pacific rim pretentiousness 

How to avoid being (mis-)typecast

You know the kind of person who spends entire movies pointing out anachronistic period detail or other "goofs"? Gems such as, "that kind of hat wasn't produced until the 1930's" or "pah! no hacker would ever use a microsoft ergonomic keyboard!" Of course you do. In fact, if you'd been sat next to me during Die Another Day, you would have heard me muttering all the way through the "fencing" scenes.

Well, anyway, do I have a site for you. Mark Simonson's Son of Typecasting is a page dedicated to pointing out anachronistic font usage in movies and TV shows. The most recent post details font misuse in the Scorcese epic Gangs of New York, which, despite being set exclusively in the 1860's, features a number of twentieth-century typefaces:

Here we see Bernhard Antique (1937) with two overly-distressed-looking 19th century wood types. Notice the straight apostrophe in the bottom line. Straight apostrophes and quote marks did not exist in typefaces until the advent of digital type in the 1980s. It’s a computer thing, not a typographic thing... This one is set in URW Egyptienne (1950s) and ITC Benguiat (1977). Benguiat is a particularly poor choice since it is based on the Art Nouveau style of around 1900.
URW Egyptienne! The fools!

Seriously, though, I'm actually really quite taken by Mr. Simonson's webpage. I'm always impressed when someone is able to display such complete mastery of their chosen field, and I suspect I'd be extremely hard pressed to come up with an area in which I was able to expound at such length and with such obvious authority. (For the 15-year-old me it would be Soviet and NATO military aircraft, which I was all over like a cheap suit for a while there... but that was some time ago now.)

So do check it out, and its predecessor, Typecasting, which is more of the glorious same.

Oh - and props to him for his praise of Wes Anderson's Futura obsession in The Royal Tenenbaums, which was indeed a joy to behold.

[Link via]

Posted by chris at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Return of the two-shower day

Well, there I was, kidding myself that maybe this summer wasn't so hot, maybe the humidity wasn't as severe as, say, a couple of years ago, maybe I could get away with going to work in a real shirt, not a t-shirt, maybe I didn't need to use the aircon all the damn time, maybe one shower a day would suffice.

Hah, right. Then suddenly the humidity hit with a vengeance. I think it was this weekend when I woke up to discover that my futon was actually damp, wet through from my sweating into it during the night. Yum. So, apparently, even sleeping is too much like hard work - must try to heat up less during all that energetic REM.

The slightest bit of effort makes my skin slick to the touch - so you can imagine what kind of a state I was in earlier tonight, after doing an hour's fencing training (I probably neglected to mention that I've started again, didn't I? - thought as much), jogging to the station with all my kit, fighting my way around the Yamanote Line to Ikebukuro and then hustling to meet a friend (ten minutes late, sorry) just in time to see Star Wars Episode II. One word: liquid.

And then, to add to my discomfort, I learn that Jar Jar Binks is responsible for setting off the Clone Wars. Senator Binks? What. The. Hell? All those lightsabres flashing hither and thither and no-one saw fit to decapitate the haddock-faced one. If "Oucha! Meesa hadsa my head cut off!" are the next words I hear him speak, I'll be *so* happy.

What's that? The *rest* of the film? Oh, that. Sorry, I was too busy muttering "Die, Binks, die" through a tight, feverish grimace to notice the awesome digital effects or epic battle scenes - though thankfully I did come round in time to see Yoda open a pint-sized can of whoop-ass on Count Doofus. I think Star Wars may even be, subconciously at least, the reason I started fencing in the first place, so I was happy as a pig in poo with that one, thankyouverymuch. Probably a good thing I checked my swords in at the front desk, else I might have tried to join in.

Die, Binks, die.

Posted by chris at 02:17 AM | Permalink

Mumble mumble

CD (plural) shopping last night - was planning to buy a bunch of stuff before meeting up with friends for dinner, but I ran out of time and had to dash back later to Tower. Just had time to pick up the following before they shut - at 11pm. Heh.

  1. REM - Reveal (I've heard nothing but good things about this - haven't actually listened to it yet, though)
  2. Tricky - Blowback (again, no time to play it yet)
  3. Freestylers - Pressure Point
  4. mumble mumble a trance compilation mumble mumble
  5. Catatonia - International Velvet (haven't heard it since departure of ex-girlfriend's CD collection... come to think of it, she disappeared round about the same time... oh yeah...)
Also picked up Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on DVD; thankfully the Japanese edition has the English-dubbed version as well as the Mandarin and Japanese - only Japanese subtitles, though. Better than nothing, however, and all of the extra materials (making of, interviews etc) are in English - hurrah.

