Ad Astra

I went to the cinema. I feel bad writing this. I didn’t enjoy it. But let’s get the formalities out of the way first.

I went to the Cineworld cinema at Rochester. I went to an 18:00 showing and I was a little surprised at how empty the lobby was, normally on Saturdays it’s very busy. Maybe I was at that “just before” time when many are still thinking of going out. It was lovely and sunny and I made a mental note to check the state of the tide. It was high, nearly full. This pleased me as earlier in the day I had run by the river slightly further upstream and the river was low. I run pass the navigational section and then along the tidal section by Allington lock. Given I was running at around 11:00 and went to the cinema around seven hours later I expected a high tide.

As is also customary I rated the film on IMDB and then tweet the result. I pondered this for a long time and even had to check my own rating system which is explained within this communication. It’s weird looking things up on your own website. I often do it to remind myself what I thought of a film at the time or which bands I have seen and what I thought of them. Somewhere within these communications I mention that this might be a kind of diary.

So, here’s the rating:

I wanted to like this film, I like space films. But, I had to score the film 4 as I hated a lot of it and didn’t really care about anyone in the film. I stayed until the end but only to see what happened. I wasn’t fussed about it. It was more annoying than anything else. I don’t know anyone who takes my reviews seriously. I’m there as a curiosity, a method for people to know me better rather than expect followers to take me seriously. If you read this website’s homepage you will see this is really a vanity project. A thing I do for fun. I am going to explain some of my criticisms but I should warn you:


The space scenes looked amazing and I was really impressed with the quality of the graphics. This is possibly the only good comment I have about the film.

The entire voice-over on this film was shit. It was annoying and the film would have been better without it. It didn’t add anything to the film and it didn’t explain anything that a vaguely intelligent person couldn’t figure out. One day the director might come out with a version and remove the voice over, explaining it was put there for stupid people. I hated it.

WHAT WAS WITH THE PSYCH EVALS? I don’t understand what shit this was. You say a few sentences into a microphone and record your pulse and something somewhere declares you fit for spaceflight? I don’t think the writers understood humans for this part of the film. It was interesting that McBride was clearly fucking insane from the beginning. If you fall off a space tower and tumble to the point that you might die but your heart rate doesn’t go above 80bpm then you are a psychopath. I hated these parts of the film more than anything else. It was terrible.

I liked the [impossible] tower at the beginning. It looked pretty good. I liked part of the background stuff to do with space flight like the med centres and technicians everywhere. If Earth has a tower up to space then why are they still launching people into space using chemical rockets? I know rockets look cool but SPACE ELEVATOR. If the technology exists to build a fucking massive tower [searching for intelligence??] then it exists to build a space elevator.

The unintentional sky diving scene could have been better. If there was so much stuff falling from the space tower then the main character, called ROY ffs, would have been ripped to shreds during the fall. We didn’t see him steering away from the tower. We didn’t see him try to get away. What happened to the rest of the tower? Did the single switch Roy flipped save everything?

How do you go from being an outdoors technician on the space tower to being an expert in flight of every type of rocket later in the film? This man was essentially a “chap who fixes the tower”, even though they had robots doing this, and he was also someone who was a miracle worker with flying rockets and knew all the systems in every space craft. What shit.

We can’t send a secure comms link to Neptune from Earth? Why Mars? Just because I think. The director wanted to show spaceflight. I think he failed quite dramatically. I think it was meant to take nineteen days to get to Mars and yet the film was meant to show action. I don’t think he concentrated on creating the right things. Yes, I am being critical of an action film, No I am not a film maker. On the journey to Neptune we see the loneliness of space flight after Roy manages to kill everyone but that could have been built up all the way. It was all annoying.

The first time I got my phone out to make a particular note was when Roy was on the moon. Someone said something like:

“We need to get going soon because it’s nearly a full moon.”

Boring military person on moon.

Unless there is a lunar eclipse it is ALWAYS a full moon on the moon. The sun ALWAYS lights half the moon you stupid writers.

The Moon. Let’s talk a little about that. Roy takes a rocket trip to the moon like the Pan-Am flight in the film 2001. He launches using a chemical rocket and heads to the moon. I don’t know how long it took them but it is implied that is was less than three days, which was fine. But, when he gets to the moon it’s a major city with tourists and stupid shops etc. If everybody on the moon got there by chemical rocket then it would need thousands of rockets taking off all the time. The expense of getting that many people ot the moon would be prohibitive. I hated this part of the film. The journey for Roy looked exclusive but the moon was just a crowded holiday resort.

On the moon they make the first car chase explosion make a boom noise and then none of the others. Annoying.

On the moon the moon-car, which looks like the lunar rover from fifty years ago FFS, leaps over the edge of a crater and still lands safely. Gravity still accelerates objects on the moon and the buggy would have broken/spun/killed everyone. Annoying.

