Saturday, September 30, 2017

KUBRICK NEWS IN BRIEF ~ SEPT 30, 2017


Full Metal Jacket turned 30 years old this summer. Commemorate the milestone by reading this excellent Birth/Movies/Death retrospective by Jacob Knight. And dig that crazy artwork, man!

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Once you're done checking out the above article, you should also give this awesome audio retrospective on the Task&Purpose podcast a listen. Entitled "To the Everlasting Glory of Full Metal Jacket", this podcast is created by, and geared towards, veterans and currently serving members of the American military, which makes for a great perspective on this cinematic masterpiece.



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And finally re: FMJ, check out this Collider article in which Matthew Modine discusses two major scenes that were cut from the final version of the film, and this CinemaBlend article about a scene inspired by R.Lee Ermey's dirty poetry. Combine all of this with a fresh viewing of the flick, and you will have properly celebrated the 30th anniversary of Kubrick's most underrated flick, the immortal Full Metal Jacket.

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Here's a funny little thing to watch...


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In this Movie Pilot overview, Eric Hanson explores Kubrick's oeuvre in terms of his accomplishments as a translator of literature into cinema, and the various conflicts and controversies that have arisen from his relationships with many of the authors whose work he has adapted. This piece is, unfortunately, short and insubstantial. Hanson doesn't even address the extremely interesting history of Kubrick's relationships with Calder Willingham, Jim Thompson, Vladimir Nabokov, or Gustav Hasford! So please don't mistake me linking to this article as giving it my seal of approval. I do NOT. However, it does point future article writers towards what I believe could be a very intriguing topic for exploration. Who knows? I might just write such an article myself for this blog.

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This little video tells the viewer how to use (and get away with breaking) the 180 degrees rule.


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You know, when it comes to oddball ways directors have scraped together money for their projects, Kubrick hustling chess games to scam unwitting potzers out of their pocket change barely even qualifies, especially when compared with what Robert Rodriguez did to finance his films. But hey, it's Kubrick, so I suppose he makes the above-linked list based the quality of his oeuvre and the pull that the authors suspected including him would have on movie geeks, in terms of getting eyeballs directed towards their article. I guess their scam worked, seeing as they got my attention.

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During the course of researching and writing his book Reconstructing Strangelove, Inside Stanley Kubrick's Nightmare Comedy, author Mick Broderick uncovered a long hidden plan by Kubrick to relocate his entire family to Australia if ever it became obvious that a nuclear war was about to start... as well as the hilarious reason why Kubrick eventually gave up on his plans:
The American director had set up accounts, transferred funds, organised visas and investigated film projects in anticipation of his move. 
However, he cancelled when he discovered he would have to share a bathroom on the ship that would take him to Australia. 
“Famous for not flying, Stanley had bought tickets for the ocean liner. But when he found out he would have to share a bathroom the trip was off,” says Broderick. 
“The idea of spending months at sea sharing toilet space with complete strangers was intolerable; he would much rather face thermonuclear war.”
You know what, folks? If you don't think this qualifies as classic, Strangelove-level comedy in a Kubrick vein all on its own, I don't know what to tell you.

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Speaking of interesting books, Robert Koller's The Extraordinary Image: Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and the Reimagining of Cinema explores the obsessions of Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Welles, based on the ways in which they expanded the use of sound in cinema. Based on this lengthy, academically rigorous review, it looks very much worth checking out.

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Apparently, people are saying The Weekend's latest video, for a song called "Secrets", was influenced or inspired by Kubrick in some way. I'm not so sure about that, but you can be the judge. Here's the vid:


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Illustrator Brian Sanders offers a rare glimpse into Stanley Kubrick's creative process. Here's an example of the kind of illustrations you'll find at this link.

STILL TICKIN' - THE RETURN OF A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

An intriguing short-ish (43 minutes) documentary on the return to British theaters of Kubrick's Clockwork Orange, which the filmmaker had long withdrawn from the UK market for a variety of reasons. This one was new to me, even though it's from 2000. Well done!


INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF "KUBRICK'S GAME" NOVEL

When I first heard about Derek Taylor Kent's novel, Kubrick's Game, I have to admit to feeling a complicated mixture of curiosity, interest, and profound self-loathing. The curiosity and interest had obvious causes... I'm a life-long and devoted Kubrick fanatic, in love with most of his movies and fascinated by the minutia of his life's story (as chronicled in my early blog posts, Confessions of a Kubrick Nut, Parts One, Part Two, and Part Three in 3D). But whence this negativity? 

