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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Entries in title sequence (15)

Tuesday
Apr142015

Mucho Miscellania, Ya Dig?

MNPP reminds us that today is the 15th anniversary of American Psycho, Mary Harron's masterpiece. True story: I used to get her confused with Mary Lambert as if the same person made Madonna's "Like a Virgin" Hee!
WOW was Dennis Quaid losing his shit on a film set real or staged?
MTV Which Avenger deserves a solo film most? The answer is obvious and Joss Whedon knows it. Weird that Marvel doesn't 
i09 the real reason we didn't get a third solo Hulk film has been unveiled
Comics Alliance the Avengers playing Family Feud on Jimmy Kimmel.
Awards Daily Director Michelle McLaren has left the Wonder Woman picture 
Variety revisits the Sony Hack (remember that? seems so long ago) and the minefield of legal questions its opened up 

I'm sorry there's so much superhero bizness lately but that's all the news feed is ever offering up of late

Biggest Tease
Josh Gad says he can't wait for you to "Be Our Guest"... yep, it's the cast of Beauty & The Beast (2016). Or some of them at least. 

Can't wait for you to be our guest.

A photo posted by Josh Gad (@joshgad) on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:37am PDT

Is that Luke Evan with the suddenly pointy twink hair? If so he looks so different with shorter hair. No Audra McDonald (Wardrobe) or Emma Thompson (Mrs Potts) in this photo though. Grrrrr

 

Earth's Mightiest Illustration
Love this. Well done Stephen Byrne 

  

On The Political/Theatrical Stage
BuzzFeed points out the delightful Hillary Clinton 404 page
MNPP as if those of us with tickets to this summer's Little Shop of Horrors event weren't excited enough. Jake Gyllenhaal is announced as Seymour!
Dissolve Magic Mike franchise may be heading to the stage next
New Hedwig <-- this is my favorite reaction to the first image of Darren Criss as Hedwig. 

Small Screen
Must Love Movies the story of Daredevil's opening credit sequence.
The Playlist Cary Fukunaga doing The Alienist as TV miniseries. That book freaked my shit out back when it was a best seller but I am sad that we've lost Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre) to the overworked land of the serial killer procedurals. Did he really need to do another after True Detective? David Fincher isn't likely to be dethroned as king of the genre so let's have some other genres for our talented rising auteurs! 
Pajiba shares the VERY welcome news that Katee Sackhoff is taking her career into her own hands by creating her own series since Hollywood is far too stupid to notice her gargantuan charisma. It's called Rain and its sci-fi.

Madonna Screen (aka Nathaniel's Brain)
The Daily Beast surveys the rampant bald ageism and sexism that's greeting Madonna's every move this past week or two. It's all become very Freudian with the world's collective fear of 'all consuming female sexuality.'
Watch What Happens Live Andy Cohen invites Sandra Bernhard to watch the latest Madonna video "Ghosttown" (previously discussed) and it is a joy... especially when she sees Terrence Howard cooking beans and hunting Madonna with a rifle.

He's going to barbecue the bitch!

...Get me a rib. Get me a meaty rib" 

LOL. Also on my 130th view I was looking around Madonna's beautifully lit apartment (with dirty mattress) and realized that we'll still have electricity after the apocalypse! Whew, that's a relief

Exit Video
This made me laugh so hard that I now feel bad about myself. Apologies world, I am terrible. (P.S. I'm really hoping Trixie Mattel is the queen that RuPaul brings back that shashayed away too early on this season of RuPaul's Drag Race)  

 

Sunday
Mar152015

Film Bitch Awards... Openings, Endings, and Titles

Three of the final five Film Bitch Award categories announced. Click over for the nominations!


When I think of my wife I always think of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brains, trying to get answers.

BEST OPENING SCENE
Did you find any opening scene as perfectly bold as Gone Girl's recently? It's instantly classic as kick-offs go. Still horrified two months later that Gillian Flynn didn't get an Adapted Screenplay nomination. WTF. Her work was stronger than any of the nominees in her category (the good stuff was in Original this past year obviously). But that wasn't the only entrancing first minute of a film. Under the Skin's "creation" (?) anyone?

BEST ENDING 
Spoiler alert! Movies have endings. Some more satisfying than others. Which were your favorites this year? Were you a bawling but optimistic and newly invigorated civil rights champion at the end of Selma, Pride, or Love is Strange? Was that desert gaze into an open future the perfect ending for Boyhood? Were you chanting USA ironically with the bloodthirsty crowd at the end of Foxcatcher or gazing up with Emma Stone in Birdman or Reese Witherspoon in Wild?

