Tag Archives: movies

Y branch with exits

Yesterday was a day like most other, OK, I gave a new weapons concept to a representative of Saudi Arabia, but all other things were pretty much on par. I watched the movie Bloodshot, saw the trailer and got curious about the movie, which I have watched. There is nothing wrong with watching a Vin Diesel movie, who was also one of the producers. It was a 30% rotten tomato rating and a 43% metacritic rating, this is not a great setting, the movie costed 45 million, took home 37 million and there is no great setting in that remark either, I was pleased to see that there will be a sequel. There are options for Bloodshot. 

The movie got my attention because it has flaws and it has overwhelming moments of great. None of this bears on the cast, the cinematography is good and I never read any of the comics, so I have that against me, I am not aware of the comics, so I cannot see how the stage is set against the movie, you see a comic is not a movie and no matter how close we get (Marvel series), there will always a gap. So we see that there is a gap, Marvel took half a dozen high end actors, Bloodshot has 3 upper level actors, the rest also did a fine job, a great job actually but the nagging feeling was already there, there were flaws (as I personally see it). From my point of view the movie was too much like a comic book. Even as John Wick had the same setting, they did not make that mistake, they optionally created a wave of people interested in the comics, I reckon that this group will be massively larger than Bloodshot will enable. That is not negativity, it is not critique, it merely is. 

So as we see the movie, we realise that we are on a road with a Y-branch, the makers decided to take the left branch, I would have selected the right branch, they both lead to the suburb of Success in the city of Tinseltown, but the end whether they take us to Grab Loot avenue or Desolation Row remains open for debate.

The left branch is all about high end special effects and as many as possible, this is a choice, but I see that this might not be accepted as an outcome that the comic book fans were hoping for. That point is seen in the initial attack in the tunnel. Vin Diesel a hardened veteran is taking shot after shot, yet I do know that these hardened soldiers get out of the line of fire at the all time, as I personally see it the sequence was shot wrong, the stage is for the most right and the shot at the end is perfect, it is the in-between part that bothered me. It is not a bad thing, I still enjoyed the movie, but the right branch is more visceral, it shows how dangerous and how deadly Ray Garrison was in the first place and these people are all about muscle memory, they are about evasion every moment of the day. My old sergeant major used to say. I see no meadows, I see no houses. I see point of concealment, ambush and fire points, I see them everywhere all the time. I cannot tell if he was telling the truth, I was 18, what did I know. I am willing to accept his point of view, those with 15+ years can answer that better than I can. But when you consider those truths, and when we see comic books, we see the need to overcompensate. Art visceral constraints in cinematographically designed visceral constraints are not the same. I think the makers of the movie overlooked that part. 

In all this we accept that this is a movie and that reality is taking a backseat, I have no problems with that, but the stage to add some level of ‘realism’ to the forefront is not too much to ask for. Yes, the elevator fight is nowhere near real, but it is part of the story and I actually loved it, well choreographed and no complaints. The story was gripping and I reckon that the only reason of revenue loss was Covid-19, plain and simple. 

So when the sequel comes, what exit will they use? What choices will they make and which choices are free to select and which are not? The constraints of the comic book remain in place as I see them, it is that group the makers would want to cater too, I get that. Yet what will come remains to be seen, a stage we will have to wait for, and it needs contemplation. In a stage where domestic revenue is a mere 30%, the international revenue becomes increasingly important. 

I reckon that the second movie will do better, even as (with DVD sales) the movie broke a little better than even, I reckon that Vin Diesel is sitting on another franchise, one that could make him a lot of money, yet the way this is achieved is out in the open, part will be artistic choices, part will be the choice of allowing common sense to be part of the equation. In this, I get it, common sense is not the best choice of words, but it sets the premise of the tunnel scene, looking good through special effects is nice and part of it was essential, but in the end, we saw a trained veteran ignore bullets, muscle memory should have kicked in, and it would have made the last scene even more impressive. I saw part of this coming because the trailer gave too much away, a flaw seen too often, not a killing blow, but still a blow where we expect certain matters to come. If you knew the comic books you would not have this option, but I was partially in the dark and the trailer spoiled a few things, yet it needs to be said, I enjoyed the movie. The question becomes what if I had loved the movie, what if the rotten tomato’s would ended up at 60% and metacritic at 65%, what then? Did the makers cut themselves $45,000,000 short, perhaps even more?

It is speculation, but I think that is where the right branch might have taken them, yet that remains pure speculation, I will admit to that part. 

Enjoy the weekend!

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A desk and screen

It is not the stage I am facing, it was the idea for a short film the story itself might seem known, it was a stage that several have used before, but here I am trying to invoke a darkness from within. A stage we face when we are all alone in an office. We tend to hear things, but not always are these sounds in our minds, they are the sounds all around us. And in some cases for moments our sense of hearing increases with factor 50, as such we cannot identify the noises we hear. Then there is the application of shadows, in this I call towards Nightwatch, the 1994 version by Ole Bornedal, not the remake. The bonus is that we get to see a young and innocent Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, before winter came (ha ha ha). The two elements came to me as a setting on a simple GI at the console of a missile silo, his partner has suddenly taken ill, and that man is releasing his diner through the mouth (aka vomiting), it is at that point that the alarm goes off and the console room becomes isolated. That is the setting, I will not bore you with the details (aka the ending) but as a short movie it should be worthy of some recognition (aka my ego in action). Yet that is not the setting that matters, or the central point of discussion. 

You see, there are bigger fish to fry (optionally served with garlic sauce). Who took notice of ‘Where are Cape Town’s great white sharks?’, as well as ‘Extinction: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline’ (source: BBC). We have been seeing stuff like that for a while, yet to politicians are seemingly in denial. We see this again and again, yet they are ignoring a larger problem, an environmental source gave us 5 years ago “A world without fish is a scary prospect. Without them, life as we know it will not be possible. The ocean will no longer be able to perform many of its essential functions, leading to a lower quality of life. People will starve as they lose one of their main food sources”, now I have had my issue with overextending environmentalists for a long time, but I do not think that this person is wrong. And a key part here is ‘Without them, life as we know it will not be possible’, the stage is even less good when we consider that this decline has been going on for 30 years, as such, which politicians did something about that? To give you a boost with a setting of horror, consider that marine life in 30-40 years will be gone and as such, your grandchildren will at least starve to death (if they are lucky), did you consider this?

