Friday One Sheet: Welcome To Me

It’s been a good week for Kristen Wiig, an actress who has come a long way to celebrity, and can now comfortably anchor a film on her star power alone. Her latest film gets one of the most handsome pieces of marketing this year, which to me evokes a South Korean style of doing movie posters; lean design elements, precisely spaced and coloured. The credit block is pushed up to the top, which is just the right amount of unusual from typical poster convention. And then there is that boom mike coming in off from the left. Do we need to know more? The tagline on the poster is so white it is nearly invisible, so here is an synopsis excerpt from the 2014 TIFF catalog, where it quietly played last year:

Alice Klieg suffers from borderline personality disorder, and though she manages it — and the accompanying medications and therapeutic care — fairly well, past tumult has left a broken marriage and strained familial relationships in its wake. She finds grounding in her daily routine, which includes memorizing every episode of Oprah and carefully monitoring her wardrobe and protein-laden diet. One can’t help but get the sense that Alice is straining to embrace bigger things, and when her numbers come up in the state lottery, suddenly she gets focused… on eighty million dollars’ worth of possibilities. In quick succession, Alice buys a stretch of hours at a local television company, eschews her medication and therapy, moves into a casino, and creates her own talk show about — what else? — herself. As her show gains an audience (despite some off-the-wall cooking and medical demonstrations), Alice realizes that viewers identify with her re-enactments of past hurts and social slights. What she doesn’t recognize is that her own hunger for fame may just reflect a deeper need to be heard.

Friday One Sheet: Foreground [No Way To Live]

I love the idea in this poster, but am nonplussed about the execution. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 percent of movie posters have a gun in them somewhere. OK, I made that stat up, but you get the idea. But do like the idea of having something in the foreground, clearly not in the poster, in front of the poster, but still in the poster. Am I making sense? Look at the gun being brandished. I’m sure someone will be a bit more creative with the idea in the near future. But for now, here is your possible new trend in One Sheet design. Much like putting age/distress into the design (which you will note is also used above) or plastering text over peoples faces, I expect to see designers, riff away on this idea, until it is pounded into a cliche, but for now it feels fresh.

Friday One Sheet: Type.

Both in their films and in their marketing, the Coen Brothers seem to always have a love and respect for good old fashioned typesetting. From the art deco of The Hudsucker Proxy to the wanted poster stylings of their True Grit remake. For their latest film, this simple, but boldly styled teaser poster continues that tradition with a playbill kind of vibe. The eye in the guitar is the only graphic element, and it evokes the kitty cat that Oscar Isaac is carrying around with him in the trailer. It’s subtle but there. In the day and age of photoshop clutter and generic blue tinted hero collages, I tend to gravitate towards the simple and elegant.

Friday One Sheet: Blood, Acid, Semen (Alien)

OK, so Prometheus is on the brain, and therefore, so is Ridley Scott’s original science-fiction, Alien; of which the 2012 film is very much a prequel by the looks of things. Here is a handsome, and rather unique take on poster-izing the 1979 masterpiece, emphasizing the dichotomy of clean metal and sticky organic that seem to merge together for the iconic creature design. I not only quite like this poster, but also love a lot of the other one sheets created for classic science fiction and horror films by designer Adam Rabalais.

Bookmarks for December 16

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  • Evolution of Horror Movie Poster Designs: 1922 – 2009
    For those who like One Sheets, track some of the trends and styles of Horror pictures, here is rough chronological sampling since the genre was born right up to this year.
  • A History of African-Americans in film
    “An interesting time line in words and pictures that show the progress of “Race movies” over the past 100 years.”
  • Golden Globe nods don’t ensure Oscar love
    “Amid the first rush of Globes fanfare, it will be tempting to look at their five nominees for best drama and five for best comedy/musical and declare them the likely front-runners to become the Academy Ten. For even though the HFPA places 10 bets in its two best picture categories, it hasn’t done all that convincing a job in years past of predicting the Academy’s five best picture nominees. Why should its record improve now that the Academy has upped its ante?”
  • Box Office 2.0: ‘Broken Embraces’ and the Cannes ’09 Crop
    Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces” has managed three consecutive weekends with per-theater-averages of over $40,000, and this weekend – upon expansion from NY to LA – still managed a $18,255 PTA. Impressive.
  • I Am a Follower (and you should be too)
    Here is a write up that will be posted and updated as the time goes on – with the important people Gary King (New York Lovely) believes you should take an interest in as they all have something special and unique to share in and among the indie film world.
  • Take me to a whole new world…but don’t show me how we got there.
    The insistence on a certain type of realism, which in Hollywood comes down to slickness, truncates the audience’s imagination. When everything is presented in the slickest way possible, it’s difficult to engage with film in a meaningful way – unfortunately, this is what people have come to expect.

