Writing about Toys (1992) has been on my "to do" list for ages so I recently re-watched it to get re-inspired. This is one of those movies that did poorly with critics and at the box office but is actually one that is visually distinct and has an opposing message and theme to what normally comes out of Hollywood.
Directed by Barry Levinson (Rainman, Bugsy, Envy) and stars Robin Williams, Joan Cusack, LL Cool J, Robin Wright, Michael Gambon and Jamie Foxx' movie debut, the movie’s style and costumes are obviously influenced by the art of René Magritte.
The story goes, Robin Williams helps run a toy factory, Zevo Toys, for his ailing father who then passes away, leaving control to his brother, Leland, who is a military man and will run a tight ship. Leland has little interest in the toy business until he learns about corporate espionage, then his military training kicks in. He decides to start producing war toys, something that Zevo has decidedly never done before. This is where the story shifts into a battle between good and evil. The military takeover starts off as covert operations, then suppresses the very thing that made Zevo special. Williams leads the crusade against his uncle for all that is innocent and whimsical while learning how to grow up a little to win the heart of his kindred spirit, Wright, who also works in the factory. The overall premise for the movie, I find to be insightful and adds to a larger conversation about consumption targeted towards children and how certain toys encourage violence, and how the isolation can lead to the desensitization of society when it comes to violence on a grander scale, i.e. war.
As interesting as the ideas are behind the plot, the sets and costumes help tell the story and become their own characters that reflect the dichotomy of the situation. There’s a surreal, playful quality to the sets and the use of bold colours add to the fantasy of what working at a toy factory would be like. Conversely, the military influence uses camouflage, dark colours, shadows and extreme camera angles to reinforce the hostile takeover that sits on the horizon.
Visually, this movie uses distinct architectural influences, in its use of scale in creating illusion and artistic elements when creating spatial experiences. It uses repetition, line, symmetry, positive and negative space to establish a sense of wonder.
The genius of this film is that it addresses socio-political issues and consumerism; the very thing that keeps the military functioning at such a powerful level, and is illustrated using cartoonish visual effects that mask the severity of underlying real-world concerns. I recommend watching this movie for many reasons.
I'm looking forward to these four movies, starring
Hollywood's big four top male actors. Based solely on
their appearance and style, I am visually intrigued but have
an inclining as to how much I'll really like them but it's
hard to judge from a two minute trailer, so hopefully
I'll be surprised and impressed.
OZ The Great and Powerful looks magical. I enjoy the fantastical quality and aesthetic of the computer generated imagery but I'm concerned about it being promoted as a Disney film and rated PG. This always means there will be juvenile elements that will either make no sense or turn it into a circus, see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland as a prime example. I suspect there may be musical numbers that will act as intermittent distractions for the children that parents bring along. Hopefully any ridiculousness will be negated by dreamboat James Franco's presence.
Great Gatsby looks like an Art Deco lover's dream. This period piece twisted with contemporary music is a Baz Lurhmann specialty, see Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet that also stars Leonard Dicaprio as other examples of his style. I already enjoy the theatrics I see in the trailer and Leo D is one of Hollywood's best actors so I'm sure his performance will be noteworthy.
Oblivion is another post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action-drama starring everyone's favourite, Morgan Freeman and Tom Cruise who I suspect, plays future Earth's version of a blue collar worker, his character type when he's not a spy with a mission. I'm not particularly interested in the storyline that appears to be Cruise searching for the truth and a woman he used to love, I'm interested in the imagined technology and the landscape of what's left of Earth.
World War Z is based on Max Brooks' book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, stars Brad Pitt as Brooks, an agent for the UN Postwar Commission. It's another post-apocalyptic Earth scenario overrun by predatory zombies. I'm not looking forward to the gratuitous gore and violence but have had The Walking Dead prepare me for it, but rather the landscapes and inevitable architecture ruin porn. I'm not a big fan of Pitt and the vacant look in his eyes but would like to see how he saves the world, because you know he will.
