Dr Strangelove (USA 1964)

Overrated mis-fire by the overrated, rather soulless, Stanley Kubrick. I have seen most of his output and find them cold and uninvolving with the exceptions of 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and The Killing. Well, they are cold too, but quite involving. But, as entertainment, Dr Strangelove falls down badly (and movies should be entertaining even when thought-provoking). So what exactly is wrong with this waste of celluloid? (I wildly disagree with Elvis Presley, who reportedly thought this was the best flick he’d ever seen.)
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The Killing (1956 USA)

killingThis film is not only Stanley Kubrick’s first acclaimed picture, but it is also credited with inventing the concept of non-linear story telling for the film industry. More recent flicks that have used this technique are Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects. A lot of noirs from the 50’s can be extremely slow and, to be frank, boring. But this didn’t bore me for a second. In Kubrick’s later films he tends to pad out the narrative, but here he keeps it economical. [Read more…]

Full Metal Jacket (1987 USA/UK)

full m jFlaming fudge packs. I’m already suffering flash backs. The film that spawned a legendary catchphrase that shames oriental women everywhere. But this review won’t love you long time. I won’t even charge you five bucks for lookee lookee. Like reading a history book, watching an occasional war movie is good for the soul. It puts one’s problems in perspective. But this is the Magical Mystery Tour of war cinema – like Paul McCartney, all Stanley Kubrick did was bung the following onto a pie chart: 1) Basic training. 2) Suddenly in Vietnam and lulled into a false sense of security. 3) A heavy firefight for the denouement. [Read more…]

Barry Lyndon (UK/USA/Ireland 1975)

barrylyndon07Like the sustained cinematic fugue it is, ‘Barry Lyndon”s opening scenes provide a theme that will be treated to increasingly virtuoso variations throughout. Barry’s father is killed in a duel. Barry loses his virginity to a woman playing a role while playing cards. These are the great threads – Fathers, Duels, Mother, Sex, Women, The Unattainable, Masks, Games, Gambling – weaving into the web that will eventually trap Barry Lyndon. Fate, (through Michael Hordern’s sonorous narration) is like a spider picking him off sadistically limb by limb.
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The Shining (1980 UK/USA)

28FCA14400000578-3093033-image-m-70_1432739012325Stanley Kubrick’s cinema is, usually, a sight to behold. The cold detachment his films are famous for works really well for this particular story. Who needs much fancy dialogue anyway? We get the adventurous camera that prowls through the lavish corridors of the Overlook Hotel like it is some kind of mystic labyrinth rife for exploration. [Read more…]

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968 UK/USA)

74376130John Lennon’s favourite film…or so I heard. The soon to be ex-Beatle used to pay complete strangers the price of their cinema ticket. He knew visual poetry up there on the silver screen when he saw it. Or did he?  I’m not sure whether this flick can be classified as British or American. Its budget was huge and the making of this took three painstaking years. [Read more…]

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