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Film / Video


04.08.14: Alexandra Lange

Lucia Eames, 1930-2014
An appreciation of Lucia Eames (1930-2014).
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03.22.14: Rick Poynor

The Filmic Page: Chris Marker's Commentaires
The French director Chris Marker’s book Commentaires is as innovative as book design as his documentaries are as films.
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11.03.13: John Foster

Horror Movie Posters
Accidental Mysteries for November 3, 2012 highlights vintage horror movie posters.
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10.15.13: Rick Poynor

From the Archive: Brian Eno, Artist of Light
An early profile of ambient musician and producer Brian Eno’s parallel career as a visual artist.
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06.30.13: John Foster

An Archive of Czech Film Posters
Accidental Mysteries for June 30, 2013 showcases an archive of Czech film posters.
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06.02.13: Rick Poynor

The Irresistible Attraction of Self Storage
Self storage centers are places of private and public fascination and I always knew that one day I would succumb.
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02.22.13: Rick Poynor

The Experiential Thrill of Driving in Films
A new book, Drive, shows how the car scenes in movies help us understand the experience of modernity.
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01.07.13: Alexandra Lange

George Nelson in Two Dimensions
Ignore the Coconuts and Marshmallows, admire George Nelson's modular graphics.
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01.03.13: Rick Poynor

On My Screen: Shooting the Past
Stephen Poliakoff’s Shooting the Past, set in a fictitious photo library, is a film that could haunt you for years.
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12.19.12: Alexandra Lange

Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté
True confessions about my own bad taste. I loved Erté. Did you?
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11.13.12: Alexandra Lange

Knolling Your Polling Place
Knolling your polling place: for the next election, a little spatial organization would go a long way.
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10.23.12: Rick Poynor

True Stories: A Film about People Like Us
Ambiguous but prescient, David Byrne’s film True Stories is a classic piece of postmodern pop anthropology.
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09.09.12: Rick Poynor

John Stezaker: Images from a Lost World
John Stezaker’s collages, recipients of a major photography prize, achieve great resonance with limited means.
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09.02.12: Rick Poynor

It's Smart to Use a Crash Test Dummy
The image of the crash test dummy has traveled from the subcultural fringes to the pop culture mainstream.
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07.06.12: Rick Poynor

Design a Cover for Eno's Music for Films
LA architect John Bertram has set a competition to design an alternative sleeve for Music for Films by Brian Eno.
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06.04.12: Michael Bierut

I Love the 80s
Miami Vice: the quintessential postmodern design artifact, in all its glory and all its disgrace.
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05.18.12: Rob Walker

The Theater of Making
What videos depicting the story of stuff-being-made are really about.
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04.11.12: John Thackara

'Beyond Good Intentions' – The Movie
A new documentary hopes to answer the question "What happens in a disaster area after the initial wave of support?"
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04.05.12: Alexandra Lange

Frank Lloyd Wright + Katniss Everdeen
On photographing architecture as sculpture and telling stories via architecture.
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04.03.12: Laura Weiss

Woody Allen, Creative Management Genius
Woody Allen's movie-making process offers three insights that have application to anyone who leads a creative enterprise or manages a creative process.
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01.11.12: Pat Kirkham

Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration
The evidence, scholarship and debates: Saul Bass and the famous shower scene in “Psycho.”
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01.01.12: Rick Poynor

On My Shelf: Jean-Luc Godard Anthologized
Lawrence Ratzkin’s cover design for an early anthology about Jean-Luc Godard is almost an anti-cover.
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12.23.11: Rick Poynor

How We Learned to Live with Zombies
Zombie films, zombie walks, zombie shops, zombie TV series: our darkest fears are now mainstream.
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11.10.11: Rick Poynor

Literary Horror from the Chapman Brothers
British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman have created an image of sublime horror for the cover of Granta magazine.
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10.28.11: Alexandra Lange

Tell Me a Story, 'Urbanized'
A city is not a font or a toothbrush, so why, in Urbanized, does director Gary Hustwit treat them the same way?
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10.20.11: Mark Lamster

