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Just finished a Kubrick Marathon

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Just finished a Kubrick Marathon

Old 09-07-06, 01:55 PM
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Just finished a Kubrick Marathon

I just finished up a Kubrick marathon.. starting from Lolita and up (I guess this covers all the movies in the box set). Anyway, I'm pretty sure I've seen some of these back in the days of being seven and eight watching Cinemax and HBO until dawn, but I hadn't gone through his catalog as an adult. I'll easily be picking up the box set (or the new one that's rumored) because I know all these movies need to be watched multiple times to fully enjoy.. but I figured I'd give my first time impressions on them all. These are in the random order in which I watched them.

A Clockwork Orange - The first one I watched just happens to be the one I enjoyed the most. I think the opening shot is probably one of the best shots on film EVER. It's probably the most straight-forward of his movies, so maybe my feelings will be shifted once I give the catalog repeat viewings.

The Shining - After all the bickering I've seen on these forums over Kubrick's supposed 1.33:1 preference, nothing really gives credence to one point or the other more than this movie does. There is so much rich, vertical imagery in this film that I couldn't fathom it being matted down.. everything else he did, argue away, but The Shining NEEDS that extra height. Practically every shot of this movie has beautiful up and down pictures to it. That aside, the movie is great and really, really puts you in a state of isolation that the characters are in.

Full Metal Jacket - I've seen a lot of people say they love the first half only.. but I love them both. The clusterfuck at the end of the movie where their whole unit goes against a single sniper was great.

2001: A Space Odyssey - I thought this was mostly boring to be honest, but it's a technical masterpiece. The effects are insanely amazing still today. The middle section of the movie is pretty good actually, I guess I just wasn't interested in watching monkeys for 25 minutes and flashing colors for 15.

Dr. Strangelove - Okay, I "get" the comedy here, I understand the satire.. but it just didn't connect with me. Maybe it's a product of its time? Since I grew up after the major nuclear scare I guess I couldn't appreciate this one so much. HOWEVER, George C. Scott made this movie for me, his performance alone put this one into the "like" category for me. On the other hand, whereas Scott's over the top performance was believable, Sellers' titular character was not.

Lolita - I really liked this one. I guess there's not much more to elaborate on.

Barry Lyndon - *equips bullet-proof vest* Okay, here goes. This is probably the only one I truly didn't like. I LOVE the imagery, you actually feel like you're watching stuff from the 18th century and not just a movie about it, but I just felt nothing from the story. I know with this and my comments on 2001 I'll probably be branded as some explosions-and-bullets-movie kind of guy.. but whatever. I don't mind slow pacing but I didn't think either movie's pace brought anything more than awesome photography to the table.

Eyes Wide Shut - I saved his last for last (I'm not sure why given the randomness of the order otherwise) but it's probably my second favorite of his movies. This is the one that I almost wanted to watch a second time right as I was done with it the first time. The movie is so well shot and acted that you literally feel like Nicole Kidman is telling you about her dream or that you're the uncomfortable odd man out in "the house" or that you're the one being followed.
Old 09-07-06, 02:01 PM
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So 2001 didn't work for you, but EYES WIDE SHUT did...





wow.
Old 09-07-06, 02:18 PM
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If that was your fist time watching 2001 and Barry Lyndon you should try and give those another chance sometime. They are my two favorite Kubrick films, as well as two of my favorite movies of all time. I think I had a reaction similar to yours the first time I watched Lyndon, but the second time I saw it it blew me away. Now you just need to see The Killing, Spartacus, and Paths of Glory (if you haven't already). I especially like Paths of Glory.
Old 09-07-06, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Filmmaker
So 2001 didn't work for you, but EYES WIDE SHUT did...





wow.
I agree, that's a stumper...

if you've got HDNet movies they've been showcasing a number of films in HiDef. 2001 was amazing, as was A Clockwork Orange come to think of it.
Old 09-07-06, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jonjj7
If that was your fist time watching 2001 and Barry Lyndon you should try and give those another chance sometime. They are my two favorite Kubrick films, as well as two of my favorite movies of all time. I think I had a reaction similar to yours the first time I watched Lyndon, but the second time I saw it it blew me away. Now you just need to see The Killing, Spartacus, and Paths of Glory (if you haven't already). I especially like Paths of Glory.

