Sunday, August 30, 2020

TENET and time inversion (an explanation)


TENET Time Inversion Explained (The Movie’s Timeline), from “Heavy Spoilers”. 

The time inversion means that the person reverses backward through the exact event with no changes allowed, so that causality in physics (the “grandfather paradox”) is not challenged.

Although this preview doesn’t say that, some people say that with a non-traumatic death, you relive your entire life and can see any moments you want, as time slows to a standstill. 

 The film is due to preview in theaters Thursday, Sept. 3. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

"5 Signs of the Sigma Male" by Einzelganger


I want to link to Einzelganger’s “5 Signs of the Sigma Male” which supplements a film presented May 24 on “not belonging”.

Sigma males dislike participating in social hierarchies or tribal conflicts (such as partisan politics), especially the polarized political climate today with extremes on both Left and Right.

They also may consider marriage and relationships as less important, and might venture into what is sometimes seen as schizoid or avoidant.

But they do have a rich internal world of their own making and can “self-date”.  (Interesting reference to that idea in an older book by Katherine Kersten).

Friday, August 28, 2020

"Corona in Brazil", by DW Documentary; right wing president Bolsonaro oversees the second-highest death count in the world (behind guess who)

Brasilia aerea torredetv1304 4713


President vs. Virus: Corona in Brazil” by DW Documentary (12 minutes) with M.K. Boese and others.

Right wing president Jair Bolsonaro has called COVID “a little flu” but got it himself, a mild case. He seems to believe in “survival of the fittest”. Brazil has the second highest death toll, at 118,000 in the world, after the U.S.

The film shows his left-wing opponents, with a lot of community engagement, like a soccer group called “Corinthians” delivering food to the poor, especially in an underground homeless shelter in Sao Paulo. The food is starchy and has no fresh produce  Families who lost jobs to the virus were simply evicted, with no safety plans even comparable to those of Trump. One family had moved some its furniture to the shelter but was given shoes by the volunteers.

The film also shows the right wing support, especially around Brasilia.  In one family a “gay conservative” is presented, despite Bolsonaro’s homophobia.

Brasilia picture from Wikipedia, click for attribution.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

"Wild West: Wanted Cat Steals Food from Moving Freight Train", in a model railroad


Here’s a cute short from CatPusic, in Russia (I think): “Wild West: Wanted Cat Steals Food from Moving Freight Train”, from January 2020.

A young man has set up an interesting model train layout in his basement with a self-propelled strain and large track that I’ve never seen in American stores. There is a tunnel, a bridge, and some unusual loops and designs.

He fills the flatcars with food and invites his cat in to the room to stalk the train and steal food from the toy flatcars and hoppers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

"Coronavirus in Spain": DW Documentary on Spain's lockdown during the pandemic, which extended to the islands

22 de marzo 2020-Gran Via-Madrid

Coronavirus in Spain”, a 28-film by Natalia Bachmayer, for DW Documentary (which has docs on many different countries). The other title is "Close Up: Spain's Fight with the Coronavirus" (wiki link).

Natalia documents the strict lockdown in Madrid which started around March 14, with people socializing only from their balconies, with road checkpoints, and people allowed go out only once a day for groceries.

She is allowed to move around because she is a “professional” journalist for a living.  But a blogger like me could not do this.

With restrictions so strict, I don’t know what happened if something broke in your home (an appliance or an Internet connection).

She moves on to the Canary Islands, with the volcanic scenery, before returning to Spain and seeing the people, often migrants, in food lines.  Spain’s social safety net is not protecting everyone from complete destitution due to the extended lockdowns.

Picture:  Madrid on March 22, embed, click for attribution in Wikipedia. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

"Voices from the Black Lives Matter Protests", short film from Vanity Fair, and it does make a point

Breonna Taylor Memorial Louisville Kentucky

 Vanity Fair and director Rodney Passe present the 8-minute short film “Voices from the Black Lives Matter Protests”, and that pretty much includes all of them recently.

One protester explains something.  It goes like this.  “You are bent up on property destruction.  But if police can come at will at kill us, we don’t even own our own bodies”.  (That refers to slavery in the past, although he doesn’t say that explicitly.) What good is your property then?  He could have added, your property is worthless because it is predicated on an unfair system that victimized us.  It’s time for you to learn what it means to become the victim you despise because of the prejudices of others.

