I've been crapping on Apple a lot lately.
But not without reason.
Apple used to be the GOLD STANDARD in interface design. Everything was incredibly well-thought-out and intuitive. But now-a-days? Most everything they do is shit. And I simply don't understand why. Yes, Steve Jobs is gone, but surely there are people in Apple who give a crap about making sure that you can use their apps without wanting to beat the shit out of somebody?
But apparently not.
Because I was reminded about this when I was having to use the GUI abomination that is the AppleTV app (whether it's on a Mac, AppleTV, iPad, or iPhone). This app has been shit for ages. It was made even worse when Apple decided to prioritize AppleTV+ over absolutely everything... ramming their service down your throat like a fucking jackhammer. Even over content you purchased. Like when you search for the movie Ted...
But that's just the beginning with their idiotic search. Want to search your library? You can't just click on LIBRARY and search. If you do that, you'll end up searching within AppleTV+ and their media store content. Oh no. To search your library, you have to type into the SECOND smaller search box. And do you know how many times I forget to use the tiny box? ALL THE FUCKING TIME! And do you know why? The second smaller search box DOESN'T FUCKING EXIST UNTIL YOU CLICK ON A TINY FUCKING MAGNIFYING ICON THAT'S UNDER THE SEARCH BOX!!!
Only then does the search box even bother to appear...
Absolute fucking lunacy.
But wait! It gets worse! Let's say that you use the universal search box anyway to get to your movie because you forgot about the smaller search box. What happens then? As you see from the first screenshot above, you have no fucking clue where the movie is at. Is it on AppleTV+? Is it in the store? Do you have to buy it? Do you own it? Who the fuck knows?
You have to click through to see where in the hell it comes from. In this case, I own it... although it doesn't tell me I own it... I just have to infer that I own it because there's a "Play" button instead of a price tag...
But let's say you're on your AppleTV and don't want to type out the title to get to it since it's a huge pain in the ass? Well, then you get to scroll through your entire fucking catalog of titles! And since I own hundreds of them, that will take a while. Let's say that I want to watch the movie 4th Man Out. With Apple, it's scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling because Apple puts numbers after letters...
Here it is! Right after Zoolander...
Let's compare that to how Plex allows you to navigate. I use Plex to catalog all my ripped DVDs (which is a legal backup of my massive DVD library). Since I paid for 4th Man Out both digitally and on DVD, it's in both places. Although since Plex puts numbers in front of letters, I don't have to actually scroll anywhere. It's right there at the start...
Not really a fair contest. So let's try another. Zoolander. Another movie I bought on both DVD and digitally. With iTunes, I have to scroll through hundreds of titles to get to it. But look on the right hand side of the Plex interface. See those letters there? No scrolling needed. I just click on "Z" and there it is!
This is especially fantastic on the Plex app for AppleTV... which is far, far superior to what AppleTV itself actually offers.
HOW FUCKING EMBARRASSING FOR APPLE!
For the love of God, spend the tiniest fucking portion of your billions of dollars and DO SOMETHING!
Don't get me wrong... there's still a lot of companies who are even worse at this than Apple. But given where Apple started, this is nothing short of tragic.
And I have no idea what it's going to take to get Apple off their stupid asses to actually fix this crap.
Gizmodo has a story on the ten projects that James Gunn is overseeing for the new DC Comics Universe of movies and shows.
Gizmodo has Creature Commandos listed as "Creative Commandos" which is hilarious. — All I can say that is if these projects were from anybody but James Gunn, I would be laughing my ass off. What's odd is that the new Superman and Batman films aren't coming out until 2025... which is later than I'd thought it would be, but still pretty ambitious. An entirely new universe debuts in just two years? Again... if it were anybody but James Gunn, I'd be laughing my ass off. My comments below...
Creative (s/b CREATURE!) Commandos (An animated HBO Max show) — It's like... what a bizarre choice. An entire series devoted to monster soldiers? Sounds like a Halloween special, but okay. Something tells me that this was in process before James Gunn took the big chair (with Peter Safran).
Waller (A live-action HBO Max show) — I really hope that Viola Davis is in this, because she's SUCH an amazing actor. UPDATE: Confirmed that it will indeed be Davis.
Superman: Legacy (Theatrical film) — I am confident that James Gunn will find a way to make Superman relevant while also interesting... something that Zack Snyder wasn't able to do AT ALL. I am a bit concerned that the whole "Gods & Monsters" arc for the New DCU will fall into the same trap that Snyder fell into, but it's James Gunn... so... yeah. Maybe.
Lanterns (A live-action HBO Max show) — The Green Lantern movie was a pile of shit so bad that I couldn't believe some of my favorite actors were involved. Terrible, terrible movie. A show might be a way to showcase the many interesting Green Lanterns from the comics, so it could be a very cool show to watch. UPDATE: Apparently this will be terrestrial-based, meaning that it's mostly Hal Jordan and John Stewart stories, so we'll see.
The Authority (Theatrical film) — Now this could be interesting! The comics started out SO good, and if they did a straight adaptation it could be fantastic... so long as it's an R-rated movie, because otherwise why bother?
Paradise Lost (A live-action HBO Max show) — Amazons, I guess. Could be something that pre-dates Wonder Woman to give her eventual debut good context. I hope that they don't fuck up the Greek gods like the (otherwise excellent) Wonder Woman movie did. They're saying it's their "Game of Thrones" so who knows?
The Brave and the Bold (Theatrical film) — Batman & Robin? In my early comic book days, The Brave and the Bold was alway Batman PLUS some other DC Hero (or villain!) teaming up. But still... I will be very interested to see what Gunn has in mind for Batman. Hopefully something more like the Nolan trilogy instead of the emo-goth bullshit we got from the last Batman movie! UPDATE: It's going to be the Damion Wayne version of Robin which is the best news possible. I hope that they make him a little nuts without taking him full-on psycho, because the majority of kids just don't have the acting chops to pull that off very well.
Booster Gold (A live-action HBO Max show) — A LONG time coming. Like... this should have been done a decade ago. I love the character, and hope that eventually the show transitions into the "Blue & Gold" show I've been dreaming of (Booster Gold and Blue Beetle as made amazing by Keith Giffen). Hopefully they get a writer with decent comedy chops to do this right.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (Theatrical film) — Poor Supergirl. The character herself is so interesting... as shown in the Animated DC shows... but her lone live-action movie was trash (despite having Faye Dunaway and Peter O'Toole!). I really, really hope that they hire a truly great FEMALE writer AND director to do this movie right. She deserves it. And there's plenty of great comics to be inspired from.