So was the environmentalist wrong, perhaps exaggerating? Well we might think that but the impact is already reported on BBC, and the great whites are merely the tip of the mountain, the inaction by politicians and government is a much larger stage, they are all in denial, or perhaps more subtle voiced, they have a Trump view of democracy. 

Sometimes we read things, we see things and we hear things, yet share holders and stakeholders are doing their best to make sure that the noise does not each too many people, it might adversely affect their need for profit. Yet as I mentioned “they are the sounds all around us” and we need to start taking notice. There is overfishing and pollution. If it was only pollution, in my case micro plastics, I would have had an optional solution. The idea came to me when I was watching a woman open her pack of cigarettes, I thought that it might be a solution in solving the micro plastics in the ocean. I am emphasising ‘might’ as it is untested and there is an optional danger to marine life, so I am a little hesitant. The solution comes in two forms a coastal and a deep water solution, one cannot do the other, but I was prepared, or perhaps better stated, my mind was and two versions came to mind. I wonder at times how we can wake the people up, we can argue that this world is better off with 7,500,000,000 less citizens, and it would preferable if the animals are still around when that happens, but I tend to be an optimist. 

I am also considering that we have had 4000 years to grow and we screwed up the planet in the last 100 years, which is quite the achievement. As such when we look at movies like the 5th wave, or play games like Mass Effect where our world is under attack from aliens, these people were optimists. They can just park on the dark side of the moon and wait for 20 years, they can claim the planet, free of life and optionally all the buildings are still there. 

We did this to ourselves, we can only blame us.

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Over my head

I have a simple setting, I keep what I kill (actually, I got that from Vin Diesel), I keep what I get, I just had the weirdest mindset, a sort of day dream at 01:15, something I do not understand and as such I cast it aside, so I make the IP public domain, yes, I have idea’s, for the most they are fantasy and Sci-Fi, which I like, but this, what I saw in my mind was horror, and I don’t do horror. Or to state it differently, I am not much for horror, as such this brain drain was not in the mind of me. In the setting I am an older man, 70’s, optionally early 80’s. The town of the event is Orleans, it is a new building on St. Joseph Blvd, there the man finds a girl near the entrance, the girl is around 25 and badly beaten up. He cals for an ambulance and notifies the police, she lives nearby, she lives there alone. Later he visits her in hospital. He makes a quick phone call. The wounds are fresh and ghastly. He offers to look out for her and takes her to his apartment, and she happily agrees. In the apartment is a middle age lady, the cook, she had made a fresh bouillon with lots of beef and rice. They both eat it whilst enjoying fresh warm croissants. She begs him to stay there the night, she will sleep with him if she can stay, he turns down the invitation, but tells her that she can sleep in the bed, he will take the sofa. The next morning she is awake and looking refreshed, the cook was already there, with hot sandwiches with pastrami and cheese for both, the woman is clearly scared, really scared, but she is happy to see the food. The man looks, but does not ask. She tells him that she never saw who did it, merely that she was beaten again and again in her apartment. He asks her is she can inspect the apartment, she agrees, clearly she is too scared to go back to her place alone. Out of the drawer he takes out two unusual gloves, if you can call them that. They are a wristband, with wires to every finger, two rings for the thumb and three for every other finger, the rings are connected to each other by metal wires and the end of the gloves are thimbles. She puts them in the pocket of his coat, one for the left pocket, one for the right. He grabs a small torch and they walk to her house, it was a mere 10 minutes. As they are about to go into the house, they see a young couple checking the both out. The door opens and the darkness in the house on clear daylight is almost frightening. The man quickly puts on the gloves and shines the torch into the house, before he knows it a man, or what seems to be a man comes for him, but this time the attacker is in for a surprise, the elderly man, our hero grabs the man and pulls him into the sunlight, this is something the attacker was unaware of and it was even harder to resist, the screams from the attacker were deafening and in all this, the attacker starts to fade, until the darkness is replaced by a strange light and the attacker dissolves. At that point the house starts to become less dark, not light but the darkness is no longer swallowing the apartment. 

The woman starts crying, the fear is clear on every part of her body. He takes another look and then he walks into the apartment, there is a larger setting of darkness in the apartment that was not normal, not part of any shadows, and as he looks he sees it all fade away, this was the effect of something else. He had seen the original writings from ancient Greece on Tartarus, but to see what might be a Ghastly, or a Shade in Tartarus. Yet these were writings, this was something he saw, he witnessed and that was a first for him, but this was France, so what was going on?

This is as far as I got in less than an hour, the images were so vivid I wrote them down as quickly as I could before the images faded, they are already starting to fade, it is rereading the writings I just put down to make the images reappear. It has happened before but before today I never wrote them down, most of those events are lost to me forever, but this one I have, yet my IP is based on science, my other creations are Sci-Fi (some are historical fantasy), to get a horror image is quite disturbing, and I can say that my night rest is now over and it is getting towards 02:30, another night without sleep, oh joy!

Not sure what is going on, but it is a bit over my head (for now). And I just realised, today is exactly 16 years ago when I left Europe, perhaps it is related.

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Tripped by a thought

Yup, this happens. We watch things, we read things and it mixes into an idea. The first element in this was the movie Kingdom of Heaven (by Ridley Scott). I love this movie, for some reason it feels more real than any of the other movies that are founded on the crusades are. There are a few other reasons, there is always a good reason to watch any movie with Orlando Bloom and Alexander Siddig and the fact that it also had Liam Neeson, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons and several others did not hurt that cause either. I was struck by the charisma that Ghassan Massoud brought to the screen in Kingdom of Heaven. That movie is pretty much forever in the back of my mind. The second element was something I read. The quote “An ifrit can further be bound to a sorcerer, if summoned”, as well as “In the latter account, the “ifrit among the jinn” threatens Muhammad with a fiery presence, whereupon the archangel Gabriel taught Muhammad a Du’a (Islamic prayer) to defeat it”, this struck a chord as it is the only reference I have seen at present where Christian faith and Islamic faith crosses (perhaps there are more). But it got me thinking. What happens if an Afreet, a dweller of the sands is confronted by the invasion armies of the west? The Crusaders, the Templars, the Teutons, and some of these organisations still exist today. So what happens when an Afreet goes on a quest to understand the enemy of its sands? The idea is not entirely new, the Afreet made an appearance in True Blood and in American gods, but in both cases it is less seen from the view of the Afreet, and as a demon they are part immortal, or at least can exist for thousands of years, anyone with that level of timespan has a different view on matters. As such the Afreet can be in the past and the present giving us a very different stage.

