Movies

My first Dolby Atmos experience

Warning: This post will derail into several unrelated topics. Let the adventure begin!

Date: November 12th 2017

Time: 10:30 pm

Movie: Thor Ragnarok a.k.a. Rainbows

Audio configuration: Dolby Atmos

Seats: 240

Viewers: 15

Depression level: mild

Popcorn: chilly cheese

Verdict: Meh. Auro 3D wins.

It was nice to see a good mix of loners and couples in the audience. Despite being a loner myself I was slightly uncomfortable with the close proximity that some of the other loners maintained with me. So I gently got up, went to the restroom, came back and sat in a completely different seat(like a man). It was interesting to see that all the loners had also left the hall, possibly to use the restroom. What was even more interesting to see was upon returning they looked around for me and sat right next to me again. I felt like a shepherd who came to watch Thor with a flock of sheep. I wasn’t threatened however. Most of them were nerds like me. Its easy to spot nerds and weirdos. Nerds keep checking their “notification-free” blank phone screens while weirdos secretly stare at people. I guess that makes me a weirdo too. Learning everyday! Back to the topic. I did not feel very enveloped in sound which is the whole point of ATMOS. The quality of audio I experienced does not justify the extensive use of expensive, high quality speakers. Maybe the audio was “too real”. I don’t know. I am aware that the audio in Thor is not great but I feel the whole ATMOS thing was overhyped. I guess movies need to be mixed properly to take full advantage of  ATMOS system. I am obsessed with surround sound. It might be because I am a homebody. However I think it plays an important part in todays cinema.

My theory on why surround sound is important:

Movies are getting realer. That’s not a real word but its true. We like it when there are “real” emotions, real weather and obviously, real sound. And for sound to be real, it has to come from all directions. It has to envelope the listener and take them on a journey away from reality. Wait… that contradicts what I just said but you get the point. This might come as a surprise to many movie enthusiasts but natural sound is surround sound at its best. Yes, I am talking about the sounds that you hear everyday. Take a moment and think about the sounds you hear everyday. Replay them in your head. I’ll help with a few examples from my exciting life:

  1. The sound of the alarm that reminds you everyday that there’s no escape. Even with your eyes closed you are able to make out in which direction the sound from hell is coming from. All it takes is a little fumbling around with the hands on the table, making way through all the antidepressants, bills and maybe a drop of the cellphone until you finally feel the familiar snooze button.
  2. Annoying roommates ,their radio and their general happy mood. For some reason, your roommate thinks the only way to spread joy is to make sure that her favourite DJ’s voice reaches aliens clearly.
  3. Neighbourhood dogs
  4. Thunder- You might have noticed that these types of sounds create uneasiness in the mind. Other examples include tremors, storms, etc. Studies have revealed that we are pre-programmed to dislike or fear these type of sounds as they signal danger. Just another gift of evolution.
  5. Drunk people in the night
  6. Lovers whispering
  7. Occasional hip hop fan driving by with the windows wide open, spreading happiness in his own way

What all of these sounds have in common is that you can localize the source without having to actually see them. We need the same effect in movies. This is what Dolby, DTS, Auro 3D,etc. have been trying to replicate for years. Stay tuned for my next post- “Stereo, I don’t hate you”

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I need to talk about Blade Runner

No one needs to care about other people’s opinions on movies and music because it is entirely a subjective thing. But I have to talk about this movie. I just need to. Well, actually about two movies that were made 35 years apart.

I am so glad that I watched the original Blade Runner before watching 2049. I cannot imagine the amount of the work that has gone into the making of this movie. I had no idea that it was even possible to make such a great movie that long ago. The thing about the original Blade Runner that caught my attention the most was the attention given to detail. Every single restaurant, gadget, people and cars they show in the movie has been so painstakingly well crafted. But most importantly, not overdone. The storyline is very well thought out. I can confidently say that Blade Runner 2049 has done justice to the original, which is my polite way of saying, “they did not fuck it up”. The fact that they brought back Decker’s partner from the original, is simply kickass. The best part about this one was its sound. Its basically noise and it is amazing. It sort of “shapes” the movie in such a way that it invokes curiosity. 

Its awesome how writers can put forth an “idea” to the viewers by virtually showing them what goes on in their mind. Sure, its not possible without amazing direction. In this case, its the idea of how one day machines might learn to give birth. The “more human than human” idea is kickass! Through these movies, we get a glimpse of how people and machines might treat each other if such a weird time would ever come. Finally it shows us however fucked up the world is, there will always be a few good people who are willing to take on the burden for the rest of us.

Mind-blowing ideas like this were put forth in movies like The Arrival, 2001 A Space Odyssey, etc. However, these are not the kind of movies where you can just loose yourself and have fun. If that is what you want, try watching a movie called Mad Max. Now that’s fun.

