on the dating book
    Since Hannah offered her copy editing skills to help make it a real book, I have done what I can. She suggested ghost writing the book and we have agreed thats a way forward. When I last spoke about the book, I saw 11+ chapters of my previously badly written nonsense, rewritten and re-imagined. Its going to be amazing!
  12. Be a stronger advocate for Team Human
    This is summing up so much of 2019 for me. Not only in daily life but in work. Its appeared in presentations, in talks I’ve given and the way I go about things. Ok its not really about team human but new forms of value or rather. Its one of the reasons why I’m considering a secondment.

The best films of 2018 and 2019 you may have missed

I meant to publish this list of great films you may have missed in 2018, but never did. So instead I’ve edited the draft and included the best films of 2019 you may have missed too. Enjoy!

2018

Spiderman into the spiderverse


Fantastic take on spider-man which includes some cutting edge graphics combined with a great soundtrack and a clever plot line which keeps you going. The diversity really shines what different people from different backgrounds could do together.

The Mule


I got to say I didn’t want to really like this one but Eastwood is great as that guy love to hate. His interactions with others is something which you can’t help but question; but with an understanding of why.

Boy Erased


Its a story which is shocking to the core and although like many think this couldn’t happen in this day in age; this story makes it super clear we are very wrong. Shocking and done tastefully.

The Hate U Give


There is something about this film which says “oh its one of those films for minorities.” But it escapes the stereotypes and manages to paint the tricky relationships between races in America very well. Well worth watching for a slightly deeper message.

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer


Its cheaply put together and feels like a TV movie (it might be) but the impact of the America’s biggest serial killer is lost when you first met the man involved. Over the course of movie it hits you wants really going on. Quite a shocking story, worth watching especially if its remade my someone else in the future.

Unsane

Never want to spoil movies, but I’d say Soderbergh pulls off this thriller/horror in fine style. The plot is simple but the acting pulls the boot strings up tight. I’m not a fan of horror but this was smart and very watchable if mindbinding at the same time.

2019

The best of enemies


Quite an incredible story about how two people of different backgrounds can agree to disagree when it comes to their child but end up being best of friends in the end. Well worth watching, especially looking at the current state of the world. Watch to the very end for a treat!

The public


This is not a great film but its an important film to watch. A film which really talks to the human value work  and movement. The plots is slow but settles in for the long journey focused on the people and the interactions between people and corporate interests.

Selling Isobel


This is a truly horrific true story which at the very start the real women behind it said thank you for watching. Being tricked into sex slavery isn’t a light topic but a very important one.  I didn’t realise till my partner pointed it out, the woman in the sex slavery is played by the same woman who it happened to! I was completely blown away! Unbelievable and something I could only watch once a year. Just like the public an important film to watch!

Untouchable


Following selling isobel, a documentary about the start of the movement with Weinsten. It really shines a light on the horrific abuses of power. Its really puts into perspective everything which has gone on to date and could easily be updated with more in the future.

The room


I would class this as something  like inception and a few films I have mentioned in previous editions of films you missed. Its a simple plot point, a room which gives you what you ask for. But the fall out is pretty well thought out. I certainly would have liked another 20mins of film to really dig into the mind bending inception.

Shadow of the moon


This gritty story about a serial killer is well told and you can’t help but feel wrapped up in the detective story as the drama unfolds over time. The story is paced perfectly with surprises and dead ends along way.

I am mother


The word mother conjures up many visions but a robot isn’t generally one of them. This movie centers its sights right at that point. Its a slow film but it really forces you to either side of the coin. You think its going one way then it goes another way. Its hard to decide how you feel at the end.

Julius Amedume’s award winning Rattlesnakes

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I heard today Julius a friend from University who I always knew was super talented and would make waves in the near future. Won 2 awards for his new film Rattlesnakes.

  • The ScreenNation Independent Sprit Film Production Award at the 14th Screen Nation Film and Television Awards in London.
  • Winner of the 2019 Pan African Film Audience Award.

RATTLESNAKES by Julius Amedume from Julius Amedume on Vimeo.