We have been so obsessed with the western folklore, that we forget that there is a large area of folklore that has almost never been tapped into and when we consider that Netflix is present in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, I wonder why we get this oversight. Of course they can also go for the other movie I came up with ‘How to kill a politician’ which optionally might be a big hit in the Islamic world, it might not be something that a person like Geert Wilders likes, but it is a door he opened himself and France added spice to that soup. 

All options I did in mere hours, as such I wonder what is keeping some so called creators in creating actual new stuff (instead of a new version of old stuff). It is as I personally see it the difference between iterative and innovative. A stage that America is shifting in, they are moving more and more towards iterative because they can no longer find the innovative people. A sad state of affairs as I personally see it.

Is it me? Am I tripped by a thought, or am I seeing it correctly that we are missing out on true innovation in both movies and TV series? I am not ignoring the stage where we are told that there are “In 2019, the number of original scripted television series in the United States hit 532”, I am not doubting that, I am merely noticing that other places in the world, these series are missing, or not shown. And to be honest, I have my doubt on all 532 series being actual innovative series. There is nothing wrong with iterative series, but they are a prolongation of something else. Another CSI, another NCIS, another Star Trek, another Superman. I will agree that there are plenty of fans for them, but at times we need to offer something so new people gasp at the notion of difference. I get the setting that this does not always ends up being positive (Firefly, Dollhouse) but they were true innovations, they were different and they have scores of fans, but it was not meant to be. I get it and perhaps my ideas will never become reality either, but I remain innovative in my thinking, it did lead to several 5G IP parts and I expect a few more in the coming year. 

Yet in this I do not pursue a path, I let it was over me just like the Afreet did, just like the soon to be dead politician (in the Movie) and the stage of being between two universes (Keno Diastima), a stage I found in mere hours, yes I agree they are not finished, yet I did most of the work by myself in mere hours. So I wonder what others are capable of making, even if we do not see these results on Netflix, Stan, Youtube or TV. I wonder what became of the 532 series, because so far what we get to see is “Find Out Which Series Will Return for Another Season”, a stage that we accept, but there is more then returning series, they are an accepted and essential part of TV (and streaming), but where is all the new stuff? 

It is a thought that is tripping me and making me trip (to coin a phrase).

And all this is happening whilst I am trying to find a new and original way of levelling up a character in the RPG I have been writing about. We tend to see RPG’s in missions, kills and achievements. I want the levelling to be different, but I am still seeking a way, perhaps I will return to the mission stage of levelling up, but I am trying to avoid it, an RPG can only stand on its feet when it offers more and different stages, not merely more of the same, we have all seen that and as such I am considering other methods, yet the thought of how is not clicking into the frame of mind and the frame of gaming, yet I hope that to be a temporary thing for now.

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Salmon in the cinema

Yup, there is a new setting, not for food, but towards the entertainment. Even as we see Google allegedly miss the plank, the streamers are setting the stage to a larger degree. In streaming nature there is Disney, Stan and off course there is Netflix, so when the BBC gives us ‘Dune and Matrix 4 streaming plan prompts urgent talks from AMC cinemas’ is was not overly surprised, the Movie machine is on a tour and Corona slowed it down, but did not stop it and in this stage, too many vacant chairs remain in the cinema. We can feel for the cinema, but there are many places where the pain is coming, so the cinema is merely one of most. As such when we see “The move will enable film fans to watch the forthcoming sci-fi epic Dune and the Matrix sequel on HBO Max at the same time as their cinema release” (at https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55180055), we see a stage where the movie makers are maximising whatever they can, and I cannot blame them.

Consider that Cale Boyter, Joe Caracciolo Jr., Mary Parent and Denis Villeneuve allegedly pumped $200,000,000 into that movie. This I a risky business, moreover as SCI-FI made their version with Alec Newman in 2000 and it was an amazing piece of work, I still watch the BluRay nowadays at least twice a year. That does not mean that this Dune will not be seen, I look forward to it and I do prefer the big screen, but any next lockdown and Netflix or BluRay might be my only option, and I am not alone in this. The average number one movie in the US after the Cortona lockdown made 4 million, before the coronavirus lockdown $100 million (Bad Boys for Life), as such the sentiment of the producers of Dune and others are well understood. $200 million is nothing to sneer at and whatever deal they can make, they will. At present in 2020 Bad Boys for life leads the revenue charge wth $200 million, It should have been at least double that and as such Dune is in a dangerous place, not by choice and not by effort, the trailer blew me away and the stars involved make it shine even more, it seems only fair that the makers try to get the best deal possible. This is the stage here we merely see impact, we do not get to have too much choice in the matter, no matter how angry Glossu Rabban (Dave Bautista) gets. In the end I feel slightly less for Adam Aron than I do for the actors and actresses that put their sweat and blood into this movie, in other news, when did the cinema adjust (temporarily) their prices? In this setting as we currently see it, why would anyone take a chance at AU$18, when streaming is $15 a month and at present safer. 

We want to be protective of the moviemakers, but in the end, at present, we are merely a Salmon that goes up against the streamer. In this setting I understand why AMC Cinemas wants to talk, yet in the present condition we face, is it a realistic step to take? As such, there is truth in the statement “We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business”, but consider that billions of people have been denied access to entertainment, I want to start that Adam Aron has the right setting and he has a right to be in this setting, yet in the stage we face, can he push for a setting that is not entirely realistic?

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In Netflix we trust

Yup, as marketing titles go, it is not the worst and to be fair, Netflix has its ups (and downs), yet there is no denying, they have been offering a lot more than most and the really good series that they do not have (Billions for example) does not mean that they are not on a high. In that setting I was considering to additional titles for the Netflix barn.

