Stanley Kubrick

SNL Wings Andrew Garfield

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Full Metal Jacket

About ten years ago, Matthew Modine released the journal he kept on the Full Metal Jacket set along with the photographs he took. It’s as amazing as it sounds. A hypnotic first-person account from a burgeoning actor working with a master. Now he wants to turn it into an audiobook. Thompson on Hollywood has the details on a Kickstarter campaign to make the audio version a reality. Modine and project co-director Adam Rackoff are looking for $12,000 and using the pre-order model to secure it. Plus, they’ve got some excellent enticements for Stanley Kubrick fans and fans of his sharp-tongued war movie.

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peter-sellers-pink-panther

We all have one or two — filmmakers and actors who we just can’t get behind no matter how much acclaim they receive. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. You either love Wes Anderson’s style or you don’t. You either enjoy Tom Cruise’s charisma or you don’t. Other times it’s actually a matter of objective criticism, a certainty that the person is no good, and that’s the kind that can be very difficult to admit if most of the intelligent world considers the director or performer to be a genius. That’s also the kind of argument that can upset friendships, as I’ve known one critic to confess of regarding his stance on Stanley Kubrick — a stance he is not yet brave enough to put onto a public forum. After all, commenters can be so cruel. So can academic peers. My confession for today is relevant to the Kubrick one. I want to admit that I don’t like Peter Sellers. I never have. But it’s not enough anymore to admit that as a matter of opinion. I now believe that Sellers was in fact not a good actor, nor a good comedian. That’s not to say he wasn’t funny. He makes people laugh, so that’s irrefutable. Sense of humor is one thing, though, and talent is another. I can’t say that I’ve seen everything he was in, but how comprehensive a study must I make to find the exception? I’ve given him a chance over and over. I watched […]

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peter-sellers-as-dr-strangelove

It was released 50 years ago this week, but as Dr. Strangelove‘s cryptic closing ditty promised, we do indeed meet again. Stanley Krubick‘s 1964 Cold War satire has reached the half-century mark, and for this writer and many others it remains a constantly-revisited favorite cinematic exercise in Kubrick’s storied career. Now we have received orders from C2 to execute Operation: Longevity, a highly classified mission to highlight those elements of Dr. Strangelove that provide for its continued relevance to a post-Cold War society. Classified as much as any freely-available internet editorial can be … so not at all. Dr. Strangelove‘s legacy is a funny thing, or more accurately its legacy is engrained in its use of humor. Indeed all comedies strive for humor — reference for such revelatory claims can be verified in the New England Journal of Obviousness – but Kubrick’s use of humor to tell this particular story is both innovative and staggeringly bold. The film serves as the premier satire of the Cold War, a tense period of sabre-rattling and missile-measuring between the stubborn superpowers of the United States and the Soviet Union. Hey, if there is any subject guaranteed to elicit laughter, it’s mutually assured destruction.

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Baz

Back in 1961, Stanley Kubrick dreamed of making a sprawling epic about Napoleon Bonaparte’s life, a film that has now been dubbed “the greatest movie never made.” Despite this glowing promise of greatness, none of the major studios took him up on his idea, and without funding, the project remained on the shelf. Now, Kubrick’s pet project is becoming reality as a high-profile miniseries at HBO with Steven Spielberg adopting the endeavor as producer — and they’ve tapped Baz Luhrmann to direct. Kubrick’s vision for the story of the French dictator was left behind in the form of extensive research files, including location photos, notes, boxes upon boxes of details — enough for a book to be written about everything he compiled while writing the screenplay; he really wanted to make this film. But at the time, the biopic was deemed too expensive by studios and he went on to make Barry Lyndon (set 15 years prior to the Napoleonic Wars) instead — not such a shabby alternative. But it’s not certain if the new team will have access to Kubrick’s files to use for the series, or if they’ll even be mimicking his same vision when it comes to translating the film to television. If Luhrmann does direct, it’s no secret that his take on Kubrick’s screenplay would differ greatly from the late director’s original vision.

