JONATHAN JK

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Only Lovers Left Alive – Review and track listing

“Excusez-moi”.

Being a fan of Jim Jarmusch’s previous films, I knew what to expect with his easy going, uncomplicated, predictable, shooting style. It’s most welcome (he’s doing his thing, but with Vampires and more layers than ‘Broken Flowers’)! He’s a film maker with an intimate, minimalist and considered approach that isn’t exposition heavy. I believe he’s letting audiences sit back and giving them time to think, while watching his movies. The characters and scenes will speak for themselves on that subjective interpretation. Jarmusch, shows rather than tells and I always find myself talking about his characters after watching his movies. That’s his take and his brand I enjoy.*

Jarmusch creates two rich and very fleshed (pun unintended) out vampire characters that are ironically very human, the focus isn’t on their supernatural powers, It’s a given that they have them since they are vampires and the genre is well explored by film makers over the years.  It’s safe to assume they do have them, they just aren’t worth focusing on, and they aren’t necessary for 99% of the movie. The focus is on their individual natures, personalities and the lives they live, Adam and Eve seem like a couple who need their time together as much as their time apart.

What makes them interesting is what they have given and taken in their long relationship with human beings. Adam is the music obsessive and recluse, secretly passing on his works through others over the ages, thereby (maybe without realising) providing entertainment for those he hates. Eve, the nature lover and one interested in ‘feeling’ history, actually somebody who is very human and caring of others, oddly, somebody without a heartbeat seems to have a big heart. Without realising, they have become the things they eat.

Those insensitive to subtly in their movies will say in conversation that “nothing really happens” in ‘Only Lovers Left Behind’, think how “nothing happens” in ‘Lost in Translation’ or ‘Broken Flowers’, except here, even though we are just watching a few people living and interacting without some great great drama or hero’s climax, there is something for us to digest and be entertained with. If you can accept that, the themes and the mirrors that Jarmusch sets up, soon bleed out (pun intended). If not, you’ll think it sucks and leave halfway through, as many people did at my screening.

*I’m tired of movies that try to explain everything with too much exposition or have a pace which is constantly directing your attention. Though don’t go too far in the opposite direction either, like with Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin’, with its hugely ambiguous narrative, I can’t survive cinema if all films were like that.

The music in OLLA is very special, special to me in that it’s all new and refreshing to me and I want to hear more of it. So that’s what I did and googled for all the tracks. If you want to find the music, here is the song list (copied from the indiewire blog [but they don't provide links like to the songs like I do]):

All the Songs In “Only Lovers Left Alive”, are mostly iTunes links. The individual songs below either don’t exist on the official album or are not in their original form.

Funnel Of Love” – Wanda Jackson

Harissa” – Kasbah Rockers

Caprice No. 5 in A Minor” – Charles Yang (itunes doesn’t have Charles Yang as the composer for the purists out there).

Gamil” – Y.A.S.

Can’t Hardly Stand It” – Charlie Feathers

Trapped By A Thing Called Love” – Denise LaSalle

Soul Dracula” – Hot Blood

Under Skin Or By Name” – White Hills

Red Eyes And Tears” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Little Village” – Bill Laswell (free download).

The soundtrack album which are mostly SQÜRL songs, can be found here.

Written by jonathanjk

July 27, 2014 at 07:26

“Media Experts”.

Have you realised how many people will come out of the wood work to call out a youtube video or an image they think is photoshopped if they suspect it’s fake in some way (but maybe isn’t), but can accept everything mainstream media outlets tell them?

Written by jonathanjk

July 25, 2014 at 00:16

Posted in photography

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An Excuse to Read the Story

The Verge proudly states for its headline ‘Michel Gondry talks technology, his latest film ‘Mood Indigo,’ and why he can’t use an iPhone’.

This reads as really interesting right? A successful, imaginative and quirky film director can’t use an iPhone, knowing Gondry, this could be an insightful discussion as it’s been seven years since the iPhone has been released, surely he should know?

Here are some of his views based on Carl Fransen’s question:

A lot of people have used Vine to create stop-motion.
See, I don’t have an iPhone, so I really go to YouTube and Vimeo on the net. So I miss out on a lot of things. But I can’t use an iPhone, because I can’t work out the touchscreen. – Italics is mine.

Did you read all that? Or was it a case of tl:dr?

Because it’s in the title, there’s an expectation that whatever Gondry had to say about the iPhone was an important part of the article. However it’s not. Gondry had 13 words to say about the iPhone, beyond not having one. His views were held till the end of the article, so it isn’t actually important at all, it feels like click bait. I expect honesty from The Verge as they didn’t need to do this, Gondry is interesting all in himself.