Watching Movies about Architecture (and Design)
What makes a good film about architecture and design?
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10.16.11: Rick Poynor

Did We Ever Stop Being Postmodern?
Like it or not, argues the V&A's exhibition about postmodernism and design, we are all postmodern now.
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09.22.11: Rick Poynor

Jan Svankmajer and the Graphic Uncanny
Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design opens at the Kunstal in Rotterdam on September 24.
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08.22.11: Adam Harrison Levy

A Clean, Well Lighted Place
Walking into Jeff Koons’s studio is like entering a medical laboratory crossed with an open plan office. It’s an ER room for art.
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07.07.11: Adam Harrison Levy

Jump Cut: Thoughts on Editing
What can designers, architects and writers learn from the art of film editing?
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06.23.11: Josh Berta

Cars: Pixar Falls for Intelligent Design
Cars: Pixar's greatest misstep in design, and perhaps film in general.
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06.22.11: Alexandra Lange

Jane Austen, Architect?
Why is Austen next to Ballard on the Designers & Books lists?
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06.06.11: Rick Poynor

Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?
A DVD cover for the classic film noir Kiss Me Deadly uses the blindingly obvious symbol that just keeps on giving.
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04.28.11: Rick Poynor

On My Screen: The Back of Beyond
John Heyer’s The Back of Beyond, made for Shell Australia in 1954, is one of the country’s finest films.
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04.21.11: Rick Poynor

Wim Wenders' Strange and Quiet Places
The massive photographs in film director Wim Wenders’ new exhibition work best when they serve his painterly eye.
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03.21.11: John Thackara

From Bankster HQ to Start-up Central in Iceland
The Start-Up Kids is a documentary about young entrepreneurs who have founded web and media startups in the US and Europe.
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02.21.11: Alexandra Lange

Neat Freaks
Organizing things neatly = what IBM, Ray Eames, Herbert Matter and Tumblr have in common.
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02.18.11: Mark Lamster

An Empire State of Mind
Join in a running commentary on Andy Warhol's film "Empire," at MoMA.
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02.10.11: Michael Bierut

Five Years of 100 Days
Five years of a 100 day workshop taught by Michael Bierut at the Yale School of Art.
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01.12.11: Alexandra Lange

Bring Back Braids
The True Grit of hairstyles: braids.
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12.10.10: Michael Bierut

At the Movies with Javier Mariscal
Chico & Rita is a new animated film by Spanish designer Javier Mariscal and director Fernando Trueba.
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12.08.10: Alexandra Lange

No Rest at the Last Supper
"Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway" is indeed a dud: cheese-tastic, bombastic, didactic.
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12.03.10: Rick Poynor

On My Screen: Bill Morrison's Decasia
The avant-garde classic Decasia, assembled from decaying film stock, is a sublime vision of another reality.
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11.29.10: Nancy Levinson

Art Talks
Adam Lowe and Peter Greenaway at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City; Justin Partyka and Sir Terry Farrell at Eleven Spitalfields in London,
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11.05.10: Nancy Levinson

Greenaway at the Armory
Peter Greenaway's Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision, at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.
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08.25.10: Alexandra Lange

This is a Terrible Poster
I saw the poster for the Facebook movie, The Social Network, at the Bergen Street station yesterdayand all I could think was, This is a terrible poster.
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08.22.10: Alexandra Lange

The Language of "Kids Are All Right"
Finally escaped my house for an evening Saturday night and saw The Kids Are All Right, which I loved.
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08.14.10: Alexandra Lange

Modern Houses and Doomed P.M.s
In Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer Ewan McGregor sleuths instead of writes.
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07.14.10: Jessica Helfand

Viva The Villain: A Review of Despicable Me
In an age in which last week’s Bernie Madoff is next week’s BP oil spill, villains are no longer the stuff of fiction. So when a really juicy fictional villain comes along — let alone two — it’s time to go to the movies.
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07.10.10: Alexandra Lange

Heavens
I finally managed to visit back-to-back versions of my idea of heaven: A Single Man — Tom Ford’s tribute to 1960s style — and Dia:Beacon
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05.24.10: Alexandra Lange

