Sunday, December 25, 2016

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY TO KIRK DOUGLAS!

The Hollywood legend who helped make Paths of Glory such an incredible, unforgettable anti-war statement (and, to be fair, probably helped to make Spartacus not quite as awesome as it could have been) has achieved a milestone that few of us can ever hope to reach... 100 years on this stupid wet rock hurtling through the frozen blackness of space!

And yes, I know, going as far back as his autobiography, he's made a habit of occasionally spouting off some ignorant, bitter baloney about the object of this blog's obsessive affection. And yet still, it is with great pleasure--and a momentary setting aside of that whole Natalie Wood thing--that we here at Kubrick U wish a hearty Mazel Tov to the ragman's son! L'chaim, you handsome sunofabitch!


KUBRICK NEWS IN BRIEF - DEC 26, 2016

H. Perry Horton's Film School Rejects article, I Am a Camera: The Photos of Stanley Kubrick in the Films of Stanley Kubrick, pretty much serves only as an introduction to Candice Drouet's short but fascinating video, entitled "Kubrick: Photos and Films", in which she juxtaposes old photographs from Kubrick's LOOK Magazine days with scenes from his films, and which you can watch here and now...


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Kubrick fans might do well to keep an eye out for Connor Provenzano's upcoming documentary, Focused Life, in which he examines the yogic concept of kundalini as it pertains to the fine art of paying attention, something which has become vitally important in recent years, thanks to the unchecked evolution and spread of psycho/cybernetic mechanisms of control, both online and off, in recent years. In an interview with SLUG Magazine, Provenzano, when asked about his major film influences, replied: "Stanley Kubrick is one that has a big influence on a lot of filmmakers, but he’s also had a huge influence on me. The risks that he was taking with his stylistic elements were really beautiful and intense. What I realized later was that a lot of filmmakers who were influenced by Kubrick were those that I was naturally drawn to. It’s almost like there’s this lineage of influence that I feel like I’m a part of." I'll know I'll be keeping my eyes peeled!

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Did you know that the Minnesota Opera Company put on a musical stage production of The Shining this year, composed by Paul Moravec with libretto by Mark Campbell, and that it got really good reviews? You used to be able to hear the whole thing online for free, but unfortunately that was a time-sensitive offer that has already run out. At this link, however, you will find a photo-filled, scene-by-scene breakdown of the entire opera. As soon as the audio becomes available again, I will be posting it here.

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Vivian Kubrick made a surprise appearance at a screening of The Shining organized by the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina last month, alongside two of the people responsible for helping Kubrick achieve the now iconic "look" of the film, Steadicam originator Garrett Brown and camera wizard (and Wilmington native) Joe Dunton. As part of her appearance, Vivian showed 10 minutes of previously never seen footage from the shooting of her BBC documentary "The Making of The Shining", in which she gives a tour of part of the film's set to visiting Japanese businessmen. Again, should that footage ever appear online, you can be sure that I will be linking to it here at Kubrick U!

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Is that a monolith on your planet? Or are you just happy to see me? The indefatigable conspiracy and alien-hunter "Tyler", of SecureTeam10, claims to have discovered a massive, miles-high "monolith" on the surface of the planet Murcury. Follow the link to read more, and to see a 20 minute video detailing why this anomaly isn't a "doorway", as first thought by those who stumbled across it, but indeed, is a monolith, as made famous in Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey. We report, YOU decide!

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Noted Kubrick fan Bilge Ebiri over at VULTURE (and it's nice to see that he's still doing these think pieces despite having scored a new gig as lead film critic for The Village Voice) asks a question with particular relevance to the object of our obsessive affections: What Happens When Filmmakers Raid Dead Directors' Unmade Projects? The impetus for asking this question is True Detective helmer Carey Fukunaga taking up Kubrick's unmade passion project Napoleon as a multi-episode series for HBO, but Ebiri clues the reader in to a number of other interesting projects, both past and future. Well worth the read.

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After Moonwalkers and Operation Avalanche -- never mind Room 237, Dark Side of the Moon, and a host of "documentaries" by Youtube auteurs -- does the world need yet another movie exploring the idiot notion that we never went to the moon and that Stanley Kubrick secretly filmed the hoaxed footage on a soundstage in London? I guess we're about to find out.

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Britney Spears' new video, "Slumber Party", features sequences at a party that Britney, herself, asked the director to make "like a younger version of Eyes Wide Shut". Forgive me for sharing it here with you all, but hey, it falls under my "collecting Kubrick related ephemera" mandate...


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I have yet to read Kubrick's erstwhile manservant Emilio D'Allesandro's memoir, Stanley and Me: Thirty Years by His Side, but this Los Angeles Review of Books critique by Zack Sigel really makes me want to, even though it manages to tease out a far less than flattering image of Kubrick from D'Allesandro's fawning tribute. After a perhaps somewhat overly psychoanalytic parsing of D'Allesadro's account, Sigel does manage to point out an anecdote that managed to draw a smile through the fog of cynicism:
In Rome, D’Alessandro visits a museum exhibition of Kubrick’s personal effects and finds that every item signifies a fleeting moment shared with the late master: handwriting he had recopied, a string he had tied to Kubrick’s Eyemo camera. It’s as much Stanley’s gallery as Emilio’s. He can’t resist reaching out to grasp the past, his past, these artifacts from a distant age. A museum attendant stops him. “Come on,” he tells the attendant. “I must have already touched it millions of times! If you had any idea how much cat’s pee I’ve cleaned away from under there, you wouldn’t stand so close!”

WHAT MAKES THE SHINING SO DAMN CREEPY?

The video series "Lessons from the Screenplay" examine what makes Kubrick and co-writer Diane Johnson's version of Stephen King's The Shining so damn creepy, paying special attention to the writing process.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

HMMMMMMM...

As they say in France, "les gouts ne se discutent pas" (which is a polite way of saying there's no accounting for people's taste), but this "mixed universe" painting by Clinton Neuhaus that combines tropes from Kubrick's The Shining with Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist is kind of incredible, and probably not in the ways that the artist intended. But hey... you can be the judge of that. Here it is, in all its ghastly glory.




