Sunday, December 28, 2014


Well, I finally made it! The Toronto edition of the world-renowned Kubrick Exhibit, which can be visited until the end of January at the beautiful TIFF Bell/Lightbox building in the heart of Toronto's bustling entertainment district. 

I'm no photographer, unfortunately, so you'll have to excuse the roughness of the photographs below. They frankly fail to capture the magnificent splendor on display at this massive collection of unparalleled cinematic delights. Even so, I'm going to keep my comments to a minimum, letting the props and artifacts from Stanley Kubrick's movies do most of the talking for themselves.

I hope you enjoy my report at least a fraction as much as I enjoyed assembling it for your perusal, and I urge any of you reading this, if at all possible, to make your way down to the Kubrick Exhibit and take it in for yourselves. 
Here I am at the threshold, kissing a giant Star Child poster, waiting for the doors to open with my buddy Spider-Man, who accompanied me on this journey and took this photo...

And here's my ticket...
The TIFF gift-shop was nicely stocked with Kubrick-related knick-knacks, from which I selected Taschen's legendary Stanley Kubrick Archives. I'll have an in-depth review of this incredible book in the near future. Keep watching this space!

Stan the Man's chair, which every Kubrick fan has surely seen in photographs before. And there it was, in the flesh... or splinters, so to speak.

Before checking out the exhibit proper, Spidey and I snuck into the back section ans spied this selection of Kubrick's clapboards. 


The first official item on the exhibit schedule? Kubrick's Oscar for 2001's special effects and his Career Gold Lion from the Venice Film Festival for his full body of work.


Monday, December 22, 2014


Quoted by critic/author Michael Ciment in his epochal tome Kubrick - the gold standard of "Kubrickeana" until Taschen's Kubrick Archives came along - Stanley Kubrick described his reaction to the score he commissioned for 2001: A Space Odyssey from one-time Spartacus collaborator Alex North thusly:
Although he and I went over the picture very carefully, and he listened to these temporary tracks and agreed that they worked fine and would serve as a guide to the musical objectives of each sequence he, nevertheless, wrote and recorded a score which could not have been more alien to the music we had listened to, and much more serious than that, a score which, in my opinion, was completely inadequate for the film."
Read more about this ill-fated musical match - and watch sequences from the film that have been refitted to play North's score instead of the needle-drops we've all come to know and love and associate with this movie and with outer space in general - in this Open Culture article.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


From The Simpsons Episode 151: Much Apu About Nothing
So I finally made it to the Toronto edition of the Deutsches Filmmuseum's world-traveling Stanley Kubrick Exhibition, and to call it a success, or "impressive", is just a massive understatement. I am not a photo bug. I rarely take pictures. But today, I took over 130, and I still feel as though I missed out on a ton of great stuff and need to go back. I'll have more to say about the exhibition over the next couple days, but for now, I wanted to bring to your attention what may be the makings of a new "Kubrick conspiracy theory".

Let me explain.

Earlier this evening, while carrying on an email discussion with documentary filmmaker Scott Noble (my recent concordances for his films The Power Principle I: Empire and II: Propaganda, are at my Useless Eater Blog), we found ourselves discussing Eyes Wide Shut

Scott wrote:
"I think Cruise and Kidman were chosen precisely because of their seeming vacuity (Christian Bale modelled his performance in American Psycho after Tom Cruise, who also appears in the book). Kubrick was reportedly a HUGE Simpsons fan (in its early years), and there's a line in one of the episodes where Apu, attempting to become more "American" to avoid deportation, hides his Ganesha statue; ashamed, he states, "Who needs the eternal love of Ganesha when I have Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman staring at me from the cover of Entertainment Weekly with their dead eyes!" Perhaps I'm reading too much into this."
Reading too much into it? Perhaps... but something about what Scott wrote gave me pause. 

You see, part of the Kubrick Exhibition is devoted to his unfinished projects. It includes part of the notorious Napoleon archive, and paperwork from The Aryan Papers. However, it also included unused marketing materials, including two posters for Eyes Wide Shut that had been commissioned and printed, but which were ultimately nixed.

Here... have a look:

Rejected "Eyes Wide Shut" Poster

Complete Set of Rejected "Eyes Wide Shut" Posters

Rejected "Eyes Wide Shut" Poster

So... what do you think? Do their eyes look "dead" enough to you? Indeed, is it possible that these posters are evidence that Stanley Kubrick - a "massive Simpsons fan" - was trying to have a go at his movie's top stars?

I have to admit, the idea of Kubrick turning the tables and referencing The Simpsons - a show that has referenced his work more times than even an obsessive like me can count - is somewhat of a mind-blower. It even exhibits a Kubrickean symmetry of sorts, mirroring the way Kubrick's artistic visions have been mirrored and refracted through the popular culture by thousands upon thousands of imitations, homages, rip-offs, etc...

So what do YOU think? Was Kubrick taking the piss? Did he have The Simpsons in mind when he commissioned this disturbing promotional artwork? What were Tom and Nicole's reactions like when they first saw these posters? And was the decision to scrap these posters made before or after Kubrick's untimely demise more than three months prior to Eyes Wide Shut's premiere?

I have a lot more digging to do on this story, consulting with fellow scholars of the occult and reviewing my extensive files on Scientology's secret teachings to see if there might be any hidden significance to the unique, bristling color palette used by the artist, or anagrams of anything of a paracultural nature worth mentioning. 

Keep watching this space.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


The fine folks at have put together an intriguing, short history of Stanley Kubrick's mid-career decision to switch from using film-specific scores like those for The Killing, Paths of Glory and Spartacus, to favoring needle-drop selections from his vast collection of classical music, as best exemplified by the iconic, paradigm-shattering soundtrack for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As it turns out, not everyone was wowed by this musical evolution. No less a light than the legendary composer Bernard Herrmann (Citizen KaneTaxi Driver) declared: “It shows vulgarity, when a director uses music previously composed! I think that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the height of vulgarity in our time. To have outer space accompanied by The Blue Danube, and the piece not even recorded anew!”

Then again, maybe Herrmann was just showing solidarity with his fellow film composer Alex North, who only found out that Kubrick had abandoned his full, lush orchestral score for 2001 when he attended the film's premiere screening. Not cool, Stanley... not cool.

The Open Culture article ends thusly:
Thanks to Spotify, you can listen to over four hours of classical music that Kubrick used in his movies. Find the playlist below, and a list of the classical music in Kubrick films here. The playlist features everything from Beethoven (A Clockwork Orange) to Schubert (Barry Lyndon) to Bartók (The Shining). If you need to download Spotify, grab the software on this site.


According to every good liberal's favorite UK broadsheet, The Guardian, the following info-graphic contains "everything you need to know" about "one of the greatest directors of all time." If any of you get the Shallow HAL 9000 "joke" in the upper right corner, please explain it to me because it's going right over my pointy little head.