Swamp Thing (Theatrical film) — Lord. There are a lot of other DC characters I would have put in a film before Swampy. His good TV show was not so long ago (2019), and the idea of a complete film has already been done. Soooo many other movies would have been a better idea than this. I hope "Swamp Thing: The Movie" ends up worth stepping all over others that deserved it more.
I want a Legion of Super-Heroes live-action HBO Max show. I want a Black Canary & Green Arrow show. I want a REAL Justice League movie. I want a Deadman series. I really want a Zantana movie. Where's an Amethyst animated series at? And holy crap... how cool would an Adam Strange series be? Is Guy Gardner going to appear in Lanterns? Because a show for HIM would be great. So many possibilities!
I'm more confident in the DCU now than I was as we suffered through all the Zack Snyder crap, which makes me happy. Nobody wants successful DC movies than me (with the exception of the upcoming Shazam: Fury of the Gods and The Flash: Flashpoint, both of which star highly problematic actors that I really wish would just go away and take their bullshit with them.
What blows me away is how Marvel Studios puts it all on the screen. They don't "hold anything back for the sequel" but instead treat every movie like the last movie they will ever make.
AND THAT'S WHY THEY ARE SO SUCCESSFUL!
After basking the the majesty that's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I am making my way through all the Chadwick Boseman Black Panther appearances. The first of which wasn't in a Black Panther film... or even an Avengers film. It was in a Captain America film!
What was also in Captain America: Civil War? The first MCU appearance of Spider-Man!
Plus we get Iron Man, Black Widow, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Vision, Ant-Man, and Winter Soldier! It was basically an Avengers film. Inside a Captain America film. Which is crazy. How many studios would even do that?
Other studios would drag things out so they have something for future movies... then wonder why nobody gives a crap about the watered down film they release. Marvel isn't interested in that. They put everything into the film they are making right now... then force themselves to come up with something new and amazing for the next one.
And then get incredible actors for every single part. Alfre frickin' Woodard just randomly shows up in a tiny nothing of a bit part in Civil War. But it was a critical part that put the entire movie into motion, so they HAD to get Alfre Woodard. And her few minutes of screen time works. So well. In lesser, cheaper hands, it might not have.
The wild success of Marvel movies is not a fluke or a mistake. They are designed to be successful. I remember reading somewhere that Chadwick Boseman always thought that his appearance in Civil War would be a one-off cameo before signing his deal. Given how other studios would probably do exactly that, it's no wonder that he thought this. Obviously Marvel had other plans. They're more than that.
I live in constant fear of Kevin Feige retiring as the mastermind behind these movies. The guy gets it. His successor might not. And these movies have been too good in his hands.
Fantastic Voyage was released just six months after I was born in 1966. I didn't see the film until years later thanks to cable television. It's the work that I most attach to Raquel Welch, who sadly passed away today at 82 years old.
But this was not the first time that I saw Raquel Welch in anything. I'm pretty sure that it was Mork & Mindy. I didn't know who she was, but my mom was quick to identify her when I asked WHO IS THAT?!?
Not from when she first walked on the screen like this...
But later on when she walked on looking like this...
Something that made a very big impression on my 13-year-old brain.
From there I made a point of watching anything with Raquel Welch, wherever she appeared. Up to and including Legally Blonde and Eugenio Derbez's How to Be a Latin Lover (her final film project). But it's Fantastic Voyage that I most associate with her (though the original Bedazzled and One Million Years B.C. are in the running)...
Fantastic Voyage was similar to the Disneyland ride Adventure Through Inner Space (which followed the movie the following year), which is why I probably crush on it so hard (as if Raquel in her skin-tight scientist suit wasn't enough)...
Alas, no appearance by Raquel Welch in the ride.
Rest in Peace to an iconic Hollywood bombshell.
Oh yay. I am spending more money I don't have!
Today only, the original Complete Series Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. was on sale for $35 at the iTunes Store. All eight seasons. All 162 episodes. I went ahead and snagged it, because that was too good of a price to pass up. Especially since the return of the excellent reboot (now on NBC/Peacock) has me feeling all nostalgic...
Ultimately, the show doesn't really hold up by modern standards. And yet... still incredibly entertaining. Tom Selleck had a flawless take on the character, and it made the show a lot of fun. Still prefer the reboot (Juliette Higgins is one of my favorite television characters of all time), but the original sure takes me back.
And it looks like I may be buying more shows and movies outright like this now that I am completely disenchanted with most all of the streaming services.
Netflix and HBO are cancelling everything. Paramount+ has one of the shittiest fucking apps ever created (that barely works even when it's working). And absolutely everybody is raising their prices. Essentially giving you less for more money.
Well good luck with that.
It just boggles my mind that streaming service CEOs are still in charge when their decisions drive customers away in droves. Disney just released a bundled deal to get Disney+ and Hulu bundled together... but it's the version with ads. In order to get them bundled for ad-free, you ALSO have to pay for ESPN+. What kind of stupid shit is this? I will never watch ESPN. I couldn't give two shits about ESPN. Not even one shit. Not a single shit given over ESPN. So no savings for me. I have to continue to pay for a non-bundle with zero savings.
Given that Paramount+ and HBO Max are making equally stupid-ass mistakes, I think I'm just going to cancel everything.
Cancel everything then rotate between all of them. Netflix one month. Hulu another month. Disney+ another month. HBO Max the next month. Congratulations on getting 1/6th the money off of me. Y'all deserve it.
The only one I'm going to keep year 'round is Philo. Thanks to their T-Mobile discount and sensible pricing, they're worth it.
I swear, I never thought that streaming would get this stupid this fast compared to cable and satellite, which was stupid from the jump. Now I'm to the point where I really just want to give up on television altogether.
Thursdays are quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. It means that there's only one more work day until the weekend... and it also means that new episodes of Poker Face and So Help Me Todd are airing. Well... not so much So Help Me Todd, because CBS keeps fucking around with their air dates (no new episodes until March 2nd and the previous episode was all the way back on February 2nd).But a really good new episode of Poker Face was to be had.
And, like every episode, I'm like HOW? How did they get such stellar guest-stars for each episode? This time we got Nick Nolte, Tim Russ, Luis Guzmán, and CHERRY JONES?!? And holy shit does Cherry deliver! The entire episode hinges on her performance, and she doesn't falter...
This show is glorious. IT'S GLORIOUS!!! Very much Columbo for a new generation.