Title unknown

It is a weird title to set the stage to, I saw the movie about 25 years ago and I still remember parts of the movie, this movie sticks with me like nothing I have ever known. In the movie a man basically commits a misdemeanour and unknowingly leaves the state, as he lives his live, a well respected man, engaged to a nice lady and a decent breadwinner, he is contacted about the event. He is willing to pay a fine, he is willing to make repairs (he did no damage to anyone), and he is offered a deal one months of light jail time in the state the crime was committed and the slate is wiped clean, when he gets to the town he is arrested and in court he is made an example of, nothing of his goodwill is shown and he gets a much longer jail term and not in a light jail, the system intentionally thoroughly destroys the man and after a long time, he escapes. A little later we see the man approaching his fiancé, she asks him how he will survive, his response “I’ll make it, I’m a criminal now”, the man is a psychotic shade of his former self.

I was unable to find the movie, but I would love to see it again, I also believe that this movie could be remade into a modern version, I reckon Will Smith might be a great fit, but that is not a dealbreaker, there are several really good actors, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Don Cheadle, all great choices, all established actors, because this is not a soft movie, this would be a much darker version as today is a much darker reality than the people in 1950 could dream of. 

Hiding Out

Hiding out is a 1987 comedy drama. It is not one of the best 140 movies from the 80’s, yet I still remember the movie. I believe it to be a diamond in the rough (sorry Disney). Jon Cryer made it into an above average movie. And it could be made into a serious piece of work, perhaps a 3-4 episode mini-series. The story is about 3 stockbrokers passing off bogus stock for the mob, when the issues start the mob get rid of one of them and the other two run for cover into the arms of the FBI, yet on route things happen and one more bites the dust. The one remaining (Jon Cryer) goes underground in high school. I believe that it could be a much larger story, especially if we add darkness and realism to the remake. The original was fine, especially in 1987, but in 2022, if we set the stage in episode one into a more realistic view of stock markets and how bogus junk bonds are created, the risk involved and how the US government is basically unable to stop it, merely limit the damage at best. From that we get to episode two and shed light on FBI protocols and activities. How they work (to some degree) and the options of evading the FBI (and the mob) as the protagonist ends up in a less visible state (like Arkansas, Ohio, Idaho, or Wisconsin). As such we see the stage of how the new protagonist sets up his new identity in one of these state colleges as an economics teacher. Episode three will be set in college life and how he falls for one of the other teachers, and her life (so we can use the ATM part to get the mob and FBI back on track), and in light of that we get to the final episode where we get the showdown, the arrest of some (not all) of the mob and the essential need of the protagonist to enter witness protection. The episode ends with him falling of the radar and some look on how witness protection works. I state all this in an academic approach, but it will be a drama (some comedy would be nice too), Jon Cryer is too old for the role now, but I believe it would be nice having him as the clued in FBI agent, or perhaps one of the mob bosses. Merely two ideas mixing in my mind, and it is only Monday, what will I be capable of on Wednesday? 

Well, that will be another story, optionally another creation whilst I wait the terms I have to wait for.

 

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Bread and games

We seem to ignore the past, yet a lot of our lives revolve around the bread and games of the matter at hand. Yesterday, the LA Times (at https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/herocomplex/la-et-hc-star-wars-episode-9-wrap-photo-20190215-story.html) gave us the first image of Star Wars IX, part nine, the final part of the entire saga. Principle filming and photography finished yesterday, the cast is done. They are all in a state of upper excitement, perhaps some anxiety too. JJ Abrams is all over the place (in joy) and why should he not be? A trip that started in 1977 propelling Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford to heights never imagines before, that trip that started so long ago has been completed. For good measure we saw the added Rogue One and Solo added to the fold. And there is much to celebrate, a whole score of actors added the fold down the line and even if some were not immediately recognised in America, it is people like Peter Cushing, who was the Hammer House of Horror prodigal son, as well as one of the Dr Who players who added to the shine of the Star Wars making an epic story truly epic. Now we need to wait until Christmas to see the finalised version on the big screen, dozens of special effects experts will be wielding their mouses and pens to make magic reality and make the impression of special effects fade away and show us something that DARPA might have actually created, we can no longer tell the difference, the effects have been that stunning for a little while now.

Yet it is not just Star Wars, even if that is the most visible one. We are weeks away from Captain Marvel, soon to be followed by the conclusion of infinity wars (Endgame) and that s just for starters. When Jon Favreau started the Jungle Book in 2016, he might not have had a clue on what he started, but he did start something. In that same trend we will see in 2019 Lion King, Dumbo and Aladdin. Disney just woke up from slumber and is watching billions come their way. We should have reservations on Aladdin, not because of Will Smith, merely because of the shoes he has to fill, the role Robin Williams played was more than legendary, they broke the mould when he was done and it is one hell of a shadow to live up to, I do not envy Will Smith for doing so, yet I applaud his approach to the challenge.

The movies of 2019 will be comic book driven, Joker, New Mutants, X-men, Hellboy, they will all make an appearance, as will Frozen 2, It part 2 and many more. Many of us are planning our calendar one film at a time, trying to see as many as we can, this is how many changed the approach to their lives.

Even as some give us: “the Cost of living in Australia is 3.40% higher than in United States“, than we get “Rent in Australia is 10.04% lower than in United States“, which is massively bogus (as I personally see it). I found more than a dozen 160 square meter apartments in inner city places (not in LA, SF or NY mind you) that are close to 50% cheaper than in Sydney or London. And yes, when you add those (as well as Malibu, the Hamptons and a few other places, the rental prices tumble in the other direction), in addition, the rent in Australia merely seemed lower, the numbers are a little to skewed for my liking, the truth is simple. The cost of living is up all over the place, even now, yesterday I noticed that beef was up 10% that is the way the impact goes when food is thoroughly looked at. We might see the price of beer and think that it is not that expensive, but when the price is based on the need to buy 24 instead of a singular bottle, the scale shifts and not for merely one article, too many articles have speculatively been ‘loaded’ that way. It is not merely in Australia, the UK, many places in Europe, they all have an increased cost of living whilst the incomes have been frozen, in some cases for more than two years. When we see a source give us Levis 501 Or Similar at $98,24 (AU) whilst shops at the same time have prices that vary from $119 to $249, you know that there is a selective weighting in place, or merely some aggregated average that included ‘myworstonlineshopdotwhereever‘, one item already changed the cost between 21% and 154% (if we included the most expensive solution). That is where we are at least 21% more out of pocket for one item. There are a lot of prices that are on the mark and some might even have a seasonal nice discount. So when we are confronted in that stage of live, the bread and games we face matter, they matter a great deal. A list that includes a cinema ticket for less than $20, which is often enough wrong by at least $5, so how does your cost of living add up? How do the small items like popcorn and lemonade add to the pressure of your budget?