FAREWELL TO SUSPECT VIDEO AND CULTURE

For a quarter century, the city of Toronto's finest film school was not located in any of its many institutes of higher learning, but in a couple of gloriously grimy video rental shops called Suspect Video and Culture.

Sadly, a massive blaze destroyed their Queen Street location in 2008, and now the greed of real estate developers has doomed the flagship store on the southwest edge of the Honest Ed's building at Bloor and Bathurst.

Suspect's proprietor and resident cinema guru Luis Ceriz, who also spearheads the annual Horror-Rama convention in Toronto, is a close personal friend, and I can attest to his bona fides as one of the most ardent and vocal Kubrick fans to be found anywhere on God's green Earth.

It is with a mix of pride and sorrow that I share with you now Stuart F. Andrews' recent two part documentary about/tribute to this beloved institution.

Here is Part One:


And here is Part Two:

OPERATION AVALANCHE / PROCESS AND REVIEWS



From The Creators Project: "We go behind the scenes of Operation Avalanche, a faux-documentary narrative following CIA agents tasked with faking the moon landing. As part of the research and creating a believable fake, the agents visit the set of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, blurring all boundaries between film and reality. By framing their film as a period documentary, these filmmakers created a unique challenge for themselves: How to have their characters interact with the real Kubrick in archival footage? Here, we see how director Matt Johnson and his team were able re-create this meta world from archival stills with amazing ingenuity and creativity, virtual space, 3D projections, and green screens."

I haven't seen it yet, but can't wait to. In the meantime, here's a good review, and here's an even better one, and here's one from the New York Times, in case you're interested.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF JAMES B. HARRIS IN KUBRICK'S CAREER

A lovely little short documentary covering the oft overlooked contribution of Kubrick's childhood neighborhood buddy, James B. Harris, who bet the bank on his buddy's vision, and went on to forge his own path in cinematic history. This makes me want to see The Bedford Incident and scan it for potential Kubrick contributions!


Monday, November 14, 2016

KUBRICK NEWS IN BRIEF ~ NOV 15, 2016




Can a one minute video montage provide sufficient evidence to convince you that Steven Spielberg was purposefully copying Stanley Kubrick's style when he devised the visual style palette for the misunderstood and underappreciated A.I.? The self-declared film geeks at Slash Film, AV Club and Nerdist seem to differ on the subject, though they all saw fit to feature Candice Drouet's video n their sites (just as I am doing now). As for myself, I figure if there's ever a time when it's okay to swipe a few Kubrick motifs, it's when you're finishing one of the man's long-gestating passion projects. 

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In this hilarious mini-memoir for the Financial Review, legendary spy novelist John Le Carre regales readers with an abbreviated version of his myriad Hollywood adventures, including a number of run-ins with this blog's raison d'etre. Here is one particularly amusing interaction...
My first intimation of Stanley Kubrick's interest in adapting my novel A Perfect Spy for the big screen came when he called me up, wanting to know why I had turned down his offer for the movie rights. I had turned down Stanley Kubrick? I was amazed and horrified. We knew each other, for Heaven's sake! Not well, but enough. 
Why hadn't he called me to tell me he was interested? And most extraordinary of all: what did my film agent think he was up to, not telling me he had an offer from Kubrick, then signing up the book with BBC television? Stanley, I said, I'm going to check this out at once and I'm going to get right back to you. D'you happen to know when you made this offer? As soon as I'd read the book, of course, David: why would I hang around? 
My agent was as mystified as I was. There'd only been one film offer for A Perfect Spy apart from the BBC; but it was so trifling he hadn't thought to bother me with it. A Dr Feldman, I think his name was, of Geneva wished to acquire an option on the movie rights to my novel as a teaching tool for a course on book-into-film. It was a competition thing. The student who came up with the best screenplay would have the pleasure of seeing a minute or two of his work realized on the big screen. For the two-year option on the movie rights of A Perfect Spy, Dr Feldman and his colleagues were prepared to offer a five-thousand-dollar honorarium. 
I was on the brink of calling Kubrick to assure him that his own offer had never reached me, but something held me back, so I called instead a big wheel in the studio Kubrick sometimes worked with: my friend John Calley. Calley gave a happy chuckle. Well, that sure as hell sounds like our Stanley all right. Always afraid his name is going to bump up the asking price.
I have to say, if that story didn't put a smile on your face, then you probably aren't much of a Kubrick fan!

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Did you folks know that, according to Jerry Lewis, he was the first person to offer up the now common witticism about it being impossible to polish a turd? That's according to Slate's history of the idiom, which includes Lewis' account, in which our man Stanley plays an important supporting role:
I was in my cutting room around 1 in the morning, and [Kubrick] strolls in smoking a cigarette and says, “Can I watch?” I said: “Yeah, you can watch. You wanna see a Jew go down? Stand there.” That was the night I coined the expression, “You cannot polish a turd.” And then Kubrick looked at me and said, “You can if you freeze it.”
Whether this actually happened or not, it certainly has the ring of truth!

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Check out this article from the Los Angeles Times digital archives, dated April 17, 1959. It is described thusly:
Even be­fore its re­lease, the 1960 film epic “Sparta­cus” was dogged by ru­mors of ten­sion on the set, with star-pro­du­cer Kirk Douglas but­ting heads with MGM, and a young Stan­ley Kubrick re­pla­cing dir­ect­or An­thony Mann after a week of shoot­ing. On April 17, 1959, the Los Angeles Times’ Phil­lip K. Sch­euer re­por­ted after a vis­it to the set that the “only fight­ing goes on be­fore cam­er­as,” and that Kubrick is “reas­on­ably in con­trol of a situ­ation still po­ten­tially ex­plos­ive.”
Much more at the link.