In the moon city everyone walked around like the gravity was a standard Earth Gravity but then outside everyone acted as though they were on the moon. WHICH IS IT?

I have one word for the space station rescue on the way to Mars. Shit.

Let’s blame the Norwegians for doing naughty animal based research on a space station. Really? I’m not sure the director or writer understands other countries.

Landing on Mars using a shitty bad graphic of a space ship leaned over at an angle. Terrible. It denies the complexity of landing anything. It was annoying. No one on Mars walked like there was a limited amount of gravity. Everyone walked like they were in a standard Earth gravity. Annoying.

Mars city had the same problem as the Moon city. Where did all those people come from? Why were they all there. How large was the infrastructure of the Mars city? It seemed full of empty spaces and large corridors. This is not how you build things in space, especially if you only have CHEMICAL ROCKETS.

Here’s an idea lads. Once we’ve built our expensive base on Mars why don’t we include a perfect sound-room for recording messages to space? We could really make a proper sound booth with egg boxes and everything. Who knows when we will need it? especially if we can’t record someone and use that recorded message as we’ve already scripted it. My desperation was high by this point. I hated a lot of this film.

It’s probably worth pointing out that if someone dies on a spaceship you wouldn’t push their body out of the airlock. This would put them into pretty much the same orbit as you and the body would come back eventually to hit you or another spaceship. It is a bad thing to have extra stuff floating around in space. You wouldn’t do it.

I have no idea how ROY manages to get into the spaceship on Mars. It isn’t really covered. I mean somehow he opened an external door just at lift off and then climbed UP into the ship while it was launching and accelerating UPWARDS. If the spaceshit accelerated at three g then Roy would need to lift three times his own weight up into the rest of the spaceship. Of course he manages to get on board but in the process the others are killed when the film gets the physics wrong again. The rocket stage gets ejected and so the spaceship would have gone from acceleration to zero g. The astronauts would have flown the other way in the spaceship because of their inertia. It was established that up was up when Roy landed the ship on Mars.

I honestly didn’t give a shit about the journey to Neptune or what happened when Roy got there. It was all pretty bad. Poor writing and lazy filming. Most of it had been done before but in a far better way. I mean, if you have to kill your father just to get over the feelings of abandonment then I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

So, WHERE WERE THE SURGES COMING FROM? What about the inverse square law. What? How was this all happening? Why was there so much data on other worlds? Were these worlds within the solar system? Couldn’t the data be sent by comms link? Why didn’t we see any film of people shaving in space? How do you have enough food for eighteen years in space? How do you keep warm around Neptune?

Oh god this film got worse towards the end. I wasn’t sure that was possible but it did.

My last comment for now, I’ll probably think of more things during the day and I’ll add them to this page: It was fucking stupid to launch yourself from a radar spinning thing at a spaceship miles away and ACTUALLY MAKE THE SHOT, then when shielding yourself from the rings of Neptune with a shitty bit of metal the film fails to understand impulse and momentum. Every time a rock or thing hit the shield Roy would have slowed down. He wouldn’t have made it as far as his ship anyway. He would have died in orbit of Neptune. It would have made a better film.

Oh, the older couple next to me opening individually wrapped sweets slowly so the crackling noise was spread out over a long period of time, fuck off.

I feel slightly bad that I hated this film as much as I did. Just sitting here writing this stuff is making me remember more and more about the terrible bits of this film. I am going to read some positive reviews now to see if my mind can change. Anything written after this point is extra from later today.


The Informer

To celebrate the last weekend of freedom before another academic year’s worth of work I had arranged a pretty standard weekend. A run, cinema, food shopping, thinking about lessons, rifle-related reading, reading, and the playstation.

At about mile three my right Achilles started hurting but I soldiered on and that was probably a mistake. I hurt today while walking. It’s annoying as I wanted to run again later this early evening but instead I might go on the rowing machine for an hour. i’ve got a busy few weeks and so can’t risk being immobile. I also like exercising and so need to rest the ankle for a week or so. Maybe I’ll be able to run on Thursday.

Oh, I also ironed all the shirts in the house ready for the next couple of weeks. It was a boring task, but oddly satisfying. While ironing I was watching 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown which is a regular watch, I like the comedy. I’ve also been watching The Patriot Act on Netflix which I like and makes you think about society and how it works. I can’t write too much about that TV show or this communication will end up in calls for revolutions around the world.