This month seems to be all about news on how places have a cost of living that is lower than their national average. Initially it sounds great for those living there, until you realise the other news (not really given to the reader) where we see: “Columbia area named 25th most dangerous in America“, yes there is a drawback to everything. So in one of the places where I was looking, I got treated to: 3 crimes in this area. What? Are you flipping kidding me? Three crimes over the last 4 weeks and one was the disturbance involving an unwanted person. How is that for pristine living? It is not actually that rosy for the entire city there were reported 135 thefts, 106 assaults and 138 arrests, which when you consider it includes Fraud, Forgery, threat complaints, and loads of drug incidents (which mostly includes having a joint) we see a place that Sandra Dee would happily call home.

These are all elements that impact out cost of living, the paths we take to get safely from work to home, the places where we buy stuff, where we get medication and groceries. It is all too some degree connected and the bread and games we have to escape it all is very much part of our lives. For a while we had true escapism via Netflix, and even as that part is not as shiny as it was, the financial geeks still see Netflix as the escape mechanism for most of the players. In that we need to recognise that Netflix over the last year has risen 45.63% since February 14, 2018 and is up trending, we need to see that St. Valentine is definitely in play in all this. You might not find live there, but many watchers are losing their hearts on the feeling of momentary bliss. This feeling relates to the big screen as well. As we seek more ways to escape the stagnating lives we lead, we see that the cinema and the home screen are the two reliable paths to follow (apart from gaming that is).

The question is how will this go on? As the movies come, we see consistent continuation, yet there is another problem. You see even as we see that 300,000 jobs were added, the direct impact is not seen, not in the workflow and not in the US reduction of debt. Others have stated this before me, and it is an important part. The workforce in the US is changing, yet I am not convinced that this is limited to the US, it is a global change. We see more and more that there is a high tier and a low tier of workers, yet the middle tier of workers seem to have been gone. The low tier is all there is in many places and that is where the problem resides. The low tier is definitely growing and more jobs, but they are often minimum wage jobs, there is no room for quality of life, merely contending with the cost of living and whilst most parents both work to make ends meet, we see a family break in place and the only glue left are the bread and games. The view that Reuters gives with ‘the economy was running out of workers‘ is not wrong yet it is not accurate either. Most companies are focussing on cheap labour where possible and that part is now running low. I personally believe that this shifting trend will push itself into the commonwealth and Europe as well. The middle group is either reduced to the lower group or merely pushed into retirement (for as long as that exists). I predict that there will be a rude awakening when we see that the low groups have little tax to pay, but the government have been overspending for too long being in the wrongful believe that the middle tier comes back (any day now they think), the moment that they realise that this will not happen, we will see a collective 68 thousand billion dollar debt that has no place to go, because adjustments that had to be made 4 years ago were never made. They had to be made before that but I reckon the point of no return was passed 4 years ago and now we see the essential need for bread and games. The governments do not want to people to wake up and see that there are no options left, the corporations want the bread and games so that people will not realise that they ended up with a really shitty deal in the end and the rest is looking forward to finding any kind of a solution where they end up in the high tier and they are willing to sell their soul to get there, the lower tier is just a road to nowhere and nothing.

This is exactly why politics is shifting in the US, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her social agenda, we get to see the direct impact of the size of the lower tier, everyone wants her impact and the true stage where people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez never has a chance in politics is now gone, greed driven America pushed the middle tier, the buffer of reason away, now we see the high tier (a few thousand) versus the low tier of millions and now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has the platform she needed. So as we see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez versus Bill Gates who actually made a really good case (not a console case mind you) and his correct vision gets to be blasted away by the millions who have had no quality of life for the longest of times. Now that the middle tier dissipates they have no future to look forward to either and now we see that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a growing platform. And it is in that light where we see that Dutch Historian Rutger Bregman in Davos (at https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/wealth/dutch-historian-who-called-out-billionaires-at-davos-goes-viral-becomes-social-media-star/news-story/45d75de96d5161ed3bf9205d79a0c063) makes not one but three points. He mentions at 0:53 ‘What must Industry do to prevent a broad social backlash?‘, and now we see happen exactly that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the upcoming broad social backlash that none of the industrials wanted, and they did this to themselves.

If she comes with Eisenhower methods (read: solutions), she will be the bane of industrials and the darling of the working class for 2 presidential elections and generations to come. The danger of bread and games, when the games become less rewarding and the bread turns stale, people start considering the bad place they were in. That setting was shown and basically proven by the Roman poet Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis well over 1900 years ago. Interesting that the industry forgot their history lessons, it might not lead to profit, but they could have avoided monumental losses, a harsh lesson that they might get to learn in the two years ahead.

Change is valuable; it lets the oppressed be tyrants!

 

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As we know it

The universe has changed, it changed some time ago, yet the powers that be, be it in business, administration (read: government) or retail where all for the most are in denial. They deceive themselves through stories. One uses Tableaux to use the data to present the picture, a picture often based on incomplete or overly weighted data. The next one relies on dashboards like SAP to use spreadsheets to bedazzle the people with slice and dice numbers, looking pretty as a pie chart, yet not giving us the goods, because nowadays, these companies hire people who can sell a story, not drill deep on the results. The story is whatever the paying customer is willing to hear. They are all adopting the political need that has been in play for many years: ‘If the data does not match, change the question‘. That is the first part in a sliding scale of representation, and those representing the stories are running out of options (read: point fingers) to turn to.

