NEW TRAILER: INTERSTELLAR

Sometimes, space is the only escapism.

INTERSTELLAR POSTER

Catch me on a particularly passionate day (hint: the ones that end in the letter ‘y’) and ask me about Christopher Nolan and I will gladly tell you that we are extremely lucky to be living in the time of his film. In years to come, his films will be regarded in the same breath as Scorcese, Spielberg, and Kubrick. Such is in influence on modern cinema; he is literally history in the making (argue with me, I dare you).

Nolan’s next project, INTERSTELLAR, is months away and the third (and final?) trailer has arrived and it is beautiful. I can’t wait for this film.

Trailer 2 is below, the third trailer can be viewed at the new website (entry code: 7201969) and it is well worth 180 seconds of your time.

“Mankind was born on Earth, it was never meant to die here.”

__

 

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Today.

War.

A short, three letter word. It’s the sound some make when they yawn. The guttural release when something goes right; a goal, a catch, a winning pitch. The word that allows the massacre of innocent children. From five months old to five years old. Below and beyond. Children are dying. This is no epidemic. There is no disease. This is war.

Words float around on TV screens around the office: Hamas. Israel. Gaza. Tunnels. Occupation. Palestine. Terrorism. Defence. Western influence. Children.

My phone, a product of its generation, offers up emoji whenever I hit upon a corresponding keyword.

I type Child. And 👶 appears.
I type Children. And 🚸 appears.

A toddler’s face, smiling.
Two children, holding hands.

The harsh reality is only made harder when illustrated in the language of the young.

It makes you sick.

There aren’t many I know who could explain the situation in Israel right now. The issues are far too old, far too complex, far too beyond the point of understanding that there can be no cliff notes, no cheat sheet.

My son is six months old. I look at him and wonder, often, what he might do, where he might go, what he will see? How can I leave something good for him, something positive?

And then I look around and I despair.

The situation in Gaza is horrendous. The Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow published a video over the weekend talking about his time there.

A follow up piece to a blog post he wrote before that, it addresses some of the atrocities that are happening to children in the area.

Jon Snow

It makes you weep.

After watching, I shared it on Facebook. On Facebook. Others watched. Others shared. I commented on one share that perhaps the video should’ve explained how a viewer could help. Maybe some kind of call to action. The cheek. The Western presumed privilege. The disgusting arrogance. ‘Great video, Jon, but are you expecting me to Google it now?’ FFS.

I did Google it. I discovered the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. I’ve donated and right now I’m looking at how I might volunteer in the region and actually help.

Because something needs to be done.
Because someone needs to help.
Because we are better than this.

So much better.

//

I uninstalled Twitter last week. Logged out, switched off, unplugged.

The reason? Someone I follow retweeted an image of a dead child into my feed. A grotesque corpse. Held up by adults to show the literal effect of the missiles and shells that rain down on Gaza daily. It/he/she can never be unseen. Twitter displays images ‘inline’, which means you can see whatever gets sent no matter what.

I went into shock. Seeing death, in any form, is no pleasure for anyone. Seeing death like this. In this manner. Made me ill. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t think. I could barely see straight. Since then a day hasn’t passed whereby I haven’t thought on this. So many thoughts. So many reasons.

Again, Western privilege.
Again, how dare dead children interrupt my day. What on earth are these images doing in the place where it is my job to help brands sell more stuff.

Ugh.

WTF Whatley. Who are you? Do. Something.

Do something.
FFS, someone do something.

I did something.

I wrote this.

I donated.

I’ll do more. I don’t know what yet.

What will you do?

 

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Five things on Friday #82

Things of note for the week ending July 25th, 2014.

WEEEEEEEEEEEE

– Above image via this AMAZING photo set 

1. Shatner on Facebook Mentions
If you’re a celebrity (hi!) then you’re probably interested in this new app from Facebook, ‘Facebook Mentions‘. If you’re not a celebrity, don’t worry because William Shatner (yes, that one) has written a handy guide.

Facebook Mentions - shatner

You can read said guide over on the former Captain Kirk’s super awesome Tumblr page.

2. Destiny
If you’ve been paying attention recently, you might’ve spotted that there’s a beta of a new game out at the moment and its name is Destiny.

DESTINY

Seriously, download it now.

To celebrate this game being amazing, here are some key facts about Destiny:

  • Activision, the game’s publisher, is apparently investing around $500 million on the development and marketing of this game (that’s an insane amount of money ).
  • Bungie, the game’s creator, is the team that developed the multi-award-winning Halo series for Microsoft’s Xbox.
  • The game itself doesn’t actually hit the shelves until September 9th. All of the press so far has been about the limited time Alpha (one weekend!) and the Beta (two weeks!). See the official timeline for details.
  • Oh, and it is awesome. SO AWESOME. Order it now.

