Weekly Film Recap #21 (Stanley Kubrick)

Stanley Kubrick.jpg

Stanley Kubrick’s career is one that’s impossible to duplicate. From the beginning with films like Fear and Desire and Killer’s Kiss, we saw Kubrick getting his feet wet, while still maintaining a certain auteurist style that would only bloom with each film from there on out.

Kubrick closed out the 50s with two of his first popular films in The Killing and Paths of Glory and he quickly followed those up in the 60s with three of his most career-defining films. From Lolita on to Dr. Strangelove, we saw Kubrick coming into his own in terms of visual style and storytelling, but the floodgates were torn down with his 1968 masterpiece (that we unfortunately didn’t have time to talk about this week) 2001: A Space Odyssey.

From then on, Kubrick approached the last 5 films of his career by characterizing them almost solely in terms of visual style, since each of his last five films differ greatly from the next in terms of story.

Kubrick was recognized as a genius outside of cinema and his true god-given genius is on display in each of his films, with it becoming more and more present with each one. Below are the Kubrick films we talked about on our Instagram this past week! Enjoy and let us know your favorite Kubrick film below!

THE KILLING  (dir. Stanley Kubrick)  Stanley Kubrick had two small films under his belt and come 1956, he was ready to take on a bigger project starring some pretty big names, the Killing!  The Killing is a film noir starring Sterling Hayden as Johnny, the mastermind behind an elaborate robbery of the local horse track; something that’s never been done before. The film carries on in a mostly non-linear form that clearly highlights where Tarantino got his inspiration for Reservoir Dogs from. As Johnny leads the rest of the gang to a successful robbery, things start taking an unexpected turn for the worst when one of the guys wife’s decides to step in and try to muscle her way into some of the cash.  The Killing has a phenomenal cast with Sterling Hayden, Elisha Cook Jr., and Timothy Carey while Kubrick’s idiosyncrasy behind the lens finally starts to take form. While Fear & Desire and The Killer’s Kiss both predated The Killing, you really get a much clearer picture on Kubrick’s keen eye for beautiful cinematography here. The Killing truly feels like the ‘first’ “Kubrick” film.  5/5  WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker (FREE)

THE KILLING

(dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Stanley Kubrick had two small films under his belt and come 1956, he was ready to take on a bigger project starring some pretty big names, the Killing!

The Killing is a film noir starring Sterling Hayden as Johnny, the mastermind behind an elaborate robbery of the local horse track; something that’s never been done before. The film carries on in a mostly non-linear form that clearly highlights where Tarantino got his inspiration for Reservoir Dogs from. As Johnny leads the rest of the gang to a successful robbery, things start taking an unexpected turn for the worst when one of the guys wife’s decides to step in and try to muscle her way into some of the cash.

The Killing has a phenomenal cast with Sterling Hayden, Elisha Cook Jr., and Timothy Carey while Kubrick’s idiosyncrasy behind the lens finally starts to take form. While Fear & Desire and The Killer’s Kiss both predated The Killing, you really get a much clearer picture on Kubrick’s keen eye for beautiful cinematography here. The Killing truly feels like the ‘first’ “Kubrick” film.

5/5

WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker (FREE)

PATHS OF GLORY  (dir. Stanley Kubrick)  After The Killing, Stanley immediately followed up with his first real anti-war film, Paths of Glory, a genre Kubrick would toy with for the rest of his career.  Paths of Glory follows members of the French Army during WWI. Kirk Douglas stars as Colonel Dax, a well-respected colonel in the army. In order to gain a prominent promotion, the shady General Mireau orders an attack on a German trench that’s pretty much a guaranteed death wish. When Douglas refuses and most of his men stay in the trench, the generals pick three random men for execution in order to retain and flex their power over the troops.  While The Killing and even Killer’s Kiss were great films, Paths of Glory is the first one that really starts showcasing some of the auteurist qualities that would define Kubrick’s work. For instance, the tracking shots of Kirk Douglas in the trenches paved the way for all the many orderly tracking shots Kubrick would go on to use over the next 40 years.  Paths of Glory also has great support with roles from Ralph Meeker (Kiss Me Deadly) and Timothy Carey (The Killing) as two of the innocent men who were picked at ‘random’ for execution. Each of them give career defining performances, regardless of how small the roles may have been.  5/5  WATCH: Criterion Channel, Putlocker (FREE)

PATHS OF GLORY

(dir. Stanley Kubrick)

After The Killing, Stanley immediately followed up with his first real anti-war film, Paths of Glory, a genre Kubrick would toy with for the rest of his career.