Written by jonathanjk

July 22, 2014 at 15:15

Posted in photography

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The Fuji WCL-X100

After I wrote my 10,000 word review of the Fuji X100 and after I finished my Masters Degree, I sold it. I needed the money in order to get to Hong Kong. Us photographers are a poor bunch.

Anyway, I wanted another once I had settled down here. I got myself the beauty below.

Fuji X100S with WCL-X100.

Fuji X100S with WCL-X100.

I bagged the lens last week for $1,680 HKD, (£125) in a random shop in Wan Chai, and oddly I find myself still looking for the Teleconverter here in Hong Kong. It’s odd because this IS Hong Kong, where you can have anything. I’m seriously thinking of importing one from stateside. None of the retailers, even the official fuji 3rd party dealers just don’t stock it or know about it. Amazon US and UK stock both lenses.

Anyway, that’s my problem, I’ll update later with some comparison pictures.

Written by jonathanjk

July 22, 2014 at 02:08

Posted in photography

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Retracing

As I’m discovering I have more time, I find myself coming back to my original blog, my long form outlet to express myself. At the moment I’ve been living on tumblr as the investment isn’t as much. I’ve missed writing here, especially after the highs of blogging in 2010-2012. This place has been in maintenance mode, thankfully, some people still visit everyday.

The JPG podcast is coming back real soon as well.

So continuing with the theme of ‘retracing’ something, I wanted to share this story I found on Petapixel – Photographer Looks to Retrace the Footsteps of Robert Frank in ‘The Americans’

I’ve thought about wanting to commit to a project like this as well, this is probably where my interest comes from with this story. My problem is that I won’t ever hit US soil until they stop fingerprinting all foreign nationals as they enter the country. Instead I have a similar project here in Hong Kong.

So I like this idea, and how it’s a kickstarter project. I can’t help but feel though that there isn’t a bigger reason to do this other than that Robert Frank did it. It’s not exactly original is it?

With that, there is the idea in my mind that Trenton Moore will try to do it better or follow Frank’s work on some level beyond the retracing of Frank’s steps, he has something to compete against, whereas Frank’s work was original, pure.

The larger problem I have is that Moore is an American. One of the reasons Robert Frank was so successful was because he was an outsider with no affiliations to the US. I would say a foreigner is a better person, especially if the objective is to retrace, re-critique to re-shoot. You can’t just retrace the actions, I think the entire process should be done again, it would be more interesting for me anyway.

The end result is a project to reflect on, and the discussion and analysis from that will be different. I love how Robert Frank was from Switzerland, a country famous for its neutrality.

It’s the difference between saying, ‘let me tell you what I think’ vs ‘tell us what you think’, it’s self-critism vs criticism.

At the moment I’m massively addicted to perspective, the perspective of others, while Moore does have one and I wish him all the best, my interest wanes after that.

So I’m wondering if a kickstarter project could have invited somebody to come the the US instead or somebody outside the US had kickstarted this.

Written by jonathanjk

July 22, 2014 at 01:45

This Podcast Is A Goldmine Of Information

I just listened to the the latest episode of ‘The Paleo Solution’, a fine show that went a little further in the topics I usually geek out on. Topics like proper posture and understanding the different processes around us that maybe culturally we’ve allowed ourselves to be distant from like toilet squatting or pale eating. Nutrition has become a hobby of mine in the last few years, accelerated having gone Paleo back in December 2013.

The guest was Katy Bowman (her blog), I’ve never heard of her before, but will start following her online and grab a copy of her book when it comes out. She’s a biomechanist, somebody ‘… who studies Newtonian physics like pressures and gravities and stuff like that as applied to biological systems’.

In practical terms, a biomechanist will assess a person’s form and posture in order to correct a bodily imbalance or to improve performance in a particular athletic exercise.

With that said, Robb and Katy covered a number of topics together, the hour flew by (it usually does when you listen on x1.5 speed, but thats beside the point) where they touched on:

- Using our bodies to our advantage:

Moving properly, maximising our bodies abilities and therefore potential, when most of us actually don’t in any way, this later impacts our life because our bodies adapt to how we live. Illustrating the processes that occur with say sitting down all day, how the body adapts to that and also how it’s wrong to assume our bodies will be okay once we walk around for a bit, i guess to stretch. The 8 hours of sitting at work out weigh the 2 hours of standing, most of which is spent in a densely populated setting, commuting.

Here is a great quote: 

Well yeah it  [making reference to muscle tissue] actually goes through a process called sarcomere lysis where there’s no point in maintaining muscle mass that’s used to achieve a range of motion that you never go through. So you lose it. So now your metabolism is lower, your joint range of motion is slower. You have adapted and I think the fallacy is that we keep using the term adaptation to imply improvement. But you’ve – but adaptation is really adjusting the tissues in your body so that what you do most frequently is easier on you in the short term. It doesn’t really imply that you’ve become better in the long term.

- The recent court case with Vibrum where they were in a class action lawsuit because the claims they made weren’t true. The Vibram links to the previous discussion about posture and proper movement and how Vibrams have offered something that can seem misleading if not oversimplified when it comes to advertising their shoes.

The podcast then goes into what Katy calls ‘Free time things’. Things we can do very easily with it impacting on on that great limiter we call time. 

- Affective footwear as they make a massive difference. (I love the suggestion of eliminating heels. They are fucking nasty things for women to wear and yet sadly it’s kind of enforced in the form of peer pressure and that seems to override the fact they will fuck up one’s feet for life).

- Sitting on the floor. I have actually been thinking of ditching the sofa.

While a lot of these concepts seem weird and to use their words ‘counter culture’, (it is) there is a lot to take from this podcast about how there are many mechanisms in life we don’t know about and if we can partake in as many of them as we can, we can live better, healthier lives.

The issue of squatting is without humour brought up again and I’m glad, so many people don’t realise the benefits of just pooping in a different way simply because they use what they already have grown up with.

One aspect of the discussion that really interested me was that we don’t age at the same rate, I don’t me you vs me, I mean me vs me or you vs you. Our bodies age at different rates depending on how we utilise those body parts. Fascinating and slightly worrying at the same time.

Anyway, you have to check it out, it never gets over-the-top sciencey, they keep it all in layman’s terms for every bodies benefit. Download it now here.

Written by jonathanjk

May 20, 2014 at 12:47

iPad Mini Retina Review

Note: This review, isn’t going to go into detail about the iPad and its apps, this post merely serves to illustrate why I bought a new iPad Mini over the iPad Air.

Last year I bought the iPad 4, I would have bought the mini if it wasn’t for the fact the mini’s screen wasn’t a retina screen. I didn’t even give the mini much thought back then, other than to say that I would have bought one if the screen didn’t show those now out of fashion, computer pixels.

I already own an iPhone 4S and the MacBook Pro with retina screen. I had gotten use to this type of screen so why take a step back?

Jump ahead one year into the tail end of 2013 and Apple release the updated mini, but they love to give us, the consumer, some choice. They did this by updating the larger endowed iPad, cutting down its size and making it thinner and lighter. The weight reduction is quite significant.

While both tablets were out of stock, I played with the demo units in the Apple store. My arms still got tired holding both iPads while reading the web. This was something I didn’t think would still happen, obviously the arms weren’t as quick to tire while using the Mini. I remember holding the iPad 4 and then having to lean on one side or switch to the other during long sessions. I didn’t want a repeat of that.

My biggest worry though was screen size if I purchased the Mini, I felt like I couldn’t give up the 9.7 inch screen, would I miss out by going with the 7.9 inch option? Would Paper feel awkward to draw with? Would Baldur’s Gate be as immersive on the iPad 4? What about the smaller keyboard?

In the end, my thoughts switched to the discontinued Apple iBook line of laptops.

Back then there were two sizes of laptop and I remember owning the 12 inch version. It was cheaper, held the same amount of storage (with the right upgrade option), the 14 inch was always slightly faster than the 12 inch and to top it off, there was no advantage with the larger screen, they both had the same number of pixels, with the same resolution! Okay, the 14″ had a larger battery, but was it worth the extra weight?

The iPads today can almost be compared in the same way, in fact Apple markets the capabilities of the Mini as being equal to the Air, but just with a smaller screen. If you can deal with that, I would say splurge for the smaller one and opt for more storage.

I did exactly what I’m recommending to you and I can’t believe the iPad Mini has twice the processing power and there is 64GB inside this, (that’s double compared to my iPad 4) the combination of storage, size and the power present in my hand is simply awesome.

I’m also happy to say I definitely made the right choice, I can’t think why I was considering it so much. My gut feeling paid off and this one feels right for what I want to do. Both tablets overall are very portable, but the Mini more so, the experience is just more intimate. The screen on the Air feels slightly more awkward now, awkward in the way you can carry it in your hand, place it around the home or buying an accessory for it that will add even more weight and girth.

The product designer Dieter Rams once said, “less is more” and it certainly feels that way with the iPad Mini.

Written by jonathanjk

November 24, 2013 at 12:17

Posted in photography

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