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All this week, Film School Rejects presents a daily dose of our favorite articles from the archive. Originally published in November 2011, David C. Bell explores some of the toughest roads to the big screen for a score of great movies. Most films tend to be technological and logistical nightmares right from the start; clusters of egos working together with complicated equipment in an attempt to capture what is essentially a really elaborate lie tends to be a rather surreal process, so it’s not really surprising to hear that a whole lot of craziness can go down during the making of a movie – however as unsurprising as it may be, it’s still damn entertaining. That’s why DVD documentaries, in my opinion, are like the ultimate kind of reality TV: stick a bunch of millionaire actors, union laborers, and eccentric artists in a room with expensive and possibly life-threatening electrical equipment and you’re surely going to get something worth watching. These are the sets that were no doubt the worst to be party to, and the best to be a fly on the wall for – that is if you happen to be a really sadistic fly.

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The Shining Triplets

On this week’s show, we launch a new feature called Convince Me, and in our inaugural edition, Geoff tries to convince me that The Shining deserves a remake (or re-adaptation if you’re nasty). We tie all of that up nicely with a pink bow by discussing the Torrance family conspiracy doc Room 237 with Nonfics editor-in-chief Chris Campbell (who also tells us a bit about the brand new site and how he plans to convert more people into documentary lovers). So come play with us. You should follow Chris (@thefilmcynic), Katy Perry (@katyperry),the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #35 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color took home the Palme d’Or at Cannes this past May, riding a wave of critical praise given towards what is, by most accounts, an ambitious, immersive epic of a tumultuous young romance. Its sexuality is frank and transparent, and no punches are pulled – this, it seems, is the type of risky, visionary cinema speaks to the very rhyme and reason why Cannes exists in the first place, especially in the context of an ever-homogenizing global market. Recent news, however, has cast a different light on what would otherwise be a surefire arthouse darling. First, author Julie Maroh (who wrote the graphic novel upon which the film is based) all but disowned the film for framing a straight male gaze on a relationship between two women – a serious critique indeed, but not at all surprising considering past Cannes darlings. Things became considerably worse when news of Kechiche’s on-set antics entered the discussion. The film’s cast and crew have attested to exploitative labor practices and possible emotional abuse directed toward the two leads, particularly during extended takes of the film’s central lovemaking scene.

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2001truth-2

Let’s look ahead to the future. Close your eyes and picture the technologically advanced world at the dawn of the 21st century, all the way to the year 2001! By this time, as predicted by author Arthur C. Clark and director Stanley Kubrick, we will have manned space flights to Jupiter and beyond. Pan-Am space planes will have been around for years. Artificially intelligent, allegedly infallible supercomputers will be capable of being in charge of life support for everyone on board a spacecraft. What could possibly go wrong? Kubrick’s visionary and groundbreaking 2001: A Space Odyssey presents an ultra-realistic tale of space travel and exploration that didn’t exactly come true more than a decade go. However, even steeped in 60s science, it helped bring science fiction films out of realm of corny monster movies and into the modern age. But how accurate is it? After the HAL-9000 computer kills Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) by severing his oxygen line while on a space walk outside the Discovery, David Bowman (Keir Dullea) takes an escape pod to save him. However, HAL refuses to let Bowman back into the Discovery. In an act of desperation, Bowman blows the explosive bolts on his pod and leaps into the airlock of the Discovery. He is exposed to approximately 14 seconds of the vacuum of space before he can manually engage the airlock and repressurize the chamber. As much as we love 2001: A Space Odyssey, that got us thinking: Could someone really survive being exposed to the […]

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2001 Howard Johnson Odyssey

Did you know that Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey was an expensive career brochure for space stewardesses that featured stunning visuals and a delightful, not-at-all-horrifying surprise ending that children love? It’s true! Just ask this amazing movie tie-in comic that Howard Johnson’s included in their children’s menu back in 1968 when the film premiered. The hospitality company also had some product placement in the movie itself, sponsoring a sparse, yet relaxing Earthlight Room (while somehow failing to secure the hotel sponsorship that went to Hilton). Once you stop throwing up, this kind of thing really makes you wonder if Kubrick ever saw this glorious monstrosity or whether he was carefully guarded from the more commercial grotesqueries that came with studio filmmaking. Obviously he swallowed the product placement while presenting it in a believable way (after all, brands aren’t simply going to disappear in the future), but this connect-the-dots delivery method may have been a bridge too far. The obvious question is why they’d market a slow-burn, existential mind-shredder to children in the first place. The better question is why they’d market a slow-burn, existential mind-shredder to children without turning HAL into a cheerful, cartoon robot pal. At any rate, this is the kind of cool stuff you get while following directors on Twitter. Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich shared this from the truly excellent Dreams of Space blog.

