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.

The Quantum theory of Devs

Devs

I won’t lie, Devs is pretty epic. Its created by Alex Garland who’s track record is excellent.Its smart, not too up its own backside and strangely calming in lockdown I have found. The quantum theory isn’t too complex to follow and is nicely explained throughout with prompts of mystery to keep the mind going. 

Its something I imagined Jonathan Nolan would have directed looking back at Person of Interest. But I kinda of dropped out of westworld in season 2, and can’t bring myself to carry it forward to season 3.

#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!!!

Well worth watching: The Boys TV series

The Seven from the boys

I just started watching the Boys and I got to say its right on point. This review sums it up.

For me the whole series is a total and effective satire that lets us see what would become of the world if fiction becomes reality: heroes lose interest in saving the world (or take advantage of its status), are forced to do things that are not right, to follow the company’s own interests and do not go out to end the crime if they are not followed by a camera that captures each of their movements, even though they are always transmitting that image of exemplary citizen when in fact they are greedy and treat their fans badly.

It’s also chilling to know that people in power act as judges and executioners to decide what crimes are profitable and what millions of dollars they rent their superheroes to other cities so they can be safe. The precision in the denunciation of The Boys is one of its strongest points since satire towards these characters is not new, but combining it with the theme of corporate America and wild capitalism gives it a clear differential touch.

The series is a total hit and is perfectly developed, to the point of making it impossible to miss because chapter by chapter the anguish increases. So if you have free time, I strongly recommend you to watch this satirical series.

I’d echo the last paragraph, I’m surprised I haven’t heard about it before. Its a very different show from the Watchmen but full of interesting points on society and couture.

Seinfeld is 30 years old today

55L82Jyp59C9jzsaL1gBECrop37 I can’t believe Seinfeld is 30 years old

Found via Vox

Seinfeld, one of the most successful TV shows ever made, turns 30 on July 5, 2019. Its pilot, “The Seinfeld Chronicles,” aired that evening in 1989, but the show wouldn’t return for nearly a full year

One of the classic episodes is (of course) the Soup Nazi

The horizon dating experiment on TV again…

Horizon dating

It was Valentines day a little while ago and while I was busy. I guess someone at the BBC thought it would be a good idea to put up the Horizon Dating Experiment again.

I got a whole bunch of people asking me if they saw me on TV recently… Well yes you did and there is a story worth reading behind it all. I’m not the only one who blogged about it too. To be fair it all started with Rachel Clarke who pointed it out the call to me after my bad experience with the Year of making love.

Horizon dating experiment

To be fair although its back on Telly again, the best example of where the Horizon dating experiment popped up has to be on a plane at 36000 feet. Found via my good friend Claire

Back of a airplane seat

 

39 days till Brexit and we still don’t know whats going to happen…

Its super depressing and even with 39 days left till Brexit, we still don’t know what on earth is going to happen. Even Jon Oliver can’t express how painful it is to watch the news everyday and see the PM of the UK trying to act strong with a crappy deal and following the will of the UK people.

Its a crappy situation the PM stepped into but I’m far from forgiving as she could delay article 50 and delay this clusterf**k. There is no way we should be allowed to leave without clear plans and a proper deal, if thats what we must do (I of course don’t buy it, I want to stay in the European union and always have done).

All I can do is put my head in my hands and think about how to escape the UK.

This is the TV, which fits my flat

In my last post about buying a projector, I thought long and hard about getting a bigger TV as mine is 40inches and quite old as the first generation Smart TV. I use it mainly as a monitor really with Kodi and a Chromecast driving most of my media viewing. I already unplugged it from my network and don’t use any of the smart apps.

But I love my view across Manchester, and can’t really think about putting a big TV in front of it. The projector screen is a nice compromise.

Then today from CES, came the perfect TV for me, however I have no plans to buy it, what ever price tag it has on it. Also I don’t fancy being the early adopter on this one, I’ll wait for the 3rd generation and massive price drop.

Did Netflix scorched the earth of interactive digital narrative?

Netflix - Black mirror
Bandersnatch

Everyone is talking about Black Mirror Bandersnatch, and to be fair after watching 5hrs 13mins of it seeing every version/variation. Its quite something. But even before it launched there were problems.

I agree its slick but its also very interesting to read Charlie Brooker’s thoughts on the experience of creating it.

Creator Charlie Brooker told The New York Times that he won’t be making more interactive episodes of the Netflix series – so no more difficult cereal choices in the future.
Asked what advice he had for anyone attempting to make interactive TV, Brooker added: “Run away. It’s harder than you think.”

I wonder if Bandersnatch will ultimately cause people to avoid IDNs (Interactive Digital Narratives) or adaptive narratives. It would be a real shame if it did but as Tom says in reply to my thoughts earlier today

I do wonder if Netflix has slightly done some damage by doing something so extreme? Something of a firework which everyone saw and caused a fire as it rained on peoples head?

