Blade Runner 2049 – Review

The Beginning

As I sat in the movie theatre at 9pm, I realised I am one of the 8 people that decided to see this movie on a Wednesday night. The ambience of the theatre felt like my living room except with a cinema sound experience, I will never forget. And here we were sitting in the back row, all to our selves.

The movie starts and the theatre is so quiet you could hear the chewing of popcorn and slurping of raspberry Fanta. The music is loud and orchestral synths fill the room, complimenting the futuristic ambience of a post-industrial Los Angeles setting. And so the story begins…

First Impressions 

I will say now that Blade Runner isn’t your usual action sci-fi film with metallic guns shooting, random humour and degrading of women. This is also a sequel film that doesn’t necessarily require you to have watched its 1982 predecessor: Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford.

My first impression of this film was that the narrative itself was moved slowly, it wasn’t the classic sci-fi or action film that I was expecting and it questioned really abstract but heavy issues that are reciprocated throughout the films camera work and style.

The Storyline

We are met with Agent K (Ryan Gosling) who is hunting down Replicants (clones of humans, that are treated more like biological computer software and as slaves rather than being recognised as their own entity), in which he encounters Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) who is an older model Replicant; who managed to escape his slavery after the mysterious “Black Out” that happened 30 years ago. We are then met with Agent K finding a clue underneath the tree of Sapper Morton’s yard, and this unearthing begins to propel the story.

Agent K  then gets a new mission: find where the clues lead to and destroy all evidence; due to the impending threat of an all-out war between Replicants and humans. While we follow K on his hunt to stop war breaking out, we experience the life of a Replicant throughout the movie. We feel the exile, loneliness and depressing existence that comes with being Replicant. This bleeds into the setting and cultural context of the film; almost all plants and animals are dead, crime is high, and the dystopian society is corporately ruled by service provider Wallace Industries (creator of AI Joi and all Replicants on earth).

The film in its two-hour entirety; explores K’s conscience and the consequences of his actions after finding where exactly the clues lead him. But not before raising the suspicion of Neander Wallace (Jared Leto), the creator of all Replicants who soon figures out that K has found the very piece of the puzzle he needs, and sends Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), a psychopathic and loyal to-the-bone Replicant to kill K and recover all evidence he has found.

Harrison Ford makes his debut as Rick Deckard in the second half of the film and from there the story starts to take a darker tone. One their characters meet, it is action from that point forward; and the narrative consequently also begins to move rapidly. Forcing us to question what makes us human, creating a morbid moral conflict within the characters themselves and you.

Cinematic Review

It’s a neo-noir genre of film and if you don’t know what that is, literally google it. It is a film style with dark shadows, moving light and awkward angles to give a feeling of tension, paranoia and hopelessness. All of which are feelings that are deeply embedded within the storyline of BR2049 and the characters themselves.

The cinematography in this film, however, gives opposite feelings! Its beauty is found within the seamless transfer between distant scenic shots, to up close, personal takes; thank you Roger Deakin (director of photography).

Props to Denis Villeneuve (director of ‘Sicario’ and ‘Arrival’) for doing such an amazing job with this film, when I heard he was directing this I kind of got butterflies in my stomach knowing that 2049 was in very capable, delicate hands. His direction with this film was spot on in capturing the dystopian and desperate society of blade runner.  All I can say is he did a brilliant job picking up the pieces from the original Blade Runner and weaving the same motifs of humanity within the film.

Also, Hans Zimmer who created the score for this film, did an incredible job to create a musical score that was so cumbersome that it was frustrating. The orchestral synths really push the audience to the edge. The music was one of the very first things that I noticed about the film. It amplifies the kind of paranoia and unsettling feeling that is embedded within Blade Runner 2049.

Should you watch it?

The film itself is an acquired taste as the genre and the style is not for everyone. It is also two-hours long with the storyline itself starting off slow. However, if you are one to try new experiences then definitely give this movie a chance! If you fully immerse yourself in the film while watching you will find that once you leave that movie theatre, you are questioning the very fabric that makes us human. Which is always fun!