After the episode was over, I put on Babylon because the cast was excellent. Except it's easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It's like they were all... let's just film extravagant shit and force feed it to people OVER THREE HOURS. Awful. It looks pretty and is shot beautifully, but that's it. What a waste of money and talent...
So I guess not everything on Thursday is bullet-proof after all. I should have just re-watched Poker Face.
A bit of a Summer setback for me today as the weather turned cold as balls, but never fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Zipline! Whenever I run across something incredibly cool that has been around a while... but I never heard of... that's gold right there. Take this drone delivery system that's been running for SIX YEARS. And I had no clue. This will be one of the coolest things you see in a bit...
Fantastic. Ingenuity like this gives me hope for the future.
• 1D! I keep running into songs by One Direction that kinda blow my mind. Like this song, which I had never heard before. I was scrambling to Shazam it thinking it was brand new. Nope...
It actually feels like a classic soft rock hit or something.
• Topol! The Flash Gordon movie from 1980 was absolute genius... even if most people didn't see it that way. I've seen it a dozen times or more, and will likely watching it many times more. A big part of what makes the movie work is the over-the-top performances, among them being Chaim Topol's performance of Dr. Hans Markov...
But that's not my favorite role of his. This honor goes to Columbo on the James Bond flick For Your Eyes Only, where he chewed up the scenery unapologetically...
Sadly, Topol passed away a couple weeks ago... but his legacy will live on with his works.
• Hyper-Real! I will never complain about any of my tax dollars going to NASA to explore our solar system and our universe. On the contrary, I wish more of my tax dollars went to NASA. Especially when I see images like this...
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, JPL, SSI, Cassini Imaging Team
You can get a much better view and more information on Saturn's moon Hyperion by going to NASA's website.
• TO INFINITY...! The stuff that you can do with LEGO truly knows no bounds. Take this infinite domino track...
Pretty nifty, isn't it?
• Cunk! Finally got around to watching Cunk on Earth (Netflix)... and it's madness. Absolute madness. Mostly because she sounds like a lot of real-life people...
It's relentless. She doesn't stop unleashing stupid. Ever. It just keeps going. And I am deceased.
• WORF! The first season of Star Trek: Picard was just okay, though the ending was messy. I didn't like the second season because it was a scattered crapfest and tried to shoehorn in characters that should have never been there in the first place. But this THIRD season? Holy crap. Quite probably the best Next Generation show I have ever seen. Cinematic and exciting. It will be very interesting to see if they can wrap it all up in a satisfying manner given that this is the last season we're getting. And ZOMG... WORF! His character has made a radical shift that's absolute genius, and Michael Dorn is playing him with such deft ease...
It makes me wish that this is what we were given from the start. Paramount+... please give Worf his own series ASAP, dammit!
• Flerfer! The thing I will never, ever understand is how there are people thinking that the earth is flat. It makes absolutely zero sense from every possible observable fact. We new about the earth being a sphere thousands of years ago. And yet... ignorance is still here. Which is why I love videos like this....
Of course it makes no difference how many facts you throw at Flerfers. Logic, reason, and common sense has already been thrown right out the window.
And away with you! Begone!
When it comes to a list of movies I love and have watched a multitude of times, Amélie would most certainly be on that list. Not only was it beautiful to look at, had an exceedingly smart and clever story, and made me fall in love with Audrey Tautou... but it was just fun. It had a whimsy and joyfulness that most movies... don't.
Plus it has a wonderful life lesson that is a genuine teaching moment to all humanity.
If you haven't seen it, I offer my highest possible recommendation...
And now genius director of the film, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, has released a shocking expose on the character 22 years after the film was released!
Well, it's a joke, but it's actually a darn impressive retrofit of the characters true nature. If you haven't seen the original film, this won't mean anything, so go watch Amélie first...
It all makes perfect sense!
Nice to know that Jeunet has a sense of humor about his work. Probably why he's such a freakin' genius.
Pixar has been really hit or miss with me lately.
Onward and Soul were disappointing. Luca was glorious. Turning Red and Lightyear were okay, but far from the greatness I expect out of the studio.
Then today we get the first full trailer for their upcoming June release, Elemental...
Other than Catherine O'Hara, I'm not familiar with the rest of the cast, which is a bit odd. When it comes to the movie itself, it looks like a mash-up of Inside Out and Soul, but not in a bad way? I guess? I mean, I'll definitely watch it when it hits Disney+, but it's not having me excited enough to run to the theater.
That's reserved for Adrian Molina's follow-up to Coco which is called Elio. It's coming out a year from now.
I have a love/hate relationship with Sonos Home Audio.
On one hand, they are very good speakers. The sound I get from a single Sonos One (the cheapest, smallest speaker in their lineup) is better than I get from the speakers on my pricey Sony television. Sonos speakers are very well balanced to handle just about everything. Music sounds just as good as audiobooks which sounds as good as TV shows and movies.
But on the other hand, Sonos can be incredibly frustrating. When I replaced my Sonos PlayBar with a Sonos Arc, I spent a full hour talking with their support to get everything working. It was supposed to be an easy, no-brainer task, but it sure didn't end up that way for me. And then there's weird networking drop-outs that happen at random and can be a real bitch to resolve considering the only thing I ever get told is "IT'S BECAUSE YOUR WI-FI NETWORK SUCKS!!!" (as if I have some kind of cheap-ass Wi-Fi router buried in the basement instead of dual AmpliFi Alien routers in a mesh network that blankets my home with perfect Wi-Fi).
In the end I am happy enough with Sonos to ignore its shortcomings (no line-in is fucking stupid on a level of fucking stupid that has me reconsidering what I consider to be fucking stupid given how expensive their speakers are... and don't get me started on not being able to use dedicated left and right channels for surround sound). I have quite a few of their products collected from Black Friday sales over the years, and most rooms in my house are covered with Sonos sound. Heck, I even have Sonos in the bathrooms so I don't have to miss what's happening on my television shows when I have to get up and go pee.
And then Sonos decided to get cute and offer a new line of "Era" speakers. The Era 100, which takes the place of their entry-level Sonos One speaker... and the Era 300, which takes the place of their long-abandoned Play 3 speaker.
At first I was going to safely ignore their new offerings because I have neither the money nor the desire to expand upon my speaker collection.
But then I learned that the Era 300 is designed from the bottom up to support Dolby Atmos and I was intrigued. Dolby Atmos allows precise sound placement within a room. This is usually reserved for theaters which can install speakers all the way around the seating area... along with the ceiling... so that the action can move around the room to match what you are seeing. It's a pretty nifty trick. The technology is something that is supposed to be supported by my Sonos Arc soundbar, but the effect is minimal to the point that it might as well not even exist at all.
