Stanley Kubrick: Master of Emotions

The only Kubrick film in my father’s DVD collection was (and still is as I recall) 2001: A Space Odyssey. As a kid I can remember being intrigued by the film because I was seven years old in the year 2001. It just sounded cool and modern. So my dad let me watch it when I was about ten and I just didn’t understand it. As many people have said over the years, “He’s so cold.  He’s so un-emotional.  His films are so long and boring.” Watching 2001 at a young age, there’s no way you can understand it because its themes and message are far too sophisticated for a young mind. But as many of the best films do, it kept me intrigued. I told myself that I would watch it later, when I was older and understand why it is consistently ranked among the best films ever made.

                When I entered University as a film student, 2001 was no longer the only Kubrick film I had seen. I’d seen The Shining one Halloween and I’d found copies of Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, and Barry Lyndon. I finally grew to appreciate 2001 and I had really loved many of his other films. But first year is when I realized that anyone who thinks Kubrick is emotionless isn’t paying attention. I was watching 2001 and was still fairly bored by the middle stretch, but when Bowman starts his trek to shut down HAL, I started feeling something; I was sad. HAL was pleading with Bowman. HAL was like a small child acting out and Bowman was going to kill him. And as HAL’s voice slowed, I started crying. I finally saw the feeling that many critics had been talking about for years.

                So I started watching his other films again and finally watching the films I hadn’t seen. The laughter and satire of Dr Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket, the blood curdling fear of The Shining, the frightening reality of Clockwork, the utter sadness ofBarry Lyndon, the loneliness and curiosity of Eyes Wide Shut: Kubrick wasn’t emotionless; he was the master of emotions. If you bought into his world, he would make you confront the feelings we would all rather ignore. 

Way Way Way Ahead of its Time (We Hope) [short-review]

image

Metropolis (1927) is a film student’s dream as well as their nightmare. The restored version with its original orchestral music and beautifully restored picture is so crisp and so gorgeous that it’s a joy to watch. But when you’ve seen and other films from the 20s that haven’t been restored, you have to wonder how close to Fritz Lang’s original artistic vision and intent this restoration is.

Watching Metropolis was exhilarating.The music was epic and inspiring and totally fitting to the brilliant imagery on screen. It was truly hard to believe some of the scenes were shot in 1927. The editing was crisp and well-paced, the cinematography was absolutely stunning and the acting is some of the best I’ve seen in silent film (since you can’t compare silent acting to sound acting).

And all of this leads to the half-assed conclusion that this film was, is, and probably will be one of the greatest films ever made despite not knowing exactly what this film would have looked like at its release in 1927. I’ve read enough people who claim that it was the greatest film ever made at the time of its release to be conflicted about this film from a perspective of authenticity. However I will probably end up watching it again just to see what else there is to see, experience the beauty of this film again, because above all else, this is one of the most aesthetically beautiful films ever made, lost, and restored. 

The Rocky Films from a Film History Perspective

Rocky – Underdog trains hard and loses because the system is against him 
Rocky 2 – Underdog wins because dreams really do come true 
Rocky 3 – Even the mighty can fall, but only the truly passionate (and white) can claim true greatness (with a hard rock soundtrack)
Rocky 4 – Fuck the Russians (with synthesizers) 
Rocky 5 – Baby Boomers are still great, trust us 
Rocky Balboa – The Baby Boom is STILL THE BEST

The reasons why from a film history perspective

1 – pre star wars, pre blockbuster era, and therefore the protagonist has to lose because the Hollywood Renaissance was a bunch of films about losers
2 – after star wars, the protagonist can win now
3 – SEQUELS ARE ALLOWED AGAIN (with a hard rock soundtrack)
4 – Fuck the Russians (with Synthesizers) 
5 – New generation of action stars? I don’t think so 
6 – Geriatric film making becomes a thing