CREDIT SEQUENCES 
I didn't nominated The Grand Budapest Hotel here but I do love that tiny dancing Russian at the tail end of the credits and his exuberant dancing (i wish I had a gif of the confetti throwing part). That's basically a documentary of what happens in my apartment every time I finish an article. As for this category, it shouldn't surprise you to see Captain America: Winter Soldier's bold black white and red pop art as a nominee but do you remember those hilarious cast photos from Neighbors in the closing credits? I almost forgot them which would have been a tragedy. 

I mean...

 

Two categories left (acting in limited or cameo roles) so stay tuned for that and the gold silver and bronze medals this week as grand finale to 2014's film year. Hooray!

(And now I'm off to do that little dance backstage. Byeeeee.)

Monday
Feb232015

Oscar Style: Henry Hobson & Those Gorgeous Graphic Sequences

Manuel here to talk about the gorgeous designs we saw last night. The Oscar telecast was, as usual, a very pretty affair. Humor may be subjective (a pun can both garner a laugh and an eye roll) and winners can be fought over (oh those Birdman takedowns aren't gonna get any less nasty now are they?) but the show will always provide the eye candy. And I'm not just talking about the gorgeous dresses, the preened faces and the sculpted male torso that walked the stage. I'm here to talk about the beautiful title cards that were featured throughout the night. 

Combining Tumblr-ized minimalism and Instagram's cataloguing style, Henry Hobson and the Elastic Design created some beautifully stylized graphic sequences for last night's awards:

I particularly loved the (ever so brief! -- guess they wanted to keep these sequences short and sweet?) Best Picture montage:

Best Picture Oscar Nomination Title Sequence - 2015 from henry hobson directing & design on Vimeo.

 

 

If there's one objection to make about all these pretty pictures is that they seemed designed to deny us of the power of those moving pictures we were supposed to be honoring (or, in the case of the In Memoriam tribute, of the work which Meryl reminded us, would live on). 

Were you taken with the designs? Or did you wish we could have gotten full clips of some of these nominees, especially as the telecast was unusually reticent to show clips of any kind?

Thursday
Jul102014

"Outstanding Main Title Design," An Undersung Emmy Category

If you're a carbon based life form, chances are you feel a certain amount of affection for the opening notes and images of the main title designs of certain TV series. These things have a way of seeping into our DNA.

I cannot watch True Blood's titles, for example, without singing along "...I wanna do bad things to you ♫" and it would probably take my Emmy award if the Outstanding Main Title Design were handed out only once every 10 years. Unfortunately it has been ripped off ever since and now every remotely creepy TV series aims for a mix of slow-mo vs sped up montage of religious, violent, and sensual grotesquerie from American Horror Storyto Penny Dreadful. But True Blood's titles were the perfect marriage of everything that makes that show that show. It's actually even BETTER than the show itself.  True Blood lost this category in its year to the adorable pop up multiple identities of The United States of Tara

My other favorite main title of a current series is Game of Thrones. I don't watch the show for reasons I've long since overshared but I think the opening titles are refreshingly original, a masterwork even. For what it's worth Game of Thrones won this Emmy in 2011 (Trivia Alert: David Fincher's two-time Oscar winning editor Angus Wall, who we've interviewed in the past, was the creative director!).

Even in the YouTube/Gif era when we are all accustomed to obsessing over the tiniest mnemonics of our favorite things, this category is rarely remarked upon. So let's discuss this year's nominees after the jump

THE NOMINEES THIS YEAR? Stroke the kitty to continue...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May022014

Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Linkdown

Art of the Title has an amazing 3-part retrospective / interview with title designer Pablo Ferro. His work includes: Bullitt, Married to the Mob, Dr Strangelove, Beetlejuice, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and so many other greats
The New Yorker "why Mean Girls is a classic" even esteemed publications got into the 10th anniversary frenzy. Good piece from Richard Brody
The Dissolve Joaquin Phoenix will headline the next Woody Allen film, the one after Magic in the Moonlight. The prolific auteur isn't slowing down his one-a-year pac. Phoenix isn't slowing down either; remember how just a few short years ago, people thought Phoenix's career was over? The joke was on us.) 

 

Vulture Bilge Ebiri sticks his neck out for "Why Adam Sandler Matters"
Paper Mag 5 Most Swintessential Moments from Tilda Swinton's career. Love this though none are her actual acting & filmography which is tops. 
Playbill Idina Menzel & Julie Andrews talk FrozenWicked and The Sound of Music Live! on "Watch What Happens Live". Julie is very magnanimous about Carrie Underwood but I love the hint of 'i'm aware you all think i'm just being diplomatic' utter vagueness of "acting is acting is acting". Ha!

I thought she was great. Listen, she made it her own. But listen: acting is acting is acting."

