Thursday, January 03, 2019

Tove Styrke - A sunnier Lorde is ready for her close-up



And here's Lorde 'passing the torch':

Films on Netflix in NZ (as of Jan 2019)


Netflix at least in NZ has all but abandoned the whole history of cinema. The only pre-1970 films currently streamable (apart from a few WW2 propaganda two-reelers connected with its Five Came Back doc. series) are Welles's The Stranger and the (arguably superceded) theatrical version of Touch of Evil. As recently as 6 months ago Netflix NZ still streamed a few pre-1970 ultra-classics (e.g., Psycho, 12 Angry Men, It's A Wonderful Life, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) as well as a few essential period charmers (e.g., Breakfast at Tiffany's, Barefoot in the Park, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). Now the whole history of film is reduced to a couple of half-assed footnotes to Netflix's own Welles/Other Side of the Wind project. Woebetide, then, any young NZ-er who's inclined to reason that if a film isn't on Netflix then it probably isn't important.

The situation does't get much better if we include 1970-and-after films. Consider my (quite standard, not at all eccentric) list of the roughly 600 best and most important films from 1920-2017. Only 32 films from my list are currently streamable from Netflix in NZ:

  • Touch of Evil (wrong version)
  • Dirty Harry
  • American Graffiti
  • Jaws
  • Barry Lyndon
  • Close Encounters
  • All That Jazz
  • Apocalypse Now (wrong version)
  • Life of Brian
  • The Shining
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • E.T.
  • The King of Comedy
  • Back To The Future
  • Goodfellas
  • Trainspotting
  • Cast Away
  • Mulholland Dr.
  • Master and Commander: Far Side of the World
  • Children of Men
  • Zodiac
  • Synecdoche NY
  • The Dark Knight
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Fantastic Mr Fox
  • How To Train Your Dragon
  • Life of Pi
  • The Lobster
  • The Handmaiden
  • Nocturama
  • Good Time
  • Mudbound
Thus only about 5% of my (quite standard, not at all eccentric) list of the most important films ever made are currently available on Netflix in NZ. And, with the best will in the world, much of that 5% is almost comically macho and stereotypically boy-centric.

Or look at things the other way around: according to this website Netflix NZ currently has 3490 films in its library; so more than 99% of that library is, by my very conventional lights, something other than best in class. Thus, not only is it absolutely wrong to conclude that if a film isn't on Netflix NZ then it probably isn't important, it is almost certainly right to conclude that if a film is on Netflix NZ then, very probably, it's not that good or important.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Soundtrack for Mamma Mia 3 - Dance (While the music still goes on)


18 great Abba songs that are in neither MM nor MM2:
  1. Eagle
  2. Ring, Ring
  3. That's Me
  4. Disillusion
  5. On And On And On
  6. Cassandra
  7. Under Attack
  8. If It Wasn't For The Nights
  9. As Good As New
  10. Bang-A-Boomerang
  11. Gonna Sing You My Love Song
  12. Happy New Year
  13. Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)
  14. I Am The City
  15. Rock Me
  16. Summer Night City
  17. The Way Old Friends Do
  18. So Long [as the credits roll, Abba's best thumping rocker - all the movies' women can sing it and do Abba's own delightfully dippy choreography]
and on spotify.
I envisage MM3 taking place in Sydney, Australia and as fusing elements of MM and Muriel's Wedding. The climax is a performance by a reunited Abba where thousands of dancers whirl and co-sing around Circular Quay and The Rocks and the Opera House and even on the Harbour Bridge to, among other tunes, an extended/rearranged version of Dance (While The Music Still Goes On). The first 5 or so songs after Eagle on the Soundtrack are set in various locales around the world as characters deal with the frustrations and dissatisfactions in their lives before heading to Aus. for the big reunion. In principle I'd also support MM3 becoming a slightly more general salute to Swedish pop genius, e.g., include a couple of Robyn songs, say, With Every Heartbeat and Hang With Me.

Monday, May 28, 2018

New English subtitles for The Collector (La collectionneuse) (1967)

English subtitles aren't available in the usual places for recent, European Bluray-sourced editions of Rohmer's splendid The Collector (La collectionneuse) (1967), e.g., for releases such as The.Collector.1967.720p.BluRay.x264-MELiTE. I've filled this gap (at least temporarily) by combining old Dvd English subtitles with the timings of recent, release-appropriate Spanish subtitles (a trickier job than it sounds; it took hours), and making the upshot subtitles available without restriction here.

These subtitles are decent but far from perfect (e.g., there's a gap in all existing subtitles at around 30m 45s; the second part of the exchange between Daniel and the villa's Italian cook, to which Haydée mumblingly contributes, goes untranslated, and a joke is missed by those of us without sufficient French; things like google translate make absolutely no headway on this sort of rushed, slightly mumbled, heavily accented French conversation!). Feel free to improve them, and to share your improvements.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

McCartney plays Auckland


Paul McCartney played a wonderful, crowd-pleasing, 40-song show at Mt Smart in Auckland last night. To appreciate just how deep McCartney's catalogue is, however, consider that the list of songs he played the last time he was in Auckland (in 1993) that he didn't play last night includes:
Drive My Car
Coming Up
Another Day
We Can Work It Out
Michelle
Here, There And Everywhere
My Love
Magical Mystery Tour
The Long And Winding Road
Paperback Writer
Fixing A Hole
Penny Lane
I Saw Her Standing There
A show consisting of just these 13 songs would contain more landmarks than almost any other rock show you'll ever see. All Hail Sir Paul!

Update: And consider these songs that McCartney (solely or mostly wrote but) omitted both times:

She's Leaving Home
I'm Looking Through You
She Loves You (a super-close co-write w. Lennon)
I Want To Hold Your Hand (another super-close co-write w. Lennon)
Fool On The Hill
With a Little Help From My Friends
Let Him In
For No One
Got to Get You Into My Life
Eight Days a Week
Hello Goodbye
Martha My Dear
Wonderful Christmas Time
Step Inside Love
When I'm 64
You Won't See Me
No More Lonely Nights
It's hard not to conclude that McCartney could play a show consisting just of songs that he never or very rarely plays that would still probably be the most monumental show (short perhaps of an Abba or Smiths reunion, or a Bowie or Prince resurrection) that you could ever hope to see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fretting about -f to -ves pluralization

Here are some presumably rock-solid -ves plurals:

calf - calves, elf - elves, half - halves, knife - knives, leaf - leaves, life - lives, loaf - loaves, self - selves (ourselves, yourselves, themselves), sheaf - sheaves, shelf - shelves, thief - thieves, wolf - wolves, wife - wives
But I've seen 'wifes' and 'knifes' (the latter presumably sponsored by confusion with the verb form). Any Game of Thrones-fan who uses 'direwolfs' should be eaten by one.

Other -ves plurals are less solid:

dwarf - dwarves, roof - rooves, hoof - hooves, scarf - scarves, wharf - wharves
Straight -s plurals for these are very common and even predominant in some cases, e.g., to my slight horror, 'roofs' is almost orthodox in 2017.

We should admit that English is wildly inconsistent about this kind of end-formation. Many important -f words reserve their -ves end-formation for a widely used verb, especially (apparently) where serious ambiguity would result if the -ves form were also used for a plural:

belief - believes, grief - grieves, relief - relieves
But 'leaves' is a very prominent (homophonic) verbal-form for the plural of 'leaf'!

In sum, both polysemy and orthographic irregularity are so extreme in English that the language is a barely functional contraption. Nobody can spell it, and almost nobody can use it verbally for any extended period without errors. The 'Burn It Down!' impulse of 20C Esperantists made a lot of sense.