This 20-minuted documentary Lost Kubrick: The Unfinished Films of Stanley Kubrick, narrated by Malcolm McDowell, provides an overview of some of the film projects that director Stanley Kubrick did not complete before his death. Some of the projects may be familiar to film fans — like A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Napoleon — but some of the other ones are more obscure projects, like The German Lieutenant. The documentary features Jack Nicholson, Sydney Pollack, Kubrick’s producer Jan Harlan, and others. Check it out.
Two movies in American theaters now illustrate completely different approaches to movie-making. Godzilla (2014) is a summer blockbuster that many will see as something to watch while eating popcorn, only to be forgotten the next day. One has to look around to find the other movie, Ida, a 2013 black and white film that makes no attempt to be the summer’s biggest movie while still having something to say. Both are enjoyable, but in different ways.
Godzilla has garnered mostly positive reviews, and there is little need to summarize the story here. If you are interested in action and seeing things smashed, you will probably enjoy it even if you do not find the deeper meaning in the story about man’s attempts to mess with nature and nuclear power.
Certainly, that deeper meaning and some excellent actors like Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn elevate the film somewhat above being just another Transformers movie. There are some human stories tucked in among the monsters, but I did not find that the filmmakers made those stories very compelling, as Steven Spielberg has done in movies like War of the Worlds (2005). I enjoyed the movie like I enjoy popcorn, but like the snack, it is not really a meal, no matter how you dress it up.
By contrast, Ida is a black and white film in Polish set in the early 1960s about a woman raised in a convent who is about to become a nun. Before taking her vows, Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) goes to visit her earthy Aunt Wanda (Agneta Kulesza), who reveals to Anna that she is Jewish, that her name is Ida, and that her parents probably died during World War II. The odd couple then go on a journey to discover what happened to Ida’s parents.
Director Pawel Pawlikowski uses no special effects, but he reveals something scarier than a giant monster while also offering something more honest and redeeming too. I was not blown away when I saw the quiet film, but it has lingered with me long after I have forgotten the story in Godzilla.
Other Reviews Because Why Should You Trust Me?Rotten Tomatoes gives Ida a high 95% critics rating and 81% audience rating, although the high numbers partly may be due to the fact that most movie-goers who sought out the movie knew they would like this type of film. Walter Addiego at SFGate says “Ida reminds you of what movies can be.” Rotten Tomatoes gives Godzilla a 73% critics rating and a 74% audience rating.
What did you think of Godzilla and/or Ida? Leave your two cents in the comments.
Jamie Benning compiled commentaries, deleted scenes, and other sources to put together Inside Jaws: A Filmumentary about the movie Jaws (1975). So, if you really want to know everything about the movie and the making of it, check out what was originally called “Jaws Bites Back,” which opens with commentary from Steven Spielberg.
At the recent annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner M.C.’d by Conan O’Brien, one of the highlights was this short film where director Steven Spielberg announced that after Lincoln (2012), he decided the logical choice for his next movie is Obama, about our current President Barack Obama. In the video Spielberg explains why “Daniel Day-Lewis” was the natural choice for the lead. Pres. Obama shows a good sense of humor here, too, even poking fun at his ears. Check it out.
What is your favorite part of “Obama”? Leave your two cents in the comments.
Many know of Frank William Abagnale, Jr. because he was played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Director Steven Spielberg’s movie Catch Me If You Can (2002), which also starred Tom Hanks, Amy Adams, and Christopher Walken. As portrayed in the film, Abagnale was on the run from the FBI in the 1960s, after he started as a young man passing bad checks and impersonating people around the country. Later, Abagnale went on to work for the FBI.
You can see what the real person looked like, as well as test yourself on whether you can spot him, by watching this 1977 episode of To Tell the Truth. For those who do not remember the television show, the premise is that someone of note appears on the show with two imposters. A panel of celebrities ask the three people questions and then try to determine who is the real person.
The twist with Abagnale’s episode was that he was an imposter who was playing himself for once. Can you figure out which one is him?
How long did it take you to figure out which man was Frank William Abagnale Jr.? Leave your two cents in the comments.