I also highly recommend The Killing very very entertaining.
Old 09-07-06, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Giles
I also highly recommend The Killing very very entertaining.
Strong agreement.
Old 09-07-06, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jonjj7
If that was your fist time watching 2001 and Barry Lyndon you should try and give those another chance sometime. They are my two favorite Kubrick films, as well as two of my favorite movies of all time. I think I had a reaction similar to yours the first time I watched Lyndon, but the second time I saw it it blew me away. Now you just need to see The Killing, Spartacus, and Paths of Glory (if you haven't already). I especially like Paths of Glory.
Oh, I will.. no doubt! I even front-loaded my post stating that I'm sure some of these need an extra viewing or two to really enjoy. I've seen Spartacus semi-recently, but I will be sure to check out his other two older films at some point. Just to make it clear I acknowledge each of his films as a work of art (and perhaps 2001 and Barry Lyndon more so than the others), but that's separate from my personal enjoyment of each one.
Old 09-07-06, 03:31 PM
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Hey Pixy!

First off, if you enjoyed these, I require you to go see Paths of Glory.

Secondly, welcome to the camp that loves Eyes Wide Shut! It's one of my favorite Kubrick films. It's such a rich film in so many ways. I recommend reading the novella it was based on, Dream Story, and also getting a copy of the UK version, which doesn't feature the CGI men in the orgy sequence. It really gives a sense of isolation that the American cut doesn't.

As for 2001 and Barry Lyndon, I loved both on the first viewing, but I could easily see how they wouldn't be immediately accesible. I say give 2001 more time to stew in your head. Rewatch Barry Lyndon first and remember, much of it is meant to be comedic. Not all of it, of course, but I think this idea is lost on a lot of people.

As for Lolita, have you read the book? Other than James Mason's performance, I found Lolita to be lacking in almost every way. It's a bad adaptation of the book and Peter Sellers is woefully miscast. Just IMO.
Old 09-07-06, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by PixyJunket
Lolita - I really liked this one. I guess there's not much more to elaborate on.
Aside from your admiration of underage girls...
Old 09-07-06, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
Rewatch Barry Lyndon first and remember, much of it is meant to be comedic. Not all of it, of course, but I think this idea is lost on a lot of people.
I have to admit I haven't seen Barry Lyndon, but with what you've said, I'll bear this in mind when I check it out on HDNet Movies

(Sept. 14th and 24th )
Old 09-07-06, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
Aside from your admiration of underage girls...
Oh yeah, I might have a slight bias.

Though, I hated Lolita in the movie and was more enamored watching Humbert turn into an obsessive creepy wreck and then fall to pieces.
Old 09-07-06, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Giles
I also highly recommend The Killing very very entertaining.
Originally Posted by Geofferson
Strong agreement.
Third.
Old 09-07-06, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
Hey Pixy!

First off, if you enjoyed these, I require you to go see Paths of Glory.
I'll put both that and The Killing my Netflix queue.

Originally Posted by Suprmallet
Secondly, welcome to the camp that loves Eyes Wide Shut! It's one of my favorite Kubrick films. It's such a rich film in so many ways. I recommend reading the novella it was based on, Dream Story, and also getting a copy of the UK version, which doesn't feature the CGI men in the orgy sequence. It really gives a sense of isolation that the American cut doesn't.
I remember putting the disc in remembering that a lot of people hated it, so I was pleasantly surprised. I seem to remember in one of the recent HTF Warner chats that a new EWS was on the way for either an HD Kubrick set or just a third DVD set (probably both) and that it would be the unrated cut. So I'll look forward to that, my PS2 is region free but I'm not sure how it'll handle PAL discs.

