Cinema 2014

A slow year for me at the cinema. Parenting etc. 

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Wolf of Wall Street
  • The Lego Movie
  • Her
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • The Double 
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Boyhood
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Jurassic Park
  • Gone Girl
  • Fury
  • Interstellar
  • Die Hard

All in all, a pretty good bunch (apart from The Double, which was excruciating). And it was jolly nice to see a couple of my all time favourites on the big screen.  

How designers are represented on the big screen

It’s Tuesday evening, therefore I have decided I am going to write a film. It’s good to have side projects and entertain the occasional long-term hair-brained scheme. I’ve been meaning to become the next Billy Wilder/William Goldman/Joe Eszterhas for a good couple of decades now, but I keep getting waylaid by life’s incessant demands and interesting things on the telly. But now it’s Tuesday evening; now it’s time to get this done.

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A long time ago, when I accidentally became a designer, I had this book. It was probably about the thickness of an issue of MacUser. On every page of this book sat twenty or so very small photographic thumbnails.

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Henry Miller's eleven commandments

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to "Black Spring".
  3. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can't create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don't be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.


Boyhood is quite unlike any film I've ever seen. If you've seen it, you're no doubt a little bit obsessed and want to know more about it. A good place to start is with the Boyhood FAQ, but it's also well worth having a dig through this lot:



Cutting and pasting and streaming and tweeting – all distant metaphors that have taken on their own meanings. My life on screen is one of appropriated verbs, relationships between words and actions that would have made little sense not so long ago. One recent addition to this gibberish-to-my-dad lexicon, to my daily routine: pinning.

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Work is done for the day, or at the very least it's been tucked away and minimised, hibernating until tomorrow morning's burst of inspiration and caffeine. Firstborn is fed and going through the motions of his strict running up and down regimen. Desk is cleared and carefully arranged to tidy, right-angled correctness. Four fingers of Kit Kat are aligned just so beside a fresh cup of coffee (in standard issue Pantone mug, naturally). And me, I'm nestled nicely into the lumpy comfiness of my chair, eyes staring into my iMac, fingers poised over my iPad. There is calm, there is readiness. Bring on the WWDC keynote.

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So there's this New Yorker cartoon by Pat Byrne from a few years ago. A modern couple stand in their kitchen, tablet and laptop close at hand. The woman stands bemused: "How am I supposed to cook? The Internet is down."

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“Making films is all about — as soon as you’re finished — continually regretting what you’ve done. When we look at films we’ve made, all we can see are the flaws; we can’t even watch them in a normal way. I never feel like watching my own films again. So unless I start working on a new one, I’ll never be free from the curse of the last one. I’m serious. Unless I start working on the next film, the last one will be a drag on me for another two or three years.”

—Hayao Miyazaki, Turning Point 1997–2008

The film machine

I had a horrible, horrible thought in the shower. This happens far too often. I'm not sure if it's been plumbed in incorrectly or something, but every time I go in there, I end up having some kind of terrible epiphany. It's like a little cubicle for emptying the mind, rinsing away all the mental detritus and imagination grit. All that's left is a dark pearl of an idea. I should've learnt by now that if I want to stay happy, I should just avoid the shower at all costs. To hell with cleanliness, I need my sanity.

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Here I am, surrounded by code and tick-boxes and sketches. My desktop is a patchwork of tiny screenshots and hastily flung-together type and colour swatches. For the umpteenth time, I've gone and started building myself another blog.

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So you're going to be a parent? Congratulations! Good for you and your loins. You probably think you know what you're in for, don't you? You've spent the last nine months umming and ahhing over pink muslin squares and blue muslin squares and cream muslin squares, you've picked out those nice little Converse-ish booties that look a bit like yours, and that book you loved when you were little – the one about the caterpillar with the eating disorder. Everything is ready, right? 

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There are few experiences in this world more exciting than unpacking a brand new Mac. Pulling that silver slab out of the pleasingly sloped trapezium box, it's just so satisfying. A new thing, all mine.

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Finding colour

"You're at work, aren't you?"

Technically, no. I'm actually sat at the dining table, nursing my daily coffee power-up and shovelling porridge into myself and the baby. But yeah, the wife is right as always: I'm not really here. I'm staring at nothingness, in my head, working. That spot in the middle distance, that's where it's all happening.

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Rebranding RoboCop

RoboCop first clanked across the big screen in 1987. Two rather disappointing sequels followed, in 1990 and 1993. And then, that was it. No more films … until now. How did a franchise left to wander the box office wilderness for 21 years remain such a strong brand?

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