Thursday 26 November 2020

Men & Chicken

Here's one from Denmark that's off-the-wall, starring the fabulous Mads Mikkelsen and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen from 2015. The original title was 
Mænd & høns and if you're going to give this dark comedy/mystery a go, do so with an open mind and expect mayhem!

Director/writer Anders Thomas Jensen has a long list of credits for projects he's been involved in over the years but I'm afraid to say that none have crossed my path until now. On the back of this, I shall explore more!

It's a bizarre tale about a bunch of brothers. Once we have the eerily reminiscent of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest music out of the way, we join two of the brothers as their father dies in hospital. He leaves them a recording and tells them in it that he is not actually their father after all these years and gives the name of the father and suggests that each of them has a different mother, too! They are now on a quest to track this man down. One of these brothers is a smart academic type, the other, a less-than educated thug only interested is being in the presence of women. And when that happens, he has to sneak off to a convenient place to pull himself off! Hang on though - it's gets even more bizarre.

When they arrive on the island where their father lives, it turns out that there's another three men all claiming to also be sons of the father, guarding the asylum-in-disrepair in which they live, chaotically, it being full of farmyard animals of all shapes and sizes! When the 5 men finally get together and start to piece together the history of what has gone on and who's father is who, who's mother is who, we have started to live with them and spend a good time mainly enjoying their bizarre and quirky character traits.

They are not the only weirdo's on the island as a rich tapestry unfolds around them and various people with various parts of the story allow us to piece it together with them. What transpires is darkly comic and unsettling! I'll say no more. Just be sure to not assume that all is what it seems!

Mikkelsen (Hannibal, The Hunt, Arctic) is fabulous in the lead as he portrays one whacko behaviour after another and the other brothers are equally engaging, played by David Dencik (Chernobyl, Top of the Lake), Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Angels and Demons), Søren Malling The Killing) and Nicolas Bro (DNA, The Killing). I could have watched their mad antics for hours on end!

It's a brilliantly absurd film with deep ripples running though designed to make the viewer increasingly uneasy about what's to come. The discoveries which are made about their background do come along and as they do, it all fits together and makes sense. You'd be hard pushed to find a more strangely interesting tale. It's doing the rounds on Film4 just now. Go grab it!

Thursday 12 November 2020

Motorola One Action

Yes, a bit late to the party for this device which was released in autumn 2019 but I found out that these were still being sold direct from Lenovo for £80 off and £139 all-in. The Motorola One Octopus has many tentacles, most of which have been through the Salmagundi Filter at some point. At that price though, I couldn't resist! Want to know why?

Yes, you guessed it, AndroidOne! It was another of the (relatively) few devices made by Motorola which were a part of this fabulous scheme which guarantee users two OS and three years of Google Security Updates. I reviewed the Motorola One Vision back around then and was mightily impressed. The AndroidOne devices from the Motorola One Family that have come through my hands have been the Motorola One (revisited in 2020), One Vision, and now I'll see how the one I missed out on stacks up. There was also the non-One-family Moto G8 Pro which ran under AndroidOne which I also reviewed recently. That's the one with the stylus!

The Motorola One Action was aimed at a specific group of people on release. The Vision was for media-consumers, with that 21:9 screen for loads of Netflix watching on the move whereas the One Action they hoped would appeal to those who want to shoot action video. You know, skateboarders and snowboarders and surfer dudes! It has a wide-angle camera supporting this which was the first of the Motorola's to be placed deliberately sideways. If you hold the phone in portrait, it will shoot in landscape still. Motorola have since then ported this idea to various other phones, but this one started the trend. Compared to the Vision's 48MP main shooter and 25MP Selfie, the Action has a dumbed-down 12MP rear and Selfie - the emphasis is all about that wide-angle action-cam. And the price difference reflected this. We'll get to the camera later.

On release, the One Vision was £269 and the Action, £219. The bargain price I got it for now is a good saving, though I'm sure if you hunt around you could do as well elsewhere on this year-old phone, certainly picking one up second hand. It seems like the natural comparison to make here as I've already considered and reviewed the Vision.