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When Hip Hop impressario Jay Z needed to pimp out the new West Hollywood digs for his Three Six Zero management company, he chose Optimist Design for the job. And when Optimist Design's chief architect Tino Schaedler needed a jolt of design inspiration, he turned to Stanley Kubrick. As partially explained in this Wallpaper.com article:
The brief seemed simple enough: a space that balanced sophistication with star appeal, the latter particularly important given that Three Six Zero represents some of America’s biggest music, film, television and literary celebrities. Think Calvin Harris, Travis Scott, Brett Easton Ellis, Deadmau5 and Frank Ocean. ‘My background is in film,’ Schaedler says, referencing his stage design and production work at the Grammys for Daft Punk, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, as well as set design on Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Harry Potter films. ‘So I have always thought of space as a sequential experience. It’s important for us to consider how the space unfolds as you walk through it. On this project, Stanley Kubrick and his use of one-point perspective for the strong visual and emotional impact in The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey was an inspiration.’
 
The Kubrickian influence is distinctive, particularly in the way the individual rooms and spaces, each designed almost like a set piece, have a symmetry and spatial depth. The conceit is a dramatic one and the tone is set the moment you step into the lobby – an austere volume lined on each side with a floating leather-clad bench, and dominated by a solid monolith of a reception desk with a black satin finish. Overhead hangs a flat chandelier in the form of a diamond-shaped trellis, a motif repeated in the open-plan office space and in the artists’ lounge.
I know it's probably Jay Z's intention to keep those Illuminati suspicions burning for as long as humanly possible, and building himself his very own James Bond villain lair is probably a great way to maintain that narrative. Mazel-Tov!

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And speaking of the Illuminati, here's Vulture's rundown of the 70 Greatest Conspiracy Theories in Pop Culture History! From "Paul is dead!" to "Stevie Wonder isn't blind!" with a lot of Illuminati in between. This is no mere bullshit "listicle", friends... author Adam K. Raymond didn't just churn out this project like some desperate SEO-blinded blog-hack might, looking to pay for next month's ration of Soylent while expending the least possible effort and giving the least possible fucks. This is some substantial reading material. Unfortunately, if you're not big into the parapolitical side of the entertainment industry, you've got to wade through an awful lot of dubious claims about even more dubious "talents" before reaching the bit about how - you guessed it - Stanley Kubrick secretly shot the moon landing, and confessed to doing so "in code" in his film version of the Stephen King novel The Shining. Here is that section in its entirety.
Stanley Kubrick directed the moon landing for NASA. 
To believe this is true one must first believe a much larger conspiracy theory: That the moon landing was faked. Let’s take that at face value for a moment and dive into a sub-conspiracy that suggests Kubrick was hired to direct the footage used to trick the world into believing a man walked on the moon. Theorists say 2001: A Space Odyssey provided a model for NASA, which is why Kubrick was brought in by the space agency. 
But it’s another movie that makes the strongest case for this whole story being true. The Shining is rife with clues that Kubrick did indeed direct the moon landings, according to theory’s chief proponent, Jay Weidner. He says Jack Torrance represented Kubrick himself. His deal with the manager of the Overlook Hotel, which represented America (red, white, and blue; built on an Indian burial ground), references Kubrick’s own deal with the U.S. government to help fake the moon landing. The snowstorm that traps the Torrance family in the Overlook is the Cold War, and the bears throughout the hotel symbols of Russia. 
The scene that this theory relies on most heavily is the one that sees Danny Torrance rise from the hotel carpet, which looks like a NASA launchpad, wearing an Apollo 11 sweater. He approaches a room, No. 237, that represents the moon. We know this because the moon is 237,000 miles from the earth, theorists say (it’s actually 238,000 miles away, on average). Kubrick went out of his way to make this reference by changing the room number from 217, its number in Stephen King’s novel. Another noteworthy change is making the daughters of the hotel’s previous caretaker twins. It was only one child in the book, changed in the film to represent Gemini, the NASA mission that preceded Apollo. 
This theory was given new life in late 2015 when a video surfaced with what was claimed to be footage of Kubrick admitting his role in the faked moon landings. The video was fake.
The rest of this article contains plenty more entertaining idiocy of this nature, and even a couple that managed to give me a bit of a chill down the old spine. Your mileage may vary, but I still recommend giving it at least a quick look-over. Enjoy!

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Golly gee! Does this new commercial for Xiaomi's Mi Mix "edgeless" smartphone seem kind of familiar to you? I mean, give it a look, and maybe you can tell me!


Mmm... nope. I'm just not getting it, myself. Thank GOD there's the good people at Mashable, who appear to be willing to explain it all to my dumb, befuddled cracker mind. Thanks, guys! 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

KUBRICK NEWS IN BRIEF ~ NOV 6, 2016


A blurb from Kubrick (as well as one from Martin Scorsese) appears near the start of this absolutely stunning trailer for the digitally remastered version of Abel Gance's silent masterpiece, Napoleon. Now, I realize that Kubrick also famously declared the film to be "really terrible" and "a crude motion picture" as far as story goes, but I suspect that might have had more to do with his own pet obsession, still a distinct possibility at the time of his being quoted, of bringing the Great Corsican's life to the screen. I can't imagine any fan of cinema finding the above trailer anything less than astonishingly good. That bit when "La Marseillaise" begins to play... shivers.

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If a review of Kubrick's version of The Shining begins: "Everyone remembers their first Stephen King experience. Mine was hunkering down in a corner of the basement of an empty house, feverishly turning the pages of The Shining", you can be pretty sure that review is going to have a title not unlike "The Shining Has Lost Its Shine - Kubrick Was Slumming in a Genre He Despised". And you can also pretty much guarantee it's going to be utter shit, just like this Guardian retro review by Anne Billson.

