Friday, May 31, 2013

My 800th Post or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Become a Kubrick Completist + A Few Other Cinema-Related Ramblings

With the clicking of the publish button in my Blogger editor, I officially hand the world, the 800th post here at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World.  So here it is kids.  What d'ya think?  Not impressed yet?  Yeah, neither am I.  In reality, this 800th post hoopla (at least in my mind there is hoopla, but you just wait for the 1000th post, and see what shenanigans happen then), this posting of no real circumstance, is merely just an excuse for me to ramble on  about things I have not rambled on about in previous posts.  So, with that in mind, please allow me to ramble.

First off, as you may have noticed from my not-so-clever title appropriation of Sir Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (really, how many times have I used that in a post title?  This is the third that I can think of, off hand), I have now finally become what one would call a Stanley Kubrick Completist.  I might just put that on a business card ya know.  I am not really sure why it took me so damn long to accomplish this feat.  Kubrick has been my favourite director for quite some time now, and he is the only filmmaker to make my 100 Favourite Films list five times (2001, Clockwork, Killing, Paths of Glory & Lolita), but for some reason, the title of completist has alluded me until just a few days ago.   I have taken to watching and rewatching all the Kubrick's up on the big screen here at the arthouse cinema I run with my lovely wife.  In the last few years, I have seen on that aforementioned big screen, 2001: A Space Odyssey (the first film I owned on DVD and the first I owned on Blu-ray), A Clockwork Orange (having already seen that on 35mm twice in my life), Lolita (the titillation of toenail painting made widescreen), The Killing and The Killer's Kiss (in a blu-ray double feature one morning), and for just the first time this past year, Spartacus (the only Kubrick I am not totally pleased with - sorry Stanley).  I plan on seeing all the Kubrick's this way.   Eyes Wide Shut is next on the docket.

Anyway, this all brings us to a few days ago and me finally sitting down and watching the new(ish) Kino blu-ray of Fear and Desire, the auteur's first feature film.  Again, I am not sure what took me so long, since I have had the damn blu-ray sitting beside the blu-ray player for months now.  Sheeesh.  But I did finally sit down and screen the thing, and even though Kubrick would later claim to hate the film, calling it amateurish (amateur for Kubrick is still better than the so-called pinnacle of many another director), I quite enjoyed the film.  You can see and feel the ideas that would later come to be known as Kubrickian.  With this film, I also watched Kubrick's three early doc shorts - Day of the Fight, Flying Padre and The Seafarers, from 1951, 51 and 53, respectively.  So, in other words, I am now a Stanley Kubrick Completist.  So there!

Now, in other news.  There are a pair of projects that I spouted off about back around the beginning of the year, that have yet to come to fruition.  The first is a thing I am calling, The Great Re-Casting (though a better name may be forthcoming).  It is an alternate cinematic history thing, where I take an established modern day movie, and recast it using (mostly) pre-1965 actors and writers and directors and such.  The first one I did was for a blogathon last year.  I took Pulp Fiction and recast it as several different films - from a pre-code gangster film to a Busby Berkeley musical to a western, a film noir, a screwball comedy, a Universal horror film, a swashbuckling epic, a melodrama where all the roles are gender-reversed, and even a cartoon short.  This piece was one of my favourite things to write, and maybe one of my best and most creative, if I do say so myself.  The whole shebang can be seen right here.  My goal is to do four of these per year, so I suppose I should get to work, huh?   Percolatin' in the ole noggin right now are alt-cin-histories on Dazed and Confused, Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Jurassic Park, and The Avengers.  Up first though (hopefully by the end of June) will be Star Wars, where we go back to Von Stroheim's silent debacle original version, as well as John Ford's 1940 war film remake, both of which inspired Kurosawa which in turn inspired Lucas.  There will also be a French New Wave one.  Come on, who would not want to see Belmondo, Leaud, and Karina as Han, Luke, and Leia!?  It will all be quite intricate.  To quote John Hammond, we've spared no expense.

My other long-gestating idea is a series on Ingmar Bergman.  It is titled The Bergman Files, and is actually going to be me becoming a Bergman completist.  There we go with that again.  My plan is to watch all the Bergman's I have yet to see, and go back and rewatch those I have, and white a piece on each and every one of them - even the shorts and commercials and docs and yeah, everything.  This project will probably take about three years to complete - if I ever get started on the damn thing.   And speaking of long-range projects, many of you are probably wondering just what happened with My Quest to See the 1000 Greatest Films.  Well, the quest has been completed and I am at work on a book detailing said quest.  It will be part film journal, part film history, and part me rambling on and on and on.  You know, like how I am doing right now.  Anyway, said book will (hopefully) be on bookshelves sometime in 2014.  Wish me luck on the publication end of the whole thing.  Oh, and yeah, I have another project going right now as well.  It is a series of pieces on the Astaire/Rogers musicals.  I have already published the first two - Flying Down to Rio and The Gay Divorcee - and Roberta will be coming in a week or two, followed by the rest throughout the Summer.  Lots of stuff ahead.

Then there is this ditty I posted on Facebook back on February 27th:  Here are 51 randomly selected films, of varying degrees of popularity and cinematic impact, that I have never seen, but that I will finally watch in 2013, in no particular order.....South Pacific, Bus Stop, Peyton Place, Westworld, Down Argentine Way, Cavalcade, Wings, Sergeant York, The Bellboy, The Big Knife, The Sun Also Rises, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), The Robe, The Fury, Patton, Death Race 2000, Zardoz, The Brother From Another Planet, Lady of Burlesque, The Sea Hawk, Royal Wedding, The Snake Pit, Battle Royale, One-Eyed Jacks, The Jazz Singer, Murder My Sweet, The Song of Bernadette, Knife in the Water, Red Dust, The Great Ziegfeld, The Life of Emile Zola, Tron, THX-1138, The Longest Day, Around the World in 80 Days, Hello Dolly, Akira, McLintock, Kitty Foyle, the original Imitation of Life, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Fly (1958), The Omega Man, Night Nurse, Flesh and the Devil, The Shooting, Wilder's The Front Page, Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, Our Man Flint and Showgirls.  Since making this rather bold announcement just over three months ago, I have watched exactly four of these films - Akira, Bus Stop, Westworld, and Tron.  Again, perhaps I best be getting my butt in gear and do the things I say I am going to do.  Hell, another seven of these are sitting in various forms of home entertainment, at home as I type these very words.

As always, my Battle Royale is still ongoing (and the latest one can be found conveniently near the top of the sidebar) and my bi-weekly pieces on sci-fi cinema can be found over at Forces of Geek.  An occasional ten best list can also be found at Anomalous Material, though not as frequently as in the past.  10 Best Motorcycle Movies is on the horizon for there.  There will also be some more Retro Reviews coming soon, and of course, new reviews will still keep coming at a steady rate.  Coming soon are reviews of Shane Carruth's stunning Upstream Color, and Abbas Kiarostami's latest, Like Someone in Love, as well as Linklater's Before Midnight, and Susanne Bier's Love is All You Need.  Maybe a mainstream review or two, as well.    Oh yeah, and don't forget to be back for post #1000, coming on or about May 3, 2014.  How's that for a bold prediction!?  But I am sure you will be along for the ride in the meantime.  At least ya better be.  See ya in the funny papers.  I will leave you with a picture of Ingmar Bergman and Bruce the Shark from Jaws.  Why?  Well, why the hell not!? 

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