Originally Posted by Suprmallet
As for 2001 and Barry Lyndon, I loved both on the first viewing, but I could easily see how they wouldn't be immediately accesible. I say give 2001 more time to stew in your head. Rewatch Barry Lyndon first and remember, much of it is meant to be comedic. Not all of it, of course, but I think this idea is lost on a lot of people.
Comedic? Really?! That's odd.. I'll keep that in mind for the repeat. I did sense some comic undertones when he was being robbed and there was a heightened level of politeness between the parties. Didn't catch much of it anywhere else. I did find it odd that the first part was billed as how he becomes Barry Lyndon and that's probably about the last 10 minutes of that part; likewise the second part is billed as his downfall and again, most of that happens in the last 10 minutes.

Originally Posted by Suprmallet
As for Lolita, have you read the book? Other than James Mason's performance, I found Lolita to be lacking in almost every way. It's a bad adaptation of the book and Peter Sellers is woefully miscast. Just IMO.
No, I haven't read the book, but my comment above kind of explains what I enjoyed about the movie.
Old 09-07-06, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Filmmaker
So 2001 didn't work for you, but EYES WIDE SHUT did...





wow.
Count me in with Pixy. 2001 doesn't do a lot for me. But Eyes Wide Shut is very engrossing to me.

Barry Lyndon and Lolita are good movies and probably would had suffered with any other director.

The Shining is brilliant. A Clockwork Orange is brilliant. Full Metal Jacket is brilliant.

That's all I've got.

Saxon
Old 09-07-06, 04:24 PM
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OK, my favorites: 2001 (possibly the greatest film ever made) and Dr. Strangelove.

runnersdialzero notes that "Lolita" (and Lyndon) probably would have suffered had they been directed by another director. Boy howdy, not only are you correctmundo, but in fact "Lolita" suffered mightily at the hands of a particular hack. And, worse, this hack's hacky film is often considered a better translation of the novel than Kubrick's. Which leads me into my usual Lolita-rant (bear with me, if you can, if not ... scroll on!):

First, I'm a big Kubrick fan, and an even bigger Nabokov fan. Because of this, the unworthy adoration of Adrian Lyne's film by certain critics who've obviously never cracked this particular book really bugs the hell outta me. Particularly those who somehow contend that it's "closer to Nabokov's vision". Sure, Kubrick took some liberties, failed to hew closely to Nabokov's script, and was working under a stricter moral code than Lyne... but nonetheless he created a movie that was overwhelmingly Nabokovian, whereas Lyne's effort is simply an embarrassment to all involved. That it became a cause-celebre among a certain subset of critics should embarrass them as much as the adoration of Michael Moore's sophomoric bit of agit-prop should embarrass another crop in the years to come.

First of all, Nabokov's work is a multi-valent satire, skewering many literary genres and, ultimately, love itself and our (mis)representations of it. Lyne's film, on the other hand, is a vapid, sentimentalized, and mawkish tragedy. Scenes that are written as broad humor in the novel have been translated as somber drama in Lyne's 'Merchant Ivory' take. The precise dialog is employed, but given a meaning that Nabokov never intended. Or, more correctly, given only the superfical meaning. The uncomprehending literalness of a hack. Lyne has stripped every ounce of humor from Nabokov's most hilarious novel, and seems utterly unaware that the majority of the 'tragic' aspects are merely part of the self-serving confession of the imprisoned Humbert. The truth of the novel - if one could call it that - and it's brilliance, lies beneath this mawkish veneer.