What a great film - I remember watching it in January in the UK (O2 Centre on the Finchley Road - oh yeah: what the hell happened to the Finchley Road in the space of the three years I was away? It's... well... nice now. What the hell?) and hearing audience members murmur "christ... bloody hell... shit" during the first fight scene - the one where Michelle Yeoh has to keep treading on the thief's foot mid-fight, to stop her rising up into the air and flying away. It was the first time in years I'd heard people applaud during a movie... awesome. Happy now.

Posted by chris at 10:58 PM | Permalink

A song so catchy that most people probably don't listen to the lyrics

I saw American Psycho last night, and now I can't get "Hip to be Square" by Huey Lewis and the News out of my head. The mark of a good film? Or perhaps I'm a closet eighties fan. Hmmm.

Ebisu Garden Cinema has a large promotional poster signed by Christian Bale on display:

"To Ebisu Garden Cinema - This is not an exit. Christian Bale"


Posted by chris at 11:23 AM | Permalink

We're no longer called Sonic Death Monkey

I left work on the dot of six tonight and raced across town to Ebisu, to catch the 7pm showing of High Fidelity. I think this might be the last week of its run, and Ebisu Garden Cinema is the only place it's still showing.

I'm glad I made the effort. I should state for the record that I'm a huge fan of the book, and still find myself re-reading it every now and then - most recently in January. Like every other guy I've spoken to who's read it, my initial reaction was "Shit - that's me. I understand exactly where the main character is coming from. How totally perceptive. Boy, we're arseholes, aren't we."

And the film was excellent too. I wouldn't say better than the book, but it was a pretty damn great adaptation. Tim Robbins and whoever played Barry were scene-stealing, in particular. I left the cinema with a big smile on my face, and the beginnings of a compilation tape track listing forming in my head as I strolled back to the station.

Posted by chris at 01:45 AM | Permalink

Who, exactly, are you going to call?

It's a real pleasure to rediscover a film from your childhood and find that it's still as funny now as it was almost twenty years ago. I'm talking about Ghostbusters, but I suppose it could also be Top Secret, Gremlins or any one of a host of other eighties classics.

"Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head. You remember that?"
"That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me."

"Listen! You smell something?"

"I'm with Venkman - he got slimed!" "That's great, Ray, save some for me."

"Earthquakes, volcanoes!" "The dead rising from the grave!" "Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!"

Arnd I can't believe that I fully appreciated Rick Moranis as a moronic hellhound when I was nine. What a classic.

Posted by chris at 10:16 PM | Permalink

This ridiculous chin...

<sloshed>Man, I love Face Off. A poor DVD, but a great film. John Travolta and Nic Cage clearly having the time of their lives playing each other playing each other - or something. Good action scenes, Gina Gershon and plenty of over-the-top acting - what more could you want? Oh, yes - and doves. Very important; no Woo flick is complete without doves.

After such a good day, tomorrow is bound to be appalling, according to Swerdloff's law of hubristic correction. I'll let you know how the damage limitation goes.</sloshed>

Posted by chris at 02:19 AM | Permalink

Psycho killer, qu’est que c’est?

I saw Psycho - Gus Van Sant's version - on Sunday night, with a couple of friends. I must be one of the few people to have seen the colour version without first seeing the original. Good but strangely unaffecting. I suppose a lot of the original's power came from the fact that it was quite ahead of its time - having its "heroine" killed off so early, being one of the first films (I suppose - correct me if I'm wrong) to take us (adopt pathe news-style voiceover tone) "inside the mind of a serial killer", innovative use of camerawork and so on. Move it forwards thirty-five years and you're left with a short film about a nutter.

Which is not to say that it wasn't worth doing; I think it's a totally valid experiment in film-making. I liked it. But I think I would have appreciated the original more.

Possibly the most revealing thing to come out of watching the DVD edition director's commentary (Gus Van Sant along with the two leads, Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche) was the realisation that Anne Heche talks a lot of crap. I wanted the reference to John Woo's kitchen knife explained, dammit.

Posted by chris at 01:13 PM | Permalink

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