The first part is seen in ‘At the time of year when queues usually form for popcorn and the money pours in, box office revenues are plunging. Where are the blockbusters?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/26/even-superheroes-may-not-save-hollywood-desperate-summer), here we see: “The true scale of the potential problem facing the industry can be seen in the precipitous drop in movie attendance this summer, down 52% year-on-year to 385 million at the time of writing. It is the lowest level of attendance since the summer of 1992“, in addition we get “Hollywood is stuck in a rut and it needs a safety net – superhero flicks fit that bill right now“. Two statements that might be the bill of the story, but in reality, the people are adhering to mismatched data and not properly investigated results as I see it. You see, the data is evident and it is out there, the games industry is taking 100 billion plus a year now and some of the other elements of gaming are taking a slice of that. In addition, providers like Netflix are now in much better control of their audiences that is mainly because they figured out what was wrong in the first place. You see, the gaming part is the first part of the evidence. People are now spending it on something else and they are no longer relying on the box office as Netflix gives then options. the second part is seen in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-where-cost-of-living-is-rising-the-fastest-2017-6) where we see that on number 10 (New Orleans) the cost of living went up by 18%, on number one we see Nashville with a cost of living raise of nearly 30%, as we have not seen any actual economy increase from the United States, or better stated, the working people of the United States have seen almost no increase in wages and quality of life, those representing certain numbers decided to just ignore issues and evidence. Now, that top 10 list is a little skewed too, yet when we realise that for 3% of Americans their cost of living went up by 18% or more, how worried do we need to be with certain represented numbers? So consider that Los Angeles was part of that top 10, yet New York is not, there we get ‘Cost of living index in New York is 21.37% higher than in Los Angeles‘, which with close to 9 million is 2% of the US population, so now we see that the hardship and quality of life is hitting 5% of the American population and the numbers do still go up, so when we see “drop in movie attendance this summer” how can anyone be surprised? In addition, we should also realise that this gives rise to the fact that apart from people not going to the cinema, many are now spending it on something else and a $20 spend on 90 minutes is not considered when $55 gets them hours, sometimes hundreds of hours of gameplay. We are all getting more and more weary on the bang for our buck and the cinema can no longer deliver that value. No one denies that movies are just better on the big screen, but for many it is a trip only affordable a few times a year so the people are getting really picky on what they see on the big screen. Richard Cooper gives us part of the news, but also ‘forgets‘ to give the full picture. With “It is mid-budget films and their fans that have tended to suffer“, here he only gives us part of the story. As the Hollywood engine of greed and reselling remains on a steady course, we see the need for maximising results and as such the movie makers are closing the gap between cinema and digital release. Why spend on the cinema whilst within 26 weeks the movie will be out on Blu-ray? Basically it is the same price, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an excellent example in this case. People are becoming stingy because they have no other options. All the messages of a fake economy and how good it is might look nice on the news, but for the most, people in the US cannot afford any extras. Many in the USA need to work double jobs just to get by. The US census gives us that in 2015 13.5% of Americans were in poverty, I feel certain that this number has gone up in 2017, some sources give us that this has gone up to 14.5%, so one in seven is in poverty. Do you think that these people will be watching movies on the big screen? So the Hollywood moment of desperation is not to be resolved, not until the quality of life and cost of living for Americans is set to a much better status. Those who can might try to leech of the neighbour’s Netflix, those who cannot need to find affordable entertainment, if they get any at all.

In the second we see that this economy is also bolstering a new level of exploitation. Even as we all ignore certain elements, Uber has changed the game, with ‘Inside the gig economy: the ‘vulnerable human underbelly’ of UK’s labour market‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/24/inside-gig-economy-vulnerable-human-underbelly-of-uk-labour-market) we see a new level where the people are sold a cheap story (read: Uber story) and as they are hiding behind what people should investigate, we see that desperation is exploited in other levels. It is not merely an American issue; it is becoming a global issue. With “Each passenger’s destination, however, will remain a mystery until they have been collected. And regardless of the considerable costs they might incur to fulfill that journey, the driver will have no say in the fare. Uber both sets the fare, then takes a hefty rate of commission from it“, we are shown that there is a dangerous precedent. As we see online needs explodes as people need cheaper solutions, Uber will weigh in on maximising its profit. As I see it: ‘the drivers having no other options to work to near death for scraps’. With “The driver knows that failure to accept these terms will result in an immediate loss of work: they will be blocked for a set period of time from accessing Uber’s online system that provides work” we see new levels of legalising slave labour. The ‘do it or else‘ approach is now strangling the freedom of people to death. We see evidence of my statements with “The companies themselves tend to talk about the freedom, independence, and flexibility with which self-employment is usually associated. But many of the couriers and drivers we have spoken with over the past year have had an alternative model of self-employment, and with it much financial insecurity, enforced upon them“, and the law is not offering any solution, not in the UK and not in the USA, being an entrepreneur tends to have long lasting benefits at times. They all voluntarily went into the contract and they can all walk away and starve. It is not an option for those with families to support and feed. Part of this crux is seen in “we have noted how companies are able to use the guise of self-employment to dump a whole series of obligations and liabilities onto their workforce, while depriving them of protections enjoyed by the rest of working Britain“, to be the entrepreneur comes with hidden dangers, especially when you work for other entrepreneurs. The age of exploitation is upon us and as we know it, we can no longer afford to go to the cinema, a side Mark Sweney seems to have ignored. Yes, he does give us the Netflix element and there was no way to avoid it. He does go in the wrong direction with “For film fans, theatres still have an allure for the launch of big movies, but in the new world, where all media is competing for eyeballs and time in the “leisure economy”, the Netflix threat is rising“, he is not incorrect, yet he is incomplete. He forgets that Netflix is all many can afford (and a fair amount cannot even afford that). So why go to the cinema for the next sequel? Box Office Mojo gives us part of the goods, in 2017 only 2 movies broke the 1 billion mark, Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson (I personally do not think she was a beast in that movie) and the Fate of the Furious, which makes sense as Vin Diesel is stark raving nuts on most given days (in the fast and furious series) and who doesn’t enjoy a chase movie whilst we know that the driver is Looney Tunes. A movie with a good grasp on the desired quality of life time! So if we accept that the bulk of the Americans had to choose two movies these would be it. Yet, that number is not correct. You see Vin Diesel is attracting an audience, but 81% is not domestic, in the case of Miss Watson it is a 60% non-domestic audience. If we focus on the American market the Beauty and the beast was best, but only good for half a billion, if we focus on the domestic market, it is merely the Force Awakens that brings the goods for Americans. It makes sense with the following it has, but it is also deeply sad that decent movies are no longer bringing in the bacon. We cannot merely be blaming Netflix on this, we can surmise that the people can no longer afford the large screens in America, it is the most likely scenario, when we consider that only 3 movies got the domestic top 100 of gross revenue in 2017 and 11 in 2016, we cannot disagree with the view we get offered, but in retrospect, there is enough evidence that the US job market was worse last year. So with still 3 upcoming box office smashes, the big screen performance remains down, to what extent is harder to state, because there is enough indications that there is a lack of quality numbers, which makes my predictions not wrong, merely speculations and I accept that, yet the makers of the article and the presenters of the story of ‘Even superheroes may not be able to save Hollywood’s desperate summer‘ know that they were blaming the DC and Marvel Universe for not saving an economy that does not presently exist. The economy only exists on the Dow Jones index and that one is skewed towards the 1% of Americans that can afford a large apartment in New York and other places. What a shame that reality requires the 99% of Americans they give no consideration to. Yet it could be worse and there is every chance of that happening. As we see Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen warn against regulatory cuts, as we see “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said protectionist policies pose a “serious risk” for growth in the global economy“, we could deduce that Draghi is soon depending on exploitation tactics to grow the economy, not only has his Quantative Easing failed, he will soon depend on legalised slave labour to get the economy the boost no one wants in such a manner. So as Draghi states: “To foster a dynamic global economy we need to resist protectionist urges“, which will not just end the filling of any quality of life if it was up to certain Uber approaches, it is also signaling the end of places like Hollywood, because they only get to exist when people can afford to go to the cinema, an display of ‘ingoranus totalicus‘ shown by these same people as they bolster the story that ignores the needs and plight of those in the lover 60% of the total income bracket in most of the modern western world.

