In the words of Stanley Kubrick himself, it’s easy to make a good film, difficult to make a great one, and it takes a miracle to make a masterpiece. For many, The Shining (1980) sits firmly in that third group, a true masterpiece both of the horror genre and cinema at large.
You can imagine my excitement then, when I heard that my local Cineworld were hosting a limited screening of the remastered director’s cut of the film. Having been thoroughly terrified by The Shining during my first viewing well over 10 years ago, and with the upcoming release of its sequel Doctor Sleep only days away, I relished the chance to recapture the terror of the Overlook Hotel in remastered 4k. Continue reading
In the early 1970s, Stanley Kubrick acquired the rights to the 1969 short story by Brian Aldiss titled ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long.‘ Intellectually obsessed, Kubrick began working on a screenplay to turn Aldiss’ short story into a modern-day Pinocchio, hiring a team of writers to work on a script for over 20 years including the original author, sci-fi author Bob Shaw and eventual screen-story credit Ian Watson.
The film stagnated in development for years. Kubrick felt that a child actor would make David too human and that the CGI capabilities of the day weren’t quite up to scratch. Rather than give up on the project, Kubrick chose to wait for technology to catch-up with the demands of the film. Attempts were even made to create automated, robotic version of David, though efforts were quickly stopped as the robot was described as ‘too creepy’ by the production team. Continue reading
Grease is not a good movie. Grease is not a particularly good musical either. By any ostensible measure of quality Grease is average at best, and that’s being generous. It is poorly structured, poorly plotted, and poorly made… and yet there is something undeniably infectious about it.
Just look at the showstopping “Greased Lightning” to see what I mean. I use the word showstopping because it’s a wonderfully cheesy musical set-piece, akin to Gene Kelly singing in the rain in Singin’ in the Rain. I also use the word showstopping because it literally stops the movie dead in its tracks. There’s no reason for “Greased Lightning” to exist in the context of the movie. The song doesn’t progress the plot in any meaningful way and we don’t learn anything new about the characters either. Continue reading
Critical praise rained on the Coen brothers in 2008 for their work in No Country for Old Men. From creating an unforgettable antagonist to redefining a genre, No Country for Old Men left its impression on audiences and critics alike. But I think one of the biggest impression the film left can also be considered a huge gamble. Many passable movies today have the tendency to spoon-feed exposition through either uninspired dialog (Star Wars: Episode I) or plot devices (action scenes in the Transformers series).
No Country for Old Men takes the gamble of being a smart movie. Not smart in the sense that you need an impressive IQ or understand quantum physics to appreciate the movie. But smart in the sense that the movie is layered and meaning is found through attention to detail. The Coen brothers find success with No Country for Old Men by whole heartily trusting the audience. Continue reading
Giant alien-robots, laser beams, sci-fi, oh my! The Iron Giant has everything to capture the imaginations of young space fanatic viewers. But the movie also touches on darker themes older viewers will catch and appreciate. Themes of war time tension, nuclear weapons and death are sprinkled throughout the movie. These darker commentries separates The Iron Giant to more than just an animated feature for the kiddies.
The Iron Giant is directed by Brad Bird, the writer behind Ratatouille (2007) and Up (2009) and was released in 1999. Most recently, Brad Bird is known for his work on the animated Incredibles 2. The movie features the voices of Eli Marienthal as the young Hogarth Hughes, Jennifer Aniston voicing Annie Hughes and Vin Diesel as the titular Iron Giant. Continue reading