It’s difficult to imagine a simpler symbol, yet it has become one of Britain’s most identifiable emblem. The bar-and-circle Transport for London roundel was designed in 1908 and has not just become a globally recognised commercial transport logo, but also a cultural icon in its own right.
The design of the roundel (which until 1972 was referred to as the bull’s-eye) has been on an incredible journey which is being freshly explored in Logo for London, a beautiful illustrated new book. Published by Laurence King, Logo for London tracks the roundel’s cultural, artistic and social importance over the last hundred years as it became the world’s most well-known symbol for transportation.
Most artistic visions of London’s future have been darkly pessimistic. But this Underground poster painted by Montague B Black in 1926 offered an uncanny – and much more optimistic – view of the modern city.
In 1926, London Underground published a poster painted by Montague B Black, a publicity artist who also created images for Liverpool’s White Star Line, which imagines London in 2026. A golden sky enfolds a cityscape of skyscrapers over which various types of flying machine hover.
The masterful ‘Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ is an experience that will profoundly resonate. From its pristine writing, to its carefully constructed direction and cinematography, to its genius casting and performances, ‘Birdman’ is just a dream of a movie.
The film tells the story of Riggan (Michael Keaton), a washed up actor who used to play a superhero icon called Birdman. In a valiant attempt to reclaim his career, he adapts, directs, and stars in a Broadway play. With problems from one of his very method actors (Edward Norton), assistant daughter (Emma Stone), emotional co-star (Naomi Watts), overly sexual girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), flamboyant producer (Zach Galifanakis), and loving ex- wife (Amy Ryan), Riggan prepares for the breaking point of his career. This film eerily serves as a somewhat personal film to Michael Keaton, giving the mere fact that he was known for playing Batman, a comic book hero similar to Birdman. Keaton is an actor that proved time and time again that he can play virtually anything from heavy and hard hitting dramatic roles to silly and funny comedic roles.
Andrew (Miles Teller) is a 19-year old student at a music conservatory in Manhattan. Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons – absolutely brilliant) is a teacher at the conservatory with a ruthlessly brutal teaching style. After picking Andrew to play in the school band, he pushes Andrew to his limits in order to realize his full potential, at the risk of his humanity. Director Damien Chazelle has described the film as an origin story to the jazz musicians of the golden age, and it thrives on the myths of jazz heroes such as Charlie Parker. They’re urgently looking for the next Parker, in search of perfection.
J.K. Simmons nails this part! He’s a force of nature, with a terrifying presence that incites the fear Bryan Cranston achieved with the peak of his Walter White. In fact Chazelle has done a masterful job in casting the two leads in Teller and Simmons. Their respective acts are full of purpose, full of tension and ultimately terrific.
World leaders have descended on Paris to join a 1 million strong march of solidarity in the name of freedom and liberty. Following the attack on Charlie Hebdo we have been forced to question our rights in society. What can we say, what can we write, what can we draw?
Firstly it’s important to distinguish that in our society everyone is free to take offence at anything but what they cannot do is insist that someone do not do something that does offend them. We are free to offend and we are free to be offended. The second thing to distinguish is that every idea is open to scrutiny and no idea whether it is a philosophy or a religion is immune or can/should be immune from criticism. And this is where people wrongly accuse one another of being phobic of their religion. It is not islamophobic to scrutinise Islam just as its not Christian-phobic to scrutinise Christianity.
Neill Blomkamp, best known Director for movies District 9 & Elysium revealed that he was working on a secret Alien film project that included a returning Sigourney Weaver – the concept art is gorgeous! Unfortunately the project is dead, or was never going to be made in the first place, yes, feel the disappointment!
He uploaded various concept art images onto his Instagram. The first image was of a pissed off Xenomorph Queen and had this caption: “Was working on this. Don’t think I am anymore. Love it though. #alien #xenomorph.” Then he continued to upload a whole lot of beautiful Alien-inspired work onto his account, commenting, “Woulda rocked. Was a mental stroll into the world Ridley Scott created.”
The art seems more like Blomkamp’s personal pitch for an Alien film, and not something a studio pulled from him. Blomkamp even told one Instagram commenter, “Fox never said no.” What could that mean? Did Blomkamp ever actually pitch this to Fox?
A number of US cinemas have said they will screen Sony film The Interview on Christmas Day. The move comes just a week after the film company cancelled the release of the movie after suffering a devastating cyber attack. Primarily these will be independent cinemas and so far only within the United States.
Furthermore Sony’s new lawyer, David Boies – hired to guide the corporation through the aftermath of the hacks – has threatened legal action against Twitter if the social networking company fails to ban accounts sharing leaks.
In a letter to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s General Counsel David says:
If stolen information continues to be disseminated by Twitter in any manner, Sony will hold Twitter responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by Twitter.
In the letter Sony asks Twitter to share the legal threat with Val Broeksmit, a musician who has been posting various screenshots of hacked Sony emails on Twitter.
Sony then demanded that Twitter:
comply with all future requests with regard to any other account holder seeking to disseminate the Stolen Information via Twitter. In addition, we ask that you provide the Account Holder with a copy of this letter, and request that the Account Holder cease publication of the Stolen Information on Twitter.
A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed that the letter is authentic but declined to specifically comment about the company’s response. Thus far Val Broeksmit and other Twitter accounts sharing content from the now infamous Sony Hacks are still live.
For eight years, London-based photographer James Burns has used the capital’s rooftops as a point from which to capture stunning images of the skyline.
Entitled ‘London from the Rooftops‘ James began the project in 2006 and received many positive reviews.
The images are incredible. Whether it be a full moon above Battersea Power Station, or the Shard arising from the clouds, various weather conditions have provided Burns with ideal opportunities for spectacular scenery images.
Reflecting on his work this year, Burns told The Independent that “interesting skies” and a mixture of weather had led to him producing some of his best work. He said: “The reason for the great images this year is simple; we have had some very interesting skies. We have had a good variety of weather from clear skies, to thick fog, and lots of great storms, not to mention the supermoons. The only thing we haven’t had is snow.”
The Shard is celebrating the festive period with ‘Shard Lights’, a spectacular light installation that will reinforce the building’s status as a beacon for London. Created by award-winning art collective, Jason Bruges Studio, ‘Shard Lights’ will occupy the highest 40 storeys of The Shard.
Each evening from Friday 19 December a different show will use beacons, smoke machines, LED panels and projections at the top of the 300m building in central London. There’s a variety of effects being planned, with a different display every night, from 5pm-midnight to celebrate the festive season.
Jason Bruges, the installation artist behind the show, said:
The odd few people who happen to be about and have seen it have reacted with whoops of delight. I’m looking forward to seeing people’s reaction. We’re going to have effects that run across those 40 storeys that will ripple and rotate while the building sparkles and glimmers. Big search lights are going to frame the building by pointing straight up and then going out laterally and at 45 degrees to create different shape around the top of the spire.
An extended featurette has been released to celebrate the release of ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ – the final in the Hobbit trilogy.
The featurette specifically points out the defining and interconnecting moments between the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. The most important being the pity of Bilbo.
Frodo: It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.
You can read my full review of ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ here.