Akira (2020 Reissue)

The other night I made sure I went to the cinema because it was the last time I would be able to go to the Cineworld cinema at Rochester for the foreseeable future. I went out of a sense of duty I guess.

I faced quite a problem in deciding which film to see. When I looked at the listings I noticed that Akira was playing and damn I love that film. But there were also some films I hadn’t seen before and maybe it would be better to see a new film rather than one I’ve seen every decade since the late 1980s. Here’s a list of the potentially shitty films I could have seen; After We Collided, Bill and Ted, Saint Maud, Schemers, The New Mutants. I’d already walked out of Tenet and really didn’t want another attempt to see that. I had a conversation with Smith and decided it would be Akira – my fear was that I would fall asleep but it was definitely better than any other film on that evening.

The last time I saw Akira was with Smith at the British Film Institute and I wrote about it in this communication. Until I just looked up that link I didn’t know how far in the past that film trip was. I do know that pretty much every time I watch the film the ending surprises me because I think my brain blocks it out.

The tide was quite high as I drove along the esplanade and I parked in my usual area where there are plenty of spaces but slightly further from the entrance doors. My current parking policy is to park away from entrances and walk, it’s far less stress than finding somewhere close. I had cinema food as dinner – a hot dog, some popcorn and a bag of minstrels, might as well make the most of my last trip. I think I would have liked a massive ice cream but the thought of diabetes kept niggling in the back of my head. After watching the film I would normally rate it on IMDB, but I’ve rated Akira before. The rating system defines that this is a 10/10 film because I have seen it multiple times, bought it on multiple formats and also been to see it at the cinema more than once.

I love this film. It packs so much social commentary into its storyline that it always impresses me. There is always something that happens every time I see this that means the overall movie makes more sense. Except the end. I’m not sure the end every really makes sense to me. I know what is happening but I’m surprised every time.

When I walked out of the cinema I had a real feeling of loss. It felt like the end of an era. I’ve spent so long in that place and have used it as a refuge from my own thoughts at times that I feel a real personal connection with that collection of bricks. I will be sad if it doesn’t open again. I will have to try and find a new cinema and escape venue.

Tenet

I took a trip to the cinema largely because it was there and I hadn’t been in a while. I noticed that the tide was low as I drove into the car park. It’s not often I see the river that low, all of the bank was clear of water along with clear delineations of where the boats chill out. This morning I rated the film on IMDB, there is a communication explaining the rating system here.

I guess this probably needs some explanation? Tenet was the only film I vaguely wanted to see. In fact that’s a lie. I didn’t want to see it. I thought Inception was very over-rated and so I went to see Tenet as a last resort I guess. I was hoping that I would secretly find it amazing and really enjoy it. I did not. A personal recommendation to see this film concluded with the words “but it looks gorgeous, just don’t expect to understand it”. Looking gorgeous is something I can cope with so I tried it out. I think I lasted just over an hour into this THREE hour film.

I don’t care for Bond films. I don’t find them interesting or fascinating and I couldn’t give a shit about the development of the “character” or anything else. Tenet was touted as a kind of Bond film. I guess that’s not a great start. The trailers looked OK but a bit bullshit with the backwards time thing but I still thought I would give it a go. THREE hours!!

The opening act with an orchestra concert being attacked was pretty tame. I didn’t see anything that hasn’t been done before. It all looked rather pedestrian. I did note that if you are going to have people talking to each other then it’s normally a good plan to have the words they say audible. Having characters shout while in gas masks was stupid, I couldn’t understand what they were saying and this started my journey of not giving a crap. Some stuff happened. Someone died by their own hand. Then someone didn’t die. Pedestrian and boring. But, give the film a chance I will.

Secret lab. Time bullshit. Plutonium. Rich boy. Spy person extremely talented at everything that needs to be done. Time bullshit. Blonde. Glamorous settings. Speed boats. More dialogue I couldn’t hear or understand. A little more macho posturing for good effect and add a sprinkle of bullshit.

Even the road chase was a bit shit.

