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DEEP FOCUS Tucker Thomas

2020


DEEP FOCUS A Poster Series by Tucker Thomas

Senior Design Studio - Fall 2019 All original posters used for educational purposes only All minimalist posters Š2020 Tucker Thomas


Table of Contents 2..........Introduction 4..........Pulp Fiction 6..........The Interview 8..........Burning 10........Ready To Rumble 12........Blair Witch Project 14........9 16........Reservoir Dogs 18........Thor: Ragnarok 20........The Big Sleep 22........Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller 24........Atlantis: The Lost Empire 26........Cloverfield 28........Yojimbo 30........Dunkirk 32........Casablanca 34........Star Wars: A New Hope 36........Shaolin Soccer 38........Dead Poets Society 40........The Godfather 42........The Shining 44........Fury 46........Lady Bird 48........Psycho 50........Interstellar 52........The Wrestler 54........Spy Kids 56........Unbreakable 58........Alien 60........Atomic Blonde 62........IT


DEEP FOCUS [noun] Cinematography. 1. the focusing of a filmed scene so as to make near and distant objects equally clear. 2. a shot utilizing a large depth of field.

Throughout my life two things have always managed to hold my interest, design and film. To me the two are very similar. They each have intrinsic value of expression, emotion, creativity, and can use these elements to construct an important narrative to both creator and audience. Ever since starting my college career in graphic design, I’ve had an urge to feature my love for cinema, and this urge only grew stronger once I declared my minor in film studies. From this, Deep Focus was born. My project is a take on the film terminology for putting focus on multiple aspects of a shot, as I am putting a focus on both my experience as a designer, as well as my education in film. Throughout this book I include the original poster for each of 30 films with a short explanation, as well as my new take, and the reason the film is personally important to me.

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Pulp Fiction, released in 1994 by Quentin Tarantino, is seen as one of, if not, his best film to date. Taking the dark drama of the neo-noir world, adding in an even darker style of comedy, and topping it off with the beautifully real dialogue that only Tarantino can craft, Pulp Fiction has become an absolute icon of the 1990’s


Pulp Fiction is the first Tarantino film I ever saw, and as soon as I witnessed the opening scene I new I had discovered something about myself. This turned me on to my current deep love of film, and eventually to claim Film Studies as a minor. My take simplifies one of the most iconic scenes of the film, in which Mia Wallace is violently given an adrenaline shot.

4


The Interview, released in 1998 by Craig Monahan, is a neo-noir thriller that follows the tense and confusing investigation behind a series of Australian highway murders. Officers must battle not only a highly intelligent suspect, but also an investigation by internal affairs that threatens to derail the entire case.


The Interview was my first real introduction to the film making of Australia and New Zealand, which quickly became a major influence on my taste in cinema, as well as my sense of humor and overall personality. The gritty, ambiguous morality showed me a new realistic world of storytelling, where there isn’t always a good guy to root for.

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Burning, released in 2018 by Lee Chang-dong, is a South Korean thriller that follows the life of a young man named Jong-soo. After meeting a mysterious bachelor and believing that a carefree girl he developed feelings for has gone missing, Jong battles paranoia that the two are related, and quickly falls into a downward spiral of possible murder and burning greenhouses.


Burning is one of the first films that I’ve ever considered to be a true piece of artwork. Lee Chang-dong’s work opened my mind to the true depth that a film could have, as well as the beauty of ambiguity. My representation aims to capture the puzzle-like state of the film, but in the end, is there even a puzzle to solve?

8


Ready To Rumble, released in 2000 by Brian Robins, follows the adventure of sewer worker Gordie Boggs as he stumbles his way into the middle of the famous wrestling promotion WCW. The film features famous wrestling stars such as Diamond Dallas Page, Bill Goldberg, and Sting. This film eventually led to actor David Arquette winning the real life WCW championship, shocking fans worldwide.


Ready To Rumble is an important film from my childhood, incorporating a love of mine other than film, professional wrestling. David Arquette’s film is important to the business both because of the eyes it put on early 2000’s wrestling, but also because of the real life implications it had on WCW.

10


The Blair Witch Project, released in 2000 by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick, is a found footage horror thriller following three young adults as they wander the Maryland woods to investigate the Blair Witch, a local supernatural legend. The three become increasingly disoriented and hostile, all while dealing with the creeping fear that the legend may, in fact, be more than that.


