Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"High Noon": 1952 suspense film in real time, as the clock runs down, a western about standing up to a bully

In these times of political polarization, “High Noon” (1952, directed by Fred Zinnemann) may be one of the ultimate films about standing up to bullies. It was written by Stanley Kramer and produced by his company (and Republic Pictures) and released through United Artists, the independent film company of the past.

The film, lasting 85 minutes, is a western shot in real time, as a released con Frank Miller (Ian Macdonald) is due in a New Mexico town at high noon on a train, and the sheriff Will Kane (Gary Cooper) will have to deal with him and protect his new bride Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly).

The story concept is somewhat similar to the 1966 film “The Chase” (2016/10/13). 
I recall seeing this film at the old Buckingham Theater in Arlington VA (now a post office) with mother before we met father at National Airport coming back from a business trip. I remember the menacing clock being shown repeatedly.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Ubanell's new short film, "Couples Therapy", with the help of a non-Apple robot that runs iOS

Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell has a new short film, “Couples Therapy”, with Andrew Neighbors, and “Alex”,  a “therapist” who is a robot tablet (it’s not from “Tim Apple”;  maybe it is a Wacom – and the technology for touch screens with Apple may change with OS 10.15, but that’s a side discussion.)

They both have good condo housekeeping habits and can assemble furniture and fold clothes (look at John Fish’s latest video from Montreal). 

But the computer decides “they are not compatible”.

But they know that they are.

Picture: Mine, from a hotel on the 405 in LA (2012 trip). 

 Ubanell shows determination to bring masculinity (or “manliness”) back to gay short film.

Monday, August 19, 2019

"Atomic Tours" by Carl Willis and Taylor Wilson (scientist), a visit to Hanford site (Manhattan Project), along with recap of radioactive sites in former Soviet Union

Carl Willis and Taylor Wilson (scientist) present the first of their “Atomic Tours”, a 23-minute documentary film directed by Jared Branden Flande and produced in part by Taylor.

The early part of the film gives Carl’s background and shows him visiting Chernobyl and various other controversial nuclear test sites in former Soviet republics.  This is controversial (as Sam Nunn has pointed out) that the world doesn’t have much of a handle on former nuclear waste, which can fall into the hands of terrorists. The recent explosions (there seems to have been more than one and at more than one location) in Russia at sites related to nuclear-tipped cruise missiles seem relevant now.

The film then switches gears as Taylor and Carl give a tour of the B Reactor at Hanford, Washington, which was very critical for the Manhattan Project during World War II.  V-J day in Times Square in 1945 is shown, with commentary from descendants of people who worked on the Project with all the moral mixed feelings. Taylor says that the Hanford site, and what it produced, maybe the most significant location in the world regarding its current recent history.
The site does not have access to normal running water, which makes bathroom breaks difficult. And, no, that has nothing to do with woke political correctness.

Wikipedia attribution:
By Image#2011393 at, Public Domain, Link

Sunday, August 18, 2019

"The Privilege Game": a card game version of kids' "Mother May I"

Neel Kolhatkar directs “The Privilege Game” (8 min), a companion short film to one about education July 27.

In a bland UK classroom, players draw trivial pursuit-like cards that assign them social status.  Being the victim of hate speech raises your status. Trump comes along (from the US) and reverse’s everyone’s gains from wokeness.
This sounds rather like “Mother May I”.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

"Woodstock at 50": CNN documentary by Bill Weir recalls the 1970 documentary in 70 mm of the 1969 hippy rock festival

Bill Weir of CNN hosted the one-hour documentary “Woodstock at 50”, where he talks to seniors who were there in a farm property in Bethel, NY (not the same as the town of Woodstock, maybe 50 miles NE in the Catskills), Aug 15-18, 1969, an event that drew 400,000 people and had off-duty police officers as a “please force” and had to get by on plenty of food and cooking donations toward the end.
In fact, I saw the 1970 184-minute 70mm film live documentary (“Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music”) from Michael Wadleigh and Warner Brothers in the early summer of 1970 in a Cinerama theater in Indianapolis, IN when I was working for RCA on my first job as an adult.

Weir found that many of the seniors who had attended still felt a bit like hippies.

CNN’s own promotional article is called “Woodstock at 50: Unseen Images of the Festival that Changed America”.
Weir notes that the polarization was maybe worse in 1968-1969 than it is today, before the Internet.
I was in the Army, stationed at Fort Eustis, but most of us heard about it in the barracks from the one television in the day room.  At least it had color. And a scanning tone that I could hear when I was young.

Friday, August 16, 2019

"How Safe Is China, Really?": Poppy (American travel blogger) documents living in China (Shenzhen)

“Where’s Poppy?” provides a 14-minute video, “How Safe Is China, Really?”

Poppy takes an air trip from Shenzhen to Nanking by air and visits some of the historical sites. Namking is half way to Shanghai. Toward the end, a woman goes way of the way to “chaperone” her back to her hotel.  I had an experience (in the US) on a bike trip in the 1990s I think I’ve share before.
She also left her camera and other affects unattended for a moment outside and no one disturbed them.

She has many other videos on her travel blog about life in Shenzhen, including cost of living.  Rent is about $900 a month for a reasonable high-rise, and she lives with a boy friend (white, English speaking, American).  Shenzhen is the closest big city to Hong Kong, which is certainly under stress now.

She does mention Internet service, which is like phone service and doesn’t discuss the controversy over censorship or social credit systems. She makes life there look very agreeable, in one-party unary Communist country.
But there is another video about how she was scammed out of $5000.

By Simbaxu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Film by Arvin Ash simulates traveling inside a black hole ("Crazy Journey")

I wanted to share Arvin Ash’s “Realistic Simulation: Inside a Black Hole: New Universe Through a White Hole?” (15 min).  The processed strike image reads "Crazy Journey: Inside a Monster Black Hole". 

Although no one can survive the tidal forces of going through an event horizon, you might someone feel pretty normal inside one if you could – but you are lost forever to the universe.  Furthermore, he says, every direction is down.

Space moves but time stops.
Arvin talks about the various mathematical theories about the singularity.
That’s why you have no sense of existence before conception, yet your life seems “indefinite” or infinite when you live it.
What if a black hole inside our galaxy generated another big bang?