I had fun making a little time-lapse video of the
installation process of PICNURBIA on August 9th, 2011
in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
From the Loose Affiliates website:
PICNURBIA. The Yellow Picnic Wave.
In the summer, Vancouverites leave their neighbourhoods and head to the beach, thereby inhabiting the edge of the city. PICNURBIA suggests an alternative to this exodus, creating an inland zone for people to gather and picnic in the heart of downtown.
At PICNURBIA, the summer act of picnicking is heightened by an über–picnic-blanket. This undulating landscape provides spaces for people to hang out and play in alternative formations, providing a new experience of urban picnicking.
PICNURBIA offers space for people to come together, relax and watch. Inserted into the urban downtown neighbourhood, a community where people already live, work and visit, the site is intended to become an easily inhabited summer zone, where people may gather to enjoy the long summer days. PICNURBIA is designed to offer an ‘on-the-block’ amenity where people can drop by on purpose or stumble upon more informally as they walk or bike home. This will establish PICNURBIA as a summer node, carried on mouth-to-mouth, “Let’s meet at PICNURBIA”
Picnurbia is realised in collaboration with Viva Vancouver and is supported by SYNLawn, suppliers of PICNURBIA's vibrant yellow turf.
Loose Affiliates | looseaffiliates.com
Viva Vancouver | vancouver.ca/viva
SYNLawn | synlawn.com/
music: This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody) - The Talking Heads
filmed/edited by:krista jahnke
Slavoj Žižek is my favourite modern philosopher.
He sugar coats nothing and never apologizes for it.
Respect for honesty.
Slavoj Zizek: the world’s hippest philosopher
Slavoj Žižek has got an opinion on every subject from decaffeinated coffee to sex,
from seagulls and swearing to the end of the world. He talks to Helen Brown.
June 19, 2011
Flapping his elbows and lathered in sweat, Slavoj Žižek looks like a man in the final throes of radiation sickness doing the birdy dance. But the world’s hippest philosopher is actually miming what he imagines it would feel like to be trapped inside an all-body condom.
“I saw this thing in an American store!” he explodes, lurching towards me in the quiet conservatory of a Bloomsbury hotel. “A total mask for the body! The ultimate in safe sex! So obscene! My God! But I do believe that by analysing this sort of phenomena you learn a lot about where we are. We want coffee without caffeine! Cake without sugar! And this is decaffeinated sex!”
click here to continue reading..
The article mentions Žižek's film
The Pervert's Guide To Cinema (2006),
I saw this a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. He
brings up a lot of points that opened my eyes a little bit wider.
Worth checking out..if you're into thinking..and I hope you are.
This graphic, movie poster-style animation goes through Stanley Kubrick's film career
This is the intro for The Beatles Rock Band that I just saw
for the first time and think it's SO good!
This is a really fun sto-mo of illustrator Dan Berglund
window painting in Sweden.
First of all, I've always been a fan of stop motion.
Second of all, I love it when simple things can speak volumes.
Check out the short, "Bottle", by Kirsten Lepore.
It's just simply, great.
I was reminded of Clifford, starring Martin Short, last night after seeing
"The Lonely Guy" with Steve Martin and Charles Grodin
and promptly fed my film addiction. The following is one of the many funny highlights
of this movie...
It makes me laugh every time.
That floating bag gets me every time.
with Werner Herzog's spot-on narration as an added bonus..
I wish I could show this to everyone who questioned why I went to school
for Architecture then Photography, as if they were unrelated and isolated.
For me, the marriage is obvious.
The artist is Alex Roman
Check out his The Third & The Seventh website.
"A FULL-CG animated piece that tries to
illustrate architecture art across a photographic
point of view, where main subjects are already-
click here to see what other people are saying..
psst...It's best if you watch it full screen
so I just watched this trailer for ♥ Valentine's Day ♥ ...starring Julia Roberts' laugh. No surprise since the director is Garry
Marshall, the same one from Pretty Woman. I didn't realize 'Julia Roberts'
is still a name that sells, did I miss something? This movie is clearly
a cliché knock off of Love Actually, the feel-good
British Christmas comedy. Say that five times fast.