The Shining 4K is the Pick of the Week

Kubrick's 1980 polarizing horror masterpiece headlines a rather slow week of new releases.
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What else can you say about The Shining, director Stanley Kubrick's controversial 1980 horror masterwork?! On one side, it's considered one of the most disturbing films ever made; on the other, it's reviled by many (including Stephen King himself) as a totally unfaithful adaptation of the arguably the scariest novel ever written. Is it a ghost story? A haunted house thriller? A film about the aftermath of alcoholism? A film about the unraveling of a really broken family? A film about one man's descent into complete and utter madness? No matter how you view, the film is here to stay. It is also one of the most parodied movies in history, from The Simpsons to even IKEA.

I don't think I really need to explain the plot of the film, but to those who haven't seen it (and there are many), I'll try anyway. It centers on Jack Torrence (an iconic Jack Nicholson), an alcoholic novelist (with a serious case of writer's block) going to the elegant Overlook Hotel in Colorado with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and telepathic young son Danny (Danny Lloyd), where he is going to be the new caretaker. It seems to be this posh and sophisticated hotel where the family can recover from the past, and where Jack can work on his new novel. However, the hotel has a bizarre history, and the cabin fever causes Jack to go insane, where he eventually tries to kill both Wendy and Danny. Scenes that have become instant classics: the blood pouring from the elevator, the creepy twins in the hallway, the woman in the bathtub, Jack's conversations with Lloyd the bartender, his encounter with Grady (the previous caretaker) in the bathroom, Wendy encountering a guy in a bear suit supposedly having sex with a man, and the chase in the snowy maze, among others, have elevated the film to cinematic infamy. It's a film that will always be repeatable and analyzed for many years before to many years to come.

The new 4K Blu-ray release doesn't include anything new. In fact, the theatrical trailer is missing, and the infamous alternate ending (where Ullman visits Wendy and Danny in a hospital, who are recovering after Jack's assault) is also not included, and known to be lost. However, the two-disc set does have new art, a slipcover and a digital copy. The special features are vintage: audio commentary by Stedicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter (on both the 4K and Blu-ray); The Making of the Shining; and three featurettes (View from the Overlook, The Visions of Stanley Kubrick, and Wendy Carlos, Composer). Despite its slighty altered restorarion, and other minor flaws, this new release should be a major addition to anyone's collection.

Other releases:

Gremlins 4K: A father brings home an adorable creature for his son Billy as a Christmas present. The instructions: no snacks after midnight, no water, and mood lighting goes ignored, which unleashes devilish green creatures who turn the small town upside down.

Pan's Labyrinth 4K: Young Ofelia and her sick mother move in with the mother's sadistic new husband, and he attempts to destroy a nearby army uprising. Ofelia journeys into a stone labyrinth where she has to complete three risky tasks in order to save her and her mother from a terrible fate.

Zombieland 4K: A group of people, including a dweebie young man, a wise-cracking cowboy, and two tough sisters find ways to survive the zombie apocalypse, while also trying to trust each other.

The House of Hitchcock: A new collection that includes fifteen of his finest films (Rear Window, Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, and Shadow of a Doubt, among others), seven episodes from Alfred Hitchcock Presents, three episodes from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, limited edition blueprints of the Psycho house, movie poster cards for all the films, and a booklet about his legendary career.

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