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Steven Soderbergh's new movie was shot entirely on iPhones

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh is usually known for making slick Hollywood fare like Erin Brockovich and Ocean’s Elevent, but for his latest movie, the horror-thriller Unsane, the acclaimed filmmaker has opted to shoot the entire thing using iPhones.

Now, the first official trailer for Unsane has arrived — and it looks just as professional as the director’s other recent films, like Side Effects and Haywire.

Having recently come out of retirement with comedic heist film Logan Lucky, Soderbergh’s experience making Unsane on iPhones seems to have reinvigorated the director. 

Speaking at the Berlin International Film Festival last week for the new film’s premiere, as reported by IndieWire[1], Soderbergh said “I look at this as potentially one of the most liberating experiences that I’ve ever had as a filmmaker, and that I continue having.”

“I think this is the future,” said Soderbergh about the process. “Anybody going to see this movie who has no idea of the backstory to the production will have no idea this was shot on the phone – that’s not part of the conceit.”   

On whether he would continue making future films using smartphones over high-end movie cameras, Soderbergh seemed pretty convinced by the virtues of the former.

“People forget, this is a 4K capture.” He continued, “I’ve seen it 40 feet tall. It looks like velvet. This is a game-changer to me.”

It isn’t the first important movie to be shot on iPhones, though – the award-winning indie Tangerine made waves in 2015 by being shot entirely on an iPhone 5S[3]. Director Sean Baker’s latest film, The Florida Project, which was partially shot using an iPhone 6S[4], just received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this year’s Oscars.

Unsane stars Claire Foy (The Crown) as a woman who escapes a troubled past only to be involuntarily committed to a mental institution and forced to confront her greatest fear. Has there been a huge mistake, or does she really belong there? Check out the trailer below.

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References

  1. ^ IndieWire (www.indiewire.com)
  2. ^ Best camera phone 2018: the top smartphone snappers around (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ iPhone 5S (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ iPhone 6S (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ 10 iPhone camera tips and tricks direct from Apple’s experts (www.techradar.com)

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‘Maze Runner’ opening weekend knocks ‘Jumanji’ off the top of the box office

It took almost four weeks, but Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle no longer wears the crown in Hollywood. The new king of the box office is Maze Runner: The Death Cure, the concluding chapter in the trilogy based on novelist James Dashner’s dystopian sci-fi series. The final installment of the Maze Runner series had an impressive premiere, particularly given the long delay since the previous chapter, 2015’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.

The forced delay due to an injury suffered by lead actor Dylan O’Brien pushed the release of The Death Cure back several years, but the film doesn’t appear to have suffered too much because of it. The first two films in the series had opening weekends of £32.5 million and £30.3 million, respectively, but the £23.5 million premiere for The Death Cure was at the high end of pundits’ predictions. Judging by the opening weekend numbers and reviews for The Death Cure, the Maze Runner franchise is probably ending at just the right time.

The trilogy-ending installment has the lowest reviews of the series so far on professional review aggregator RottenTomatoes (a mere 45 percent approval rating) and audience polling site CinemaScore (a B+ grade).

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total 1. Maze Runner: The Death Cure £23.5M £23.5M £105.5M 2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle £16.4M £338M £822M 3. Hostiles £10.2M £12M £12M 4. The Greatest Showman £9.5M £126.4M £259.5M 5. The Post £8.8M £58.5M £83M 6. 12 Strong £8.6M £29.7M £35.1M 7. Den of Thieves £8.3M £28.5M £28.5M 8. The Shape of Water £5.7M £37.6M £51.5M 9. Paddington 2 £5.5M £32M £185.8M 10. Padmaavat £4.2M £4.7M £4.7M

As for the rest of the weekend’s top ten films, Jumanji relinquished its three-week hold on the top spot, but continued its strong run in theaters. Now the third highest-grossing movie of all time for Sony Pictures, Jumanji has far exceeded expectations and isn’t showing any signs of dropping off any time soon.

Also holding strong is the circus musical The Greatest Showman, which is continuing to chug along week after week without any huge weekends, and instead enjoying a fairly impressive, stable run that keeps adding to its overall numbers. Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water also had a nice weekend, and after earning an industry-leading 13 Academy Award nominations this year, it makes sense that the film got a nice bump this week. Another 1,001 theaters were added to its run over the weekend, and the acclaimed merman romance movie did well with that additional exposure.

The only other new release to crack the top ten was Indian historical film Padmaavat, which earned £4.2 million from 324 theaters. The film set a new record for a Bollywood movies by passing the £3.6 million mark set in 2014 by the film PK. It’s another relatively quiet weekend on the horizon, with the horror film Winchester the most notable new release.

At this point, it’s really just the calm before the Black Panther storm.