Paths of Glory follows members of the French Army during WWI. Kirk Douglas stars as Colonel Dax, a well-respected colonel in the army. In order to gain a prominent promotion, the shady General Mireau orders an attack on a German trench that’s pretty much a guaranteed death wish. When Douglas refuses and most of his men stay in the trench, the generals pick three random men for execution in order to retain and flex their power over the troops.

While The Killing and even Killer’s Kiss were great films, Paths of Glory is the first one that really starts showcasing some of the auteurist qualities that would define Kubrick’s work. For instance, the tracking shots of Kirk Douglas in the trenches paved the way for all the many orderly tracking shots Kubrick would go on to use over the next 40 years.

Paths of Glory also has great support with roles from Ralph Meeker (Kiss Me Deadly) and Timothy Carey (The Killing) as two of the innocent men who were picked at ‘random’ for execution. Each of them give career defining performances, regardless of how small the roles may have been.

5/5

WATCH: Criterion Channel, Putlocker (FREE)

DR. STRANGELOVE  (dir. Stanley Kubrick)  Arguably Kubrick’s first masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove is a timeless analysis about what would happen if the wrong person pushed “The Button.”  Peter Sellers came off Lolita and took on three roles for Dr. Strangelove, including the titular character. The film itself centers on Sterling Hayden’s character, General Jack D. Ripper, who’s fallen into an intense paranoia fueled by the idea that the Communists have invaded the states and are attempting to poison all of our “Precious Bodily Fluids.” Ripper sends a bunch of B-52’s out to go bomb Russia and now it’s up to the President and every other US general or leader to come up with a solution to stop this incoming bombing so the Russians don’t detonate the nuclear bomb.  Originally supposed to be a typical “war-thriller”, Kubrick decided it would be best if this film was approached with a satirical lens and got to work as he and writer Terry Southern began to turn this into a comedy. This decision proved wise as we sit here 55 years later and still laugh until our stomach hurts at how relatable the situation still is. The full name of the film, Dr. Strangelove: or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, beautifully represents how there isn’t much you can do in the face of unnecessary governmental fuckery, but laugh. This is easily one of Kubrick’s most timeless films and as long as we have men running the country, feeding off the primitive excitement of bombs and war, this film will forever be relatable.  5/5  WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker (FREE)

DR. STRANGELOVE

(dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Arguably Kubrick’s first masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove is a timeless analysis about what would happen if the wrong person pushed “The Button.”

Peter Sellers came off Lolita and took on three roles for Dr. Strangelove, including the titular character. The film itself centers on Sterling Hayden’s character, General Jack D. Ripper, who’s fallen into an intense paranoia fueled by the idea that the Communists have invaded the states and are attempting to poison all of our “Precious Bodily Fluids.” Ripper sends a bunch of B-52’s out to go bomb Russia and now it’s up to the President and every other US general or leader to come up with a solution to stop this incoming bombing so the Russians don’t detonate the nuclear bomb.

Originally supposed to be a typical “war-thriller”, Kubrick decided it would be best if this film was approached with a satirical lens and got to work as he and writer Terry Southern began to turn this into a comedy. This decision proved wise as we sit here 55 years later and still laugh until our stomach hurts at how relatable the situation still is. The full name of the film, Dr. Strangelove: or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, beautifully represents how there isn’t much you can do in the face of unnecessary governmental fuckery, but laugh. This is easily one of Kubrick’s most timeless films and as long as we have men running the country, feeding off the primitive excitement of bombs and war, this film will forever be relatable.

5/5

WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker (FREE)

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE  (dir. Stanley Kubrick)  The end of the 60’s and into the 1970’s reigned in a new form of cinema; one fully consumed and indulgent in the sex and violence that highlighted the culture of the 1960s.  A Clockwork Orange stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex, a ‘gang leader’ (for lack of better terms) who leads his gang of Droogs around a dystopian version of the UK where they partake in a little ‘ultra violence’ on the innocent people of their town. After killing a woman and being left out to dry by his own droogs, Alex gets arrested and subsequently gets experimented on to see if he can be ‘cured’ of his violent tendencies.  Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel polarized audiences and created quite a stir with it’s controversial subject matter. Coming out the same year as films like Straw Dogs, The Devils, and Get Carter, the UK saw a rise in pure expressionistic films that reveled in it’s violent nature.  This was the first film Kubrick was able to get his hands on where he could freely express the subject matter of his stories. Thanks to Bonnie and Clyde and the rest of the New Hollywood movement, cinema changed and Kubrick was finally able to make the films he wanted to without having to worry about cutting back due to explicit nature. 2001: A Space Odyssey helped reign in a new era of Kubrick’s career and A Clockwork Orange was the launching pad that showed Kubrick was just as much a renegade as he was a visionary.  4/5  WATCH: Netflix

