So I broke my own rule of not watching movies that are less than 20 years old. Unfortunately, the “Sight and Sound” poll, the same one that caused a shitstorm by listing some movie called “Jeanne Dielman” as the greatest film ever made, also listed The Shining in its top movies.
As a Stanley Kubrick fan, I honestly think that The Shining is one the auteur’s weakest films. But for whatever reasons, it’s gained a massive following. I think it’s a visually interesting film. It also features stunning performances from Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall. But those are only facades. It’s a fundamentally empty and, frankly, aimless film. I can almost see why Stephen King was upset with it.
Yet, strangely, $tephen King agreed to have his novel adapted into a direct sequel to Kubrick’s film.
Does it work?
Mostly, I’d say. I’ve never read Doctor Sleep, but it’s quite apparent where King’s novel ends and where the adaptation to match Kubrick begins. Not that it’s distracting. Director Mike Flanagan makes a pretty seamless transition. BUT, the climax…naturally taking place at the Overlook Hotel…is pretty hit and miss.
The interaction between Danny Torrance and his father could have been A LOT worse, yet it wasn’t entirely successful either. Additionally, I could have done without some of the visual Easter eggs. Despite this, there is some emotional payoff when, as the Overlook is burning down, Danny is “reunited” with his mother.
But the superior parts of the movie were clearly King-inspired. I’m glad Flanagan took his time building up this story by (presumably) trying to be more faithful to the novel. It makes me think that it’s a shame that a more faithful adaptation wasn’t made of The Shining (the problem is that the styles and interests of Kubrick and King couldn’t have been farther apart). Many would probably disagree, but I think Doctor Sleep makes The Shining a better…and more emotionally compelling…movie.
While I haven’t watched the latest iteration of All Quiet on the Western Front, based on what I’ve seen from other war films, I largely agree with his assessment.
In fact, the only REAL anti-war WAR film I can think of is The Deer Hunter. While it does depict Robert DeNiro torching a guy with a flame thrower (in what I think is it’s most out of place scene), replacing the horror of war with several rounds of Russian Roulette is about the only time I’ve seen filmmakers deprive the audience of the spectacle of battle. The ending, I think, should be taken ironically; we use patriotism to mask our grief.
(I’d also say that Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory might be a true example of an “anti-war WAR film)
In my view, the reasons why movies have trouble maintaining the guise of “anti-war” is because film is fundamentally a visual medium. When movies are confined to “showing and not telling”, it’s almost impossible to not become spectacle.
And war is the ultimate human spectacle.
Understanding this, the only time a film can become truly anti-war…while simultaneously depicting war…is if it becomes a dark, dark comedy; almost to the point where it goes over the heads of the less sophisticated.
At least this is how I’ve always interpreted Apocalypse Now.
Of course I didn’t read the article. I don’t know how to read. I’m sure it’s interesting.
But I don’t know what it is about Cruise. I remember becoming aware of this phenomenon while watching Mission:Impossible II. I was absolutely creeped out when he told Thandie Newton “damn you’re beautiful.”
Tom Cruise should never EVER be that intimate with someone. No one wants to see that shit.
I suppose Cruise is the last of the old-fashioned male Hollywood hero. We don’t want any sort of emotional connection with him. He’s a blank canvas on which we can project our fantasies onto.
The moment he breaks that facade, we’re grossed out…like I was while watching MI:2.
I kinda explored this concept with the stupid ass “John Cannon” character from The Last Coming (or the First Coming, whatever the fuck it’s called): an over-the-top manly man, but once when you peek behind the machismo, you wish he’d kept that shit to himself. (Of course that’s probably a deeper analysis than what that story deserves)
It’s an archetype that’s almost gone out of vogue.
But I suppose we should appreciate Tom Cruise for what he is: essentially a relic from a bygone era. He’s been doing his thing for the last 40 years. And at this rate, he’ll probably be doing it for 40 more.