The Sonos Era 300 has an up-firing speaker that looked substantial enough to actually maybe kinda support actual Atmos sound bouncing down on your from above...
So I used my final two Sonos upgrade credits and all the Black Friday money I had left after buying Neon Bad Monkey and pre-ordered a pair of them.
And now they're here.
And I'm just going to cut to the chase here. They are... pretty good.
Because whether or not you have great Atmos sound largely depends on the audio mix that movie and television studios add to their products. I've tested these speakers for hours with all kinds of movies available in Dolby Atmos, and it's very rare that I find myself going "Whoa!" because some sound playing above me was distinct enough to catch me by surprise. No, for the most part, you're largely just getting a better, fuller surround sound experience. Back-To-Front and Front-To-Back audio is far more distinct with those up-firing speakers because you can feel the "movement" better. Far better than I did with my Sonos Ones as rear speakers. For that reason alone I am quite happy with my purchase. And who knows? Maybe as more and more people have Dolby Atmos available at home, studios will start doing better mixing so that my speakers can take advantage of it.
Now lets get to the Dolby Atmos experience that's truly worth it... Atmos Music!
I tell you what... I had read that Apple was partnering with Sonos so that their spatial audio tracks would play on Sonos hardware... but I wasn't thinking of that when I fired up some music to see if it sounded good from the 300s. A couple tracks played and I was suitably impressed.
Then the song If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know) by The 1975 dropped and I thought I was hallucinating. Lead singer Matt Healy's vocals were IN FRONT OF the music. And acoustical queues were all over the room. If I closed my eyes, it was as if The 1975 were set up in my living room. Then I remembered about the Apple Music Atmos thing and, sure enough...
For many Dolby Atmos music tracks, what you hear is flat-out mind-blowing. The 1975 remixed all their stuff, and (for the most part) it's incredible. Some songs are more experimental than others. Some songs push it too far to the point of distraction. But most of the songs are perfectly rendered in a way that makes the whole experience... maybe not better... but perhaps nicely different.
All of a sudden I was scouring all my favorite tracks to see if they had Atmos mixes available.
And it was like discovering music all over again.
Yes, there are instances where the Atmos is a gimmick that doesn't work. But for others? It runs the gamut. The biggest surprise was Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour. Whomever came up with her mixes just knocked it out of the park (with a couple notable exceptions which are gimmicky as hell). It. Is. Sublime. In Oh, What a World when that banjo hits, I had chills running up my spine. It's a fantastic experience. My favorite Post Malone tracks were wonderfully mixed for spatial audio. The newest Taylor Swift album is beautiful. And some bands you just know were hopping on the bandwagon early with Atmos remixes... like ODESZA. The track they did with Namoi Wild, Higher Ground, feels like her vocals are ON TOP OF the music. Or something. I can't even begin to explain it. But it's fantastic. Of course, it was a great track even before spatial audio...
The highest praise I can offer for spatial audio and Dolby Atmos music is that, when mixed right, the vocals never get lost in the music. They are always distinct and rendered front-and-center. One of the best songs to hear this is with Miley Cyrus's Flowers. There's places that she harmonizes with herself. But when listening to it without Atmos, the voices blend together. With Atmos, however, the harmonizing backing vocals are... like... elsewhere. They don't merge or compete... they're just another part of the music. I don't know quite how to explain it. But once I hear the difference... then go back to regular stereo... I can no longer un-hear it because the Atmos version feels like it's the way you're supposed to be hearing it.
So... probably not returning my pair of 300s... even though there's some bullshit right out of the gate.
First of all, Sonos finally... FINALLY... added bluetooth and line-in to their speakers. But when you configure them to be part of a Dolby Atmos setup... YOU NO LONGER CAN USE THEM FOR EITHER! WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK, SONOS??
When that message popped up, it was all I could do to keep from throwing my phone against the wall. I was more than a little upset... I was fucking pissed.
I'm sure that Sonos will come up with some kind of bullshit excuse to explain it away, but the simple fact is that you could easily... easily... just have the speaker ignore all other input once the line-in is receiving input. This is not fucking rocket science. The fact that I can't just plug into one of my pricey new speakers with a frickin' line-in is so far beyond rage-inducing that I honestly don't know what to do with my anger from it.
But at least there's the option for a line-in... AT ALL.
If I were flush with cash I'd likely buy a single Sonos Era 300 for my bedroom and run a line from my television. That way I could have darn good TV sound along with a kick-ass speaker for music (the stereo separation from a single 300 is surprisingly good).
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
Assuming I win the lottery tomorrow, it's not enough to just buy a $450 Sonos Era 300 speaker for my television. YOU ALSO HAVE TO BUY A FUCKING $20 MINI-PLUG DONGLE! It's like... holy shit. There's fleecing your customers, and then there's Sonos fucking gouging their customers. This is pretty disgraceful.
So... to summarize in bullet points...
And there you have it.
If you've got a showroom somewhere near you with Sonos gear, it might be worth a look if you're thinking about investing in new speakers.
Spring has been one cold day after another for me on this 800th run at the bullets, but I am undeterred... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Invasion! When Secret Invasion was unleashed in the comic book world, it made for a wacky, weird, and wonderful story. Shape-changing Skrulls had been impersonating some pretty major players, and as everything unfolded you really didn't know who was going to be next. It's highly doubtful that the MCU will be able to go in this direction... it would be a massively expensive series if they did... but I'm still anticipating a few surprises along the way...
This has very much the feel of a Cold War thriller... except the deep-cover spies are Skrulls. And just look at the cast they got! Very excited to see where this leads... and what comes of it. If there are long-term consquences, it could make for some sweet stories later on.
• Singer! John Singer Sargent is one of my favorite painters... bridging the gap from the impressionists I love and the realists I admire. This short video gave me a new appreciation for his work, and is worth your valuable time to watch...
I love videos like this.
• Fun with Flags! And speaking of videos I love, CGP Grey makes some of my favorites...
I have no idea how he comes up with his ideas, but he has never released a video that wasn't fascinating. Even when they're as short as this one.
• Behind the Scenes! If you love the movie Arrival as I do, this is a real gem. But... spoilers... if you haven't seen it. Definitely watch the movie first...
The process that happens from story to screen is sometimes as fascinating as the film itself. Arrival is all kinds of interesting even without this. But with it?
• ZOMG! ZOMG! ZOMG! ZOMG! New Wes Anderson! This looks fantastic...
All of his films have a similar look and similar quirks to their characters. What makes them well worth watching is that all the stories are so different.