Marvel Studios’ next surefire blockbuster hits theaters February 16.

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Facebook challenges Twitch with exclusive esports streaming deal

Facebook has announced a new exclusive streaming deal with ESL[1] – one of the world’s biggest esports leagues.

As ESL’s main broadcast partner, Facebook will stream Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive competitions from ESL One, as well as its dedicated CS:GO Pro League.[2][3]

The streaming action starts right now with ESL One Genting 2018[4]. The tournament runs from January 23-38, with Dota 2 players competing for a US$ 400,000 prize pool.

“For years ESL has used Facebook to nurture its global community while broadening the audience for esports competition to millions of fans worldwide,” said Leo Olebe[6], global director of Facebook Games Partnerships at ESL.

“Having two of ESL’s most adored properties for CS:GO and Dota 2 streaming exclusively on Facebook is the next step in our efforts to delight the passionate esports community on Facebook.”

Streaming in VR

The Facebook deal also introduces the possibility of virtual reality streaming for ESL’s tournaments – a move that could give it an edge over the two biggest names in esports streaming: Twitch and YouTube Gaming.

“The ability to now watch esports in 1080p and in VR underscores our commitment to adding more ways for fans to watch and connect with each other around the esports content they love most,” said Olebe.

In March, Facebook Live made the jump[7] from mobile devices to the desktop, letting users stream video directly from PCs and laptops. It was a natural move towards game streaming, but until now it’s been an exclusively amateur affair.

The ESL deal makes Facebook a serious contender for the attention of esports fans, and it’ll be interesting to see if other professional leagues follow suit.

Via The Verge[8]

References

  1. ^ ESL (www.eslgaming.com)
  2. ^ ESL One (en.esl-one.com)
  3. ^ CS:GO Pro League. (en.pro.eslgaming.com)
  4. ^ ESL One Genting 2018 (en.esl-one.com)
  5. ^ Watch live streams from ESL One Genting 2018 on Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ Leo Olebe (www.eslgaming.com)
  7. ^ made the jump (www.techradar.com)
  8. ^ The Verge (www.theverge.com)
  9. ^ Everything you need to know about VR in esports (www.techradar.com)

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Apple’s HomePod will come with a mute function… to the surprise of no one

By their very nature smart speakers need to constantly listen to you, but having a machine directly linked to a major corporation when it could be harvesting private information feels like an invasion of privacy.

All of the major manufacturers of smart speakers claim that you aren’t really being listened to, not in the way that everyone seems to fear, but to assuage these fears, there are mute functions for the microphones in many smart speakers, and now we seem to have confirmation that Apple’s upcoming HomePod[1] will also have the ability to mute its mics.

The reveal comes from a Twitter user called Filipe Espósito, who describes himself as an “Apple specialist and soon-to-be professional journalist”. While digging around in the image assets accompanying iOS 11.2.5, Espósito found a number of icons that point towards different “scenes” the alter the functionality of the HomePod, including mute functions.

Siri, what do these pictures mean?

At the moment the exact meaning behind these images is a matter of speculation, but since mute icon is a fairly universal symbol it’s a safe bet that this is what it does. Obviously it could mean a mute of the speakers rather than the mic, but Espósito does mention the ability to disable Siri.

It’s not yet clear whether this mute functionality is hardware or software based. The Amazon Echo[2]‘s mute button is a hardware switch, which means that a hacker could never un-mute the speaker using a software exploit. This is an important security feature of the speaker. 

In a further comment, he also confirms that he’s found some data strings that point towards multiple accounts for voice.

Apple’s HomePod was originally supposed to see a December 2017 release, but it was pushed back and we’re now expecting to see it hit shelves in the next few weeks, with a supplier suggesting it could ship in February[3].

Aside from the mute icon, the meaning behind the other images are a little harder to discern. There are some obvious ones, like the HomePod, mute icon and lamp, which we’d assume is some kind of ‘shut up I’m working’ function. More obscure are the image of a single fried egg and box of popcorn which we’re wondering if Apple put in there just because they knew this exact thing was going to happen.

The icons do appear again with the house icon, the stickman walking towards the house and the Apple TV icon, so it’s possible that it’s a geolocation setting of ‘when I’m arriving home turn the TV on, put the lights in movie mode…and fry me an egg?’ 

I guess for some of them we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully the rumors are right, because February isn’t too long to wait. 

From 9to5Mac[6]

Via The Verge[7]

References

  1. ^ HomePod (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ Amazon Echo (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ ship in February (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ January 21, 2018 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ Check out our hands-on review.  (www.techradar.com)
  6. ^ 9to5Mac (9to5mac.com)
  7. ^ The Verge (www.theverge.com)

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