Stanley Kubrick's Boxes

Last night, just by chance, I noticed that someone had uploaded Stanley Kubrick's Boxes, a documentary by Jon Ronson, to Vimeo. I was super excited as I'd been trying to find it for quite a while with no luck.

The film, as far as I can tell, was made alongside this 2004 Guardian article by Ronson which I remember reading on my lunch break back when I worked in Argos. It's a fascinating exploration of Kubrick's giant (bloody GIANT) personal archive that shines a little light on his creative process.

I'd recommend giving it a look, especially because there's a chance it'll be pulled from Vimeo if the wrong kind of dude stumbles over it. It's as funny and interesting as you'd expect from a Jon Ronson documentary.

There's a suggestion in there that Kubrick understood that he could create works of genius, but only if he methodically researched every detail of a project for years beforehand. That's comforting, eh? The idea is lovely - that even if you're not a natural talent, you can achieve something beyond your capabilities if you're patient and put in enough goddamn work. It completely humanises the big, scary, impenetrable director.

I'll maybe do a wee post about my love for Jon Ronson sometime soon. If you don't know his work, his latest book, The Psychopath Test, is a great place to start.

EDIT: understand there's a good number of people visiting after a bunch of activity on Twitter last night. First off, hello! Second off, Javaring on Vimeo is deserving of credit for the upload.

Holmes vs. Potter

Tonight we watched a film that I remember fondly from my childhood. The Spielberg-produced, Young Sherlock Holmes. A decent Indiana-lite adventure that once freaked me out with its trippy hallucination sequences. It always came on the telly on a wet Saturday afternoon.

When trying to convince Alex it was a worthwhile watch, I said 'You'll like it, it's a bit like Harry Potter'. I don't mind a bit of H.P. now and again and neither does Alex. I'm not into the books or anything, but I'll watch the films. Anyway, having not seen Young Sherlock Holmes in at least 10 years, 'a bit like Harry Potter' turned out to be a hell of an understatement. Y'know Withnail & I has that drinking game? Well here's one for Young Sherlock: take a swig everytime something Harry Potter-y comes on screen - you won't make the credits.

The main 3 characters, Holmes (Harry), Watson (Ron) and Elizabeth (Hermoine) wander around their big old school in their stripey scarves getting into all sorts of pavlovas. They make friends with an eccentric old professor (Dumbledore), sneak about after dark and take the piss out of Watson for being a clumsy arse. Sherlock spends most of the film with a scar on his face (given to him by the bad guy, for goodness' sake). Tea is eaten in a massive hall complete with a million candles, comedy twins and scowling teachers:

There's even a fencing (wand) lesson where Holmes proves himself to be a formidable fencer (wizard) but is warned that he needs to keep his emotions in check, or else. As the mystery (concerning an Egyptian cult) unravels, the gang head out into the London underworld (Diagon Alley) to visit curious shops in the search for clues. I'm using Google to find these names, by the way.

Best of all though is Holmes' rival, Dudley (Draco). A right proper ponce who sneers and scowls his way through the film as he plots Sherlock's downfall. He's a bad egg. He chats up Elizabeth. He gets Holmes expelled. He nicks a trophy. Just take a look at him next to Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. Ooh, that rotter:

Pretty close eh? When you see him in action it's hard to not be all 'hang on a second, this is getting weird'. I guess it could still be a coincidence though. Well, yeah, but just wait until Sherlock goes and makes a potion that TURNS HIS GODDAMN HAIR WHITE:

Haha! It's like J.K. Rowling wrote some weird Young Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction and it all got a bit out of control. Look, he's even got a couple of cronies tagging along with him. There has to be something fishy going on, right? Right?

Well, maybe. Turns out some guy beat me to the comparison by about 5 years. He goes into a fair bit of depth on this blog about it. There's a lot of interesting stuff about J.K. Rowling's influences, Chris Columbus' involvement in Young Sherlock / the H.P. films and more nerdy comparisons that I could ever make. Here's me thinking I was dead insightful.

I'm not meaning to go all conspiracy theorist here, Harry Potter has a ton of really cool ideas going on. It's cool. These similarities only make watching Young Sherlock Holmes more fun. If you're in the mood, you can even watch thewhole thing on YouTube right now.