As I drove along Chariot Way I checked out the river. It looked to me that the tide was low. I could see all the river mudbank and all the grasses were visible. The boats all moored in the area were down low along with the water [it would be weird if they weren’t]. I was amazed therefore as I left the cinema to see that the river was even lower [possibly as low as it goes]. The level of the water was below the mudbank by quite some distance and it was clear that this was close to lowest tide.

tides at chatham end august 2019
Tides, Chatham, 31 August 2019

The film programme started at 17:50 and I came out of the cinema around 20:00. You can see from the chart above that this corresponds with what I observed. I asked for tide data in Chatham whic is slightly further down the river towards the Thames estuary because I’m not sure the data exists for Rochester or higher up the river. The tidal range at Allington, for example, is very large and the river only has what flows down from Maidstone at that point so low tide is possibly negative there! That’s something I’ll need to investigate.

I rated this film on IMDB after I watched it and I have to remind myself of the rating system so you should do that also. It’s in this communication. I then tweet the result. If you find the earliest movie reviews in this site then you can see that I just wrote the result as text. I think I probably wrote those communications before embedding was much of a thing in websites and stuff. Here’s the result:

This film was a satisfactory movie covering the tensions between those assholes in the FBI and the wonderful police in the NYPD. The Informer is a murderer who gets screwed over by the Feds and the local drugs cop helps him out. I think those aspects of the film were rather lazy and common within the film media. It could have been different and clever.

The Informer character is a violent man, but that’s justified in this film because he’s trying to get justice? Because it’s all self-defense? Because the Feds are screwing him over? Because it’s a film and needs prison violence to show how bad things are? I’m not sure I liked that aspect of the film. The ending was all very clever and so on and The Informer had it quite well planned. I kinda wryly smile when plans include lots of, what would be in real life, random acts that are required for the plan to work. I do know that when planning for things you can’t plan for the actions of other people. They do things wrong. Anyway, the plan seems to work well for The Informer.

So, let’s discuss the character should we? The Informer is a Polish chap who emigrated to the USA and then served in the Army a lot. This means he is a good man because to “serve your country” is the “best” that any US citizen can do. This is regardless of the facts that while in the forces you are treated like shit, once out of the forces you are treated like shit and those in charge will use you to maintain their positions of power. That’s all that the forces do. They maintain the power base for the white men in charge. I know I’m really into the air force and planes but I like planes. I don’t have to like what they are used for or what they do.

The Informer, once credentials have been asserted that he’s a bad motherfucker who did four tours in Iraq, then kills someone in a bar after they verbally insulted his wife. Now, some people are assholes, but it seems strange that this is glossed over. This man killed someone else. But that’s ok in this film because he was defending his wife’s honour [whatever that means]. There had to be a reason for him to be in prison in the first place and I guess that the writers thought this was the most “justified” way this character could be there. What pricks.

Two small things really irritated me:

In the opening credits there is a company the name of which I should have written down. I think it’s Imagination. This is the second time I have seen their logo and the second time it has irritated me. The company have used the Greek letter theta instead of an O in their logo. But the theta isn’t pronounced as an O in any language and so it’s just stupid.

The Feds were driving around in a Toyota Prius, which is good. But, we watch it move away at one point and before it starts moving we hear the sound of an engine starting. That’s not how the Prius works. It starts to move and then the engine starts. There, annoyances based on hybrid technology. I bet you weren’t expecting that.

Over-Acting Joystick

Do you ever watch action movies and wonder where reality ends for them? It’s always the little things for me. Those small aspects of controlling mechanical objects that films like to exaggerate and mess up. But, it’s not just film, I see this sort of thing in kids cartoons and other media.

Last night I was watching a submarine based film. It was terrible and had loads of parts to it that I hated. But in it they had a small rescue sub piloted by two submariners. While driving this craft along they, on more than one occasion, had to turn “harder” and then ever “harder”. So, what did they do? They pulled harder on the joystick and made grimacing faces to show that this took more effort than normal to turn this tight. What shit.

Here’s some explanation. When we [humans] first made mechanical devices we had rigid linkages to the control systems and if it was going to take more effort to move the control system then we would have to put in more effort to our hand sized device be that a control column, wheel, or pedals. There used to be a direct mechanical connection from one end of the system to the other. This is fine for objects requiring little force to move control systems as humans can provide that force for a limited time.

Then, over time, our mechanical devices became larger and required more force input to move the control systems. Engineers and designers soon realised that the pilot/driver/controller couldn’t provide all the force [push or pull] required to move the control surface and so they needed help. Also, if large effort was required over a long period of time the pilot would become physically tired very quickly. So, powered control systems were invented.

When a pilot/driver/controller moves the control stick/wheel/pedals they actuate a motor which helps to turn the control surface or device. Now, it starts to get a little complicated. There is required a certain level of feedback force to the pilot through the control column so that they can “feel” what is going on with the aircraft/sub/car etc. This amount of feedback is controlled very carefully to ensure that the pilot can understand what’s happening to their craft while also allowing them to maintain a high level of work without becoming over-tired.

