Stanley Kubrick leaves this writer cold. But for plenty of movie fans, that’s the point: his clinical, calculating provocations are perennial favorites. Those on Kubrick’s wavelength can wallow in the chill this weekend when the Cinemark 20 in Merriam screens a double feature of A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clockwork remains an unsettling (if misanthropic) assault, but the real draw here is 2001. It was the biggest-ever blockbuster just as movies were beginning to engage with adult audiences; and thanks to Kubrick’s fastidiousness, it’s a staggeringly beautiful beast—the kind of thing you haven’t seen until you’ve seen it on the big screen.
Perhaps the humanistic yin to Kubrick’s hermetic yang, Terrence Mallick is nonetheless only slightly less polarizing. After a two-decade period of self-imposed exile from moviemaking, Mallick recent output has been relatively frantic. He’s been refining his ethereal, montage-and-voiceover heavy aesthetic since The Thin Red Line reintroduced audiences to one of the most spiritual directors working in the mainstream. Some people love it—if a more transcendent cinematic experience than The Tree of Life exists, tell me more—and others find it meaneringly vague. Either way, there’s nothing else like it out there. His newest, about a slick screenwriter suffering a crisis of conscious in a debauched Los Angeles, is Knight of Cups, and it’s playing (once a day, at 11:30 in the morning) this week at the Glenwood Arts Theatre in Overland Park. In a way, that’s fitting: the experience is as elusive as To the Wonder’s crepuscular light. Catch it if you can.
Also of note:
Romeo + Juliet (Alamo Mainstreet, Kansas City)