Trailer

source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCcx85zbxz4

Top 10: Horror Movies of all time

Horror Genre:

The Horror film genre aims to create a sense of fear, panic, alarm and dread for the audience. It relies on scaring the audience through a realisation of their own worst fears and nightmares.

SO… for those who know me best, I LOVE horror movies.

Not like the kind of love you have for your favourite toy or flavour of ice-cream. It is more like the dark and twisted mother’s love, akin to Norma Bates or Jason’s Mum. That is how much I love horror movies.

WARNING!!!

This list is not for the faint of heart. This doesn’t consist of mediocre horror movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1992) or Childs Play series (Chucky).  This is a list of all time horror movies that managed to really redefine the genre of horror altogether.

As the Spirit of Halloween and October 31st draws closer, here is a list of the top 10 horror movies (in my opinion) that will be guaranteed to keep you awake all night long… so watch with a friend or by yourself, if you’re brave enough! 

The Conjuring series: 1 (2013) and 2 (2016)

The Conjuring Series blessed our local movie theatres back in 2013 with such controversy, that people who went to watch it reported getting possessed or haunted afterwards. That is a good sign to point to the fact that this movie will be something quite unforgettable. The sequel was just as good if not, in terms of storyline, better than the first. Truly embodying the fear that is associated with the supernatural genre.

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 9/10

Suspense/Mystery: 9/10
Gore: 7/10
Jump Scares: 8/10 (the first one had a lot!)

Insidious (2010)

Insidious

The first Insidious instalment was the best one out of the series, boasting an original script and storyline that is full of opportunities for tension, paranoia and jumpscares. The acting in this movie is sort-of a turn-off, as they don’t do enough to sell the supernatural theme of the movie, but lack of convincing is made up for the super creepy astrowalk scene midway and a great ending.

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 7/10
Suspense/Mystery: 7/10
Gore: 4/10
Jump Scares: 9/10

The Exorcist (1973)

exorcist poster

Although an old horror movie, it was the movie the paved the way for the overused possession scenes and features that are found in most supernatural/paranormal genres of horror films. This classic is a must see and should definitely be on the list of all top 10 horrors of all time. And if that doesn’t make you want to watch it then here is a fun fact: the scary girl meme is from this film… remember this one?

excorcist
Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 8/10
Suspense/Mystery: 7/10
Gore: 8/10
Jump Scares: 8/10

 

The Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A-nightmare-on-elm-street-british-quad-poster.jpg

This one literally makes you contemplate the importance of sleep. Is it really worth it if in your dreams you get murdered, only to consequentially die in real life too? I don’t think so. This one is both gory and psychologically thrilling; not to mention better than the remake from 2016. Another “oldie but goodie”, as my grandma says. Also, who doesn’t think Freddy Krueger is a charm? I mean just look at him…

freddy

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 7/10
Suspense/Mystery: 8/10
Gore: 8/10
Jump Scares: 7/10

 

Get Out (2017)

get ou

Not only was Get Out directed by my all time favourite actor and comedian Jordan Peele, it is a very twisted and psychologically dark comment on the racism that is embedded in American culture. But political reasons aside, there is no doubt that this thriller is messed up and has a plot twist that you will never see coming. It has a few of its own sneaky jump scares, but the main source of horror is derived from the creepy and eerily squeaky clean suburban town.

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 9/10
Suspense/Mystery: 8/10
Gore: 7/10
Jump Scares: 6/10

 

Saw 1 (2004)

saw poster

If we’re honest the Saw series was mediocrity at it’s finest and just got worse every year they released a new one. But let’s forget about all the crappy sequels and focus on the rare gem that was Saw 1. The original, the predecessor, the best Saw (ironically). The story was original that took creepy voyeurism to the extreme, and a dash of psychopathic violence. The gore factor on this one is off the charts, so this is not one for the squeamish. Purely putting this one in because of its gore.

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 7/10
Suspense/Mystery: 7/10
Gore: 9/10
Jump Scares: 5/10

Life (2017)

life

I remember watching this in the cinemas and immediately thinking; “I am pretty sure the premise of this story has the potential of coming true”. A group of scientists in space, testing the theory that there are other life forms in space, only for it to go so badly wrong; sounds like breaking news in 2025. The suspense, gore and storyline of this movie are brilliant. It is a depressingly, scary film that does an excellent job of falling nothing short of an alien thriller film.

