Our friends at Park Circus invited us to a preview
of The Shining, which is returning to
the big screen this Halloween for limited screening in 100 theatres. This is
where the film really should be seen.
I first saw The Shining, under age, in my local cinema where the kindly staff
used to let us watch X Cert films from the stalls which were closed to the
public. At the time The Shining really
didn’t have the impact of Friday The 13th
to my 13 year old self. Certain images did stay with me obviously, this was Kubrick
after all, but the one thing I do remember was that the image from the poster
of Jack Nicholson’s “Here’s Johnny” moment terrified my younger sister and I
used to put the poster up just to scare her. Boys, eh? Over the years I’ve re-watched The Shining several times and each time
it’s become more and more of a favourite. This is an adult film, dealing with
adult themes and it’s a lot different watching the terror of the young boy Doc as
a parent, rather than being closer in age to the character, as I was then. What
I also gleaned from this screening was how important sound is in this film and
this new print really does justice to the look and aural experience Kubrick
strove to achieve.
There were many points that stood out that
I’d missed on TV and DVD viewings, such as the aforementioned use of sound when
one of the protagonists is “Shining” or indeed the use of mirrors throughout
the film; whole scenes where the character’s reflections address the camera, T
shirt logo’s in reverse, which pre- empt the famous use of the words REDRUM
later in the film.
The film was trailered by the short but interesting new documentary Work & Play. This accompanying film
concentrates on the stories of the actual people involved with the production, whereas
other documentaries have concentrated of the enigma of Kubrick and the film
itself, such as Room 247. Here we
have interviews with the film’s iconic twins who are just as fascinating to
look at today and still talk in unison- obviously even off the camera, as well
as those who rightly intone that “95% of films are forgotten but the ones that
fall into that 5% are the great ones, the ones that remain”. So does The
Shining fall into that 5%? As far as horror movies go, yes. Like a great
wine, The Shining gets better with
age, both in look and standing. Although Jack Nicholson’s performance has been pastiched
many times, it still stands up as one of the best examples of a man falling
into madness ever to cross the silver screen. Although Steadycam camera shots
had been used in horror a couple of years earlier (i.e John Carpenter’s Halloween), they have never been utilized
better than the scenes of Danny or “Doc”, the boy who can shine, as he races
through the Overlook Hotel’s corridors. Again, this is another example of the
use of soundscape, as the child’s bike wheels jar from hard floor to carpet in
the same way a heartbeat quickens when you approach something dreadful.
The wonderful touches such as Doc wearing an Apollo
NASA T shirt alluding to the fact that Kubrick was supposed to have been the
director of the “faked” moon landings just add to the fascination of this film.
The documentary shows that the working title was “The Shine” and that is exactly what this film will continue to do.
I’d be interested to see what Stephen King thinks of the movie now after
famously disliking it for so many years. Whatever the case, this is a landmark
work and whatever one thinks of the finished product, it’s clear that King wrote
a timeless source novel and Kubrick developed it into a classic film. This is
the perfect time of year to see for yourself, thanks to Park Circus. Let it
CLICK HERE FOR LIST OF INTERNATIONAL CINEMAS SHOWING THE FILM
It’s taken 35 years for the often talked
about sequel to one of sci-fi cinema’s finest moments- Blade Runner- to actually appear in the form of Blade Runner 2049. Most
fans were against the idea of a sequel, pondering how you could improve on
perfection. Well, like the Replicants of the first film, although perfect in many
eyes, the original version underwent its own various modifications to improve
significant flaws over the years. We had the original “noir” version, the “director’s”
and the “final” cut before director Ridley Scott and most fans were happy. This
final cut also seemed to answer the conundrum relating to Deckard (Harrison Ford)
being a Replicant himself. Or so we thought. If, as I and many thought pre-screening,
Deckard was indeed a Replicant, how has he lived so long and aged? Did this
mean that the Replicants were given skin that would age, yet their strength
would remain? If so, then Harrison Ford
is still the perfect choice but I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything as director
Denis Villeneuve asked for reviewers to refrain from giving away any key
aspects from this special preview in London on Oct 2nd. Not only that,
I’m still not sure of the answer after
seeing this incredible continuation of the Blade Runner mythos. What I am sure
about is that this is, along with The Godfather Part II, one of the greatest sequels
in movie history.
The premise is thus: LAPD Officer K (Ryan
Gosling) is a Blade Runner in 2049. During an investigation, he unearths a long
hidden secret that, if true, would lead society into chaos. Once begun, his
quest leads to him tracking down the long missing Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford)
to find out the truth; but will he and, indeed, Deckard, like what they find?
Everything about Blade Runner 2049 works.
From the perfect casting to the sets which rise from the dust bowls of a
radioactive Vegas and the sodden Los Angeles like glistening tiers in the rain.
The cinematography by Roger Deakins is stunning while the screenplay by Hampton
Fancher and Michael Green is as subtle as the music by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin
Wallfisch in complementing, yet adding to, the mythos of the original. As a viewer,
you are like a feather on the breeze and have no choice but to be blown
in whichever direction Villeneuve and producer Scott decide to take you.
The film is like a spiral interior of a sea shell; whether it’s leading you out
or into its centre is the question you have to try and work out for yourself.
With a running time just short of three hours,
this film, like the beloved “spinners” which have replaced cars, simply flies
by and the fact that this screening took place on the eve of director
Villeneuve’s 50th birthday led me to think that this is a movie will
still be talked about 50 years from now. We may not have flying cars by then but I’m
sure we’ll still have neon advertising dominating our cities and climate change
affecting our lives.
This is a modern masterpiece that you really need to
see on the big screen, although I left there thinking I’d love to
see it in the “Elvis” room Deckard has. See it and you’ll know what I mean.