September 2014

Looking good.

To show how the Scotch Magic Tape by 3M magically mends tears on paper, Hamburg-based ad agency Kolle Rebbe has created a clever packaging that makes it look as though the tape is invisible. The agency placed a specially designed ultra thin mirror inside the packaging and tilted it at an angle. This formed an area for stowing the tape, creating the illusion of an empty box. The creative design snagged Kolle Rebbe a Silver Design award in the Packaging category at the 2014 CLIO Awards. (via Design Taxi)

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This barbaric practice on women and the violation of their human rights needs to stop.

Finnish photographer Meeri Koutaniemi’s series ‘Taken’ is a hard-hitting look at the atrocities of female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation refers to the removal of all or some of the external female genitalia. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, there are over 140 million mutilated women worldwide. (via Design Taxi)


“Cloud Atlas” is an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future via multiple plotlines set across six different eras, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution…

The film has had polarized reaction from critics, who debated its length and editing of the interwoven stories, but praised other aspects of the film such as its cinematography, score, visual style, ensemble cast, and originality. Film critic Roger Ebert praised the film for being “one of the most ambitious films ever made”, awarding the film four out of four stars. He wrote “Even as I was watching Cloud Atlas the first time, I knew I would need to see it again. Now that I’ve seen it the second time, I know I’d like to see it a third time … I think you will want to see this daring and visionary film … I was never, ever bored by Cloud Atlas. On my second viewing, I gave up any attempt to work out the logical connections between the segments, stories and characters.” He later listed the film among his best of the year. To be honest, I have a hard time to describe “Cloud Atlas” and compared to the late Ebert I was truly bored out of my brain with this mish mash of tales intertwining the so called plot. I rather agree with Slant Magazine’s Calum Marsh who called “Cloud Atlas” a “unique and totally unparalleled disaster”. It´s truly an ambitious movie and visually quite stunning at times, but it fails massively under the weight of its own ambition. It´s a sappy slow-paced non-linear cosmic journey trying to cram in great themes such as philosophy, reincarnation, oppression and destiny within the stories, but yet you just want it to end so you can go and do something else. (2 and a half out of 5)


Running in from seemingly nowhere, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith & Peter Tork – better known collectively as The Monkees – disrupt a bridge opening ceremony. From where and why did they come to disrupt the proceedings? They were making make their way through a series of unrelated vignettes, each being a different type of film (mystery, war, Western, desert adventure, etc.). In each one, they try to deal with the fact that they are four real people in a real band that makes records for real people, but are also scripted characters in a fake made-for-television band doing nothing except exactly what the director wants them to. The Monkees try to prove to themselves that they are free and can make any choice they want. But no matter what they try – deliberately flubbing their lines, complaining to Nicholson and Rafelson who are on the set but not part of the film, smashing through the painted paper walls, walking off the set and into the street, physically attacking other actors for no reason, and making everyone they encounter mad at them – they discover that their every word and deed was predetermined to the finest detail by the script of the movie they are in and the director directing it. They simply are trying to figure out how to escape the oppression they feel as a band and as individuals…

The storylines and peak moments of the film came from a weekend visit to a resort in Ojai, California, where the Monkees, Rafelson and Nicholson brainstormed into a tape recorder, reportedly with the aid of a quantity of marijuana. Jack Nicholson then took the tapes away and used them as the basis for his screenplay which (according to Rafelson) he structured while under the influence of LSD. When the band learned that they would not be allowed to direct themselves or to receive screenwriting credit, Dolenz, Jones, and Nesmith staged a one-day walkout, leaving Tork the only Monkee on the set the first day. The strike ended after the first day when, to mollify the Monkees, the studio agreed to a larger percentage share of the film’s net for the group. But the incident damaged the Monkees’ relationship with Rafelson and Bert Schneider, and would effectively draw a curtain on their professional relationship together. A poor audience response at an August 1968 screening in Los Angeles eventually forced the producers to edit the picture down from its original 110-minute length. The 86-minute Head premiered in New York City on November 6, 1968; the film later debuted in Hollywood on November 20. It was not a commercial success. This was in part because Head, being an antithesis of The Monkees sitcom, comprehensively demolished the group’s carefully groomed public image, while the older, hipper counterculture audience they had been reaching for rejected the Monkees’ efforts out of hand. The film was also delayed in its release (owing partly to the use of solarisation, a then-new technique both laborious and expensive), and badly under-promoted. The sole television commercial was a confusing, minimalist close-up shot of a man’s head (John Brockman); after thirty seconds, the man smiled and the name HEAD appeared on his forehead. This ad was a parody of Andy Warhol’s 1963 film Blow Job, which only showed a close-up of a man’s face for an extended period, supposedly receiving ‘head’. This anti career and political statement from The Monkees is one truly weird experience that without no doubt had all sorts of substances as pillars for the script and the production. No wonder this more or less killed their career in their attempt to object against their made up tv pop band existence. There´s not much that makes sense in “HEAD” and I´m honestly not sure if it even made any sense to anyone in 1968. It´s a mess and partly a bit painful to see this as I do like the old tv-show and the music from The Monkees in their heydays. (2 and a half out of 5)


