04.02.08


A new movie titled ‘The Fall’ that has managed to fly low under the radar was brought to my attention today. When I heard that both David Fincher and Spike Jonze were involved in producing the project my ears were perked. Equally interesting is the fact that the movie was directed by Tarsem Singh, who helmed the movie The Cell which was hotly debated as visually orgasmic and devoid of substance. I always felt the visuals in that movie were spectacular on a personal note.

The story is set in Los Angeles, circa 1920 and involves a little girl that has been hospitalized to recover from a fall. She strikes up a friendship with a bedridden man who begins weaving her into a fanciful story that helps her escape the confines of the hospital and whisks her away into the world of imagination.

The movie is already garnishing critical acclaim and it really does look like it could be something special. Considering the names and players involved, I am not going to miss it. The movie opens in theaters May 9th.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,

03.23.08

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Rumors are already abounding about the upcoming big budget Paramount studios G.I. Joe movie that is set for a 2009 summer release. I have known about the project for some time now and was reminded while reading Kitsune Noir tonight that I needed to write about it. So, my thanks to Bobby for reminding me to get off my ass and familiarize my readers with G.I. Joe as well. It was by far one of my favorite line of toys and cartoons as a child, so I have no idea why I have neglected so far to write about it. My younger brother and I were just discussing over this weekend how we use to run home from school so we wouldn’t miss it.

Here is the plot synopsis so far as it was released by the studio: “From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite co-ed GI JOE team, based from it’s headquarters The Pit, deploys the latest in next-gen spy and military equipment to fight crooked arms dealer Destro and the growing threat of the mysterious COBRA organization from plunging the world into chaos.”

Hmm. Sounds fairly similar to the cartoons we grew up with as young bright-eyed American school boys. My mom never throws anything away and apparently has most of my younger brother and I’s G.I. Joe toys at home stashed away in a box in her basement. My brother and I had a huge collection of G.I. Joe action figures and kids would come form all around the neighborhood to play with them. We used to stage full on wars in my bedroom and even take them outside do battle on our deck in the back yard. When we were let out at recess during elementary school we would role play as different G.I. Joe characters breaking into teams to wage war on the playground. It was always fight as to who got to be Snake Eyes. You can see why with the attached image featuring the full on Snake Eyes regalia from the movie. Every kid is a sucker for ninjas.

The complaint so far about the movie seems to be that they have shifted focus away from the G.I. Joe team having any affiliation with the American Army. Paramount has confirmed that in the movie, the name G.I. Joe will become an acronym for “Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity” Fans are already upset at the action but the studio claims that the current world political outlook is more than a little unfriendly at the notion of a group of American military superheros who have set out to stop evil from ruling the world. I can’t imagine why they would assume such a thing. Sorry for the sarcasm, I just couldn’t resist.

The real question is, will the movie be good or are we due for another Transformers? Stephen Sommers has been chosen as director for the project. Summers is the man behind a string of campy movies including The Mummy series and Van Helsing. Screenwriters have been chosen who have helped pen movies like the Pirates of the Caribbean and Swordfish. Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce G.I. Joe along with Hasbro honcho Brian Goldner. Sommers and his partner Bob Ducsay will also produce. Apparently Sommers first walked away from the project only to walk back on and take the deal. So, will all of the collective experience with these over-the-top blockbusters be what G.I. Joe needs to create the magic sauce? I think it’s anyone’s guess.

Here is how the cast is shaping up so far:

Channing Tatum / Duke
Sienna Miller / The Baroness
Joseph Gordon-Levitt / Cobra Commander
Dennis Quaid / General Hawk
Rachel Nichols / Shana ‘Scarlett’ O’Hara
Christopher Eccleston / Destro
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje / Heavy Duty
Ray Park / Snake Eyes
Marlon Wayans / Ripcord
Arnold Vosloo / Zartan

There are some interesting players on the roster. Apparently George Clooney was originally sought after for the role of Duke but who could blame him for saying no after his experience with the Batman series. So, is anyone else wondering when they are going to make the Gobots or Thundercats movies? Is anyone else also wondering why they would make more of these movies? Well if you are, I can give it to you in a word and that word is ‘money’. I am on the fence as to whether or not I really think producing movies like this is a good idea or not. I would just like to see our generations Clockwork Orange come along one of these days but it seems like so much money goes towards the productions of movies like G.I. Joe. Then again, you could ask me, ‘Will you go see it?’ To which I would have to reply, ‘probably’.

written by Christopher | tags: , ,

03.16.08

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I reserve the right and encourage it in my other posters and editors to use this blog, when the inspiration and occasion align, to speak the absolute truth and talk about art that has really moved them. If we can’t speak honestly to each other in a so-called ‘creative industry’ then where lies the rationality behind the pursuit of something we revere as raw and pure?

Over my ‘Christmas break’, as we call it here in the states, I picked up and casually read the John Krakauer book, ‘Into the Wild’. Something in that book stirred me in a way I hadn’t felt since I was a young boy. I recalled reading ‘Call of the Wild’ by Jack London and remembered the simple logic in recognizing that there was a line that divided the ‘civil’ life and the other more ‘rugged, ragged and wild’ life that could be equally or even more real than the world we were taught to accept in school. There is a yearning for the wild in the heart of every American that forces them to live in question of what our country has become. What do riches mean? Do they really enrich or do they enslave? Is not the sound of nature at night more visceral and true than the sound of cars and sirens? Would I really rather be at the heart of the dying beast of civilization, or would I rather be there in the dirt amongst the other beings of the Earth communing with the more honest existence that drove the history of mankind?

I think that is a duality that we all feel, even at a low murmur in our lives within the microcasms of our national societies. Just out there, beyond our vision, is another kind of life where we wouldn’t need any of the material excess we have been taught to fear life without. In a very real way, we could just walk away from all of this and still find meaning in our experience. There is also that other sheer joy in life that is love. Love is something that only feels real when it is shared with another. This sharing requires a certain proximity to society. Here is the dual nature we find ourselves in at present times.

That is what ‘Into the Wild’ is essentially about, at least to me it is. The book made me examine my life closely and really think about what my motives are and what they mean in the context of life. I think that actor, but this time Director Sean Penn must have had the same reaction because he was able to bottle an energy in the movie that made me feel all the same feelings the book made me feel. The movie is so carefully crafted that each scene, whisper, breath, note and spoken word propels the exposition and impact of the story to it’s inevitable conclusion. Regardless, of how you feel about the central character, Chris McCandless, you can identify with his yearning for a truer kind of truth. You may not even like him, or agree with the pain he inflicted, but you can see what he was reaching for no matter how flawed his attempt was. Sometimes, understanding someone is more important than liking them.

Penn must have felt these same feelings in his own life to have captured it so well in this movie. The experience, if you are listening and open, is almost wholly absorbed into your own subconscious through the vehicle of the film so much so that you can’t help but feel moved. The actors must have been equally compelled by the story because each character seems to have been meticoulously chosen to embody the truest sense of each character. Hal Halbrook portrays and exudes a certain kind of wisdom in the movie that seems so real it is almost impossible to believe any acting was involved. The lead role, acted by Emile Hirsch is also perfectly cast. You feel as if the young reckless actor is almost transformed into the character he is portraying. My heart was wrenched by this film and if you are due for a little heart wrenching yourself, you should go watch it now.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,

03.14.08

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Alright, here we go. Yet another comic book movie. This one carries a little extra baggage however than the average comic book movie, especially when you consider how bad the first one bombed. Hulk was stern though and had a lot of ammo backing his vie for the making of Hulk 2, and it looks like he has finally gotten his way (with A-list actors to boot).

If you haven’t heard, the long awaited trailer for the new and supposedly improved ‘The Incredible Hulk’ movie aired this week on MTV. First I have to clear the air by saying that I absolutely love the actors involved. My thumbs are up all the way around when you are talking about Edward Norton, Tim Roth and Liv Tyler. So, that gives me a lot of hope. However, just judging by the visuals so far, it seems like a lot of hard candy without much of anything chewy in the middle. The looming question is, when will these movies reach the saturation point? What does it take to satiate the appetite of this seemingly rabid fan base? It just seems like a kind of pointless exercise in, ‘my effects are bigger than your effects’. When actors like Norton get involved all the way down to producing and screenwriting it makes you curious. Maybe it will be good.

You can watch the trailer now in HD at The Incredible Hulk website and decide for yourself. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,

03.12.08

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A Blu-ray version of the Helvetica documentary was released today. The Helvetica Blu-ray high-definition disc in a special limited-edition package conceived and was designed by Dutch design studio Experimental Jetset. The 12″ gatefold record cover holds a 4-panel Blu-ray disc insert in one side and a fold-out poster (60cm x 60cm / 23.5″ x 23.5″) in the other. The whole package comes in a custom black cloth record bag. All of the above items of course feature a beautiful black and white Helvetica inspired layout.

Only 1,500 copies have been produced, and this edition will not be reprinted. Each copy is signed by director Gary Hustwit. You can pre-order your copy now but the ship date isn’t until May 6th. If the price tag is a little steep but you still want to own the documentary, you can order the standard blu-ray version for only $26.

If you haven’t heard of Experimental Jetset then after you finish purchasing your copy of the documentary, you might want to drop by and look through their work. Don’t ask me why, I have known of them for quite some time but for some odd reason have slipped on posting about them and their work. The studio, or more aptly ‘team’ gelled in 1998 and consists of Dutch trio Marieke Stolk, Danny van den Dungen, and Erwin Brinkers. It’s almost a guarantee you have seen their work in person at least once. One of their claims to fame is the infamous 2K by Gingham Beatles shirt. You remember, the one that read ‘John & Paul & Ringo & George‘. Since then they have gained more and more noteriaty exhibiting around the world and back. They claim that their site is a work in progress and they have trouble keeping it up to date. I think anyone out there in the creative business could relate to that.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,

03.11.08

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It’s no secret that there has been a bit of a creative dry spell in Hollywood as of late. Honestly though, there isn’t really a dry spell at all. There are always great ideas for scripts floating around out there. The problem is, the film industry has begun cannibalizing itself by focusing on turning a profit as opposed to producing art. It’s all part of the bigger ‘art as commodity issue’ that seems to have trickled down to every aspect of what is happening to all fields under the creative umbrella.

One of the most reliable genres of films in turning a profit is the Comic Book Movie. After Tim Burton’s Batman, studios were clamoring to find the next big comic book idea to bring to screen.

Few of these releases have been based off of comics that the rabid fans deem classic. That is changing next year with the Warner Brothers release of the movie Watchmen based on the comic stylings of Alan Moore. The plot of the movie centers on a world inhabited by super heroes, set in 1985 on the brink of a nuclear war. The story opens on the mysterious murder of one of the Watchmen and the implications of why someone would do such a thing.

Regardless of how you feel about these kinds of movies, this one is a fan-boy’s dream come true. Director Zack Snyder was chosen for the project because his big screen adaptation of comic-book legend Frank Miller’s The 300. Gaging the excitement created by the 300 and the massive turnout on opening day, Warner Brothers is banking on a sure thing and hoping for their next big fix. Mouths are already frothing at the promotional images being released by the studio as the costumes appear to be fairly true to the depictions in the original comic book.

The movie is set to release in almost exactly a year. Keep your eyes peeled because I am sure it will be hitting the internet in a big way. You can read all about how things are progressing at the Official Watchmen Movie Blog written by none other than Director Zack Snyder himself.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,

01.29.08

I know this post might be a little off topic for a design and politics blog but I found it interesting no less so here it is. Wesley Snipes was apparently convicted of evading taxes and his trial was cut short yesterday when his defense team apparently rested its case early citing lack of evidence on the part of the prosecution. Snipes is claiming he sincerely believed he didn’t have to pay taxes and was even demanding to be paid back taxes he had already paid. He stopped filing his returns in 2000. Snipes says he was the victim of unscrupulous accountants who convinced him he didn’t have to pay any taxes.

Whew, what is that smell in here? It smells like…yuck what is that? Oh, yikes I am pretty sure that’s bullshit I smell.

I guess we will have to wait and see if the court smells it too.

written by Christopher | tags: , ,