Category Archives: Film

NEW COLUMN: Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ At 20 — Still Overrated Snoozer

Art, Celebrity, Culture, Film, Sex

In “Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ At 20,” I revisit my original review of the classic cult film and come to that same conclusion, it’s an Still Overrated Snoozer. The column, “Was Kubrick’s Iconic ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ Ever Sexy?,” can be read on WND, Townhall.com Entertainment, and on The Unz Review, which now surpasses The New Republic and The Nation in traffic.

Excerpt:

Stanley Kubrick’s last film, “Eyes Wide Shut,” turned 20. I had reviewed it for a Canadian newspaper, on August 9, 1999, and found it not only pretentious and overrated, but quite a snooze.

This flick is the last in a series of stylized personal projects for which the director became known. Given the mystique Kubrick acquired or cultivated, this posthumous flop is unlikely to damage the legend.

For all the film’s textured detail, its yarn is threadbare and its subtext replete with clumsy symbolism. The screenplay consists of labored, repetitive and truncated dialogue, where every exchange involves protracted, pregnant stares and furrowed brows. “I am a doctor,” is Tom Cruise’s stock-in-trade phrase. An obscure, campy, hotel desk clerk delivers the only sterling performance. This is cold comfort considering the viewer is stuck with over two hours of Tom Cruise’s halfhearted libidinous quests.

“Eyes” is really a conventional morality play during which Cruise prowls the streets of New York in his seldom-removed undertaker’s overcoat, in search of relief for his sexual jealousy. Cruise’s jealousy is aroused by a fantasy his wife—played by then real-life wife Nicole Kidman—relays in a moment of spite, and involves her sexual desire for a naval officer she glimpsed while on holiday with their family. So strong was her passion, she tells Tom, that she would have abandoned all for this stranger.

The confession follows a society party the couple attends in which they both flirt unabashedly with others. Again, the sum total of the dialogue here consists in back-slapping guffaw-inducing genuflection to doctorness. We are treated to a grating peek at Kubrick’s view of the professional pecking order, a view which is reinforced when Cruise makes one of his house calls to a patient whose father has just died. The woman, body writhing like that of a snake in coitus—is this method acting?—throws herself at Cruise. Sex and death commingle in one of the many larded, symbolic moments in the film. The woman’s fiancé, the geek math professor, is depicted as a lesser mortal than the handsome doctor. ….

 

… READ THE REST. The column, “Was Kubrick’s Iconic ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ Ever Sexy?,” can be read on WND, Townhall.com Entertainment, and on The Unz Review.

* Image courtesy E-Online.

When Europe Becomes Africa … In 100 Years

Africa, Christianity, Europe, Film, IMMIGRATION, Intelligence, Race

To see Europe in 100 years, it’s more instructive to look at Africa today or watch “Idiocracy,” a magnificent, American, satire-cum-documentary.

And has Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput ever considered encouraging the use of contraception in Africa? And/or discouraging Africa from moving to Europe? What about preserving his own Christian civilization that has been so instrumental to Africa’s population explosion?

Meryl Creep’s True Colors

Celebrity, Film, Hollywood, Race

Meryl Creep offered a whimsical, wacky defense of her prerogative to belong to a group in which her own kind is “over-represented,” a defense the actress would never afford to other, less privileged lily white Americans:

Actress Meryl Streep is indisputably a Hollywood icon, but her recent remarks regarding the lack of racial diversity on the Berlin International Film Festival jury are unlikely to win her many new admirers. The three-time Oscar-winning actress defended the all-white panel on Thursday, allegedly telling reporters: “We are all Africans.”

The seven-member jury, on which Streep is serving, determines the winners of the prestigious Golden Bear and is one of the most celebrated of Europe’s film festivals. In the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, where the Academy Awards failed to nominate a single actor of color for the second year in a row, Streep was questioned by an Egyptian reporter about the racial make-up of her panel.

“This jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that’s an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions,” Streep said, according to the Associated Press. “So I think the Berlinale is ahead of the game.” The festival jury does include three women in addition to Streep: French photographer Brigitte Lacombe, Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher and Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska.

Let the Hollywood house divided devour itself. Or, “Encourage Affirmative OSCARS, So Hollywood Can Go Belly-Up.”

Encourage Affirmative OSCARS, So Hollywood Can Go Belly-Up

Affirmative Action, Celebrity, Economy, Film, Hollywood, Race

Spike Lee, CNN has reported, is calling for quotas or racial set-asides in Hollywood, which is currently being convulsed by the idea that the Oscars are way too white. First, I like the idea of Hollywood’s self-righteousness being turned against its own, being hoisted by their own petard. Excellent. Let the pious pea brains of Hollywood devour each other and become mired in recrimination. I also welcome set asides and quotas for black actors—more of Gabourey Sidibe as the love interest.

Look, if black actors per se were in great demand among the movie-going public, moviemakers would be rushing to recruit them for more roles. It’s called market forces. Cultural arousal patterns are more likely involved. Perhaps strapping electrodes to a white man’s genitals, and shocking him each time Pamela Anderson appears on the screen will turn him on to black actresses for good. Somehow I doubt it. Hormones are politically incorrect. You can take away college placements and Oscars from white guys, but changing cultural and sexual preferences is a lot harder.

In any event, bring it on. If Affirmative OSCARS and racial set asides in film drive the industry into bankruptcy—that can be quite a cultural cleansing. There is so little talent in that cesspool as it is.