Right off the bat, Lyne couldn't get things more wrong. In the introduction to his confession (that is, the novel itself), Humbert Humbert longingly describes a lost love of his youth, suggesting in his typically self-serving way that this is the Freudian underpinnings of his later obsession with Lo. This, of course, is a tease. From his jail cell, the erudite and well-heeled Humbert is playing here for sympathy - and in a rather ridiculous manner. He doesn't even bother to make up a believable name, instead assigning the moniker "Annabel Leigh", a patently obvious allusion to Poe's greatest poem of lost love ("Annabel Lee") and, thus, a patently obvious fabrication.

[Poe's "Annabel Lee": http://www.poedecoder.com/Qrisse/works/annabel.html ]

Further, it allows Nabokov another opportunity to skewer Freudian psychoanalysis, a theme common to all his novels. It's a literary allusion masquerading as a self-diagnosed childhood trauma which Humbert professes to have caused his adult sickness. It's a play for sympathy, and a rather transparent and ridiculous one. To put it simply, all that stuff about "Annabel Leigh" is quite clearly bullshot. The reader is expected to laugh out loud, nod knowingly, and snicker at Nabokov's cleverness and Humbert's gall.

But, absurdly, Lyne takes it utterly seriously. Indeed, he makes it the underpinning of HH's 'tragic personal history'. It's a fundamental misreading of the text because it transforms the entire subsequent narrative into something which it not only is not, but which it is in fact mercilessly satirizing. That Lyne not only took this bit literally, but used it as the linchpin by which he converted Nabokov's brilliant satire into some common hamfisted tragedy is a joke.

I think Nabokov would've found Lyne's gross misreading hilarious... except to the extent that people might claim it accurately represented his novel. All VN's typical misdirection and literary game-playing, the subverting of genre and expectations, these are part and parcel of Nabokov's brilliance.

But Lyne's interpretation is the ideal superficial reading. Exact quotations ripped from context and given a voice that Nabokov never intended. Tragedy? Since when has Nabokov ever written anything so old-fashioned as that? Certainly there are tragic elements, but only when viewed from a single angle, and nothing Nabokov ever wrote, at least in his prime, is intended to have but a single facet. That Lyne somehow managed to strip every ounce of humor from Nabokov's most hilarious novel is quite a feat, albeit a dubious one.

And while it's true that the cinema codes of the day prevented Kubrick from a more graphic depiction of Humbert's obsession, Kubrick understood that this was hardly the heart of the novel. Indeed, Kubrick understood that it was, in fact, satire. His changes - and there were many - never betrayed the tone and intent of the novel; he never allowed it to droop into the tired cliche of a tragedy. And he never allowed moralistic or sentimental notions to subvert the satire. Kubrick recognized this to be crucial to any adaptation, though critics thought he allowed Sellers too wide a berth--a bit too over-the-top, too broad, too wacky. Perhaps. But at least he got it.

Sadly, most critics did not. So caught up were they in the notion that in this new Lolita, the director was able to depict a goodly amount of sex! sex! sex! that they declared it closer to the tone and spirit of the original. One wonders if they've ever even read the original.

There's at least one critic who grasped the ridiculousness of Lyne's interpretation - Alan Stone of MIT's BostonReview. And, fortunately, it's published online:

http://bostonreview.net/BR23.5/stone.html

Last edited by Richard Malloy; 09-07-06 at 04:32 PM.
Old 09-07-06, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by PixyJunket

I remember putting the disc in remembering that a lot of people hated it, so I was pleasantly surprised. I seem to remember in one of the recent HTF Warner chats that a new EWS was on the way for either an HD Kubrick set or just a third DVD set (probably both) and that it would be the unrated cut. So I'll look forward to that, my PS2 is region free but I'm not sure how it'll handle PAL discs.
I don't know the details of the new disc, it could just be the widescreen version.