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Our next offering is entitled 2001: A Hate Odyssey, but don't worry; unlike the previous entry, above, this one doesn't feature the blinkered opinions of a cinematic philistine cracking her swinish teeth upon the pearls cast before her (Anne Billson can fuck right off). Instead, this essay by author and computational biologist John C. Wathey - written in early September of this year - mixes up a heady cocktail of social observation, historical analysis, religious criticism, and cinematic appreciation. It begins:
On this fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we remember the innocents murdered that day, the courage of police and firefighters, the deliberately shocking brutality of the act, and the wounded lives left in its wake. Osama bin Laden is dead, but Islamist terrorism lives on, the Middle East has descended into seemingly unending war and chaos, and a toxic mix of religion and tribalism fans the flames. We feel the heat even in America, where religious and racial xenophobia fuel the candidacy of an authoritarian demagogue. 
We have plenty to mourn, but this eulogy is for something else that died on 9/11. It may seem trivial at first, especially against the backdrop of the lives lost on that day, but this is a different kind of loss. It was an alternate version of the year 2001, and a piece of our American spirit, of our genius and hope, died with it on 9/11. For me it lives on in a memory of another fifteenth anniversary. 
I was fifteen years old when I first saw Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968... 
I realize it's a lot to ask from some of you to read something that was published in The Huffington Post, but why not go ahead and make an exception this one time? It's a really good essay!

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The Cinematheque series entitled This is Going to Hurt - A Cinema of Cruelty has come and gone already, closing its doors at the end of September, but the commercial they put together for it is so beautiful, and features images from so many of my favorite movies - both Kubrick and non - that I wanted to share it here with all of y'all. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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In an OuterPlaces.com article covering a recent Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session by special effects legend Colin Cantwell, the following response is quoted:
I had great relationships with everyone. But Stanley kubrick and I became friends. I used to go to his house at midnight and discuss events related to the film over turkey sandwiches. This evolved into a discussion after he had fired his fourth composer. At that time I suggested that he use many of the pieces of music that became part of the movie 2001 Space Odyssey. This includes the now well known theme song.
Is Cantwell really taking credit for Kubrick's decision to abandon Alex North's completed score and go with the temporary tracks instead? If he really is the one who came up with this idea, this is the first I've heard of it.

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Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala's new video is visually stunning, thanks to an assist from our man Stan in the form of tons of footage from his most iconic film. Watch it here and see for yourself how it all works out.


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And finally for this update, this Kubrick mini-biography for the Daily Star Weekend website is pretty skimpy and slapdash, but it does have one thing to recommend it... this nifty sketch of our man Stan by artist Yafiz Siddiqui. It was new to me, and I'll wager it was new to you, too!

JON RONSON'S DOCUMENTARY "KUBRICK'S BOXES" (2008)


Thanks to the fine folks at IndieWire for bringing to our attention the fact that Jon Ronson's 49 minute documentary Stanley Kubrick's Boxes, which first aired in 2008, has finally found its way online. And in glorious Vimeo quality, no less! I've been waiting a while to see it, myself. Watch along with me, why don't you?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

KUBRICK BOOKS, THEN AND NOW


I can remember that, as a Kubrick fan in the late 80's and early 90's, there wasn't much material available to quench my curiosity about the man and his work. Sure, a trip to the library would yield the occasional classic, like 1973's Stanley Kubrick Directs, by Alexander Walker, or Michel Ciment's 1983 landmark tome, Kubrick, both since updated and re-released in handsome editions available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca, depending... and if you find and buy them via the links I just provided, I get a couple shekels tossed into my beggin' cup! So please, be nice. 

Then came the late 90's, when media obsessions over the rumor-riddled shooting of Eyes Wide Shut and the on again, off again possibility of another science fiction epic from Kubrick in the form of A.I. led to the publication of a pair of decent, workmanlike biographies by John Baxter and Vincent Lobrutto (my personal favorite of the two). Then Stanley died, Eyes Wide Shut and A.I. came out, and things were quiet for a while on the book front.

And suddenly, a couple years ago, a new Kubrick publishing boom began. I'm not sure what sparked it - maybe the traveling memorabilia exhibit being such a hit? maybe a critical mass of Kubrick fans finally started earning some serious money and didn't mind plunking down 100$ for a quality book? - but whatever the reason, it happened. There are a TON of quality Kubrick-related books out there these days. Books of all sorts, from serious-minded scholarly tomes, to giant, super-impressive coffee table books meant to impress your friends and neighbors. 

Hopefully, yours truly will get to review some of these books in the coming months, but for today, I would just like to refer you to this Digital Bits column by Bill Hunt in which he provides in-depth reviews and analysis for three of the most recent (and most gorgeous) books about 2001: A Space Odyssey from the last couple years. 

The books reviewed in this column include Adam K. Johnson’s 2001: The Lost Science – The Frederick I. Ordway III Collection, which was published in 2012 by Apogee, Reel Art Press’s The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film from 2015, written by the noted film historian Sir Christopher Frayling, and finally, Taschen’s The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, also published in 2015. 

That last one, which is pictured above, and which I recently purchased - and will soon review - is essentially a mass market version of the massive, super-elite Limited Edition version that was released by Taschen a year earlier, retailing for over 1,200$... which STILL doesn't make it the most expensive Kubrick book on the market! That honor goes to the Limited Edition version of Taschen's Napoleon: The Greatest Film Never Made, which retails for 3,000$. Or, at least, it did, before Taschen sold out.

Anyway, by the time you're done reading Bill's column, you will have to agree with him that there's never been a better time to be a fan of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

ENJOY THE "REDRUM" COCKTAIL THIS HALLOWEEN!

As Johnathan Barkan reports at Bloody Disgusting, the fine mixologists behind the Youtube channel Distinguished Spirits have come up with a cocktail that was "directly inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 Stephen King book-to-film adaptation of The Shining." They have decided to call their drink the "Redrum", and it's literally a rum-based drink with a rich, red coloring. Kind of on the nose, but whatever. Seems like it would be pretty tasty.  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

KUBRICK NEWS IN BRIEF ~ OCT 28, 2016


Julienne Davis, the actress who played doomed model and cult ritual participant Mandy Curran in Eyes Wide Shut, has penned an interesting essay about the perils and pitfalls of instant infamy for Heat Street. It begins:
At the height of my so-called “fame” I remember a conversation I had at a party I had with one of London’s top paparazzi photographers. He and others had taken many pictures of me which had featured in leading British publications and whatever foreign publication they could tout pictures to increase their cash flow via syndication.I said to him, “Thank you for not following me to my flat or camping outside my door – that scenario must be awful for some celebs.” His response? “Well you haven’t done anything bad yet…”
It's an interesting, somewhat eye-opening read, blessedly free of pathetic confessional or pity mongering emotional manipulation. Davis roped a whirlwind and enjoyed the ride. Bravo!

