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Muse of Fire

Infomercial for Amateur Book/Rushed Film about Writing Workshops
This film left me alienated for the whole of the film. While it is about a series of Operation Homecoming writing workshops and features authors reading their works, I kept expecting it to go to the next step and sell me the book. (It has a brief shot of the cover in the beginning.) However, it never really did, although it had that feel. Instead it presented information about some seemingly nebulous workshops where everyone discovered he or she was a writer. This is what makes the film so alienating, yet promotional at the same time. The workshops have passed. We cannot attend them anymore. Supposedly thousands attended them and got something out of them. At least those in this cast did. But they are still in the past and we can not go back and participate in them. So what are you and I to do? I guess, the short answer is to buy the book. But the film ignores the book again until it is mentioned in the closing credits. (The other answers apparent are to write ourselves, attend or start writing workshops, or support writing and the other arts.) Do viewers learn any specifics about when the Operation Homecoming workshops occurred? Where they were held? What topics were covered? Were there instructors besides the few interviewed in the film? Was anyone dissatisfied with them? Maybe all had the glorious awakening of the cast of this film. There is little or no film footage of any workshops, so is the film an afterthought? Another aspect that contributes to the lack of clarity of this film is the super-quick display of title frames introducing the next performance. It is frequently not enough time to read the name of the author, his or her relationship to the project, the title AND the type of writing. At least once, the viewer is expected to read all this, while listening to the end of the previous subject's thoughts with underscoring music in two seconds. Other times they are silently displayed and for longer (four full seconds) periods of time. Crediting captions also appear in the lower right corner as a performance begins, these being displayed longer. Clarity and understanding is lost if the viewer doesn't get it all read before the poem or reading begins. In fact at least one of the writers talks about clarity being important in the bonus features' interviews. The poems and readings are okay, nothing to get real excited about. But they do display the author's feelings, emotions, and thoughts which is the major point of the film. Just get it out and write it down. That's something I don't disagree with, but I am disappointed in the film. (I still am waiting for it to describe the book.) Still, it does make me curious enough to possibly borrow the book, as I like to read, from the library (as I did the DVD), but probably not enough to buy it for myself.

Noah's Ark

Careless error in Noah's Ark DVD memory game.
Recently I borrowed a copy of this mess of a movie, which took me three sessions over three days to get through. That's another comment in the making.

But what I wanted to comment on first was the carelessness on the special features of the DVD. It included a game of memory, which asks the player/viewer to match up pairs of animals in order for them to board the ark. However, every time it reveals the chosen animal, the screen prompts the player to find (or congratulates the player on finding)"it's mate." This is a spelling error since it should be "its mate" as possessive pronoun, not a contraction for "it is." It is an annoying error to keep repeating 16 or more times to finish a game. Of course, it's a kid's activity really, but teaches kids incorrect spelling.

And, oh yeah, the game never changes. It is the same game with the same locations of the same animals each time. Plus it doesn't keep score, like the number of moves it took to solve the game. So there is no lasting value or challenge to it. It's just a feature to list on the packaging.

Simply put, there could have been more thought and care put into this "special" feature, just like there could have been more thought and care put into this muddled film.

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