The dimensions of the two phones are identical apart from the fatness, the Action being a few millimetres more - presumably for that 'action cam' - but it's also lighter by a few grams, perhaps because of the back being plastic and not like the Vision's glass. They both have plastic frames but only 'water repellent coating' and no IP-rating, which is a surprise for the Action particularly, aimed at outdoor use and adventure. What's possibly more interesting is that it's almost an identical size to the Sony Xperia 5 which, as we know, is also a 21:9 device and which I reviewed during 2020. The Sony is a different £699 flagship beast of course (with pretty much better everything inside and out) and is indeed slightly smaller in all directions than this Moto, but it's very similar in the hand. Makes you think though - £560 cheaper!

Back to the Moto phones and both Vision and Action have pretty much the same box contents, being an included TPU (well done Moto), power brick (though this one is 10W and the Vision's was 15W), papers, pokey-hole key and USB-A to USB-C cable. Touring the phone, there's a 3.5mm audio-out up top, volume & power on the right, speaker, USB-C port and microphone on the bottom, SIM Card Tray on the left, camera island, flash and capacitive fingerprint scanner on the back. All looking very much like the Vision. Only difference is that the back is plastic here and the Vision had glass (and the TPU covers it anyway), though both have the plastic frame. The phone feels solid and sturdy with some weight, not premium, but certainly not cheap'n'plasticy. There's an IPX2 rating for environment, so splash proof basically. You'd think they would have majored on this for the target adventurous folk.

The phones share the exact same 6.3" 21:9 1080p LCD front panel returning 432ppi with that over-sized selfie top-left in portrait. Because it is 21:9 it makes the 6.3" really more like 5.3", so actually feeling much more dinky than the figures suggest. The screen on 100% manual brightness is very good. Perfectly usable outdoors in sunlight, which there was here unusually today! Comparing with the Pixel 3's OLED panel there's really not much in it for brightness, but both of them seem brighter to my eyes than the iPhone SE (2020)'s LCD. The iPhone has a 'warm' cast whereas the Action has a blue one and the Pixel sits somewhere between. Colour can be shifted to 'saturated' in settings to make them 'pop' a bit more, apparent in primary hues more on this LCD. The brightness 'slider' seems to need to be up to about 60% for me for indoors use, which is certainly more than OLED screens and a bit more than the iPhone's. It's a very good screen which few would complain about.

As I fired the device up and got it going for the first time, I'd not realised that of course, it would still be on Android 9 (Pie) and yes, sure enough it was, with July 2019 Android Security Patches! I tried to quickly get Android 10 on-board but this little blighter was going to do all that at it's own pace! Through the months, one-by-one (presumably one security update hanging on changes from the last/next) until it got to November 2019, then along came Android 10. Hurrah! Again, slowly but surely, month-by-month it got as up-to-date as is reasonable for an AndroidOne device just now, October 2020. Wow! This is a 3-4hr long process! When it was all done, I executed a new factory reset for good measure.

This did start me thinking though about how long the phone had been sitting on a shelf, battery inactive. The battery had about 50% charge when I opened it. I checked on the box and the manufacture date was April 2020. So even though all that software was outdated by some months, the battery was only six months or so sitting. When I test the battery, we'll see how it performs against what I got from the Vision, which I got back then new, with little sit-time.

No time like the present as they say, so my first couple of tests on the battery are very good indeed. I've run my 10% screen-on test a couple of times now and have got results much better than the Vision, which was around 1hr 20mins. This Action is more like 1hr 40min. I have run this from 100% to 90% and also 50% to 40% and it remains consistent. I have no idea why the Action should do better than the Vision in this respect - I really was expecting the same result - although I do have thoughts coming along about Android 10.

The 10% screen-on test is not very scientific. The strength is that it's always me doing it and I do the same things during the time with the phone. Screen on, adaptive battery, adaptive brightness, indoors, reading social media, news feeds, scrolling, no video, no sound - just basic reading with the screen on. I mark the percentage shown at the start and finish, allow for variation within fractions of percentage points, then time when the 10% drop occurs. I do this from fully-charged, then repeat the test 50% to 40% and do this a few times during the first week of use as it gets used to my pattern of usage then take an average at the end. Not scientific, but consistent over hundreds of phones over the years.