Brittany (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Faith (Selena Gomez) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are all college students ready to get out of the campus environment and enjoy life. Brittany, Candy and Cotty spend their spare time smoking and partying, while Faith attends a local religious youth group, although she seems distant and uninterested. While discussing her plans for spring break, members of her church warn her about her friends and describe Brittany and Candy as particularly dangerous. As their classmates head to spring break, they are stuck behind due to a lack of money. Desperate to make the trip, Brittany and Candy, after getting high on cocaine, don ski masks and use hammers and realistic-looking squirt guns to commit armed robbery at a local restaurant. Cotty acts as the getaway driver in a stolen car (obtained from one of the girls’ professors), which the girls later burn. Now able to make the trip to spring break in St. Petersburg, Florida, the girls attend wild beach parties and engage in reckless behavior. Shortly after, the three divulge the details of their crime to Faith, and she is clearly taken aback by the extreme nature of their actions. However, she chooses to overlook their crimes, as she feels that while it was wrong, it was done for a good reason. After a particularly wild party, all four are arrested, along with several party members. They spend the night in a holding cell, where Faith muses on the bad direction which the trip has suddenly taken. Facing another two nights in jail, they are suddenly bailed out by Alien (James Franco), a local rapper and gangster who saw them in court when bailing out some of his crowd. He questions them about themselves, and reveals to them details about his childhood, his wealth and his occupation as an illegal drug and firearm distributor. He takes them to a local gang club, where Faith becomes increasingly uncomfortable with his lifestyle. Despite his attempts to convince her to stay, she decides to leave and begs the others to come with her but they refuse, and she makes the trip home alone. The girls return to Alien’s mansion, where he shows them the wealth from his illegal activities, describing his life as the “American Dream”. During this demonstration he embraces Brit and Candy as his “soulmates”. Taking them to a strip club owned by his local rival, Alien encounters a former friend and current rival gangster called Big Arch (Gucci Mane), who warns Alien to stop selling drugs in his territory and stick to robbing “Spring Breakers”. Alien ignores him and continues his activities.  Soon enough the girls really need to question themselves how far they are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget…

According to Harmony Korine, he wrote the film partially to make up for his own spring breaks, as he had been fully devoted to skateboarding, and therefore missed out on what he saw as opportunities for hedonistic pursuits. The original lineup of lead actresses was announced as Emma Roberts, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens. Roberts however dropped out in early 2012, reportedly after hearing she would need to gain body fat for her role. Director Korine had purposely collected a group of well-known young actresses with a similar reputation to Roberts in Hollywood. Ashley Benson was ultimately cast. The film was shot in March and April 2012 in and around St. Petersburg, Florida. Skrillex produced the score for the film. The film has generated debate and controversy amongst critics and bloggers, with some arguing that it should be considered a feminist or female-empowerment film, while others regarding the film as a male film director’s indulgence in furthering the objectification and exploitation of attractive young women in popular media. On one hand, the women are not depicted as the film’s victims, but arguably as antiheroes acting by their own power and agency. According to Rolling Stone, the film presents “a kind of girl-power camaraderie that could almost be called feminist”, a result of the director’s intent to “do the most radical work, but put it out in the most commercial way (…) to infiltrate the mainstream”. On the other hand, The Guardian suggests that the film “reinforces rape culture” and “turns young women into sex objects”. Other reviewers are of the opinion that it “pushes booze-and-bikini hedonism to the extreme”, and that the “camera glides up, down and around these women’s bodies like a giant tongue.” Harmony Korine is a filmmaker going his own way and you never know what sort of dish he will serve you and how the plate he serves it on looks like. With a nihilistic twist he  explore satire on many levels which leaves you uncertain whether to cry, laugh or stare in disbelief at his ways of filmmaking. I reckon I wasn´t sure what to expect with “Spring Breakers”, but the somewhat unbalance between glitzy neon clad girl power and female exploitation/ sexualisation it does become something unique of its own for sure. It´s like one gigantic social commentary on the Sodom & Gomorra environment coming out of Spring Break every year, but also a commentary on the sexualisation of women in our society today. But, yes there´s doubt in this as well, as Korine is very focused on showing as much female body parts as possible. Emma Seligman of The Huffington Post described the film as “Scarface meets Britney Spears.”, which is kind of spot on in a weird way. While Jamie Dunn of The Skinny gave it 4 out of 5 stars, saying: “If Michael Mann was to take a lot of hallucinogenics and shoot a Girls Gone Wild video, it might look something like this.” It´s interesting to see the sweet looking teen queens Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens demolishing their Disney persona from all sorts of angles showing off some real layers as actresses. However, it´s  Selena Gomez who steals the emotional layer from the others. And James Franco has never been more out of it and so perfectly out of it with a great mix of narcissism and insanity. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter said “he’s a cross between Bo Derek in 10 and Richard Kiel in Moonraker.” 🙂 Aesthetically, “Spring Breakers” is technically beautiful, like the opening sequence with the funky font choice. The cinematography is really great and the use of slow motion is as well something you will remember. I agree with one reviewer who said: “Spring Breakers” is about the marginalized kids who have been brought up on Disney princesses and MTV. The kids who grew up with role models like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. The film isn’t meant to focus on girls losing their innocence but instead girls searching for something and realizing it isn’t what they thought it was.” However, I didn´t like the ending as I can´t see how ends meet when two 20 something college girls in bikinis manage to invade a mansion of thugs and kill all of them in an instant. It´s just too over the top for me at least. I just don´t think that part worked. But, “Spring Breakers” is a unique experience and you´ll never see anything like it again. (4 out of 5)