• Scotty! They are making a Scott Pilgrim animated series for Netflix... and all the actors from the movie are returning to voice their characters! I love it when massive stars like Chris Evans, Jason Schwartzman, and Aubrey Plaza signs on to do little projects like this. Obviously not a cash-grab for them... they just wants be a part of it. Very much looking forward to this, even though I thought Michel Cera was miscast in the original film.
Interesting to note that Young Neil is not so young any more! None of them are! The movie was THIRTEEN YEARS AGO!
Back under the blankets I go.
The point of this post is in the title... AppleTV is shit. But it's the best shit you can buy for streaming.
I'm not going to run through my many complaints. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you've probably already heard it all. If you haven't heard it? The GUI (graphic user interface) is fucking horrendous. If you own more than twenty movies or television shows, scrolling through all of them is a nightmare. Apple provides no alphabetical index on the side so you can at least jump to the first letter of the title you're looking for. It's fucking stupid.
Since the quality of the picture is so radically better when viewed through the AppleTV device instead of the GoogleTV app for AppleTV, I decided to ditch my AppleTV 4K (2017 Revision 1) for the newer AppleTV 4K (2022 Revision 3). And because I want to be sure that I get the smoothest possible playback, I purchased the "better" version which has Ethernet and 128GB.
The difference between Rev. 1 and Rev. 3 are slight at the start. Both support 4K DolbyVision HDR10 UHD playback. Both support Dolby Atmos. You have to pay extra for Ethernet now, but my Rev. 1 had Ethernet as standard. But then there's the improvements which really count... my old AppleTV was a slow mess with its A10X chip. It's radically snappier with the new A15 Bionic chip. I'm also working with the 128GB vs. the 32GB I used to have. And then there's the fact that Apple finally future-proofed their tech by using the HDMI 2.1 standard instead of the old 2.0. I am using Ethernet instead of WiFi, but if I were to use wireless, the new model comes with WiFi 6. The new one is also smaller and feels lighter than the old one too. As if all that wasn't enough, it contains a Thread mesh networking radio to become a border router for your HomeKit shenanigans and Matter Smart Home devices.
But the most welcome change? The controller...
Apple ditched their shitty fucking touchpad controller for a new controller that has a good heft and actual directional buttons. Which means that navigation doesn't randomly jump all over the place like it used to. I have no idea why it took them this long to replace that technology FAIL. But look how long it took them to replace their heinously shitty "butterfly keyboard" on their laptops. And... oh yeah... you can charge with USB-C instead of the ten-year-old Lightning connector that nobody else in the industry is using. Yay. Alas no charging indicator... you have to look up the battery level on your AppleTV.
The navigation buttons surround a select button to form a "clickpad" that's also touch-enabled, which is very cool for whizzing through video. You also have a dedicated power button(!) and a mute button(!). It almost as if Apple is listening to what their customers want! Color me shocked. Regardless of why they did it, Apple has gone from my most hated remote ever to my favorite remote ever.
I dare say that the remote upgrade is reason enough to upgrade. Mostly because I am actually using it instead of avoiding it and using a 3rd party remote.
When compared to Amazon FireTV, Google Chromecast, and Roku, AppleTV is way ahead (except for the navigation GUI, which is still the absolute worst). The only competitor they have in this space is probably the NVIDIA Shield, which offers more flexibility and connectivity, but looks like absolute ass. I borrowed one from a friend who tested it and ended up preferring it to my old AppleTV, but not the new AppleTV Rev. 3.
So... yeah... my home theater setup is now complete.
Over the next couple of days I'll be talking about the DolbyVision and Dolby Atmos that I'm getting through my AppleTV box. If that's not for you... then I guess I'll see you on Thursday!
In the right hands, I'm convinced that anything can become good entertainment.
But Barbie? As a feature film?!?
Well... yeah, apparently. It looks as if Greta Gerwig and an endless cast of stars may actually have managed to find a way to make it work. The new trailer looks visually exciting, and they have really leaned into what makes Barbie be Barbie. I mean... have you seen this?
Interesting how they are leaning hard into Magic Earring Ken, the gayest of all Ken dolls...
I tell you what... my respect for Ryan Gosling just keeps growing. The guy is fearless.
I'm not saying that I'll be running to the theater to see Barbie... but I will absolutely give it a rent on home video.
How could I not?
Building a truly great home theater is expensive. Over the years I have tried to create the best that I can afford. Which decidedly does not involve building a custom theater room. I just do the best I can with my living room. That, paired with the fact that electronics tend to get cheaper over time, has helped.
My sound recently got a major upgrade with a pair of Sonos Era 300's. Their ability to render a pretty good height channel for Dolby Atmos out of my Sonos Arc may not be as incredible as actual dedicated height speakers, but it's cheaper than ripping apart my walls to wire them in.
I wanted a cool $3,000 OLED TV when my old TV died, but that's way, way out of my budget. Instead I bought a mid-range Sony 65" KD65X80J for $780 on sale. It's far from perfect, but it has decent brightness, HDR color fidelity to display DolbyVision, and can pass-through Dolby Atmos sound. Which makes it worth paying $300 more than a cheaper model (until I check my wallet... then I'm all "What was I thinking?").
Which left me to my media source.
Early streaming efforts were pretty crappy. Color fidelity was awful. Motion artifacts were terrible. And resolution was abysmal. So I invested in a Samsung Blu-Ray 4K UHD player. The picture quality was outstanding. So sharp and saturated. But I could never get the advanced audio to work. Sonos couldn't handle DTS, it can only process Dolby Atmos. But some discs only came with DTS, which meant that I had to rely on conversion by other components, which usually didn't work and got me Dolby 5.1 instead. Rather than wasting money on Blu-ray Discs that may or may not give me the audio I was paying for, I abandoned it. And was thrilled about it, since most discs had a STOP PIRACY warning which you were forced to look at and couldn't fast-forward past (which is fucking stupid... I bought your fucking disc, didn't I?).
Then Apple came out with AppleTV 4K. It could stream much, much better quality 4K video in full HDR10 DolbyVision color, complete with Dolby Atmos. Which is to say that every movie I purchase from the iTunes Store which supported spatial audio would be in Dolby Atmos format for my Sonos system. Yay. When comparing the two visually and audibly, it's darn close to Blu-Ray UHD video quality. The only time I could tell was if I paused the video and compared it frame-by-frame. And so I started buying all my movies digitally, which is cheaper and easier than Blu-Ray anyway. Even if it does mean that I'm always under threat of the stuff I buy getting jerked from the iTunes Store and having nothing to show for it (which should be illegal... at the very least I should get my money back). It's a pity that the user interface for AppleTV continues to be incomprehensibly shitty, but I guess nothing is perfect.
