Movie Saturday: Sunshine

Sunshine (IMDB) is a sci-fi thriller released 2007. It is directed by Danny Boyle who has directed for example a Slummdog millionnaire. On main roles there is Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans and Hiroyuki Sanada.

Story of the movie is about how the sun has started to fade away and it makes a threat for the whole humankind to be destroyed. To fix the issue and save the mankind people sends Icarus II rocket to the space with a crew. With rocket there is some kind of nuclear explosive which is meant to be sent to the sun to wake it up again with new fire and save the planet earth and its citizens. However on their trip they find a signal on space which later is detected to be from Icarus I which was previously sent to the space but which just dissappeared on its mission.

Waking up the sun is quite uncertain task and another nuclear explosive could help on their mission so after some pondering crew decides to go and see if they will find Icaros I and its explosives.

In many ways Sunshine is a well made movie. Its story is entartaining, visual side is quite showy, acting is basic good level stuff and directing works most of the times. Even with all the good sides there is still some traits which would have required a little bit different kind of expressions.

Mostly the acting was credible and natural until the point when crew lost some people. It just felt unnatural and unrealistic that crew doesn’t shed a tear at all when they face the loss of fellow travel partner and their behaviour didn’t change on any way. Hard to say if crew was so coldhearted that losing a long time travel partner does not make any kind of humane reaction.

Direction was stylish in many places and its visual side was beautiful. Unfortunately even on this garden of direction there is still a place for its snake which ate the potential the movie had in its hands. If the directing would have been more moderate it could have been much better for viewer. For example on some parts the cutting was too fast and too confusing so it was easy to lost the general bigger scale picture what was happening. Especially on the end of the movie there were multiple scenes where cutting were so fast from part to another that it was confusing to follow what just happened.

Despite the quite interesting story part of its meaningfulness was lost with the plot twists which just totally felt unnecessary for the bigger picture. Of course those twists were added to make more tension for the accomplishment of the mission. For example the scene when the crew finds out that there is no enough air for all of them and they start to ponder if they would put somebody cold.

Even with all the negative sides Sunshine is entertaining movie with stylish expression and it is good enough to see it on another time as well.

Points: 5/10 (IMDB: 7,3/10)

Changes to multiroom audio setup

Genelec G One is almost similar with 6010a

I have written previously in this blog (in finnish only) that I have multiroom audio setup in my home. In practice it was made with Google Chromecast Audio devices and different kind of active speakers.

Speakers I had in use were Focal XS Book pair in bedroom, Genelec 6010a pair in living room and JBL clockradio and its built-in speakers in kitchen. Mostly this was good setup but its biggest annoyance was volume control. All of them have own volume controls (Genelec speakers were behind Audiolab M-DAC) so it was annoying to set volume levels since sometimes I had to change volumes from speakers and next time multiroom listening volume levels were wrong because the volume control of speakers were different than previously.

I decided that I want to have multiroom setup where all speakers are similar and without any volume controls in speaker itself so I cannot change volume levels on speaker and I have to control whole audio volume levels with software. I browsed the web and tried to find some good ones but finally I thought that I just do this with Genelec speakers. I use only one Genelec per room so it does not create stereo feeling for listening, but on multiroom audio setup it does not matter at all since I am not in optimal listening position anyway and this setup is meant only for background music listening purposes.

Speaker in the bedroom

Previously I thought that I might not build this with Genelec speakers at first since it might be a little bit too expensive my current budget but after thinking it a little bit more I noticed that it is not that expensive anyway. I had one pair of Genelec 6010a in home anyway so I had need only for one speaker since I had plan to put one speaker per room.

Also if I would have bought another manufacturer speakers it would have cost much more since I would have need for three or more speakers. Also I don’t want that even background music listening is terrible experience so sound quality must be at least good enough and as many might know Genelec speakers are better than just good enough so that was the way to go.

Yesterday after the workday I went to Verkkokauppa.com and bought one Genelec G One speaker, cables and fourth Chromecast Audio. At home I noticed that I forgot to buy another kind of cables so I had to go to Prisma in Malmi to buy another set of cables as well to make multiroom setup work with this speaker setup.

Current setup in living room. Work in progress since I don’t want to let these cables like that.

After I have got correct cables setup was easy to do. From Chromecast Audio 3.5 mm I have a cable which gives two RCA male outputs. Then I have another cable which have 2 x RCA female which is then converted to 1 x RCA male. That 1 x RCA male goes to the speaker so not very complicated setup. I tried to find cable which would have been 1 x RCA male from 3.5 mm but didn’t find so that’s why I have two cables there.

Controlling volume is now much more simpler than previously since all rooms have similar speakers (except on WC where I put my JBL). Of course there is small differences in G One and 6010a (led colour etc.) but none of those changes affect on my multiroom setup and volumes are on same level.

Now I have listened multiple hours with this setup and gotta say that it is much better than my previous one. Volume control is so much easier and there is no possibility to change volumes manually from speaker so it will stay that way in future as well. Also now in every room (except on WC) I have same quality so all have same level of bass and trebles etc.

Genelecin speaker on my kitchen

On Google home if I set volume to 1-2 % it is good for morning and/or night, 10 % is good when I am home alone and want to listen music on enjoyable volume on background and if some friend of mine is visiting 4-6 % is propably optimal volume level on background music so it is still easy to talk and listen music on background.

Shortly said Genelec G One and Genelec 6010a have more than enough volume levels for normal sized (at least in Finland normal sized) apartment which have 60m2 and two rooms + kitchen + WC.

Sometime in future I have to buy Genelec G One or 6010a on WC as well, but currently this setup is good enough 🙂

Homeassistant and Chromecast Audio issue

I use at my home Home Assistant software to manage my home automations. At first everything was working without any issues but on some point morning radio stopped working. Month or two passed until I got enough time and motivation to take a look where the issue is since all the triggers were catched normally and even log told me that morning radio script was run as intended.

With further investigations I found that for some reason software has started to require a package py3-protobuffers

Because that package is installed with pip3 I had to install it first. On Debian this was easily done with command (as a root): apt-get update && apt-get install python3-pip. After that I was able to install the actual package I needed with command pip3 install py3-protobuffers

After those commands I executed scripts which sends audio to Chromecast audio and everything was working flawlessly again. Interesting how this worked without this package previously, but most importantly I figured out where the issue was and was able to fix it. Now my morning radio works again normally.

English translations!

As some might have noticed I have started to create translations of some of my blog posts in english as well. This blog is mostly written in finnish but as many know finnish is not very well known language around the world and therefore many people cannot get anything (hopefully) useful information out of my blog.

I like to write movie reviews so it makes more sense to write those in english as well since more people might find those useful than those which are written only in finnish.

Also when I write english translations I hopefully learn to be a better writer in english as well. So if you are reading my blog and find crappy english here, please write a comment and help me to become better with english langauge 🙂

It is still good to note that posts in finnish and english are not directly translated so the content is not exactly the same. For example this text contains a little bit different information in english than in finnish so do not try to learn finnish from these translations 😉

On technical side on translations I use PolyLang plugin for WordPress which seems to be great option to offer multiple languages for blog.

Movie Saturday: Black Swan

Natalia Portman as Nina Sayers

Black swan (IMDB) is a drama movie published 2010. It is directed by american Darren Aronofsky who is well known from his movies Requiem for a dream (2000) and The Wrestler (2008). On the main roles of Black Swan can be seen Natalia Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassell and Barara Heshey.

The plot of the movie tells a story about a ballet dancer Nina Sayer (Natalia Portman) who finally gets her big role in Tšaikovskys Swan Lake where she can act the roles of both swans, the white and the black one.

Nina is kind, sensitive and conscientious and she has required dancing skills so she is like made to the part of a white swan. Still Nina has to perform as a black swan as well which requires much more work for her since it requires more passion and feeling than only technical perfection so Nina has to work hard to grow to her role as a black swan.

Black swan on the stage

Even the main story about the ballet dancer is very interesting itself, the deeper story about the growth is what makes Black Swan much more interesting movie.

Nina is a young lady who lives together with her mom. Her social life is quite limited and all the life goes around the ballet. She has no friends who would call her and with whom to spend time with and even around another ballet dancers she stays mostly outsider.

Ballet class gets a new student from another city, Lily (Mila Kunis) who is like a mirror of Nina – where Nina is sensitive and reserved is Lily a black swan who lives her life with much more passion and bravely. After some disagreements they will learn to know each other and Lily is one who is waking the Black Swan which is hidden inside the Nina and is waiting to be alive.

Lily (Mina Kunis)

Slowly Nina grows to her role as a black swan as well after she finds a courage to find those sides inside her which she has stifled. With Lily also Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassell), the man who has given the cast for her, is waking up the hidden black swan in Nina.

Interesting aspect in the movie is the relationship between the Nina and her mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) where is easy to spot mothers big impact for the destructive kind of kindness in Ninas personality. The mother is over caring and controlling person who has own unhandled personal issues which makes issues between she and her daughter. Mother lives her own unfullfilled dreams through her daughter and her daughter fullfills those dreams and in the same time forgets who she is herself.

In Black Swan mental issues are shown in interesting way as well and the viewer cannot always be sure what is happening only inside the mind of Nina and what are things that other persons share as well. Movie makes wonder connections between unhandled issues and stifled feelings and how stifling your own persona can affect life in so many ways.

Dancing practices

Gladly the story is not the only good thing in this movie since production and tehcnical side is top notch as well. Direction is made with style, camera angles has some fresh views compared to many films, casting is well done and performance of the actors is just great. Especially acting by Natalia Portman is so full of depth that it does not leave you cold. This kind of acting is what would be great to see in movies more often since you can feel the passion and personality of Nina Sayers so well via Natalia Portmans flawless performance. It is no wonder that Portman got an Oscar (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role) from this movie.

As a whole Black Swan is a breathtaking masterpiece. It is the first movie which left me totally speechless when the ending credits came. This is a perfect movie and it immediately found it’s way to my Recommendations page.

Points: 10/10 (IMDB: 8,0/10)