So this gets very personal.  Even so, mainstream journalists and vloggers are paying heed to BLM as an organization when as such (not the movement, just the organization) seems to have Marxist origins.  And Marxism (especially Maoism) can turn vengeful. 

The Jacob Blair medical condition update was broadcast by the family late today (see Issues Blog). 

Picture: Memorial for Breonna Taylor in Louisville KY, wikipedia embed, click for CCSA attribution  

Monday, August 24, 2020

"How to Film Yourself" entering or leaving a building, for openers


Continuing in the spirit from yesterday, I’ll present Jussi Alexander’s “How to Film Yourself”.

Jussi uses a modern Sony something and tripod, as well as a drone, to show himself walking in and out of a building, and then down an alley.  The drone is quite high, above decks on the nearby apartment rowhouses. 

I don’t know where this is, maybe Los Angeles.

It does take a lot of technique and practice to do this well.  Oli Barrett would have done the same thing in his videos where he talks while walking around in cities in China.

If you want to get serious with video yourself, in order to prepare selling a script, this gives you an idea of the skills you (“I”) need to master.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

"Making a Short Film Alone": Joe Simon films his sci-fi "The Volunteer" who remains in Austin TX


Film Riot presents the instructional video from Ryan Connolly, “Making a Short Film Alone”, which relates to a 4-minute short “The Volunteer” by Joe Simon.

The film shows a lone man who has decided to stay behind in a deserted Austin TX after an evacuation during an alien invasion.  A spacecraft hangs in the sky.

Simon chose the subject matter as appropriate to do alone during the pandemic when streets would be deserted naturally.

His most important prop was a yellow hazmat suit that he ordered online for $427. 

He uses editing software called Resolve, rather than Premier (or Final Cut).

He pays a lot of heed to the composition of a scene where he sits in an old bathtub.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

"Wicken": a proof-of-concept short (for a feature) about a deadly online chain letter


Wicken” is a proof-of-concept horror film from HashmiHouse, or Faisal Hashmi.

A woman (Noir Safieh) sits on her bed and chats with a boyfriend (Stuart Richard) on her laptop with Zoom or Skype.   She notices curtains moving in his apartment as he sends her a demonic image as part of a chain letter (usually a TOS violation). 

She has to send it to someone else to get rid of the same entity who now is stalking her. She sends it to a woman with a newborn.

The 7 minute film links to a “making-of” which is longer than the film (14 minutes). The director says he plans a longer feature based on the same idea.  (This idea of a teaser short was tried by Jorge Ameer for his “The House of Adam”. May 12, 2012).

This morning, “The Priceless Benefits of Not Belonging” flashed into my YouTube queue.  I didn’t recall at first I had written a quirky review (very personalized) May 24, 2020.  It still holds. It’s driving polarization and the radical Left.  

Also, don’t forget “The Wicker Man” (two films).

Thursday, August 20, 2020

"Can You Catch COVID-19 Twice?" Maybe not very likely for a couple years; Important short from the UK

Red White Blood cells

 Run-DMC offers the 10-minute short film “Can You Catch COVID-19 Twice? How Long Does Immunity Last?

The speaker, from the UK, gives many academic references, and the best one comes from DDB-Future, “The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19”. 

He explains that the “humoral” and “myeloid” arms of the immune system themselves split into compartments.  Memory T-cells are recruited like mercenaries with resumes, for their ability to fight a specific new invader. It’s almost like your T-cells had LinkedIn accounts. But the separation of functions within your immune system (a workplace concepts) is really quite elaborate, almost like the CIA.

 The practical likelihood is that, even though obvious conspicuous antibodies wear off (like going bald), serviceable immunity (in immunologically healthy people) may last 1-2 years, enough time for yearly vaccines to work.   

Wikipedia embed from NCI. click for attribution   

Update: Aug. 25  There is one case in Hong Kong,  See International Issues blog Monday Aug. 24. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Journeyman Pictures offers us "Batshit", ready for something like "DC Shorts"

Desmo-boden (cropped)


Journeyman Pictures releases video documentaries of issues overseas, especially in autocratic countries.  They also take up some other issues, like censorship (the video channel has many trailers for featurettes to come).

So then here is the satire. “Batshit” (7 min).  Humans, dressed as bats, infect Los Angeles.  They look more like actors out of “Cats”, than anything from the Batman or Gotham franchises. The letter "i" in the title is replaced by a bat emoji for common decency. 

With Rich Hall and Romash Raganathan.  I could well be from bat feces or guano in caves that Sars-CoV-2 jumped to humans.  This is the narrative of Mojiang Miners Passage hypothesis in China. 