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2001

Even though he passed away in the last century, Stanley Kubrick continues to be one of the most revered filmmakers of all time. However, it is somewhat depressing how few people have seen some of his classic films. Love them or hate them, Kubrick’s classics should be experiences, on the big screen if possible. One of his most well-known and groundbreaking films was 2001: A Space Odyssey. While the year 2001 has come and gone many years ago, the film survives in various formats. Some people – especially in the younger generation – may complain it is a bit slow-moving, especially compared to modern films of today. For those who want to experience Kubrick’s masterpiece but need a little help, this drinking game will assist you. See? This column can be educational as well as hedonistic.

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apollo 11 shining code

If you’re up late tonight and looking for a movie to watch, Rodney Ascher‘s documentary Room 237 is the perfect thing to transition from Easter to April Fools’ Day. It’s about theories and analyses people have about Stanley Kubrick‘s movie The Shining (see our different reviews of the doc by Kevin Kelly, Brian Salisbury and Landon Palmer). Therefore it’s both about “Easter eggs,” as in things hidden in the movie and fools, pranks, hoaxes and all those kinds of things associated with the joker’s holiday on April 1st. I’d like to hope that IFC released the doc, which premiered over a year ago at Sundance, on this very weekend because of Easter and April Fools’ Day are back to back. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. But Room 237 makes us wonder if there’s such a thing. Room 237 hit theaters on Friday and had a decent debut weekend showing on only two screens. But it was also released the same day on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and cable On Demand outlets to rent for a relatively low cost. There’s no reason not to be seeing this movie-lovers’ treat. And if you don’t even like or care about The Shining, it’s still very interesting and fun and worth the look, because it’s about more than The Shining. It’s about ways of seeing and thinking and believing, and taking things too seriously and not, and Kubrick is simply a very good aid for illustrating and exploring all of that.

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Day of the fight

Editor’s Note: We don’t need a reason to find Kubrick “topical,” but the release of Room 237 definitely doesn’t hurt when it comes to excuses for re-posting this valuable bit of film history. Why Watch? It’s Stanley Kubrick‘s first movie. This newsreel short is swelling with history because of the iconic heights its creator would go on to. Perhaps someone smarter than I can “see” Kubrick somewhere in the style here, but it’s hard for me to see the future master within the confines of the 1950s information short confines that seemed director-less. Of course, fighting would become a major subject for Kubrick, but as far as the visuals, I could have watched this without ever knowing how directed it. As a bonus, Open Culture featured this and two other short documentaries alongside the full story of Kubrick’s early career. It’s a must-read (and must-see). What will it cost? Only 16 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Room 237

In 2006, during the initial years of YouTube’s expanding popularity, this mash-up of The Shining went viral. By recasting the tone of Stanley Kubrick’s canonized 1980 horror film as a romantic comedy, complete with a Peter Gabriel song, the video’s act of both subverting and highlighting genre conventions made an incredibly effective case for how audiences can actively rework, rethink, or even contradict some of Hollywood’s most sacred texts. It’s this particular web 2.0-enabled democratic approach – not only to The Shining, but to movies in general – that lays the groundwork for Rodney Asher’s Room 237, a “subjective documentary” that investigates theories around the most notorious adaptation of any of Stephen King’s novels. Room 237 lends a microphone to five select uber-fans of The Shining. We never see these fans, and we only peripherally come to understand a bit about them (one is a history professor, another a father who sees his relationship with his son as similar to the one shared between Jack and Danny (!)). Instead, Room 237 devotes its entire running time to letting these individuals expound on their diverse theories about The Shining, while the film’s visual portion exercises these theories through visiting, revisiting, slowing down, and reversing clips from The Shining and Kubrick’s other works, filling out the gaps with clips from other films, both famous and obscure.

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Stanley Kubrick

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Steven Spielberg will be picking up where Stanley Kubrick left off. Following 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick set out on a compulsive researching mission to make a movie about Napoleon Bonaparte happen. After years of preparing, the filmmaker was turned away from every studio because it would have been a historical epic at a blockbuster price. Turns out that historical fiction wasn’t good business at the time. That the man who just made a hit from Lincoln is picking up Kubrick’s unfinished film and turning it into a television miniseries is a testament to how things can change. The two collaborated once before, with Kubrick creating the concept for Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Sadly, the iconic director didn’t live to see that film completed either. The world lost him in 1999. It’s a shame that Kubrick never got to make his epic, but there are few names better to take up the torch, craft something astounding and deliver it with fanfare to the biggest crowd possible. At any rate, Spielberg’s working with a script from Kubrick. It doesn’t get much more film geeky than that, even if it’ll never see theaters.