So, the first time I looked at my watch to see if it was worth staying in the cinema, maybe there wasn’t that long to go, was at 45 minutes. This film is THREE hours. I decided to give it another 15 minutes and see if the film improved. It did not. The time stuff was fine. It didn’t make sense with respect to the film but I could cope with that. The rest of it just felt a bit wank. The moment that prompted me to leave the cinema and return home to watch some NFL was when the man decided he had to save the blonde. This man was selected because he was fucking hardcore, he would do everything he could to complete the mission. Then he risks everything to save a woman. Just absolutely derivative and boring. I called “Time Out” and left. I think I made it just a little more than one hour into this “masterpiece” and pretty much disliked every moment. There wasn’t anything I saw that made me think – wow, this is different.

The Vigil

Because the cinemas are so quiet at the moment it is actually quite nice to go there. They’ve got themselves sorted for Covid quite well with hand sanitiser, face masks, wipes etc. The cinema I go to has a 5 people only in the toilets but you can’t actually see in the toilets to know if there are 5 people so I’m not sure how that will work on a busy day. A lot of the current crop of films out are reissues. The cinemas or film companies are trying to get the world used to the cinema again by getting us to see our “favourite” films. Amusingly a lot of these films are ones I couldn’t be bothered to see again. They are pushing Inception quite a bit ready for the release of Tenet but I hated Inception and won’t be going to see Tenet. I’ve just tried to create a hyperlink to my review of Inception but that term doesn’t exist on this site! I’ve just looked up when that film came out and it was in 2010 which is before this site existed, my dark ages I guess. I can tell you that a friend recently asked if Inception was brilliant or bullshit and my answer was “bullshit”.

The state of the tide of the river Medway was high. It wasn’t completely high tide as I could see some mud bank on the eastern side, the river was also flowing seaward quite fast and so I think the tide was waning. There are times when the river looks still, times when it flows the “wrong” way and times when it looks too fast. These coincide with whatever the tide is doing at that time, but with a small delay the further upstream you get.

River Medway
River Medway – I was going to walk further along for the picture but it was near film time.

After watching this film I rated it on IMDB. There’s a whole convention about what the ratings actually mean and descriptions of such are in this communication. When I can then access my PC I tweet the IMDB result. I gave up Twitter on my phone and so I now only check it when I can access the flight simulator. The result is below:

So, things. I considered walking out of this film but thought it would be a little rude so I stayed until the end. This film was a “horror” and I’m not really into that. Once you give up all belief in supernatural you can then logic away the scary shit and just watch the film for giggles. I can remember being a teenager and seeing The Omen, Poltergeist, Amityville and so on and they really disturbed me. There was something about those films that really shook me deep. I think I knew they weren’t real but the playfullness of the filmmakers affected me, which I guess is the point. While watching The Vigil I had the following thoughts:

I am bored and this film is boring me.

This guy is getting paid USD400 for reading Psalms and he is failing to do that. He made an agreement but isn’t holding up his side of the bargain. I don’t know what the rules are concerning a Shomer but he’s not doing anything. A Shomer is there to read to the corpse and ease the spirit on its journey. How long does this journey take? If the Shomer stops reading for a toilet break is that allowed? Must the reading be constant? What are the rules? Overall this seems a silly idea to me. Anyway, the main character isn’t doing his job.

Overall I thought this film was poor. It could have been really good. But it used the sound and music to increase tension when it would have been harder but more rewarding to really explore the relationship between this character and his religion and the traditions it has. I can’t decide if this film was a cheap attempt at horror or a real exploration of the psyche!

This Shomer has left his protected bubble of Hasidic Jews in New York. We learn why he left I guess and he is part of a support group for people who leave this oppressive regime. He suffers guilt and problems stemming from a traumatic incident along with leaving the community. We learn that he has seen things and takes tablets to help him control his visions. So, this film is about the psychotic breakdown of a man leaving a religious organisation and the mess that the Hasidic caused him. He is troubled by his own demon and it comes to him while he is [not] doing this Shomer job. I might read a little more about this film and, if I’m lucky, it will be a metal breakdown rather than a horror movie. I won’t be letting you know though!