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 7/10
Suspense/Mystery: 7/10
Gore: 9/10
Jump Scares: 5/10

 

Annabelle 2 (2017)

annabelle-creation-poster.jpg

I grew up watching Chucky on my tv screens since I was 3, so I never really liked being given dolls for my birthday and Christmas. Not only is the movie/prop doll scary as hell, but the story behind it in this sequel makes the doll even creepier. Rare that you see the sequel outshines the first one when it comes to horror movies, but Annabelle 2 had a much better storyline with an ending that really tied together the entire series (you’ll know what I mean when you watch it).

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 7/10
Suspense/Mystery: 7/10
Gore: 8/10
Jump Scares: 7/10

 

The Ring…(Japanese original)

ringu

The English remake of the ring was just as good, but I think that the Japanese version captured the fear of the those who watched it much better. The actors in the Japanese version sold the movie more than their American counterparts. If you have not yet watched the original Ring then I guess this weekend is a good time to catch up with an old friend. Remember… don’t watch the video.

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 7/10
Suspense/Mystery: 7/10
Gore: 8/10
Jump Scares: 7/10

 

 

 The Fourth Kind (2009)

The_Fourth_Kind

This is another alien horror film but not the kind that Life, Alien, and Prometheus all have in common. The Fourth Kind explores Alien abductions and the deterioration of the human psyche. It makes you question whether there really are other life forms in space or perhaps they are already here. The film style is set out like a documentary where in real videos are shown side by side with re-enactments. The most surprising feature about this film is that it starts Mila Jovovich, known for her role as the protagonist in Resident Evil. Other less surprising but disturbing things about this film, it is “based on a true story”.

Arny’s Scare Factor
Storyline: 7/10
Suspense/Mystery: 8/10
Gore: 6/10
Jump Scares: 7/10

Let me know if you have seen any of these in the comments below, or if you think I have overlooked a certain movie!

Looks so Real it must be Photoshopped

The contradictory title speaks volumes in France where they have recently enforced a law that requires photos that have been photoshopped, edited or retouched in any way MUST be labelled so. It would also require models to received a note from their doctors, saying that they are not dangerously thin before even being considered for a job. They enacted the law back in 2015, as an effort to combat anorexia and other forms of body dysmorphia; which became an increasingly prevalent issue in today’s society.

As of October 2nd this year, any company or brand that do not comply with these laws will be fined $44,100 or 30% of the cost of the advertising. Some would say it is a fitting price to pay for not complying with the law but I would argue that it is not enough, given the multitude of edited images we are bombarded with every day. Our obsession with looking perfect and seeming perfect has now affected how we interact on social media, where 57% of Australian women surveyed by the Syndey Morning Herald admit they have retouched their photos.

Good Effort

Australia has only tried but not in the same way France’s health minister has. Australia, back in 2010, had only suggested a voluntary “code of conduct” in the fashion industry to refrain from retouching photos. A far cry from the achievement that France can boast about today. How shameful it is that a progressive country like ours, compels 75% of women to feel ‘unattractive’, ‘ugly’ or ‘too fat’. Not only are we behind in technological advances and educational-revamping but we are now, falling behind in being socially responsible. It is not enough Australia, and guess who is paying for the short-comings of our health minister; you guessed it – every single one of us.

source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17j5QzF3kqE
Body Evolution: Model Before and After Photoshop

Here is a hypothetical scenario:

What would happen if Australia also enforced a law like this?

We would soon then see that all advertisement campaigns, celebrity social media accounts and digital media to be covered with red flags labelled “retouched photo”. I wonder how much liberation there will be when that happens. We are already living a post-body mindset era, where plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Iskra are seen on runways that originally saw 0 sized models. It is time that Australia caught up.

The pinnacle Question

But again we are here to discuss the effects of such legislation on our practices as digital marketers. Which industries would be heavily affected by this change besides the fashion industry and what kind of marketing implications would we need to consider before posting a photo of our products online?

