REVIEW: 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968]

“This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.” The opening chapter of Stanley Kubrick‘s seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey is entitled “The Dawn of Man” and depicts the evolution of apes from animal to wielder of tools—a transition marked by the mysterious appearance of a black monolith standing upright to frame the moon at its tip. We watch this scene as metaphor, seeing this otherworldly structure as a symbol of God or science ushering in a new age of machine and therefore weaponry. It’s simultaneously enlightenment and destruction, technology providing…

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REVIEW: The Killing [1956]

“Just a bad joke without a punch line” After test screenings left audiences confused and frustrated, writer/director Stanley Kubrick and producing partner James B. Harris decided to return to the edit bay and turn The Killing‘s overlapping, repetitious structure into a more linear A-to-B narrative. You can’t blame the former for wanting to do everything possible to make the film a hit since it was his first project with a real budget positioning his career forward (he’d disavowed Fear and Desire as amateurish and sophomore effort Killer’s Kiss proved almost…

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REVIEW: Filmworker [2018]

“I want to work for that man” When studios gave Leon Vitali a hard time about requests made on behalf of Stanley Kubrick, the director would tell him to stand firm and be exacting. Vitali relays a story within Tony Zierra‘s documentary Filmworker of Kubrick faxing these places his demands with Leon’s signature so they would be forced to see him not as a lesser voice, but the voice. If you’ve ever heard tales about the late auteur’s working habits you know why this would be necessary. Anyone taking the…

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REVIEW: Eyes Wide Shut [1999]

“Fidelio” Would you gamble everything for lust? Is thinking about infidelity as egregious an offence as the act itself? After all, faithfulness isn’t merely a construct of the physical world—our trust and respect goes beyond the exterior into the very fibers of our being to make the words “I’d never cheat on you” flow effortlessly and involuntarily from our lips even when thinking about the person we’d commit it with in a heartbeat. But lust clouds our judgment. It makes us do things we wouldn’t normally do. It allows for…

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REVIEW: Elstree 1976 [2016]

“There wasn’t a lot of certainty as to what it would be” Everybody knows Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. When Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas and announced they’d be producing a new Star Wars trilogy and spin-off features, everyone knew those three would be back in the fold. Even guys like Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker were known commodities to consult if not star underneath the costumes they made famous. But what of the other actors—the nameless, sometimes faceless, and almost always uncredited performers who…

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REVIEW: Fear and Desire [1953]

“Rafts always float” I love that legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick began his career with a dud so misguided he was rumored to have tried to destroy every print in existence. In his words it was a “bumbling amateur film exercise” and he’s not wrong. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering he was a twenty-five year old recently quit photographer from Look magazine with two short films under his belt. Unlike Quentin Tarantino‘s My Best Friend’s Birthday, however, Fear and Desire wasn’t some movie made on a whim. Kubrick…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [2016]

“I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then his Brazil after a quick title card shoves us back in time to watch as Laing enters his new concrete behemoth of a housing structure oppressively standing above a vast and still parking lot. Add…

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REVIEW: Réalité [Reality] [2015]

“The insides serve no purpose” This is what it’s like to go insane. Writer/director Quentin Dupieux loves the surreal and absurd, but Réalité [Reality] takes his penchant for humorous oddity to another level. With Philip Glass‘ “Music with Changing Parts” boring a hole into your temple and fluid sequences of characters meeting in real time or via some from of media projection (and sometimes both at once), the filmmaker revels in keeping his audience off balance and unsure. The beauty of it this time, though, is how he provides us…

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REVIEW: A Clockwork Orange [1971]

“No time for the old in-out, love, I’ve just come to read the meter.” It didn’t take long for the theatrical experience to prove essential when watching A Clockwork Orange on the big screen. As Henry Purcell‘s March from “Funeral Music for Queen Mary” plays, the frame is filled with a solid bright orange so massive and enveloping that it pulsates to appear as though it’s spilling past the edges. This goes on for a full thirty seconds before “Warner Bros. A Kinney Company Presents” appears in white and by…

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REVIEW: Warriors of the Discotheque [2012]

“The Now Explosion” Everyone’s aware of Studio 54’s reign as nightclub supreme from 1977-1981: its sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. But what about the 80s? I’m not saying I should know the “It” club of the decade I was born, but it’s interesting that an era of excess, fashion, and eccentricity doesn’t possess a singular, defining establishment. With Warriors of the Discotheque, writer/director Joseph F. Alexandre looks to declare there was such a locale with his documentary about the mind-opening experience had by thousands in the hip, modern, international…

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VIDEO: kogonada’s Wes Anderson // Centered

If you haven’t already subscribed to kogonada‘s fantastic cinema-centric Vimeo channel, this is your chance. The artist has been active since 2012 and has already done a piece about Stanley Kubrick‘s use of one-point perspective, but it’s his dissection of Wes Anderson‘s symmetry entitled Wes Anderson // Centered that had the internets abuzz. Check it out below: Wes Anderson // Centered from kogonada on Vimeo.

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