Modernism on the Range
I was amused that the Incredibles lived in a little Marcel Breuer butterfly-roof box, one much like the 1948 House in the Museum Garden.
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05.17.10: Alexandra Lange

On DO: 'Please Give' and Design People
You can imagine my glee at the second scene in Please Give, starring Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt as the owners of a vintage modern furniture shop.
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05.17.10: Alexandra Lange

The Maddening, Rewarding World of Design People
Most design people I know — don’t feel guilt over knowing what is priceless and what is junk. The film Please Give also thinks they know what it is worth.
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05.15.10: Eric Baker

Today, 05.15.10
Each morning, before starting work, I spend 30 minutes looking for images that are beautiful, funny, absurd and inspiring. Here's TODAY.
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04.08.10: Alexandra Lange

On Knowing Where The End Is
I showed my NYU architecture criticism class the recent documentary on Julius Shulman, Visual Acoustics, last week.
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04.07.10: Alexandra Lange

Anthony Lane Fugs Too
Anthony Lane pans The Clash of the Titans.
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02.26.10: Alexandra Lange

Coloring Book
I loved Jane Campion’s film, despite my feeling that it might not be true, and it must surely be anachronistic.
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02.02.10: Alexandra Lange

All Rubble Is Not Alike
I watched Manufactured Landscapes in the weeks before Christmas and it was just too depressing to post about in the run-up to gift day.
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01.13.10: Alexandra Lange

The Yuck Factor
Watch District 9 as a palate cleanser after the visual feast of Avatar.
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01.13.10: Adrian Shaughnessy

Logorama
A world colonized by brands is the theme of a new film, Logorama, by French designers and filmmakers H5.
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01.10.10: Alexandra Lange

It's Not Just Me
Way back in the beginnings of blogging in July, I praised the French film Summer Hours.
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01.02.10: Alexandra Lange

Annotated Avatar
Avatar is itself a hack, James Cameron is less auteur, more sci fi magpie.
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12.22.09: Alexandra Lange

The Women
While Manohla Dargis rants about the lack of women in charge in Hollywood save for Nancy Meyers, Zaha Hadid similarly represents the dirth of women in architecture.
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12.14.09: Alexandra Lange

In a F.O.G.
I am thinking about adding films to my undergraduate class at NYU, namely Sketches of Frank Gehry.
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12.11.09: Alexandra Lange

Where Have All the Type Geeks Gone?
Set in Helvetica, the title for Up In the Air looks plain wrong.
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10.29.09: Alexandra Lange

Tableaux Vivants
If someone asked me to write a profile of Wes Anderson, I would start with corduroy.
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10.20.09: Alexandra Lange

Buy It Now
I watched two episodes of the Sundance Channel’s new advertisement for Anthropologie, Man Shops Globe, and failed to be caught up in the drama.
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10.12.09: Alexandra Lange

Unhappy Homes
In Revolutionary Road and Away We Go, the characters lack believable emotion because they fail to convince us that they are in a house, rather than a set.
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09.20.09: Jessica Helfand

A Stitch in Time: A Review of 9
The comically repetitive date of 090909 iss thought to be a lucky day, a day of optimism and interconnectedness. It was also the release date for the new animated film, 9.
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09.20.09: Mark Lamster

Underground Architects
The one question people often ask that I don't enjoy answering is, "Who's your favorite architect?"
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09.17.09: Alexandra Lange

White Columns
In Valentino: The Last Emperor, one dress is followed in all of its incarnations, while architecture is put in its place.
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08.26.09: Alexandra Lange

Cooking for Crowds
Nora Ephron, or at least production designer Mark Ricker, must have spent a fortune on cute lamps for the set of Julie & Julia.
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08.23.09: Alexandra Lange

Blackboard Jungle
Tell No One turns out to be a snoozy French thriller while Entre les Murs (The Class) makes up for it.
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08.14.09: Alexandra Lange