Villains are good?

I was the kid who always wanted to be the “good guy” (I always chose to play as counter-terrorists in Counterstrike even though there were “rumours” that the terrorists were more powerful. Those were weird times). My heroes were Optimus Prime and Swat Kats.

However, there is something admirable about certain movie villains. So admirable that they almost make it look like the makers of the movie want you to “like” the villain more than the hero. Its like, the movies wouldn’t be the same without these villains. The kind of movies that I am talking about are

Night Crawler

The Dark Knight

Split

Clockwork Orange

So what’s wrong with Split? We have a dude who goes around kidnapping girls, makes them take off their clothes and finally eats them. Seems like a pretty good role model to me! Obviously this guy is psychotic and needs to be stopped but despite his mental problems, he has unbelievably good discipline! And most importantly, he has good taste in music. Damn those moves were killer(no pun intended).

Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in Night Crawler inspired me. That guy is as creative as Casey Neistat! He’s the kind of guy you would want to be part of your start-up company. He’s got the ideas, plans and most importantly, the ability to do some kickass talking.

I could go on and on about these villains. Obviously, they are all horrible, fucked-up people who deserve to be stopped. However I found some interesting qualities in all of them. For example, all of them have such determination that makes them almost unstoppable. I admire their drive. They are all “perfectionists” and they are really good at what they do.

One last thing about Split:

Everyone’s thinking it. I am just putting it out there. That “Beast” thing was just bullshit.

The Grey

I don’t know what it is about these kind of movies that I like so much!(https://randomthoughtbeam.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/the-revenant/)

Liam Neeson, as always is spectacular in the movie. The cold does a good job of amplifying fear. Visuals and sound are good. This is kind of absurd but after watching the movie, I’m kinda scared of my dog who also happens to be my best friend. My takeaway from the movie- Fight for your life. Fight for others. Do not fear death. When life messes with you, kick it in the face! Also, stay in shape. You never know when you might need it!

Now, off to watch the Accountant.

The Revenant

I am sorry. This is not actually a review. Its just my thoughts on a few scenes from the movie.
Have you ever felt like you liked a movie a little later after watching it but you did not like it as much while watching it? I don’t know if you understood that. Sorry for grammatical errors! I have felt the same way for several movies. My first such experience was for The Dark Knight Rises. I have to mention that I cried during Micheal Caine’s emotional dialogue with Christian Bale. That was a powerful scene. Overall, I did not like the movie as much as The Dark Knight. I was expecting more but right after coming out of the cinema, I began to realise that the movie wasn’t actually that bad. Especially after my friend said “I’m watching this again”. This kind of a revelation-after-the-movie was felt even more after watching Prometheus. It was like pieces of a puzzle coming together. I was driving back from the cinema and I realised how the scenes at the beginning of the movie actually made sense by the end of the movie. To be honest, while watching the movie I thought it was crap. The Revenant was a slightly similar experience. One main difference was that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie while watching it. I enjoyed it even more after leaving the cinema! The movie was gripping. It was the first time I saw a movie that was extremely slow and gripping at the same time. Well, not actually. 2001 A Space Odessey. Nothing more to say.
Anyway, the movie carried me with it all along the way. Since there was no complex plot, it was easy to follow. I was relaxed while watching the movie. You could feel the pain of a helpless father throughout the movie. It was a series of unfortunate events. I even began to think about what it would be like to be a father! Damn it’s going to hard! It’s like you have a small version of you running behind you all the time, who wants to do things that you do and if you loose sight of it , may end up dead. It’s very hard to keep these things alive! I have to point out that I did not recognize Tom Hardy until like half an hour into the movie. He did some excellent work. Oh how much I hated his character though!. I cannot tolerate such people in real life too. They might not be as severe as the character in the movie but I sense that kind of attitude in people quickly. Traitors, waste of life. That’s what they are. Thoroughout the movie I wanted to drive a samurai sword through him. My main takeaway from the movie was the line- “I’ll be right here”. It has been often said in many other movies but the situations in this movie was different. They said it when all hope was lost. Even after they knew that things aren’t going to get better they still said it to each other. “I’ll be right here”. I guess it’s what people actually want to hear at the worst of times. The knowledge that there is at least a single person in the whole world who is willing to stand beside you and face the storm gives you amazing courage. Speaking of storms, the scene where the native American helps Glass keep warm during the storm was just epic. I don’t remember that scene having any good background score but it did great even without one. The whole movie lacked a good background score. In Reservoir Dogs I actually felt suffocated due to the lack of background music. Again, the movie was awesome even without one. Finally I wish to talk about the scene where Glass jumps off a cliff with a horse. Poor animal but great scene. A sudden transition during an already intense chase scene. All in all I liked the movie. I wish there would be more movies like this in the future.