Purity, Ubiquity & Legibility: Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica

Helvetica (the documentary film) is not about Helvetica (the typeface), per se. Rather, it’s about the arts of graphic design and typography, their practitioners, and how they affect our daily lives. Each luminary talking head has a different explanation of Helvetica’s appeal and longevity: neutrality, legibility, perfection (unlike more ornate typefaces, it is arguably comprised […]

Kill Screen: Seth Gordon’s The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

First, full disclosure: I work for the movie company that distributed The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. My miniscule role in marketing the film was limited to designing the official movie website, and I am under no obligation or prohibition to write this review (which happens to be positive, anyway). Any opinions expressed […]

The atmospheres and soundtracks of Al Reiner’s Apollo Missions documentary For All Mankind

It was a weird experience to finally see the original film for the soundtrack to which I’ve listened to countless times. Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois’ Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks is a gorgeous piece of work, and very much colored my expectations of what the film would be. Having long pictured a largely abstract compilation […]

Drew Thomas’ 2006 documentary Coachella

I don’t normally review music dvds in this blog, but since Coachella received a theatrical release in Europe, I thought it deserved a mention. It’s a rare concert film that is as interested in the concertgoers and the character of the event itself as in simply capturing the performances. Favorite moments: Thom Yorke actually smiling […]

Orson Welles’ F for Fake is part documentary, part essay, part practical joke

F for Fake is Orson Welles’ last completed movie: part documentary, part essay, part practical joke. Welles portrays himself much as I would imagine him: a robust raconteur settled in for the long haul at a good restaurant, surrounded by educable pretty young things, eating and telling tall tales with great relish.

Nick Broomfield doesn’t know what to believe about Kurt Cobain in Kurt & Courtney

A documentary by Nick Broomfield about the controversy surrounding the apparent suicide of Kurt Cobain. Not yet knowing he himself will become part of the story, Broomfield holds his cards pretty close to his chest throughout. It’s not until fairly late in the film that he begins to describe his own feelings. His interviewees cover […]

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