Cage in a Pig: Rhyming Review

To summarize this post about the 2021 movie, Pig, in two four-letter words: poem; Cage.

He lives in the woods, finding truffles.
Steal his pig? Oh, his feathers you’ll ruffle.
No, it’s not like John Wick;
No Keanu, it’s Nic!
Cage is great, full of love ‘midst kerfuffle.

Yes, Nicolas Cage is indeed great in Pig. I believe that actors should be judged on their best work, rather than their worst. Pig and Leaving Las Vegas, almost thirty years apart, are sufficient to declare him a great actor. If you consider some of the other movies he’s been in terrible, I don’t care, and I hope that Nic doesn’t either.

What do you think? About Pig? About Nic?

Rhyming Reviews: Dune Movie Example

There is no shortage of reviews on the internet: movie reviews; book reviews, videos on YouTube and elsewhere; written review on media, mainstream and otherwise,… So if I want to post reviews in a distinctive form, what should I post?

Rhyming Reviews! I’ll post a few, and see how they do. I like writing, and I like limericks, so I’ll start with that format. I’ll also start with my favorite current movie, Dune. Here goes…

Is Dune an unfilmable book?
In ’21, let’s take a look.
According to me
It’s well made by Denis,
Or that might be the spice that I took.

Have you seen the new movie of Dune?
If not, I hope you do soon.
An incredible cast!
The amazement will last.
The world built on screen made me swoon.

On Dune, vital spice drug is made.
But Paul’s noble house is betrayed.
He’ll survive giant worms
And then it’s his turn
To build desert power that will not fade.

Please consider the following questions, and consider answering at least one of them.

  • Which of the three limericks do you prefer? Why?
  • Do you think that reviews of two or more limericks would be better than single-limerick reviews?
  • Do you think that anyone would ever read rhyming reviews?
  • Would rhyming reviews be better on a video or podcast platform?

Movie Theater Musings: From Scotland to Korea

On the day I was due to be born, I went to the movies instead. My parents, having been credibly informed that I was not going to appear on December 11, went to see Treasure Island in Thurso, Scotland. They enjoyed the movie (not sure whether I did), and I remained in the womb until December 22.

As this century unfolds, movie theaters (or theatres, depending on where you live) are in trouble. That was the case even before Covid. Do I want to have to travel to a theater that I may have to share with inconsiderate people and their cellphones? Do I really need to see that particular movie when I can watch thousands of movies at home?

It depends. It depends on many things. I’ll focus here on the movie itself. I recently tried to watch the much-praised Korean movie The Handmaiden at home: to be specific, on an iPad. I couldn’t, for reasons including: it’s very slow; there are many other things I could be doing (e.g., YouTube, Kindle, faster-paced movies); I don’t understand Korean…

I think I would enjoy The Handmaiden if I saw it at the movies. It would probably be in an arthouse with an attentive audience.

What sort of movies do you particularly want to see at the movies, rather than at home?

Dune at the Movies

More than month late, I saw Dune, aka Dune Part 1 or Dune (2021). I wanted to see it on a big screen, more than I’ve wanted to see any movie in a theater for many years. I’m glad I saw it on IMAX and with Max, my teen son.

I’ve read the book a few times, but not for many years. Max hasn’t read the book yet, but I hope that he’s about to start it. I suspect that I was in the sweet spot to see Villeneuve’s movie: if I’d read the book recently, I’d have been frustrated at some of the things left out of the film; on the other hand, I remembered some of the exposition that’s in the books but not the movie.

My overall impression and comment is that it would be hard to do a much better job of filming this notoriously unfilmable novel. I still find Frank Herbert’s world fascinating, about 60 years after he wrote the novel. Villeneuve brings it to the screen wonderfully, mixing huge shots of ships, buildings, and the desert with intimate close-ups of the characters.

My only reservation bigger than a quibble concerns the sound. When I asked Max how he liked the movie, his first comment was that his ears hurt. Mine hadn’t been comfortable either. I mainly blame the theater and its wish to show off its sound system: my ears were assaulted from the start of the preview for Top Gun: Maverick.

That said, I’m not sure that Hans Zimmer’s score is entirely innocent. It’s about as subtle as a Top Gun preview.

I’m about to go over to my Letterboxd account and give Dune the full five stars. My reservations are tiny compared with Villeneuve’s achievement in bringing Herbert’s huge fiction to the big screen.

Frozen

Frozen is the word because:

  • It describes this site, to which I made only two posts in 2013.
  • It describes the DC area, which has been below freezing point for a while.
  • I loved the movie of that name.

frozen-flowerHere’s Olaf the snowman enjoying a flower, and the prospect of warmer weather.

It’s due to get warmer round here too. I may well take the kids to Whitetail for skiiing on Sunday. I expect higher temperatures than we’ve had recently (>40 F, not many in C, but at least >0). I also expect lower numbers of people than usual on a weekend (I think that some sports event is taking place that day).

This site will come out of hibernation, or whatever it was. Unfrozen sounds like a good title for tomorrow’s post.

Netflix: Streaming Beats Discs, But Loses to Downtime

Netflix is now a digital video streaming company first that happens to also offer DVDs by mail, observes Forrester’s James McQuivey at Paid Content (via RWW). Netflix is starting to deliver more content by streaming than my mail.