Most likely, it probably stemmed from the fact that I've long wanted to try writing a "Kubrick novel" of my own, and I've been too damn lazy and/or procrastination-bound to work up the gumption to actually DO IT, goddamn it. 

Anyway, I've recently heard good things about Kent's book, so I went ahead and ordered it. I'll write a review and publish it here as soon as I've read it, but in the meantime, enjoy this recent interview with Kent, published at BigShinyRobot.com. 

Here are the interview's pre-amble, followed by the first question and (surprising to me!) answer:

Sometimes a book hits all your interests all at once, and there's really nothing else quite like it out there. The key to Kubrick's Game is that it is filled with startling plot twists, and almost every chapter ends with a 'cliffhanger,' so you have to keep reading to see what will happen next. On the whole, the story is compelling and interesting, despite my workman-like appreciation for Kubrick’s films. It reads like a high-end Da Vinci Code (better yet, think a cinephiles Ready Player One) but is built with both greater complexity and subtlety. Twist after twist, revelation after revelation, the plot becomes a tangled net of intrigue as the characters race toward a showdown where truths and identities are shockingly uncovered. A must read for any Kubrick fan. 
BSR: Do you believe in any conspiracy theories? 
KENT: In terms of Stanley Kubrick conspiracy theories, I believe the theory that holds the most weight is that he had something to do with the Apollo 11 moon landing or at least that something was fishy about it. I wouldn't go as far as to say the whole thing was faked, but as is detailed in the book, let's just say I would not be surprised if what the world saw on television wasn't what actually happened,

Thursday, August 31, 2017

RICHARD ANDERSON R.I.P.


Richard Anderson, who portrayed the obsequious prosecutor Major Saint-Auban in Stanley Kubrick's 1958 anti-war masterpiece Paths of Glory, has passed away at the age of 91. Anderson enjoyed steady work throughout the years before achieving the heights of popularity as fan favorite character Oscar Goldman in two hugely successful mid-70's science-fiction TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.

In an interview American Legends conducted with Anderson specifically to discuss Kubrick and Paths of Glory, we learn:
American Legends: Showing the execution of soldiers ran contrary to Hollywood's standard approach to filmmaking.
Richard Anderson: Max Youngstein insisted that the three soldiers not die at the end. He said, "If those guys die, who will go see the movie?" The studio wanted them reprieved at the last minute. In Munich, Stanley sent Youngstein the final script without making the changes Max wanted. He registered the script to show it had been sent--and held his breath. They prayed Max wouldn't call and say that the deal is off. No one at United Artists read the script. When Max was shown a cut of the picture, he turned to Stanley and said: "You were right."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A COLLECTION OF KUBRICK VIDEOS

Did you ever wonder what The Shining would have been like if it had been directed by Sam Raimi instead of Kubrick? Well now, thanks to the magic of the Interwebs, you need ponder no longer! Enjoy!


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Here's a beautiful collection of images that inspired Stanley Kubrick's vision for The Shining, as assembled by Candice Drouet.


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Here's a little bit of dance fluff in that weird art installation thing where they re-created the Human Zoo Room from 2001: A Space Odyssey.


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And finally, is Chicago weirdo rapper Danny Brown's latest really "like Kubrick with two bricks"? I'm going to let YOU be the judge of that. Watch his strange new offering, below.

UNDERSTANDING THE CINEMATOGRAPHY OF JOHN ALCOTT


'CLOCKWORK ORANGE' AND 'THE SHINING' AS OTTOMAN MINIATURES


From Dangerous Minds:
Artist Murat Palta has created a fantastic series of works in which he juxtaposes a famous scene from a well-known film with the style of an “Ottoman miniature” painting. The results may alter a viewer’s perception of said films as Palta’s subjects wear expressionless faces in his paintings—despite (for the most part) being stuck in the midst of all kinds of fictional chaos and mayhem.