Between Buildings
Man on Wire is only so-so, but Phillipe Petit's personality and the imagery of his three major walks are not to be missed.
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08.11.09: Alexandra Lange

Outsider Art
After watching Ride With the Devil, I discovered the common thread in Ang Lee's films.
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08.05.09: Alexandra Lange

D.I.Y.
There seems to be some questionable parenting in Caroline.
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07.31.09: Alexandra Lange

England's Next Top Model
In The Duchess, the gratuitous sex scenes were the least of the film's problems.
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07.16.09: Alexandra Lange

Cold Comforts
I can't but write about the objects in Summer Hours, Revolutionary Road, and Frozen River.
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07.09.09: Alexandra Lange

Little Dictators
Zhang Yimou's Ju Dou makes a strong commentary on parenting.
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07.05.09: Alexandra Lange

Battle Lines
In Waltz With Bashir, director and protagonist Ari Folman makes amazing use of animation to tell a most unfunny tale of recovered memory and national guilt.
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07.01.09: Alexandra Lange

Child's Play
Unlike the stories documented in the film Nursery University, my experience of enrolling my child in preschool in New York City was completely different.
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06.25.09: Alexandra Lange

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
After viewing He's Just Not That Into You and Confessions of a Shopaholic, I need to effect my own romantic comedy ban.
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06.22.09: Alexandra Lange

Perfect Pairs
Our admiration for Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy led us to Netflix her first film, Old Joy.
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06.21.09: Michael Bierut

Spoiler Alert! Or, Happy Father's Day
Dad couldn't help it. He was a natural born spoiler.
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06.18.09: Alexandra Lange

Aloysius is Missed
I took my chances to see if the 2008 remake of Brideshead Revisited was as good as the multi-part original.
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06.16.09: Alexandra Lange

Textile Psychology
In Brick Lane it is the fabric that does most of the talking, for while the novel is very interior, the film is not.
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06.09.09: Alexandra Lange

Auto Pilot
While watching Chop Shop, I was bored not by the plotlessness, or even the purposely inartistic direction, but by the lack of acting.
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06.08.09: Alexandra Lange

Romance Is Dead
There are some movies so bad I can’t bear to put them in my Netflix queue, but He's Just Not That Into You somehow made it in.
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06.06.09: Alexandra Lange

Dog Days
Wendy and Lucy may be the feel-bad movie of the year, but it is beautiful, terrifying and real.
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06.04.09: Alexandra Lange

Worst Case Scenario
Two of Danny Boyle's filme, Slumdog Millinaire and Millions suffer from a wavering of purpose from gritty realism to wish fulfilment.
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06.02.09: William Drenttel

Once Out of Chaos

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01.19.09: William Drenttel

Polling Place Photo Project
To commemorate the inauguration of President Barack Obama, please enjoy this short film by Andrew Sloat inspired by Polling Place Photo Project.
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01.16.09: Kerry Saretsky

Curious Case of the Better Adaptation
Now that I am comfortably “well-read” in my twenties with a Master’s in modern English Literature tucked into my back pocket, I can’t help but notice that every movie I have seen lately — and every movie that I want to see — has independently stood as a work of print before being reincarnated into movie form.
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09.22.08: Gong Szeto

Interview with Brian Oakes
It’s not often that graphs and numbers take center stage in a popular film, but in the brilliant hands of graphic designer Brian Oakes, information design is not a backdrop but a main character in the recently released documentary I.O.U.S.A. Interview by Gong Szeto.
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07.31.08: Michael Bierut

There is No Why
The year's best design movie is not about a typeface. It's Man on Wire, the new documentary about Philippe Petit's 1974 high wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center.
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06.16.08: Rick Poynor, Adrian Shaughnessy

We Found It at the Movies: Part I
Rick Poynor: Looking back, it’s surprising how long we’d known each other before it emerged that we shared an obsession for film. 
Adrian Shaughnessy: Your obsession with film came as a surprise. Before lending you the Herzog box set I had you tagged as a visual arts man, not a cineaste.

