Friday, August 8, 2014

CLOCKWORK ORANGE BABIES?!

Brazil-based graphic designer Butcher Billy has created some visually striking designs for a project that he refers to as A Clockwork Orange Babies. Oh, and in case you're so blown away by his designs that you'd like to cover your carcass with them, BB puts his designs on t-shirts, posters and other such collectibles and tchotchkes, and sells them via his online store. Enjoy!


SAUL BELLOW'S REJECTED POSTER DESIGNS FOR THE SHINING

The Design Buddy Blog has an excellent overview of all the various poster designs for The Shining that legendary design guru Saul Bass came up with for Stanley Kubrick back in the day - along with some hand-written marginalia by Kubrick, himself, that gives us a glimpse into how the man worked with his collaborators. The designs, though obviously very early stage, are still pretty striking, and you can pretty easily imagine how the final product would have turned out, based on the final, extremely beautiful yellow-on-black design that Kubrick eventually decided to go with. It's also cool to see Bass's cute, punny, and somewhat fishy combination signature/caricature.


Monday, August 4, 2014

THE SHINING "HORRORGAMI"

Today, from the Halloween Love blog, we have their "image of the day", which is a bit of horror-themed origami paper sculpture reproducing the infamous Overlook Hotel as seen in Stanley Kubrick's version of Stephen King's novel, The Shining. Enjoy!


A STRANGE AND TERRIBLE GLIMPSE INTO THE DEEP STATE PART V

Over at the VISUP blog, Recluse presents the fifth and final installment of his excellent, thought-provoking series, Dr. Strangelove: A Strange and Terrible Glimpse Into the Deep State. It begins thusly:

Welcome to the fifth and final installment in my ongoing examination of Stanley Kubrick's classic "nightmare comedy" Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. During the first part of this series I briefly ran down some of the popular conspiracy theories surrounding Kubrick as well as addressing an incident that occurred during the Cuban missile crisis that may have partly inspired Strangelove. With the second installment I addressed the characters in terms of both their symbolism and real life inspirations (as well as noting interesting tidbits about the individuals who played them, such as the fact that actor Sterling Hayden had been an OSS asset during WWII).
Hayden
With the third and fourth installments I began to address the film's plot line, leaving off with General Jack D. Ripper (Hayden)'s musings to Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) on fluoridation. This post as well as prior installments are written with the assumption that the reader is both familiar with Dr. Strangelove's plot line as well as prior installments in this series. If the reader is not it is strongly recommended that they remedy this situation before continuing as to appreciate this post to its fullest. And it probably goes without saying, but this installment (as well as all the others) are very spoiler heavy.
Now with these disclaimers out of the way let us pick up with Ripper's celebrated explanation of where his theories concerning fluoridation as a communist plot derived from...
Read it all, as it's all we're getting!

Friday, August 1, 2014

"QUI ES MAS KUBRICK?"

Today in Kubrick News, we have not one, but TWO upcoming sci-fi epics that are being touted as the next 2001!


In one corner, we have current reigning box office heavyweight champion of the world Christopher Nolan, whose highly touted big budget epic Interstellar, about which MoviePlot claims "comparisons to Kubrick's 2001 are already being made."

And in the challenger's corner, we have writer/director Luc Besson's Lucy, which is being described by People's World as "arguably the most visually visionary science fiction movie since Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey."

Will anybody remember either of these two films in five years' time? Maybe, maybe not. But there's one thing you can be sure of... in five years' time there will be yet another crop of sci-fi flicks vying to "the new 2001."

MORE SWANKY KUBRICK SCHWAG

Hot on the heels of Taschen's Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon ($3000), The Making of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey ($1000) and The Stanley Kubrick Archives ($69.99) comes yet another magnificent Kubrick-related collectible that I won't be able to afford... Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection ($199.99). According to High-Def Digest:
The Masterpiece Collection features Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). "Kubrick Remembered" offers a new look into the Kubrick archives, with special appearances by the director's wife, Christiane Kubrick, as well as never-seen footage of Stanley's works, his house and his film production facilities. "Stanley Kubrick in Focus" presents such directors as Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone, William Friedkin and Martin Scorsese relating how Kubrick's directorial style influenced their work.
 Ugh. I guess now I have to break down and invest in Blu-Ray(TM).

STANSPOTTING #00003 - SNOWPIERCER

The inclusion of the old jazz tune "Midnight, the Stars and You" in Bong Joon-ho's epic dystopian sci-fi allegory Snowpiercer is now confirmed to be a willful, not so subtle reference to The Shining. According to the blog Consequence of Sound:
The Shining and Snowpiercer share a couple notable similarities on the surface: Mother Nature (in both films, the brutal cold prevents the heroes from escaping) looms large in the background, and the final scenes depict a woman and a child escaping into the harsh environment, hoping for a better life. But Marco Beltrami, who scored Snowpiercer, reveals this connection with his choice to include “Midnight, The Stars and You”. In a pivotal scene, Curtis leads his comrades through a steaming sauna ... with Franco the Elder in hot pursuit. The near-indestructible Franco knocks Curtis out, only to be distracted by (and eventually killing) two of Curtis’ best soldiers. Franco then turns his attention to finding the security expert Namgoong (Kang-ho Song) and his assistant Yona (Ah-sung Ko), who have been opening all the doors for the rebels. Franco methodically fixes his suit and slowly begins to search the sauna for Namgoong and Yona. As he does so, “Midnight, The Stars and You” plays faintly in the background. Although Franco the Elder receives very little characterization in Snowpiercer, his character serves as a crude homage to Jack Torrance in The Shining, which is first hinted at during this scene.
mosaic56965f5378048c32c749f19a2e2ed43c41e4a625 How an Old Jazz Song Pays Homage to Stanley Kubricks The Shining

CONFESSIONS OF A KUBRICK NUT PART 2


Is this a Kubrick Crazy Stare I see before me?