Hailing from Turkey, Palta’s first cinematic/Ottoman mashup from 2011 combined characters and scenes from Star Wars and received so much attention that he decided to take on a few other memorable movie scenes. Such as the bloodbath at the House of Blue Leaves in Kill Bill, Jack Nicholson’s door-smashing mental breakdown in The Shining and a scene from A Clockwork Orange where the Droogs and Alex DeLarge (played by Malcolm McDowell) put the boot in on a homeless man just for, ahem, kicks. 
I think it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re going to dig Palta’s paintings as much as I did. You can also view them in more detail over at Palta’s “Classic Movies in Minature Style” page on Behance. That said, some might be considered slightly NSFW.

 

KUBRICK NEWS I NEVER GOT AROUND TO PASSING ALONG!


Check out (and be inspired by) Stanley Kubrick's work as a brilliant "boy genius" photographer, thanks to the fine folks at Konbibi! There are some really cool photographs in this collection, some of which I'd never seen before. Fans of Kubrick's early photography really shouldn't miss out on this link!

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Over at MoviePilot.com, James Dunlap presents his "Fan Theory" about Eyes Wide Shut, asking... was it all a dream? By the time you're done reading his exhaustive and entertaining exegesis, you just might end up convinced.

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In this Vulture story about the all the influences on the TV series Legion, we get the following paragraph, sub-titled "Stanley Kubrick":
According to Abraham Riesman’s behind-the-scenes feature, Stanley Kubrick haunted the development of Legion, and Hawley was somewhat obsessed with the the late, great filmmaker. You can see Kubrick’s touches all over Legion — and not just because the facility that’s treating David (Dan Stevens) happens to be named Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital. The “normalization” of David feels similar to the treatment of Alex (Malcolm McDowell) in the second half of A Clockwork Orange, and the orange jumpsuits definitely look like a product of the era. There’s also a sense in Legion that the design is meant to reflect the confused mental state of the protagonist — production designer Michael Wylie told the Daily Beast, “We’re not supposed to know where we are or what year it is” — and using design to reflect a character’s psychology is a very Kubrickian device utilized across several of his films. Hawley has even referred to Legion as existing in a “hybrid A Clockwork Orange/Quadrophenia world.”
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British film website Filmoria polled their employees to find out their favorite directors (and the reasons why), and I was glad to see that one of their female employees chose Stanley!

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This FilmMaker Magazine article by Jim Hemphill points out some intriguing parallels between 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Raquel Welch jiggle-fest One Million Years B.C., declaring, of the latter: “It’s a surprisingly experimental movie in some ways, telling its story of prehistoric man with virtually no dialogue (what dialogue does exist consists of mostly grunts and made up words) and a reliance on a deliberately paced series of impressionistic images that had a clear influence on Stanley Kubrick.” The same column goes on to point out another Kubrick connection, this time to the Frederic Raphael scripted Two For The Road (directed by Stanley Donen). Raphael, notoriously, helped script Eyes Wide Shut.

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Did you know there was a Kubrick connection with The Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night? And it's not that Hobbit thing, either! Check it out for yourself!

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This Alex Sayf Cummings essay for MoviePilot.com asks a very good, salient question: “What is it about Stanley Kubrick that drives some people crazy?” It is a question to which I, myself, will be returning in future blog posts, but in the meantime, I wanted to post this link to Alex's excellent summary of the conspiracy community's latching on to Kubrick and his oeuvre--which has led to such serious projects as the documentary Room 237, as well as to silly fluff like this Oral History of the Faked Moonlanding--to help KubrickU readers get up to date about the current state of affairs in that particular speculative arena.

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Here's a Guardian review of a homosexuality-themed stage production of A Clockwork Orange, which differs significantly from both the Burgess novel and the Kubrick film, and includes at least one Pink Floyd selection to help get the message over.

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I never ran this in February, but on the occasion of Anthony Burgess' 100th birthday, Trainspotting novelist Irvine Welch wrote this beautiful think-piece on the influence A Clockwork Orange had on him and his writing. It begins:
Few writers, whatever the claims made for them by literary critics, ever manage to spawn big cultural moments. One who genuinely did so was Anthony Burgess, with his novel A Clockwork Orange. And, as novelists are often contrary by nature, he was highly ambivalent about this state of affairs. Burgess would disparagingly refer to the book, published in 1962, as a “novella”, regarding it as an inconsequential sliver of his Brobdingnagian canon. He blamed (and there’s really no other term for it) the book’s resonance on the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation, which appeared nine years later. 
My generation was obsessed with this stylistic, inventive affair, a movie that spurned both mainstream Hollywood concerns and European art house affectations to stake out a unique terrain for British independent cinema. Kubrick’s movie was an influence on the Ziggy-era David Bowie, and it was those cool credentials that made me backtrack to the film, which I first saw at a late-night screening several years after its release. As is generally the way of those things, far fewer of us had enjoyed any exposure to the novel. As a writer who has had many of his own books adapted for screen, I’m a little uncomfortable at conceding that I was in this camp.
It's a really good piece. You should read it. Cheers for now!