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To be honest, I have no idea who Kieran Leonard is, but this "neo-folk" musician apparently had a weird-ass couple of months writing, recording and producing his latest album... a couple of months that included him spending some time with Kubrick's grandson, Jack Hobbs, laying down some tracks with him at the Kubrick estate, Childwickbury Manor. So I guess he merits a mention here.

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Contemporary artists who claim Kubrick as an influence pretty much only seem to be interested in 2001, Clockwork Orange, and The Shining (and to a lesser extent Dr. Strangelove), so it's great to see Albuquerque artist Christian Michael Gallegos' recent canvas, which was inspired by Kubrick's early short documentary film, Day of the Fight.


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On the science fiction blog io9, these images by artist Orlando Arocena are meant to show what the posters for the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One flick might look like "if the movie was directed by Stanley Kubrick." I disagree. To me, these images show what the posters for that movie would look like if they were created by frequent Kubrick collaborator Philip Castle. Nothing more, nothing less. If Kubrick had directed them, they would NOT have been parodies of Full Metal Jacket's poster. I mean, come on. These are pretty sweet, though.

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One of the great things about putting together this blog is the fact that, every once in a while, despite having read every book and article in existence on the topic, I still manage to learn something new about my favorite director. Things like the fact that Gerald Fried - Kubrick's Bronx high school classmate, and the talented composer who created terse, modernist scores for Day of the Fight, Fear and Desire, Killer's Kiss, The Killing, and Paths of Glory - may have earned his way into Kubrick's early collaborative circle by securing a spot for him on a local baseball team for which Fried played (that this team was called the Barracudas only adds to my delight). The rest of this wonderful interview with Fried, who is still kicking and making music at 88, is also worth reading.

Friday, October 14, 2016

FLURRY OF BARRY LYNDON NEWS COINCIDES WITH THEATRICAL RE-RELEASE


This past summer, BFI re-released Kubrick's 1975 picaresque period drama Barry Lyndon, and it did pretty solid business, perhaps thanks in part to the gorgeous new trailer they cut for it, which you can see above. Apologies for not getting around to posting this information a couple months ago, when people in the UK could have used it, but to be honest, when it comes to re-assessing Barry Lyndon, my fellow Kubrophiles and I are already way ahead of the likes of The Guardian's John Patterson, who penned a think piece imaginatively titled "It's Time to Re-Assess Stanley Kubrick's Coffee Table Movie, Barry Lyndon".

For some juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of Barry Lyndon, look no further than this wonderful Independent UK interview with Marisa Berenson, the former star model who played the role of tragic, storm-tossed Lady Lyndon with a beautiful combination of icy self-possession and occasional anxious, gender-based situational helplessness. There are a few great anecdotes, including a couple that are new to me.

The Guardian's Ryan Gilbey has written a pretty thorough, eminently readable overview/review of the making of the movie, which wasn't exactly a cake-walk, despite everyne involved continuing to be very proud to have played important parts in the making of this masterpiece.

Here's yet another wonderful interview with Marisa Berenson, this time, once again, from The Guardian, in which she talks about her role as Lady Capulet in Kenneth Branagh's Romeo and Juliet, sometimes wanitng to "break free" from the legacy of Barry Lyndon, losing her sister in the terrorist attack of 9/11 (she was on one of the planes that slammed into the Twin Towers) and her views on the afterlife. All that, plus a photograph that will make you wish she'd just allowed herself to age naturally and eschewed the plastic surgeons.

And, finally on the Barry Lyndon tip for today, here is a reproduction of the long and magnificently detailed personal letter sent by Stanley Kubrick to all the projectionists who would be screening Barry Lyndon for the masses back in 1975. Imagine how it would have felt, back in the day, to be a projectionist and find ths letter for you among the film canisters! Oh, and unlike the infamous letter Kubrick sent to MGM producers when they were considering filming the sequel to 2001 - the one in which he threatens to sodomize them with Moonwatcher's murder-bone - this one is real!



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HEY GUYS! If you enjoy the content I create and share with you here via the Daily Dirt Diaspora family of blogs - currently including the Daily Dirt Diaspora, the Useless Eater Blog, and Kubrick U - and you buy stuff through AMAZON.COM or (if you're in Canada, obviously) AMAZON.CA... would you mind occasionally entering those two sites via the links that I am providing here? Because when you do, I get a very small kickback, at ZERO COST to you! It's a great way to help keep yer old pal Jerky creating content! Because, man, let me tell you, the last time anyone tossed anything into my tip jar, I think we were all worrying about a potential Mitt Romney administration. Ah... happier days, eh? So come on, man! Use my Amazon portals, and keep me from having to set up a freaking Patreon account, like all the Worst People in the World are doing these days!

Monday, September 12, 2016

KUBRICK NEWS IN BRIEF ~ SEPTEMBER 12

First things first, let's all watch Eureka! Entertainment's gorgeous new trailer for their Blu-Ray release of Kubrick's unmitigated masterpiece, Paths of Glory,  as part of their Masters of Cinema collection. This new release also includes an audio commentary from film scholar Adrian Martin and video interviews with Kubrick scholar Peter Kramer and filmmaker/comic actor Richard Ayoade for some reason (I mean, I love the guy's work, but what the Hell does he have to do with Paths of Glory?). This edition will be available in stores on September 19... a great excuse to see it again, of for the first time ever.


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Well now, this MoviePilot.com list of 10 Villainous Quotes From Stanley Kubrick Movies You Need for Everyday Life certainly is an article on the Internet.