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06.16.08: Rick Poynor, Adrian Shaughnessy

We Found It at the Movies: Part II
The second installment of Rick Poynor and Adrian Shaughnessy’s conversation about film. Can genre movies express a personal vision? Are films blurring into other media? And what’s the state of film culture today?
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05.16.08: Jessica Helfand

Iron Man: The Screen Behind the Screen
Iron Man is the fulfillment of all the computer-integrated movies were ever meant to be, and by computer-integrated, I mean just that: beyond the technical wizardry of special effects, this is a film in which the computer is incorporated, like a cast member, into the development of the plot itself.
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05.04.08: Rob Walker

This Joke’s for You
In the movie Idiocracy, an average and unambitious guy played by Luke Wilson hibernates as part of a military experiment and wakes up 500 years later. The America he wakes up to has devolved radically.
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05.01.08: Steven Heller

The Sky Is Falling
Where once the sky is falling scenarios would not, as Dr. Flicker said, “happen for billions of years yet,” the doomsday clock is steadily ticking away. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back to the days when fiction was not fact.
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10.01.07: Jessica Helfand

Stan Brakhage: Caught on Tape
For Stan Brakhage, that concentration resulted in extraordinary explorations of many things, including the life cycle of a moth, caught on adhesive strips of tape, and subsequently captured on film where it regained — however briefly — the magnificent illusion of mobility. For designers, faced by budgets and clients and deadlines, the luxury of so much isolation seems a distant, if not an altogether perverse paradigm. But are these intentions really so mutually exclusive?
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08.06.07: Liz Brown

Phil Spector vs. The Wall of Sound
Until 1966, producer Phil Spector was an unstoppable machine, churning out "symphonies for little kids." Then came "River Deep, Mountain High," where the combination of Tina Turner's raw, unbridled passion and Spector's orchestral swoon was a total disaster. Spector's career was over, but the song goes on and on.
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07.17.07: Jessica Helfand

Harry Potter and The Enchanted Letterforms
The most recent theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix includes a paradigm shift that warrants particular recognition, for the simple reason that this may be the first film in which mere letterforms, once the purview of the production designer, break free and actually join the cast.
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04.06.07: Michael Bierut

Our Little Secret
The documentary Helvetica premieres in a world where everyone knows how to do something that once only very few did: how to set type.
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03.01.07: David Stairs

That (Other) 1970's: The Last King of Scotland
The Last King of Scotland, Kevin McDonald's film about Idi Amin's notorious presidency, opened in Uganda to great fanfare. The VIP screening took place at Kampala's Cineplex, with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Forest Whitaker in attendance. The premiere was not targeted to the average Ugandan...
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02.16.07: Michael Bierut

Cheap Music and Commercial Art
You wouldn't know it from Dreamgirls, but Motown staff songwriters Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland were examples of how art is created under pressure.
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12.29.06: Alissa Walker

War Is Over! If You Want It
When the star of the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon is asked by a reporter what he thinks Nixon should do to end the Vietnam War, Lennon stares incredulously into the camera. "He should declare peace." As if this was the most obvious solution in the world.
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12.04.06: Dmitri Siegel

M...O...T...I...O...N
The work of directors PES and Kris Moyes leads to a discussion of the history of stop motion animation.
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11.27.06: Jessica Helfand

How Hollywood Nailed The Half-Pipe
Pixar and Animal Logic have mastered a particularly persuasive (and as it turns out, rather literal) form of spin that makes Road Runner look like dryer lint.
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07.07.06: Jessica Helfand

The Right Stuff
Prada is yet another in a long line of stories in which posessions loom large, at once shining beacons of material success and wagging fingers of moral turpitude. When will we have enough stuff?
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06.16.06: Adrian Shaughnessy

Werner Herzog and the Deeper Truth
For hardcore cineastes — and bug-eyed amateur movie buffs like me — DVD audio tracks are an invention of Guttenburgian proportions. Few technological advances in the realm of art and culture can equal the joy afforded by an articulate and perceptive commentary specially prepared to accompanying a movie.
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03.09.06: Dmitri Siegel

