16 items from 2014
(The Criterion Collection)
Two Gems From The 50s
Two new releases from The Criterion Collection spotlight low-budget filmmaking in the 1950s—American and European—and couldn’t be more stylistically and thematically diverse. And yet, there is a personal stamp on the pictures that is very similar. Both films also tackle social problems with brutal frankness and feature anti-heroes as protagonists.
Riot in Cell Block 11 was produced by longtime Hollywood independent producer Walter Wanger (he was also responsible for two earlier Criterion releases, Stagecoach and Foreign Correspondent) as a hard-hitting, gritty, realistic picture depicting the inequities and maltreatment prisoners receive in American prisons. Wanger had a personal reason to make a film like that. He had barely missed spending some time in one. He’d caught his wife with another man, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014
Price: DVD $19.99
The tale of corruption and greed in the banking business stars Christopher Plummer (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) in his Emmy-winning role as the suave, hypocritical and skilled Roscoe Heyward and Kirk Douglas (Paths of Glory) as the honest, hard-charging and focused Alex Vandervoort, both of whom are vying for the top position in one of the nation’s largest banks. Along they way, they have run-ins with such supporting cast members as Anne Baxter (The Ten Commandments), Robert Loggia (Scarface), Lorne Greene (Earthquake) , Helen Hayes (Airport) and a seductive-as-ever Joan Collins (Sins).
Yes, it’s a very dated piece as far as the banking industry goes, with the storylines including bits on such problems as credit card fraud, embezzlement, inflation, »
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Having finished Lolita, a subversive Hollywood piece even by noirish standards, Stanley Kubrick returned to war. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb‘s scope was more encompassing than the private torture of Paths of Glory, looking forward to the threat of apocalyptic destruction instead of a reflective portrait of immediate world wars. Instead of matching and multiplying the grave tone inherent in his previous work and the source material, Red Alert by Peter George, Kubrick opted for a brand of blacker-than-pitch humor, claiming, “The only way to tell the story was as a black comedy or, better, a nightmare comedy, where the things you laugh at most are really the heart of the paradoxical postures »
- Zach Lewis
“Good-bye, my sweetheart. Hello, Vietnam.” — Johnny Wright
Full Metal Jacket was Stanley Kubrick’s eleventh film (twelfth, if you count Spartacus) and his last to depict war and the military. Kubrick dealt with the military in Fear and Desire, Paths of Glory, and Dr. Strangelove in very different ways. In Full Metal Jacket, he would focus on the institutional and ideological aspects of American marines and their experience in Vietnam.
Full Metal Jacket is based off of the The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford, who also had a screenplay credit along with Kubrick and Michael Herr. Hasford reportedly did not contribute much to the script except for a few lines of dialogue. Herr was chosen as collaborator because Kubrick admired his book Dispatches, which was a New Journalism take on the Vietnam War based off Herr’s »
- Cody Lang
We’ve been on a bit of a Kubrick kick lately, and here’s another tidbit to add to the heap. Dubbed “one-point perspective,” the above video showcases the symmetrical framing — often from a down-the-corridor Pov — in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon, Eyes Wide Shut and Paths of Glory. Set, for dramatic effect, to Clint Mansell’s “Lux Aeterna,” the collage demonstrates the versatility of the shot, as it adopts a humorous stance (Alex DeLarge slurping spaghetti) and a one filled with dread (Jack Torrance, the twins). »
- Sarah Salovaara
Throughout the 1960s-early 1970s, a combination of financial desperation, creative daring, and an adventurous movie-going public had produced a creative detonation in mainstream American movies not seen before or since. Each year of the period seemed to bring at least one mightily ambitious visual experiment by a new contributor to the commercial movie scene, the “look” of that effort being as much a part of its identity as its characters and story. One could pick no better representative of the trend than Stanley Kubrick, for no director of the time so extended the boundaries of mainstream commercial filmmaking, or what it meant to be a mainstream commercial filmmaker.
For the most part, Kubrick’s professional ascent was built on the taking of standard genres – the war story, science fiction tale, sword-and-sandal epic – and twisting them into shapes so singular that each Kubrick outing became an acknowledged one-of-a-kind classic. Paths of Glory »
- Bill Mesce
My first real attempt at understanding the brilliance that was Stanley Kubrick came in my freshman year of college, when I wrote a research paper on 2001: A Space Odyssey for an English class. After all that work, I only received a B and found myself more confused than ever. But there it was – the spark that Stanley Kubrick’s work produces. Kubrick’s best films were experiences; it’s impossible to “half-watch” one of his many masterpieces. And that’s what the movies on this list do. They take you on an odyssey of visual wonder, psychological tremors, and expect you to do as much work as the people involved in the making of the films. Yet, in the end, Kubrick’s films didn’t feel like homework. They felt like vacations to a world where deep thought is a welcome respite.