The good news is that the battery is really very good for a seriously heavy day and beyond. We're talking 36hrs with 6-7hrs SoT between charges if pushed. Again, that feels like it is better than the Vision was - so maybe all these battery improvements are to do with Android 10 - I had sold the Vision on before it got updated. Anyway, the 3,500mAh battery clearly is a winner in this combination and even though the Action comes with a lesser charger in the box than the Vision (10W instead of 15W) this really represents no problem with charging up fairly quickly for real-world use - 5/7 hours of power from 15/20 minutes charge and full from flat in just over 2 hours. No wireless charging of course but I have a Qi Receiver plugged into the USB-C socket, pad under the TPU and wireless charging is working beautifully.

The use of Samsung's Exynos 9609 chipset was a surprise for me for the Vision, but I remember saying that it out-performed the similarly-priced and placed Samsung model of the time and presumed this to be because of all the Samsung software and back-action going on against the clean and stripped-down AndroidOne version of Android there. This seems to be just the same. It's operation is fast across anything I'm using it for, even resource-heavy car-racing games as tested here. Laying gaming aside though, there's not a jitter that I can see for normal everyday use in all other functions. Task-switching is good and fast with nothing dropping out the other end of the 4GB RAM that would worry me over time. Who needs 12GB RAM, eh!

The storage is the same as the Vision, being 128GB which is great when supported by microSD memory cards via the hybrid SIM slot. The SIM slot will either take 2 x SIM Cards or 1 x SIM and microSD. Copying data to the phone was relatively fast though of course nothing like the speed that the Sony Xperia 5ii demonstrated recently for me! But remember the price difference - especially with this special offer. Read/write times for external media is good tested here with the usual microSD Card adapter into the USB-C slot and also my Extreme 2TB SSD. Yes, it is faster on various flagship devices, but are we in such a hurry we can't wait - for the cost-saving? Last test is the HDMI-Out and not surprisingly, there's no support for this.

There's pretty much the same level of Moto extras on this phone as the Vision had, like the Moto Peek (but not Approach, rather lift/nudge to get the interactive dialogue), chop-chop for torch, twist-twist for camera, 3-finger screenshot - you know the form. The only bit missing that matters for me is the Approach really - as there's not even double-tap-to-wake, you do have to move the phone to see the time, date, battery % and Peek notification array. I guess that's not such a big deal for people who have the phone in their pocket - more so on a desk/table or stand.

The security aspects of the Moto suite include the face unlock which is quick to register and seems to work well - lifting the phone up from the table or from a pocket and looking at it gets the user straight in. No mucking about with sub-screens and lock-screens to swipe away - straight in. Great. Others could learn from that. Only thing to be said though is that if you're lifting it up anyway, your finger is round the back so you might as well use your finger to unlock! Which brings us to the rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner. This works really well as you'd expect rather than under-glass arrangements. Only problem being that it has to be lifted up to use of course, so desk-use is out. Nudge and Peek or pattern I guess!

The speaker output is, much like the Vision, punching above its weight. Moto seem to use a better quality component than many out there, even if it is mono and singular. It may not be the loudest, but there's no complaints here about tinny top-ends. The tone is very pleasant and just enough bass so as not to complain. I'm guessing that it is the exact same setup as the Vision as we also have the 'minimalist' Moto Audio tuned by Dolby which is system-wide but is stuck on Smart (auto) for speaker use.

It's not until you plug in headphones to the 3.5mm audio-out socket that the other options open up - Music, Film and Custom - each with their own edit feature with manual adjustment of graphic equaliser sliders. The sound coming through headphones (tested here with AKG K701) is not very loud - I have it on full volume and it's just about fine for me - but it wouldn't have been when I was 16 years old and wanting to blast my ears! So an enhanced dongle would be a good idea for some folk. I personally think that most people would be satisfied though. 

And for those who are not, pairing up with Bluetooth headphones, as we've come to expect now, moves things to another level completely, depending on the quality of the connected equipment of course. Tests here transform the sound which is good enough for 57 year old me and more than good for 16 year old me! Bluetooth 5, pairs up quickly and holds a connection over a good distance - and through various walls as tested here. There's also a recording FM Radio which can be switched to speakers, headphones or Bluetooth output, channel favourites, sleep-timer and even hooks through to the Dolby from inside the app.