So, in the submarine movie they had the pilots obviously physically straining trying to turn this craft but that would not be the case in real life. Once the control column is moved as far as it will go there is nothing else you can do. It wouldn’t take that amount of effort to maneuver and you can’t turn a little tighter by grimacing. It’s bullshit.

This trope is similar to driving fast in a chase. It always seems the vehicles have another gear to change in to or the driver can put his foot down more. If you are being chased why aren’t you going as fast as possible from the very start. It’s lazy filmmaking because they could do other things to make the action interesting. The producers just settle for the easy.

So, as a rough guide to powered control systems and feedback devices I would suggest that anything before 1950 would require effort to move a control surface. That is a very broad brush. Many bombers had powered control systems and so it’s not the absolute guide but it does set a rough idea of how to spot the crap in a film.

Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans

Another warm day means another period of time spent in the cinema watching glorious films. Well, they aren’t all glorious but some are. The tide was high on the way in and lower on the way out of the cinema in Rochester, UK. It’s a thing.

I then rated this film on IMDB and there is a discussion of the method for scoring films in this communication. You should read it to see why I would rate a Tarantino film lower than this one! I then sent a tweet.

I sat watching this movie thinking how lovely it was and laughing at the jokes. I’ve got a feeling that I will watch it again just because I enjoyed it that much. I suspect there are many layers to the jokes and the more I watch it the more I’ll see. It was good fun.

Having read about Boudica on the interwebs I like the idea that we have no idea where her final battle was. It was somewhere between London and Wroxeter which is a pretty large area to cover. Also, when you read about how the Romans treated her family it makes perfect sense that she became this fearsome leader of the tribes inhabiting Great Britain at the time.

This was a good fun movie with an excellent cast and great writing. It’s a who’s who of comedy.

Angel Has Fallen

It’s always my plan on a very hot day to visit the cinema. It doesn’t cost me anything other than petrol, there’s normally a film on I want to see, and I get to spend two hours in a room with air conditioning. It seemed more important this time as the field out back was being harvested and I couldn’t have the windows open for dirt and dust.

So I travelled to Rochester cinema, where I tend to go because I pay a monthly fee and go as often as I want. The last time I went to avoid the heat I had to go to the cinema at Bluewater because there was nothing suitable to see at Rochester. I observed the state of the tide as I drove along the embankment and it was high, the water was lovely and still and it would have been a good time to take photographs of the area as the reflections were gorgeous. I didn’t have time for that as I arrived at the cinema pretty much as the programme started.

Instead of watching all the adverts and trailers I tend to read a book using the Kindle application on my phone. I sit there, along, reading some sad technological book as I ponder the uselessness of the trailers in front of me. So far I have read/am reading the following:

  • X-15: Extending the Frontiers of Flight
  • Dressing for Altitude, U.S. Aviation Pressure Suits-Wiley Post to Space Shuttle
  • Elegance in Flight: A comprehensive History of the F-16XL Experimental Prototype and its Role in NASA Flight Research

I went to watch Angel Has Fallen and I was somewhat surprised at the number of “older” people in the cinema. I don’t know why this seemed more than normal, maybe because it’s a bank holiday weekend? After the film I rated it on the IMDB website and there is a guide to the rating system as the main thesis in this communication. In the greatest of styles, I watched the film, I didn’t stay just to see the end and I wouldn’t watch the thing again. So, like the last two films I’ve seen this ends up as a six.

This film was exactly what you expected it to be. Gerard Butler saves the President and there’s lots of killing, also there’s lots of near-dying. You know, when the hero is in a massive truck crash without a seat belt and then groans and wakes up with no problems at all. This film seemed to be co-produced by the GB vanity project, no problems there but it was obvious.

I liked the opening section where we see that GB, I don’t remember his character’s name, is struggling with headaches and pain, I assume this is from the military machine caring not for his safety and using his body hard, pushing him until he can do no more. The capitalistic society over the pond forces people to work as much as possible while wearing out their bodies, and then, when done, it cares not for helping these people. It was nice to see that the Opioid Crisis was hinted at in this film with GB popping pills through the introduction but none of the pushing by the pharma companies was mentioned and how they have created this crisis – READ A DECENT NEWSPAPER PEOPLE.

When GB was talking to his old friend about the training facility it was bloody obvious who was going to be the baddie in this film. This talk was terribly scripted. It could have come from the last speech by a Bond baddie just before he thinks he’s going to kill Bond. It was shit. Also, the opening fight sequence was clearly training and meant nothing. It’s such a trope that it was boring. Whenever I see helicopters used in films where they think private companies would use them you have to think, that’s a lot of money. Helicopters are expensive.

