AN IMAGE - Cannes 66

What a beauty of a poster to kick start what will most likely be another great Cannes Film Festival -the 66th one! Movie buffs will revel in the kiss shared between Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward from 1963's little seen A New Kind Of Love. A beautiful poster that took my breath away the first time I saw it. Director Melvin Shavelson's film might not be a masterpiece but it is remembered for this great kiss between Woodward and Newman. Leave it to the folks over at the Cannes Festival to make art out of advertisement. Now if only I can find a way to get that poster. As for the fest itself, it starts on the 15th of May and ends on the 26th of that month - it was recently announced that Baz Lhurmann's long delayed adaptation of The Great Gatsby will open the fest. The rest of the lineup has not been announced but is eagerly anticipated as it always produces new work from great auteurs.

Kubrick's "The Shining" further explored in new DOC

Stanley Kubrick's films are quite something aren't they? The more you watch them the more you start
noticing new things you hadn't seen at first hand. THAT my friends is what cinema is all about to me. The potential for revelation. The potential to explore the great beyond. Most movies are two and two is four. What are the movies that represent the most ADVANCED math? The far bounds of particle physics? The Einstein or Stephen Hawking notebooks that no one has quite figured out the squiggles of? The skullcrushing Advanced Calculus to the 99th Power? That was a question that was recently asked by a friend of mine on Facebook - to which I had to mention recent fare such as; 

Terrence Malik's The Tree Of Life 
David Lynch's Mulholland Drive 
Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan 
Michael Haneke's Cache 
Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood & The Master
Joel Coen's No Country For Old Men
Alfonso Cuarron's Children Of Men

Let's face it. No brainers right? Films that will be undisputed film school staples for years to come. Just like Stanley Kubrick's films already are. 2001: A Space Oddysey is his visionary masterpiece, a film that cannot fit into the 2+2=4 category. One that needs a closer look to -at least try to- fully understand its vision and impact on your mind. These are the kind of movies I eat up. Films that don't give a fuck and aim for the beyond. Kubrick's The Shining -another masterpiece of his- deserves inclusion into this category. It is a film that doesn't play by any rules of the horror genre and decides to not explain to us the full gist of what's happening on screen. We know it is about a father that completely loses it on his family and tries to murder them but why the sudden murderous rage? Kubrick doesn't answer that question in a linear manner. The hotel at which the family is staying is filled with a haunted past that we -as the audience- need to figure out. 

The images Kubrick conjures are indelibly puzzling but haunting. Too many scenes cannot be fully explained on the spot. Why does the wife walk in on a man in a bear suit giving a blowjob to a hotel clerk? What's the deal with the film's final image in which an eerily ancient painting features Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrence? Who was that creepy woman in room 237? Redrum? The "river of blood"? Those creepy twin girls? "all work and no play". Just so much stuff to dissect. Which brings me to this new documentary called Room 237 which will come out in the next few weeks and has gotten great buzz for its obsessive look at some of The Shining's most puzzling moments and the fans that eat this stuff up for breakfast.
The film does massively play with a sense of space and time - e.g. the blueprint of the Overlook doesn't add up. The doors beside room 237 make no sense (the interior of the apartement covers these doors, so they go nowhere). There is a corridor running behind Ullman's office, yet his office window shows the outside. There are windows on three sides of the Torrance's apartment, yet when Danny is dropped through the bathroom window, that whole side of the hotel is flat. All this leading to a final head-screw image, to twist your head off completely as the film finishes. The film should be looked at more in terms of its feelings and tones (like a David Lynch film) rather than logic. The subtext is about Jack being weak as an abusive alcoholic, Wendy being weak as a mother who ignores it, Danny being a kid who dissociates as a way of dealing with it - and how that dynamic breaks the family apart. Everything on the surface hints at those themes, but without a clear sense of logic.

The film cannot all be taken literally but this new documentary does try to attempt to solve some of the film's nuttiest mysteries. Which brings me back to the movies that represent "advanced math". If The Shining isn't one of those very movies, I don't know what is. I look forward to watching Room 237 but with a little hesitation. Some films don't need to explained but do in fact need to be dissected. Does that make sense? It sure does to me. Cinema is an art form and like all great art there doesn't need to necessarily be one answer. There can be many. Kubrick knows that. That's why The Shining is a full fledged masterpiece.

Roger Deakins.