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There's been some pretty intense buzz and hype surrounding the upcoming release of the intellectually ambitious science fiction film Arrival recently, including a lot of insinuation that our man Stanley would definitely have approved of its relatively low-key tone (explosions, if they occur, will not be the film's raison d'etre) and apparent university-level exploration of the potential outer limits of xenolinguistic possibilities. The trailer certainly seems promising, and this article on FilmSchoolRejects.com definitely makes me want to see it. I just hope this doesn't turn out to be another Interstellar or Midnight Special, which were also touted as heirs to the Kubrickean mantle of "serious sci-fi", because if it does... aw, who am I kidding. I'll just wait around for the next pile of cinematic disappointment, I suppose. Good luck, folks!


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Here's a Salt Lake City public radio documentary about Anthony Burgess, his novella A Clockwork Orange, and what Burgess really thought about Kubrick's film version of his work. If you've got 50 minutes to spare, you could definitely do a lot worse. And if you're a high-school student looking for something to rip off for your next English class essay, look no further! Lots of great, stealable insights for you here. Caveat Emptor! Don't do this if you're a first year University student, because you might get expelled for academic fraud! This, friends, is pretty much the only substantive difference between your senior year of high-school and your freshman year in college: accountability.

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In keeping with the "academic" and "Clockwork" themes set up by our previous entry, here's an essay from BirthDeathMovies.com that explores the thorny issue of "maternal unconcern" in Kubrick's Clockwork Orange. Author Mustafa Yasar II's entry in the website's week-long series of essays about Bad Moms is short, punchy, and is a pretty darn convincing take on a largely unexplored aspect of the Kubrick/Burgess classic. Recommended!

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Did you ever here the story about that one time Stanley Kubrick liked Albert Brooks' painfully funny dramedy Modern Romance so much that he called him up out of the blue in order to offer up his compliments? Actually, come to think of it, my description pretty much sums up the entirety of the ridiculous little article linked above. So why not instead read this Esquire interview with Brooks, in which he explains how Stanley Kubrick, in his words, saved his life?

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A band called Biffy Clyro have released a music video for their new song, called "Howl". This DIY Mag article claims that it aims to be "Stanley Kubrick meets David Lynch", and while there are obvious echoes of The Shining, I personally find the music mediocre and feel that the references are more Kubrick-via-American Horror Story than anything, but why not judge for yourself? Here it is.


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Winning this edition of KNIB's "Worst Kubrick Article EVER" Award is this Metro.co.UK listicle which lays out "Nine Things That Wouldn't Exist Without Stanley Kubrick", and ends up including heart-shaped sunglasses (huh?), Heath Ledger's Joker (wha?!), Christopher Nolan's Interstellar (groan...), and a goddamn fucking 30 SECONDS TO MARS video (?!?!?!?). I shit you not, my friends; the fine folks at Metro.co.UK shiver at the possibility of living in a world bereft of Jared Leto's band's Shining-inspired video for their song "The Kill (Bury Me)", even bringing up the possibility that "Jared’s pretty cut up he’ll never be able to work with cinema’s big daddy Kubrick himself." God help us all.

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For the first time ever, this edition of KNIB's "Most Inconsequential Kubrick Article EVER" Award has ended in a tie between this Independent IE article about how "celebrity gardener" Diarmuid Gavin has been selected to design a northern English "Royal Gardens" site in "a Stanley Kubrick Theme", and this Vogue article urging readers to "Revamp Your Summer Look With 15 Sunglasses Inspired By Iconic Kubrick Films"! Eyeglasses Wide Shut, anyone?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

MYTHBUSTER ADAM SAVAGE: STANLEY KUBRICK SUPERFAN!


It's long been obvious that lovable Mythbusters ginger Adam Savage is a huge Kubrick fanatic. I mean, just check out the loving craftsmanship and exacting - dare we call it Kubrickean? - level of detail that went into his creation of a replica version of The Shining's legendary Hedge Maze... a project Savage took it upon himself to complete, simply because he didn't think the Maze that was part of the touring Kubrick Exhibition was up to snuff!


And when he completed his amazing colossal project, what did he do with it? He donated it to the touring Kubrick Exhibition! Now THAT is some serious fandom, folks. Check out this video for more information about Adam's process, and about that amazing Maze!


So what do you do after you've gone out of your way to make a contribution that improves one of the most widely-praised and well-attended traveling public exhibits ever dedicated to the work and life of a single cinematic auteur? Well, obviously, you make your umpteenth visit to said exhibit, of course! And this time, you bring a couple friends and a video camera with you, so you can document the event for posterity's sake. 


We here at Kubrick U would like to salute Adam Savage, Kubrick Superfan SUPREME! If we had the budget to hand out statuettes for this honor, Adam, believe us, you'd be cradling one in your fuzzy ginger arms this very instant! Mazel Tov!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

KUBRICK NEWS IN BRIEF ~ SEPTEMBER 3, 2016


Playing catch-up here at Kubrick U, here's a London Guardian article from July featuring an interview with artist Philip Castle about his awesome airbrush illustrations that featured so prominently in the Clockwork Orange posters and promotional campaign. Castle also painted the Full Metal Jacket poster, and did a bunch more illustrations for that film, but most of it went unused (see above). Not to worry, though... most of it appears in Taschen's absolutely essential Stanley Kubrick Archives, which was recently re-released in a smaller, ridiculously affordable edition! Buy it from this link if you're in Canada, or this link if you're in the USA, and I'll get a few shekels in my beggin' cup!

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Speaking of ACO, the New York Post reports that a galley proof copy of the book Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange featuring hand-written marginalia by Kubrick himself has come up for auction, and lawyers for Kubrick's estate are warning any potential buyers that publishing such an artifact for mass consumption would probably be a very bad idea, lawsuit-wise. The Belfast Telegraph had a more thorough (and timely) report, but I haven't been able to find any news about the auction results. If anybody out there knows anything, clue me in!