One of my many answers to this question: FOOD. The number of times I have gone to buy food from somewhere and it looks nothing like the advertisement or menu item that I saw. Looking at you McDonalds, Hungry Jacks and KFC.

Snapchat’s Potential: Revisited

In a past blog-post, I had written about Snapchat’s unexplored potential; I described how digital and content marketers, could really use the social media platform for their advertising campaigns and generate huge profits if they are seeking to target Millennials as their primary market. However, it wasn’t fully viable because there were many content restrictions on Snapchat adverts and limited support for creatives to use their platform.

Well this year, after Snapchat’s financial trouble with their IPOs and struggling to compete with Instagram stories, they finally released (on June 12th) a self-service platform for all marketers, allowing many SMB’s and big corporations to buy ads and track their campaigns.

This encourages more organic content creation, which can now be consumed by Snapchatters. It also gives businesses more control over how long their campaigns go for, what specific call-to-action strategies they want to use and it presents brands with real-time statistics of CTRs (click through rates) and views. It also boasts 50% lower CPI (cost-per-install) than other platforms which is why it has attracted many brands so far. 

This is a 9-minute video, of how to use SnapAds, if anyone is keen to try it!
source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4aTaKjsW30

Rivalry: Insta vs. Snap

As Snapchat continues to grow, the question is whether they can compete with Facebook and it’s minion – Instagram, as they both reach the same demographic of consumers.

That is a thought that has been on Snapchats mind for a while and that is why they are introducing Snapchat Certified Partners. This is an initiative that takes advertising agencies, social media consultants and content creators to undergo a two-day training program that results in all its participants become fluent in Snapchat Ad Language. It is a similar program to Facebook’s agency program Blueprint.

But what about the results? 

Snapchat had propelled Peak Labs’ “Brain Training” app to accumulate 1.7 million downloads in two months! When you think of promoting your service or product on a social media platform, it seems like Snapchat is offering to become your number one solution.

Research from Snapchat themselves has suggested how many of their consumers are often persuaded by their peers. But commissioned research from Sparkler found that 60% of Snaps occur between close friends, who are 3 times more influential than celebrities when it comes to making purchase decisions. While 95% of us are more likely to trust a brand recommendation from our friends.

So my question to you, first as a consumer: Have you ever bought a product, downloaded an app, or shared a recommendation to a friend through Snapchat?

And secondly, as a digital marketer: What is your perspective on Snapchat’s new revamped advertising tech? Is it worthy of your time and money?

 

 

Interactive Advertisements: TV and Streaming

Do you remember that scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring the handsome Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka? Now, do you also remember the scene with his teleportation-television invention?

Maybe this will jog your memory…. (unless you have never watched this movie, then you HAVE to watch it now)

source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcyyDYucIXk

You could say Willy Wonka predicted the future.

HBO has released a television series that allows the audience to look into the mind of the characters and view the storylines from their perspective. The show and app, both respectively titled, MOSAIC combines the use of personal devices and old-school television to deliver a more meaningful experience to their customers. The app will be released and free to download this November, letting audiences in America create their own journeys in a fixed-storyline and in some cases, create different conclusions of the same narrative.

source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km_u51OE3VA

However, HBO is not the first to introduce interactive television programs. Entertainment Company Netflix was on this bandwagon since three years ago. Netflix has launched their interactive programs in June this year in America with children’s shows such as “Puss in the Book” and “Buddy Thunderstruck”; experimenting the attractiveness of the innovation on children first.

Kids think everything is interactive! – Carla Fischer

But how is this the…FUTURE?

Interactivity and convenience are two emerging trends in today’s learning economy and as digital marketers, we need to be ready for the future that innovations such as this bring. As mentioned in the Verge article, kids are growing up and expecting to have interactive experiences within their environment.

With this new technology available and the slow death of advertisements on television, perhaps we need to look to interactive ads in the future? Perhaps we could be headed into a future where we can buy the clothes we see on an ad (e.g. Boohoo) and buy right there and then. One swipe away from retail heaven.

My question is, how would we incorporate advertisements, campaigns and other promotions in a digital environment when most entertainment platforms allow you to skip ads or show none at all? Can we possibly create interactive content where consumers would take the time to watch/interact with it?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect album for wherever you go

What if you could go to a certain place in Melbourne, perhaps the Shrine of Remembrance, and there would be an album particularly dedicated to this location?

