The Black Hole: Fantastic Short

The Black Hole is what I think is the perfect example of a great short film. It is both simple and effective and it captivates audiences within the first few seconds. It has a meaningful underlying message.

Since we will soon be making our own single camera dramas I have taken to looking at existing shorts for inspiration.

The Black Hole carries a strong message about society’s greed, how it is our ultimate downfall. It shows a man in a mundane office job  who stumbles upon a mysterious black hole while making photocopies. He realises the things he can do with the black hole,  it begins with stealing a chocolate bar from a vending machine but it then leads to grand theft.

There is no denying it is one of the most interesting concepts for a short film round.

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Big Brother will be watching you…

So we now know that the government are proposing to keep hold of huge amounts of electronic data containing all the juicy details about websites we visit, emails we send and whoever we call.

They are claiming that they will only survey and use this information for court cases and that it is an important step to keep with with today’s technology.

Lets examine the changes we will see when the project gets put into action:

  • Landlines: Are already monitored and police/government need a warrant to check this information. There will be no real change.
  • Skype: Particular interest has been given to how they can monitor Skype, they suspect terrorists have been using it because no one has been tracking who and when you video call someone. This will soon not be the case as they will use IP addresses to store who you are skyping with and when.
  • Games Consoles: Much like with Skype, terrorists could plot using the headsets or text messages and this will be stored in the future.
  • Mobiles: They can already find out who we have called/texted and when. They can also find out where you are using phone signals. They are now looking into monitoring app use and BBM because at the moment they are a free-for-all.
  • Laptops/iPads: No real change, emails are already tracked and under a warrant the security systems and police can access this information. At the moment whenever you start browsing the web it is stored but under the project the address you look at will be stored. From this the authorities will be able to check if you have using any subversive websites.
  • Facebook: Social networking data is not currently stored but in the future information on who you’ve been talking to on Facebook and when will be stored.

My initial response was surely if you’re not participating in any criminal activity you have nothing to fear. I don’t think of myself doing anything wrong and I don’t have any information I need to hide from the authorities and if the project is put into place to keep me safe by putting criminals behind bars, then I’m all for it.

But we opened this up in a class discussion and it did kind of change my opinion. The News of the World scandal was brought up, it brought up the issue of corruption. What if a publishing body were to get the hands on all of our information? Our health records, bank details, personal and private information could all end up in the hands of the likes of Rupert Murdoch. This could be particularly problematic for celebrities, politicians and people involved in local/ national news stories.

Major/Minor crimes?  How severe does the crime need to be in order for the government to get a warrant to check out our information? It is likely to be for minor as well as major crimes to prevent people arguing that ‘manslaughter’ is a minor crime and therefore their information cannot be checked.

Another issue arose, the government has never really been particularly good at handling data, remember the National insurance and bank Details being left on the train. This could lead to mass fraud. People could easily steal your identity if they obtained all the information being stored about you.  Can they really be trusted to securely hold information about us for up to two years? Even if they manage not to leave our precious details on the train we have the issue of hacking. If there are hackers out there who are skilled enough to break into the CIA and FBI information systems they are likely to be able to get to the government’s stored data on every one of us.

There seems to be more possible disadvantages to this project than positives. It is an invasion of our privacy. The internet does need some sort of surveillance though, as a society we are in too deep, we are 100% dependant on the internet but I think storing information for two years is a step too far. Perhaps just monitor suspected criminals once they have been brought to the authorities attention instead of storing unnecessary information about everybody.

At Coachella, Tupac lives…

This year’s Coachella has gotten everyone talking with it’s amazing line up combining both rap and rock artists but only one star appeared years after their death as a hologram.

16 years after rap icon, Tupac Shakur was shot dead, he joined Snoop Dogg on stage for a performance we’ll never forget. It left the audience in awe and the bloggisphere rife with opinions and critiques. The performance has even spawned a parody twitter account @hologram2pac.

Using techniques similar to those the Gorillaz used for their performance at the 2005 Grammy awards the Rapper’s Hologram was created by AV Concepts and cost between $100,000 and $400,000. I was amazed by the incredibly realistic image of Shakur and was desperate to know how they managed to create it. Apparently it was a combination of live footage and CGI projected onto a lightweight foil. I think this is a great example of the huge strides we’ve taken technologically and I can’t imagine what will top this.

So now that we’ve had one of the biggest rap icons re-incarnated are our rock ‘n roll icons next on the list…Who will be the next star to be brought back to life?

Perhaps we’ll have queen with their original lead vocalist Freddy Mercury in Hologram form?

Or perhaps they’ll make my dreams come true and have hologram Cobain front Nirvana one last time?

I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Music Video: Cruel

This is one of the quirkier music videos I’ve seen recently. St Vincent has a few really interesting videos to match their eccentric indie-pop music. Cruel’s video is very emotive, showing repressed anger, dread and vulnerability, all wrapped up into one lovely dark comedic package.

The concept of the video is quite elaborate, a motherless family spots the female lead vocalist, Annie Clark in a petrol station shop and abducts her before taking her to their home. They expect her to be the perfect wife and mother. It’s no happily ever after though, failing to fit the mould of the perfect housewife, the family bury Clark in the back garden. It has been likened to the movie Overboard, where Kurt Russell convinces amnesic Goldie Hawn that she is his wife.

The video was a little controversial, YouTube comments show complaints that by showing the family abducting her, it presents women as having no choice in the matter. However I don’t think the abduction should be taken so literally, I tend to agree with the view that it is symbolic of how women are treated in society. Their spirits are crushed when they are stuck in unhappy marriages with children and partners who don’t treat them properly. For me, what makes the video really interesting is that we learn the front door has actually been unlocked all along and that she could have left any time which leaves unanswered questions about why Clark’s character stays with the dysfunctional family.

St Vincent’s music is somewhat of an exploration of the unknown. It’s experimental, quirky and full of depth. The video is in fitting with the feminist viewpoint presented to us in the lyrics and all in all I think it is one of the best music videos I have seen in a while.