Talking of connectivity, I have taken a number of phone calls on the device and connection is solid over cellular, good sound each end as tested and strong signal even when tested here in previously tested dubious areas for dropout on Vodafone. NFC is present so Google Pay is a Go and although I have not been able to test that, others report it working well. Certainly the NFC functionality is working for quick device connections. Similarly the GPS - quick locks on Google Maps and reliable tracking as I move. Wifi connection seems good and strong too tested here on two household routers and two MiFi units. It seems that I rarely complain about any connectivity with phones these days. A few years ago, devices always seemed to have something not so good. I guess they're getting better at their game.

One of the few differences between the phones is the camera, as I have said. The Vision centred around a better 48MP Quad Bayer f1.7 shooter with OIS which actually turned out some half decent shots for the price-point whereas the Action's main camera is a 12MP f1.8 more usual and old-fashioned one. There's no OIS on the phone at all, though there is an electronic stabilisation function in the video camera, which seems to work to some degree. 

Both phones share a 5MP f2.2 depth sensor, but the difference comes with this 16MP f2.2 117-degree wide-angle video camera on the Action, designed for, well, action! It was the first Moto to dedicate a lens to this so that users could hold the phone in portrait (and not have to use two hands to hold it in landscape) but still shoot landscape video. So what you get on the screen is massive bars top and bottom with a slim landscape view of what's going on in front of the lens across the middle. Think YouTube video before you have turned your phone round into landscape and you're not far off. You can shoot this oddly-presented video at 4K@30fps or 60fps@1080p, so no records being broken there - particularly over a year later when even more boundaries are being pushed by other OEMs. There is now a button on-screen to switch the view back to full screen for those who want to shoot in landscape holding the phone in landscape, but by default it's the other way around.

Furthermore, this wide-angle lens can't be used to take photos - only video - which seems a bit odd to have not included. If the hardware is there to support wide-angle, why exclude it from the single-shot camera, I wonder. We've subsequently had this argument for other Moto phones which have adopted the same arrangement since the release of the Action and it is rather bizarre. However, the footage looks decent enough (to the untrained eye here) and I'm sure the adventurous mountaineer or sailor will appreciate the one-handed flexibility for their YouTube footage. 

Apart from that, the camera is very ordinary, shots taken with the main lens look good enough to me - not special, there's no telephoto so any zooming is digital. There's a Manual Mode to play with all the usual settings, which works rather well and the usual array of Moto add-ons in the camera app such as Spot Colour, Cutout, Portrait, Slow Mo, Timelapse, spirit-level, grid and Google Lens baked-in. There's no Night Mode, so you're on your own with that - and low-light shots are far from special. Lastly there's a 12MP f2 Selfie, whereas on the Vision there was a 25MP f2 one - only short-term problem being the big hole which is cut into the screen to accommodate it. It's quite hard to imagine what was behind the decisions about what to put in which, and why, when they share so much common ground.

This is an excellent phone for the money I paid now. Those who are going to be alright with the 21:9 aspect of the screen, being very tall, will get a bargain here. It's very comfortable in the hand, my finger and thumb meet well around the phone's waist, but yes, one-handed use means a stretch up to the top. Great for long scrolling through news and social media posts for those who prioritise that.

The action camera is well designed and looks like great fun for the right crowd, but even laying that aside, this is a very capable smartphone for lots more people than them. The engine room ensures a smooth experience, the screen is very good indeed once you stop seeing the big Selfie Hole and I don't think you can argue with the fabulous AndroidOne implementation of Android and added Moto bolt-ons. This one is coloured Denim Blue, but on release there was also Aqua Teal and Pearl White. It's a well-rounded package, even if you ignore the Action Cam thing and at this price shouldn't be missed! Check if you're too late here!

Friday 6 November 2020

Sony Xperia 5 vs Sony Xperia 5 II

Autumn 2019 and Sony released their baby Xperia 1 as the Xperia 5. There were some significant differences apart from the size, including access to some camera software and Qi Wireless charging. I was able to grab a 5 eventually second-hand and have it here now to compare with the autumn 2020 update, the Mark 2.

