Monday, 27 June 2022

True Things (2021)

This is a story about a woman who is pretty lost to herself, verges on living in a fantasy world half the time, doesn't really know what she wants from life (except for the love of a good man) and is stuck in a dreary existence which she appears to detest. What rescues it from being dull is Ruth Wilson.

She really is a terrific actor and makes the difference here by her great performance. We've seen her in all sorts of roles now and I can't readily think of a flunk. Luther, Locke, Jane Eyre - all outstanding. She plays Kate here, working in a Job Centre in England, looking for something to spark her life into action. She's bored, she's in trouble with her boss, at risk of being fired all the time for unreliability and going off sick, she's not responding socially to the only friend she seems to have, nor to her overpowering parents who, it seems to be suggested, have done nothing much to prevent her ending up as she is.

One of her claimants who's just got out of prison flirts with her. She doesn't need much of a reason to break the rules at work and rush headlong in with him. Known in the film as only 'Blond' he is played by Tom Burke (Mank, The Souvenir), leaping between caring, concerned and (almost) loving gent to battle-weary, hardened, independent bloke - the last thing that Kate needs. But she won't listen to those telling her that - rather just so pleased that she has the attention of a man.

He starts to abuse her devotion, lets her down, 'borrows' her car - after the sex has got boring for him, he's clearly not interested in her and only dips back in to her life when he wants something. Usually sex. She can't seem to see this though and for most of the film continues on the blind road, hoping, believing, fantasising about how it might be different soon - and when he gets a sniff of things going wrong and her being pushed too far, he teases her back into line. She drives herself down into a worse and worse spiral until eventually events lead her to a realisation of what's going on.

The viewer wants to shake her and tell her to get a grip, but it would do no good. The downward spiral is going to happen. She's got to go through this and make-or-break, come out the other side a harder-nosed, jaded person (like Blond) or to a realisation of what's going on once and for all and pull her life back together.

I guess it's basically a love story, but it's done so very well. It's harrowing at times, gritty, disturbing, depressing and nasty - tender and hopeful at others. It feels a bit like a Ken Loach film in many ways - real people facing the brutality of life, muddling through. Nicely shot and very engagingly pulled together by the relatively inexperienced director Harry Wootliff. It's based on the book True Things About Me by Deborah Kay Davies, which I must now grab and read. It's also produced by Wilson alongside Jude Law, who I think are a couple - or were. I don't follow celebrity gossip!

Anyway, great film. Loved it. Recommended for the central performance of Ruth Wilson. It's available on Mubi, but I'm sure other streaming services now or soon - or even the BBC as they seem to have played a part in production too.

Monday, 20 June 2022

Finch (2021)

Not sure what to do with this film really. What to make of it. Where to place it. A futuristic sci-fi maybe. A soppy sentimental film perhaps. A bit of a bore often, arguably. Tom Hanks breezes through it and not much is really asked of him. Easy payday.

It's set in the future sometime where there's been a solar flare which has scorched the earth, exposed everything to radiation and those who survive are living in a lawless, featureless, barren landscape everyone fighting to stay out of the sun and find leftover food from before the event.

I say 'everyone' but actually, we don't see much of any other humans except for Hanks. He's some kind of scientist who can turn his hand to anything technical and has set himself up in his high-tech workplace where he's made a kind of trolley-robot and now, a big, strong, walking robot to be even more useful.

Turns out that the reason he's done this is to get the robot (who calls himself Jeff) to look after his little dog, who makes up the cast of four, should Hanks (Finch) die. Cast of four, loosely. Or three, two or one, however you look at it! The payroll is not spread thinly, shall we say! A dog trainer, Hanks and Caleb Landry Jones voicing Jeff!

There's some kind of event approaching and they have to get out of where they are or they will be buried forever, so they head for San Francisco where it seems that things might be a bit better - and not overrun with evil-minded other humans. At this point it turns into something of a Road Movie as they bump into problems and have adventures, largely brought about by the moronic robot's stupidity!

And herein lies the issue really. The robot, Jeff, is cast as more of a naughty and naïve teenager than a high-tech marvel. It's far too stupidly human in everything it does - and this is where the film turns very much into a 'Disney' for kids rather than an interesting concept to get one's teeth into. And the more rope they give the robot, the more soppy and sentimental it gets, ending with a series of outcomes which as-yet undiscovered tribes in Outer Mongolia would have seen coming!

