kubrick-blu-box

There isn’t a thing that hasn’t been written about the films of Stanley Kubrick. His films have been celebrated and reviled; some originally reviled have been reassessed as masterpieces; reams of copy have been written on even his least-appreciated movies. And yet they pull us in time and again. His films feature richly developed concepts that we can appreciate differently as our own lives progress and change.

Kubrick is the most visible representation of a sort of filmmaking that has largely vanished. He was likely the last director to enjoy total creative freedom with the backing of a major movie studio; his deal with Warner Bros. let him do what he wanted, on his own time. His 1999 passing happens to coincide with the transition into a fully digital filmmaking era and into a time when studio films are ever-more focused on sequels and familiar concepts.

The idea of ranking Kubrick films is somewhat absurd; there’s really only one that can be at #1. But there’s a lot of room for discussion about what his other twelve features offer. Warner Bros. recently issued a new box set with a gorgeous outer shell (above), a fine array of behind the scenes material, and disc packaging that is an improvement over the last blu-ray set from the studio. That box of eight films had us going back through all of Kubrick’s movies, and we’ve laid them out in order below.   Read More »

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The Simpsons Clockwork Orange 1

Sunday on Twitter, former Simpsons consultant Brad Bird said “In The Simpsons universe, Christmas comes at Halloween; all stops are pulled, budgets are increased, no holds are barred.” He was referring to the show’s annual Treehouse of Horror event, which celebrated its 25th anniversary on Sunday. The highlight of the show’s three segments (all of which were pretty fantastic) was A Clockwork Yellow. The story reimagined Moe, Homer, Lenny and Carl as Alex and his droogs from Stanley Kubrick‘s A Clockwork Orange. It borrowed dialogue, settings, shots, and music; in the story things get weird, and eventually just nosedive down a Kubrickian rabbit hole. It’s a much-watch for fans of The Simpsons and Kubrick alike. Read More »

Jason Liwag-Dick Tracy

Many times, the international version of a movie poster is much better than the domestic one. International marketing teams seem more willing to take visual risks, and therefore, we’re given more interesting and evocative artwork.

So what if your favorite limited, pop culture art was given a foreign spin? That’s the general idea behind Native Tongue, a three person show that opens November 9 at the Phone Booth Gallery in Long Beach, CA. Jay Shaw, Jason Liwag and Rico Cabina have each made new posters that look like they’re from overseas for some of their favorite films. Shaw did Polish-inspired works, Cabina simulated Mexican designs, and Liwag did Japanese. The result is a simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar collection of movie posters for films like Dick Tracy, Eyes Wide Shut, Big Trouble In Little China, and The Rocketeer. Check out a small sampling below. Read More »

The Top Ten Most Paused Movie Moments

We’ve all done it. We’re watching a movie and an image flashes by in an instant. Did we really just see that?  So we patiently wait, remote in hand, until the precise second. You click the pause button like the whole remote just suddenly lit on fire and there it is….most likely one of these moments. A subscription based British movie site called LOVEFiLM (basically a European version of Netflix) took votes from their 1.6 million subscribers and came up with the top ten scenes in movies that people pause. And, though Kevin Williamson wrote about it in Scream, Tom Cruise’s penis in All the Right Moves did not make the list. Read More »

Burbank-born artist Carlos Ramos (storyboard artist and writer on Dexter’s Labratory, ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot, The X’s, and Ni Hao Kai-lan) is presenting a solo exhibition of his Stanley Kubrick-inspired artwork at the Copro Gallery from July 10th until August 3rd.

11 years after the death of Stanley Kubrick, Ramos pays homage to the man who wrote and directed such films as A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey by transforming the galley into a retrospective space with graphic pieces celebrating the greatest and most respected filmmaker in history. Ramos faces his longtime obsession with Kubrick by painting interpretations of his films including the white-on-white habitations of 2001 to the Native American carpet patterns of The Shining to the matching white Droog uniforms in A Clockwork Orange. The emptiness and humanity of Stanley Kubrick’s subjects and characters and unique spacial design come to life thru Ramos’ unique eye.

