Tag Archives: film

kubrik’s paper-bag camera

9 Dec

It’s Friday, a day on which I really only post fluff. Today’s topic: Stanley Kubrik’s photographic history.

Before he made 2001: A Space Odyssey or A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrik was a photojournalist for Look magazine, “their youngest staff photographer on record,” writes Caroline Stanley. “Kubrick’s striking black and white images of 1940s New York City—which were often shot on the sly, his camera concealed in a paper bag with a hole in it—hint at the dark beauty and psychological drama of his later creative output.”

A photo by Stanley Kubrik during his tenure as a photojournalist for Look magazine

Kubrik's work is largely cinematic, writes Caroline Stanley

More of Kubrik's photos can be seen at Flavorwire

via Kottke

looking at marina city

8 Dec

Wilco's iconic album cover borrows from Bertrand Goldberg's iconic towers

Since becoming an editor at a building-and-design magazine, I’ve grown fond of architecture. It’s all around me. On my screen, in my hands, out my window. Hard to live in a place like Chicago and not appreciate things ornament, engineering, and bridge design. It’s one of our proudest exports, our architecture. And since my day deals in urban infill and LEED certification, I’ve grown especially aware of the built environment I move in and out of each day.

Earlier this week, I was walking along the Chicago River to give my eyes a rest from the monitor and eventually came to Marina City, the most iconic riverfront structure we have. If you don’t know it by name, you at least know it from the cover of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The twin towers hover over the water, boats parked in their empty bellies.

In spite of feeling outdated, their repetition always mesmerizes me. This fall, two photographers exhibited a show called Inside Marina City and answered a question most Chicagoans have asked themselves at some point: what is it like up there?

Mostly terrible, seemed to be the answer. It wasn’t anything like what I imagined. From the inside, the building looked even older than it did from the outside. The rooms were washed out and faded, and so were the people in them. >

"Horns," from Inside Marina City by Andreas E.G. Larsson and Iker Gil

"Yellow Kitchen," Inside Marina City

"Lady in Red," Inside Marina City

On my walk, I thought about those photographs, about how I couldn’t decide if they unspooled the myth or added to it. I thought about writing this very post, but decided against it. Everyone knows Marina City. Everyone knows Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

But then today, Gapers Block linked to a short film called Covers by Luis Urcolo, and it was a wonderfully simple concept cleanly executed. Got me thinking about all this again, especially once it reached the four-minute mark. I’d say more, but it’s better if you just watch it. Everything should make sense soon enough.

start the week right

7 Nov

We would watch this before movie screenings at our college house at 400 Kearney in Manhattan, Kansas. It was a favorite bit of pulp then, but I’d forgotten about it. Today, our creative director sent it out to kickstart our
week. I can’t thank her enough.

the man who is elmo

30 Sep

A documentary about the man who invented, and became Elmo. I’m really curious what it must be like to be the soul and voice of something that also, by definition, requires your invisibility.



in defense of The Tree of Life

29 Sep

The Point, a high-brow journal of literature and politics based here in Chicago, makes a case for why The Tree of Life is less self-indulgent than a lot of people thought.

The Tree of Life invites accusations of pretentiousness, but though many of us may scoff at one man’s presumption to link his own biography to the origins of life, Malick is in fact calling out for us to do the same, and so to wonder about our Being, rather than just being-in-the-world, where we are lulled into sleep by day-to-day work and momentary amusements. The Tree of Life is Malick’s “Song of Myself,” recalling Whitman: “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, / And what I assume you shall assume, / For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

It was interesting to find out too that the film is autobiographical in certain details. Malick had a brother, Larry, who killed himself after intentionally breaking both his hands. I feel as if details like this add weight to the incantations uttered by various characters in the movie—questions, prayers, recollections of memories. Later, the author skims over a thought before quickly moving on, but I lingered over it. The statement, for me, is at the crux of Malick’s filmmaking.

Few films awe as much.

Read as a statement about the audience, this doesn’t say a lot. But read as a statement about the film itself, that the movie is in awe of the world, changes it completely.

art deco nostalgia

20 Sep

I’m not really into posting nostalgic meditations on movies from my childhood, but I did need to share a poster I ran across today while searching for an article I’d read on the disparity between the art of the film poster and the non-art of the DVD cover. I’d never seen this poster before, and was pretty much in awe.

So I guess in honor of the 20th anniversary of the movie that brought youngsters like me another reason to hate Nazis, a crush on a young Jennifer Connelly, and the inspiration to craft (with my big brother and our mom) a wearable cardboard replica of the movie’s iconic helmet (complete with green cellophane for the lenses), here’s the 1991 film poster of The Rocketeer.

The Rocketeer's Art Deco-style film poster, circa 1991

tilt-shift routine

11 Aug

We are understandably amazed when something fake is made to appear real, but I’m equally in awe of what has been done here: taking something real and making it appear fake:


The video is an example of tilt-shift photography.

the man from callicoon

21 Jul

Mark Ruffalo talks with the reincarnated Paste about Callicoon, a central New York town he’s made home for 15 years. Its population? 250.

“You know, I came up here while I was doing a play. All my possessions were in boxes and a suitcase. I came out to visit a friend, and he had 70 acres that he’d bought for $70,000. And I saw it, and I was like, ‘Are you joking? 70 acres? I have friends who pay more for cars than that.’ And I had about $5,000 saved. And I started driving around with a realtor and I took the second place I saw. It wasn’t 70 acres, but it was 30 acres, and it was only $40,000. I owned my second home before I even owned my first home. And that became a 15-year love affair.”

It’s hard to know whether a modest place cultivates a sense of humility in a person, or whether humility drives a person to seek a modest place.

“People talk to you here, not around you. Almost to the point where you wish you could get away, but there’s nowhere to run. I mean, this is serious living here; it’s not for the faint of heart. You live really deeply into your life, in a way.”

The rest of the piece is good too, and there’s video of him describing what he had to do physically to become The Hulk in the upcoming Avengers film. Check it out—and the rest of the new Pastehere.

henry waltz

18 Jul

From Hungarian director Emil Goodman comes Henry Waltz.

more love & film

5 Jul

Simply continuing a previous post.

Tom & Gerri

Tom & Gerri

They 'do everything together'

And you just can't get enough of them