Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Shopgirl, Steve Martin's new movie, starring Steve Martin, with a script by Steve Martin, from a novella by Steve Martin, directed by Anand Tucker, may someday be seen as a classic film of American Minimalism.
It is not a bad movie. It is a good movie. The acting is good. The visual quality is good. The story is good.
It is like a French romance movie without the wit, the intensity, the surprise, the romance, the je-ne-sais-quoi, the richness, or the imagination of the best French cinema.
Unfortunately, with only three characters, and bordering on a vanity project, it is impossible not to guess the course of the whole movie from the first few minutes. And while I believe that there are people in the real world who would behave like the people in the movie (or, presumably, the people in the novella, which I did not read), I was not sure that the characters as portrayed in the movie were actually doing things I believed that they would do.
It is, however, the very absence of depth that is the (possible) virtue of the movie, which is the essence of simplicity.
The film seems to be making a statement about people whose behavior is just a little more complicated than they themselves are. Most films are about people whose actions come from inside; in this movie, the characters seem to be blown by the winds.
STREAMING MEDIA EAST 2006
With broadband to the PC reaching significant levels, Internet Video is becoming more and more important.
Even MS has gone back to 1999 and is trying "original entertainment programming on the Web" again (see the NYT [*] story of May 3, 2006).
The next conference to check out is Streaming Media East, (at the Hilton, NYC, May 23-24) for the latest in Internet Video news, products, and networking (both the Internet kind and the human kind).
[*] For the NYT story online you need to be a registered user (it's currently free).
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
VIDEO CALLS FOR FATHER'S DAY
On Mother's Day we tried video calling to Europe and across the US with Skype & SightSpeed.
Both are terrific.
On a PC, Skype seems to have a slight edge in video and a bigger edge in voice quality. However, Skype does not seem to have video for the Mac yet. So, to call a Mac we used Skype voice and SightSpeed video.
Both systems are free and incredibly easy to set up, and making the call is free and easy too.
So get your kids, your parents, or your grandparents set up by Father's day and try it.