I Guess I shouldn't really diss Oscar any further BUT I can't help it. Case in point; Roger Deakins. A legendary cinematographer that has NEVER won an Oscar. The below montage will show you some of his best shots and why the boneheads over at the Academy can't their minds straight and finally award this genius the Oscar he deserves. I know, I know .. an Oscar doesn't mean jack but still it's the recognition that counts for me and Deakins has already 10 nominations but zero wins. Absurd. Especially considering he's probably the best cinematographer at the moment in the industry. Blasphemy. I expanded on this idea after having read the FOLLOWING  piece over at Awards Daily. Anyways on with the montage.

Kubrick and Spielberg team up again for "Napoleon"?


Here we go. Now THIS is film news ! People have long known that I have an unequivocal obsessions with Stanley Kubrick's long lost passion project on Napoleon. Hell, the un-filmed screenplay is one of the most popular screenplays downloaded online. It's become the stuff of legend. In the 60's Kubrick was developing a possible film on the life of Napoleon and had already cast Jack Nicholson in the role. The legendary director even said this would be "The greatest movie I've ever made" - which says a lot given that is the same guy that gave us classics such as 2001 A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove. Anyways long story short a film about Napoleon came out before his even began filming and was a complete flop, which had studios scared at the prospect of another one, especially since this one already had a high budget to begin with. The whole project was scrapped and became the stuff of legend. I mean, think about a 3 hour Kubrick epic about one of the most fascinating characters to have ever lived on the face of the earth.

Yesterday's news was a breath of fresh air has it was unveiled that Spielberg will try and tackle Kubrick's screenplay for the small screen as part of a TV Mini Series. This isn't the first time Spielberg tackled a lost Kubrick opus, the other time was in 2001 when he released AI: Artifical Intelligence which was based on an idea Kubrick had developed over three decades. Suffice to say, I believe that film is a masterpiece -some clearly don't- and the thought of Spielberg tackling Kubrick again sounds incredible. Kubrick spent years researching Napolean, going through as many as 18,000 documents and books. The Kubrick family trusts Spielberg and I do too. Of course the contrasting differences between Spielberg and Kubrick are big but hey, is there anyone out there who can mimic Kubrick well enough? Maybe Paul Thomas Anderson. Now that would be something. For now let's just trust Spielberg with this one, his last film -Lincoln- was a very well made historical drama.

Top 50 American films 1980's

1) Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee)
2) Blue Velvet (David Lynch)
3) Platoon (Oliver Stone)
4) Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese)
5) The Fly (David Cronenberg)
6) Brazil (Terry Gilliam)
7) Terms Of Endearment (James L Brooks)
8) Blow Out (Brian DePalma)
9) The Elephant Man (David Lynch)
10) Back To The Future (Robert Zemeckis)

11) Broadcast News (James L Brooks)
12) The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner)
13) Die Hard (John McTiernan)
14) Something Wild (Jonathan Demme)
15) Rain Man (Barry Levinson)
16) The Last Temptation Of Christ (Martin Scorsese)
17) The Shining (Stanley Kubrick)
18) Witness (Peter Weir)
19) Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodovar)
20) Batman (Tim Burton)

21) Prizzi's Honor (John Huston)
22) The King Of Comedy (Martin Scorsese)
23) After Hours (Martin Scorsese)
24) Mississippi Burning (Alan Parker)
25) Mask (Peter Bogdonovich)
26) The Killing Fields (Rolland Joffe)
27) Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Robert Zemeckis)
28) Big (Penny Marshall)
29) Raising Arizona (Joel Coen)
30) Risky Business (Paul Brickman)

31) The Untouchables (Brian DePalma)
32) The Terminator (James Cameron)
33) Hannah And Her Sisters (Woody Allen)
34) The Purple Rose Of Cairo (Woody Allen)
35) Broadway Danny Rose (Woody Allen)
36) Blood Simple (Joel Coen)
37) Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick)
38) The Accidental Tourist (Lawrence Kasdan)
39) Dead Poets Society (Peter Weir)
40) Bad Boys (Rick Rosenthal)

41) Mad Max (George Miller)
42) Scarface (Brian DePalma)
43) Predator (John McTiernan)
44) Fatal Attraction (Adrian Lyne)
45) Atlantic City (Louis Malle)
46) River's Edge (Tim Hunter)
47) Superman 2 (Richard Lester)
48) Crimes And Misdemeanors (Woody Allen)
49) Raiders Of The Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg)
50) The Temple Of Doom (Steven Spielberg)