Kubrick Day: 6 Amazing Stanley Kubrick Films!

Stanley Kubrick is one of our most accomplished film directors. Unless you are in the small minority (you know who you are) you’ll have at least one of his films on your list. Through his black comedies such as Dr. Strangelove and Lolita through to A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, Kubrick has crafted insanely rich and plentiful movies over decades of brilliance.

To celebrate Kubrick Day and the release of Barry Lyndon, we take a look at the best films by the director in an article so painstakingly crafted (seriously, how can you not choose all of them?) that we’ve become isolated loons in a hotel somewhere…

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The stirring score. The montage opening. The space thriller 2001: A Space Odyssey is a classic. The film caught space-age in the scariest of ways. Based on a book by Arthur C. Clarke, the epic science fiction film follows a voyage to Jupiter that goes awry when the operating system becomes sentient. Believe it or not, this film was met with mixed reviews upon its first outing but has since been widely acclaimed and influenced a dozen of cinematic glories since.

HAL’s breakdown has, as with most movies, been parodied repeatedly within subsequent movies and television shows  (as is the evolution of man at the beginning,) which really denotes the superiority here. Kubrick’s space age wonder as well as the horror of a machine leaving you stranded in mid-space. And whilst we now have loads of Machines From Hell: When Good Bots Go Bad films, Kubrick’s was one of the most definitive.

Barry Lyndon (1975)

On its release the film received mixed reviews and was only a moderate success. Much of this could be down to the films slow pace and long running time. Made at a time when an interval was still used, the film runs at just over three hours and may turn away some audiences. With its beauty and detail, however, Kubrick allows the camera to linger on landscapes, settings, and interior detail. This in no way progresses the narrative but is as much the director’s vision of the characters and story.

Leading man O’Neal may still be best known for schmaltz-fest Love Story but here he gives an impressive and understated performance as Barry. Able to portray the young naïve boy we meet in the beginning right up to the cold, calculating and ruthless socialite he turns into. His downfall is epic and even though it feels inevitable, it still shocks an audience following his story.

A Kubrick epic as only the man could deliver. Beautiful cinematography and a rise and fall of epic proportions.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Imagine a young Vincent D’Onofrio sat on a toilet in white shorts and a t-shirt starring up into the sky as his mind dwindles further and further away. Clenching onto his gun, one that he has spent months with, preparing, loving, and polishing, he is clearly broken by the army’s brutish and unrelenting techniques to train him as a soldier. The moonlight streams in through the window as a bully of an officer comes pounding in with venom streaming out of his tongue to give the boy another lashing. Standing in mumbling retaliation, hefty breathing and a gun aimed square at the enemy built up in his mind – vengeance clear in his mind – and then, bang bang, they are both dead.

That’s just a slice of the iconic imagery that Kubrick’s work that tackled the implications of the Vietnam War, following a group of soldiers from recruitment to actual war caught the violence and grim in a brutal and hellish way. Though the story does lose momentum following D’Onofrio’s crazed manner, Full Metal Jacket still catches each troubling second in the ferociousness of war.

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Peter Sellers is one of the greatest comedic actors of all time and his loss is still deeply saddening. He could take on each character with a zealous and intricate way, making each of them believably droll and untimely. His best work is definitely his multiple roles within Dr Strangelove (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.)

This utterly satirical film hits every note and every joke. Tackling the ridiculousness of the Cold War and the countries (namely America) taking part when war is threatened, Kubrick and Sellers team up for a dark and hilarious black comedy. While you know that this is a spoof of War Rooms and politicians, you also know that there is some sickening truth when it comes to the folks with the fingers on the trigger. Even worse, the sharp comedy could still be held up today – especially if orange coated morons get into power.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

With an insatiable score that moves the movie into fantastical reality and hits its thudding crescendo at man pivotal scenes, A Clockwork Orange is a cinematic triumph. While it may be hated by some and adored by most, I doubt there are people out there entirely indifferent to the film itself.