Set in a British independent boys boarding school in the late 1960s, Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) is one of three non-conformist boys among the returning class and with a panache for being cocky and ready to revolt toward his oppressors as much as possible. They are watched and persecuted by the “Whips”, senior boys given authority as prefects over juniors. The prefects are entitled to the services of “Scum”, who are first-year boys assigned to run errands, make tea and generally act as unpaid servants. This refers to the old tradition of “fagging” which still persisted in many British independent boys’ schools. One day, having sneaked off campus and into town (an act strictly forbidden by house rules), Mick steals a motorbike from a showroom and has an affair with a local waitress. Meanwhile, Wallace finds adolescent romance with Bobby Philips, a junior boy, whom he takes to bed. They indulge in self-inflicted ordeals, such as seeing how long they can hold a plastic bag over their faces. Mick’s group of friends clashes constantly with the school authorities and they become subject to punishments, and eventually they are sentenced to corporal punishment in the form of a severe “beating” (i.e. a caning) by the Whips. Mick and his friends then discover a cache of automatic weapons at the college, and they finally revolt with power against the establishment…

Widely regarded as one of the films that captured the great counterculture movement of the late 60s, shooting actually began several months before one of the most significant events of that movement – the student riots in Paris in May 1968. “if….” won the Palme d’Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. Paramount hated the film when they saw it and tried to dump it from cinemas. However, one of their tentpole films, Barbarella (1968), turned out to be a spectacular flop so they needed to replace it in cinemas with something else. Reluctantly, they wheeled out “If…” and were astonished to see it turn into a big critical and commercial success. Contrary to the story that says some scenes of the film are in black-and-white instead of color because the production company was running short of money and saved money by having some scenes processed in monochrome, according to interviews with Malcolm McDowell, Lindsay Anderson and the cameraman, they first shot the scenes in the school chapel in monochrome because they had to use natural light that came in through the big stained-glass window, requiring high-speed film. The high-speed color stock they tested was very grainy and the constantly-shifting color values due to the angle of the light through the stained glass made it impossible to color-correct, as well. So they decided to shoot those scenes in monochrome, and, when he saw the dailies, Anderson liked the way that it “broke up the surface of the film”, and decided to insert other monochrome scenes more or less at random, to help disorient the viewer as the film slipped from realism to fantasy. McDowell’s performance in if…. caught the attention of Stanley Kubrick, who subsequently cast him in his 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange.[citation needed] Additionally, McDowell used his performance in if…. in his inspiration for the Clockwork Orange protagonist, Alexander DeLarge. Having been given the script by Kubrick, McDowell was unsure on how he would play the part of Alex, and so he contacted Lindsay Anderson, asking for advice. McDowell relates the story: Anyway, he said ‘Malcolm, this is how you play the part: there is a scene of you, a close-up in if…., where you open the doors to the gymnasium, to be beaten. You get a close-up.’ I said ‘that’s right.’ He said ‘do you remember…’ I said ‘yes. I smiled.’ He said ‘that’s right. You gave them that smile. That sort of ironic smile,’ he said ‘and that’s how you play Alex.’ And I went ‘my god, that’s brilliant. That’s brilliant.’ That’s all I needed and that was enough, and that is a brilliant piece of direction for an actor. “if….” has as well been on my must see list forever and it was a treat to see this anti establishment film. Well made, well acted and with a script anyone can relate to in several ways in terms of trying to break away from the establishment. Malcolm McDowell is in form in his first role and you can see a resemblance to his character Alexander DeLarge in “A Clockwork Orange” which he made a few years later. I can only imagine how it was perceived in England from the boarding schools. We´ve had some recent and fresh severe bullying events at a well known boarding school here in Sweden, so this sort of power balance still exist within this environment. “if….” is as important today as it was in 1968. (4 out of 5)


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