So now I only use my Blu-Ray player for old movies that I am not able to re-purchase as digital, and it's not worth the hard drive space to rip them.
As for DolbyVision? Here are some of my favorites which are taking advantage of the HDR color gamut and video quality...
UPDATE: Ironic to note that after I wrote this entry, I was watching a movie when all of a sudden my Sonos Arc soundbar made a loud POP then the sound cut out. It was seriously loud. I thought that the dresser fell over in the guest room or something. I thought it had blew out, which seemed impossible given that I didn't even have the sound up that loud, but after unplugging and plugging back in, it was find. Until it happened again! After some Googling, I found that this is a KNOWN ISSUE and Sonos hasn't done shit about it. Apparently it has to do with several audio sources, including Xbox and newer-generation AppleTV 4K. Like the one I just bought. So, yeah, not sure where I go from here. I guess I call Sonos and complain (as everybody else has done) and hope they get off their fucking asses and fix the problem. Though this has been an issue for over a year and nothing's been done, so who knows. In the meanwhile, I've gone back to my original AppleTV 4K in the hopes that the Sonos problem will abate until it's resolved. If it gets resolved.
UPDATE-UPDATE: Two days running off the old AppleTV 4K, and no pops. I switch back to the Rev. 3 AppleTV 4K and they start up again. WTF?!? I am assuming that Apple is using HDMI and Atmos standards to make their little box... so what's the deal with Sonos? Frustrating. Am I never going to be able to update my media sources now?
When it comes to the Dolby Atmos spatial audio on my Sonos Arc soundbar, I was less than impressed. Despite buying a Sonos mount, positioning the soundbar 4-inches below my television as instructed, and cranking the height channel to maximum, I just wasn't feeling it. I'd watch scene after scene of the best Atmos mixes available, confirm that Sonos was receiving Atmos sound, and never heard anything of any substance. It was a heck of a punch to the gut after paying the money it cost me.
Then Sonos released the Era 300 (which I reviewed here) and all of that was supposed to change.
And so I bought into their game, fully expecting to return the speakers when they let me down as the Sonos Arc had done.
But then they actually ended up worth being the price of admission. Once I adjusted the rear speakers to point slightly inward... increased the height volume to maximum... increased the treble by a lot... increased the bass by a bit to compensate... and increased the surround audio a touch... it all kinda came together. The only thing I could do to improve it further would be to add a wall in my open living space so that the left channel could reflect instead of drift towards my kitchen. Something that's not in the cards, alas.
But still... darn good. Mostly for spatial audio music, because the Atmos mixes we get for home video is lacking. Though the situation is improving, some movies are more impressive than others. Below is a list of my favorites. My top two are films by Denis Villeneuve, who seems to take spatial audio very seriously.
What surprised me most was the Atmos mixes I liked the least. I read over and over and over that my favorite movie of 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road had some of the best Atmos work to date. And yet... I was seriously underwhelmed by the overhead effects, which were so random as to be distracting (unlike John Wick 2 where you can forget about it). The height channel would pop up when it wasn't needed... then be missing when you'd expect them to be there. It's bizarre. But still an incredible movie. I just think it sounds better with a 5.1 mix.
Which is rare.
Most times, the Dolby Atmos mix is incredible... even when it's not consistent. And finally... finally... I can hear it in my home theater thanks to the Sonos Era 300's.
I save a lot of stuff throughout the week, then choose the top six or seven items for that week's Bullet Sunday post. But with this one I just can't wait.
I saw this video which shows how the book Dune compares to the movie Dune: Part One and was so frickin' impressed that I re-watched it on my television. I've read the book at least a dozen times... watched the movie a half-dozen... and this video flawlessly shows how smart choices have to be made when filming an "unfilmable" novel.
Dune: Part One leaves a lot of stuff out, because you pretty much have to, but the stuff they jettisoned built a movie that honored the spirit of the original in a way that you could only dream of...
So many movies fail... badly... by either keeping too much or keeping the wrong stuff... or making changes that ruin the story. Dune: Part One is an example of how you do it right, even though the video points out that some things get lost that changes how you perceive the story.
But hopefully if people enjoyed the movie they'll read the book to get all that stuff back. The movie adaptation really doesn't change anything in a way that no longer makes sense when you experience the source material, which is exactly how you should do it.
We have to wait until NOVEMBER to get to see The Marvels, which is many months too long.
Especially when you look at this incredible new trailer that just dropped...
They came up with a great way to make this crossover happen, and Kamala Khan is adorable.
But it's seven+ months away.
An even bigger bummer is that Disney is dictating that Marvel slow down its output. "Quality over Quantity." And yet... in my mind it's not the movies that are suffering. Granted, I haven't seen Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania yet, but there hasn't been many missteps (only Eternals comes to mind, because it was a bit of a mess... but it's also a fun watch). No, for me it's the television shows that aren't up to the quality they should be.
But I haven't hated any of them.
I thought WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier were okay. Loki was good. Hawkeye was fantastic. Moon Knight was a disappointment. Ms. Marvel didn't live up to its potential. And I thought She-Hulk was good, but the ending leaned too hard into the whole fourth-wall-breaking stuff and short-changed the emotional stakes of the show.
Of the upcoming shows... Secret Invasion looks fantastic. Loki will likely be good. Ironheart could be great... if the story is worth watching. Echo I don't care about... unless it is guest-star heavy. Agatha: Coven of Chaos will likely not be my cup of tea (although I will absolutely watch it). And then there's Daredevil: Born Again... holy crap am I excited for this series. Charlie Cox's Netflix show was amazing, and his guest spot in She-Hulk was as good as it gets. I love the idea that he might be a little more upbeat and fun rather than the never-ending gloom of the Netflix show. She-Hulk shows that he can be serious... but also fun and exciting to watch. I hope they give him an overwhelming villain to really show off his abilities.
Marvel has done a great job bringing their comic book characters to live action. I seriously hope that their "stepping back" doesn't kill the momentum they've been building. Because we've got Secret Wars coming up, and that has such exciting possibilities that the potential for success is extremely high (assuming they really take advantage of what Secret Wars was and could be).
I like to keep on top of cinema. I belong to a number of forums devoted to film... both foreign and domestic. I follow a bunch of movie news sites on social media. I pore through streaming sites to see what's been released that looks interesting to me for one reason or another.
