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Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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Harry Benson: Shoot First

The filmmakers are themselves too celebrity besotted to comment in a meaningful way on how Benson’s career balanced depictions of the rich and famous with…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Let's get social: Networking frames

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Take a look at all that's going on in the image above. Who is talking? What are the relationships between the characters? How much is packed into this one frame?

Since it came out last fall, I'd almost forgotten what an exhilarating information-overload experience David Fincher's "The Social Network" is. Cut and composed and performed with breathless, jittery speed, it's a movie that consists of virtually nothing but conversations in rooms (the attempted, missed, short-circuited, coded connections that struck me when I first saw it). It's action-packed -- enough to give you whiplash, watching all the elements interacting within the 2.40:1 widescreen frame -- even though there are no "action sequences" (car chases, shootouts, fist fights, acrobatic stunts, etc.); the filmmaking is charged with energy without falling back on today's routinely frenetic, handheld run-and-gun/snatch-and-grab camerawork (the camera is generally mounted on a tripod; when it moves, it's on a crane or a dolly -- often for establishing shots or a shift in perspective that brings a new element into the frame). Smart, quick, efficient.

The crunchy guitar riff starts over the Columbia Pictures logo and then the crowd noise comes up, the music drops down, and before the logo fades to black and the first image appears, we hear Mark (Jesse Eisenberg) speaking the movie's opening line -- a question that's also a challenge: "Did you know there are more people with genius IQs living in China than there are people of any kind living in the United States?" What follows is a blisteringly fast-paced screwball comedy exchange ("His Girl Friday" through a 64-bit dual-core processor) between Mark and his girlfriend (not for very much longer ) Erica in which nearly every line is a misunderstanding (intentional or unintentional), a sarcastic jab, a leap of logic, a block, an interruption, a feint, an abrupt shift in the angle of attack, a diversion, a retreat, a refinement, a recapitulation (I'm sure there are many fencing terms that apply to the various conversational strategies employed here)...

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Akzidenz Grotesk

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"Question: how many manufactured objects did you touch this morning, between waking up and leaving your house?" -- from the "Objectified" web site

Might be easier to estimate how many non-manufactured (organic and otherwise) you made contact with. From Gary Hustwit, the director of "Helvetica," one of my favorite films of 2007, comes the most anticipated movie of the year. For me, anyway. Spring, 2009: "Objectified." From the official site:

About the trailer: the voices belong to Jonathan Ive, Andrew Blauvelt, Marc Newson, and Karim Rashid. The song is "I Like Van Halen Because My Sister Says They Are Cool" by our friends El Ten Eleven, from their new record "These Promises Are Being Videotaped." And the font used in the trailer is... Akzidenz Grotesk!

That would be the lead designer of the iPod and other Apple machines, the head of the Design Studio at the Walker Art Museum, the designer of Ikepod watches, and the industrial designer Time called "the poet of plastic." It's a movie about... design -- "our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them." El Ten Eleven did the music for "Helvetica," too. And Akzidenz Grotesk is, of course, a close progenitor of Neue Haas Grotesk.

Great poster, too. As you would demand from a film about design. Click below... and find the title.

(tip: MCN)

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