I’m not sure if they will be releasing any limited edition prints of this art, but I hope so. You can see a preview of some of the art which will be on display at the show, after the jump. Warning, some of the art is NSFW.
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Movie Playlist: Jonathan Levine

Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.

This week’s edition is with Jonathan Levine, the writer and director of The Wackness and All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. I first saw The Wackness at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where the movie went on to win the audience award. I’ve seen the film three times since January, and it still remains on my list of the top five films of 2008. Levine is an up and coming filmmaker who is sure to impress in the years to come.

Manhattan, written and directed by Woody Allen

“Just because of the sweeping kind of romantic scope of it and also the humor and the way it looks.”

Billy Madison by Tamra Davis

“I think it’s just really fucking funny.”

Band of Outsiders by Godard

I really like, well Godard, I think is, I really really like the way he makes films and the way he plays with form is really interesting to me. And I think it’s actually in many ways kind of consistent with hip-hop and sampling things and just the things he does with music and sound. I think he’s like a one of a kind, very unique, and I like to rip him off as much as I can.”

La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni

Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick

“It’s just like a tone, you know? As much as Woody Allen kind of revels in the emotion, those guys kind of have a healthy distance from the emotion that in many ways is just as impactful. There’s a misanthropy to it that is not cynical. It’s like you’re showing that the worst side of people but in doing so, you’re allowing… you know, it’s Tom Cruise, you’re like ‘oh shit! Like Tom Cruise is this scumbag… he has the weirdest thoughts and his wife wants to cheat on him with a marine and he’s Tom Cruise but he’s so fucking fucked up by it that he has to go put on a mask and go to an orgy.’ But you identify with these base desires and with the worst part of human beings and then you realize all right, it’s not that bad. The movie ends on this note where it’s like, oh yeah, we got fucked. I really liked that movie. It might not be my favorite movie… the only one of those movies that constitutes my favorite movie is Manhattan but the other ones do really interesting things that I respect out of movies.”

Check out Jonathan Levine’s latest movie The Wackness, which hits limited release this Friday.

Director Sydney Pollack passed away today due to cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 73.

Notable films as a director: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (nominated: Best Director 1970), Tootsie (nominated: Best Director/Best Picture 1982), Three Days of the Condor, The Way We Were, The Yakuza, The Firm, Jeremiah Johnson, Out of Africa (Winner: Best Director/Best Picture 1986)

As a producer: Recount, The Quiet American, Forty Shades of Blue, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Searching For Bobby Fischer (!), King Ralph (!!), Sense and Sensibility

Pollack was recently praised for his supporting performance in the Best Picture nominee Michael Clayton. He also appeared on The Sopranos in a small but highly memorable and resonant role. His producing partner and fellow director , Anthony Minghella, passed in March, aged 54.

If you want to take a look back via Netflix, I’d recommend They Shoot Horses…, Condor, Tootsie and Jeremiah Johnson in that order. As an actor, Tootsie, Husbands and Wives, Eyes Wide Shut, and Clayton. To people under 25, Pollack served as a fine representation/presence of a Hollywood long past, where smart films for adults were a priority (imagine that, even if you’re not a film snob!) and where franchises and event films didn’t yet have a deathgrip on the market.

Casual moviegoers responded to his voice and mannerisms on screen—you knew this guy, he seemed smarter than most—and as you watched, or at least as I watched, what came across was that Pollack cut through the modern day industry bullshit and greed, and man, he fucking knew it. Some of his films like The Yakuza still seem a little over-fawned upon, but he’s a prime example of a talented cineaste who didn’t sell out and who aged with grace, eyes open.

I’d hate to get a raised eyebrow from the man, is all I’m sayin’. When I think of a respectable film director, Pollack’s voice and face often pops up (yes, those “do not interrupt” commercials help). I wonder and, have wondered at times, who the hell will be there to take Pollack and his peers’ place. That’s usually when a walking-talking mega cup of soda bursts through the door to say “hi.” Sydney Pollack will be missed, but his work and reputation will also be discovered for generations. You can say his name in any film class that is nearly worth the cost, and a certain communal respect will hit.

R.I.P.

Discuss: How will he be remembered by you?

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