The Blair Witch Project, plain and simple, changed my tastes in entertainment. The fascinating world of the found footage thriller was revealed to me at a young age, probably too young an age if we’re being honest, and ever since the raw realism has been a part of my love for film. I also became engrossed with the unique marketing that often goes hand in hand with such films.

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9, released in 2009 by Shane Acker, is an animated post-apocalyptic action film following the quest of nine rag dolls who have been gifted human life. They journey to fight off the machines that have ended the human race and discover secrets about not only the past of the now destroyed world, but also of themselves.


9 was an important film of my childhood, and introduced me to the possibilities of animated cinema. Watching Acker’s film was my first realization that there was more to animation than cliched children’s stories. 9 takes themes of dystopian tragedy and natural fear to create something that is definitely not made for kids.

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Reservoir Dogs, released in 1992, is considered to be Quentin Tarantino’s first major release. Right from the start this film punches you in the face with everything Tarantino is known for, and does it all through a scene of some men talking over breakfast in a diner. This film is unhindered in its display of violence and raw emotion, and sets the stage for the many that would follow.


Reservoir Dogs is without a doubt my favorite film by Tarantino and possibly my favorite film of all time. From the award worthy performance of Tim Roth, to the unforgettable torture scene accompanied by Steeler’s Wheel, Reservoir Dogs is the film that taught me that film can be more than just entertainment, leading to my desire to combine film and design to show the depth of cinema.

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Thor: Ragnarok, released in 2017, is Taika Waititi’s introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Taking the reins in the third part of the franchise, Taika turns the Marvel property into a charmingly hilarious story about family, adventure, and trust. With the power of friends old and new, the most unlikely of teams must fight to save all of Asgard.


Thor: Ragnarok was my introduction to my now favorite director Taika Waititi. Never before or since have I seen a director that so expertly combines universally appreciated comedy and intricate, emotional storytelling. This led me down the path to find more of my favorite films such as Hunt For The Wilderpeople and What We Do In The Shadows.

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The Big Sleep, released in 1946 by Howard Hawks, is a noir detective film starring quintessential classic actor Humphrey Bogart as detective Phillip Marlowe. This film is considered a staple of the detective genre, following the twisting investigation of a rich family’s blackmail, filled with conspiracy, murder, and dark cover ups.


The Big Sleep was introduced to me through my film noir studies class, and it instantly became a favorite of mine. After witnessing the witty one liners, beautiful blacks and whites, and convoluted, shadowy plot. Hawks and Bogart gave me a new respect for the mysterious films of the 1940’s-50’s.

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Bipolar Rock ’N’ Roller, released in 2018 by Haris Usanovic, is a Showtime documentary focusing on the life of fight-sports announcer Mauro Ranallo. It follows his journey from a young child with a love for professional wrestling to one of the most highly regarded sports announcers of the modern era. At the same time however, this brutally realistic film takes a deep dive into his frightening struggle with Bipolar Disorder.


Bipolar Rock ’N’ Roller is a wonderfully raw and dark take on mental health. From a young age, the struggle of mental unhealth and wrestling have been part of my life, and this documentary hits in all the most important places. Despite how many may see him, this film does not show Mauro as a hero, instead depicting him as a struggling artist, and at the same time creates a personal story like I have never experienced before.

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire, released in 2001 by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, is an animated film that follows the underwater adventures of a team of 1914 explorers. Featuring an inexperienced cartographer, a slightly psychotic geologist, and a sarcastic demolitions expert, the team must face danger and betrayal to save the lost city of Atlantis.


Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a different kind of film. Never before or since have I seen an animated film that feels quite the same. Something about the unique characters, the non traditional plot, and the slightly off style of comedy makes Atlantis a very special movie. Despite not receiving exceptionally good reviews, it remains a cult classic of the early 2000’s.

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Cloverfield, released in 2008 by Matt Reeves, is a found footage horror/ monster movie that follows a group of friends attempting to escape New York when it comes under the attack of ‘Clover’. Producer J.J. Abrams stated his goal with the film was to give America a counterpart to Godzilla, and thus this mysterious monster movie was born.


