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I didn't realize that I'd only seen "The Shining" start-to-finish one time, but I saw it again yesterday. Disclosures: I'm very much of a Stanley Kubrick fan, and I think Stephen King is "good but not great," as he writes a little too much for the masses, for my taste. "The Shining" is a long film, with some very good moments, but it's also a drawn-out film, with some very bad moments. I wonder if there's anyone out there who truly loves this film, and everything about it. I could list probably a dozen things about this movie that I strongly disliked, but taken as a whole, it's a good horror film when you factor in everything. One fundamental thing I didn't like was the introduction of the two, competing, otherworldly powers which have no explanation - I don't need to be spoon-fed explanations for the supernatural, but personifying evil through the silly ex-caretaker, Delbert Grady (Philip Stone, who played Alex's father in Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange") was a bit much. There are other things that I found annoying ("Redrum," for example), but I don't want to sit here and rattle them all off. I liked, didn't love, "The Shining," but without taking inventory, my guess is that I'd put it in the bottom half of all Kubrick films I've seen up until now. I know this is supposedly an "intellectual" film, and I'm sure that repeated viewings would reveal additional layers and nuances. --- Room 237 (DonRocks)
Believe it or not, the only time I'd seen "2001: A Space Odyssey" was when it was released in 1968 (I was six-years old, and quite honestly, I remember being bored) - it was about time I watched it again. The only thing I remembered from the movie - which was wildly promoted and marketed at the time - was an usher in the theater, walking around and hawking programs before the movie started, saying "2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001: A Space Odyssey." Isn't it amazing what trivial memories get implanted in the minds of children? And isn't it upsetting what important things children don't remember? There is a very real possibility I attended the world premiere, on April 2, 1968, at the Uptown, but at this point, there's no way for me to ever know. As I watch it (I'm still watching it as I begin this post), I'm astonished at how much it reminds me of "Solaris," the film by Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky, who is perhaps the greatest director you've never heard of - he is a legend in his native country, and was heavily influenced by Ingmar Bergman, who said of Tarkovsky: "Tarkovsky for me is the greatest (director), the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream." And you can rest assured, Tarkovsky most likely said something similar about Bergman. Anyway, if you love the cinema, and you're not familiar with Tarkovsky, you'd be doing very well to put him next on your list. So, which came first? "2001" was either a great pioneering masterpiece, or a rip-off of "Solaris" - which was it? It was a great pioneering masterpiece: "Solaris" came out four-years later, in 1972. I've always loved Stanley Kubrick ("Dr. Strangelove," "A Clockwork Orange"), and thought him most likely a genius, and "2001" only serves to reinforce that supposition. *One* Academy Award for "2001?" For Best Visual Effects? Not even nominated for Best Picture? No win for Best Director? Are you kidding me? This is the same Academy that nominated the ridiculous "Dr. Dolittle" for Best Picture just one year before, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised: This only serves to bolster my belief that mediocrity is rampant in humanity, even at the highest positions of influence and power. Science Fiction and Horror are two genres of movie making that have always been overlooked, but this goes much deeper than that. Just the beginning of the movie, with the screen entirely dark, and an "overture" of sorts playing in the background for nearly three full minutes, exudes self-confidence on the part of Kubrick - I'm not convinced it worked entirely, but it most certainly set the tone for the epic nature of the film, as well as preparing the viewer for the bleak darkness of space. The scene when the B Pod is preparing and performing EVA, the use of deep human breathing as the only sound is incredibly effective - it conjures up primal fears in the viewer. What could be more frightening than not being able to breathe? Out of all the basic human needs (with the possibility of "shelter" during, for example, a tornado), denial of oxygen is the one thing that kills most quickly. And given that we're in space, that possibility is always in the background. This was pure Kubrick, and it was pure brilliance - what could have been a dull, torpid scene to watch invoked a sense of dread, and Kubrick thought of employing this technique out of thin air. As I write this paragraph, I've now finished the movie - I clearly saw the post-Saturn psychedelic scene within the past ten years or so, probably on YouTube, but that's about the only thing I remembered about the movie. It's a masterpiece, while at the same time being both dated in parts, and fresh as a daisy in other parts.