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Look! Jack Kirby’s Designs for Argo!

I’m actually reasonably happy with Argo winning Best Picture. I’ve given up on the idea of the Academy Awards ever mirroring my own tastes, and Argo is a pretty great film from a director who is developing into a wonderful talent. And the awards last night spread the love around. It’s hard to hate a ceremony that can give Quentin Tarantino a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Django Unchained.

Anyway, in celebrating the success of Argo, how about a look at Jack Kirby’s original designs for the fictitious movie Lord of Light (which became Argo)? Kirby was a comic book legend, who created The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Captain America, Thor and countless other iconic comic characters. In the seventies, Kirby had an ever heavier science-fiction bint, creating his wonderful Fourth World and The Eternals and O.M.A.C. As part of the operation to rescue the escaped diplomats, Kirby designed these storyboards for the movie, which actually hit upon several of the author and artist’s favourite themes – including advanced god-like beings and the merging of the rational with the mystical.

Check out his sketches below. Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

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International On-Line Film Critics’ Poll Nominees Announced…

The nominees for the 2012 International On-Line Film Critics’ Poll 2012 have been announced. Open to all films released in the United States between November 2011 and November 2012, it allows for a slightly different playing field than the Oscars typically does. It also means that I am (as a non-American) far more likely to have seen all the nominees, with only Lincoln yet to see among the Best Picture nominees. Anyway, I will be sending in my ballot soon enough, but take a gander at the full list of nominees below. It’s a strong list, to be sure.

iolfcp1

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A Little Gold Man, Far Away: Oscar Season as a Spectator Sport…

In case you hadn’t realised, Oscar season is in full swing. We’ve already had the Toronto International Film Festival. There’s already a front-runner in the form of The Master. The seemingly obligatory voting controversy has already been reported upon. Newspapers and on-line film websites are already launching their coverage of a race that won’t be over for another five months, despite the fact that many would argue the race probably already has a winner. And that discounts those websites already set up specifically for the race, which are (understandably) kicking into overdrive.

And I… find myself having difficulty mustering too much enthusiasm about it.

The show goes on…

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Non-Review Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Stephen Daldry’s latest film, and surprise Best Picture nominee, looks lovely. It opens with a credit sequence that see Tom Hanks falling through the air like an even more stylish version of the Mad Men opening credits. The blue background is just the right shade, the picture is crisp, the focus is tight. Of course, that beautifully illustrative opening sequence exposes the primary flaw with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Some things just aren’t meant to look pretty, and some events can’t be wrapped up inside a feel-good blanket with a tidy ribbon on the outside.

Not quite picture perfect...

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BAFTA Best Picture Brochure Covers…

It’s a shame that the Oscars can never do something quite as a nice as this. Indeed, looking at the BAFTA Best Picture nominees, I can’t help but think that the British Academy of Film and Television has crafted a far more representative list of the best films of 2012. As with years past, the august group have crafted a unique piece of art around each of their five nominees, each intended for their awards brochure, and trying to capture the essence of the nominee in question. Arguably they manage to do a better job than most of theatrical posters for these films. Check them out below and click to enlarge.The five covers below have been designed by Eda Akaltun & StudioSmall (heartagency.com & studiosmall.com)

Is It Just Me Or Does The Artist Backlash Seem a Little Half-Hearted?

The annual Oscar race is a process so predictable that it could be a movie formula all of its own. You have your initial race to nominations, with various films falling at certain hurdles, leaving you with a fairly well-spaced field. You have the frontrunner surging ahead, but a dark horse waiting in the wings. And, every year, you have a very eager publicity industry ready to launch a very vehement attack on that frontrunner simply because it has the tenacity of pulling ahead. This year is no different, and The Artist seems to be seeing its share of controversies. However, these seem to be unfolding simply because it’s expected at this point in the race. I can’t help but feel like any of the attacks on The Artist are anything more than half-hearted.

Barking up the wrong tree?

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Critical Revisionism: Retrospective Re-Evaluation…

It’s funny. I always figured that long-term critical re-evaluation was sort of a one-way street. I guess it always seemed that people were talking about “classics” that got an unfair rap from critics and audiences on initial release, but have subsequently become amongst the most influential films within their genre. I’m talking about movies like Blade Runner or The Thing, movies that were attacked on initial release, but have undergone a massive transformation and vindication in popular consciousness. I generally figured that good films that got bad reviews would eventually be found and praised for the quality productions that they were, while over-praised mediocre (or worse) films would languish in purgatory, forgotten about, save the occasional television re-run. So I’m surprised at the way the tide seems to have turned against Juno in the five years since the film’s original release.

Well, that's one response...

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