Altman, Clements and Musker, Gordon (and others), Kubrick, Weir

Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962). Vladimir Nabokov’s novel was less than ten years old when Stanley Kubrick took a swing at it, so he was working with a best-selling sensation instead of a revered part of the canon. That–combined with the significant detail that he was Stanley Kubrick and he plainly did want he wanted–gives the director great latitude in his adaptation. Nabokov himself is the credited screenwriter, but much of that material was jettisoned by Kubrick on the way to making his own distinct, darkly comic work. James Mason is marvelous as Professor Humbert Humbert, the man who becomes smitten … Continue reading Altman, Clements and Musker, Gordon (and others), Kubrick, Weir

Capra, Kubrick, Morel, Peli, Reed

Taken (Pierre Morel, 2009). An entirely unimaginative action film poured into the form of a parental nightmare turned revenge fantasy. Liam Neeson plays a retired CIA operative who calls upon his formidable combat skills when his teenage daughter is kidnapped by sex slave traders on a trip to France. It lurches from violence-saturated scene to violence-saturated scene with a little bit of empty seediness thrown in for variety. It’s hard to develop emotional investment in the characters when the actors shuffling through it and even the movie itself seem to have already given up on the notion of being anything … Continue reading Capra, Kubrick, Morel, Peli, Reed

She’s making movies on location, she don’t know what it means

Kung Fu Panda (Mark Osborne and John Stevenson, 2008). in the realm of computer animated features, there is Pixar and then there’s everyone else. Others have reaped box office success, but there’s an broad, enduring gap when it comes to artistry. Dreamworks Animation is arguably the outfit working most diligently to cross the divide. Kung Fu Panda doesn’t accomplish that, in part because the storytelling is as by-the-numbers as it gets, but it does boast a visual sense that is smoothly well-realized, generally engaging, and, at times, very striking. In particular, the sequences involving the elaborate prison created for the … Continue reading She’s making movies on location, she don’t know what it means