Thursday, May 7, 2009

Young Adam (2003)

Sexual, erotic thriller--great combo of McGregor and Swinton

Young Adam is a 2003 British drama film written and directed by David Mackenzie, based on the novel of the same name by Alexander Trocchi, which was first published in 1957. It is set in Glasgow, Scotland, in the 1950s and stars Ewan McGregor. It was rated 18 certificate by the BBFC and NC-17 by the MPAA.

The film follows the exploits of Joe (McGregor), an amoral young drifter who has ended up working on one of Glasgow's river barges. It deals with lust and sin, as one sees Joe moving from one brief affair to the next as he tries to get away from a guilty secret.

The films focus on translating the novels first person perspective is clearly an obsession for this director. Never is the audiences attention allowed outside of Joe's point of view. We see only what he sees, we hear nothing more and we remember his life in little snatches, moments of dark disgusting and secret clarity he keeps from the world.

The film starts with a corpse, a barely dressed woman floating in the Clyde that is fished out by Joe; a young man working the barges for reasons that are not immediately clear. This brutal beginning in which we see Joe lay a tender hand on the cold dead flesh of the girl begins the film with a level of tension that rarely leaves the screen. Through his actions and - more importantly - his inactions we peel away the outer layers of a man on the run from himself, from responsibility and from guilt. We see him commit two murders by mission of inaction and we see him quietly dealing with that in one last lingering shot that tells us he will never change.

Joe is sexually driven to destroy life around him and he uses sex as a weapon against himself and against the possibility of settling or creating a future. He could be a writer, but he lacks the courage to read his own work. He could be a father, but he cannot face the thought of commitment. He could be a lover, but he makes love to women only as a means to an end, rejecting and pushing them away once the act is completed.

Young Adam Theatrical Trailer

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bitlet Launches BitTorrent Video Streaming

Streaming video torrents with Bitlet.

Bitlet, the first web-based BitTorrent client, is known for its innovative services and ease of use. Bitlet's latest new feature allows users to stream video torrents directly in a web-browser - no additional software required. Written by Ernesto - Torrentfreak

In 2007 BitLet launched a web-based Java applet which allows users to download .torrent files without having a BitTorrent client installed. For this innovation Bitlet received a nomination for the Webware 100 Awards where the hobby project competed with companies backed by millions of dollars.

Although they didn’t win the award, the evolution of Bitlet continued steadily. After its introduction it added features such as music streaming (currently utilized by mininova) and the ‘bookmarklet‘ which allows users to inject a direct download link into torrent search engines. Today Bitlet adds video streaming to this list, another long awaited addition.

The experimental video streaming feature allows users to stream video using BitTorrent and watch the file, even as it’s still downloading. The first release only supports videos in the Ogg format, but developer Daniele Castagna told TorrentFreak that he might extend this list, depending on how much time he can spend on the project.

In order to make Bitlet work with streaming video a few modifications had to be made, but its still good old BitTorrent technology under the hood. Daniele has put up a few example videos on the site and below them are instructions on how to stream your own files using Bitlet.

There are a few important conditions to fulfill in order to achieve an optimal streaming experience. Of primary importance is the need for sufficient seeds and peers to guarantee a decent download speed. Besides this, the playback time will depend on the quality of the video - the higher the quality, the more bandwidth is needed.

The streaming feature seems to be working well, and it’s actually the first live example of BitTorrent video streaming which doesn’t require the installation of any obscure third party applications. The only thing needed is an up-to-date version of Java, which most people already have installed.

Although current bandwidth prices are dropping, most video services such as YouTube are paying millions of dollars for traditional server side streaming. Especially high quality video is costly to stream, and peer-to-peer technology can certainly make a huge difference there.

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