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

(dir. Stanley Kubrick)

The end of the 60’s and into the 1970’s reigned in a new form of cinema; one fully consumed and indulgent in the sex and violence that highlighted the culture of the 1960s.

A Clockwork Orange stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex, a ‘gang leader’ (for lack of better terms) who leads his gang of Droogs around a dystopian version of the UK where they partake in a little ‘ultra violence’ on the innocent people of their town. After killing a woman and being left out to dry by his own droogs, Alex gets arrested and subsequently gets experimented on to see if he can be ‘cured’ of his violent tendencies.

Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel polarized audiences and created quite a stir with it’s controversial subject matter. Coming out the same year as films like Straw Dogs, The Devils, and Get Carter, the UK saw a rise in pure expressionistic films that reveled in it’s violent nature.

This was the first film Kubrick was able to get his hands on where he could freely express the subject matter of his stories. Thanks to Bonnie and Clyde and the rest of the New Hollywood movement, cinema changed and Kubrick was finally able to make the films he wanted to without having to worry about cutting back due to explicit nature. 2001: A Space Odyssey helped reign in a new era of Kubrick’s career and A Clockwork Orange was the launching pad that showed Kubrick was just as much a renegade as he was a visionary.

4/5

WATCH: Netflix

THE SHINING  (dir. Stanley Kubrick)  Along with Dr. Strangelove and 2001, which we unfortunately didn’t talk about this week, The Shining is among the pure masterpieces composed by Mr. Kubrick.   Jack Nicholson stars in his iconic role of Jack Torrance, the man who’s been hired to act as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel while it’s closed down for winter. Furthermore, him and his wife’s son, Danny, has an important gift called ‘Shining’ that allows him to both use telepathy as well as see ahead into the future, where signs of danger start to present themselves.  I should preface this by saying that I could write pages about this film, but I’ll attempt to be brief. The Shining is easily Kubrick’s most psychological film and also acts as his first take on a traditional horror film. The Shining disregards all traditional horror tropes (of the time) and created a new experience for the horror film fan.  Jump scares, ghosts, ghouls, and all that shit were left out as Kubrick opted to try for a psychological horror that leaves the viewer feeling more unnerved and anxious than any regular ghost movie could. The underlying heart beat and gliding camera around the hotel give us the impression that the hotel is very much alive and apart of this story as Jack, Wendy, or Danny. It’s no wonder that Kubrick practically re-created the approach to the horror genre with The Shining, much like Hitchcock did with Psycho 20 years prior.  5/5  WATCH: Hulu

THE SHINING

(dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Along with Dr. Strangelove and 2001, which we unfortunately didn’t talk about this week, The Shining is among the pure masterpieces composed by Mr. Kubrick.

Jack Nicholson stars in his iconic role of Jack Torrance, the man who’s been hired to act as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel while it’s closed down for winter. Furthermore, him and his wife’s son, Danny, has an important gift called ‘Shining’ that allows him to both use telepathy as well as see ahead into the future, where signs of danger start to present themselves.

I should preface this by saying that I could write pages about this film, but I’ll attempt to be brief. The Shining is easily Kubrick’s most psychological film and also acts as his first take on a traditional horror film. The Shining disregards all traditional horror tropes (of the time) and created a new experience for the horror film fan.

Jump scares, ghosts, ghouls, and all that shit were left out as Kubrick opted to try for a psychological horror that leaves the viewer feeling more unnerved and anxious than any regular ghost movie could. The underlying heart beat and gliding camera around the hotel give us the impression that the hotel is very much alive and apart of this story as Jack, Wendy, or Danny. It’s no wonder that Kubrick practically re-created the approach to the horror genre with The Shining, much like Hitchcock did with Psycho 20 years prior.