Hot Docs Review: Objectified

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“All these physical objects in our lives there is no real critique on them. Very little discussion on how these things really affect us.” So says one of the design gurus who converse with Gary Hustwit in his second documentary that takes a close look at the everyday things that most people do not think to hard about (or even think to think about.) The first chapter (at the Q&A at the Bloor Cinema during this years HotDocs festival, the director invoked the word “trilogy” and promised one more part to follow in the near future), Helvetica, took a similar look at how typeface and graphic design add such a large element to the message in all the signage and information clutter that exist in a modern urban environment. But like many a sequel, the scope gets bigger even as the overall aim remains constant. With Objectified, the mammoth subject of industrial design and its place in modern western society is tackled. Hustwit retains the crisp, clean presentation which mirrored the chosen typeface so well, and keeps El Ten Eleven on soundtrack duties who provide a wonderful musical accompaniment to the material. This may be a standard way to make a documentary, but it is best of breed.

Every object has a story. We make sense of things through narrative, and assigning personality to objects is part and parcel to this. Ever feel sad to let go of that car you had for so many years? A particular pair of shoes? Well, the documentary doesn’t really focus on those things, but the far more mundane. I doubt people get too attached to their toothbrush or potato peeler, however I do recall back in the 1990s being vaguely curious as to why we had a particular design for decades, then all of a sudden an explosion of different shapes and sizes to these objects. These are the types of things that the talking heads wax philosophically about in Objectified. And it is compelling stuff, even when it gets slightly esoteric. Designing objects solely for philosophical or semiotic questioning? Check. A Roomba as a interface for Hamster exercise? Check. But mainly the film engagingly breezes along avenues where design is comforting and perhaps even necessary for people to feel better, to be at peace.

A valid criticism of the film is that it plays as the briefest introduction to its own subject. Only minutes spent on sustainability and all the technological doodads and disposable consumer conveniences generated as each new design threatens to push out the previous (cellular phones, laptops, water bottles). I would love to see those cardboard cellular phones get accepted, not just a concept, they existed briefly before failing in the global marketplace. Or that 90% of design and material objects is aimed at only 20% of the worlds population. Or all the crap at Walmart and Dollarama that comes from China of which most is completely unneeded and in fact detrimental to living. Also, if you find the cult of Mac (or Ikea) to be baffling or offensive (some do), then you may find all the time spent on that company to be a bit much. (Yet defining oneself by their iPhone or yin-yang coffee table (as does the narrator of Fight Club) is a valid line of questioning somewhat pursued here) Although personally, I did like the insight as to how great design should be practically invisible (something hard to do with designer egos being what they are) and that must of the design these days is in the assembly of complicated components done in an automated fashion, such as a laptop chassis. Personally the film was summed up completely with the ‘sole-bag’ a ladies large purse or shopping bag with the bottom being a shoe tread. Simple, it stands up right without falling over or sagging, doesn’t get as dirty on the bottom, and looks neat without looking offensive.

At the end of the time spent with Objectified, one of the great things that a documentary (or a fictional film) can do is accomplished with flying colours (and sleek contours): You will look at the everyday world with a different eye. Now I simply cannot wait for part three.

Objectified Screenings Announced

Objectified Logo

It’s starting. And if the response to Helvetica was any indication and you want to see Gary Hustwit’s new film Objectified (which we’ve talked about before), you may want to jump on this opportunity.

On Monday, February 2nd, tickets go on sale for two special screenings of the film which will also include a Q & A with director Hustwit (who, take it from me, is a great speaker) and a number of designers featured in the film.

Currently there are two screening dates confirmed:

April 21st, San Francisco at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 7pm & 10pm (buy tickets)
April 28th, Chicago at the Music Box Theatre, 7:30pm (buy tickets)

Additional screenings, including New York City and London in early April, will be announced over the next few weeks so be sure to stay tuned to the website for details.

Gary Hustwit’s Objectified Trailer

Objectified Logo

Our world is populated by “stuff” and though we don’t always think about it, everything was designed by someone. Sure, the basic shapes may resemble what we’re used to seeing but in some instances, someone comes along and makes it better by making it look different. It’s one of the reasons I love walking through the IKEA box store: if nothing else, it provides fresh, sleek designs that you’re not likely to see anywhere else. It’s easy to walk though a museum or flip through a design or fashion magazine and contemplate why something looks the way it does, analyze the lines and cuts but have you ever considered the design of your watch, your computer or your MP3 player?

Gary Hustwit, the man behind the hit documentary Helvetica, has been working on his new project but this time rather than bringing fonts to the masses, he’s bringing design. Objectified focuses on industrial design and provides a look at the creativity and work that goes into designing everything from tooth brushes to tech gadgets.

The film, much like the previous one, is sure to have a built in audience but I’m curious to see if it too will bring out the hidden design lover in all of us.

No release date yet but we’ll keep you posted as soon as new information is available. For now, be sure to check out the trailer tucked under the seat!

Would you like to know more…?