Spaceflight IC-1

AC-1 1Unpublished Playboy interview with Stanley Kubrick/Bernard Knowles.

Interview by Anonymous.

Early in 1968, Playboy magazine contacted me about the possibility of interviewing Stanley Kubrick. It was an offer I eagerly accepted. 2001: A Space Odyssey had just opened, and critics, whether they loved the film or hated it, were united on one point: nothing like it had ever been seen on a movie screen before.

But were they right?

In 1965, with little or no fanfare, a movie containing many of the same elements as 2001 had been released. I was in complete ignorance of this film, but by the end of my interview with “Mr. Kubrick,” I would learn more about it and the film’s director, Bernard Knowles, than I ever cared to know.

For reasons that will soon become apparent, the interview was never published. One editor at Playboy explained the situation to me this way: “The god damned interview isn’t even with Stanley Kubrick! And, oh yeah, if we publish it, he’s going to fucking sue us!”

It’s been many years since the interview took place, and, sadly, Mr. Kubrick is no longer with us. The time seems right, however, to finally share this bit of cinematic history with the general public. If nothing else, the interview might help explain Mr. Kubrick’s reclusive habits in later years.

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X-Files: I Want to Believe

x 1An expanse of flat, snow-covered land bisected by a two-lane highway. A car has veered off the road and plowed into the snow. The police inspect the area, looking for clues that might explain the accident. This is either (a) a scene from early in Fargo or (b) toward the end of X-Files: I Want to Believe. If you chose (a) and (b), you’re correct!

The two films are remarkably similar, except for small differences like Fargo is funny and has surprising, interesting characters, while X-Files: I Want to Believe is deadly serious, with an established cast that’s dull and predictable. The two films also feature female characters in law enforcement. And there’s lots of snow . . . in both films. Actually, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

x 2

Surprising absence of aliens in X-Files: I Want to Believe.

But forget about Fargo. X-Files: I Want to Believe doesn’t even have that much in common with X-Files: The TV Series or X-Files: The Previous Movie. If you’re looking for government cover-ups, ETs, implants, and alien hybrids—you know, X-Files kinds of stuff—this might not be the movie for you.

The TV series featured two kinds of stories: mythology and stand-alone. The ongoing mythology stories involved sinister aliens, and the stand-alones could be about anything from bionic werewolves to government AI programs run amuck. It’s disappointing the alien invasion isn’t wrapped up or even advanced in X-Files: I Want to Believe, but since a karmic vampire or sentient virus are always only a clue or unexpected revelation away, the absence of an extraterrestrial threat can be forgiven. Continue reading

10,000 BC or 10,000 Blah, Blah, Blahs

10 1Unwilling to pause even for opening credits, 10,000 BC gets right down to what it does best and just keeps on doing it.

AERIAL SHOT of men wearing animal furs, walking, making their way across rocky snow-covered mountain tops. VOICE-OVER, a narrator tells of a legend about a girl with blue eyes. He follows this up with the observation that the details of a legend can become hazy or lost over time.

On this point, I tend to agree with him since what he has to say is already becoming a little hazy for me. He did say blue eyes, right? Is the narrator really still talking?

In the first few minutes of 10,000 BC, the film boldly establishes two main themes: people walking — and stupid dialogue. Old Mother, the wise woman of a caveman tribe, picks up where the narrator leaves off and pads out the legend/prophecy with some mumbo-jumbo of her own.

Old Mother: Four-legged demons will arrive one day and put an end to our world. But a hero, a warrior will rise and lead us to a new land.

Marauders on horses (the four-legged demons foretold in prophecy) eventually do turn up. The village is burnt to the ground, the young and healthy are taken captive, and the surviving cavemen are force-marched to the marauders’ homeland and made slaves.

In an effort to give credibility to the standard-issue bad guy dialogue, the marauders don’t speak caveman (which sounds a lot like belabored, broken English). Instead, they have their own language, which, unfortunately, means it must be read in subtitles.

The following is a close approximation of marauder-speak and its translation:

Marauder: Kash-nook noodock nic tay!

Translation: Blah blah blah blah blah.

While admittedly not a word-for-word translation, it captures the spirit of what’s being said.

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Blood Freak

Blood 1Early on in Blood Freak, the following scene takes place. Hershel, the film’s hero/victim/turkey-man, sits in a leather chair, talking with two women.

Hershel: Mumble. Mumble. (Unintelligible) Mumble.

Even though it’s difficult to understand what Hershel is saying, it must be fairly interesting since the two women seem to hang on every word he has to say or, anyway, mumble. He might even be talking about something that’s important to the film’s plot. As the scene drags on, however, this seems less and less likely, if for no other reason than there doesn’t seem to be a plot.

Woman #1: (Unintelligible) Garbled. Garbled.

Hershel: Mumble. (Unintelligible) Mumble.

Hershel shifts in the leather chair, and the CREAK OF LEATHER is almost DEAFENING.

Woman #2: (Unintelligible) Garbled. Garbled.

What is actually being said may never be known, but the combination of the drug party in the background and Hershel’s phobia of someone suggesting he might be afraid to do something makes the following dialogue a likely possibility:

Woman #1 offers Hershel a hit off a joint.

Hershel: No, thanks. I do it the natural way. I get high on life.

Woman #1: What are you? (Pauses) Afraid?

HersheBlood 2l: No, man. I march to my own drummer. Dig. I don’t mess with that shit. But say I’m afraid, and yeah, I’ll throw all my values right out the window. I’ll ignore everything I stand for. Me? Afraid? I’ll show you who’s afraid. Come on, let’s slam some junk. Or snort a little white horse. Anyone into freebasing?

Then again, given the way the story plays out, an exchange like the following can’t be ruled out either:

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