The Wire pontificates on Emma Stone's career now that redundant superhero movie is in theaters. Shouldn't her career be so much more by now?
Cosmopolitan interviews Amy Schumer on 'sneaky feminism,' Parker Posey, plastic surgery and Judd Apatow's Trainwreck
Pajiba this is how you assemble a damn cast. On Joe Swanberg's wonderful ensembles 
AV Club is fear of TV cancellations a thing of the past? Shows with low ratings are no longer automatically doomed and fan passion counts for far more than it once did.
Gothamist wonders if James Franco is doing okay. Get out of bed! 

Today's Must Read
Cléo wonderfully provocative piece on "Samantha" in Her (now on DVD) from Angelo Muredda:

Early on, Samantha is eager to establish herself as, if not a human, then at least something more ambitious than a machine. She proudly proclaims that what makes her her is the ability to grow through her experiences. “So basically,” she says, “in every moment I’m evolving, just like you.” The latter part of that statement reads as a veiled threat to Theodore, who seems rather stalled in his moody present state as a sad man who writes other people’s love letters for a living despite being unable to sign his own divorce papers. It is a succinct expression of the film’s male smugness: that a girlfriend who begins excited about the world and her boyfriend’s witty emails is still a girlfriend who will one day leave.

 

Friday
May022014

What's the Best Film Title of All Time?

I posed this question on Twitter the other day and got some interesting responses. The question popped to mind because The Film Society is hosting a Rainer Werner Fassbinder retrospective this month and I've always worshipped the title The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972). It's just unbeatably evocative and memorable. Hollywood prefers more generic titles of course; recently John Carter of Mars, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, How To Catch a Monster, and Can A Song Save Your Life were abbreviated and drained of all specificity and interest.  

Here were some responses I received to challenge those "bitter tears" from awesome people like Shane, Clara, and Conor ...

 

I have to admit they're true contenders. Maybe you'd like to add a film title to this honored list?


Tuesday
Apr082014

From Russia With Love's Visual Style

On the 50th anniversary of "From Russia With Love"'s US release our friend and James Bond expert Deborah Lipp (she even wrote a book about him!) is here to talk 007...

Sean Connery in "From Russia With Love" released 50 years ago today in the States

After 23 official films and 2 unofficial ones, From Russia With Love, the second James Bond adventure, remains the greatest of them all. Considered an iconic film in many ways, it may surprise the casual Bond viewer to note that certain "iconic" aspects of the Bond franchise were missing from or created in this film.

Let's focus on From Russia With Love's extraordinary visual signature on this anniversary

The first James Bond film, Dr. No, featured the production design of Ken Adam. Adam is justifiably famous. In Dr. No, he designed such sets as the nuclear launch room, and, needing one last set when the budget ran out, came up with an exquisitely simple interrogation room, as perfect as any of his more elaborate work. Adam worked on a total of seven Bond films, creating such sets as Goldfinger's Fort Knox and the hollowed-out volcano lair in You Only Live Twice. He is considered synonymous with the look of James Bond movies, but he didn't do From Russia With Love. He was busy working on Dr. Strangelove—go ahead and revisit the war room scene in Kubrick's film and ask yourself if it doesn't look an awful lot like a James Bond movie.

No, art direction for From Russia with Love was done by Syd Cain. Cain is kind of impressive. Like Ken Adam, he did multiple Bond films and worked with Stanley Kubrick (in Cain's case, on Lolita). 

The eye-popping chess tournament scene in From Russia with Love, in which the chess game takes place on a raised dais above a checkerboard floor mimicking the chessboard itself, is Cain's work. The movie also featured Blofeld's yacht-based lair, extensive scenes on the Orient Express, and location footage in Istanbul augmented by opulent set design. In fact, opulence is a good word to hang on Cain's work, and FRWL is an opulent movie.

Another iconic visual element in Bond films is the title sequence. Title design by Maurice Binder is considered part of the Bond signature, and Binder was there from the beginning. Dancing girls, silhouettes, sinuous animated movement, and the famed gunbarrel sequence were all Binder's designs. He did the title sequences for every Bond film from the first one in 1962 through License to Kill in 1989. Except two: From Russia with Love and Goldfinger. Robert Brownjohn did those. 

FRWL's title sequence features the credits projected on the mostly-nude body of a bellydancer. It's beautiful and so very Bond, so typical of Binder's signature work that you may wonder if Brownjohn wasn't influenced by the first Bond title sequence. He wasn't: Dr. No's titles are a psychedelic explosion of colored dots. Male and female dancing silhouettes come in around the 1.40 mark, and by 2.15 we're into the "Three Blind Mice" sequence—three blind beggars who turn out, as the movie begins, to be assassins. Nope, the sensual body of a woman in Bond titles wasn't made iconic by the iconic Bond title designer. 

From Russia With Love is great for many reasons: Plot, dialog, cast, and locations all play important roles. But the visual style is a key component. How interesting, then, that it stands separate from what we think of as "the" Bond style.