We will see in the next 18 months what remains of the values we considered in the past. Life as we know it will change, that has always been the consideration of an evolving natural life. We merely forgot that those in charge are not in favour of change unless they could directly profit by it. I wonder if the people in Hollywood realise that part of the equation.

 

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About them copyrights

It’s all good and fine to get through the day, to read on how it is all ‘sooo’ virtual, so available. Yet, in the end, is this ‘the truth’? Consider when we see the article, again the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/15/taylor-swift-uk-itunes-out-of-the-woods), so we could say how it sucks to be Taylor Swift at this point. You see, when you use the ‘excuse’ “due to a new strategy my record label is working on in the UK“, we can safely assume that this is about something else. Likely commission, possibly ‘better’ kickbacks, or better margins, yet overall the fans will suffer and they are now looking at other means like uploaded records to get their music.

I wrote about such events in ‘The real issue here!‘ where I stated “So, almost 20% end up buying the discs (implying 80% will not)“, I had written about such issues in gaming, in movies and as Taylor Swift will soon learn in music too.

By playing for tougher deals, you end up losing a lot. And in this case, as I see it Team Swift only have themselves to blame. Just like the gamers of day old were ignored by the US at large, music fans will not tolerate delays on such events. That is the drawback of the digital age. When you offer it NOW, you better offer it to all. So when we see the quote “Out of the Woods is likely to be available for at least some of Swift’s fans in the UK soon, then. But many will have turned to other means to hear the track: for example, there are already a number of uploads of its audio to YouTube“, you better believe that fans will find another avenue. In the end, her real fans will buy it one way or the other, yet Taylor lost out on a vibe that could have gotten her a few hundred thousand, perhaps even a million additional downloads. She will miss out on that one this time.

So is this fair to Taylor? Does that matter? When you decide on a strategy that leaves one out, that one will either find an alternative or will move on to something else. Such is life. In gaming, when this happened in the 80’s, people had no choice but to copy or wait for outrageous prices. So, those with copied games got to play it, those who had no contacts ended up waiting in excess of one year. The digital age now has given us the option to get it ANYWHERE fast, usually at a base price and often as fast as day one. In the age where product outstrips demand by a lot, the digital age becomes a different field. An opportunity missed is a chance lost, not delayed. Music is exactly that to a massive group (the Taylor Swift fans will always buy), but that leaves a large group missed and it loses out to potential new fans, but is that a given?

No it is not, yet we see that the digital wave tends to attract the curious, those who get one song and then learn that the music is interesting to seek out more. Through Audio Galaxy in 2000-2001, I got to know the Corrs, Bond, and a few others. Now, I have almost all their albums, which I bought in the record store, it started with one simple song. That market relies on the new waves of songs, not anticipated waiting.

So, is this me changing my view on copyright? Not entirely, when a movie comes out, one should buy it. I have no issues with buying a movie or watching it in the cinema, so when I decide to buy a game, movie or album, when it is released, I expect it to be released. When we get an alleged form of discrimination where the consumer is discriminated against, should such injustice not be fought? I am not talking about a simple delay like we tend to see it in games, where movies tend to be out in the US one moment, and a few weeks later the rest sees it. That part I have no real issue with. Yet, in the case of Star Wars Episode 1, where the movie was released in May in many places, it would take 5 months until it was released in the Netherlands, for a movie like that, such a delay was just unheard of and as such an illegal download of the movie was circulating within a few days. Many would still see it on the big screen, but not all. Evidence of such events have been seen for decades, so why would the team of Taylor Swift be this ‘uninformed’ (ignorant might be a better word) in thinking that the fans would accept it, and beyond that the rest would just ‘wait’ for a girl named Taylor Swift?

Some might, most will not.

And if you want to consider alternatives, then think of the time, the line and the timeline. Our world is changing, it is less about the product that is convenient for us, it is more and more when it becomes convenient for them, not us (cinema and TV marketing has been all about that for far too long). We could read it as a form of maximised profit, yet overall it is about marketable momentum. That is seen as we see at present that ‘analysts’ already are stating that they predict ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ will make $1.2 Billion at the Global Box Office. The movie is nowhere near release and these predictions are already made. As we see that this movie is coming out in 2015 as a summer release, so much can go wrong! And we are already been ‘tailored’ to fit a 6 week gap.

