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There’s no denying that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a film begging for discussion. A story that seems straightforward on the surface is littered with curious scenes and subliminal suggestions, and wraps up with a final shot that is curiously awesome. Even knowing that, though, you may have no idea how deep the discussions about The Shining can possibly go.

Rodney Ascher‘s brilliant documentary, Room 237, does a fantastic job delving into some of the most fascinating, crazy, and perhaps even true interpretations of the 1980 film. It entertains theories about the relationship of The Shining to Native Americans, the moon landing, super imposition, and oedipal readings. Since premiering at Sundance in 2012, the film has been riding a wave of good buzz and controversy on its way to release on VOD today.

We spoke to the Ascher about that controversy. In addition, our conversation with the director touched on the method of piecing together a the film entirely composted of archival footage, backlash from the Kubrick or Stephen King camps, whether he could do a sequel and much more. Read More »

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Welcome to the Punch

Films like Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake represent a very particular kind of British crime drama. They’re modern, they’re slick, they have memorable characters, and feature tons of twists and turns in the plot. Eran Creevy‘s Welcome to the Punch looks very much like that.

Produced by Ridley Scott, the film stars James McAvoy as a detective on the trail of a crime boss, played by Mark Strong. It was released in the UK last week and opens in the US theaters and on VOD next week. A trailer came out a few months back, but that since disappeared in favor of this latest one that shows a distinct visual style and plenty of action. Check it out after the jump, along with a few quotes from UK reviews. Read More »

Have you ever flipped your TV to a movie and been delighted it was one of those presentations with facts that pop up on the screen? If so, you might want to know about a new site just launched that provides that sort of presentation all the time.

The site is called Yeah! and is run by AMC Networks, which own AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and IFC Films. Basically, the site allows you to stream movies like Scream, Reservoir Dogs, 300, The Terminator, Clerks, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pulp Fiction, and This is Spinal Tap. Along with each film are 400-500 pieces of new, original context and facts that appear on the screen during the film. Check out a video and read more below. Read More »

One of the better movie posters ever made is the Saul Bass design for Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining. The eye-catching yellow sheet with a horrified, pixelated face was one of the strangest things I’d seen in my young life when I first encountered it in a theater before The Shining opened. It remains a landmark of simple, effective design.

So it makes sense that the doc Room 237, from first-timer Rodney Ascher, would get a poster that ehoes the Bass design. Room 237 features five theories that explore what Kubrick really meant to say in his Stephen King adaptation. The first US teaser for the film referenced a teaser for Kubrick’s movie, and now the poster design follows suit. Check it out below, side by side with the Bass original. Read More »

What is Frances Ha about? I’ve watched this trailer a couple times, and can’t quite tell you. Not because this is an Upstream Color situation, where the trailer is rather obscure, and the film it advertises is hardly typical. Rather, this Noah Baumbach film co-written by and starring Greta Gerwig looks like a pretty standard old-school indie, as it follows a young woman (Gerwig) who can’t quite get her life together.

There’s a synopsis below that will tell you a bit more, but really it’s just better to watch the trailer, which is spilling over with Gerwig’s winning charm, and the beat of David Bowie’s ever-infectious ‘Modern Love.’ Read More »

The producing team behind Martha Marcy May Marlene also put together Simon Killer, a film that follows a young man (Brady Corbet) as he skips off to Europe following a breakup, and gets involved with a prostitute. As the title of the film suggests, things don’t go very well. Germain liked the film very much at Sundance last year, and Simon Killer has been one of the films for which we’ve waited patiently for a theatrical release.

IFC Midnight has the film, and has released its first trailer today. Not long ago we saw a UK ad for the movie that pitched it very close to Martha Marcy May Marlene territory — a slow burn, with a tense buildup.

This trailer is much more energetic, driven by a pulsing electronic soundtrack and featuring a strobing, intense visual aesthetic. It’s a great piece of editing. Read More »

‘Simon Killer’ Trailer

Sometimes it takes a long time for distributors to settle on a release plan for films they buy at Sundance. A couple of big 2012 titles are just now being teased to the public, for example. Take The Shining documentary Room 237, which just got a US trailer today in anticipation of a late March release.

Now here’s the trailer for Simon Killer. The indie thriller, directed by Antonio Campos (Afterschool) and starring Brady Corbet, whose appearance in the film was widely praised, has been dormant since IFC bought it last year. But now a UK trailer has surfaced, and it gives a pretty good taste of the uneasy story.

Simon Killer comes from the producers of Martha Marcy May Marlene, and has been likened to that film in the way that uncertainty and a clinical eye are used to create tension. The title alone should tell you that Corbet’s character is ultimately not the best guy around, but this trailer does a fine job of laying out some of what leads to the film’s climax. Read More »

An audience favorite film at Sundance and Fantastic Fest 2012 was Room 237, the documentary from Rodney Ascher that attempts to detail and unpack the various secrets of Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining. What messages did he code into the movie? (If any?) Is The Shining just a great horror movie, or does it really feature a hidden conversation about the genocide of Native Americans? That notion is just one of the theories in Room 237.

IFC picked up the film and will release it later this year as part of its IFC Midnight label. The first US trailer is out (the one we posted last year has been pulled) and it is an appropriately simple thing. It won’t take you long to figure out where this one is going, especially if you’re familiar with the teaser for The Shining, but that doesn’t make the payoff any less entertaining when it happens. Read More »

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