There’s a showing and Q&A with Julius (work permitting) at the BFI Southbank, London in August. Really hoping to be there…

Loving my first Tech Open Air Berlin

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cubicgarden/35867186991

I was invited to talk at Tech Open Air Berlin (TOA Berlin) a while ago and the week of the event came around much quicker than I thought it would. Because of plans a while before, I had planned to be London to pick up my Estonian e-residency card, go to a semi-internal BBC AI event, visit “into the unknown” at the Barbican and host a lecture about Databox in R&D London (phew!). It became clear it was better to fly from London Gatwick to Berlin and fly back to Manchester (I couldn’t work out how long it would take to get to Stanstead and Ryan Air worked out more expensive once I factored in luggage). This did meaning 3 hotels over 6 days but it was acceptable in my head.

When I finally flew over to Berlin, the storms delayed the flight and when I finally made it to the hotel I was exhausted but noticed that I hadn’t sent my presentation to TOA or at least my updated version. So spent quite a bit of time checking my email to make sure.

I was on at 10:10am in the main conference and was pretty tired by the time I made my way to the venue which was way in the east and required a few changes from Rosenthaler Platz to Funkhaus Berlin Nalepastrasse. On arrival I was taken to the buzzing speakers lounge where I met Laura, who helped sort things out with some serious help from the tech support guy.

Human & AI Powered Creativity in Storytelling

A look at how Human and AI-powered creativity can be combined to build better storytelling

I felt the talk went ok, but it wasn’t my best because I took too long giving only room for 2 questions from the moderator. I certainly felt if it was a hour or so later it would have been far better. Regardless, it was captured and should be on the TOA Berlin youtube channel soon.

After the talk I was locked in conversation with 3-5 people about the data ethic considerations of adaptive media and how on earth this can work. All fascinating conversations which had to get cut a little short as I signed up to do a Ask Me Anything

TOA Berlin

This took part in a plastic dome within a busy room below the speakers lounge. I wasn’t expecting anyone to show up but there were 2 people waiting for me. I was asked about my role in the BBC and some of research we are conducting. Then a 3rd person dropped in. He said he had read my blog and suddenly there was a moment of “uh oh!” But it was fine, although we talk about data ethics and dating. I’ll be honest the AMA was fascinating and quite refreshing.

TOA Berlin

After this and a lack of lunch (my own fault, talking to people), finally started going to different sessions. Most were rammed and I remember going to Why Supermarkets Must be Replaced, Creators & Audiences: An Open Relationship, Motivating Behavior When Attention Is The World’s Reserve Currency, How far can VR go to enhance your sex life? Future of Sex Podcast with BaDoinkVR and The Future of Collective Governance and From Trump To Universal Basic Income: Leveraging Technology To Understand What Europe Thinks.

TOA Berlin

So quite an amazing cross section of talks and sessions!

I can’t emphasize enough how big some of the spaces are and the whole place just felt like it was buzzing. The engagement was high and everywhere I went people were getting involved. I don’t know the total amount of people, but it felt like a few thousands at least. I can only describe it as what I imagine South by South west is like but in Berlin. Theres so much happening and besides the conference there is a whole music track, expo, corporate spaces and even a thing called open circle only for speakers and vip’s. Its pretty overwhelming, but in a good way.

One of the other fascinating things about TOA was the amount of Fridge events or as they call it Satellite events. You can also apply to do a satellite using a online form and a video chat with TOA.

I attended two and had to miss a few because I needed to move hotel on Friday. Here are the two I attended.

Propellor | Forum #1: Using Tech to create the future of Film

I first met Erwin at the Documentary and Factual World Congress in Sweden late last year when he told me about the Propellor film tech hub.  We kept in touch and when he mentioned the Forum would be during TOA Berlin, I was happy to say I would be there too. I agreed to help by encouraging people to think about adaptive media in a workshop of ideas.

Propellor | Forum #1

The event was a satellite to TOA and was hosted at Price Waterhouse Coopers building only minutes from Berlin Hauptbahnhof (if unlike me you go out the main entrance and not the back exit). It started with networking and some canopies then an introduction followed by 3 5min pitches by myself (Adaptive Media), Jannis Funk (distribution of AV content) and Aljoscha Burchardt (Curation of AV content).