After going back and reading what I wrote in Part 1, I thought it might be a good idea to clear up a couple things. First, as an obsessive-compulsive individual with an addictive personality, I have obsessed over a great many artists and their work over the years. Stanley Kubrick hardly stands alone. This should probably go without saying, but I’m saying it now, anyway. I’m almost as big a Frank Zappa Freak, for instance, as I am a Kubrick Nut. Almost.

Furthermore, I was a great fan of John Carpenter, George Romero and David Cronenberg early on… and it’s probably no coincidence that all three share with Kubrick the distinction of having directed adaptations of novels by Stephen King. Throughout Junior High and High School, I read everything King wrote, along with a steady stream of horror, fantasy and science fiction novels, not to mention a vast array of popular science books, books about the supernatural, the occult and cryptozoology, “true crime” exposés and conspiracy theories, all either borrowed from or read at my local library… God bless that place.

Meanwhile, at school, I was being exposed to ever more interesting “required reading”. George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World both left lasting impressions, as did Frankenstein, Moby Dick, and the short works of Poe, Hawthorne and Mark Twain.

I graduated High School in 1988 and, between then and 1993, I attended Mount Allison University, a small undergraduate school in New Brunswick, Canada, where I earned a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy. This was still back in the prehistoric days before the Internet, so I had to rely on friends, faculty, film club and (again) the library to help broaden my horizons. It was during this time that I developed a taste for the works of Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Brian DePalma, David Lynch and Werner Herzog.

It was also during this time that, thanks to my good friend Mark Gibson, I finally got to see A Clockwork Orange, which disturbed me in a way that I’d never been disturbed by a movie before. As a horror fan, I’d seen far greater violence perpetrated on far more sympathetic victims, but I’d never seen anything quite so… would the word be wanton? Let’s check the dictionary…
wan-ton (adj) 1. of a cruel or violent action; deliberate and unprovoked. “sheer wanton vandalism” synonyms: deliberate, willful, malicious, spiteful, wicked, cruel. 2. (archaic) play, frolic.
Yes, “wanton” just about covers it. The “Home” invasion scene in particular left me feeling numb with shock. In subsequent viewings, I’ve come to appreciate Clockwork’s value as jet-black satire, but it has never lost its profoundly subversive undercurrent of social dread. Roger Ebert memorably criticized the film thusly: “An ideological mess, a paranoid right-wing fantasy masquerading as an Orwellian warning.” I think, in his own way, Ebert “got” A Clockwork Orange, but he didn’t much care for its message.

Regardless of my jarring encounter with Clockwork, my university years were a comparative low point for my Kubrick obsession. I was busy with other things, obviously – grappling with the history of world philosophy and the vast richness of the Anglo literary tradition, from its early beginnings to its latest, post-modern manifestations. For the first of what would eventually be many times, I performed the cliched rite of watching 2001: A Space Odyssey while stoned on pot. This (and other, straight viewings) served to rectify my earlier distaste for the film. What once seemed slow and plodding now seemed deliberate, conscious… achieving an icy cold perfection all its own. Also, I don’t think I need waste anyone’s time going over all the ways in which 2001 was a ground-breaker in terms of world cinema.

In 1993, after graduation, I moved to Toronto and almost immediately got onto the Internet, where one of the first places I visited was the alt.movies.kubrick newsgroup. There I found dozens of like-minded Kubrick fanatics and spent countless hours reading their opinions, sharing my own, and generally enjoying their virtual company. This is also around the time I started going to Toronto’s landmark Suspect Video and Culture store, whose owner, Luis Ceriz, is as huge and obsessive a Kubrick nut as yours truly.

It’s thanks to Suspect Video and their director-centric shelving system that I got to watch Paths of Glory and The Killing – unmitigated masterpieces, both – as well as the flawed but still magnificent Lolita and Barry Lyndon, all in short order. I even rented and watched Killer’s Kiss a couple of times, and secured a barely watchable 7th generation copy of the suppressed Fear and Desire via Something Weird Video.

It was during these first, heady alt.movies.kubrick/Suspect Video days that I began having dreams about Stanley Kubrick. I know, I know... but it wasn't all the time or anything. It’s probably happened a dozen times total over the years, with only three of those dreams being worth remembering.

Now, there are few things quite so boring as another person’s dreams, so I won’t torture you with the details. Suffice it to say that, as a veteran lucid dreamer, I collect dreams the way some people collect comic books, and I definitely count those Kubrick dreams among my favorites. Anyway, I think what kicked them off was the welcome news that Kubrick was hard at work on not one, but TWO new films – the mysterious Eyes Wide Shut, and the long-gestating sci-fi epic followup to 2001, A.I.!

Yes, it was very exciting to be a Kubrick fan in Toronto circa 1994-1999.

End of Part 2…