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In the inaugural entry of a recent Washington Post series on "all the ways America could come to an end", writer Sonny Bunch examines all the ways that Dr Strangelove scrambled the brains of audiences and more serious-minded critics, alike. It's a short, punchy piece, and my favorite bits are definitely when Bunch quotes clearly upset entertainment industry (key word there) trade columnists, like Bosley Crowther, who said of the film: "Somehow, to me, it isn’t funny. It is malefic and sick." Somebody ought to come up with a word describing when someone simultaneously gets the point, and yet also thoroughly fails to realize that they have gotten it. Leave suggestions for such a word in the comments section, please!

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I don't watch the show, myself, but according to Slate, the final episode of the most recent season of the "autismsploitation" TV series Mr Robot featured an extended "homage" to Stanley Kubrick's films, including Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining, and Dr. Strangelove. This should come as little surprise to the show's fans, as creator Sam Esmail, who claims he used to hold Kubrick movie marathons at his suburban home when he was a teen, declared in an interview with Vulture that “one of the biggest influences on the show is Stanley Kubrick in general.”

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Last but not least comes word that incredibly ballsy Canadian wunderkind Matt Johnson's circuitous moon landing mockumentary-cum-satire Operation Avalanche - filmed under highly illegal circumstances on location at NASA for fuck's sake - is just about ready to invade the hearts and minds of Kubrickophiles, parapolitical paranoids, prank fans and lovers of good, old fashioned conspiracy thrillers the world over. No Moonwalkers, here, folks! You've got to shake that shambling waste of celluloid right out of your ganglia by, first, taking a look at Operation Avalanche's great new trailer...


...and then, viddy this joint Sundance interview with Johnson, his editor and producer, wherein they detail the ridiculous lengths to which they went in order to achieve absolute versimilitude... and maximum cinematic legend status. Much as I hate to admit it about one so young, but this Johnson kid is the real deal, in yer old pal Jerky's opinion. Check out his Kevin Smith-enabled The Dirties for a taste of his raging early potential.

STIG OF THE DUMP - KUBRICK (MUSIC VIDEO WITH SOME DEEEEP RIFFS)

Stig Of The Dump - KUBRICK (Music Video) from Joker's Pack Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"KURT DOUGLAS, IN A STANLEY KUBRIK FILM!"

Who the fuck is Caitlin Busch, and how many fucking drugs was she on when she wrote this abomination of a click-bait article? I gave up reading it about two paragraphs - or roughly seventeen typos - deep. See how far YOU get before throwing your hands up in disgust!


Monday, July 25, 2016

KUBRICK NOTES IN BRIEF ~ JULY 25, 2016


Let's run through a few of the most recent Kubrick-related news items to hit the wire over the last week or so, shall we?

First, and most amusingly, it seems that Stanley has joined Twitter. Check him out, if you're into this sort of stunt.

Next up, it was kind of great to see Vivian Kubrick come out of semi-hiding to diss all those goofy moon-hoax idiots. Not quite so amusing was main Kubrick Moon Theory Nutter Jay Weidner's vile, butt-hurt, low-blow of a "rebuttal", titled How Vivian Kubrick Broke Stanley's Heart.

Two interesting think pieces on Kubrick have popped up on the web recently.

The best is Alexander Patrick Langer's 2014 essay Dr No and Dr Strangelove - Anxiety in the Cold War Film. It's a touch dry and academic, but if you like that sort of thing, it's pure manna from heaven. Personally, as a Kubrick nut and a lifelong Bond fan, of course I dug it. And it doesn't hurt that Langer throws in a bit on Frankenheimer's Manchurian Candidate into the mix.

Not quite as good but still interesting is Sean Hutchinson's think-piece How Dr Strangelove Predicted the Emptiness of Twitter and Facebook, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Getting down to the dregs (comparatively speaking of course), we have "a non-Kubrick fan" explaining what it is that she finds compelling about The Shining. It's eloquent and insightful, if short and to the point.

And, finally, we have an extended whine from Simon Booker writing in The Guardian, who claims that "Stanley Kubrick Ruined My Childhood". Turns out that title is almost pure clickbait, however, as Kubrick is mentioned exactly three times, including the title. Turns out his mum worked as a film publicist on 2001: A Space Odyssey during that film's 3-year shoot. the Marianne Faithful stories are a titch juicier, of course.

Tune in next time for more Kubrick Notes In Brief!

VIDEO ESSAY CONTRASTING KUBRICK WITH TARKOVSKY

Monday, July 11, 2016

BARRY LYNDON GETS A SEXY NEW TRAILER FOR ITS THEATRICAL RE-RELEASE


KUBRICK NOTES IN BRIEF ~ JULY 11, 2016


I have never in my life so badly wanted to be able to visit England as I was when I started reading about the Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick exhibit, at Somerset House, featuring works, both old and new, by a great many fantastic artistic talents, all either inspired by or directly referencing Stanley the man and/or his works. If you're able to attend, and don't, you're mad.

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Well, THIS sucks.

"A YouTube user who creates video essays has been hit with a punishing lawsuit after selecting Stanley Kubrick as a subject matter and uploading his work to YouTube. UK-based Lewis Bond from Channel Criswell is being targeted by the music publishers behind the 1971 classic A Clockwork Orange who want huge damages for willful infringement."

Here's some more information on the sad hypocrisy of this bullshit lawsuit. Check out Bond's Twitter to keep track of this ongoing travesty.

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It's really cool to see special effects guru Douglas Trumball still out there mixing it up with his inimitably gorgeous (and soon to be lost to history) practical methods of bringing screen magic to life before our very eyes. And it's doubly cool to see him doing so for a bunch of young'uns on a low budget indie film like Approaching the Unknown. Check out the mini-doc by The Creators Project at the bottom of the linked page to find out more (I originally had it embedded here, but it started up automatically, really loud, whether you wanted it to or not, so I removed it).

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Adam K. Johnson's new book, 2001: The Lost Science, is about all the work that scientific consultant Frederick Ordway did on Stanley Kubrick's film. It's actually the second in a series of limited run, prestige format books, with the subtitle: "The Scientists, Influences, and Designs from the Frederick I. Ordway Estate". For a heavily illustrated book of this quality, the price is actually quite reasonable. And if you purchase it via the link above, you will be tossing a couple shekels into yours truly's rusty old beggin' cup.