3. A guy walks into a bar
This is wonderful.

4. Moto X Tattoos
This is now a joke: Motorola have launched a new range of temporary DIGITAL TATTOOS that you can stick to your skin and then use to UNLOCK YOUR PHONE.

Wooo fancy

There’s a fancy video too (it’s only 90 seconds long – give it a watch).

Personally, I think this is awesome. Like, really really awesome. Admittedly the ‘tattoos’ themselves only last for a week (and I think about ten dollars for a pack of ten) BUT it’s a yet another item to add into the wearable tech of the future category that hopefully we might see more of over the coming years.

Hurrah for innovative thinking.

5. The best Philippines fact you’ll read today

Vulcan Point

Did you know that Vulcan Point (the small island pictured above) is the world’s largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island? Well, you do now.

Nature is awesome.

— — —
I’m off Twitter for a little while (long story, check my feed for clues as to why) so if you’re reading this, please share it as far and wide as you can.

Cheers,

Whatley out.

rain

 

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Five things on Friday #81

Things of note for the week ending July 18th, 2014

oakoak-urban-interventions-1

- OakOak street art, via Web Urbanist

1. Drone Photography
The results of the first annual Dronestagram Photo Competition came in this past week and, of course, they are all pretty stunning. The image below, by Dronestagram contributor, ‘Capungaero‘, took first prize but the others are well worth a look too.

Dronestagram1

2. ‘I don’t recognise the British Image of the EU’
My general guidelines for creating Five Things on Friday every week tend to fit around a couple of rules. One of those rules is ‘Never share anything you’ve seen posted 2-3 times elsewhere’.

I’m breaking that this week because I really think you should all watch this video of Finnish Prime Minister, Alex Stubb, talking to Channel 4 News about Britain and the way it approaches its own internal EU debate.

Alexander Stubb Channel 4

I may make no secret of my love of all things Finland (the people, the produce, the cities, the festivals) and it seems that love now extends to the Prime Minister too.

Engaging, charismatic, and articulate, Alexander Stubb is definitely worth six minutes of your time.

3. Sex Lives of the Humanitarians

When you introduce yourself at a party as a former humanitarian, people expect that your field experiences were shaped by witnessing suffering, violence and displacement. What they don’t expect to hear is that your day-to-day management challenges also included arguments over what time your colleagues could watch porn in the common room, and negotiating how staff could get to and from a brothel. Yet it is often a reality of the job and it is time we talked about it.

After that opening paragraph, I wanted to read more. You might too.

4. Snapchat in The FT
This past week, ephemeral media platform and darling of all brands who want to get at ‘the yoof’, Snapchat, starting experimenting with ‘geofilters’. That is, filters for its self-destructing images that only appear when the user is in a certain locale. Said place could be a city (eg: Malibu) or a big sprawling metropolis of a living, breathing brand (step up, Disneyland).

FT Snapchat

The Financial Times asked me what I thought of this development – so I told them. Basically, talking about what this means for brands and of course, does this mean that Snapchat might have a business model? Maybe.

You don’t need to pay to read it [but you do need an account] and it’s actually quite a good read. Worth your time if only for finally getting around to setting up that FT account you’ll know you’ll appreciate in future.

5. The best comic redesign of the week
A bunch of stuff got announced in comic book land this week. Everyone is talking either about either Captain America now being black or how a woman is about to become THOR. Big whoop.

Screw those people, the coolest thing that happened in comic book land was the epic redesign of Batgirl.

Batgirl Stanley Lau

So. Good.

Details, and more, over at Comics Alliance.

___________________

Bonuses (all podcast related):

Whenever I try to talk to people about podcasts I get one of two responses. The first one is ‘Yeah, what do you listen to? I’m really into [insert awesome podcast name]‘, which is fine. The second response is this ‘Yeah, I’m not really a podcast person’, which, to be frank, is a pile of crap. You’re an idiot. Go and download a podcast app and just start listening to stuff. My friend Stefan has a pretty comprehensive list of good stuff that he listens to. That’s not a bad place to start.

Y’know where else is also not a bad place to start?

The following bonus items.

 

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Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

No spoilers.

TF4

A little over a week ago (and thanks to my childlike and somewhat ridiculous public excitement – I blame the Superbowl) those super lovely people at Paramount Pictures invited me to a ‘super-fan screening’ of Transformers: Age of Extinction (TF4), at the biggest screen in Britain, the London BFI IMAX.

TF4 Superfan Invite

I’m not kidding around, when that first trailer dropped, I admit it: I was so much SUPER FAN NUMBER ONE that my excitement was palpable.