People are still in a financial depressed era. Even though it is now starting to pick up, the longevity of our economy is currently not a given, with the Tesco issues still  in play in a hardy way, there is a real issue in the UK, even though there unemployment is now down to 6%, yet overall the cost of living is still rising faster than most of the incomes correct for, so as such, income is still not in the level that we see where people en mass (especially those with family) can just go to the cinema. The last movie to really make it was Avatar in 2009; it was a unique wave not unlike Titanic, they are still the first two movies in the all-time box office records. So, at present SW7 is already ‘anticipated’ as one of the top 6 movies of all time. That, whilst the first Avengers movie, making 1.5 billion, took the cake in 2012 and the anticipation of the second movie is extremely high on many minds. Beyond that there will be Fantastic Four, Pan (with Hugh Jackman) and at least three additional movies are on the list for the summer of 2015. Now consider that until the economy is truly repaired families might have the option to see two of these movies. What are the chances that they choose Star Wars? There is no denying that Star Wars will be very high on the list of many, but then so are the Avengers. That is if nothing else happens, like new games, new records and shifting time lines.

So as we see the escalations of ‘needs’ and ‘options’, we will see a change on how people perceive copyright and translate this into the ‘right to copy’, welcome to the new economy of those who cannot afford it!

So as we see what team Swift thought would be and what Team analyst expects it to be. I would state that the truth is nowhere in the middle, and that the truth is revolving around two points of flexible perception, whilst a placement of either is not a given either positive or negative, but what will be, is not linearly in the middle of what would be and that what is expected to be, that what is, is not a given ever in marketable approaches!

But what ‘might be’, requires us to take another look at what we see that is currently done to us. As we are all reduced to ‘product to purchase’ and no longer regarded as ‘consumers to buy’, we see a changing market of expected anticipation.

Is this a negative evolution of marketable industries?

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FACT on piracy?

There is a newscast that got to me in the middle of the night (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25575298).

Now, let me start that I am not in favour of digital piracy in any way. I have had a fortunate live, so for the most, I could go to the cinema and enjoy the big screen. At times I got to buy a DVD/Blu-ray, so I could enjoy the quality of the movie at home.

What gets to me is this quote “A spokesperson for the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) said that piracy puts jobs in the entertainment industry at risk and prevented future investment in entertainment.

This spokesperson needs to take a hard look at himself/herself in the mirror in regards to the ‘BS’ (as I personally see it) that is proclaimed by said spokesperson! Why?

The 25 most profitable movies represented in the US alone $5.2 billion dollars. At the top is Iron Man 3 which did $400 million in the US, but did an awesome $1.2 billion worldwide. So, there is no future danger to investments, there is a truckload of money to be made there and greed is trump. An additional interesting fact is that the second Hobbit movie is on that top 25 too. It made over 200 million in one week, so lighten up FACT!

Perhaps FACT needs to take a new look at the message they are proclaiming. What angers me is that this is pretty much the same BS Sony ‘voiced’ gave when all that music was shared in the early 90’s (when the US had similar poverty numbers) on how much damage they had.

These people do not realise that a large portion of the US and the EEC is in such a recession that the people cannot afford the luxury of going to the cinema (or buying a DVD for that matter). In the US the poverty line now hits 1 for every 7 Americans, so it is time for FACT to wake up! In the UK things are slightly better, but only 1.1% better, making it 1 in 7 as well. So, perhaps FACT would like to take that into consideration before blaming dangers to piracy?

Who downloads movies?

Well, the main group here in my view remains the student population (who can hardly make ends meet as school fees go up and up). In addition I must state that this does not OK the transgression, but consider that these people have little options to see anything. Prices go up, yet students end up with less and less. The second group is the poverty group, who likely have no internet, but rely on a friendly neighbour to burn them a DVD. I am not saying that this is good, legal or acceptable! I am just saying that perhaps setting the right dimension might help ‘comprehension’ for those who cannot afford any of it anyway.

the second quote that the BBC gave “Piracy threatens the livelihoods of over 1.5 million people whose jobs rely on the continued success of films, TV programmes and other forms of entertainment that are created in the UK.” reads a little better, but I fear that this is slightly disjointed. We dealt with films, but we did not deal with TV programs. There we see that the big ‘winner’ is Game of Thrones (HBO) the quote that another site gave me “It also seems that those involved in Game of Thrones are not too worried by the levels of piracy around their show.

This does not make it OK, but consider that these series can only be watched with a subscription and that in the UK and the US 1 in 7 is below the poverty line. The financial situation in many European countries is not that much better, then perhaps those involved should realise that they, for the most are not doing that bad. Forbes showed an additional side to the HBO dilemma (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/10/international-audiences-have-few-choices-to-legally-watch-hbos-game-of-thrones/). Consider that the three pirated TV series that truly jump out are all HBO series. Can FACT explain how these poverty driven families can shell out $50 a month for cable? And, even those making minimum wage (which is only marginally better than poverty) can often not afford any of the choices FACT would deem acceptable.

So, and your truly (meaning me!), did I ever watch an illegal movie version? (I never downloaded it!) Yes, I did once. It was Star Wars Episode One and I only watched it because the Movie was launched 4 months later in the Dutch cinema then in the US (an unacceptable time-lag for such a movie). I still watched it in the cinema, I bought the DVD and later the Blu-Ray and so they got more than their money’s worth!

So, is there a real issue?

Depends on how you look at it. From my point of view, the bulk of those downloading the movies and/or TV series cannot afford them in any way, which means that there would never have been a sale to begin with. Those who are above that mark are a decreasing population. As TV series and movies are offered via iTunes, consoles and other digital media for just a few dollars, getting the series (or movie) in that way would be preferable to many viewers, especially as those versions tend to be of better quality. The growth in sales as claimed by some (an increase of 40% in digital sales), means that the tide is shifting. The biggest group that remains has no way of buying it ever under the economic pressures they face.

Yes, you might have a case against these people, but consider how movies claim to make so many billions. Do they really want to go on a hunt for those who live below poverty? Has it truly come to this?

How about we use all that effort to get these people a ‘decent’ income?

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