An album or playlist specifically made for St.Kilda Beach, Dandenong ranges or The twelve apostles?

Well, it is possible and in fact, Swedish band “John Moose” have done this themselves. John Moose describes their music to be a constant war between civilisation and nature, thus no better place to release their new album than in the woods. But how do you release music in the woods?

Geo-Tagging

Geo-tagging, we know, is a tool used to locate where consumers are and perhaps give them a reward for being in this location – i.e. Pokemon Go. Or it can be seen most commonly used to promote a business’ location. Geo-tagging is not a fancy new innovation coming up in 2017, but it still has the potential to create meaningful content for your consumers.

Snapchat has recently released an AR (augmented reality) art exhibitions on their new World Len’s feature. It features nine different locations around the world and at each location, there is an art installation by Jeff Koons.  It encourages consumers to visit the Sydney Opera House to find a cool 3D, AR art sculpture of Popeye.

Other innovations with Geo-tagging have been covered before, for example using geo-tagging to create location-based stories (everywhere you go becomes a museum of history) to opening numerous virtual pop up stores in the middle of the forest, or the beach. What the band John Moose did was create an app, that could geo-tag where the consumer was and once you were tagged to be within some type of forest, the music starts playing automatically!

source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQxaxhTkhl8&w=560&h=315

With Geo-tagging there are a plethora of opportunities to be discovered that perhaps will become even more prevalent with the emerging innovations of augmented reality. With the release of the iPhone X and it’s new platform which supports AR will set a new standard of mobile phones expected to in the next five years. As digital marketers, we need to continue to look to the future and find ways on how to effectively utilise new technologies to create meaningful content for our consumers to keep coming back to us.

How do you think Geo-tagging could be used to add to a brand’s marketing campaign? Maybe you have seen a campaign yourself but could be further improved through geo-tagging, let me know in the comments below! Would love to hear your ideas of using this digital tactic!

 

 

 

 

Monitoring Your EVERY Mood

We are now at the end of the emotional marketing series and it has been a pleasure to be able to share with you all the cool digital and technological enhancements that are being used to emotionally connect with consumers.

If you missed out on the past Emotional Marketing posts, it is not too late to join in on the discussion! I have previously explored VR and AEI being used in marketing.

Now onto the last topic on the agenda…

MOOD MARKETING

Mood marketing is a specific new trend emerging in Europe and has the potential to become a big digital marketing opportunity.

Essentially mood marketing is engaging with consumers through how they are feeling and customising products to suit their emotional needs. I talked about how AEI is, potentially, going to be used within Facebook’s algorithm to determine and analyse our mood. Imagine what it would be like if Apple and Samsung were allowed to do this too?!?

It is seeing a customer shift towards products that are an extension of themselves. Holistic marketing is not a relatively new phenomenon but it is how marketers are now utilising this technique, to see how effective their campaigns and promotions are.

What we are dealing with is Emotional Big Data… but how we do measure something we feel with numbers and graphs?

Companies such as LightWave and Realeyes, specialise in analysing consumer emotions when being exposed to stimuli. Recently, Realeyes used this big data and compared it against the sales data of Audi, and they found that emotion-tracking was 75% accurate in analysing the impact their ads have on consumers.

This technology would be useful to digital marketers wanting to determine consumer reaction and relate sales according to the most successfully emotional advertisement; then exploit it.

One example of this is a new technology is being brought to Melbourne at the UNIQLO, Emporium Store. They are asking customers to put on a headset that analyses their mood by asking questions to the customer. At the end of the experience, the consumer is given an outfit based on their mood. I will be trying it out when it drops next month so the emotional marketing series is not over just yet.

While we learnt this week that mobile marketing is “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device”; I would like to know how you guys would expect to see mood marketing and emotional big data used in this type of digital marketing medium?

Do you think that, once Facebook starts analysing our mood through keyboard strokes and facial scanning, that Apple’s iTunes store will soon follow with their iPhone 8’s new facial scanning feature?

As always, let me know in the comments below!