Once the pitches were out the way there was time for a few questions. Most of the questions I got were asking how on earth is adaptive media possible, I answered in a quick 1min breakdown of object based media.

TOA Berlin

After this, people grouped around the pitches they were interested in and the DO school took control.

TOA Berlin

It was good workshop with enough push to get things done in time but also allowing things to emerge from the grassroots. At the end of the workshops ideas were presented to the pitch group and the best was then presented to everyone at the forum.

TOA Berlin

I found the Friemily film a great idea so very fitting for adaptive media.

All the results have been written up at propellorfilmtech.com.

TOA Berlin Satellite: Machine Learning, Trust and Public Service

Machine learning, trust and public service

Myself and Ahmed from the BBC Blueroom put in a proposal around a idea/concept of the public service internet and machine learning. Only a few days earlier the Blueroom had put on a AI & society conference titled BBC Blue Room presents Artificial Intelligence & Society. So fresh from that and some ideas from myself and others in R&D, we proposed the question; where does public service fit in the age of machine learning and the business models which come along with automation and algorithms.

Machine learning, trust and public service

TOA provide the space and we provided the workshop/talk under their brand. The space was an amazing co-working space called Mindspace and they were really helpful with everything. The only down side was the workshop was meant to be more participatory but the room set up didn’t quite work for this. The central chairs were not move-able at all. Ideally more of a circle would have been better really.

Machine learning, trust and public service

We were not expecting a huge turn out but thats exactly what we got. As me and Ahmed got started we focused on the business models which are most associated with machine learning. To be honest we spoke maybe too much and by the time the discussion got going, we ran over time. This is also where the layout of the room became a disadvantage. Regardless I drew up thoughts on a piece of paper and mapped out connected ideas (mindmapped it) while people talked and discussed.

Machine learning, trust and public service

There was a lot of discussion about public service and the point of public service. We got talking about why people choose to work in the public service oppose to commercial companies.

The discussion about trust thew up a whole lot of discussion about fake news and disinformation; someone suggested maybe a trusted public entity could have a trusted index score for sources? Something like snoops which are currently having their own problems. This lead nicely on to the transparency question and the fact public organizations should be more transparent than other companies. Which people felt could mean public organisations could benefit from the transparency in choices and algorithms. I earlier called it xray mode in the conference talk.

Collaboration came up again and again, there was a discussion suggesting we should work with not just ARD/ZDF but also Fraunhofer and others like Arte. There was also a feeling, some pioneers in this sector could share insight and new models with less forward thinking public organisations, who are struggling to keep up with the internet age.

TOA Berlin

As a whole I was very impressed with TOA, its really a festival of tech, art and ideas. I saw solar panels made into art, a stage made in the wood and far too much free redbull.

I would highly recommend TOA to others, think SXSW with a strong European backbone, I will make my way back next year.

Another ghost in the shell

Ghost in the shell 2017 screenshot

I loved ghost in the shell, its one of those films I just loved when I was young. Even watching it 20+ years later and seeing the little adjustments like ghost in the shell 2.0; I was still a massive fan. So when the film was announced, I was kinda of excited.

However I just got back from the Odeon IMAX in Manchester after watching it at 1min past midnight with about 20 other people. Obviously people were less keen to be first to watch it as someone like me (I just love watching films late at night to be fair)

I gave it 6/10 because it is a good movie but the legacy of ghost in the shell just drags on it, and I can’t help but look at certain scenes and just shake head slightly. For example the famous scene with the garbage collectors is shorten down to something different and it doesn’t have the uniqueness of the original. I also felt although longer, it brushed through key scenes which I assume wouldn’t have worked in hollywood.

I don’t feel like they did a bad job but I was surprised how different it was from the original.

Generally if you haven’t seen Ghost in the Shell, and an action/sci-fi fan you will like it. It won’t score highly but its robust enough. If you seen the original, you will feel slightly cheated and if you seen the whole lot including stand alone complex and innocence, you may be more upset.