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I dunno about you guys, but the images in this computer-created "Kubrick goes Picasso" video don't look very much like the work of Picasso to me. You be the judge, I suppose...


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The San Francisco Chronicle invites you to read all about five times that Stanley Kubrick courted controversy. Think you can guess them all ahead of time? Go ahead and test your Kubrick IQ!

A 3-D EXPLORATION OF THE OVERLOOK HOTEL

Well, this one is kind of odd. "YouTube user Claire Sophie brings us a bizarre 360-degree look at The Shining that pans through a distorted vision of the Overlook hotel and its grounds, including the famous maze." 


According to this CNet article, the effect was achieved thusly: "Using photogrammetry, 3D elements are extracted and extruded from the original film stills, and the subsequent fragments are stitched together and viewed along the original camera path."

Personally, I find the effect kind of off-putting. Your mileage may vary. Don't forget to drag the scenes around for maximum effect!

2001: CLUBBING THE LOWER ANIMAL


If you're up for some heavy-duty hypothesizing regarding Kubrick's most alchemical/head-trippy/psychedelic/archetype-riddle film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, then you could do a lot worse than Mike Daringer's extended essay, 2001: Clubbing the Lower Animal. It begins:

Stanley Kubrick’s classic sci-fi epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is a fictional transcendence of classic Greek mythos through the ubiquity of the motion picture camera. As the film’s title suggests, this is Greek philosopher Homer’s The Odyssey told on the grandest of scales and sparing no expense that 20th Century cinema had to offer. According to philosopher Carl Jung, myths are the “culturally elaborated representations of the contents of the deepest recess of the human psyche: the world of the archetypes.” 
As such, 2001 makes tremendous leaps forward in longstanding narrative traditions that have been passed down from the epitome of Western culture. This was Kubrick, after all, and he wasn’t going to give the viewer an easy time or spoon feed answers to the cryptic symbolism. The film is ostensibly draped in ambiguity, and it leads down a path that rejects materialism in favor of spiritual enlightenment. The final act is overly concerned with the impact that light has on the body; how illumination can take a lifetime to understand and transform decaying flesh into the √úbermensch.

Having heard people say that there isn’t much going on in 2001 or simply not “getting it,” what follows is a small breakdown of the big thematic material that makes up the masterpiece.
This essay is well worth your time. And you just might learn a few things along the way!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Friday, June 10, 2016

KUBRICK IN BRIEF(S)


Remember around the time of Full Metal Jacket, when Stanley started giving interviews, and he went around telling people like Gene Siskel how much he enjoyed the storytelling finesse on display in a series of Michelob commercials? He told the New York Times, in 1987:

"They’re just boy-girl, night-fun,” Kubrick praised, “leading up to pouring the beer, all in 30 seconds, beautifully edited and photographed. Economy of statement is not something that films are noted for.”
Well, according to this lengthy SlashFilm oral history: "That piece published on a Sunday. The following day—after interested parties tracked down who was responsible for these spots—the phone of fashion photographer turned commercial director Jeremiah Chechik started rining off the hook."

Thanks to Kubrick's comments, Chechik would go on to direct such successful feature films as Christmas Vacation and Benny and Joon before being handed the great gift of directing the can't miss, sure-fire, $60 million budget, star-studded family action smash hit: 1998's The Avengers, starring Ralph Feines and Uma Thurman! The rest, as they say, is his story.

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Nerdist reports on the existence of the perfect, purchasable tchotchke to transform your work station from drab and dreary to flashy and fashy: Clockwise Alex, the unofficial Droog 1/6 size figurine with interchangeable hands, face and other parts! Currently available for pre-order from the fine folks at Craftone, so you know it's ultra-quality!

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We've all heard about how not too many people "got" The Shining when it first came out, but to actually experience the true depths of the critics's collective derangement and willful blindness at that time, one need look no further than Ernest Leogrande's review for the New York Daily News, which originally ran in late May 1987.  Yeesh!

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This is a fun little video, to be sure, but its creator missed the absolute best Simpsons/Kubrick reference! Remember when Lisa experiments on Bart with electrified cupcakes, leading to a scene that is a perfect re-creation of the post-Ludovico technique staged sequence where Alex can't bring himself to reach up to the model's bare naked tits? Doubly entertaining because it's so damn naughty!

THE WEIRDEST KUBRICK HONOR YET?


With his unique "King Cuts" series, artist Mike Leavitt has created an entire menagerie of sculptures featuring some of Hollywood's most successful directors, most (but not all) represented by elements from a broad selection of their films (with the lone exception to the "multiple film" rule being Alfred Hitchcock). Each director's page features a painfully pun-filled explanation as to the nature of the imagery used. For instance, here's what his version of Stanley looks like, and beneath, the explanation:


The Shining transgenders Kubrick. His entire identity, even his humanity is relinquished. Hal's all seeing eye welds itself to his chest. He is a female robot. He's the ancient ape predating 2001. He grips to reality with an AK-47 and jelly donut stolen from a Full Metal Jacket. Clockwork Orange costuming veils him from the world in vain. Nothing can stop Stanley from drifting off into the surreal void.

KUBRICK "VERSUS" SCORSESE (BUT NOT REALLY)

Roughly six years ago, a European video editor by the name of Leandro Copperfield created a seven-and-a-half minute mash-up montage featuring iconic images and moments from the films of Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, and uploaded it to Vimeo. In 2015 he cleaned up the video and re-rendered it in lush 1080 dpi. Here is that beautiful, "remastered" version, now...


Six years after Copperfield's initial upload, and very shortly after its upgrade, Copperfield's video was watched by none other than Martin Scorsese, himself, who appears genuinely chuffed to have his work juxtaposed with that of the man he at one point calls "the Master". So chuffed was Marty, in fact, that he graciously shot a video reaction of himself experiencing the  video, first-hand! You'd better watch out, Marty! Those Fine Brothers just might decide to sue you for infringing on their copyright!

You can watch Scorsese's reaction video right here, if you so fancy...