Tag Archives: stanley kubrick

The Also Rans – The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (Best Picture Nominee 1966)

Russians are coming.jpgDirected by Norman Jewison

Screenplay by William Rose, based upon the novel by Nathaniel Benchley

Starring Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters, Paul Ford and Theodore Bikel

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming might’ve been nominated for Best Picture – and Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and a couple others – but it had zero chance of winning.  And by zero, I mean zero.  There’s always one or two of those kind of films in any Best Picture race and in 1966 The Russians are Coming was it.

One reason was history: Since the beginning, only six comedies have won the Oscar for Best Picture.  Ironically, at the time Russians came out, it would’ve had a better chance than it does today, because at that time five comedies had won Best Picture.  In the fifty years since, just one.  In a very real way its zero chance of winning in 1966 has steadily fallen below zero since. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Last Emperor (1987)

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci

Written by Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci

Starring John Lone, Peter O’Toole and Joan Chen

After my last entry, for Wings, went super-long, I purposefully set out to rein this one in a bit, but it probably won’t be that difficult a task, because there really isn’t much of anything special I can say about The Last Emperor, other than it’s not really special – yet another default Best Picture winner in an otherwise dull year. Continue reading

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Terse Movie Review – Room 237, Dir. by Rodney Ascher

Room 237 (2012 film).jpg

The most fascinatingly wacky movie I think I’ve ever seen — who would have thought it so interesting to listen to a bunch of stupid theories for two hours about a movie I love?  And yet, it was.

Honestly, though, I think the movie might’ve been more disturbing than The Shining itself.  Because the music in horror movies is usually what does it for me  — if you’re itching to see me turn a little lily-livered, play Tubular Bells around me and it just might happen — the music used in this doc gave me the eerie, creeping feeling throughout.  And all that without considering how the blend of classic horror and holocaust-film footage worked on me.

As much as I loved the wackiness and audacity of some of the theories, the real triumph is in the editing.  If ever I’ve seen a movie where I can say the editing deserves an Oscar over all others, it’s this one.

BTW, since this didn’t make it to an actual theater in my town, I gotta give some love to the Amazon Instant App on my Blu-Ray player — I might wear that thing out with all the VOD movies I’m itching to see.

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Terse Movie Review – Dr. Strangelove, dir. by Stanley Kubrick

Eerily prescient of the lunacy infecting the national discourse.  Yes, it’s funny, but also sad the characters are far less absurd — and therefore more believable — these days than they were in 1964.

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Defending Junk – Bret Ratner Edition

I’m pretty notorious around my house for buying cheap DVD’s. No, not those crappy $1 discs with the terrible photo-copied cover art you see at Sprawl-Mart offering old Howdy Doody episodes or other public-domain goodies. No, I mean discs that once were going for $20 or more – at least that was the cover-price – but now, thanks to overproduction or underselling, have found their way into a deep discount hell. Continue reading

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9 Costume Parties To Remember

In honor of Halloween I thought it best to search out the best costume party scenes from movies, but because this is my list I didn’t adhere to any traditional thinking about what constituted a ‘party’ and just figured that, any time a person put on a costume, a party was happening.  So here are the nine best in chronological order.


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One Last Thing Before I Go…

…Thinking About the Last Films of 10 Great Actors / Directors

I started off wanting to make a list of the 10 greatest last roles of famous actors but since there were a couple of not-so-famous actors I wanted to include – and a director and some not-so-great movies – I had to compromise a bit.  Still, I did try to limit the list specifically to those who only left behind finished films and died not long after the film was completed, but reality dictated that I make some exceptions, as did the fact that it would mean I would have to omit some great actors or great films. Continue reading

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