What really makes A Clockwork Orange truly a triumph is the casting of Malcolm McDowell as Alex. Plucked by Kubrick thanks to his work in …If (which could easily just be called Alex DeLarge: The Early Years) McDowell’s gleeful gang leading Alex is both witty and terrifying. As his, wide eyed, merciless attacks with little much thought, means that he has no empathy with his victims and sees his acts as a way to combat boredom. Enthralling, McDowell is a powerhouse of fear that twists into confusion when he is experimented on in prison. He is able to take a terrifying murdering rapist and turn him into this pitiful creature that we feel sorry for despite loathing him in the first act. McDowell handles the change in character, the wandering lost teenager as he no longer knows his place – even if his original stance was repulsive. McDowell gives us an entirely human monster – a protagonist and antagonist all at once – the ultimate anti-hero.

Kubrick’s direction combined with Burgess’ themes are great but then by adding Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange proves that there is a strain of art made for purely one reason – to provoke. And love or loathe it, it has certainly succeeded in that.

The Shining (1980)

A pulsating heartbeat that punctuates a tense atmosphere makes an alluring and horrific feast. Solidified in pop culture, rippling within shows, cartoons, and other films. Even the brand new Ghostbusters movie (which, sidebar, is brilliant and I believe you should all go watch it to prove a lot of babies wrong,) has a sly reference to the ghostly mind-fuck of a movie. One of Kubrick’s greatest triumphs, the story of a family isolated in the wintery forests, pursued by relentless spirits and the father’s troublesome mind-sets, is a creepy, redolent feature that doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares to freak you out. Kubrick adds terror to the long and billowing corridors and unleashes mayhem on the psyche of a psychic child and his abusive father. The climatic scenes are built up in carefully weaved pressure and the tension mounts so exquisitely that the aftertaste will writhe through you forever since your first watch.

With a vivid and memorable performance by Jack Nicolson, The Shining is a perfect example of thrillers done right.


HAPPY KUBRICK DAY! 

Tickled – Brand New Trailer!

Hands up who likes being tickled?

That’s right – no one. Because whilst there are five seconds of pure glee, then it all turns into a chaotic nightmare of trying not to soil your pants. Giggles are more like wailings as you scream at the torture. Of course a light gentle tickle But many have romanticised the idea, cropping up in romantic comedies and dramas since forever.

Now there’s a brand new movie about it all and it looks strangely hilarious.

Aptly named Tickled, and presented by Stephen Fry, this documentary is an affecting piece. After stumbling upon a bizarre online competition, where young men are tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to the company and instead gets a mocking reply back. Instead of moving on, Farrier decides to dig deeper and uncovers tickling facilities and all its complications in the underbelly of LA.

This is an odd but weirdly alluring film, uncovering a less known shadowy world of…..tickling?


TICKLED IS OUT 19th AUGUST

 

Barry Lyndon – BFI Video Essays

Stanley Kubrick is one of our most accomplished film directors. Unless you are in the small minority (you know who you are) you’ll have at least one of his films on your list. Through his black comedies such as Dr. Strangelove and Lolita through to A Clockwork Orange and The Shining brilliance, Kubrick has crafted insanely rich and plentiful movies with over decades of brilliance.

Now Kubrick is propelled back into the limelight with the re-release of Barry Lyndon, out in cinemas Friday.

For the release of his period drama masterpiece, and to celebrate Kubrick Dave on his 88th birthday, BFI have released several videos honouring the film and the work of Kubrick. Check out these visual essays on the acclaimed director!

What do you think?


BARRY LYNDON IS OUT 
HEAD TO #KUBRICKDAY TO CELEBRATE THE DIRECTOR!

Barry Lyndon – Review

There are few directors whose work is as respected and as prolific as Stanley Kubrick. The great man worked in numerous genres, explored a range of narrative and worked with an endless list of talented actors.

To celebrate the work of the great director the British Film Institute is re-releasing one of Kubrick’s most accomplished films. Barry Lyndon is a rise and fall tale that takes the audience from a rustic Irish landscape to the heights of the British Aristocracy. Featuring some of Kubrick’s most ambitious cinematography the director used a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray as well as prominent 18th century art to create his period epic

Following the rise and fall of Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal), a simple Irish boy who falls in love with his older cousin Nora. When she shuns him for an advantageous marriage he duels the suitor and wins. He soon after flees his home and joins the army, going to war and eventually deserting. He is captured by a rival army and forced to re-enlist, gaining favour and working as a spy. Later Barry profits as a prolific gambler with his partner the Chevalier de Balibari (Patrick Magee). He then meets the young and beautiful Countess of Lyndon, (Marisa Berenson), who will change the course of his life. His relentless pursuit of status leads to the now Redmond Barry Lyndon’s inevitable downfall.

