At first glance Crank is the opposite of the kinds of things I would ordinarily go see.  Even film and movie enthusiasts weren’t thrilled with this one. Still there is something to it. I wasn’t exactly on the edge of my seat despite it being billed as non-stop action, but oddly it was pretty close to seeing something akin to Video Art on the big screen.

Jason Statham is well cast in this fast-paced, crazy-premised, ride.  From the pacing, to the visuals, to the constantly making fun of itself, to the this is a video game feel, somehow it all came together to make an arty package. I don’t think it was intended that way, but from a purely visual stance, I liked it.

Still, in the same way it might be hard to recommend some video art,  a piece might have some great aspects artistically, but still be very hard to watch, so too Crank had it’s tedious moments despite being an interesting visual feast.


I really enjoyed Gary Hustwit’s Documentary Helvetica, even though I am somewhat of a typographical noob, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out he has another film coming out. Based on the preview it looks like it will be, not only very beautiful to look at, but also cover the subject matter of why beautiful and functional design matters. It seems there will be a lot of close-ups of creative minds at work and explaining themselves. Very engaging and close to my heart. visit the official film website.

(via a new blog find the donut project)



A triptich of films with Tokyo as their jumping off point. Each one by a different director: Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-ho. Of the three, Critics seem to like Gondry’s the best, followed by Joon-ho and none seem to like Carax’s. For me the order is just the reverse. Usually, I love Gondry’s films but Interior Design was my least favorite of this trio. I’ve only seen one of Joon-ho’s films previously, the Host (worth a watch in it’s own right), here Shaking Tokyo was my second favorite. Of these particular three, my favorite was Merde by Carax. The film still above is from Merde. Maybe I liked it the best because it’s the one that “follows the debased exploits of an unsightly subterranean creature.”

All three tell unique stories, and are shot really well, particularly Joon-ho’s Shaking Tokyo. You can tell these are seasoned filmmakers who are each doing their thing. Gondry’s Interior Design had the necessary quirkiness, but Merde was just plain weird and that is what I like the best. My only criticism is that although in many ways the three films are distinctly Tokyo, they are also not Tokyo enough, in each, the city itself plays only a minor role which seems an odd thing to pass up since it is such a rich source and also happens to be the title of the movie! Two Frenchmen, and a Korean make a movie that is actually three, in Gibberish, French, German, Korean, and Japanese with English subtitles. (Maybe it’s too many cooks?)

I got to see a special screening at the French Institute but you can go see the movie when it opens on March 6th.

The Five Obstructions


I really enjoy watching or reading first hand accounts of how an artist works. I like anything that gives me insight into an artist’s mind. Often times when you hear artists speak you get no tangible insight at all, but you do get the flavor, the cadence, the odd ways their minds put things together. Often there is an incongruity between what you see as their creation and what they are saying about it. I enjoy that and I like to compare my creative process to theirs. It never ceases to be fascinating to watch other people be creative.

I’m not a filmmaker, I know very little about that particular craft, so I was pleasantly surprised to be able to get so close to a filmmakers mind in this particular documentary. The five obstructions is about two artists getting together and one of them gives the other a series of five challenges to overcome. You get to see each challenge and each solution in a call and response fashion and it is just fascinating and enlightening to be able to see this process.

(also a must see if you like nordic accents.)

a film by Lars Von Trier
and Jørgen Leth
watch a preview



It was truly visually stunning. It was so rich in detail, it’s almost overwhelming to think about the amount of work that went into creating it. Every intricate detail and special effect is done using the “old-fashioned” technique of stop motion. The story is also engaging and has enough twists to keep you along for the ride. But mostly it is a visual feast, and doubly so when you view it in 3D. Overall a great slowly expanding, at times unsettling, gross and funny, adventure, full of quirky and diverse, engaging characters.

For some reason I thought this had something to do with Tim Burton, apparently the iconic look of Nightmare before Christmas has actually more to do with the director than Burton. In that case I have Henry Selick to thank for this fun and amazing movie.

The Legend of Leigh Bowery

This is a really great documentary about a fantastic artist whom few have heard of, even I was not very aware of the great, crazy, and even sometimes disgusting things he has done.  But I always admire anyone who lives their whole lives as a performance.  Leigh really understood what it means to perform.  Not some light, vanilla acting but real hardcore performance, the kind that transforms you inside and out.

The Legend of Leigh Bowery
Director: Charles Atlas
more but really you should
just watch the film

Quantum of Solace

Not bad, not as good as Casino Royale?  All of the quirky humor gone, perhaps because Q (Desmond Llewelyn) is no longer with us, the witty repartee also AWOL, and a touch too much of Bourne in this one. But overall a surprisingly arty, well shot, fine film featuring the best Bond so far, Daniel Craig. I did feel a lack of adrenaline and exhilaration at the film’s end, which is a tad disappointing for an action flick. Oh yes and how am I supposed to remember what the heck happened two years ago? This film seems to pick up, with no background, right where the last one left off. Remind me again, why is Bond so pissed? After two years even he would probably be a little over it by now.