Saturday, February 3, 2018


Sometimes you'll find tidbits of Kubrick-related ephemera in the strangest places. For instance, in Daniel Raim's documentary Harold and Lillian, A Hollywood Love Story! This doc "tells the story of husband-and-wife team Harold and Lillian Michelson, who brought their talents as storyboard artist and film researcher, respectively, to numerous Hollywood classics including The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, and The Graduate, and working with such master filmmakers as Hitchcock, Spielberg, and Kubrick." How does Kubrick fit into this one? Well, a quick look at the poster, above, provides a pretty good clue!
I full realize that "unboxing" videos are, in many ways, symptomatic of what's gone wrong with the Internet, social media, and late-Capitalist decline in recent years, but just try and keep from drooling when the lucky so-and-so's in the video below "unbox" Taschen's limited edition (and sold-out) 'Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: The Greatest Film Never Made'...

Den of Geek has an extended examination of the great Clockwork Orange Ban myth... the real facts of the case, how the myth surrounding it began, and how that myth evolved into a big part of what solidified Clockwork Orange's 'street cred' as a legendary "dangerous movie".


Criterion's latest version of The Killing gets top marks in this Christopher Aguiar review. I particularly liked this insight into the film:
The Killing often operates as a film about making movies. Johnny Clay is Kubrick in this reading. Both assemble teams, both decide on an end-goal and both craft a plan to get from point A to point B. Much like filmmaking, Clay needs his counterparts to pull their own weight. His wrestler friend has to instigate the bar brawl, Cook Jr. has to ensure that every door remains open. Without their collaboration, Clay cannot carry out his heist. Without the collaboration of his actors and writers, Kubrick cannot assemble his story. As aforementioned, it is the small unconsidered details that can derail a heist. The same can be said about filmmaking. You consider all the variables, but then it may rain on set – at that point, your period of filmmaking for the day is, effectively, over.
Someone over at the Ultimate Guitar website's forum decided to do the sort of thing I've been doing at Kubrick U for a while now, and assembled a collection of music videos that reference the films of Stanley Kubrick. Their list features such diverse artists as Kanye West and Lady Gaga to Blur and Guns and Roses. One that was new to me was this one for "Time is Running Out" by neo-prog band Muse. Enjoy!

In this article for the Daily Trojan, British directorial phenomenon Edgar Wright cites "his parents’ favorite filmmakers as vital to his creative upbringing, specifically choreographer Busby Berkeley and directors Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick." It's enough to make this would-be filmmaker feel really, really old and past my due date.
In a recent article for The Drive, entitled 'Autonomous Cars and the Great Failure to Communicate', Eric Adams explores how "Aviation can help carmakers learn to talk to drivers, but they'd be better off asking Stanley Kubrick." After going over some of the mistakes that current industry leaders are making in this area, Adams explains how his own... reference has actually become—in all seriousness—Stanley Kubrick. Go watch 2001: A Space Odyssey from 1968 and look at the control panels of the separate spacecraft used to reach orbit, fly to the Moon, translate across the lunar surface, and, later in the film, operate the extravehicular activity pods. Those aren’t the whimsical riffs of a 60s set designer; they’re thought-out projections of what human-machine interfaces would be like in a more advanced technological society, envisioned by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, who co-wrote the screenplay. Some are more complicated than others, but the gist is the same: The system does the thinking and tells the operator what he or she needs to know. Take that left-hand screen (below) with the automatic landing guides and replace it with a big green arrow, and it could be the next semi-autonomous Cadillac.

I’m guessing, by the way, that it’s likely that when Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos unveil the control panels for their own spacecraft at SpaceX and Blue Origin, respectively, they’ll look more like a Kubrick creation than, say, the overwhelmingly complex Space Shuttle of yore—simple, clean, with necessary data, sure, but not incomprehensible boatloads of it.
It's a thought provoking article that should appeal to techies of every stripe, Kubrick fan or no. 

