Friday, November 18, 2011
The art of the movie poster is one that seems to have fallen out of fashion these days with film companies preferring to create digital photo images for their posters. Drew Struzan is the last of a dying breed, creating memorable, iconic images for many unforgettable films like The Shawshank Redemption, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Star Wars: Episode I and many more. In 2010, Titan Books published The Art of Drew Struzan, a lovely oversized hardcover celebrating his work. In October of this year, Titan republished Oeuvre, a book originally brought out by Dreamwave around 2005. It's a smaller size than the original publication but the art still looks magnificent. Oeuvre is an art book as the only text is an introduction by George Lucas and introductions to Struzan's film work, his movie art and his personal works. There is an argument for letting the work speak for itself and Oeuvre certainly does that. The reproduction is very nice indeed with plenty of standout images like the six Star Wars Episode I-VI posters reproduced as foldouts. The movie art is run without logos and type and so they are really given room to breathe here. He has a wonderful eye for likenesses and his work also really captures the tone and feel of the films he has provided images for. This book is very good value at £29.99 and so for anyone who is a fan of Struzan's work or movie history, Ouevre is a great anthology of his art…
Friday, November 11, 2011
When film companies embargo movies until the day before release, it's a very bad sign. The Immortals, directed by Tarsem Singh and starring Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Frieda Pinto and John Hurt, features the story of Theseus battling against evil King Hyperion. But I almost don't know where to start with this film. Tarsem Singh's visual style is eccentric to say the least, although if you've seen The Fall or The Cell, then you'll know what to expect. Sadly, Immortals is a sludgy and meaningless morass of idiotic production design, a terrible script and some truly awful performances. Mickey Rourke as King Hyperion spends a lot of his time wandering around in a helmet that looks like a cross between a bunny and a shark's mouth for no apparent reason, the digital sets look terrible, dark and unreal and the 3D makes it pretty hard to follow the 'plot', which deals with waking the Titans, the precursors to the current crop of Greek gods led by Zeus, who were imprisoned centuries ago. The production design for the film makes very little sense at all as the gods' costumes look like they were designed by a student on London Fashion Week and the Greek city where Theseus and Co prepare to take on Hyperion and his army resembles a corridor on the Titanic. The rest of the cast aren't much better than Rourke: Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire, Rise of The Planet of The Apes) as virgin oracle Phaedra looks pretty but is fairly wooden, Luke Evans as Zeus comes across as if he's stumbled on the set from a BBC afternoon drama and Stephen Dorff (Stavros) shows why his career has taken a downturn over the last fifteen years. Ironically Henry Cavill (future Superman) doesn't acquit himself too badly as Theseus but it's not enough. It's a shame really as through all the poor directing, amateurish design and abysmal script, you can almost see what Singh tried to achieve here: a different take on the Greek myths. But Immortals is a muddled abomination, one of the worst films to see release over the past two decades, giving Sucker Punch a real run for its money as a true turkey.