If you want to know some more about strange religious behaviour then just read an article on the Eruv. It’s a piece of string that “extends” the boundary of your property so that you can go outside and do things on the days when God insists you stay inside your property. Why God allows this loophole is beyond me, it’s all rather made-up.

Unhinged

I rated this film on IMDB, there’s a communication with a list of how the rating system works. I tweeted the result.

This film was terrible. I hated it. I considered walking out but was curious how they would end it. It was utter shit.

I think the lesson here is how we blame the wrong people for the things that go wrong. Woke up late? Your fault. Lost job just before retirement payout? Likely the fault of the regulations that are written by your government. Addicted to opiates? Likely the fault of the government. The media spin everything so our anger is misplaced. It keeps the masses quiet. Why don’t Amazon pay any tax? Because of the laws of the land. Why don’t companies pay fairly? Because of the rules of the land. Why is your MP fucking useless? Because individual people are selfish and vote without any form of altruism. Best I stop this before I end up in a downward spiral. This film was shit.

100% Wolf

To avoid the last day of this heatwave, there have been seven days with temperatures in excess of 30C, I booked in to the cinema. The main reason was to enter an air conditioned building for a few hours and relax without sweating all over everything. I went to see 100% Wolf.

On the way to the cinema I noted that the tide was very low. All of the mud banks were visible and the little boats were stuck in their tiny channels that keep them from beaching. After the film I thought about the rating and then did that and tweeted the result:

I gave this film a 4/10 because I fell asleep for about twenty minutes and then proceeded to figure out exactly what had happened to the characters once I’d woken up. I only watched until the end just to see what happened. This is possibly not the fault of the film but the fault of the hot weather and me not sleeping great. Without doing some control experiments I won’t know about which cause it is.

This film surprised me at the beginning as it was an Australian production and I don’t think you see many of those, especially animations. Maybe I’ll try and watch something slightly more highbrow over the next few days. I’ll let you know of course. In the mean time, while the world awaits MSFS 2020 here’s a clip of me going Gatwick to London City for giggles.

Masters Of Time

When reviewing the film Proxima I mentioned there were two films from my youth that made a big impression. One I found on a listicle site of the greatest sci-fi films you haven’t seen – that was called The Quiet Earth. The other was some bizarre French time travel animation with small round animals that I had occasionally searched for. This week I think I found it “Les Maîtres du temps” and a quick search on Amazon showed it going to around £40 for a DVD. I couldn’t find it streaming anywhere and wondered what to do until I then remembered that this sort of thing is all over YouTube.

I started watching a French language version with English subtitles on YouTube but the subtitles were out of synchronisation, being quite early, and it looked as though it was getting worse so after about twenty minutes I had another look and found an English language dubbed version of the film on YouTube.

Feel free to watch this movie. I don’t know how long this iframe will stay there. I guess there’s a chance that this film will get removed from YouTube but given that it has been there since 2013 I guess maybe that’s not so much of a problem.

This was the film from my youth that has often come back into my thoughts. It follows the adventures of a space ship and its inhabitants who all have different issues and problems. It’s a lovely film from a simpler time. To be honest I joke about the time being simpler. We were living in the early eighties with the constant threat of nuclear war and only four television channels. It seems that kids were safer on the streets but I guess that’s not really true. There were race riots in London, the IRA were blowing up shit and we went to war [technically not a war] to save two shitty islands in the South Atlantic because a few hundred people lived there. The house where I grew up had just upgraded to a colour television and for heat we burnt coal in two open fires in the house.

The theme of time travel in this film freaked me out and I know it made me think an awful lot about time travel and paradoxes. In reality, we literally have no idea what happens if these things are possible. There’s lots of fictional writing but we can’t know what really happens. It’s like wormholes you see, as much as they are fixed within the collective consciousness we don’t even know if they exist.

This film is a good film. It was co-produced within Hungary and the eastern-European production values shine through. Any animations coming out of that part of the world in the 80s were horrifically strange and messed up. It was a bit of a thing to look for when I was growing up. I reckon everyone should watch this movie and begin to understand just how lucky you all are these days with your CGI and computer graphics. If a film can take you to its world but be low cost and production values then it is a good film. If you are engrossed and don’t notice the cheapness then it is a good film. It’s all very well these modern films being bursting with effects and good looking stuff but if your story just comes down to who has the biggest fists then it’s a touch pathetic.

Back To The Future (35th Anniversary)

So, I wanted to get out and go somewhere and I normally return to the darkness of the film theatre as an easy escape. There isn’t really a lot of films on at the moment because all the major studios have delayed release of all their films due to the SARS-Cov-2 issues. So, in a sensible move, the cinemas around here are showing classic films to get us to visit. Today, as of writing, the following films are available to watch with my comments after each:

  • Back To The Future (35th etc) – seen
  • Back To The Future II (2020 reissue) – will watch at home
  • Dark Waters – seen
  • Dreambuilders – don’t want to see
  • Goodfellas: 30th Anniversary – maybe
  • Harry Potter II RE – don’t care for these movies
  • My Spy – already seen on Amazon Prime
  • Onward – absolutely not
  • Proxima – seen
  • Sonic The Hedgehog – seen
  • The Dark Knight (2020 reissue) – can’t stand Batman films
  • The Empire Strikes Back: 40th Anniversary – maybe
  • The Greatest Showman – kill me now
  • The Shawshank Redemption (2020 reissue) – maybe
  • Unhinged – really not sure about this isn’t it just Falling Down?

So, there is plenty to see and that’s just today. Tomorrow there’s a different selection of films going on. I might go again at some point. I’ve been going to early showings assuming that the cinema is cleaner than after a few crowds have been in. I’m not sure about the whole opening doors to the toilets thing but I guess if everyone uses hand sanitiser that shouldn’t be too bad. To be honest in the film yesterday there were only five people in that particular screen and I think we all pretty much enjoyed the film.

Earlier in the day I had been down to the river at Peters Village and seen that the tide was quite low. When I checked the tide charts supplied by Wolfram Alpha I could see that the tide was turning and by the time I went to the cinema it would have been around 75% of high water for that day. Sure enough on the way in to the cinema as I drove along the esplanade I could see that the tide was indeed getting towards its highest. There were no mudbanks to be seen.

After watching the film I rated it on IMDB because that is a thing I do for cinema films and there is a previous communication detailing the ratings process here. I then tweet the result on my rarely used (for now) twitter account.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this film again. It was great fun. There are so many aspects of the film that are well thought out and delightful little touches that it was as if I hadn’t seen the film ever before. I couldn’t tell you when I last watched this whole thing, but I can tell you that it was still excellent and it did make me wonder why films weren’t made like this anymore. Maybe they are and I just haven’t found them, or maybe they are and I’m struggling with confirmation bias, but this was a well scripted, well made film where every little bit of it just seems to work really well.

I’ve already bought the box set on Blu-Ray along with the Indiana Jones trilogy and Star Wars (1-6). I will be watching the next few films in this particular series over the next week or so and I can’t wait. I honestly can’t remember much and am pretty sure that the last time I watched the third film would have been in the cinema when it originally came out. We’ll see what I think of it!

Proxima

March 15th was the last time I went to the cinema. It is July 31st. That is 138 days without a visit to the cinema, no films seen in the [not] luxury surroundings of the Rochester Cineworld cinema. There are 233 communications within the menu “Film”, I’m not sure all of them are cinema film reviews but I am sure more than 200 are. The first film reviewed on this iteration of my website was Oblivion. That’s a little amusing as I recently saw that it was on Netflix and checked this place to see if I had already seen it, I realised I had and decided to not bother watching it again. The original cinema list is here and starts with Shrek 2!

I think there are formalities to get through before I mention what I thought of Proxima and the first point is to say that I did NOT notice the state of the tide on the way in to the cinema. I checked it on the way out but I think I was just pleased to be driving next to the river that I didn’t actually look at it and register how high or low the water was. When leaving that place I did look and the river was low indicating a low tide. I saw the 13:40 showing of this film on the first day that cinemas were allowed to open. I figured the place would be cleaner earlier in the day. When I booked the ticket I wasn’t aware just how hot the weather was going to be and I’m glad I went. It is 36C out there and spending a little while in the air conditioned cinema was great. My lounge is 26C and it felt so nice to come in to the cold house when I got home. I did have a bike ride earlier today and I rode along the river most of the way so it was shady and cooler than everywhere else.

The last few years I’ve spent some time trying to find two films that haunt me from my early years. One was a sci-fi piece that was Australian I think and about the end of the world. Another was a French animation which involved time travel. I think I have found them both and I am going to watch the live action film later. I think it is called The Quiet Earth and I saw it on a list of Sci-Fi films you should see but might not have – it was a listicle and I had seen most but the summary makes me think that this is the one I’ve been searching for. The animation is called Les Maîtres du temps and I will be trying to find a copy of that film to see if it as messed up as I remember.

As is custom I rated Proxima on IMDB and there’s a communication covering all the details of the rating system here. I then tweeted the result. Normally this would be completed from my phone but I have deleted the Twitter app for mental health reasons. I therefore only check Twitter about 0.75 times a day.

I really enjoyed this film, far more than some recent, meant to be realistic films like First Man. The film covers the training an astronaut receives in the run-up to launch and but primarily this film focuses on the way this challenges the relationship with her young daughter. I liked the dedications during the credits to the female astronauts who had young daughters when they went into space.

This film uses a mixture of space training alternating with relationship issues. And it has Matt Dillon! Matt Dillon! I’ve not seen him in anything for ages and he totally still plays the sexist pig quite well. I thin he melts a little towards the end of the film which I think was nice but also rather predictable. Eva Green conveys the emotions of being a parent really well. I really enjoyed her performance. I enjoyed this film, but probably won’t be watching it again, hence the 6/10.

A thing that irks me is how so many films try to make everything look so easy and non-technical. I think the idea is to maintain that myth that anyone can do anything if they work hard enough. This is complete bullshit. Some people aren’t able to do things that they want. You can practice and you can try your best but there are a lot of other people out there who are trying to do the same as you and it only takes a very small difference for them to win. Space is hard. Space is complex. We have this romanticised view of astronauts being gung-ho cowboys when in reality they are full of the most technical and detailed information about their entire mission that the side shown to the public is remarkably false. All media representations of aircraft, boats, cars, bridges, anything designed and built by humans tend to undersell just how complex these things are. Your mobile phone is, to you, just a black box which does stuff. I think that’s how most of the world is represented to us as humans. These things just work and we don’t have to worry about how.

Proxima showed some of the technical aspects of being shot into space and I liked it for that. It showed the difficulty of training for a mission and it showed the stresses on the human. It is a good film.

The Quiet Earth

Yesterday I also watched The Quiet Earth. I paid to watch this on Amazon and I am glad I did. For some reason I saw this film in the 80s and it has stuck with me all that time. I regularly think about it. Firstly, an admission – it’s not set in Australia but New Zealand and I think I’ll have to accept that’s close enough. The film follows the journey of a man who awakes to find himself alone in the world. He does find some other people eventually after going mad and we see what happens. I enjoyed it. Here’re the main things that I remember from thirty years ago:

  • An experiment to create an energy field around the Earth went wrong
  • The charge of an electron had changed

Both of these things were in the film but they weren’t actually big parts of the plot. I don’t know why they have stuck with me so much. Possibly my admiration for aviation matters? One of the issues with aircraft [and cars] is that they have to carry their fuel with them. This means that to travel further you need more fuel so you have more mass and therefore need more fuel to transport that extra mass. If we could find a way of negating the need for fuel to be carried on the aircraft then we would have a really efficient system. The premise behind this film is that an energy field was created in the atmosphere to power aircraft. This has stuck with me all that time and I used to think about it quite often.

The other film I mentioned earlier, Les Maîtres du temps, I have found on YouTube and will watch later. I can’t find it to stream and it costs a whopping GBP40 on DVD because it’s so rare. Having looked into it a little it looks like a joint production between the French, the BBC and Hungary so I expect it will be weird as fuck.

