My 100 favourite films. Entry #32: Junebug.

Junebug (2005)
written by Angus MacLachlan
directed by Phil Morrison
starring Alessandro Nivola, Embeth Davidtz, Ben McKenzie and Amy Adams
country: usa
genre: drama

Visuals: 9
Writing: 8
Everyday watchability: 6

Let's start with this: I cried while watching this movie. For those who know me, this is no small feat. Furthermore, it made me cry while I was eating a sandwich. That takes something.

After that, I'm not sure where to start. The imagery perhaps? The performances? The structure?

I'll start with this. Junebug is a film that recognizes that life is made up as much from the small, seemingly insignificant moments as it is the epiphanies and big turning points. Shots of trees, driveways and empty rooms pepper the film with the feeling of the everyday and mundane. Shots of a father blowing up an air mattress for his returning child seem to linger too long, first on his frame, then on the mattress. I say "too long," but the timing is perfect. Things move slowly in this world, much as they do in ours. When the important moments happen however, we are very aware of them. A key scene involves George, who has come home with his big-city wife Madeleine to small-town North Carolina, singing a hymn. Madeleine has never heard George sing before, and she is clearly blown away; not for his singing ability, but for the soul and passion in his voice.

The acting is astounding as well. Amy Adams plays a dumb-as-paint but sweet-as-candy southern girl who's 8.5 months pregnant. Despite her dimwittedness, she's the only one of her family that seems to know that they're going about life all wrong. Near the end of the film, she states that she had hoped for a baby because she "wanted something good to come out of all of this."

Celia Weston plays a domineering, passive-aggressive mother who has almost no heart. Her husband claims that's not how she is inside, but it's impossible to believe him. She undercuts everyone at all times, except possibly her son, who she describes to his face as perfect, making him laugh out loud. It's another moment in a film full of meaning for the viewer to glean. Nothing's handed on a silver platter. You have to work to get it. I still don't get it really, and that's why I love it.


My 100 favourite films. Entry #31: Brick.

Brick (2005)
written and directed by Rian Johnson
starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner and Lukas Haas
country: usa
genre: drama

Visuals: 7
Writing: 10
Everyday watchability: 5

Some films get by on great acting. Others get by on great direction. Some films, such as Sweet Smell of Success and Brick, are so immaculately written, as to leave no question about the filmmaker's intention. This isn't to say that Brick isn't well-directed and well-acted. It is both of those things. But it's acted and organized in such a way that the dialogue is always taking center stage. It's found the right balance between the word and the screen (like David Mamet when he made House of Games), but doesn't let the viewer lose interest in the visuals (like David Mamet when he made The Spanish Prisoner). Whereas the dialogue in Brick is verbose and laden with metaphors, euphemisms and clever turns of phrases, the cinematography is straight-forward, peppered with just enough dashes of flair and points of detail to keep it interesting. Instead of grand sweeping shots and panoramic vistas, we get close-ups of slamming phones, contemplative frames of a dead girl's hair swirling in the water and hands solving a Rubik's cube.

The movie is the story of a high schooler played by a 20-something investing the murder of his ex-girlfriend between classes. He takes a page from Dashiell Hammett with his speech, referencing regular high school stuff while talking drugs and murder. It's a world where 26 is considered old and the drug kingpin's mom brings him a cookie and makes corn flakes for his hostages. When he goes to visit the vice principal, he says, "I don't want you to come kicking in my homeroom door because of something I didn't do."

Sometimes the words are so dense that almost nothing sticks. "Look, I can't trust you. You ought to be smart enough to know that. I didn't shake up the party to get your attention, and I'm not heeling you to hook you. Your connections could help me, but the bad baggage they bring could make it zero sum gain or even hurt me. Better coming at it clean." These lines are spouted off rapid-fire, making it nigh on impossible to get every reference the movie makes. It's not completely out of reach however. With time and patience, everything pretty much adds up. Well, most everything. I suppose it's my nature to love movies I don't completely understand.