In the meantime, Sony have also updated the Xperia 1 to Xperia 1 II with some other differences, but that's a topic for another day. I was mightily impressed with the Sony Xperia 5 and reviewed it here in my Blog earlier this year. The question now is whether or not it's worth the Xperia 5 owner paying out another £799 (128GB model price in the UK) in order to get the updates. This will, of course, depend on the updates and how impactful they are on the performance of the phone and user-experience.

Before you read on, it might be an idea to check out Steve Litchfield's video review in The Phones Show 410 as he puts it through various tests in more depth than the straight comparison here between old and new.

The differences, then. First off, the new version has 5G over the old's 4G. Depending on what use you might make of that, what coverage you have where you live, what tariff you're on with your carrier and how congested your situation is, will depend on the importance. For me, I reckon for all the above, I can't see needing (or even wanting) anything more than 4G for a good long time to come - certainly during the life-expectancy of the phone (in terms of updates from Sony/Google).

Physically, they are very similar indeed. Virtually the same weight. The new model is 0.2mm less fat, if anyone's going to notice that difference! Quite surprising, however, given the next difference, battery. In the box there's the usual Sony tight-fisted approach to any extras like a simple TPU (to cut into their profits charging £800) and it's just a power-brick and cable. Still, that seems to be the way some manufacturers are going these days, declaring how great they are at saving the planet.

The old model has a 3,140mAh battery and the new, 4,000mAh. As I said in my previous review linked to above, I was surprised at and pleased with the performance of the 5 in terms of battery. It lasted longer and performed significantly better than other phones with a similar battery. In fact, based on my reviews over time with plenty of phones, I'd say that it performed much more like other units with a 4,000mAh cell. If that's also true of the update here, maybe the 4,000mAh will behave more like a 5,000mAh unit! The new phone is able to Fast Charge at 21W instead of 18W, so again, incremental change.

Testing the battery has, so far, left me a little disappointed. My 10% SoT which I use with all phones when testing, level playing field, returned me 1 hour 40 minutes on the 5 with that smaller battery and yet only 1 hour 30 mins on this new version. I don't quite understand that. Yes there is a bit more RAM to drive (which I'll come to) and there is 5G (though I am not in a 5G zone, nor do I have a 5G contract) but it seems wrong. GSMArena have tested the 5 to be 96hrs on their unique testing system and 102hrs for the 5 II, but that's not what I'm seeing. I have not had the phone long, to be fair, but I keep re-testing and that's what I get. However, the average use test is fine - both of these phones will have no problem for the person (not caning them shooting video or playing games) getting to the end of a reasonably busy day. It's just that I was expecting more of a leap from the new model.

Next up is the screen refresh rate, being 120Hz over the 5's 60Hz. I have them next to each other here and I'm swiping and scrolling and gaming and movie-watching and I can't see the difference. Still, good for those with better eyes (or brain signals) that can see it. By the way, it's off and at 60Hz by default, so most users will probably not realise it is there anyway! I would rather have a cheaper phone! The OLED panel looks very much the same to me too, wound up to 100% manually, they look exactly the same for colour, brightness (super bright OLED of course) with all the same controls in Settings.

How about the SnapDragon 865 over the elder's 855 then? Same applies, sorry! I don't see any difference in day-to-day use. They both fly in any process that is thrown their way. I'm guessing if I was a big gamer or someone shooting and editing movies I might see the technical difference. And perhaps that's what we have here - a device aimed at professionals doing extraordinary stuff with their gear to produce masterpieces. Not someone taking shots of Dave and his mates down the pub and watching an episode of Breaking Bad now and again. Geekbench scores show a 18% increase overall in performance. Must get my eyes tested and brain checked! Same is true of the RAM - there's an extra 2GB on the new model, making it 8GB, but the 6 of the old model was perfectly good. I have never had any slow-down switching between apps nor concern about apps, services and processes being shut down in the background because the system needed more. It feels like another tick-box.