20. The Thin Red Line (1998)
Directed by Terrence Malick
What makes it Kubrickian? »
- Joshua Gaul
Fifteen years ago today, cinema lost one of its greatest innovators, imaginative storytellers and singular visionaries, when Stanley Kubrick passed away at the age 70. He had just completed what would be his final film, the erotic drama/fantasy "Eyes Wide Shut," and behind him was an untouchable body of work, with movies that changed the shape of the artform. So, how can we best pour one out for the cinematic titan? Alexandre Gasulla has put together a pretty solid 11-minute tribute to the films of Stanley Kubrick and it goes a long way in celebrating Kubrick's distinct and impeccable visual eye, one that broke new ground in the language of filmmaking, creating scenes and sequences that to this day are awe-inspiring. Whether it's the outer reaches of the galaxy in "2001: A Space Odyssey," the interiors of The Overlook Hotel in "The Shining" or the trenches in "Paths Of Glory" he made them his own, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
It’s both perfectly fitting and a darkly wry punchline that the last word in Stanley Kubrick’s last film is “fuck,” utilized in its most literal definition. The word is spoken, in both direct and slightly imploring fashion, by Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman) to her husband Bill (Tom Cruise) at the end of the still slightly underappreciated Eyes Wide Shut. Bill’s nocturnal journey into an unfamiliar world of group sex and general deviancy is one of missed opportunities and denied possibilities; he is surrounded by and beckoned into various couplings, and capitalizes on none of them. This weakness of the modern man is a recurrent theme in Kubrick’s filmography, from Paths of Glory to Eyes Wide Shut, released posthumously in the summer of 1999. Kubrick, who died 15 years ago today, was often categorized as a cold and distant filmmaker, always putting his characters at an emotional remove; this »
- Josh Spiegel
“It’s impossible to tell you what I’m going to do except to say that I expect to make the best movie ever made.” – Stanley Kubrick, Oct. 20, 1971.
There are few unrealized projects in the history of cinema more tantalizingly fascinating than Stanley Kubrick’s planned feature about Napoleon. Even in 1967, at the time of its initial pre-production (the first time around), it seemed like a potentially great idea. But now, looking back with Kubrick’s entire body of work as a reference point, it truly does stand as a project this legendary filmmaker should have been destined to make. Thanks to a mammoth and comprehensive collection of materials fashioned into Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made, edited by Alison Castle and published by Taschen, we can for the first time see how Kubrick prepared for the film and what he had in mind for its ultimate big-screen presentation. »
- Jeremy Carr
“It’s crazy how you can get yourself in a mess sometimes and not even be able to think about it with any sense and yet not be able to think about anything else” – Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick’s voice as a director and writer was so singular, so fitfully honest. Every project seemed so richly influenced by him and the worlds he created. That world often floated somewhere between a cold brutal honesty and some kind of hyper-reality that’s uniquely his own. If you look at Kubrick’s relatively small, but no less inspiring, filmography, there are countless examples of bare examinations of human nature. Nowhere is that more obvious in his look at war and what it does to the human condition, first in the anti-war Paths of Glory, and then more prominently in Dr. Strangelove or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb »
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: May 4, 2014
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95
Kirk Douglas (Paths of Glory) gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter who washes up in dead-end Albuquerque, happens upon the scoop of a lifetime, and will do anything to keep getting the lurid headlines.
Also starring Jan Sterling and Bob Arthur, Wilder’s follow-up to his ominously alluring Sunset Boulevard is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred exposé of the American media’s appetite for sensation that has gotten only more relevant with time.
Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo edition of the movie contains the following features, the bulk of them ported over from »
Two years ago, almost to the day, I posted a piece about the Mondo poster for Ben Wheatley’s Kill List on the day of that film’s opening. The poster was designed by a new up and coming designer named Jay Shaw whom I interviewed for the piece. At the time he’d been designing posters “for a little over a year.” Two years later and a new Wheatley film, A Field in England, opens today (in between Wheatley made another Mpotw favorite, Sightseers) with an official release poster by Jay Shaw for Drafthouse Films.
In the interim, Shaw has become one of the most exciting and sought after movie poster designers in the country. His work is consistently witty, arresting and superbly executed. His uncharacteristically colorful poster for the psychedelic war story A Field in England nods to the lysergic fever dreams of Jodorowsky (and also has an interesting, »
- Adrian Curry
I'm 50/50 on Terry Gilliam and I'd actually expect most film fans are, largely because he's one of our most imaginative filmmakers, making it nearly impossible to like everything he makes. I suspect, however, there's a level of respect we all have for Gilliam that we don't reserve for other filmmakers, which is why we remain interested in whatever he has coming next, no matter how much we loved or hated what came before it. With his next film, The Zero Theorum, arriving in the UK this March (a U.S. release is still pending), Jessica Kiang at The Playlist had a chance to talk to the writer/director about the films that have influenced him and as well as a few he couldn't quite bear and it's an and enlightening enjoyable read. I'm going to suggest you click here to read his thoughts, but here's the list with a couple »
- Brad Brevet
The influence of Robert Altman on film is indisputable and widespread. A true auteur, Altman was fearless, utterly unique and notably humanistic. Brutal, satirical war films are nothing new, from Kubrick’s Paths of Glory and Dr. Strangelove to the more recent Jarhead, but without a doubt the most influential of this genre is Altman’s 1970 film Mash.
A blatant metaphor for the horror of war and Vietnam, Mash is a broad story with multiple characters set during the Korean War. If you could pinpoint the leads, they would be Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland) and Trapper John McIntyre (Elliot Gould), two Army doctors whose lives basically revolve around cruel, sometimes funny pranks they play to survive the sad reality of war. Though the film has no linear plot, there are hookups with pretty nurses, bloody surgeries, and, as the thin thread that holds the scenes together, random and hilarious loudspeaker announcements. »
var brightcovevideoid = '3072699358001'; While accepting the SAG Award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a miniseries or television movie, Behind the Candelabra star Michael Douglas gave an emotional thank you to his father, 97-year-old Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas. In his acceptance speech for the Liberace biopic, Douglas thanked the industry for helping him follow his own path. "I've got a 97-year-old member of SAG back at home, who I know is particularly proud of me for getting this award," he said. "But I want to thank all of you all here tonight for helping me get out »
- Nate Jones
16 items from 2014
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