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Celling Out
IMDB Rating: 5.6/10 from 26 votes
Release: 2004 (USA) /

Celling Out

Genre: Documentary, Short
Director: Jeffrey Schwarz,
Stars: , , , , ,

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Critic Reviews

This is an interesting addition to the DVD for Cellular, it's basically a lot of telecommunications engineers talking about the history of cell-phones from the "brick" of the 1970s to the 4 ounce video camera phones that we use today. It's like that educational video about rats that is on the Willard DVD. You haven't seen that, but it's basically a learning channel video about rats and their mating habits and whatnot. Celling Out looks like it was made for the History Channel or the Discovery Channel about the history of cell-phones. It has nothing to do with the making of the movie, but is interesting nonetheless.

It also makes a pretty funny comment on the commercial success of cell-phones, as far as people making phone calls that they wouldn't otherwise have made. One guy makes especially amusing comments about the triviality of a lot of the conversations that people have with each other on cell-phones. They trace the transformation of the cell-phone from a communication device and into an entertainment center, even as a dating device. One guy even asserts that it's the cell-phone into which all other common devices will be absorbed – TV remote, laptop computer, palm pilots, etc.

Cell phones have revolutionized the way people communicate, and this short documentary goes into great detail about both the pros and cons of these advancements in technology, although it does make a complaint about them that I've never understood. Larry Cohen, co-writer of Cellular, mentions that he doesn't want to be reached at all times, he doesn't want someone keeping tabs on him all the time. This has always seemed like a trivial and even paranoid complaint. I've never seen a cell-phone that couldn't be turned off.

It's too bad about the ending, because once the documentary gets into hypothesizing about the future, there are some pretty outlandish claims being made and the revelation that the people interviewed in the documentaries might be a little more obsessed with cell-phones than is quite healthy. The assertion is made that sometime in the near future cell-phones will be embedded under the skin behind the ear, which can stretch to believe, and that you will be able to make phone calls just by thinking about it, which I don't believe for a second. Maybe I'm just shortsighted, but it doesn't seem that that can happen without opening up the skull and connecting the cellular implant directly to the brain.

Forget about whether or not the technology will ever be available, the question is whether people are going to want to have their skulls opened up so they don't have to dial phone numbers anymore. This is the kind of thinking that led people 40 years ago to assume that there would be flying cars by the year 2000. Well, here we are in 2005 and people still tend to like to have their cars running along the ground, and I have a hypothesis that it will be quite some time before popular opinion will involve mass approval of brain surgery to avoid dialing.

Other than that, however, this is a very informative, if not especially interesting, documentary.

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