As part of his brisk review of the 1972 giallo Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, critic Matthew Lickona goes off on an extended Kubrick-related tangent:
A bit of serendipity: last week, I happened upon Jon Ronson’s short documentary Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes, about the years he spent sifting through the director’s dizzying, even terrifying collection of research material, fan letters, memos, etc. Kubrick was famous for being incredibly exacting, for maintaining a level of precision and care that made every frame matter. But it cost him: Waterloo came out and flopped while he was still in pre-production on his Napoleon epic, and the spooked studios killed the project. (The reams of research material for that one were eventually transformed into a book, subtitled The Greatest Movie Never Made*.) The same thing happened with his planned Holocaust movie — Spielberg made Schindler’s List in the time it took Kubrick to do his research. And Full Metal Jacket famously got beaten to the punch by Platoon. There’s much to admire in The Shining. But there’s also much to enjoy in this brisk, brusque, bloody, bawdy Italian cheapie.
*See above for the unboxing of the book in question.


Witness 23 minutes of gameplay demo from Lust for Darkness, a videogame that's being called "Eyes Wide Shut meets HP Lovecraft" by some reviewers.

In the context of an interview about his most recent turn as the Devil in American Satan, Malcolm McDowell continues to use his public appearances as a chance to explore his evolving feelings re: his relationship with Kubrick, particularly about how things went down after they finished working on Clockwork Orange together:
McDowell is aware he still gets recognized for his most iconic character, that of Alex, a sadistic gang leader in 1971’s “A Clockwork Orange”. Still, nearly 50 years later, McDowell is grateful for the chance to take on one of Hollywood’s most recognizable bad boys. 
“… I have to say I’m more than thrilled that I did it all those years ago with a great director who was an amazing co-conspirator if you like,” he explained. “It was great fun working with [director] Stanley [Kubrick], and I really loved him. We produced an incredible piece of work that’s there for all time… It defines my career... which is fine! And listen, I’m very happy to have an iconic movie. It’s a great piece of work. And I’m very proud of it. And it opened many doors for me.” 
While McDowell considered Kubrick to be a wonderful collaborator, their friendship would ultimately dissolve. McDowell wouldn't give specific details on what caused the relationship to crumble, but he admitted they never stayed in touch after an incident tore them apart. Kubrick died in 1999 at age 70. 
“We fell out and I think this is something I regret,” admitted McDowell. “My pride prevented me from picking up the phone and just saying, ‘Hi Stan, how are you doing?’ It was silly, really… I was really pissed with him, I thought what he did to me was really an injustice… I felt very injured by him and I was really annoyed for many, many years. But you know what? I made a mistake… And I had my wife begging me to call him, but I went, ‘Nope, he can call me! Why can’t he call? Why should it always be me?’ But you know, that’s so stupid. That kind of pig-headed… I admit it. I was wrong.” 
When Kubrick died in his home in England, McDowell didn’t know how to cope with the news. 
“The family then reached out,” he said. “And I was very glad to go see them. 
“Christiane, his widow, took me to where he’s buried in the back garden basically. And I burst into tears. And I realized, it all came out. The thing that I buried and stuffed inside me. And I realized what an idiot I’ve been… Unfortunately, I can’t change it now, but at least I realized how stupid I was.”

AV Club discusses Ridley Scott discussing Bladerunner's debt(s) to Stanley Kubrick, in specific re: the "eye shine" exhibited by Replicants, and in a major casting decision... but it's all in the WiReD video, above, so you don't really need to click through to learn more.


The winner of the 2017 Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award was... Matt Damon. Now, I've got nothing against Matt Damon. I think he's a pretty good actor and I'm sure he's nice, as far as big time Hollywood actors go. But, well, the award is supposed to be given to individuals “upon whose work is stamped the indelible mark of authorship and commitment, and who has lifted the craft to new heights.” Is Matt Damon really the individual who best represents these qualities in 2017? Oh well... considering the fact that past recipients include Robert Downey Jr., George Clooney, Warren Beatty, Tom Cruise, and Tom Hanks... maybe being a nice, handsome guy with the right political opinions and whose filmic output is occasionally slightly thought-provoking and rarely if ever prurient garbage is all it takes.

This, however, brings up a potential avenue for speculation. If YOU had to nominate someone for a Kubrick-related award, who would it be, and why? Answers in the comments section, please!

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