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.

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.

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.

Underwater

Rather than sit hunkered down in my house away from Storm Ciara I thought it would be better to spend the time in the cinema. So I went to the Cineworld at Rochester to see Underwater. I hadn’t even heard of the film before I booked the ticket but I watched about ten seconds of the trailer and it looked like an underwater adventure/action movie so I could cope with that. There wasn’t anything else on at the cinema I wanted to see.

The roads were covered in detritus of the storm and the river was rather unsettled in the wind, there were waves and everything! The tidal state was quite low, it would have been more fun with water spray had the tide been higher as some might have even made it to the road. I’m reminded of a time I went to Hastings and the sea was raging. The waves were crashing over the sea wall in spectacular fashion. I think this was the time that my dad had a job interview and we drove there. I was in charge of navigation and the M25 wasn’t fully open, the date should be easy to figure out from that!

Stormy Medway
Stormy Medway

I ought to get on to what I thought of the film. But “The Prologue” never gets started [classic Up Pompeii reference there for you]. I rated this film a little while after watching it. I normally do this while walking back to the car but I wasn’t sure. After a little while of thinking about it I gave this film a 4. There is a whole communication that underpins the numerology of the scoring system and you can read that here. Can you believe that on the day of the Oscar ceremony I went to see this film!

The trailers were the first warning. There was lots of trailers for horror movies. I don’t care for horror movies. They just aren’t any good. Once you accept that the supernatural doesn’t exist then horror movies are just shit. Movies with dolls in them are the worst. What a load of shit. I guess people like being scared in a safe way. Like rollercoasters. Anyway, I digress:

It wasn’t a good film. I’m not even sure it was enjoyable. I didn’t care for any of the characters. It’s most important that we ignore any of the physics involved now, I’d already decided I wouldn’t get annoyed by poor science. I didn’t at any point want to walk out so I guess there’s that.

Parasite

I had a spare evening and rather than rest, go to bed early and generally refresh myself I decided to go and see a film with the programme starting at 20:00. This meant it was going to be a late night and I don’t really do well with late nights, I know my limits and I adjust what I do accordingly. Anyway, a chance to get to the cinema isn’t to be missed and it also forces me to write these communications for my limited audience.

My journey to the cinema was uneventful, I listened to Skeptics With A K podcast as I drove and they talked about companies offering reviving IV drips. Although I didn’t consciously look at the tide state and note it where it was I did so unconsciously – such is my routine. The tide was low and the river was quite flat – I could see lights reflecting in straight lines over the water’s surface, there was little wind. The weather is all rather grey over here at the moment with a few more days of grey forecast.

After watching a film I then rate the thing on IMDB.com, it’s a movie website thing and I’ve been looking at it for about twenty five years. There are rules about my rating system and before anyone gives me grief it’s worth reading those rules within a communication. I then normally tweet the result although if you look back through past reviews you will see a point where that didn’t happen.

So, yeah, it’s an OK film which I’m not that bothered about seeing again. I’m curious because this movie has rave reviews and I’m just not sure why. I mean, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t think it was awesome. I think I’m missing something on a higher level. Maybe my basic brain isn’t quite tuned for what this film produces.

I can see that there was some commentary on the class struggle but it wasn’t massive and I’m confused. When this happens I tend to spend some time reading real reviews about the movie and discussing it with people whom I trust. I will be reading some trusted review sources soon and I hope they will explain to me why this film is considered so good. It had a massive critics rating on IMDB and my scoring is way off theirs! So, I won’t be updating this communication with extra gumpf about what I found out because these reviews should be pure emotion and what I thought not what I think after trying to understand other points of view.

1917

Yesterday I had a “spare” couple of hours. So I went to see the film 1917. Formalities first though. The tide on the river was in the middle. I could see mud flats glistening in the setting sunlight but the level wasn’t much lower than the edge of the flats. Part of me wishes I had stopped to take a photograph because it was scenic with the falling sun and reflective water and mud.

After watching the film I rated it and tweeted the result. There’s a whole communication here discussing the rating system and it’s here.

So, what did I think of the film? I really enjoyed it. As much as someone can enjoy entertainment where the slaughter of millions of people is involved. The themes of “what is right”, “how sacred is life”, “who has the right” have been playing over in my head for the last year or so and I’m am no closer to any answers to my personal philosophy but ultimately I am aware there are no ultimate answers to those questions.

This film was technically magnificent. Beautifully shot. Amazing. The story felt a little “Saving Private Ryan”, but it was different enough to stand on its own. Whether the events in the story happened I do not know but this film displays the shock and horror of the war. I should have rated this film an 8 but in reality I don’t think I will watch it again, so it must settle for a 6.

I was temporarily distracted during the film and there was a strong smell of perfume near where I was seated. I am sure that it was one of the brands SJR used to wear and the smell of it took me back to the early 1990s. I’m not sure of the brand but there were two she used to wear and one was Poison by Dior. It is a curious thing how smells can have such an effect on memory. I wonder what the brain chemistry is for that?

Jojo Rabbit

I guess I have to start the new year as I mean to carry on and along with eating too much I have been to the cinema. Along the way I remembered to look at the tidal state in the river and to be honest I couldn’t really tell where it was. I think this means that the water wasn’t that still and I couldn’t make out the reflections from the opposite bank in the water. I did see a fire on one of the boats moored just off the mudbank. I think it was deliberate as it was still burning when I left. In the dark it looked as though it was the boat with a boat on it [which potentially makes it a ship].

I rated this film on IMDB and then tweeted the result. I’ve had a bit of a rationalisation of social media recently and might write about that here along with my latest bit of tech, there, that’s a teaser. Before you moan at my film rating you should read this communication which deals with how the system works. Here’s the tweet:

You know what? I enjoyed this movie. It was funny, colourful and perfectly ridiculous at times. Framing the war through the eyes of a child with his imaginary friend worked really well. I pondered scoring this film an 8 but decided I probably wouldn’t see it again and therefore it can’t have that rating.

The young actors in this film were amazing. The colour and brightness of the film worked really well to show the real life of Germans during the war. I’m not trying to suggest that this film has documentary ambitions but it does humanise the German working people rather than demonise.

It’s all well worth watching although I’m not sure I’d let young children see it even if it was a 12A.

Captain Marvel

This afternoon, St Patrick’s Day, I went to the cinema to see the latest Marvel super hero offering – Captain Marvel. I noted the state of the tide and it was low, but there was also a new area of the mud bank that had been dredged and two barges were anchored in there properly afloat. I rated this film on IMDB and there’s a communication dealing with how the system works here.

I note that the poster for this film outside the cinema had an F-15 Strike Eagel based at RAF Lakenheath on it and this excited me, I thought I might get to see some decent military flying by the USAF but there wasn’t really any. Also, all the flying action took place in sandy places, even when returning from space because it would be impossible to associate any other kind of land type with aliens.

I really enjoyed this film. The first thirty seemed a little slow and I did think about having a nap but I didn’t want my head to lay on either person at my side so I forced myself to stay awake. I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed this film. Well worth watching.

The best thing about this movie was the positive and strong female role models within. Most of the soundtrack was by female artists and the whole thing effused oestrogen. This is how films should be. Strong positive female role models. Women should be doing these roles and they will kick your butt. Such a force for good in society.

Obviously there’s still all those issues about winning by hitting someone until they don’t get up. I’m not keen on those messages. I think we see enough of that from the G5 in the world. Oh, there was Jude Fucking Law, yeaugh.

First Man

Days ago I went to the cinema at Rochester to see the film First Man. It has taken me this long to process what I thought about it along with being away and in an area of limited data coverage. Before I explain what I thought about the film there are some formalities to cover.

I have no idea on the state of the tide that evening. I didn’t particularly look at that tidal area of river as it was dark and raining. I could look it up but that’s not the point. I also rated this film on IMDB and you should see this particular communication which explains the rating system, I’ll give you a hint though, I broke the system for this film.

I’ve a slight feeling that this is going to be a little controversial. But then again, it’s my view and I’m not a professional critic so I don’t make or break movies.

I’m not sure I liked this film.

I wanted to like this film. I wanted to love this film and be amazed at it and learn a bit about Neil Armstrong. I’m not sure I did and that pains me. I think it took me two days before I rated this film on IMDB as I wasn’t sure what score to give the film.

So, we know I am a nerd and I know a fair bit about the moon landings and space travel. I didn’t mind that I didn’t learn anything new about those aspects of the film. I also knew that Mr Armstrong was quite private and quiet but also a professional and extremely clever man. I’m not sure this film captured that.

Here’s what I did like. The emotional aspect of Armstrong attempting to deal with the death of his daughter. This film heavily places that at the centre of the story telling and I am fine with that but it’s almost fiction as the man himself never really opened up about it. I loved the final touch of his offering to the moon and would love that to be true.

What I didn’t like was all the shaking camera work. This film was like watching a tense emotional marriage drama with episodes of shaking camera and stress. I guess that’s what the astronauts’ lives are like but I just don’t like blurry screens.

I didn’t like the way the film side-stepped the knowledge and understanding and skill that is needed to be an astronaut. I like the technical stuff. I know that’s just me and so I get why this film has rave reviews.

So, in the end this film has a 5/10 from me. I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t like it enough.

Johnny English Strikes Again

Well, today I took a trip to the Cineworld cinema in Harlow. Not the one in the Harvey Centre but the one on the edge of town. I can’t remember the last time I went to Harlow town centre but I’m pretty sure I thought it was shit. Harlow, you see, is a new town. It’s a classic example of 1960s urban planning with a concrete town centre to boot. It may have improved I guess but don’t know because I didn’t go there.

The cinema I patronised was close to the river Stort but that isn’t tidal. In fact there are no tidal reaches close by so I can’t give you a decent idea of where the tide was at. I can tell you it is pretty much a full moon out this evening. Also, a new one for me in the 40 odd years that I’ve lived and moved around this part of Essex I actually saw deer in the first field coming out of the village.

I should probably get on with the film and the review type stuff. I rated this film on IMDB and there’s a communication here detailing the scoring process. You can even search in the little box on the right to see more reviews and things or use the drop down menu directly below my header picture. I tweeted my IMDB score:

So, as you can see, 4/10 is a pretty pants score. There’s been a few others recently that scored that and there’s even a film where I went completely away from this trusted format. Why did this film get a 4? Mostly because it was shit.

I did like the idea that they were trying to train Johnny English into understanding that the world has moved on and that women can have jobs of power although they could have gone into this much more. The idea that women should be treated the same as men, although it probably doesn’t work so well in this movie franchise compared with Bond because Johnny English is generally a fool whereas Bond is full of misogynistic toxic behaviour that deserves to be corrected and then consigned to the rubbish heap of shit things.

No, this film was pretty shit. Other people in the cinema laughed plenty and I chuckled a couple of times but it wasn’t far enough on the dinosaur discovering a new world idea and it wasn’t enough Mr Bean.