The front-facing stereo speakers are back unlike with the 5, where one of them was bottom-firing. I didn't have too much of a problem with that but the move back to the front and presumably better components and/or tuning have given the 5 II a boost and improvement over the 5. It's not a huge increment, but it is there. Unlike the 5, when engaging the Dolby it actually sounds like it's improving things rather than making it worse. That's good. The vibration motor for the Dynamic Vibration feels like it is more in-tune with the beat somehow than the older model ever was, but part of that could be to do with the better sound output. The sound output from the speakers is not the best there is on a phone, but it's very good (on both units), a cut above many, many others and yes, slightly improved on this updated model.

The addition of (and return to for Sony) a 3.5mm Audio-Out socket is, for some, a big one - and for the rest of us, a very occasional annoyance to not have it in the 5. Bluetooth is so good here, v5 of the old or 5.1 of the new, that personally I don't see this as a big problem. But if there really are filmmakers and musicians out there creating masterpieces with a phone, OK - they might well appreciate the easy plug-in to external gear while they are going about their business. Do we really think that professional photographers and musicians are likely to use a phone for what they do, beyond Sony promotional material I wonder. Anyway, for us mere mortals, the sound output is excellent from the socket, much the same as the 5 (with an adapter) - far too loud for me and excellent quality with the options to manipulate the sound via Dolby 'til your heart's content!

The camera, much like the above, is very similar to the 5's though the 2x optical zoom has jumped to 3x, there's OIS 
for video shooting and 120fps for fun slow-mo stuff. The same Cinema Pro app is available as for the 5 but the addition here is the Photography Pro app which has made it down from the 1 II. And this is almost worth the money alone for me! I'm not sure about what professionals might do with it (if anything) but this is fabulous fun for a hobbyist photographer to play with settings galore, just like the fun which can be had with a dSLR.

Little things matter - for example, like a camera, a green focus confirmation to use in collusion with the physical two-stage shutter button. I don't know why on earth it has taken so long to make it from camera to phone. Seems a simple addition to me. The cheapest compact camera has it, but not phones. Well done Sony! The whole interface is festooned with dials and buttons and options. A simple-press AEL, EV dial and Mode wheel. I love it! Just like using a proper camera. When they crack the aperture thing on phones and give us AP, it'll be fabulous. Bring it on! Why they can't back-port this app to my 5, I don't know. I guess so they can get another £800 out of people and force them to upgrade. Bad Sony. I really want this app!

There's some bloat thrown in, naughty Sony again - they have plenty of money and don't need to do deals with the likes of FaceBook, LinkedIn, Booking dot com and the biggest and worst one the whacking great big game Call of Duty. Fortunately, they can be Force-Stopped and Disabled, but unfortunately, they can't be uninstalled. Still, get past that and we have the usual clean version of Android that Sony usually serve up - all of it, again, just like the 5. The phone is running Android 10 of course and during my review period it was updated to October 2020 Google Security, the same as my 5. No complaints there - Sony are doing well with that.

It's an excellent phone. Gorgeous in the hand (as long as you're OK with the 21:9 ratio) and feels super-premium. The slightly more rounded edges will be a thing for taste, but for me, I think I prefer the boxy look of the 5. It almost feels like the package ticks every box here. I'd like a bit more out of the battery and Qi Wireless charging has not made it down from Big Brother, sadly. I'd also like a little bit more out of the speakers, personally, but I'm really nit-picking now!

I started out comparing it with the 5, so that's where I'll end. £800 is a lot of money for the person who already has a 5 (like me) and you have to sum up what you get for that with two phones which really are so similar that I wonder why they bothered. I guess it depends how much 5G is of value, how much you're going to use that 3.5mm audio-out socket over the USB-C or Bluetooth options or if you can really see the 120Hz screen refresh difference. Is a 3x zoom more important to you over 2x or more importantly, will you make good use of that Photography Pro app and delightful camera interface resulting. Having concluded that the battery increase is not such a big deal, for me it's about software - and that seems wicked to spend £800 to obtain. One more tick-box might have swung it for me, Qi charging - if it had that, I'd be sorely tempted! Either the 5 or 5 II are highly recommended.

Sunday 1 November 2020

My Zoe

This was an unexpected delight and film of two halves. The first being a powerful drama about a couple who have separated but still share the care of their little girl. The girl gets sick and ends up in hospital where the couple have to spend time together doing what they can to help her recover.

Sounds a bit dull so far, eh - but actually it's terrifically well produced and acted by the leads. Starring and directed by Julie Delpy (Three Colours: White, Before Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight, Europa Europa, Killing Zoe) as the woman and supported by Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Hannibal [TV]). The pair of them have to deal with their dislike of the situation and each other but realising that they have to be there for their daughter, Zoe.

The whole range of emotions which you might expect for a pair in this situation are on display and they both play their part in making it convincing. One minute hurling insults at each other, the next demonstrating warmth, then togetherness but ultimate distance and rejection. The film is not so much about him in the end as her and focuses in the second half on the depth of a mother's love and connection with her child and what lengths she'll go to in order to not lose her girl.

It could easily have been a soppy film for the emotional, but it really isn't. The film is set slightly in the future and it turns out that the woman is a doctor with a scientific mind, working in a lab. Early in the film the depth of this is demonstrated as she talks openly with Zoe about The Big Bang and a scientific view of the universe.

The second half of the film moves somewhat into what science might be able to do in the very near future as she finds ways to keep her daughter close to her which traditional medicine is struggling to do. I'll say no more there as I wouldn't like to spoil things if you watch it, but for me, the strength of the film is certainly in that first half as the couple deal with their emotions in the hospital. It could easily have ended there providing a complete film in itself.

The film is excellently shot as well, making good use of silence rather than music to add tension and the severe editing seems to add a style which, if left alone, could have probably made the film twice as long. There are smaller roles for Gemma Arterton (Summerland) and Daniel Brühl (The Colony, The Zookeeper's Wife, Alone in Berlin) equally as telling, but in less quantity than the leads. Recommended very much even if only for Delpy and Armitage.

PodHub UK Podcasts for October 2020

...a roundup of our month of podcasting. Links to the team, communities and podcast homes on the net at the foot, so scroll down!

Whatever Works
Episode 121 - Pukka Waffles
Friday 2nd October 2020
Drop everything and join Aidan and I as we bring you a Rainbow-flavoured episode in which we chat again about Whatever Works! Watch out for the underwear for big dudes!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 597 - Ultra Rain
Saturday 3rd October 2020
Steve and I are here again with guarded enthusiasm about current crop of Pixels as we also chat with Ian Bundey about his take on all things mobile phone. Apple Watch is also covered as James Bernard Walsh pops in to assess.

Tech Addicts
Sunday 4th October 2020
Gareth and I delve a little deeper into all things tech! Confused by Chromecast, ATV, GTV? Get your Zen from a Book? Maybe you prefer a big fold? Do join us!

The Phones Show
Episode 406 - Google Pixel 4a
Monday 5th October 2020
Join Steve as he takes a look at the new-to-UK Pixel 4a and tries to clarify where it fits in with the rest of Google's line-up and beyond.

Phones Show Chat
Episode 598 - It's all about the mAh
Tuesday 6th October 2020
Steve and I are back again with a sneaky midweek catchup as we chat for a while about Pixels mostly, with the odd Moto, iPhone and Sammy chucked in for good measure!

Projector Room
Episode 72 - Peckinpower
Wednesday 7th October 2020
Gareth, Allan and I are back again with another fortnightly roundup of what we've been watching in film, cinema and TV. Plenty of stuff to chew over as always and thoughts on what's coming soon.

Better Before
Episode 5 - Street Furniture
Friday 9th October 2020
Aidan and I are here with our 5th outing as we consider what was Better Before, better now or if the best is yet to come! This time we welcome special guest Chris Kelly who brings a swoop of interesting topics for musing.

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 10th October 2020
Steve and I welcome back Steve Heinrich this week as we catch up with his current device line-up and what he's been repairing!

Tech Addicts
Sunday 11th October 2020
Gareth and I delve a little deeper into all things tech! The Big H selling it's son? Is there a decent Android Tablet yet? Fancy a Flying Fiasco? Want to charge your phone in 34 minutes?