5/5

WATCH: Hulu

FULL METAL JACKET  (dir. Stanley Kubrick)  The 70s and 80s saw quite a rise in films depicting and analyzing the effects of the Vietnam War on both Vietnam natives and US soldiers. But, Full Metal Jacket isn’t like most Vietnam war films. Inn fact, it’s pretty unlike any war film ever made.  Full Metal Jacket is split into two unique halves. The first half stars Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio as a couple of brand new military recruits in boot camp under the leadership of the hard-nosed and assertive sergeant played by R Lee Ermey. The first half depicts the strenuous and psychologically paralyzing activities that take place in boot camp in order to meld the minds of the people going out onto the battlefields to kill, kill, kill. The second half follows Modine as he’s now in Vietnam as a journalist who gets his feet wet for the first time when he catches up with some buddies from boot camp in the war.  Most war films focus on the camaraderie between the troops and while Kubrick does that in FMJ, he shows how that camaraderie is built. It’s not just because they stand beside each other or became friendly w/ one another. It’s because they are all they got. They’ve become so mentally dissociated from who they once were that these connections are what carry them from day to day.  4/5  WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker (FREE)

FULL METAL JACKET

(dir. Stanley Kubrick)

The 70s and 80s saw quite a rise in films depicting and analyzing the effects of the Vietnam War on both Vietnam natives and US soldiers. But, Full Metal Jacket isn’t like most Vietnam war films. Inn fact, it’s pretty unlike any war film ever made.

Full Metal Jacket is split into two unique halves. The first half stars Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio as a couple of brand new military recruits in boot camp under the leadership of the hard-nosed and assertive sergeant played by R Lee Ermey. The first half depicts the strenuous and psychologically paralyzing activities that take place in boot camp in order to meld the minds of the people going out onto the battlefields to kill, kill, kill. The second half follows Modine as he’s now in Vietnam as a journalist who gets his feet wet for the first time when he catches up with some buddies from boot camp in the war.

Most war films focus on the camaraderie between the troops and while Kubrick does that in FMJ, he shows how that camaraderie is built. It’s not just because they stand beside each other or became friendly w/ one another. It’s because they are all they got. They’ve become so mentally dissociated from who they once were that these connections are what carry them from day to day.

4/5

WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker (FREE)

EYES WIDE SHUT  (dir. Stanley Kubrick)  Kubrick’s final film was completed just months after his passing, yet Eyes Wide Shut still remains an important stop down the line of Stanley’s work.  Real life married couple, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, star together as Bill. and Alice Harford, a wealthy Manhattan couple who find themselves going down a treacherous path fueled by sex, revenge, and jealousy. One night, Alice admits to Bill that she almost acted on an impulse with a stranger she found herself attracted to. This revelation sends Bill down an intense 24 hour journey where he meets prostitutes, visits an illuminati orgy, and experiences other strange happenings in New York City that are all fueled by sexual desire.  With the many rumors flying around of Kubrick helping with the filming of the moon landing and his connection with the “illuminati” it seems interesting that his last picture would dive into that topic straight up, and that he would coincidentally pass away before the film was able to be completed. Nonetheless, the film still presents a wide array of Kubrick’s iconoclastic traits that came to fruition over 30 years prior. While, easily one of Kubrick’s most surreal and dream-like films, it seems oddly personal and acts as the perfect closing note to one of the most iconic filmmaking careers of all time.  4.5/5  WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker (FREE)

EYES WIDE SHUT

(dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Kubrick’s final film was completed just months after his passing, yet Eyes Wide Shut still remains an important stop down the line of Stanley’s work.

Real life married couple, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, star together as Bill. and Alice Harford, a wealthy Manhattan couple who find themselves going down a treacherous path fueled by sex, revenge, and jealousy. One night, Alice admits to Bill that she almost acted on an impulse with a stranger she found herself attracted to. This revelation sends Bill down an intense 24 hour journey where he meets prostitutes, visits an illuminati orgy, and experiences other strange happenings in New York City that are all fueled by sexual desire.

With the many rumors flying around of Kubrick helping with the filming of the moon landing and his connection with the “illuminati” it seems interesting that his last picture would dive into that topic straight up, and that he would coincidentally pass away before the film was able to be completed. Nonetheless, the film still presents a wide array of Kubrick’s iconoclastic traits that came to fruition over 30 years prior. While, easily one of Kubrick’s most surreal and dream-like films, it seems oddly personal and acts as the perfect closing note to one of the most iconic filmmaking careers of all time.

4.5/5

WATCH: iTunes, Putlocker (FREE)