Cloverfield is the first horror movie I ever watched, and more importantly, the first monster movie that ever captured my genuine interest. This film avoids the long, generic backstory so often applied to the genre, and instead drops the characters and viewers in a situation they know nothing about, save for the confusing and cryptic information gained from its unique marketing.

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Yojimbo, released in 1961 by legendary director Akira Kurosawa, is a classic Japanese samurai film following the journey of the ronin (masterless samurai) Sanjuro. This film explores the culture of feudal Japan, as well as the introduction of gang violence to a quiet unassuming Japanese town. We watch as Sanjuro, a lonesome drifter, finds a sense of morality to defend the innocent civilians of the small town.


Yojimbo was my first real introduction to the far east’s style of film making. Within the first few minutes I had fallen in love with the storytelling, dialogue, and cinematography of Asian cinema. Even with a film as old as Yojimbo, it’s easy to see that there is something about Kurosawa’s and other Asian film makers’ works that have a unique beauty to them.

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Dunkirk, release in 2017 by Christopher Nolan, is a highly stylized, fictional retelling of the evacuation of Dunkerque beach in France, occurring in 1940 during World War Two. This story, playing with the theme of time, follows three stories, that of the soldiers on the beach, a squad of pilots on their way to support, and the civilian ships that famously assisted in the evacuation.


Dunkirk is, without a doubt, one of the most stylistically impactful films I have ever seen. An amazing combination of stories, mixed with a brutal realism and masterful droning soundtrack lead to an experience that grips you from start to finish. It portrays World War Two in a way that pulls no punches, and when you finally arrive at the end of the journey it’s likely you’ll end up releasing a held breath you never even realized you had.

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Casablanca, released in 1942 by Michael Curtiz, follows the drama of a refugee haven in World War Two era Morocco. Rick’s Cafe Americain plays host to the French and German territorial conflict, which is shadowed by a gripping love triangle between cafe owner Rick, his former lover Ilsa, and her new husband and Czech resistance leader Victor Laszlo.


Casablanca is in all forms of the word a classic. This is one of the few films that I believe has the writing, style, and integrated message to still be entertaining and relevant no matter how long ago it was released. From start to finish Humphrey Bogart gives us a memorable performance, and any educated film fan will relish in his delivery of “Here’s looking at you, kid�.

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Star Wars: A New Hope, released in 1977 by George Lucas, is one of, if not the most famous science fiction movie of all time. Following the story of a young farm boy’s journey across the galaxy, Lucas introduces us to the now beloved characters, planets, quotes, and twists that have carved a foothold in world culture for the infinite future.


What is there to say about Star Wars that hasn’t been said before? From the beautifully intricate and expansive lore, to the lovingly crafted characters and stories, George Lucas created one of the greatest cinematic universes of all time, and it all started with A New Hope, which I personally believe is the greatest Star Wars film that will ever be released.

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Shaolin Soccer, released in 2004 by Stephen Chow, is a Hong Kong sports comedy. The film follows Sing, a Shaolin kung fu master, as he attempts to spread the influence of kung fu through a soccer team comprised of his five Shaolin brothers and a group of rough playing thugs. Meanwhile, a young baker named Mui attempts to win the love of Sing, who is too focused on defeating the most evil team in the league.


Shaolin Soccer was the first Hong Kong film I had ever seen, and it was one hell of an introduction. Filled with off the wall ridiculousness, perfectly on beat comedy, and a strangely investing love story, it’s hard to look away when watching, for better or for worse. Unlike many comedies who attempt to cement their place in the box office, Shaolin Soccer gleefully and refreshingly accepts itself as a joke.

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Dead Poets Society, released in 1989 by Peter Weir, is a coming of age type story focusing on a strict elite Vermont boys school named Welton Academy. Progressive English teacher John Keating (masterfully played by Robin Williams) challenges the overburdened students to think for themselves and go against the status quo, despite challenges from superiors and parents alike.


Dead Poets Society is the first film to have ever made me cry. The way this masterpiece handles the themes of youth, the impact of invested teachers, and the effects of suicide have made an everlasting effect on my life. The writing is emotional and inspiring, and of course no amount of words can properly describe the power of Robin William’s performance, both as John Keating, and as an inspiration in real life.