Wikipedia embed of vampire bat, click for CCSA attribution. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Game night: "The Witness Review"


I haven’t talked about games much on my blogs (except for the Sony litigation) but I wanted to present as a “film” a review of the 2016 game “The Witness” (from Thekla), review from IGN.

You can also look up Joseph Anderson’s 40-minute 2016 misadventure, “The Witness: A Great Game that You Shouldn’t Play”.

The game places you on a fictitious island.  As you traverse it, you are presented with puzzles as “Keys” where you have to solve the puzzle (a navigation with unknown rules) to reach the next area. People say that a typical game takes 60-80 hours to play.

The game has been associated with philosophies like “non duality”.

It seems to have been derived from 20-year-old games like Myst and Riven. 

Picture is from my own condo train set. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

"Requited": a rather personal gay male short film drama as a young man revisited the life he just left

Sal Bardo presents “Requited” (2010, 5 Hands Films, 20 minutes), re-released this week.

A young man (Chris Damon) living in Manhattan chooses between seeing his current boyfriend off to the airport, or seeing his first love one last time forever at a wedding, a look back at his whole youth.  

The film starts in bed, which kind of reverses the opportunity for tension.

His other friends from his past, maybe before his “second coming”, remember his as talkative, maybe like me?   There is a very long penultimate shot of him alone in bed near the end.  

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Workshop film: "Best Camera and Equipment for YouTube Beginners", from Think Media


Think Media offers some advice to people who might be considering starting a YouTube channel, and who want the production quality to be good enough to attract subscribers and become monetizable. It’s “Best Camera and Equipment for YouTube Beginners” from 2018.

He talks about an upscale Canon camera for about $700 and even sets it up on a stack of books that looks like a leaning tower of Pisa. Then he wises up and sets up a tripod that he recommends, and shows how to film yourself seated in a couch with lighting gear.

The topic fits into my own plans a little bit more now than it used to, since I have to think about the future of my own channel and the “commercial viability” issue.

There is also the issue of boxing yourself talking while you show content on your screen.  One way to do this is with Zoom (video).

As you can see from my condo living room, I would have some housekeeping to do. Does Think Media have anything to do with ThinkFilm? 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

"Hand Off": a gay rugby player comes out to his team while living in a fantasy world

Rugby Lineout

 Hand Off” is an interesting gay short film from Germany, directed by Chadlee Skrikker, about gay men in contact sports, this time, rugby. It stars Andhar Cotton and Arno Horn. The title is indeed metaphorical.

A rugby player confronts his best friend on the team that he has lost his lover, and (only then) that the lover is a man.

The teammate is mildly surprised that his friend is gay.

The film goes into a long intermittent dream sequence where the player goes to bars and a wild Roman party and makes out, in costume, with another player, before coming back to reality. Somehow living in an alternate reality fixes things. 

Then he comes back to the team and does not necessarily find himself welcome.  Some players do have a problem with it. 

(Video link). 

Picture: Wikipedia embed of a game in the UK, click for attribution  

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

"About Love": a single woman living in a multigenerational home in Mumbai ponders herself v. family and tribe

Mumbai AC local

 On Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, PBS aired the film “About Love” by Mumbai filmmaker and writer Archanda Phadke, about her own life as a single adult living in a multi-generational home in a crowded but middle-class are of India’s metropolis  The film was shot before Covid, but it depicts the practical problems of integrated family life when there are many people.

Archanda, 32 when finishing the film, was working out her own attitudes about family and marriage, as she gradually had to come to terms with cultural ideas about a woman’s place in the home in her society. Family was about more than focused love, it was about the continuity of a tribe. “If you wouldn’t serve your husband’s family, then stay home.”

Part of the “plot” of the “livestream-style” film deals with her brother Rohan’s planned wedding to fiancĂ© Gurbani.  That raises more questions about marriage or singlehood in Archanda’s mind.

Her 87-year-old grandpa Madhav is becoming ill, needs adult diapers at night, and finally goes to the hospital for a tragic but expected end.  Her grandmother Neela says she doesn’t know why she married him, but he used to be good looking and relatively humble.

Her parents, especially her dad, are a bit hardheaded in running a family jewelry business. There are arguments about the physical assembly of accounting statements into binders able to hold them.

The infrastructure around the house seems suspect;  the TV or Internet go out “when it rains”.