It’s nice to see Hollywood reacting to the world around them. The earlier mentioned Opioid problem mentioned and also in this one they mentioned Russian interference in an election. It shouldn’t surprise us that the socially liberal west coast town produces films which argue for the treatment of everyone as a person and try to tell the real story of the world around them. There are plenty of films with gay people, trans people, anti-war, pro-good-guy, anti fascist themes. It’s nice to see. I guess they hope they will slowly pick away at the public to become more socially liberal and treating all humans as if they were fucking HUMANS.

Apparently GB has had too many concussions during his career and then, in this film he probably suffers another eight or so. I would imagine that he would be having massive mental problems by now. Of course, the mental issues only really show when GB isn’t doing much. When he’s in LION mode he’s clearly the “best”. It’s almost as if getting hit in the head a lot or having explosions go off around you a lot mean that you might end up with damage. At the end of the film I would have expected GB to retire and slowly degenerate into a highly disabled person with no help from the state because that’s how things work in the USA.

There’s a comedic movie review podcast I listen to, it’s theme is kinda specialist [NOT like that] and they make me laugh. In it they discuss the “force-push” problem quite a bit. The idea that Obi Wan can use the force-push to destroy a droid from a distance but sometimes he has to fight in sword combat. Why not use the force-push all the time? Why waste the time doing close combat with higher chances of being injured? Just use force-push. Always go straight to the highest setting. It’s a bit like Power Rangers individually fighting before joining together as the large machine thing [I am unsure about the correct terminology now!]. Well, this film has its force-push moments everywhere.

GB is driving a truck at some point and we see film of him keep putting his foot down and then changing gear. Why not go as fast as you can straight from the start? Just drive the fuck away. I know a truck takes a while to accelerate but we see the gear changes keep coming and the truck accelerates more. Just drive fast. If I had police chasing me and I needed to get away I think I’d drive as fast as possible straight away. You go for the max setting as soon as you can.

There is another point where the bad people are shooting at Secret Service members in a corner and there must be a few thousand rounds exchanged before the bad people use a rifle launched grenade to kill all the SS members. This seems an obvious move from the beginning, why wait? Use the force-push straight away [I’m expecting an explanation about the force-push from Pom as he cares more about Star Wars things than I do].

In the film they make a hospital blow up. They flood the hospital with oxygen and use high pressure nitrogen and then SOMEHOW remotely ignite the lot. The hospital explodes in grand style and I couldn’t help but think that it was impressive how they managed to evacuate an ENTIRE hospital in about five minutes. Impressive stuff! But, I won’t be the first to point out that nitrogen is an inert gas. It doesn’t react with anything. It doesn’t explode. Also, oxygen by itself doesn’t explode. If you remember your fuel triangle you need fuel/oxygen/heat or source of ignition. There wasn’t a fuel in this film. If nitrogen is explosive then the entire atmosphere would burn, it’s around 79% nitrogen. Maybe they used the compression of the nitrogen tanks to cause the explosion?? I don’t know but this wouldn’t have brought down the hospital.

Nearly there, I promise. [definite spoiler in the next paragraph]

There were two female characters in this film. There is the FBI agent investigating GB. There is the wife of GB who we ONLY see in a motherly caring role. We don’t see the wife as anything other than the dutiful wife. The FBI agent, who seems hard-ass, is a reasonable character but she gets shot in the stomach and then shot in the face. This bothered me. Firstly films don’t tend to shoot women in the head, execution style. Also, the only decent female character gets killed, fortunately this is just after she’s uncovered the proof needed to resolve the film. Now, I am not bemoaning the role of women as a carer for children, but within this macho bullshit the only women are treated poorly. The females could have been much stronger characters. Although in reality this film is about the macho bullshit of GB and the bad-guy mate of his.

How did the bad guys manage to track Nick Nolte’s woodland place so quick when the FBI couldn’t do it? Computer magic, it was poorly written. There could have been other ways of doing this but the film glossed over it. Then, there’s the FBI using their facial recognition software on “every camera in the US”. This made me laugh, it’s a terrible idea. It would also take more computing power than exists. I mean, my iPhone doesn’t recognise me most of the time with face ID, how would they use “all the cameras”.

What a bullshit last fight there was. Such macho mano-a-mano crap. “I’m glad it was you” says a character. What a load of fucking shit. The final battle of the movie was basically a load of bullets and testosterone. I hated it. The film had kept me going quite well but the final twenty minutes was cock. The filming technique at times was close-up blurry and I don’t think it’s a good technique. It started with the Bourne Identity and the style it introduced and all it does is mean I have no idea what is actually happening in the scene.

