Phase IV was the celebrated graphic designer Saul Bass’ lone film as a director, a cerebral and visually assured science fiction exercise depicting an ordinary ant colony unnervingly transformed into a genuinely alien intelligence.
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David Mazzucchelli‘s outstanding graphic novel Asterios Polyp isn’t notable just for its satisfying story – about an arrogant architect who learns to see the world in a new way – but for the way that story is told: elegant visual devices abound in this thematically rich work.
Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby’s latest novel, is a return to the elements that made his debut novel High Fidelity a hit: music, romance and arrested development. It tells the tale of a reclusive singer-songwriter who hasn’t recorded in years, the unexpected release of an acoustic version of his most popular album, and a trans-Atlantic correspondence with the increasingly disgruntled girlfriend of his biggest fan…which leads to something more. As always, Hornby’s witty characterization runs side-by-side with his sharp observations of how the way we consume popular culture shapes our lives.
Featured in the Films of Michael Powell collection, A Matter of Life and Death stars David Niven as an aviator placed on trial for his life in Heaven after accidentally surviving a parachute-less jump. Graceful storytelling and visual sumptuousness are on display in this charming 1946 film.
What happens when blue-eyed soul collides with progressive rock? The result is Sacred Songs, Daryl Hall’s underappreciated avant-pop collaboration with ex-King Crimson leader Robert Fripp, in which Hall’s catchy pop hooks are punctuated by Fripp’s fascinating sonic experiments.
Before director Edgar Wright and writer-star Simon Pegg turned to the film world with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, they perfected a combination of frantic pop-cultural allusions, whiplash editing and surprisingly sweet characterization with Spaced: The Complete Series, a Britcom about disaffected twentysomethings sharing a London flat.