My 100 Favorite Films. Entry #37: Children of Men.

Children of Men (2006)
written by Alfonso Cuarón & Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby
(based on the novel "The Children of Men" by P.D. James)
directed by Alfonso Cuarón
starring Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Caine
country: usa/uk
genre: drama/sci-fi

Visuals: 10
Writing: 8
Everyday watchability: 5

There is a term which directly applies to film-making called persistence of vision. It is the idea that after we see an image, its memory persists for roughly 1/25th of a second. It is how we can watch a film at 24 frames per second and see things in motion and not a series of still images.

I have a second definition for the term as it applies to film-making: the unwavering focus involved in telling a story in its proper idiomatic way. I have just finished watching Into the Wild, an interesting film, but nevertheless a film that has not found its voice. It uses storytelling modes at will, and too many to count, with director Sean Penn almost grasping at straws—albeit well-shot, craftsmanlike straws—for a way to tell his story. Children of Men doesn't need this. The film is so focused and organized that it doesn't for a moment falter in its construction. Every moment leads us through, informs us and pulls us deeper.

I could say a number of things about this film and why it's so amazing, but at this point I doubt I could say anything new. What I truly love about it is its focused ambition to tell the story right.


Galactic type.

After making some type for my latest poster, I thought (perhaps incorrectly) that it might be fun to make an entire alphabet of characters based on that type. The idea was that each letter must be made from a single ribbon. Some letters were easier than others; F, T, X, Y and Z were probably the trickiest. I also made some alternates, some of which use more than one piece of ribbon.


two-color alternate



Watching the greats.

I've seen a lot of movies. To be specific, I've seen 1,985 feature films, 59 TV movies, 64 documentaries, 96 short films and 22 straight-to-video films (a total of 2,226 titles). On November 10, I decided to make an effort to see "great" films. There's a billion lists I could go by for this, but I chose to go by three.

The first was the IMDb Top 250. If fanboys made a list of the best movies of all-time, it would probably look a lot like this. I wanted to see movies that were loved by the movie-loving public and this seemed the appropriate way to do that.

The second list is the 83 winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture. These are the movies that those in the movie-making business love, at least in the January of the year after they come out.

The last list is the Criterion Collection, which is a collection of "important classic and contemporary films" chosen by true movie buffs. This list would give me the arthouse and lesser-known films, but also classics that don't make it on the other lists.

When I started, I had seen:
  • 114 of 491 Criterion Collection titles (23.2%)
  • 62 of the 83 Best Picture winners (74.7%)
  • 233 of the IMDb Top 250 films (93.2%)

My goal is this:
  • to watch 50% of the Criterion Collection films (132 films)
  • to watch all of the best picture winners (21 films)
  • watch all of the Top 250 (17 films)

As of today, January 4, I have seen:
  • Criterion: 141/559 (25.2%) (since the collection's grown, I still need to watch 138 movies to get to 50%)
  • Best Picture winners: 66/83 (79.5%)
  • Top 250: 235/250 (94%)

I still have some work to do, but I'm making headway.


Movie clip roundup 2010.

This is a list of movies I watched for the first time between July 2010 and December 2010,  roughly ranked in order of best to worst.

  1. Moon
  2. Close-Up
  3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  4. Greenberg
  5. Bullitt
  6. Kramer vs. Kramer
  7. Gomorra
  8. Inception
  9. Let the Right One In
  10. Welcome to the Dollhouse
  11. Never Let Me Go 
  12. District 9
  13. The Lonely Guy 
  14. Zombieland
  15. Toy Story 3
  16. Gilda
  17. Caché
  18. Fat Girl 
  19. Slumdog Millionaire
  20. Youth in Revolt 
  21. Syriana
  22. Dead Calm 
  23. Hot Tub Time Machine
  24. The Princess and the Frog
  25. A Generation
  26. Downhill Racer 
  27. Enter the Void
  28. Going My Way
  29. Fanny & Alexander
  30. Frankenhooker
  31. Mr. Arkadin (The Comprehensive Version) 
  32. Bachelor Party
  33. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 
  34. Cat Ballou 
  35. Terms of Endearment
  36. Gran Torino
  37. The Honeymoon Killers
  38. Highlander
  39. Nine to Five
  40. Android
  41. 10
  42. Fred Claus
  43. Alphaville
  44. 2012 
  45. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
  46. House
  47. Ginger Snaps
  48. Je, tu, il, elle (I, You, He She)
  49. The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made
  50. Swamp Thing
  51. The Vampire Effect 
  52. The Devil's Hand
  53. 18-Year-Old Virgin
  54. Vicious Lips
  55. Highlander II 
  56. Blood Freak
  57. Ultraviolet


Here's the poster I did for Galactic, a New Orleans funk band. I don't actually know if they use both those instruments, but they seem stylistically appropriate. I made the type for "Galactic" myself. I used the wallpaper look from the holiday posters because it seemed to fit the New Orleans aesthetic.

typefaces used: hand-rendered header, Century Gothic, Didot