The Hunt

Yesterday I decided to head to the cinema although it was probably not the best idea to be in a room with lots of other people outside of my normal encounters. But still, I went. I do think was silly but because there’s so much going on in this country which is “normal” I don’t think the national psyche has changed to minimise the effects of the virus. I do think that our government aren’t doing enough, but I also think they are stupid and completely the wrong people to be in charge in a time of crisis. Try to think of who, in our current political system, you would trust to run this thing? I can only think of a couple: Lammy and Clarke. Polar opposites there I guess.

Anyway, back to the format. I made particular note of the tide as I drove along the riverside road because it’s important here. The tide was nearly highest and there were fishermen on the banks which was nice to see. I don’t think they’ll find any toilet roll in there though. On my return to home the tide was still pretty high or close to high tide and there were fishermen on the river banks near Peters Village also.

This film puzzled me and I eventually settled on a score on IMDB. There’s a rating system here. I then tweeted this result.

I had heard about this film from plenty of US based podcasts because stupid right wing christian people were freaking the fuck out about this. As far as I know the release was delayed. This sort of thing can only help the final outcome of a film. A little controversy goes a long way.

I think I need to write two reviews. Firstly if this film was written as a comedy and by centrist or left wing people then it is hilarious. It’s a funny look at the divisions in society and the idea that we should take revenge on those who disagree with us. This film takes the standard idea of a Battle Royale and places it in the USA with right-on lefty people hunting down right wing people who have loudly disagreed with the sorts of things that they do.

This film is the same as the Hunger Games or The Maze or any other future dystopian type film. It’s a fight to the death. It’s funny. I don’t think it’s clever or intelligent or sensible but it is funny. It’s also quite bright and cheery.

If this film was written by someone with right wing tendencies then it’s fucking terrible. If someone wrote this as though it was a real piece of work that might be true in the future then they need to chill the fuck out. It’s still funny. I still think it’s bright and cheery. But it shows a dark view into the mind of those on the right as if they think this could happen.

You know what? I enjoyed this film and I might even watch it again sometime. I suspect I will have to change the rating to an 8/10.

Dark Waters

I’m listening to the radio as I write this and they are discussing the leading of petrol, the addition of tetraethyl lead, to help reduce knocking and also allow the fuel to run smoother. As science and others learnt that the lead was dangerous to humans and the environment many people fought back and said all the lead was natural. It wasn’t. But invested parties kept saying that the product was safe. They kept saying that they didn’t think their leaded petrol made any difference to the world. It’s one of those situations where you realise that companies and governments don’t do jack-shit for the people until forced to. It was DuPont who invented this. A side point – the chap who invented the leading of petrol was also responsible for the invention of CFCs – amazing.

I went to see Dark Waters at the Rochester Cinema which nestles next to the tidal part of the river Medway. I happened to notice that the tide level was very low. It was clear because of the mud banks being completely exposed and the rivulets were obvious. I did notice a shopping trolley in the mud and, had I had more time, I would have taken a photograph of it for this publication.

After seeing a film I then rate it on IMDB using a rating scale all of my own invention. You can read how that scale works on within this communication. I suspect that the rating for Dark Waters will be a surprise for some as I haven’t followed my system and am even considering changing my system to fit this score. I don’t want to see this film again but I really enjoyed it, that means it gets a 6 by default. But, I do think that all people should see this film and so I’ve decided to score it a 7.

I really enjoyed the film. It was very educational and full of anti-hope. This is one of those films that everyone needs to see and take on board all of the lessons of capitalism. Over the last ten years I have become more and more convinced that our capitalist governments aren’t doing the best for the people. They do the best for their own interests and it’s quite frustrating to realise that. Watch this film and try to defend DuPont. It’s a bit like watching The Big Short and then trying to defend capitalism. I am convinced that we need to change our society full-scale t omake it work for the people. To make it humanist.

I don’t think this government and management style is going to change peacefully. I think in two hundred years it will be different but largely because anthropogenic climate change will have ruined the planet and kills around eighty percent of humans. The remaining humans will be working to sustain what is left and priorities won’t be economic growth and making money. I’m hoping the priorities will be looking after the Earth and people. I’m glad I’ll be dead.