Must See

Must See >> Waiting for Superman

I can’t wait for this film to come out here in Santa Barbara, everyone needs to see it.

Did you know that this generation in the US will be less literate than the previous generation?  That’s a frightening statistic, and only one of many frightening realities about our education system presented in this film.

Tonight, Arianna Huffington will be hosting a virtual town hall with Davis Guggenheim, the director (also directed An Inconvenient Truth) and Joel Klein, the chancellor of NYC schools to discuss about the film and education reform in general, and anyone can participate!

It seems like the PR team behind this film is doing a great job garnering attention for their screenings with the director and things like this virtual town hall, and I’m so glad, it deserves as much publicity as it can possibly get!

The virtual town hall will be streamed live here

Must See

Martin Scorsese for Bleu de Chanel

What happens when you give Scorsese only 1 minute to tell a story?
It comes out just like a Scorsese– a man trying to find himself, flashing camera bulbs and shutter sounds, an opening sequence pulled from another point in the story’s timeline, Rolling Stones, etc. The only thing missing is violence, but you wouldn’t necessarily want that in a cologne ad.  Pretty fantastic little film.

Speaking of short films, have you noticed the trend of fashion houses hiring big name directors to shoot “short films” rather than “commercials” these days?  I like it!  I’d much rather watch a little short than a traditional ad!
The GANT film wasn’t a big name director, but it did definitely have this short film feel.  If you missed it, catch it here.

PS – I’m mad for the painted patterned floors at 0:30.  Aren’t they amazing??

Must See

Must See >> The Power of Music

“A 90-year old man recounts a remarkable experience in WWII.”
Don’t quit in the middle of this one, you need to get to the end.

Must See

"A Love Story"

“A Love Story,” a video for Spring/Summer ’11 by GANT by Michael Bastian.
Love Michael Bastian, LOVE the styling of this video.  All the class and elegance of an old movie plus the hazy warmth of a wonderful dream.

I’ve watched this about five times now, maybe hoping my dreams tonight will look like this.

Directed by Carl Axel-Wahlstrom.

Must See

What Love Is

Just watch it.  I know it looks goofy at first glance, but it’ll probably move you to tears.
From StoryCorps:
Danny Perasa and his wife, Annie, came to StoryCorps to recount their twenty-seven-year romance. As they remember their life together from their first date to Danny’s final days with terminal cancer, these remarkable Brooklynites personify the eloquence, grace, and poetry that can be found in the voices of everyday people when we take the time to listen.
Directed by: The Rauch Brothers
Animator: Tim Rauch

Must See

Must See >> A Single Man

After seeing these awesome posters and the stills below, I’m convinced I need to see A Single Man, if only for the art direction and cinematography.

Must See

NetFlix This >> The Fall

Possibly my second favorite movie (after Amelie), this movie is so incredibly rich, both technically and emotionally.  Roger Ebert called it “one of the most extraordinary films I’ve ever seen.” 
Directed by Tarsem Singh and “presented by” Spike Jonze, the film was shot in 24 countries over 4 years.  Tarsem, who has made his career as a sought-after commercial directer, used his own money to produce it.  In addition, when was asked to shoot somewhere on-location for a commercial, he leveraged his desirability by asking that added to his contract would be an allowance of extra time on-site and all the resources of the commercial shoot to work on The Fall while there.  

The result is a film filled with stunning visuals, due to both the mind-blowing locations (they are all real!!) and the art direction.  But the cinematography is not all the movie has to offer; it is also an example of wonderful storytelling, of the sort where one character tells the story with another imagining it, a la The Princess Bride (remember the grandfather telling the grandson the story in bed at night?), and Tarsem perfectly evokes the feeling of what it was like as a child to drift into the vivid imaginary land of a story while being read to.

Also, the little girl who is hearing the story is downright adorable, which is not surprising considering Tarsem did a worldwide search to find the perfect girl to play her (they found her in Romania), and her relationship with Roy (Lee Pace), who is telling the story, is incredibly realistic and poignant.

 (I have no idea where this incredible place is, but it’s real!  And they shot there!  See 1:48 in the trailer.)

Do yourself a favor and check out this movie — on as large a screen as you can find, for full appreciation of the visuals — and remember what it was like to get lost in an imaginary land.

Must See

Must See >> Blu

A stop-motion animation film of sometimes small-, sometimes very large-scale murals by the Argentine artist Blu on the sidewalks of Buenos Aires.
I don’t know how quickly he changes these drawings, but it would be pretty cool if you came across something like this on your daily commute, and you could see it evolve every day, not having any idea where it’s headed.
Also pretty amazing that after each drawing was photographed, that became a frame in the film, and there was no way to go back and change previous frames, since he had already changed the drawing and moved on.  I’m curious how much he planned out the whole trajectory ahead of time!
[Lost at E Minor]

Must See

Jay-Z’s "Hello Brooklyn"

 Sometimes when I really like something straight away upon encountering it, all eloquence and diligently learned SAT vocab words suddenly seem far out of reach, and all I can think of are childish descriptors like “awesomeness.”  I feel (hope) that if I thought about it longer, the analytical side of my brain would kick in and help me describe why I find something worthy of being called awesomeness, but for this Jay-Z video, I think awesomeness is just about right.  So take my word for it and check out the awesomeness.

This video is not the official music video, but rather an independent “tribute” to Jay-Z, Brooklyn, and New York by Greg Solenstrom, which actually in a way makes it even cooler, knowing that this guy produced this video pretty much for fun (ok, and maybe self-promotion) without any direction from the Jay-Z team.  Although I will say that before I knew it was independently done, and I thought it was Jay-Z’s idea, I was like, “Wow, Jay-Z is even cooler than I thought!” Alas.
Solenstrom uses the font Akzidenz Grotesk (the precursor to Helvetica), which, as the font on MTA subway map designed in the late 60′s (and still used today) by Massimo Vignelli, seems a perfect choice, along with tons of still images of Brooklyn treated with the Vanishing Point effect in Photoshop and After Effects to animate the video.

The above video is a non-traditional but fascinating “making of”– meaning it will not teach you how to create a video like this, but rather will boggle your mind and convince you that you could never learn how to do this.  Still, despite the mind-boggling, it’s worth checking out for the appreciation of the video and this guy’s talent that it will give you.  I really had no idea how much work it would take to create a video like this.

Must See

Easy as ABC

I don’t know why exactly, but I found this little video so charming.  Watching the little boy trying to write letters, struggling with the forms and fitting them on the paper, while his dad, who clearly does this as his trade, masterfully writes beautiful letters is sort of inexplicably touching, and not just because I like handwriting.  But maybe the combination of handwriting plus father/son stuff and the snapshot of a phase of childhood was just too much for me.
The little boy’s efforts are so wonderfully child-like, at that stage where imitating shapes is still so difficult, and he’s trying so hard, glancing at his dad’s paper but rarely able to get it right, and you know some day he’ll probably show the same talent as his father and dad will be so proud of the tradition and ability he passed on. 
PS- the intro credits are long, but even those are entertaining, watching the dad write in two distinct fonts!

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