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IntroDirectorCameos

The beauty of being a director is that you can get killer screen time without the hassle of actually knowing how to act. Being a good director, however, is knowing not to haphazardly stick yourself in your films – at least not unless you’re Spike Lee or Woody Allen. Really it’s all about identifying your limitations. So here are some neat ways that a director opted to show up in their film without taking the spotlight at the same time. These are creative little cameos that you might never notice in a million years of watching.

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Over Under - Large

Ask any movie geek what their favorite horror movie is, and there’s a good chance they might say Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Ask them what their favorite war movie is, and there’s a good chance they might say Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. Stanley Kubrick is just that kind of director. Perhaps his most beloved movie ever though is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ask any movie geek what their favorite sci-fi film is, and it’s very likely they’re going to name drop this tale of evolved apes, space ships, murderous computers, and space babies. It’s got very deliberate, very beautiful photography, it’s long and slow paced, and it contains plenty of subtext that’s ripe for dissection. This movie is basically movie geek catnip, and it’s become so popular over the years that even regular folk who don’t know much about movies are aware that it’s considered to be one of the top “classics” of all-time. A similar movie that was much-loved by film geeks but that hasn’t broken through to having mainstream recognition among regular folk is Duncan Jones’ directorial debut from 2009, Moon. Here’s a movie that has quite a bit in common with 2001 as far as look, feel, and thematics go, but that combines all of the good stuff from Kubrick’s art film with a human story that’s so much easier to follow and relate to. And yet, Moon is also a movie that came and went without causing so much as a ripple outside of the […]

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Fear and Desire Movie

Stanley Kubrick was a notorious perfectionist. And perfectionists, unfortunately, are rarely prolific. Kubrick’s career as a director spanned nearly fifty years, but in that span of time the auteur only helmed thirteen feature films. For a long time, only twelve of those films have been commercially available, but now that Kino Classics has released on DVD and Blu-ray the Library of Congress restoration of Kubrick’s debut feature, Fear and Desire (1953), movie fans can finally become Kubrick completists with a stunning transfer of a rarely-seen film to round out a great director’s accomplished career.

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“Newsweek,” the 79-year-old magazine is stepping into the present by axing their print edition to go fully digital in 2013. Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown announced the shift yesterday (tellingly on the Daily Beast site), and the polarized responses of crushing nostalgia, predictions of ultimate failure and it’s-about-time praise came from all corners of (again tellingly) the internet. Whether it’s a signal of internal trouble or not, it’s where our world is heading, which is why it’s particularly encouraging in this time of transition to look back on some of the “Newsweek” covers of the past to discover that history tends to repeat itself. Someone should package that up and coin a phrase about it. Of course, all of our choices are movie-themed, but as you’ll see from the selections, the ghost of the present seems to haunt the past even in the examination of the popular art. Even without the deep sentiment, it’s still fascinating to let nostalgia well up for the times gone by caught by these covers.

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Room 237 Teaser

There are a ton of horror classics that get revisited by movie fans around this time of year, but perhaps none are more dense, rich, respected, and downright creepifying as Stanley Kubrick’s unique take on Stephen King’s story of old hotels, hauntings, and Jack Nicholson going crazy, The Shining. Apart from being one of the greatest horror films of all time, The Shining is often just considered one of the greatest films of all time, period. And that’s why it’s developed an over thirty-year history of ongoing post-film discussion. The Shining’s legions of fans are devoted, so much so that many of them spend countless hours poring over ever little detail of the film, trying to suss out and decode what every little splatter of blood, every surreal image, every number on a hotel room door means in the greater scheme of things. The cult surrounding this film is so interesting that director Rodney Ascher and producer Tim Kirk decided to make a documentary about it. Their film is called Room 237, and they describe it by saying, “Room 237 is a subjective documentary feature which explores numerous theories about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and its hidden meanings. This guided tour through the most compelling attempts to decode this endlessly fascinating film will draw the audience into a new maze, one with endless detours and dead ends, many ways in, but no way out. Discover why many have been trapped in the Overlook for 30 years.”

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