My final thought: Nick Nolte was AMAZING.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

I went to see this film because it’s the summer holidays for me at the moment. It is slightly ridiculous that I have only worked through August in about five of my years. It’s an interesting thing that for me the summer only starts at the end of July, when teachers talk about “the summer” we don’t meant the meteorological summer. Just for giggles I think the following are my five years of working in August:

  • Post GCSE I worked on a farm driving tractors.
  • Between lower and upper sixth form I drove tractors.
  • Post A Level I worked at Cossor Electronics for a year until I went to university (two summers).
  • I was one of the student union officers and so worked the summer of 1994 in Beit Quad, Imperial.

Back to format now. The tide was on its way in and was covering most of the mudbank but the grass on the bank was still visible, it wasn’t visible on the way home. I didn’t see the seal from last time but it didn’t matter. The weather was really nice and the who vista was very pretty.

After watching this film I rated it on IMDB and there’s a communication which discusses the scoring criteria here. It is then usual for me to embed the tweet:

My web editing software doesn’t really like pure HTML being entered and for a long time it would warn me of errors, but my code was correct. I use WordPress btw.

So, the film. I really enjoyed the whole thing. It was good fun. There were many nods to the cartoon series it made it fun. It was really a more modern Goonies [which I can’t remember so will have to dig out].

Once Upon A Time . . . . In Hollywood

I recently went to see the latest Tarantino film at the Cineworld cinema in Not-Rochester [it’s really in Strood, a bit like Sainsbury’s Larkfield is really in Aylesford]. Apparently this is the ninth film from Tarantino and I’m just going to have a look. I make it ten but only if you count Kill Bill as two films, I mean, they were released separately. Here’s the list of his films I’ve seen:

  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Pulp Fiction (I can’t really remember much about this one)
  • Kill Bills
  • Django Unchained
  • And now Once Upon A Time . . . In Hollywood

I’m not sure if I should go ahead and watch more of his films. I’m certainly not part of the “Tarantino’s great” movement. I like the films and see them for what they are.

As I drove along the riverside I checked to see what the tide was doing. Well, I mean it never really is doing much, it’s more slowly wandering around rather than having visible changes but I looked to see where the river was compared to the riverbank. The river was very low which means the tide was “out” or “low” depending on how you want to phrase that. There was a drone flying around over the marsh area and I’m curious about what it was doing. There was also a seal resting on the edge of the marsh area, possibly after having a big swim. Maybe the drone and the seal are connected? I don’t know.

After the movie and a little extra time to mul this film over in my head I rated the film on IMDB, as is custom. Then I tweet the thing. It looked a little something like this:

I have a feeling that a lot of this film was just showing off. It made the whole thing look amazing and Tarantino has created a faithful reproduction of Hollywood but there were some scenes where I just thought it was gratuitous money. Here I’m thinking of all the scenes with massive backgrounds and time-correct cars and posters. I mean, the effort is astounding but it is also very proud as a film of managing to look so real.

As is usual with a Tarantino film the music plays a very key part and his motif is obvious all the way through this film. Most scenes carry music over from one place to another. I found the reproduction of sound a little annoying as the soundtrack was loud and punchy when in a car the sound would have been terrible. If you go to all that effort to reproduce massive backgrounds and freeways full of period cars then maybe the sound of the car stereo should be exact?

I liked the idea of the faded actor still trying to make his mark in Hollywood. I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was amazing in this movie. He managed to convince me fully. There has been some controversy about Margot Robbie’s role having so little to say and almost being a pin-up in the movie. I’m not sure I felt that. It is true she had little of a speaking role in the movie but the film was mostly about Rick and his fight in Hollywood.

As the climax of the film approached I was actually worried that it would glorify the Manson murders. I hadn’t read anything about the film, I’d only seen the trailers, and it wouldn’t have been right for any Tarantino violence glorification. Then, it ends the way it does. It was at that point I understood what Tarantino was doing. I had thought he was trying to write an historical document to give us the facts about the case but what he did was pure Hollywood. The film ended in classic Tarantino violence but at a level that worked perfectly in the film.

I possibly underrated this film slightly. Maybe it should have been an 8. I’m still thinking about it and that’s a good thing, it means the film affected me in some way. I did go down a bit of an internet rabbit hole after this looking through the Wikipedia articles on the Manson murders and the people involved. It was during this that I realised the band Kasabian named themselves after one of the Manson family. There are lots of bands, seemingly innocuous, who are named after awful things; Rammstein, Spandau Ballet and many more.

I’ll tweet again if I decide to increase the score on this film. I’ll add that tweet below so keep an eye out. Remember to keep looking at this terribly boring website.

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

Yesterday I went to the cinema to watch what I suppose is called a film. There are formalities to get through here before I can launch into the review. The tide on the Medway as I drove to the cinema was quite high. I don’t think it was at its highest but it was definitely waay above half.