It looks stunning and they did a good job to show a future Tokyo with crazy structures and advertising, but its not quite enough. All the actors are good in the film but the plot feels too simple and lacks the detail and significaions of the original.

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I watched it in the IMAX although it’s not made for IMAX. If I was to watch it again, a regular large screen would be fine and watch it without 3D because it’s ignoying after a while. Once again good movie by its self but compared to the originals its poor.

I wonder whats install for the matrix series and I don’t think anyone would be daring enough to redo Akira, would they?

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

The arrival, arrived and must be seen

Arrival

It was actually Si who recommended to me Arrival. It’s very unlike him to recommend films as he’s not really into non-interactive media, so I went and watched the film and was pretty much blown away.

I promise not to spoil the film but the film reminds me of 3 other great films, and I mean great! Interstellar, which was influenced by Contact and finally Donnie Darko.

Well worth watching before they do a weird donnie darko directors cut on it.

Its a 8/10 or even 9/10, and so many other people agree.

It’s dangerous to say an alien movie achieves any level of realism. That is, we won’t know which ones are realistic until the aliens show up in real life and confirm it. With that caveat, Arrival feels like an uncommonly realistic alien invasion movie, if only because it understands a simple fact of life often misunderstood by Hollywood: few of life’s biggest mysteries can be understood through conventional thinking. Too many alien movies assume that our interplanetary visitors will look, sound, and communicate like some gnarled version of ourselves. Arrival rewrites the rule book. Instead of filtering the aliens’ intentions through our understanding of human behavior, it asks us to put our thinking caps on and luxuriate in the unknown.

Absolutely!

I also found the gender dynamics really interesting too… Amy Adams is incredible, strong and very thoughtful when most of the men around her are reaching for their guns or jumping to action. Shes confident of her own abilities and knows what needs to be done. Funny enough, another film by the same director is Sicario, with Emily Blunt who also command total respect by everyone around her.

Amy Adams is magnificent as the linguist at the centre of a world-changing event; Jeremy Renner turns in a quiet, introspective supporting performance as a mathematician brought in to help solve the visitors’ mysteries. The interplay between the two, as they seek to understand an unfathomably complex alien language, feels effortlessly natural; as well as a sci-fi movie, Arrival functions as an astutely observed relationship drama.

Go watch this film!

Sunspring: A movie written by algorithms

I don’t actually believe Adrian was the first to tell me about Sunspring, but I spent some time watching this morning.

Its certainly not the first time someone has spoke about algorithms and machine learning to create media. But its the first time I’ve actually seen something… well…ummm interesting of sorts?

I wouldn’t say it was hilarious, more weirdly uncomplete. The training material can be eviladanced in what you see but as it jumps around a lot. Its worth watching and I’d be interested in what happens when you got something more clearer and unique? However what I was really wondering is…

screenshot-2016-06-09-123615jpg

Were the camera angles, shots, special effects, music, mood and colour grading also written by the algorithms? Heck was the title? It doesn’t seem like it but who knows. I guess the bigger question is does it even matter? So much of our media is middle of the road and made for the biggest audience, in my own opionion of course. Would it make much difference?

Of course the most interesting ideas are using a combination of machine learning with human direction. But thats for another post…

The press feedback is varied…  best to go check it out for yourself

Describe that movie?

https://twitter.com/adew/status/711565905134788608

I saw this retweet from Adrian and had to give it a try.

A website developed by a Finnish technology team claims to be the world’s “first ever descriptive movie search engine”, and promises to solve that problem we all face when we can’t remember the name of a film.

To be fair so far its not been great with the searches I have done. Yes its early days and yes they have a mechanism to improve it.

But for example looking for Kil Bill – Lots of blood shed involving swords

Inception works with Dream within a dream and dreams collapase but if you type dream you get inception. Addiction works actually gets Requiem for a Dream but film about addiction in all its forms fails to list it at all. Looking for Citizen four with Edward Snowdon with the search Edward Snowdon, fails to include Citizen four. Dark City search with dark film starts with scene in the bath tub doesn’t include dark city at all. Last search I did was for The Beach, with sandy beach.

Nice idea, I’ll check it out again once things get better.