There's much to pour scorn over here, unless you take it for what it is. A twee family film for all ages so everyone can say 'ooooh' and 'ahhhh' in the right places, then shed a tear or two at the end. Having said that, the CGI is very good. Jeff is made to move in very much a human way and so forth. The cinematography is great with loads of interesting visuals to feast the eyes on as well, so all is not lost.

It's just a bit of a non-event really. Small cast, not much of a story, slow and as dull as dishwater. It was close to not quite making it into Flop of the Fortnight, but it just gets there! Sorry Tom. We love you usually.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

PodHub UK Podcasts for the Month of May 2022

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

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 1st May
Gareth and I are back again this weekend to tastefully trash tech between us for a couple of hours! We talk Twitter twaddle, go night-vision and under-glass shooting, check out the latest gaming phones, Snap up a Pixy, yabber about YouTube, delight in the Discman and even make time for ChromeOS gap removal!

Projector Room
Thursday 5th May
Gareth, Allan and I are back again with our fortnightly roundup of all things film, cinema and TV. This time we go Hindi with a Bullitt and Fistful of Lead, say goodbye to Ozark, dip into the Italian archives and even have time to Escape from Alcatraz!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 7th May
Steve and I welcome back Steve Nutt as we have a good discussion about the latest gear and services in terms of accessibility including smart watches. Plenty of other stuff too of course!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 8th May
Gareth and I are back this weekend again as we scour the web for whatever titillates our tech trumpet! Tiny for Ted means Playdates and Pocket PCs, grand for Gareth means gaming on a carphone-shaped Nitro. Tasks and Twitter meet TCL and the T3.

Whatever Works
Episode 162 - Plunging and Poaching!
Friday 13th May
Aidan and I are back again with our fortnightly roundup of dross'n'drool! This time we plunge our bowls, raise our beds/sofas, industrialise our batteries, grab a mini hovercraft and even turn our cars into tanks! All this and more of the usual hogwash!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 14th May
We're back with a two-header, so why not join Steve and I for an hour as we unpack the week's major announcements. I feed back on last year's Oppo and a Tiny Titan and Steve puts on his Shorts for summer whilst trying to track down Soli!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 15th May
It's the weekend again, so here's more tech twaddle for you from Gareth and I! Loads of announcements this week from Google, Sony, SoundCore, Honor, Mergers, Mozilla, Realme, Dolby and SanDisk. Phew! The list goes on - no wonder we were over two hours again! Grab a large coffee and join us, why not!

Projector Room
Episode 112 - Pentaverate Ambulance
Wednesday 18th May
It's time again to consider what we've been watching in film, cinema and TV since the last pod, so I'm here with Gareth and Allan once more. Plenty there is too, as we get Undone in The Lost City, look at Soylent Green In the Earth and get Sonic the Hedgehog to See for Me in Jamaica!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 696 - Electric Neutral
Saturday 21st May
Steve and I have an interesting chat with Nick Ballard this week about his use of Apple products - and an alternative approach to power management, eco-friendliness and frugality as he approached retirement. In fact, you could say he's an Apple Power-User 🥴 Other stuff too of course, including what we've been up to in Androidland. Something for everyone.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 22nd May
Gareth and I are back again for another weekend roundup of all things tech that have caught our eyes. New screens, new tablets, new MP3 Players, new phones, new laptops, new Chromebooks, new keyboards, new gaming gear, new CD Players - who said that tech was stagnant?! Let us know by leaving a message on our answerphone!

Whatever Works
Friday 27th May
It's that time again as Aidan and I bring you another hour of chaos, pretending to talk about Whatever Works 😂 ...in another fun-packed outing we chuck clippers at the Wahl to see what sticks, get ripped off by airline firms, learn how to press pedals, fiddle with our widgets and loads more. Don't miss it!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 697 - Astro Slide, Pixel 5
Saturday 28th May
Steve and I welcome a drop-in visit from Mike Halsey this week as he talks about his computer collection, including Planet Computers' Astro Slide. Loads of other stuff too including the latest releases, leaks, news and what gear we've been using this week.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 29th May
Gareth and I are back again to talk tech for a while about what we've stumbled into and (mis)understood this week! More from Moto, Google Guinea-Pigs-R-US, Realme and Raspberry, Masterful Mechanical MX, zero-size Zotac, Drive'n'Docs drivel and a small CD in your Sony!

Watcher (2022)

This is a 1990's style thriller pulled together by relative newbie director/writer Chloe Okuno which has been (eventually) pushed out to...