London underground and Ministry of War posters by Fougasse, aka Cyril Kenneth Bird.
The Herb Lubalin Study Center is posting 100 things over 100 days to celebrate Lubalin’s centenary – featuring items selected from the Lubalin archive and stories from past collaborators and current appreciators.
Marilyn Monroe hairdress test for Let's Make Love, 1960.
“I would say that the condition of the artist has become more difficult. I don't mean financially, for it has always been that. I am referring to the growth of mass communications which dilute and often drown thought. It has become more difficult to concentrate on a fundamental problem or to dramatize it. Today political agitation and popular entertainment impinge on the young writer from all sides. It is too tempting to tune in and to write for these facile media. All such distractions prevent the artist from facing himself and the humanity in him."
Thomas Mann, 1955
Last month's watchings, both on big screen and small. Follow me on Letterboxd for regular cinematic rants and opinings.
Train to Busan. Lots of fun – and all the better for the fact I didn't already know any of the actors. No remakes please.
Cars 3. Another few laps with one of the least likeable heroes in modern cinema. To its credit, it ignores the second film completely. Also: Michael Keaton doesn't reprise his role from the first one, but Paul Newman does. Weird.
John Wick: Chapter 2. I'm sure if I was thirteen, this film would be completely amazing. But I'm not, and it isn't. It very, very isn't.
Planes. The exciting adventures of Dusty, a cropduster who … who … wait … who are they growing crops for?
Bridget Jones's Baby. Inoffensive fun. Good to see Zellweger on screen again – where's she been? Still, Sarah Solemani is by far the funniest thing in this – would love to see her get her own romcom lead at some point. Also: Jessica Hynes is in this film. Not that you'd know. She's in the background, out of focus, essentially an extra. What a waste! Ed Sheeran gets more lines (because apparently clunking Ed Sheeran cameos are now a common thing that we simply have to get used to). Maybe they realised she might show Zellweger up, what with her being the one person probably even more suited for the role of Jones.
Moonstruck. So good we had to pause it halfway through to go to the supermarket and pick up some Italian food.
Dunkirk. Awesome in so many ways, but now that a few weeks have passed … it hasn't really stayed with me like I thought it would. Didn't get under my skin. Similar experience with Gravity. Blown away by the spectacle as it happened, but relatively little lasting impression.
Amélie. Oh this film. It should be awfully cloying, but it's all done with such sincerity and style, it's impossible not to get swept away by its relentless sweetness. It's sentimental without being manipulative. Quite, quite lovely.
Personal Shopper. Okay so this will take some processing. Was it okay? Did I love it? Did I even understand it? No idea. Time will tell. One thought: who the hell chooses to name their twins "Lewis" and "Maureen"?
The Peanuts Movie. I'm not sure Peanuts will ever really be suited for film, but this has so many loving nods to the source material, it's surprisingly charming.
RoboCop. One of those glorious films that throws up a new weird detail with each viewing. This time: the best bit about ED-209's demise isn't the falling down the stairs, it's the next shot, showing Peter Weller having difficulty, carefully trotting down the steps as if he's soiled himself.
The Cabin in the Woods. Still good fun, but it's not really a film that rewards repeat viewings. Once you've seen it, and then seen it again to spot all the things, that's pretty much it.
Logan. Despite – or maybe because of? – market saturation, superhero films are having a hell of a year. Just when they were starting to look tired and repetitive, along comes some actual variety. Incredible to think that Logan and Homecoming are both drawn from the same well, both finding completely different ways to adhere to the genre conventions. That said, I would love to see a superhero film go completely off-formula and try something other than the "and then they have a big fight" climax.
Foxcatcher. Needed a bath after this one.
Spider-Man: Homecoming. Brilliant. Best Spidey yet, and one of the best Marvel flicks. Was not expecting that at all.
X-Men: Apocalypse. Takes forever to start and then it never ends. A horrible, nothingy mess of a film. By this point, the core X-Men films are really struggling with the fact that the characters and storylines are far more suited to television.
Con Air. Good lord this is a fun film. I'd forgotten quite how much of it is reaction shots of Nic Cage looking a bit disappointed with people. Also: Hi-de-Hi ending! All films should have Hi-de-Hi endings.
A Cure for Wellness. "Hmm, this looks creepy and stylish. I rather like it. Hello Jason Isaacs! Ooh, mountains." SIXTEEN WEEKS LATER: "why won't it end, i just want it to end, i miss my family"
Munich. Such a difficult film to enjoy. Every now and then you get swept up by the beautiful period details, the costumes, the men-on-a-mission fun of it all. And then you remember it's a real story and everyone/everything in it is morally repugnant.
Midnight Special. I like that it drops you straight into the middle of the story, but it unfortunately it leaves itself no room for any character development. In the end, it's a bit like catching the last episode of that show everyone has been talking about, and you don't really care who anyone is or what they're doing, and really you're just waiting for it to be over so you can turn over and watch Made in Chelsea.
Ed Ruscha with six of his books on his head. Photograph by Jerry McMillan, 1970.