Toward the end of the film Archanda talks about her own novel, and her own mind, as separate from family.  She talks about the idea of your soul living at different times (135 years apart) through imagination or reading (or maybe virtual time travel).

Wikipedia embed of Mumbai railway picture, click for attribution.  See also "In Praise of Love" Oct. 7, 2007. 

PBS POV link

Kpbs link

Monday, August 10, 2020

"Cloud Cities of Venus: Settling Earth's Twin": Venus is habitable 30 miles up (sort of)

Topographic Globe of Venus


SpaceRip presents “Cloud Cities of Venus: Settling Earth’s Twin”, by David Sky Brody, narrated by David Grinspoon.

At 30 miles altitude above Venus, the atmospheric pressure is about the same as Earth, with atmosphere of carbon dioxide and clouds of sulfuric acid.

But the film imagines cities, of blimps (maybe 1000 meters diameter) strung together.  If a large balloon is pierced at atmospheric pressure, it does not deflate immediately and it can be repaired.

Robots would be sent to the surface of Venus to mine for raw materials.

The film also discusses terraforming, even of Venus, which would take millennia.

GIF -- embedded from Wikipedia, click for attribution, topographical map of the surface of Venus 

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Most US movie theater chains probably won't reopen until well into 2021; this all was very sudden for them (look at Landmark)

I think it’s interesting to review a typical theater chain’s “coronavirus notice” back in March 2020, with progressive entries (like a blog) March 12 (Thursday), 13, and 16.  Landmark tried to implement a policy of 50% seating on March 14, and decided on March 16 to close March 17.

This notice shows how suddenly and unexpected the lockdown hit most service and performing arts businesses.  Most of the owners and investors say they had no idea that could even happen for the reason given at the time, to “flatten the curve”.  The same goes for restaurants and bars.
Most analysts now say that movie theaters can’t reliably open until mid 2021, after vaccinations have started in some earnest.

A good question then is how well film production continues for the VoD market.  Even in the gay “soft core” world, I am seeing stuff come out, as if actors could be tested for coronavirus first and then act the scenes safely.
On March 10, I was on a day trip in Pennsylvania and ate in a typical restaurant. By March 17, I pretty much realized “it would be this way” but it doesn’t sound like a lot of businesses had.
 Update: Aug. 11:
 Kate Cox writes in Arstechnica that a federal judge has vacated the Paramount Consent Decree, which could open the motion picture theater industry to vertical integration with large studios, after it is possible for them to open given Covid. I'll probably come back to this issue again as to how if might affect what scripts get greenlighted. 

Saturday, August 08, 2020

"3 Reasons You Should Be Making Short Films" by Jo Jo

Here’s a video that gives the technical side of storytelling in short film, beyond the screenwriting.

3 Reasons You Should Be Making Short Films” by Jo Jo Productions.

There are four reasons, really.  (1) Learn the camera system, with frame rate (24) and shutter rate (usually close to 48)  (2) Learn to do the lighting; (3) Learn to do the storytelling (beginning, middle, end). And (4) Learn to do the audio with a separate hardware pack, which will be integrated when you edit (I guess Final Cut Pro). 

I don’t think this is quite the setup that news journalists use, like when filming protests.
Tyler Mowery just did a livestream on his channel where he read short film scripts submitted to him, we’ll come back to that soon.

Friday, August 07, 2020

"New York City's Big Tunnel Problem" hasn't gone away

NJT NEC enters Hudson Palisades

The Deteriorating Tunnel that could Break New York City”, as explained by Cheddar (and Jil Jonnes). I would retitle “New York City’s Big Tunnel Problem”.

The documentary gives the history of the two tunnels under the Hudson that Amtrak and commuter railroads depend on, and the controversy over reconstruction projects, especially since the Hurricane Sandy damage in 2012.  The north tunnel (southbound) seems particularly vulnerable.  The two tunnels are called the "North River Tunnels".  In the past, the passenger would see an open area coming out of the tunnel in NYC before going into Penn Station (which has been completely remodeled).  Now you don't see that.  (You can't go right now because of the quarantines, but that is another matter.) 

You can see the NJ/NY stateline inside the tunnels (as with the Lincoln Tunnel). 

There is mention of the bankruptcy of Penn Central in 1970, which I remember well from my young adulthood.

A permanent closure of one tunnel could cost NYC $16 billion a year. 
There is a rotating draw bridge over an inlet in NJ south of the tunnels that often fails, causing Amtrak delays.