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The Godfather, released in 1972 by Francis Ford Coppola, is a crime thriller focusing on the lives of the Corleone family, a group of violent Italian-American mobsters in New York City. As gang warfare ravages the United States, Michael Corleone, the son of Don Corleone, must decide if he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and go against his morals for the betterment of his family.


The Godfather is a film I waited much too long to see. To think I had spent years without experiencing the spectacularly violent yet heart wrenching lives of the Corleone family is unbelievable in hindsight. The carefully executed adaptation to Mario Puzo’s novel and focus on creating an authentic Italian representation gives Coppola the right to consider his film one of the greatest of all time.

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The Shining, released in 1980 by Stanley Kubrick, is a staple of the psychological horror genre. We follow the Torrance family when father Jack is hired to watch the Overlook Hotel during the winter months. As isolation begins to wear on the family, Jack’s son Danny begins having visions caused by something called his “shine”. Stranded in the Colorado mountains, the family must fight to survive insanity.


The Shining is a famous film for a reason. Shot by Kubrick, who is in my opinion one of the greatest masters to ever create film, this movie creates an unforgettable feeling of isolation, paranoia, and the eerie possibility of legitimate insanity. Aided by Jack Nicholson’s bone chilling performance, The Shining is not easily ignored.

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Fury, released in 2014 by David Ayer, is a World War Two action film focusing on a five man tank squad. As battle hardened sergeant “Wardaddy” leads his ragtag team of “Bible”, “Gordo”, “Coon-ass”, and new recruit “Machine” to complete an impossible mission with no backup, camaraderie is the only defense they have.


Fury is an odd hybrid of a film, mixing both the brutality and bleakness of movies such as Saving Private Ryan with the intense action and comedic quips of The Expendables. Neither of these are bad things in my eyes, and they work well to create a highly entertaining watch that also leaves you with an uneasy feeling in your gut. In certain scenes you’ll feel like you’ve been to war, and not just vicariously through Hollywood.

44


Lady Bird, released in 2018 by Greta Gerwig, is a coming of age film about soon to be college age Christine McPherson, who has nicknamed herself ‘Lady Bird’. Lady, who struggles with a strained relationship with her mother, yearns to leave he Catholic upbringing to attend a college in a “city with culture”. The film follows her experiences with family, friends, and the ever troubling topic of boyfriends.


While I usually don’t take to coming of age dramas, Lady Bird is something very different. Packed with emotional realism, legitimately charming humor, and a fantastically lovable performance from Saoirse Ronan, it has an ability to draw a wide audience. Anyone who has ever felt like they don’t belong can find true value in the story Gerwig tells, all the while watching a thoroughly enjoyable film.

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Psycho, released in 1960 by Alfred Hitchcock, is quite possibly the most famous of all horror films. Following the terrifying events of the Bates Motel, a web of lies, stolen money, murder, and a ridiculously insane man. Norman Bates must face the new threat of an investigation into his home and business, all while dealing with the challenge of romance and his overbearing “mother�.


Psycho is an absolute masterclass in suspense, surprise, and the horror of tension. Hitchcock displays his unmistakable style in a story about unbelievable insanity. With the critically acclaimed and praised performance of Anthony Perkins as the lunatic Norman Bates, this film throws expectation out the window and delivers a twist that has etched its place in the halls of film history.

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Interstellar, released in 2014 by Christopher Nolan, is a sci-fi drama that explores an alternate reality Earth which has fallen into a doomed dystopian landscape. Having drained their natural resources and destroying the planet, humanity must search for a new planet to habitat. A small team must use a wormhole in their search, despite the major effects it has on their safety and timelines.


Interstellar is a fascinating example of the style of Christopher Nolan. His expertise in tension, sound, and the portrayal of time is on display in this Matthew McConaughey led film. With believable performances all around and a surprisingly heartwarming subplot, this sci-fi epic is a must see for anyone who enjoyed stories such as Memento, Dunkirk, and Inception.

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The Wrestler, released in 2008 by Darren Aronofsky, is a sports drama focusing on an aging professional wrestler. As is the case in many real life wrestlers’ lives, Randy Robinson has passed his prime, but continues wrestling in a hope to regain his 1980’s fame. Meanwhile, he must cope with his failing body, estranged daughter, and a romantically interested stripper.