Originally Posted by PixyJunket
Comedic? Really?! That's odd.. I'll keep that in mind for the repeat. I did sense some comic undertones when he was being robbed and there was a heightened level of politeness between the parties. Didn't catch much of it anywhere else.
It's subtle, but definitely there. Barry Lyndon is basically a simpleton who happens to get thrown into all of these various situations and through blind luck gets through (most of) them. The narration from the very beginning should clue you in to the film's humorous intentions, especially when coupled with the "find the ribbon" scene, specifically Barry's inability to comprehend what the girl means. Again, not everything is funny, and the sumptuous images tend to distract from the humor, but a lot of the film is really funny. It only tends to get more serious when he meets Lady Lyndon.



Originally Posted by PixyJunket
No, I haven't read the book, but my comment above kind of explains what I enjoyed about the movie.
As I said, James Mason is wonderful in the film, it's the rest of it that tends not to work (although the scene where contemplates killing his wife or even himself had me in fits).

Robert: I agree with you on Lynn's interpretation, even though I'm a sucker for Jeremy Irons. But that version definitely misses the mark by a mile. Kubrick understood there was meant to be humor, but while Nabokov's work is a satire, Kubrick's is a farce. The scene where Peter Sellers shows up at the school dance and he's dancing with the mother is as bad as anything Lynne did, imo. In my mind, there's not been a really good adaptation of the book yet.
Old 09-07-06, 05:39 PM
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Eyes Wide Shut is one of my favs as well. Along with Barry Lyndon probably being my favorite Kubrick. It's hard to put them in order, ALL his movies are great.
Old 09-07-06, 10:53 PM
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Eyes Wide Shut is my favourite Kubrick movie. It's so haunting, so layered, and the attention to detail is astonishing (even down to which particular books are shown on shelves).

A Clockwork Orange is the one I don't like and sadly it's all because I just can't tolerate its style.
Old 09-07-06, 11:07 PM
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The style is part of what makes it so great!
Old 09-08-06, 03:54 AM
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The Killing happens to be my favorite Kubrick film. It may not be as layered as his later films, but this noir film even at the early stage of his directing career has strong performances, good atmosphere, and i love the intricate timed heist of the racetrack.
Old 09-08-06, 11:32 AM
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Pixy, I'm with you on Strangelove. I know what's it all about and I only find it mildly funny. Some of the dialogue is even funnier outside of the movie, like "precious bodily fluid" or "You can't fight here! It's the war room!"

I gotta admit though, George C Scott's performance is phenomenal, but that's about it.

May be it's about taste, but I haven't figured that out yet.
Old 09-08-06, 12:29 PM
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Pixy, while I disagree on some of your points, I appreciated that you gave each film a fair shake. It makes me want to do my own marathon.
Old 09-09-06, 12:48 AM
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I totally agree with you about the Shining.

Besides that, it's interesting to hear your opinions after watching these for the first time really. 2001 grew on me with age. Dr. Strangelove is one of the funniest films ever made I think, but there's a lot of humor to take in on one viewing. Or maybe the humor isn't up everyone's alley, I don't know.

I know you said you'll watch these again, but watch Barry Lyndon again, and again. It used to be one of my least favorite Kubricks, but now it's one that I rewatch probably the most. Pure bliss. But I still don't like Clockwork Orange much
Old 09-09-06, 02:09 PM
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I either really like or completely love every Kubrick film and each for almost completely different reasons from the others. Aside from both being incredibly well made, 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut could not be more different, and yet I can't take my eyes off of either. The former continues to amaze me almost 40 years later, as it's one of a handful of films I've seen over 20 times that still reveals new layers of nuance with continued viewing. It takes a truly special filmmaker to produce a body of work that covers so many different styles and different types of brilliance.

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Old 09-09-06, 02:35 PM
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I agree about Barry Lyndon. One of the dullest movies I have ever seen. Maybe I need to take another look with the "Intended humor" aspect.

I have always wondered if you watch all of the ones in the set from Lolita on up in order if the movies might form some kind of strange narrative. If so, it would be interesting that the last word of Kubrick's epic sagas was the word "fuck."

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