But every once in a while something comes along which takes me completely by surprise. It's a movie or TV show that I most definitely should have heard of, but didn't for some reason.
And that pretty much sums up Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel...
It's science fiction. It's British. It stars Chris O'Dowd and Anna Faris. It has an indy vibe. ANY of these factors mean that it should have crossed my radar, because all of these factors are things that I enjoy. And yet... here it was... just popping up on HBO like it's been there all along. AND IT'S FROM 2009?!?
It has very mixed reviews. And I get it. This is not a big-budget time travel flick with a massive budget and simple story. It's more intimate and complex than that. But I loved it. Very smart and clever with good ideas and a phenomenal cast. And it's funny. Very happy to have happened across it when I brought up HBO Max tonight.
After watching Frequent Questions About Time Travel, HBO recommended a film by Martin Scorsese that I have never heard of before... The Big Shave. And I thought "Well that's an odd title for a movie, I had better watch it!"
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST DISTURBING THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN AND IT IS ONLY SIX MINUTES LONG! WTF?!? It's from 1967... and I am now traumatized. Apparently it is a commentary on the Vietnam War. And because trauma loves company, I found it on YouTube to share with y'all (they don't allow embedding, so you have to click this link).
At first I was all "THIS is how Scorsese started filmmaking?!?" But then the more I thought about it, the more it makes perfect sense.
And then I fell through a rabbit hole on this film, Googling everything I could find out about it.
Life is weird, in general. The internet is weird, specifically.
It's no secret that Batman is my favorite comic book super-hero. Mainly because he's not "super" at all, but is instead a mere mortal with an amazing skill set that is able to hold his own with god-like beings. A good writer can make that interesting. A great writer can make that phenomenally entertaining.
At his core, Batman is a detective. The best Batman stories utilize this in one way or another. When I first started reading comic books, there were two titles devoted to him... Batman and Detective Comics, the latter being more detective-oriented than just a guy dressed as a bat pummeling bad guys.
Bringing the character to film has been a mixed bag over the years. Some efforts are good. Some efforts are very good. And a few are extraordinary.
And here's how I rank them out...
As a huge, huge, massively huge fan of all the Marvel Studios films, I was understandably looking forward to Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. The first two Ant-Man films were a blast, Scott Lang was fantastic in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, and Paul Rudd can literally do no wrong in my eyes.
It was finally released on home video, so I paid my $20 and tonight was the night...
The movie was good. I was entertained. But it was a huge step down from the previous two movies in every way but one.
First of all... the fun was gone. There were humorous bits, but everything was far more serious than what I was expecting, and not in a good way. I think that Marvel put the setup for their upcoming Avengers: The Kang Dynasty movie ahead of letting Ant-Man be Ant-Man. And I don't understand why. The only thing I can guess is that this was the only way Marvel would agree to make the movie, and they ultimately didn't care about making sure the tone of the film was Ant-Man driven. And that's a shame, because yeah... the movies aren't making a billion dollars at the box-office... but they do make money, so why not let them be who they are?
Second of all, the Quantum Realm is 97% of the film, and Ant-Man (as created for the Marvel Cinematic Universe) works better in the Real World. The wacky, weird, bizarre, large stakes stuff can work when the character is surrounded by heroes able to make it work, but alone? Not so much.
I love Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer but they kinda took over the movie. I like the idea of Stature (Cassie Lang) joining the MCU, but she kinda took over the movie too. There just wasn't enough Ant-Man and The Wasp Ant-Man and The Wasp, and that was a bummer for me.
And now to that one thing that was better than the previous two... the villain.
Jonathan Majors is so incredibly talented. Easily the best thing to come out of the film. His every scene is tangibly menacing... while still still being fairly subdued. That's not easy to achieve. This has me really, really excited for the direction that Phase 5 is taking since he's the new Thanos...
BUT THEN Major's domestic abuse charges happened. The woman who filed them has recanted... and his lawyer says there is video evidence to clear him... but his talent agency dropped him and he's been evicted from upcoming movies, which leads me to believe that there's something to the charges after all. I guess we'll find out after his trial. Depending on what happens there, Disney may drop him from all the upcoming movies he was set to appear in, at which point I guess he would be recast. Which would be a darn shame for Kang... but it's not like you can't not cancel the actor if there's evidence he's an abuser.
Ultimately, I'm not sure what this movie was supposed to achieve. I guess it was to introduce Kang, but Loki already did that. And the Kang that was introduced here didn't really tell you anything about Kang except he's a power-mad villain whose a very serious threat. And there are a lot of him coming down the pipe. But that could have been done in ten minutes in a more appropriate film. Devoting an entire Ant-Man movie to it was just way off base and a major misstep.
So... it is what it is.
But it could have been so much more.
The weather can't make up its mind lately, but I'm not letting grey skies ruin my weekend... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Ghosty Mc Ghost Ghost! I was SO looking forward to Ghosted on Netflix. The film didn't disappoint. Ana de Armas is frickin amazing... and the fact that Chris Evans could play absolutely ANYTHING he wants, but chooses to play the damsel in distress in this movie just makes me love him all the more (he had already completely changed my mind about his career trajectory with Gifted, which I also loved)...
This is a great action flick, and the performances are everything you'd hope they'd be given how outrageous the story is. There's also some notable cameos to watch out for, if you're interested in giving it a shot.
• Mrs. Davis Loves You! There's a new show on Peacock called Mrs. Davis. I'm loving it, but am having a hardtime putting into words why I'm loving it. Maybe the trailer will help?
Jake McDorman (from Limitless) is in it, which doesn't hurt. Also in the series? A very cool edition of Bristish Knights shoes...
Alas, you can't actually buy these, which seems like a hugely missed opportunity.
• Edna! Comedian Barry Humphries died this past week. He is most known for playing a character which I obsessed over for the longest time...
In one of those sublime ironies, Humphries grew famous for a drag performance, but was a noted transphobe. I always looked at him differently after that. Fortunately most of the time I knew of Dame Edna was well before he outed himself as a bigot. But still...
• S'more! I won't go so far as to say that I hated The Menu... but I came very close. It was a film based on manipulation and shock value which had no value. At least not to me. It also dragged on to the point of tedium once the plot had been revealed. This was a painful conclusion for me to draw, because I loved the cast and the performances were amazing. THAT BEING SAID... the end game was brilliant. From Anya Taylor-Joy's little monologue to Ralph Fiennes's response to Anya's last request to the final shot of the film. It's flawless and haunting. I have fast-forwarded the movie to the end to watch it at least six times. Including just now today...