Picture: embed from Wikipedia, north Bergen entrance, click for attribution 

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

"Pandemic": short film meditation on living through it in quarantine, separated from a lover

-RedForEd (41008219574)
Darious Britt (“D4Darious”) directs and stars in his meditation “Pandemic”, with Darious playing Ty, Late Cannon playing Brin, and Travis Klecska playing Bruce, and music by It has the feel of a Terrence Mallick film. 

A mixed-race young couple is separated by quarantines in Arizona, while bad news about the pandemic keeps invading their spaces.

Darious (Ty) goes on hand-washing binges (it’s mostly your fingertips that touch things) and then there is bizarre metaphor with a dripping showerhead.

Then it seems he travels, maybe he’s in the Army.

Then he and his girl friend, communicating with Skype, agree not to talk about coronavirus or watch the news for 48 hours.

The film is accompanied by a detailed “making of” short, and D4Darious’s channel seems to be made for filmmakers.

Picture, Wikipedia embed, Arizona teacher's strike protest from 2018;  maybe there will be another one about returning to classroom  (click for attribution). 

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

"Chez jolie coiffure": a hairdresser in Brussels gives her take on immigration and racism

Brussels Summer Festival (4890801736)

Rosine Mfetgo Mkakam directs “Chez jolie coiffure” (Oct. 2019), shown on PBS POV on Monday Aug. 3, abridged to 52 minutes from the original 71 minutes (title: "at a joyous salon"). 

In the African Matonge area of Brussels, a hairdresser shop owner Sabine works with customers and talks about the harrowing difficulties of immigrants from Africa, particularly the Cameroon.
When white people come by to gaze into her shop, she says that white people think they are going to a zoo.

She also says that white people imprisoned Africa (settlements with colonialism) by gazing at it, a kind of quantum theory statement.  She is definitely arguing for anti-racism. 

She says that some immigrants are indentured to specific wealthy families in Belgium.

Toward the end, the police come and arrest people and close her down temporarily.

The entire film is shot like a livestream from the shop.
The film (French, with subtitles) comes from Tandor Productions and is distributed by Icarus.

Picture: Embed from Wikipedia, summer festival in Brussels, 2018, click for attribution 

Monday, August 03, 2020

"Bell’s Theorem: The Quantum Venn Diagram Paradox" -- this may help me with a concept in my own novel

Mermin's inequality

Bell’s Theorem: The Quantum Venn Diagram Paradox” by Minute Physics.

This video presents Bell’s hidden variable theory in quantum physics which posits the possibility of “local realism”, that somehow information (of entangled particles) is so fundamental that it is instantaneous (faster than light).  Or is it because the observer changes the result by staring at it?
The theory could explain some biological paradoxes (maybe even how viruses evolved).
There is a sci-fi idea that somehow information somehow can transcend the normal limits on energy (speed of light), and is so fundamental that aliens (“angels”) could use it to teleport themselves in some strange circumstances.

Mermin's inequality is embedded from a pdf on Wikipedia, click for attribution. 

Sunday, August 02, 2020

"Leaving this Place": kaleidoscopic film by Connor Franta of troubled times

Connor Franta has produced an engaging 2-minute short film with a kaleidoscope of what is going on in America right now, “Leaving this Place”.

I don’t know what the title means.

He enclosed the words of his poem in the YouTube video notes.

Often he uses a split screen.
He may be intending a submission to “A Day Life 2020”, discussed July 22. 

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Does Hollywood censor scripts for movies even for American viewing to placate China?

Passengers lining up in Wuhan railway station for their body temperature to be checked during the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak

Iaowhy86 (who lives in China, I think) explains “How Hollywood Is Censoring YOUR Movies for China”.   Moviegoers (especially when theaters reopen) should complain about this. 

 He opens with an explanation of how Maoist China censored everything so as to memorialize “the Proles”.  But China made a tremendous turnaround and embraced statist capitalism, and eventually became a big market for Hollywood. 

So often Hollywood would censor scripts for Chinese screenings, but overtime started writing scripts to be acceptable in China wherever they were shown (in the US).  That seems really sensitive now (given the theories about the pandemic). 

This sounds like it could be a big deal for screenwriters trying to sell scripts, if they are politically charged (let’s say talk about the US and China in a space race, for openers). I would even wonder about Tyler Mowery’s script “Blue Moon” which he shares on his YouTube channel.
Picture: Wikipedia embed, Wuhan, click for CCSA attribution.