The next thing is to talk about my rating I gave the movie on IMDB. I changed my mind as I started writing this communication. There’s a guide to these ratings on in this communication. My first rating was pretty good:

But, when thinking about this piece of poo I decided I had been over generous in my ranking and so I changed my mind:

Now, I suppose, there needs to be some explanation about this. This film was pretty shit. It was a mindless action movie. I think my score of a 6 was initially because it was quite well done, you know, it looked good and slick. But this morning I couldn’t face keeping this film ranked above half way.

This film is a testosterone fuelled bullshit story about people with egos so big they aren’t allowed to lose a fight on screen. It was bad, like, Bond bad but without the intelligence.

Men In Black: International

On Thursday I went to see Men In Black: International. I wasn’t that fussed about the film, I was more concerned about getting out of the 36C heat outside. Inside my house it was hitting around 30C and that’s plainly ridiculous and fucking scary. These events are going to become more frequent due to anthropogenic global climate change and that saddens me intensely, I hope I’m dead before the water wars start.

There were zero films I was even slightly tempted with at my usual place, Cineworld Rochester, and so this time I went to the far-flung Bluewater shopping centre. The car was not happy about starting in the heat [36C] and so initially I turned it off straight away, it made sounds I have not heard before. I tried again and the thing seemed reasonably comfortable so I decided to risk driving to near Greenhithe. I managed the air conditioning in the car so it stayed at a cool 24C eventually. I don’t like being that warm in a car, it makes me sleepy, a steady 18C is more normal but it was a special day.

I’m afraid I can’t give you any news about the state of the tide as the Bluewater complex is in a quarry and nowhere near the sea. I mean, the river is a couple of miles away but I wasn’t going to make that detour just to keep some strangely traditional part of these reviews going. The tide report will return.

It’s about 1km to the river.

More tradition: the IMDB rating and tweet. As is custom I rated the film on the IMDB website and there’s a guide to those ratings in this communication. You can see all my tweets and things by looking at the menu at the top of this page.

So, I rated this film as an 8. That’s quite high really but the film gets two extra points just for the air conditioning available in Bluewater and the theatre. It was glorious to enter the building from the car park and feel the cool air and to feel more human again. I don’t think we were made to sweat constantly. I used the Showcase cinema app on my phone for the electronic ticket on there and it worked well.

The seats in the cinema are lovely and comfortable and I was happy with that but my seat happened to have an EXIT sign nearby and it was too bright. It took my attention too much. So, I snuck into the seat next to mine and was in the shadow of the part-wall and felt much happier. I would not have liked to sit in my original seat for the whole film.

I really enjoyed the film. It looked good and I even chuckled out loud in certain places. The plot was pretty thin, essentially the same as the previous films. But, it was cool in the cinema and the film was fun.

Just one thing though. All the London street scenes seemed to have an EAT restaurant in them. Like there was product placement. The Lexus was obvious but I’m not sure EVERY street in London has an EAT. It might do, I’ve not been that observant every time I go there. Wikipedia says there are 75 EAT locations in London.

The Matrix : 20th Anniversary

Yesterday I took an evening trip to see The Matrix at the Cineworld cinema in Rochester. I had spent a good portion of the day already aware of the tides as I visited the Redsand Forts and while it was high-ish tide when the trip started it was half tide on the way out when we returned to port. The tide at Rochester was about half again I think when I got to the cinema.

The showing was at 20:00 and I got there about twenty minutes before then. I went for a walk along the wharf. It’s that or buy sweets to eat and so I opted for the healthy option. I’m in a bit of a healthy phase and hoping, once again, to adjust my routines to be more healthy. I’ll probably write stuff here someday about that, I’ll see how it goes first. At the other end of the wharf there was a new development of houses along the river’s edge. They look nice and had lovely balconies and views but I couldn’t help thinking that in less than one hundred years they will either have been destroyed in the Water Wars or flooded by rising ocean levels. I am not optimistic about anthropogenic global climate change.

After seeing a movie at the cinema I rate it on IMDB and I was looking forward to rating this film until I watched it. There will be more about my battle with memory below the embedded tweet. If you read through the movie reviews on this site you will be able to spot the time I learnt how to embed tweets!

Hmmm, WordPress, my website editing software had a update about a month ago and I am learning the new features. I’m not sure if that embedding will work. I’ll wait and see once this page is published. [It worked fine, no need to edit anything]

The scoring of this film as a SEVEN is controversial, I know. Especially if you read my guidance communication on the rating system but I guess I’m trying to break the Matrix [ha fucking ha]. The thing is I was hoping I would love this film. The 27 year old me loved this movie, I bought it on DVD and I’m sure I watched it a few times, I even went to see the sequels and they were fucking terrible films, really terrible. I mean they were really really bad. I went with friends to see them at the Odeon in Maidstone.

Right, here we go.