The film is based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, author of Vanity Fair. The visuals were inspired by a scrap book of 18th Century art as well as artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, and William Hogarth. Kubrick aimed to recreate the richness of these painting in the film and have an authentic window into the past. The result is one of Kubrick’s most accomplished works, stylistically speaking, and still by today’s standards the detail feels truly unmatched.

The story is told in voice over, though not a totally reliable one. This is the evolution of a man and the full life he leads in detail. We follow Barry as he journeys from Ireland across Europe and back to England. His rise in society is the driving force of the film and the visuals demonstrate this climb.

The first half of the film is very much focused on landscapes and open spaces. Barry’s spell with two army’s allows war sequences to be explored mirroring famous art canvases. This style reflects the rustic and simple life that Barry leads as a soldier. Once Barry leaves this life and becomes a gambler, the film concentrates on scenes in stately mansions, lit by candles and party sequences. This mirrors his ascension from humble beginnings to man of the world. Finally as Barry marries and enters Nobel life the film presents us with its most eloquent visuals from grand stately homes, lush costumes and fine art filled galleries. Barry has reach the height of society and the visual relish showing the audience his lifestyle.

Kubrick is famous for his striking visuals and Barry Lyndon is no exception. Kubrick used only natural lighting in the film which was innovative for its time. This again was inspired by art, giving the film a unique and authentic look. He moved away from the artificially lit period pieces of his time making Lyndon unique.

On its release the film received mixed reviews and was only a moderate success. Much of this could be down to the films slow pace and long running time. Made at a time when an interval was still used, the film runs at just over three hours and may turn away some audiences. With its beauty and detail, however, Kubrick allows the camera to linger on landscapes, settings and interior detail. This in no way progresses the narrative but is as much the director’s vision of the characters and story.

Leading man O’Neal may still be best known for schmaltz fest Love Story but here he gives an impressive and understated performance as Barry. Able to portray the young naïve boy we meet in the beginning right up to the cold, calculating and ruthless socialite he turns into. His downfall is epic and even though its feels inevitable, it still shocks an audience following his story.

A Kubrick epic as only the man could deliver. Beautiful cinematography and a rise and fall of epic proportions.


BARRY LYNDON RETURNS 29th JULY 

 

 

Sid & Nancy – 30th Anniversary Trailer

Gary Oldman is our most gifted actor. Sure, he’s starred in some rotten movies (Robocop, anyone?) but he has never been bad at them. The chameleon performer can mould himself into pretty much any role and Oldman has given us some of the best performances of all time.

One of the greatest is his portrayal of Sid Vicious in the immortal film Sid & Nancy which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

With Oldman starring alongside Chloe Webb as Nancy, the film takes an anarchic look at the infamous and destructive punk couple who antagonised each other through a crazy concoction of drugs, music, and abuse.

Directed by Alex Cox, this is certainly one of the best movies of all time. Dark, broody, and vicious.


SID & NANCY RETURNS 5th AUGUST 

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV – Brand New Trailer!

Final Fantasy has populated our lives for a long time. The movie series has been a major part of our childhood and teen, intrinsic in pop culture forever.

Now it returns in a brand new movie!

Based on the popular series of video games (but you already knew that,) Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV revolves around the magical kingdom of Lucis which is home to a very sacred Crystal. The bad guys, the empire of Niflheim, are trying desperately to steal it. King Regis sends his elite soldiers called the Kingsglaive to try and stop them. In the midst of this, Regis tries to marry his son to a captive prison.

For fans of the series, this could be an awesome movie and the animation looks incredible AND it has the voices of Aaron Paul, Sean Bean, and Lena Headley. So if you ever wanted to know what it was like to crossover Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, this is the film for you.


KINGSGLAIVE: FINAL FANTASY XV IS OUT AUGUST 30th