The Wrestler is both a rewarding, humorous adventure, and a gut wrenching, heart breaking portrayal of wrestling behind the scenes. This film shows Micky Rourke give a highly memorable performance of a man beaten down by an industry he had become obsessed with, and many real life wrestlers voiced their approval, such as Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and Mick Foley.

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SPY kids, released in 2001 by Robert Rodriguez, is a comedy action film following the crazy adventures of siblings Carmen and Juni Cortez. When their secret spy parents are kidnapped by an insane kids show host named Fegan Floop, the Cortez children must embrace their family business and, with the help of other members of their family, save their parents.


SPY kids is a memorable film from my childhood for multiple reasons. A refreshing watch when compared to other kids movies, we see a unique view of Mexican family and culture, almost disturbingly creative character design, and a heartwarming coming of age story between sister and brother. With more famous actors than it had any right featuring, Danny Trejo, Antonio Banderas, Cheech Marin, and musician Danny Elfman add to the quality.

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Unbreakable, released in 2000 by M. Night Shyamalan, is a very unique breed of superhero movie. David Dunn is an everyday security guard, who is caught in a devastatingly deadly train accident. He emerges unharmed however, and discovers he has a superhuman level of resistance. With the help of Elijah “Mr. Glass� Price, Dunn begins to take the role of a vigilante, but when Price becomes obsessed, David begins to worry.


Unbreakable has always been a fascinating film to me. It approaches the superhero genre in a cynical, localized method I find unique and refreshing, resembling the stories told by Alan Moore in the 1980’s. With a surprisingly deep and emotional performance from Bruce Willis, and a cold calculating supporting role by Samuel L. Jackson, Unbreakable does a beautiful job of handling the superhero genre before it became popular.

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Alien, released in 1979 by Ridley Scott, is a science fiction, horror/ thriller about the tragedy of the commercial space ship Nostromo. While the ship is returning from a mission, the crew is alerted to a distress signal they’re commanded to investigate. After a series of shocking events, the crew finds themselves trapped on their ship with a bloodthirsty alien hunting them one by one.


Alien, in my opinion, is the mother of all monster movies and will always be one of the greatest films ever made. This film turned Sigourney Weaver from a relatively unknown Broadway talent, to quite possibly the quintessential female badass in film. With the terrifying special effects of master artist H. R. Giger, Alien remains a legendary thriller to this day.

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Atomic Blonde, release in 2017 by David Leitch, is a Cold War era spy thriller. When an MI6 operative is murder by the KGB on the verge of the Berlin Wall falling, agent Lorraine Broughton is tasked with recovering a watch hiding the identities of all agents active in Berlin. Battling through ruthless violence, shocking love affairs, and unexpected treachery, Atomic Blonde is an insanely entertaining and wild ride.


Atomic Blonde is in some ways the female James Bond, but in many more ways something entirely unique. Led by a phenomenally kick-ass Charlize Theron, this film pulls no punches, figuratively and literally. If the almost ten minute stairway fight isn’t enough to draw you in, then the immense tension, German neon nightclubs, and no nonsense dialogue will.

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It, released in 2017 by Andres Muschietti, is the first part in the newest adaptation of Stephen King’s unforgettable horror novel of the same name. Covering the saga of the Loser’s Club, a group of children from the small town of Derry, Maine, Muschietti displays his vision of the attack of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a shapeshifting, otherworldly being bent on feeding on the kids of Derry.


It is not your everyday horror movie, choosing to trade the cheesy dialogue and predictable jump scares for a truly spine tingling, bone chilling performance by Bill Skarsgürd. Thick tension and clever camera work pushes the ideas of a truly childlike, natural fear that not many films have been able to do correctly. With possibly the best collection of child actors I’ve ever seen, It is a true masterpiece.

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Deep Focus is written and designed by Tucker Thomas, and printed by online publisher Lulu. The cover is also done by Tucker Thomas. The book uses Avenir, designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1987, for all copy. The posters use Montserrat, designed by Julieta Ulanovsky. This book is limited to one print. This entire project, book and all, was made in one semester, with only small breaks taken to stress out, pet my cat, and get a coffee. The songs that helped me survive include Blood//Water by Grandson, Eternal Youth by RÜDE, Chinese New Year by SALES, and just about every “lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to” playlist known to man.


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