The Shining: One of many reasons why this Stanley Kubrick movie is more interesting than you may think.
Stanley Kubrick ends “The Shining” with a puzzle. After Jack Torrance, its central character, dies, the audience sees a photograph of him at the Overlook Hotel in 1921. This photograph is impossible: for, in 1921, Jack was not yet born. Why is Jack in the photograph? And why is the date important?
Great movies deal with great themes. Audiences instinctively expect the greater theme to have the greatest dramatic weight. When the greater theme is not given its due, then the whole project seems disproportioned. And that seems to be what happens here. Since Tonto is the true protagonist, the audience naturally expects his story as the primary theme. That story is about the clash of civilizations.
By an overwhelming margin, professional movie critics love “The Master.” Yet a Rotten Tomatoes sample of 41,000 fans is only lukewarm. Why this disconnect? Great movies frequently enjoy a strong critical following. They also often enjoy an enthusiastic broad fan base. “The Master” clearly is not that kind of movie. Yet you will want to see it more than once. This is one of those movies that cannot be appreciated without first knowing how it ends.
However the many critics might try to dress up their varying proclamations of distaste for Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby”, what may be going on here, underneath, is that they are shooting the messenger.
The Bechdel Test evaluates a filmmaker’s use of female characters in a movie. To pass, the movie must satisfy these criteria: 1) Are there at least two women characters with names? 2) Do they talk to each other? 3) Do they talk to each other about something other than a man? The video below revelas just how many movies fail the test.
The average shot length (ASL) of a director is an interesting way to compare filmmaking styles. Below are two charts from Vashi Nedomansky’s filmmaking blog. The first compares the ASL of six famous directors. The second compares the ASL of eight Stanley Kubrick movies.
Production Designer Jack Fisk has described Paul Thomas Anderson as a “jazz musician who plays characters.” But what is it like to work with a modern jazz filmmaker? Below is a nice interview with several key collaborators from “The Master.” Listen to Jack Fisk (Production Designer), David Crank (Production Designer), Leslie Jones (Editor) and Mark Bridges (Costume Designer) compare notes on what is required to play in PTA’s band.
Movie lovers have given up hope that movies will deliver, on a consistent basis, the added experience that one can get only in the cinema. But not me. For the first time in years I am excited about movies. In fact, now may be one of the most exciting times ever to be a movie lover. Have I gone mad?
A nice collection of famous scenes that for various reasons were unscripted. From “Here’s looking at you Kid” to “Leave the gun, take the cannoli” these moments are a nice reminder that sometimes the filmmaking gods reward living in the moment.
Roger Deakins is as close to “cinematographer royalty” as one can get Hollywood. The Coen Brothers favourite has lensed such movies as, “Barton Fink,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “Fargo,” as well as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Skyfall.” Below is an interview Deakins did with “Cinematographer Style.” Highlights include his explanation of how different lenses affect the audience and his personal approach to choosing lenses.