Reaction final layouts.

These were sent to the printer today.


New Reaction nameplate.

I know said that the last time I put this logo up that it was the final version, but some changes were required. First, instead of a line weight change for "re", it was suggested that I do a color change. It would be a different color for each issue. This one reflects the color used inside the issue to represent Satyajit Ray. Also, the shutter had to change because the wrong part of the aperture was see-through. It was illogical, so instead of making the iris inside the "o," I made it the "o" itself. I think it gives it a much cleaner look.

And here it is in action.

Alchemy cover final version.

I am very happy to say that this project is finished. It's always nice to put one in the bag and I'm quite pleased with how this came out. It's probably some of my better work. It's clean, has good hierarchy and a concept that works well. In case you can't tell, I've replaced the elements of the periodic table with classic books. I snuck in a few of my favourites that I doubt many people will have heard of. Can you spot them? (hint: they're both divisible by three)

I've included a separate image of both the front and back and also the entire spread so you can see how it wraps around. Also, an image of me reading the book—we had to actually wrap our design around an old copy of the book. It looks so neat.



Here's something I did in about fifteen or twenty minutes. It's a quick typographical exercise to get me thinking and doing. Feroxx is my moniker for when I make music. It's also the name of one of my favourite tracks by one of my favourite artists, Klute.



Here's the final version of my Valentine-a-Gram. I struggled with this one quite a bit and deleted and re-did aspects of it a number of times. I think it turned out pretty well in the end. I put a flower in the person's hand on the hill to really tie him in with the person in the hot air balloon. They had no connection before and I think this works better.


Career Center poster.

This is the final version of my Career Center poster to be submitted for selection. I'm really happy with it. I think it's conceptually strong and fun and eye-catching. The main poster is 11x17; I also created a series of 8.5x11 miniposters that go along with the main one. What do you think?


Le Petit Chou.

For my advertising class, we had to come up with a business and we're building an entire advertising business around that. My business is a vegan restaurant called Le Petit Chou that serves healthy and mostly organic food to businesspeople and families—generally people that are too busy for sit-down meals, but still want to eat healthy. The idea is to also provide pre-packaged take-home meals they can store in the fridge or pantry and pull out to take to work or serve to the kids when they get home.

We're on the print advertising step of the project, so I made this ad. It took me about an hour and a half start to finish. I found the right typeface (Antipasto), grabbed a logo image, found some sprouts, added textures to them and played around with the text.


Alchemy cover.

And just like that, here are three roughs for the Alchemy cover. In the first, I'm trying to make it look as steampunk as possible. I think it needs more wood and dark metal. The second is of course a periodic table, which has a lot to do with metal, right? The concept is fairly thin, but I think the layout works really well. The third is a guy puking up ideas, which (when I'm done) will sort of spill into the letters of "Alchemy."

This is a book, remember. So, the right side is the cover, the strip in the center is the spine and the left side is the back. I've included the vertical dotted lines as a visual guide to where the folds are. I've also included an image of just the front cover since this is how it's going to be displayed.


Alchemy thumbnails.

These are thumbnails for the latest and last design studio project. This one is for PCC's very own creative writing department. Every year they self-publish a book called Alchemy, which is a collection of stories, poems and whatever else from the creative writing students. The magazine's concept is all about transforming one thing into another. In the case of alchemy, it's turning base metals into gold. In the case of Alchemy (the book), it's turning thoughts and ideas into words. The covers should hopefully convey this idea somewhat.

I'll be focusing on these thumbnails: six; a combination of 20, 23 and 25; and a combination of 14 and 26.



Check out what I found while waiting for the bus. It's a shopping list scrawled on a couple pieces of cardboard. My favorite entries are: grapfrute, smll granola?, hami crrsp (honey crisp I presume), smll guva, geva, song 1 (or songl…or gongl for that matter), brokley, curies, brebs, goldD and the three entries for bananas.