I wanted this movie to be amazing, I wanted it to blow my mind and when I was 27 it did. Bullet-time was a filming style invented for this movie. The whole look and feel of this film was ground-breaking. It was an amazing action film along with the philosophical grandness of wondering what if we are in a dreamworld or the product of other people’s dreams or in a computer simulation – each of those is equivalent I think.

The things I remembered about this film were:

  • Trinity being amazing at the beginning
  • “I know Kung Fu”
  • The lobby scene
  • Dodging bullets

The things I had clearly forgotten were how fucking dull some of the philosophical bullshit scenes were. God, there were times in this movie when I just wanted it to finish. I think that’s the problem with nearly every genre now taking lessons from the Matrix and how to make films, the Grandmaster gets killed by those he trains.

Looking at the film now there were lots of things that don’t work in the plot and timing. I will admit though that 1999 was a pretty good time to be alive, just think:

  • No 9/11
  • No Iraq war
  • No Afghan war
  • No GW Bush
  • No 7/7
  • No Brexit
  • No Trump

To get around the “dying in the Matrix” problem the writers just said that if you die there your mind dies and your body can’t live without a mind. Which is bullshit. They could have just used another excuse, they could have said that you become metally unstable and we kill your body. Similarly getting injured in the Matrix means that you get the same injuries in real life, this is poor writing but I guess you need to have some form of risk involved once you are in the Matrix. I think that just entering a different world would be managed perfectly well by the mind, we do it every night. Unplugging the link into the Matrix shouldn’t kill you either.

The action scenes were pretty good but the Lobby scene seemed much shorter than I remember. I wasn’t that impressed. This is mostly to do with me having watched another twenty years worth of films in an age of computer graphics and near photorealistic graphics. It isn’t really a problem with the Matrix but it just looked slow and I was unimpressed. This is a shame and more a problem with me than the movie.

Fuuuck films with an oracle or wise old woman or man. What a lazy crock of shit those plot devices are. I hate it. Of course, that person needs to be black or they wouldn’t have the same credibility. What I sugest you do is look through all movies with wise old people and see what their current role in society is.

More fuuuck films which use a prophecy. I’ve been reading books recently that have a theme of a prophecy and it’s lazy fucking bullshit. Our species seems to live with the idea that we can predict the future and so some wanker somewhere will have written down what is going to happen. We love the concept of agency and we can’t cope as individuals if we understand that the shit is just random. Nope, we have to have prophecy. We have to have a way of explaining the world and how some people become the heroes or gods. Fuck that shit. It annoys me so much.

“Neo – you are the one”. Fuck you.

How about just Neo being a hacker and then considered someone who can cope with being out of the Matrix. Then he could just develop into an amazing leader. All this destiny bollocks makes me want to cry. It’s a throw back to the days when we didn’t understand how stuff works. It’s a way of giving the human race hope for a future that won’t happen. It’s calming to the global psyche. It’s fucking bullshit that’s what it is.

I hope that now I’ve alerted you to this prophecy shit you will spot it in future and start to downgrade those stories. I do know they are popular. I do know that most of the world relies on that shit but it’s time for reality. All this pophecy shit does is reinforce the idea that some people are born better than others. It keeps the poor poor and the rich/powerful wankers. Our entire societal structure is formed so that only some will be in charge and they will do all they can to stay there. They love this prophecy chosen-one bullshit. Just look at Boris Johnson and tell me he doesn’t believe he should run this country. You see what these stories do to people?

I do note that the Matrix had many scenes without music and I admire that. It was nice to have the stark contrast so that when the action happened the music worked pretty well. I was struck by the idea that people who dress in black and look “alternative” are the dangerous ones. As someone who lives in that world I don’t think it’s right for society to cast those people aside and see them as dangerous but things will change slowly. At least I hope they will, it seems that the world is getting more intolerant recently due to the leading politicians of our time.

I don’t know whether it was the soundtrack or the cinema or where I was sitting in the cinema but some of the scenes’ sound seemed balanced poorly. There were a couple of times I couldn’t hear the speech because of the music and I couldn’t hear the music at the beginning of the Lobby scene. This was a shame because those are important parts in my memory of this film. Along with sound issues fuck the person who seemed to be wrestling with a loud plastic bag during all the quiet bits of the film. Obviously they have no empathy or they would have waited before making that much noise.

Overall this film left me slightly sad that it didn’t meet my memories of it. I saw it as a tired slow film full of philosophical-bull. I understand that it was mind-blowing and ground breaking when it was released but not all groundbreaking films remain amazing, some slowly go away and get remembered for their effects rather than their plot.

On the way out I overheard someone mention they might watch the two sequels. Jesus, that’s beyond the call of duty. I will NOT be seeing them. They were worse than shit.