Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Weekend Box Office Report

Baby, it's cold outside

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Weekend Box Office

And so begins the Holiday season

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Box Office Report

Frozen 2: now even frozener!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Tarnishing

Hey, I saw Doctor Sleep this last weekend! Date talked me into it. I can't say it was disappointing because you could see that flaming train coming round the bend a mile away. I will say, though, that it made me like The Shining all the more, for the wrong reasons.

Doctor Sleep, as you know, is based on Stephen King's novel which is a sequel to King's The Shining. It details the adult adventures of Danny Torrance, the kid who escaped violent death at the Overlook Hotel when his dad Jack, to quote President Merkin Muffley, "went a little funny. In the head". Danny didn't come out of the experience unscathed. He's a depressed alcoholic who can't connect with people. But he manages to connect with a 14-year-old girl who has his psychic gift, when she enlists his help in finding and stopping the people who are killing children who ALSO have his psychic gift.

What went wrong with this thing? It's certainly well cast and shot. Ewan McGregor puts in a fine performance as a troubled American. All of the actors, in fact, are convincing. And the screenplay is competent at least. I haven't read the novel (I don't recall having read ANY Stephen King novels because he was doing fine without me) but this movie plays like a skillful adaptation of a book, brisk and faithful. Probably.

I think where we get into the weeds is the book is a sequel to another book, and this movie is ostensibly a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's movie. It's filled with visual references to the Kubrick's The Shining. And that property was NOT Stephen King's The Shining. Kubrick ground that book up and made it into some dense, multilayered crazy Kubrick lasagna, so deeply enigmatic that there's a documentary about people's varying interpretations of it. It's scary not because it's about murder and ghosts; it's scary because you're trapped inside Kubrick's head and you have no idea how to get out.

Doctor Sleep, on the other hand, is a pleasant little adventure about bad guys and good guys that is so resolutely understandable that it makes the ability to know when people are dying feel like the knowing when it's about to rain. It's not scary, it's annoying.

One of the reasons I have such fond memories of Kubrick's The Shining is because it came out a few years after MGM tried to make a sequel to another Kubrick film. 2010: The Year We Make Contact had most of the same problems that Doctor Sleep has. It's an attempt to normalize and literalize the magic of the original, and it fails because it lacks the spark of genius that made you notice Kubrick's work.

One more thing - this movie recasts the leads in The Shining with summer stock lookalikes who kind of suggest Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers. There must have been better choices than these actors. Or maybe digital masks would have worked. SOMETHING. As it is I think anyone would walk out saying "I look more like Scatman than that guy."

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tuesday, November 5, 2019