Portable High Definition

So, been away from this for a clip, will try to update more often. In news, The Digital Bits tell us the first Blueray disc has been authored by Sony, and it is... Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle... Aside from feeling bad for all the people who have to watch this as a test case, it means it is being tested. I'm curious about HD as a format since i hear different things, but mainly curious if it is gonna knock regular DVD out of consumer dominance fairly quickly, or if like CDs, DVDs are here to stay for a bit longer...


Better Late Than Never

Stolen from Panopticist, but this is too good to pass up.


Designing for Google

I have a guest editorial up at the design forum Speak Up. Check it out.


A Morally Superior Media Delivery System

This type of nonesense is exactly what makes smart integration of print and "new media," for lack of a better word, difficult. It has nothing to do with the consumers of said media, but rather outdated and misguided beliefs. Though I do agree, I do like reading analogue media while in the bathroom rather than hauling in a laptop. That's about the only salient point...



This past weekend I finally got around to seeing MirrorMask, the debut film of graphic artist Dave McKean. I’ve been a fan of McKean’s record sleeves going back to Front Line Assembly’s Hardwired and Download’s The Eyes of Stanley Pain, though many more people probably know him from the Sandman comic book covers and his long standing collaborations with Neil Gaiman.

McKean’s work is distinctive: design collages of sculpture, photography, drawing, handwriting and funky typography ala Neville Brody under saturated color schemes. I knew he had applied it to motion graphics before, doing some short films I haven’t had the opportunity to see and the title sequence for the Gaiman scripted British TV series Neverwhere. When I picked up the Neverwhere DVD set earlier this year, I enjoyed its modest pleasures, but said I would have liked to seen the entire thing done in the style of McKean’s title sequence. That concept right there is basically MirrorMask.

I knew the rough story of MirrorMask going in, that it was produced by the Jim Hensen company, who was looking for a PG film in the mold of Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. The film would follow the Wizard of Oz mold where young girl growing up slips into a world where various things from real life blend into a distorted dreamscape. You know the drill. We had originally planned to head to
Manhattan to see this for its September release, but I’m glad we didn’t. We saw it in Hartford, at what we thought going in was an art house theatre, but in fact turned out to be on the campus of a local college. But the theatre was quite nice, with a balcony we sat in, a huge screen, and a gorgeous print of the film. No place this would have played in Manhattan could have possibly had a screen that big.

The major success of MirrorMask is that it isn’t just eye candy with a story you wait to be over. The story goes over familiar paces, true, but I found it genuinely engaging nonetheless. Most interestingly, I really enjoyed the non dream world stuff, the real world scenes shot on a low budget where the McKean visuals weren’t the focus. When McKean works again on a less fantasy oriented piece, as he has stated is his intention, I’m looking forward to it.

MirrorMask is a modest pleasure, to be sure, but worth seeking out on DVD, which is going to be out early January of next year. Hopefully those McKean short films will be on there.


Kind Hearts and Coronets Criterion

Though it isn't up on their site yet, Criterion has announced Kind Hearts and Coronets for February release. Like everyone else, I can't say enough good things about Criterion, and this sounds great:

Kind Hearts and Coronets - A humorous satire on the British aristocracy, and one of the most sophisticated black comedies ever filmed. Louis Manzzini's mother told him as a child about how she was rejected by her aristocratic D'Ascoyne family. Once an adult, Louis avenges her by becoming the next Duke of the family and murdering every potential successor to the title. Alec Guinness's deft handling of eight different roles earned him worldwide acclaim.

Cat: CC1619D
Title: Kind Hearts and Coronets
UPC: 7-15515-01692-6
SRP: $39.95
Prebook date: 1/24/06
Street date: 2/28/06

Can't come soon enough. Kind Hearts and Coronets is a great, truly funny film. Even better than the original Ladykillers, I would say, and Guiness's multiple performances barely register as a trick like you might think they would.

Up and Running

This has actally been up and running for some time now, but this is my first real post. I hope to actually update this reguarly with somewhat interesting content. I also hereby promise not to get into boring "I was waiting in line at Walmart crap." If the rest of it is boring, well, I can make no promises.

I had considered putting this up on totality-design.com, but I didn't feel like paying for the upgrade to be able to use Wordpress or something similar. I'll quote Jonathan Baldwin that designers, like builders, should never do their own work, and in true fashion I have this up on Blogger. If I ever do break that trope, I'll modify the CSS sufficiently to have a different look, but thats really towards the bottom of the to-do list. In the meantime, I hope whoever looks at this finds it at least slightly interesting. Cheers, and welcome.