SF VISIONARY BRIAN ALDISS DEAD AT 92


Visionary British science fiction author Brian Aldiss (OBE), who collaborated with Stanley Kubrick in the never-ending development of the latter's long-gestating film A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), has passed away at the age of 92. From The Register:
Aldiss published an enormous number of science fiction books and short stories – as well as non-fiction work – but is perhaps best known for the Helliconia trilogy and his short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long”, which was used as the basis for the 2001 film AI Artificial Intelligence
“A friend and drinking companion of Kingsley Amis and correspondent with CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, Aldiss was a founding member of the Groucho Club in London and a judge on the 1981 Booker Prize,” said his publisher in a statement
“Awarded the Hugo Award for Science Fiction in 1962 and the Nebula Award in 1965, Aldiss's writings were well received by the critics and earned a strong following in the United States and in Britain, as well as being widely translated into foreign languages.” 
Born in 1925, Aldiss began writing stories as a four-year old child, encouraged by his parents. He saw action in Burma during the Second World War and afterwards moved to Oxford and worked in a bookshop. 
He came to a publisher's attention after publishing a fictional tale of life as a bookseller in 1955 that did reasonably well, and was already writing science fiction short stories for magazines. After being commissioned for his first book of short stories, Aldiss began a career which spanned more than half a century and triggered the New Wave movement in British science fiction. 
“I actually think that the great days of science fiction have perhaps passed now,” he told Desert Island Discs in 2007. “But the fact is science fiction gave me an umbrella, and it gave me endless friends who are still my friends. I would never knock science fiction, I think it's splendid.”
Aldiss' short fiction is quite wonderful, and widely collected. I urge any Kubrick fan to read his work. Furthermore, for those of you with more time on your hands, the Helliconia series is well worth the effort.

THE DIRECTORS SERIES: A THREE HOUR VIDEO ESSAY ON KUBRICK'S WORK



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

NEW CURT MANOR VIDEO FEATURES KUBRICKEAN AESTHETIC


Director Samuel Bright wishes to share with Kubrick U's readers the video he recently directed for Australian musician Curt Manor's song "Adelphi Hotel Nightmare", which is heavily influenced by The Shining in particular, and by the Kubrickean aesthetic in general.

We think it's pretty nifty, and as filmmakers ourselves, we find the fact that it cost under five grand to be all kinds of shocking. For a hi-rez version, check out the Vimeo version.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

CLOCKWORK ORANGE BUBBLEGUM CARDS!

Over at Dangerous Minds, they always manage to dig up the coolest stuff. And they're big Kubrick nuts, too, which is great for us! Because that means when they find mind-bending creations like this incredible collection of hauntologically perfect bubblegum trading cards for Clockwork Orange, they just can't help but share with the rest of us! Here's the story of the cards as told by Bubblegum Fink, the creator of the now defunct art blog from whence they first emerged...
A Clockwork Orange is another set of trading cards, like The Wicker Man, that never could have existed at the time the film was released. But now, I would rush out to buy a box. Wouldn’t you? I’m happy with the card design, but less so with the Clockwork Orange font which I wish had been a little sharper. To do it over again, I’d just get rid of it. Of course, the cards represent a sort of edited-for-television version of the film, and it’s also the shortest set I’ve done at only 33 cards.
Click through to the Dangerous Minds story, linked above, for more information, more cards, and for that Wicker Man set I'm sure you're all dying to check out!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

KUBRICK AND KIRBY ~ THE 2001 COMICS CONNECTION!


Thanks to the fine folks at Dangerous Minds for hipping me to this video that explores comics art titan Jack Kirby's decade-long obsession for his passion project, a comic book adaptation and elaboration upon Clarke/Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey