In 1927 Claude Friese-Greene shot some of the first-ever color film footage ever taken around London. He captured everyday life in the city with a technique innovated by his father, called Biocolour. The British Film Institute used computer enhancement to reduce the flickering effect of the original Biocolour and bring us this striking rare film which transports us back through time.
In connection with the 36th Anniversary (on May 25th) of the opening of the first Star Wars movie, Alex Jay chronicles (in detail) the evolution of the Star Wars logo.
Lucas turned to Suzi Race to design a new Star Wars logo. She wrote about her involvement in a two-part post on her site: part one and part two. The Star Wars Poster Book (Chronicle Books, 2005) had a short account of her role:
...Though the poster contained no painted imagery, it did introduce a new logo to the campaign, one that had been designed originally for the cover of a Fox brochure sent to theater owners….Suzy Rice, who had just been hired as an art director, remembers the job well. She recalls that the design directive given by Lucas was that the logo should look “very fascist.”
“I’d been reading a book the night before the meeting with George Lucas,” she says, “a book about German type design and the historical origins of some of the popular typefaces used today—how they developed into what we see and use in the present.” After Lucas described the kind of visual element he was seeking, “I returned to the office and used what I reckoned to be the most ‘fascist’ typeface I could think of: Helvetica Black.”
I thought to myself, “Oh, that sounds like a fun story.” So I just started writing.
I started at noon and I was done by 1pm. I’d expected that maybe a hundred nerds would read it and enjoy it, and that some people would have had a fun lunch hour because of me. Instead, it changed the trajectory of my life. By the time I went home at five it’d had a quarter-of-a-million readers, a week later I had a manager, and a week after that I had a contract with Warner Brothers. They brought me on to write a treatment, and then a screenplay based on that treatment.
In 1972 Andrei Tarkovsky told Leonid Kozlov about his favorite films. Tom Lasica recently talked with the critic.
I remember that wet, grey day in April 1972 very well. We were sitting by an open window and talking about various things when the conversation turned to Otar Ioseliani’s film Once Upon a Time There Lived a Singing Blackbird. “It’s a good film,” said Tarkovsky and immediately added, drawing out his words, “though it’s, well, a little bit too… too…” He fell silent with the sentence half finished, his eyes screwed up. After a moment of intense reflection, he bit his fingernails and continued decisively, “No! No, it’s a very good film!” It was at this point that I asked Tarkovsky if he would compile a list of his favorite ten or so films. He took my proposition very seriously and for a few minutes sat deep in thought with his head bent over a piece of paper. Then he began to write down a list of directors’ names – Buñuel, Mizoguchi, Bergman, Bresson, Kurosawa, Antonioni, Vigo. One more, Dreyer, followed after a pause. Next he made a list of films and put them carefully in a numbered order. The list, it seemed, was ready, but suddenly and unexpectedly Tarkovsky added another title – City Lights.
After the list had been typed and signed “16.4.72 A. Tarkovsky,” we returned to our conversation, during which he quite naturally changed the subject and started with his gentle sense of humor to talk about something of no importance. Looking back at the list today, 20 years on, it strikes me how clearly his choices characterize Tarkovsky the artist. Like the numerous top ten lists submitted by directors to various magazines over the years, Tarkovsky’s list is highly revealing. Its main feature is the severity of its choice – with the exception of City Lights, it does not contain a single silent film or any from the 30s or 40s. The reason for this is simply that Tarkovsky saw the cinema’s first 50 years as a prelude to what he considered to be real film-making. And though he rated highly both Dovzhenko and Barnet, the complete absence of Soviet films from his list is perhaps indicative of the fact that he saw real film-making as something that went on elsewhere. When considering this point, one also needs to bear in mind the polemical attitude that Tarkovsky became imbued with through his experience as a film-maker in the Soviet Union.
For Tarkovsky, the question lay not in how beautiful a film-maker’s art can be, but in the heights that Art can reach. The director of Andrei Rublov strove for the most profound spiritual tension and extreme existential self-exposure in all his work and was ready to reject anything and everything that was incompatible with this end. His list, which includes three films by Bergman, undoubtedly reflects his taste both as a director and as a viewer – but the latter is subordinate to the former. As the way he began to compile his top ten shows, this is not only a list of Tarkovsky’s favorite films, but equally one of his favorite directors.
Not my “Top Ten” list, but certainly not an implausible collection, one particularly indicative of Tarkovsky’s metaphysical obsession. What I found curious was the omission of The Passion of Joan of Arc, and Tarkovsky’s apparent unfamiliarity with the films of Eric Rohmer and Yasujiro Ozu.
Tasteless and moronic video by Jim Carrey simultaneously sneering at rural America, insulting the late Charleton Heston, and blaming American gun owners for violence. If anyone ever doubted that Carrey is an asshole and an idiot, just watch this. He is so spectacularly stupid that he obviously thinks this is clever, and that the chain of consequences alluded to in the rapid patter, closing section of the song makes some kind of sense.
The left dominates the media, the universities, Hollywood, the arts, all the engines and apparatuses of communication and creation of culture. Jonathan Chait, in New York magazine, freely admits what everybody knows, and openly gloats.
You don’t have to be an especially devoted consumer of film or television (I’m not) to detect a pervasive, if not total, liberalism. Americans for Responsible Television and Christian Leaders for Responsible Television would be flipping out over the modern family in Modern Family, not to mention the girls of Girls and the gays of Glee, except that those groups went defunct long ago. The liberal analysis of the economic crisis—that unregulated finance took wild gambles—has been widely reflected, even blatantly so, in movies like Margin Call, Too Big to Fail, and the Wall Street sequel. The conservative view that all blame lies with regulations forcing banks to lend to poor people has not, except perhaps in the amateur-hour production of Atlas Shrugged. The muscular Rambo patriotism that briefly surged in the eighties, and seemed poised to return after 9/11, has disappeared. In its place we have series like Homeland, which probes the moral complexities of a terrorist’s worldview, and action stars like Jason Bourne, whose enemies are not just foreign baddies but also paranoid Dick Cheney figures. The conservative denial of climate change, and the low opinion of environmentalism that accompanies it, stands in contrast to cautionary end-times tales like Ice Age 2: The Meltdown and the tree-hugging mysticism of Avatar. The decade has also seen a revival of political films and shows, from the Aaron Sorkin oeuvre through Veep and The Campaign, both of which cast oilmen as the heavies. Even The Muppets features an evil oil driller stereotypically named “Tex Richman.”
In short, the world of popular culture increasingly reflects a shared reality in which the Republican Party is either absent or anathema. That shared reality is the cultural assumptions, in particular, of the younger voters whose support has become the bedrock of the Democratic Party. ...
[The] capacity to mold the moral premises of large segments of the public, and especially the youngest and most impressionable elements, may or may not be unfair. What it is undoubtedly is a source of cultural (and hence political) power. Liberals like to believe that our strength derives solely from the natural concordance of the people, that we represent what most Americans believe, or would believe if not for the distorting rightward pull of Fox News and the Koch brothers and the rest. Conservatives surely do benefit from these outposts of power, and most would rather indulge their own populist fantasies than admit it. But they do have a point about one thing: We liberals owe not a small measure of our success to the propaganda campaign of a tiny, disproportionately influential cultural elite.
The Daily Caller reports Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld’s mocking reaction to Sarah Jessica Parker’s plea during Sunday’s MTV Music Awards for viewers to support Obama.
Well, I tried to watch the MTV Movie Awards last night but something stopped me — oh yeah, I threw up,” Gutfeld said. “If MTV were a person, it would be the divorced dad getting an earring trying to hit on his teenage daughter’s friends. It’s the old fool trying to be cool. I admire, however, how the aging in-crowd sticks together even as they fall apart. Take the ad that aired during the awards with that annoying lady with three names. In it, she raffles off a dinner with herself, the president and his wife.”
“‘We need him and he needs us.’ Who is ‘we?’” Gutfeld asked. “I call it a co-dependence of cool where both sides cling to each other while everyone else jumps ship. Celebs, desperate to be seen as smart and not shallow, cling to Obama as the p.c. life raft during auditions, Frappuccino runs and coke parties. Saying ‘vote Obama’ beats thinking. It’s the best thing to happen to no-talents since breast implants, which is why Hollywood is now Obama’s volunteer PR army and personal ATM machine. But while the prez and this cult are the best star-pairing since ‘Thelma and Louise,’ — you know how that ended. And also, if Anna Wintour is the face of the campaign … your campaign may need a facelift.”
The trailer for the Bob Loveless tribute documentary which premiered in Los Angeles on April 26th is now on-line. Presumably the filmmakers will eventually be offering it for sale on DVD.
“Among his peers, Robert ‘Bob’ Loveless achieved the title, ‘living legend.’ He was the superstar of the custom knife world and you would have to reach far and wide to find someone to say differently. He was respected and his knife designs are the most copied around the world. He was a modern times genius. He had the eye and the taste. When you get a Rolex right, a Ferrari right, a Porsche right, you don’t mess with it. Same with a Loveless knife. Bob was fearless, gentle, stubborn, loving, generous, witty and sometimes just outright mean. Bad or good, that was Bob. . . he lived life ‘his way.’”
Yahoo informs us that the arrival of Joss Whedon’s latest cultural contribution is just around the corner.
Anticipation for the film is off the charts, and having Whedon running the show reassures Marvel fanboys that it’s been done right, since he’s been one of them from childhood, and informs general audiences that it’s worth their time, since he has a gift for taking far-out tales into the mainstream.
The film opens in U.S. theaters May 4 and a bit earlier in many overseas territories.