Archive for November, 2007


Movie poster of the week

November 30, 2007

I’m Not There

Though this was the first I’m Not There poster to appear it seems to have been superseded by the poster of Cate Blanchett’s frizzy profile (see below), also very fine. Having seen, and fallen in love with, the film this week, I think I like this design even more. If anyone needs a primer before seeing the film, or a road map thereafter, let me point you to J. Hoberman’s superb explication of the film, and of Dylan’s relationship with cinema, in last week’s Voice.


Films Seen Over Thanksgiving Weekend

November 27, 2007

Since I was hiding my potted reviews away over on the Films Seen page and no-one was seeing them I’ve been advised by my blog-advisor to post them here and then archive them on that page. So here goes…


I’ve been hearing about Todd Haynes’s six-ring circus for so long now that I can’t say I was really looking forward to actually sitting through it. Lord knows the music biopic needs an injection of wit and invention (see Control), but the gimmick (borrowed from Todd Solondz) seemed like it might be the be all and end all of I’m Not There. Yet, as he did with Far From Heaven, Haynes pulls off his intellectual conceit and then some. I really didn’t expect the film to be so moving, so transporting. The music helps of course, and it barely needs saying that Cate Blanchett gives the performance of the year.


After lighting Nicole Kidman so exquisitely in Birth, the great Harris Savides here drowns her in a Sokurovian sunless gloom. Which is no less than she deserves as Margot, one of the most inventively cruel creatures I have ever had the pleasure of watching on screen. Her put-downs should win Pulitzers. After a couple of early trifles, Noah Baumbach has certainly found his voice documenting familial disintegration and the tortures of male adolescence, but you do wonder if he’s not sometimes laying it on a little thick. I did love the quiet panic of Margot stuck in the tree. Almost a wind in the trees moment.


I’d had this on my DVR ever since TCM played it a year ago to mark Robert Altman’s passing. I may have unfairly slighted Altman recently when I compared Southland Tales to bad Altman, but seeing Brewster McCloud again (middling Altman to be sure) reminded me just how essential he was. No-one ever saw the world the way he did, and no-one ever reflected it back at us the way he did. Even the sometimes insufferable Brewster (with its bird poop and Keystone Cops and Hazzard County car chases) is a thing of wonder. One of the best end-credit roll calls of all time too.


Critical faculties be damned. I saw this with the kids and it was adorable.


Movie poster of the week

November 23, 2007


Since I made my first ever visit to the Statue of Liberty yesterday (Thanksgiving morning), this poster for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming monster movie caught my eye. Whatever is wreaking havoc on Manhattan it’s obviously strong enough to turn Lady Liberty 180 degrees on her pedestal since she’s facing the wrong way. At least the teaser trailer for the film explains what happens to her head.


Potted movie reviews

November 19, 2007


Since I’m just not getting around to writing the kind of thorough, expansive movie reviews I feel I should be writing on this thing, and inspired by Michael Atkinson’s superbly gnomic one-line reviews (which I don’t pretend to approximate, or even always understand), I’ve decided to add comments to the Films Seen page instead. Watch that space.


Movie poster of the week

November 16, 2007

Be Here to Love Me

I recently caught up with this melancholy 2005 documentary about the tragic “songwriter’s songwriter” Townes Van Zandt. This poster, which must have been designed for festival screenings but was replaced by something less interesting for the official release, was designed by Austin-based silkscreen genius Rob Jones whose posters for the White Stripes and the Raconteurs make me red, white and black with envy.


Movie poster of the week

November 9, 2007

Pierrot le Fou

One of my all-time favorite Godards, I always think of Pierrot le Fou as a particularly horizontal movie, so this strikingly vertical design, created this year for the Janus re-release, is unusual. (The poster can be bought from the Criterion store). Can anyone tell me what book Belmondo is carrying?


Movie poster of the week

November 2, 2007


Shame-faced update Nov 4: It’s now been drawn to my attention that this is by the great Chris Ware (as opposed to the great Dan Clowes). I’ve also discovered that Ware did an unused design for the Henry Darger documentary In the Realms of the Unreal but that apart from that it’s his first film poster.

The trailer for Tamara Jenkins’ The Savages makes it look like a bit of a Debbie Downer, but I love this poster which looks like it might be drawn by Dan Clowes, though I have a feeling it’s not (if anyone knows, please let me know). Clowes of course has drawn Philip Seymour Hoffman before. He also designed one of my favorite posters of all time, the promotional poster for the opening of New York’s Sunshine Cinema (which I’ll post as soon as I can find an image of it).