That’s mostly good news, although it does rely on Netflix being able to stream. It was down a few minutes ago (but is back up right now). Netflix does downtime less gracefully than a certain whale-watching site I could mention: it blamed my computers, got stuck on at the license stage. It didn’t own up to having problems, and it didn’t show me a cute animal. Then again, Twitter has had more practice with downtime than has Netflix.

That suggests a couple of games. The first is to come up with a mascot for Netflix downtime. I suggest the Netflix narwhal, but will leave the artwork/implementation to others. Then there’s the Netflix version of rock-paper-scissors. Downtime beats streaming, which beats discs, which beat downtime. I hope that streaming wins…

Without the Family, I Stop Making Sense

For the first time since we moved down to Maryland, I have the house to myself for an evening. I put on Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads performance movie.

Although I miss the family (who will be back tomorrow), it’s great to have the place to myself, to choose a movie, to choose this movie, to play it loud, to start it at just the right time so that it’s getting dark as the show gets under way. Here’s the first song with the full augmented band (FAB?). I note that the still features guitarist Alex Weir, perhaps my favorite “character” from the movie.

I love so much about Stop Making Sense. It famously starts with David Byrne alone, then adds the other Talking Heads one at a time. “Heaven,” the second track, is my favorite from this four-song sequence (here’s a link to video).

There is some cheating: although only David Byrne and Tina Weymouth are on stage, Lynn Mabry sings from the wings, as the movie’s Wikipedia entry points out. Her singing, and Tina’s wonderful bassline, really make this track, setting the tone for a show that’s about a lot more than the genius of David Byrne. Byrne recognized that, introducing the band by name, and bringing the crew on to be acknowledged, during the last songs.

If I had to choose one movie to own for myself, it would be Stop Making Sense. That’s not the same as declaring it the best movie ever (although I wouldn’t argue with you if you declared it so), or saying that it would be a great choice for family movie night with the kids being 6 and 3.

Ink, the movie

I’ve just watched the movie Ink. I’ll embed one of the trailers. As you can see, it won’t be to everybody’s liking, but if the trailer appeals, the movie probably will too.

It was written and directed by Jamin Winans, whose short movie Spin you may have seen: it was much blogged about a year or two back. He and his wife/producer Kiowa run Double Edge Films, and sell the movie direct from that site. You can also buy it at Amazon, where Ink [Blu-ray] is only $14 right now.

There are numerous cool and/or interesting things about the movie and its web presence. Jamin and Kiowa thank the people who have BitTorrented Ink. Kiowa is doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit.

The couple have a blog. Here’s Kiowa’s fascinating post about the release strategy. She quotes an earlier post from Jamin: “the battle we all fight is against obscurity.”

This post is my small contribution to Jamin and Kiowa’s side of that battle. I’d say they’re winning it. It’s too early to tell whether this will translate into financial success. There is a button on their site for PayPal contributions. I just made one, since I don’t think they get much money from my viewing. But no, I didn’t BitTorrent it.

I watched Ink at Netflix, where it is available for streaming. I don’t think that a stream sends much money to the makers, though.

Sex, Books, and Movies

Describe Your Sex Life With A Movie Title is a currently popular topic on Reddit (and, I believe, elsewhere). Among the comments I’ve upvoted are:

  • Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.
  • Alone in the Dark.
  • 28 Weeks Later. For us, it was more than 30 weeks later, but not as near to 40 as we were expecting. But things worked out well for our early baby, as I hope that they did for the 28-week baby.

There was an earlier topic, Describe Your Sex Life With A Book Title. My comment there referred to Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion. I strongly recommend the novel.

There is a movie, which I recommend less heartily. It is sometimes referred to by the same title as the book, and sometimes as Never Give an Inch. As someone remarked on Reddit, once you start thinking about these topics, almost anything seems to fit. Perhaps I should rephrase that. Or perhaps I should just top typing now…

Kung Fu Widgets and the Noodle Soup Web

One of the turning points in Kung Fu Panda comes in a conversation between Po, the panda who becomes the Dragon Warrior, and his father, Mr Ping, the goose who makes noodle soup. Ping tells Po something he should have told him a long time ago. No, it isn’t what you might assume from what I’ve just told you.

Anyway, just before that turning point for Po, Ping identifies a turning point for noodle soup: “the future of noodles is dice cut vegetables, no longer slices.” Meanwhile, on the web, the booming widget economy shows the promise of small content that can go anywhere.

Yes, I am using the metaphor of noodle soup for the web. And, in choosing that particular quote/link, I am casting Steve Rubel in the role of the old goose. I hope that Steve won’t be offended, especially given the importance of the Ping role, and the incredible resume of James Hong, who provides the voice in the movie.

If the web is noodle soup, then widgets are its dice-cut vegetables. Widgets are microchunks of content that can go anywhere on the web. If you want to see a one-minute movie illustrating widgets, I offer the biased recommendation of The Clearspring Chronicles, Volume 1. Clearspring is a particular widget platform, but not much in the video is really specific to that platform.

I’ve already offered an implicit recommendation for Kung Fu Panda, which just came out on DVD. I intend to make that recommendation explicit in a further post.