Optimus Prime. Riding a dinosaur (or Grimlock as we geeks know him). You can’t get any more balls-to-the-wall nerdgasmic than that. No siree Bob.

tf4

Now, let’s fast forward to the super-fan who has seen the film. First off, if you’d spoken to me the moment I left the cinema I probably would’ve said something like: ‘Transformers 4 is probably the most unintentionally hilarious film I’ve seen all year.’ – it’s almost tongue in cheek with its brazen audacity and the belief-suspending leaps of faith it puts before you.

Example: yes I accept we’re dealing with house-sized transforming alien robots but MARK WAHLBERG IS PLAYING AN INVENTOR. Think about that for a second.

If you go into the film capable of accepting that as a fact (or as a running joke) then you’re in for a fun ride.

Story wise, it’s not bad: four years after The Battle of Chicago (see Transformers: Dark of the Moon- well, don’t see it, just know that it happened in that film) Transformers of all kinds are hunted all over the world and have, in the main, gone into hiding. Marky Mark’s CADE YEAGER (great name), a modern day rag-and-bone man, happens to find an old truck that he wants to break up and sell for parts.

Thing is, the old truck just happens to be one Optimus Prime (rocking an awesome nod to his original 1980s form) and then, well, someone tells the Feds and everything rolls out from there.

Before we carry on, let’s get the whole MICHAEL BAY thing out of the way. In my last Five things on Friday post I linked to an 8min video of what makes a Michael Bay movie (it’s 8mins long, worth watching, and embedded below).

TF4 is no break from this style.

In fact, Bay embraces it.

TF4 is pure Bayhem.

Soft country music, US flags flowing in the wind, low shots looking up (for no reason whatsoever), slowed down battle scenes – it’s all there. In fact, TF4 it so Michael bay, it almost verges into self-parody.

This is a man that loves American sunsets so much that in the opening chase, you go from glorious daylight, to an orange dusk, to a sunset over farmland, back to daylight (racing through fields), back to sunset (this time in the city), then to daytime (escaping on what can only be an actual race track – with the action and editing such that maybe he hoped you wouldn’t notice) to sunset again but this time out on the desert plains.

Obviously all these places exist in or near Chicago (probably) but are they all within 15mins of a farmhouse? With bonus magical yo-yo sunsets to boot? I don’t think so.

Example: these two images take place within minutes of each other.

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 11.14.36 Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 11.14.49

Notice anything about the lighting?

Jesus.

It’s easy to criticise Bay. Too easy. But y’know what? The man nails bombastic action like no other and while the story may not be the best in the world, it’s better than previous efforts and jettisoning the ineffective Shia LeBeouf means what plot is there isn’t being held up by the acting equivalent of a damp cloth.

‘Yeah but, it’s just another robot smash up, but this time with dinosaurs, right?’

Well, yes (that’s the whole point) and no.

The first Transformers film was pretty good (purely because, aside from a novelty dancing robot car commercial, we’d never seen the Transformers made real before) but the following two sequels were rubbish. Terrible even. Age of Extinction breaks that mould and, contrary to the finality of its title, actually breathes new life into the franchise.

The Transformers themselves, leaving the obvious war hero tropes aside, are given at least some attempt of being different from one another, as well bit of personality to them (thank you John Goodman and Ken Watanabe). Plus, for the geeks, we get a new set of Decepticons, a couple of new kinds of Transformers (oh hey Drift, what’s that? You’re a Bugatti Veyron and a helicopter? Sweet!) and a brand new Decepticon leader.

But no more on that one…

On the character front, probably the best addition to TF4 is that of Lockdown, the gun [for-a-head] toting robot seen in nearly every bit of promotional material you would’ve seen.

This guy, standing in front of the monster space ship -

Lockdown

He’s a bounty hunter, with no affiliation to either side, and his presence not only mixes with motivations and ideologies of the characters we’ve known so far but also alludes to a larger story yet to be told.

Lockdown is a badass

Plus he’s a badass. That helps.

In closing, TF4 is Michael Bay doing his best impression of Michael Bay and it’s got robots that transform into dinosaurs and Mark Wahlberg saying things like ‘I think we found a Transformer!

It doesn’t matter what I say to you (really, it doesn’t), I doubt very much my opinion will sway you. If you’ve decided to see it, you’ll see it (see it BIG) and if you haven’t well, you know you’re not missing out.

I started off this review saying that TF4 is basically a joke but the more I think about it, the more it’s been growing on me. Put it this way: I can safely say Transformers: Age of Extinction is the best and most Transformer-y Transformers since the first one.

You’ll love to hate it or you’ll hate yourself for loving it.

In cinemas now.

ROARRRRGGHH!

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