It makes me want to re-cut the movie down to a 15-20 minute short which is nothing but that which could have been a great flick.
• Pricey Taco! I swear before the pandemic that I was able to walk into Taco Bell and get my usual Two Chalupa Supremes (substitute rice for beef), a side of Fiesta Potatoes, and a bottle of water for under $10. But now? SEVENTEEN FIFTY-SEVEN?!??
WTF?!? And what's worse? NOBODY TAKES YOUR ORDER! YOU HAVE TO INPUT IT YOURSELF ON A BACTERIA-RIDDLED TOUCH-SCREEN! Good thing I travel with hand sanitizer!
• Hey Siri! The fact that Siri has become so fucking useless for home automation shouldn't really surprise me, but it totally does. Lately when I ask Siri to play a song, all I get is "There's a problem with Apple Music." Ask to unlock the door... The front door is not responding (though I can unlock through the app just fine). Even turning on a frickin' light is hit-or-miss. And when you call Apple they don't know shit. About a music service I PAY them for. And HomeKit has always been useless, so I don't even bother to try and get support for that. And so... no idea what I'm going to do. Amazon and Google are pulling resources from their digital assistants, so I don't know if they'll even be around to switch to. Thank heavens I made sure that all my new devices are Matter compatible. Maybe some enterprising company (or individual) will come up with a localized voice assistant for Matter that I can buy to run locally. Then I get a small computer and some kind of Matter-compatible microphones and call it a day. Why is it that companies have failed so miserably with a technology that's supposed to be our future? It started out so promising... now this.
• Taters! I bought a bag of luxury potatoes because I wanted to make potato salad this weekend. But when it came time to do it tonight... I looked at the bag... and thought "ZOMG! I WANT CRISPY-FRIED SPICY POTATOES FOR DINNERRRRR!!" I love them, but they take SO long to make properly. You have to cook them on low under a cover to get them softened. Then you have to add oil and fry at a higher temperature. Then you have to keep micro-dosing oil on them and turning not too early and not too long so they brown up nicely. Then you have to taste continuously so you can add just the right amount of freshly-ground black pepper, salt, harissa spice, cayenne, and Central Street blend. BUT OH SO WORTH IT! So crispy! So spicy! So hot!
Most restaurants won't put in the time and effort. But I'm patient and have very good flipping skills with a skillet.
Now it's time to eat those beautiful taters.
Spring has sprung and the local orchards are killing me with allergies, but I am not dead yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Williams! John Williams is one of the... if not the... greatest movie composers of all time. A lot of people may debate this, but anybody who can take a pile of shit like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and make it even a little tolerable has earned the honorific. Duel of the Fates is an incredible piece of music. CinemaStix does a shallow dive into "The Best Decision George Lucas Ever Made, and here it is...
Williams was due to retire. But then we found out he was composing for the final Indiana Jones movie... Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny... and now it sounds like he has something cooking with Steven Spielberg too. Lucky us!
• Wes! And speaking of Star Wars... these Wes Anderson parodies just keep getting better and better. My previous favorite was the parody of what an Anderson X-Men film would be like. But this is my new favorite...
Wow. I would pay serious money to watch this film.
• ROBOTS! There are movies that I am completely hooked on before the trailer even reaches the halfway mark. This is 1000% one of them. It looks hilarious...
Since it's by HBO films, I'm guessing it will end up on "Max" eventually. We'll see if I can wait that long... or whether I'll be paying the on-demand price to see it before that.
• Hate System! Former Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has long been speaking out against bigotry, and on Friday this CNN interview was posted...
Say what you want about the guy but, in the grand scheme of things, he is a force for good in this world. We need more people like him.
• Beautification! This video is not for everyone. But if you're an architecture nerd like me, it's a wonderful, wonderful deep dive into reversing a horrible trend of turning cities into prisons. It's long, but I watched it twice because it was so interesting to me...
We need more of this happening in our cities. We need it.
• Puppers! This past week I saw a flood of "reaction" videos from people talking about the latest video from Lewis Capaldi. People bawling their heads off. People breaking down completely. And I was like "Whatever!" because I'm not a very emotional person, and just dismissed the "overreaction" outright. But then I watched it...
Then I was like "Yeah, I get it now." Humans and their antics may not often put a lump in my throat... but animals can do it quite easily. Couple the song with the video, and you can't be human and not react in some way to it.
• Undiplomatic! The Diplomat (Netflix) was very good television. It's dense and smart without being boring. It spins its wheels a bit, but ultimately moves ahead at a good clip. It also has fantastic performances that make it all the better. BUT THEN THEY END IT ON A MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER. Not about some small aspect of the story... BUT THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE STORY. It's like the story was cut in two and you only get the first half. Which is just fine if you've already been renewed for a second season. But, so far as we know, no second season has been ordered. Which means that the writers of the show are hacks of the fucking worst kind. They're too lazy to complete a story and then come up with a big idea to open the second season... instead they drop a bombshell so that they can just continue with what they've already done. No need to figure out a way to forge forward in a new, exciting direction... just roll onward from where you've already been. And if you get canceled? You don't care! Fuck your audience!...
I am so sick of this shit. IF YOU DON'T KNOW IF YOUR SHOW WILL CONTINUE, WRAP IT THE FUCK UP! STOP WITH THE UNWARRANTED CLIFFHANGERS YOU ABSOLUTE PIECE OF SHIT HACKS. This crap is fucking embarrassing, and I'm tired of it. — UPDATE! The show has been renewed for a second season. Which does nothing to stop my raging, because they could just keep doing this same shit each season until they're canceled and we're left hanging.
If I'm still alive from allergies next Sunday, you know where to find me.
Given how spectacular the Dune adaptation is... I was fully expecting that they would kill the followup film. Then, miracle of miracles, Warner Bros. gave Denis Villeneuve the green light for Part Two. I was elated. At the very least we'd be getting a full adaptation of the first book. And hopefully get some followups, because the story is just getting started.
And today the trailer dropped.
It's everything you'd hope it would be...
And speaking of Dune...
There's a new "behind the scenes" book being released about the first Dune movie.
Yes, I'm going to buy this book.
I will say it for the hundredth time... David Lynch's Dune was a great movie. Yes, I questioned some of the choices made. Yes, the special effects were limited by the technology of the day. But the fact he was forced to shove the entire book in one movie and have it turn out as amazing as it did is worthy of praise. Do I prefer the Villeneuve 2021/2023 adaptation? Yes. Does this diminish my appreciation for what Lynch was able to accomplish? It does not. I've watched it dozens of times and still love it.