Director Jennifer Baichwal followed my favourite photographer, Edward Burtynsky, as he documented landscapes transformed by humans due to manufacturing and industrial work. The 2006 documentary is luckily available on YouTube.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
With the release of El Bulli: Cooking in Progress, chef and restaurant documentaries have been a buzz. Food porn reaches climatic levels with Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The story of a 85 year old sushi chef and his 3 star Michelin star restaurant.
You might recognize his face as he was featured in the 2008 Tokyo episode of ‘No Reservations’ and has gained notoriety for mastering the art of perfection. While there will be enough close-up shots of Uni and Toro tuna, the heart of this story features Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow.
‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ will be released in selected theatres March 9th. If you can’t wait for your next sushi run, the following is a short teaser of the documentary.
2012 Oscar Titles/Graphics
It doesn’t matter who they put in as host (maybe Chris Rock?). Until the Academy starts voting for the deserving nominee instead of surrendering to Harvey Weinstein’s films, the Oscars will and always suck. It’s not all bad though.
Year after year, I have to give it to the Oscar production team providing great titles and graphics throughout the show. Last year, we saw more of a classic “Oscar” look to visuals. This year, typography and typeface were in the forefront. Using several fonts from Hoefler & Frere-Jones, plenty of graphics used to display nominees and films were beautifully designed with simplicity, sophistication and charm.
Wes Anderson - From Above
Say what you will about Wes Anderson movies but the charming visuals and cinematography cannot be debated. This is a video montage of Wes Anderson’s overhead point-of-view shots. The compilation, created by Vimeo user Kogonada, includes infamous shots from Anderson’s best movies namely the beautifully shot (yet highly eerie suicide scene) from Royal Tenanbaums.
Ai Weiwei : Never Sorry
The documentary about the Chinese artist/activist received a rare standing ovation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The ultimate reality show for me features accomplished professionals sitting at a table, turning the camera on and letting them talk. It doesn’t necessarily matter whether you’re interesting in what they do but the passion, hard work and path they got to where they are leads to an extremely inspiring and refreshing dialogue.
Anthony Bourdain and his Travel Channel special ‘At The Table’, featured respected chefs/friends as they talked shop. Same with legendary comedians, Louis CK, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Ricky Gervais with ‘Talking Funny’.
And since 1998, Newsweek has hosted an Oscar roundtable with Hollywood’s elite talking about their craft. Newsweek and The Daily Beast was able to get this years’ front runner Oscar favourites, George Clooney, Viola Davis, Tilda Swinton, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron and Christopher Plummer.
69TH GOLDEN GLOBE PREDICTIONS
Paths of Glory
It’s becoming more and more evident that the tension between individuals and the institutions they serve have reached a boiling point. See: The greedy financial sector, the corruption of political bureaucracy and the broken education system. This led me to recently revisit the 1957 WW1 movie, ‘Paths of Glory’. Stanley’s Kubrick brilliant anti-war film on the failures of the institution and the tribulations of politics and management. A favourite amongst the legendary directors and the creator of ‘The Wire’, David Simon.
With the recent success of the ‘ESPN Film’ series and their vanguard ‘30 for 30’ documentary series, there has been an enormous thirst for sports documentaries. The great aspect of these films is that it shows the hidden and often concealed story lines that sports fans often aren’t generally informed about.
‘Senna’ was one of my favourite documentaries in 2011. Growing up watching Formula One with my father, I can only recall the vague memories of the sport. The cars, the iconic race tracks, the drivers. Of course I recall the legendary Ayrton Senna as he dominated the F1 scene and his untimely death at San Marino. I was not aware of all that entailed before that moment. The person he was, his battle with the politics of the sport and probably the most overlooked sports rivalry/feud with his F1 teammate Alain Prost. Highly recommend this film as well as the soundtrack by Antonio Pinto.
Best Movie Posters of 2011
One might debate today’s importance of movie posters. The legendary Saul Bass designs have been replicated to exhaustion and movie trailers spearhead online hype and fandom. Even so, the first impression of a movie poster displayed in front of the theatre cannot be replaced.
This year, we’ve seen some great poster designs, which range from the simplistic photography for ‘Shame’ to the homage of ’70s exploitation cover ‘Hobo with a Shotgun’. Flavorwire released their top picks for this year’s best movie posters. Criterion fans rejoice.