Phones Show Chat
Episode 600 - Six Bloody Hundred
Tuesday 13th October 2020
Another milestone as Steve and I are back midweek to celebrate and look back for a while on the last decade of PSC episodes and also some bang up-to-date stuff. Thanks for sticking in there with us folks.

The Phones Show
Episode 407 - Google Pixel 4a 5G
Wednesday 14th October 2020
Join Steve as he rolls out his thoughts on the middle one-of-three Pixel phones just arriving in the UK this autumn. Is this one the sweet spot? The pick of the bunch? Tune in to find out.

Whatever Works
Episode 122 - Glue Ear Fix
Friday 16th October 2020
Aidan and I are here again with a fun-packed look into Whatever Works in our lives and yours too! Drinks at 38,000 feet, clothes made from wood - and even me having a go at singing! 

Phones Show Chat
Episode 601 - Unfolding a Samsung
Saturday 17th October 2020
Steve and I are back again this weekend in the company of Craig Carroll who shares his thoughts about his mobile world and which devices he's been playing with since he was last on the show.

Tech Addicts
Sunday 18th October 2020
Fancy a new Apple device? Perhaps a retro Roberts speaker? Or maybe a longer-lasting Chromebook? Do join us as we also try to unpick what Google are trying to fox us with!

Phones Show Chat
Tuesday 20th October 2020
Back again! Steve Litchfield and I with a catchup midweek as we talk more about the current crop of Pixels, thoughts evolving. We even make time for a bit of Hot-Desking talk!

The Phones Show
Episode 408 - Upgrading the Fairphone 3 to the Fairphone 3+
Wednesday 21st October 2020
Ever wanted to upgrade components in your smartphone? Here's one approach. Do join Steve as he takes the idea apart!

Projector Room
Episode 73 - The Gore of Wellness
Wednesday 21st October 2020
Gareth, Allan and I are back again with a delve into all things film, cinema and TV as we catch up on what we've seen during the last fortnight. Find out about The Secrets We Keep, Alone and with Nora!

Better Before
Episode 6 - Rationing Toys
Friday 23rd October 2020
Aidan and I are back again considering what was Better Before, better now or if the best is yet to come! This time we welcome special guest Ian Barton as he joins us in picking it all apart!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 24th October 2020
No guest this weekend but still plenty for Steve and I to natter about in this iPhone-arrival week and of course, the best of Android!

Tech Addicts
Sunday 25th October 2020
Want to charge your phone's battery in 19 minutes? Still have a Desire for HTC? How about ditching Windows for Chrome? Or fireballing FaceBook?

Phones Show Chat
Episode 604 - Bonus Chat
Tuesday 27th October 2020
Steve and I are popping up with a short midweek filler as there was so much going on this week with Pixels and iPhones doing the rounds and in new hands. Good stuff.

The Phones Show
Episode 409 - iPhone 12 Review
Tuesday 27th October 2020
Smaller, better, faster! Join Steve as he puts the 12 through the range of tests and shares his observations - and await eagerly to Go Pro!

Whatever Works
Episode 123 - Swiss Play-Doh
Friday 30th October 2020
Aidan and I are back again for our fortnightly round-up of Whatever Works. This time we suppose on Bose, cry over codes and consider a keyboard that wooden be used!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 31st October 2020
Join Steve and I again as we welcome back Tayo Olasope to see what he's using just now - and how it's working for him. Plenty of Pixel, Samsung and iPhone talk amongst the less usual and Photo of the Month!

The Podcasts
PodHubUK - Phones Show Chat - The Phones Show - Whatever Works - Chewing Gum for the Ears - Projector Room - Tech Addicts - Better Before

The MeWe Community Groups (follow the links to join up)
Phones Show Chat & The Phones Show - Whatever Works - Chewing Gum for the Ears - Projector Room - PSC Photos - PSC Classifieds - Tech Addicts

The Team
Ted Salmon - Steve Litchfield - Aidan Bell - Dave Rich - Gareth Myles - Allan Gildea

Abigail (2024)

A bunch of lowly hoods are brought together in the typical nobody-knows-each-other style, not supposedly sharing anything about themselves, ...