Broadcast vs. Broadband
Viral video is on the rise, spreading from broadband to broadcast and back again. What are the opportunities for designers in this new genre?
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06.24.05: William Drenttel

Catastrophic Imaginings: The Design of Disaster
In the end, artificial disasters are designed to elicit and test the responses of participants. In their recording, both allow for a post-mortem evaluation. How did I do? How would I respond? Would I sit patiently in my car a mile up the road? Would I watch from my window, safe in my home?
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06.22.05: Jessica Helfand

The Adventures of Cynic Boy and Design Mom in 3D
Brainwashed I may be, but I distinctly noted an homage to Salvador Dalí — with perhaps a gentle nod to René Magritte — last night while sitting through Robert Rodriguez's ludicrous, yet oddly luscious new movie, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D.
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04.05.05: Rick Poynor

Wisconsin Death Trip: A Psychic History
Michael Lesy’s book Wisconsin Death Trip documented awful events in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, using a town photographer’s pictures. Years later, it remains a spellbinding piece of literary and photographic alchemy.
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03.03.05: Lawrence Weschler

The Aural As An Architectonic Challenge
What are the people over at Transom.org up to? As it happens, this month is a very good time to pay them a visit: for the next several weeks, Walter Murch — the phenomenally smart and inspired film and sound editor — will be continuing to hold court there.
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02.04.05: William Drenttel

Chris Marker: La Jetée
For years, I've owned a copy of La Jetée, a book about the film by Chris Marker, the experimental filmmaker. Designed by Bruce Mau and published by MIT Press/Zone Books in 1993, this is one of those design books that has ascended into the realm of rare bookdom...
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01.03.05: Dmitri Siegel

Mysterious Disappearance of Carol Hersee
The story of Carol Hersee's portrait as Test Card F: since it first appeared in 1967 on BBC2, Carol's face has been on-air for over 70,000 hours.
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12.16.04: Michael Bierut

The Other Rand
The Fountainhead, a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand, continues to exert its influence over generations of architects and designers.
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11.15.04: Jessica Helfand

The Designibles
What's incredible about The Incredibles is the art of design capture. Because when it comes to nailing design, the "Is" have it.
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07.21.04: Jessica Helfand

Graphic Design: The Movie
Some time ago, I pondered about the future of graphic design as a reality show, but recently I've become convinced that its real future lies in its actual integrated presence onscreen: design as part prop, part protagonist.
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07.20.04: Michael Bierut

Pablo Ferro Offers You His Protection
The title design for the film Napoleon Dynamite, credited to Pablo Ferro [although designed in fact by actor Aaron Ruell], provoke an assessment of Ferro's influence in the world of motion graphics.
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06.11.04: Jessica Helfand

Designer by Day, Catwoman by Night

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04.17.04: Michael Bierut

I Hear You've Got Script Trouble: The Designer as Auteur
Screenwriter William Goldman has written about how difficult it is to ascribe authorship for a film. The same may be true for graphic design, which, like filmmaking, is essentially a collaborative activity.
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04.15.04: Jessica Helfand

Graphic Flanerie
Graphic Design's real power comes from its ability to reach us through any of a number of means, both real and virtual, now and later. This ability to transcend the everyday and resonate in the heart, the soul, the mind and the memory—this is graphic design's reality, its legacy, and it is, decidedly, a reality that is more than a sum of its parts.
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04.03.04: Michael Bierut

Stanley Kubrick and the Future of Graphic Design
Stanley Kubrick's attention to the nuances of graphic design, typography, and branding went far beyond his well-documented obsession with Futura Extra Bold. 2001: A Space Odyssey in particular projects a perfectly designed vision of the future that has never been topped.
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12.17.03: Michael Bierut

Errol Morris Blows Up Spreadsheet, Thousands Killed
Errol Morris's documentary "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara" demonstrates his mastery of information design as a poetic narrative device.
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09.10.03: Jessica Helfand

The Art of Elegant Abstraction
Bill Morrison's surprising 66-minute film is now playing on the Sundance Channel. For listings, see: http://www.sundancechannel.com/film_finder/index.php?startingLetter=d
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