I’d Like To See The Manager, Please

Full disclosure – I have never been a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining; I have never managed to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey all the way through; Full Metal Jacket, apart from the Private Pyle scenes, has no place in my memory from watching it years ago; and Clockwork Orange has aged terribly. So no, not a fan of Kubrick’s films.

Still, I used to be a fan as a teenager of Stephen King’s work, including The Shining. I even went so far as to collect first editions of many of his books (including a gorgeous near mint condition, first American edition of The Shining which is probably worth a few quid now) and still have a sizeable collection, even though I haven’t read anything by him for some time.

So even though I dislike Kubrick’s adaptation, I thought I’d watch Room 237, expecting a documentary about the making of the film.

Boy, was I disappointed.

It’s an hour and a half of narration by five or six . . . fans? Fanatics? Obsessives? All of whom have their own competing vision of what the film is about. According to them, The Shining is about the genocide of the Native Americans; or the Nazis and the Holocaust; or it’s Kubrick’s apology for faking the moon landing footage; or something to do with minotaurs; or can be watched both forward and backward simultaneously . . .

Each of the narrators (we never see them on screen) is firmly convinced of their own particular theory of what the film is about and I managed to sit through it all, despite pausing it to shout at the screen on more than one occasion. (In my defence, I was at home . . . and had drunk a couple of beers.)

The amount of utter bollocks spoken in all seriousness by these people baffles the crap out of me – they take what in any other film would be simple continuity errors and spin some elaborate reason that supports their theory. They take the fact that the film was shot on a set rather than a genuine hotel and discover impossible windows and hallways, that couldn’t exist in real life. One of them mentions the appearances of the number 42 (though only two are shown on screen) and then talks about the significance of multiples of 7 using the final photo as an example:

Mention is made of July (the seventh month!) and obviously 21 is a multiple of 7 . . . but they ignore the 4th, and the 19, and even 1921, none of which are multiples of 7. Classic conspiracy thinking – if it doesn’t fit your theory, just ignore it.

Another commentator makes much of the changes Kubrick made when adapting the original novel, mentioning that there’s no maze in the original book. They’re right, there isn’t – instead, there’s a large topiary with animals that attack (if I remember rightly) both Jack and Danny Torrance. Try filming that with special effects in 1980; a maze was so much easier.

Kubrick’s The Shining is held in high regard by many people and I’m not saying it’s a bad film – I’m saying I’ve never liked it.

I would still rather watch Kubrick’s film than Room 237 again.

Rise Of Skywalker Spoiler Free Review

Mrs Earth-Prime and I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last night and while it wasn’t the best film in the series, it played with my emotions in several scenes and genuinely made me a little teary at several points.

I’m not a fan of The Last Jedi – it’s the only one of the main Star Wars films that I never bothered seeing a second time in the cinema and only bought it on DVD a couple of months ago, thinking to give it a second viewing before seeing …Skywalker. I’m happy to report the slapstick from the last film is gone and while it’s replaced with a safer feeling of nostalgia in …Skywalker, it works for the most part.

The plot revolves mostly around Rey’s family, retconning Last Jedi‘s revelation about them being nobody special but in a way that makes sense. There’s a redemptive arc for some characters and, of course, the sad passing of Carrie Fisher necessitates the death of Princess Leia but it’s handled well and becomes an important plot point.

There were several scenes that genuinely surprised me (Force lightning! He’s back!) and, like I said, by the end I needed a moment to gather myself together before driving home.

I’m old enough to have watched the original Star Wars in the cinema and have seen each of them since. Again, while Episode IX isn’t a perfect film, it still – for me – gives the whole story a satisfying conclusion.

Brightburn Review

Relatively spoiler free review here – though if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen the film.

This is a Superman film for a post/during-Trump world, one that’s seen the rise of populism and the far right over the last few years, a nihilistic film that holds out no real promise for us. I don’t mean it’s promoting any of those ideas – it’s not – but it can be read as a miserable take on the Superman origin which, arguably, can be seen as a reflection of the times we live in.

This is almost an Elseworlds Superman story – a baby is found in a spacecraft by a childless Kansas couple and raised into a 12 year old, happy go lucky kid who’s a little odd – he’s intelligent and intense and doesn’t mix well with other kids – but is otherwise normal. Until, that is, the craft he arrived in sends out some subconscious command that he take the world. Soon after that, he’s developing a standard set of powers (super speed, heat vision, flight) but rather than fight for truth, justice and the American way, he’s using them for his own ends.

The film’s quite predictable and holds no real surprises in terms of plot . . . but it is sort of interesting when viewed as a film of the current times. Is this the Superman film this generation, this time deserves? If Kal-El had arrived in that spaceship twelve years ago and looked at the world now, would he behave like this, despite the loving family he grew up with? It’s hard to answer that as the film puts a fair bit of emphasis on the spaceship waking up and triggering him; had that not happened, maybe things would have been different. It’s not brilliant, but it was interesting.

As Mrs Earth-Prime said as we left the screen, “Was that film made by Lex Luthor?”

Avengers: Endgame (Sort Of) Review

Art by Axel Medellin at https://axelmedellin.tumblr.com/

Mrs Earth-Prime and I saw Avengers: Endgame this morning/afternoon and there’s a LOT going on in that film . . . and all of it is done really, really well.

I’m not going to do a full review as it would be difficult to discuss without spoilers (and I hate spoilers) but suffice to say, if you thought Avengers: Infinity War was good, you should love Endgame.

Go see it – hopefully you won’t be disappointed.