Maybe James is right along with Tom? Explicit Interactive Digital Narratives has been done to death. You only have to look at the stuff Marian was doing in the mid- late 2000s with shapeshifting media.

I can predict in a year or so time, people will have forgotten Bandersnatch (packed away on a top shelf as James says) but this isn’t good news for all those other productions and experiments which may not be as smart but genuine a pleasure to be part of.

Would funding for IDN dry or boom because of Bandersnatch? Hard to tell at this stage.

What I would like from Netflix is some data/numbers on repeat viewings, paths people take, etc. If I was writing a paper, this would be a good experiment to be in on.

25th Anniversary of Ghostwatch

https://twitter.com/cubicgarden/status/909093729004343298

I saw this in Kim by the Sea after volleyball today. As I tweeted it, I realized many people wouldn’t know what it was because they were too young, not born or wasn’t in the UK to see it unfold live.

From Wikipedia

Ghostwatch is a British realityhorror/mockumentarytelevision film, first broadcast on BBC1 on Halloween night, 1992. Written by Stephen Volk, and directed by Lesley Manning, the drama was produced for the BBCanthology seriesScreen One by Richard Broke, Ruth Baumgarten and Derek Nelson.

Despite having been recorded weeks in advance, the narrative was presented as live television. During and following its first and only UK television broadcast, the show attracted a considerable furore,[1] resulting in an estimated 30,000 calls to the BBC switchboard in a single hour.

Ghostwatch has never been repeated on UK television. It has been repeated internationally, on stations such as the Canadian digital channel Scream for Halloween 2004, and the Belgian channel Canvas in 2008. In 2017, Ghostwatch was added to the American streaming video service Shudder

It does seem crazy the BBC putting out a fake ghost programme on prime time national TV. It reminds me of war of the worlds radio play.

Halt & Catch Fire Season 4 looks super good

Halt & Catch Fire
Halt & Catch fire has been one of those shows I’ve raved about over and over again.

This seems to be the final season and I have to give AMC credit for the great cinematography. Season 4 episode 1&2 was something you would see on breaking bad. Episode 3 was also good too, there are too many good things to say about the show really…

Art of influence and misdirection

On the eve of another big decision, I’ve been thinking about influence and misdirection quite a bit.

I was reminded of a book and TV series I saw when I was much younger. It was called How to be Cool. Part of the thinking is influence and the theory of memetics. PBS did a series called The Merchants of Cool, although the one I remember included Douglas Rushkoff.

2nd May 2016, the day when I undressed on TV

are you a good kisser - undressed

It feels so weird that a year ago (Monday 2nd May) I took part in TLC’s Undressed programme. Family and friends said I was crazy; heck even I started to think I might be a little crazy stepping too far out my comfort zone.

Most people haven’t seen the show but its episode 9 of series 1 if you subscribe to TLC UK. I did try and do some showings at my house but also did a showing at BarCampManchester7 which went alot better than I’d thought it would.

The whole experience was certainly unique and I did end up writing most of it on the train home to Manchester right before the next day catching a 6am flight to Berlin for Mozretreat (this year it was earlier and in Tallinn). Me and Jess also recorded a podcast which is worth listening to. I still think my undressed misunderstanding is undertandable?

Now my contract with TLC is up (well it was up the moment it was on TV really), I am seriously thinking about revisiting the idea of First Dates as a background dater. Originally I was going ahead with it then Undressed got in touch and the contract (see I read those contracts) didn’t allow you to be on another dating show (although I did declare the Horizon dating experiment too but they didn’t seem to care).

Its not about being on TV as I keep saying… Its those experiences which take you out of your comfort zone. Its seems consistenly every year there is at least something. 2015: Japan, Listening Project & Horizon, 2016: Undressed, 2017: Ireland in a Camper Van, 2018: who know?

Watch this space!

M14 impresses all the dragons in their den

vlcsnap-2017-02-20-00h55m42s512

I have to give a massive congrats to John Kershaw from M14 industries, who took the previoulsy mentioned Bristlr app from niche dating to hosted matching platform (very much selling shovles during a goldrush). Yesterday he appeared on the BBC’s Dragons Den and struck a great deal with Peter and Nick for a reasonable percentage of the business.

Of course John had a viewing party with friends, investers and family. Its season 14 episode 15 if you are looking for it.

John’s written his thoughts up here.

Before Nick showed his hand, and it was looking like I might get investment from all five dragons simultaneously, I started to internally panic. This isn’t how this happens.

After all the Dragons had given their offers, I knew I’d have to go with Nick and Peter; they have the experience and if they’re not willing to share, I don’t have much choice.

And it’s at this point where an interesting thing happens: I forgot everyone’s names.

Certainly another great story for Manchester’s Startup community and the early investors who saw the potential of M14 industries early on. I personally was always impressed with John and although we sometimes disagreed about what should be next on the task list, its great to get the validation that it wasn’t just a silly app!