some people like movies

reviews and reactions to the wonderful world of film

Posts Tagged ‘stanley kubrick

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

with 4 comments

I love it when I don’t know too much about a movie.  Of course I’d heard of Dr. Strangelove (what movie-lover hasn’t) but I can honestly say that I was unfamiliar with the premise.  All I knew were images of Peter Sellers looking like a mad scientist who was undoubtably Strangelove, a crazy.  Maybe if I paid more attention to the title I’d gain some sort of intuition that a nuclear war might be involved.

Peter Sellers stars times 3 alongside George C. Scott in this Stanley Kubrick dark-comedy classic.  Psychotic General Ripper (Sterling Hayden) of the US Air Force issues a nuclear attack on Russian soil as part of “Plan R,” an emergency war plan meant to surpass the President’s authority in case of his death in an attack by the Soviets.  Meanwhile a team of politicians and President Merkin Muffley, alive and well, (Sellers 1) meet with General Buck Turgidson (Scott) in the war room (no fighting in there) to frantically bring it under control.  As part of “Plan R” already airborne B-52s, however, have no means of being reached without a three digit pass code to recall the bombers.  Oh yeah, and the Rooskies have a super-secret “doomsday machine” that will blow up the whole world if they’re attacked.

Captain Lionel Mandrake (Sellers 2), executive officer to General Ripper, learns through pop-music on the radio that we are not, in fact, at war and attempts to convince Ripper to recall the bombers.  When he doesn’t, Ripper locks Mandrake in his office.  They have good times chatting about fluoridation and purifying bodily fluids and commies and women and how politicians can’t be in charge of war.

Also in the War Room is Dr. Strangelove (Sellers 3), an ex-nazi weapons man in a wheel chair with hand problems – but it’s cool because no one in the room finds it abnormal that he attempts to strangle himself every few minutes.  He addresses the President as Mein Führer several times and seems to know a thing or two about doomsday-ness.

Now THIS is the right attitude to have about the end of the world.  Let’s welcome that apocalypse with yee-haws.  The main thought floating through my head while watching was “what CAN’T Kubrick do?”  He’s no man of consistency.  I’d never guess he’d throw a comedy into his repertoire though, and it’s kind of crazy how good it is.  The script combined with the spontaneity and perfect delivery of the actors is hilarious satire.

First of all, Peter Sellers rocks this show.  The Pink Panther can do it all and some. Three (could have been FOUR) roles for the man and he’s just as hilarious in each part.  Conversing with the President of Russia (“Now, I’m just as sorry as you are!”) or blasting off Coke machines (If you don’t get the President of the United States on that phone you know what’s going to happen to you? You’ll have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company.”) or that iconic last scene as Dr. Strangelove… Sellers is genius.

George C. Scott, however, hardly shies next to him.  He, too, is hilarious as General Buck Turgidson.  Absurd, and over the top, he embodies that part.  Watching him and Sellers (as the President that is) go at it is a bundle of laughs. Slim Pickens as ‘King’ Kong (would you get a handle of these names?) is also a highlight as the Texan Major in one of the B-52s, and though Sellers would have been good in this role, Pickens is awesome.  “Two pairs a nylon stockin’s. Two pair a prophylactics. Shoot, a fella could have a good time on this in Vegas.”

It’s a comedy in its own way, but it isn’t comedic.  It’s impeccably relevant with the Cold War fear.  It’s a dark subject, but it makes us laugh at that fear of all things.  It does what political satire does best.  It’s all about laughing at the people who don’t know that there is something funny about them.  It’s subtle, but outrageous.  I love that it can get us ROFLing and be a piece of art at the same time.  It’s got Kubrick’s touch in the camerawork and film-noir elements.

This accompanies 2001 as some of the best freaking amazingness that eve came out of Stanley Kubrick.  Though I love My Fair Lady I do wonder at which is better suited for the Best Picture title… One of the greatest WTF endings in the business, “Mein Führer, I can WALK!” and this classic will always be just that, a classic.  9/10


Advertisements

Written by laurenthejukebox17

February 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)

leave a comment »

Spoilers. Just sayin’.

I remember so well when this movie was released.  I was 10-years-old, and i wanted sooo badly to see it – but due to its PG-13 rating my mom wouldn’t let me.  I got over it.  I’m glad, now, that I didn’t see it then because when I finally was able to, I could appreciate it.  At 10-years I already loved movies and knew all about Steven Spielberg; E.T., Close Encounters, Jaws, & Jurrasic Park were favorites from my childhood.  I did not, however, know who Stanley Kubrick was (pretty sure that name came along when I was 12 or 13).  This began as Kubrick’s project and you can see his prints all over it.

Sometime in the future, where the world is starting to freeze over and couples must obtain a license to have children, technology has advanced so much that man can create life.  Artificial intelligence (robots) are hardly distinguishable from human beings.  Scientist Allan Hobby (William Hurt) wants to take it a step further: What if we could create a Robot that could love.  Not physical lust but love like a child would care for his mother.

And so David was created (Haley Joel Osment).  Monica (Frances O’Connor) and Henry (Sam Robards) Swintons – whose child is being held in cryostasis until a cure is found for his disease – decide to test out this new product. (Yeah, I totally stole that from IMDb.  But I didn’t really know what the kid’s problem was.  So sue me).  Henry brings him home and Monica is initially furious.  No “mecha” could replace her own physical child.  Trial period ensues.  Should they choose to keep David, they must perform an irreversable imprint ritual.  Monica spends time with David and they begin to bond.  She decides to do the imprint thing (sadly, this now makes me think of Breaking Dawn…) and David is now in for good.  The transformation is instant – Monica is now Mommy and David wants nothing but to make her happy.

Problems arrive when their “real” son, Martin (Jake Thomas) recovers and comes home.  Suddenly David’s got competition.  Suddenly “Daddy” has changed his mind about the entire ordeal.  Suddenly David is getting in trouble and doesn’t know how to get mommy’s love anymore.  David cuts a lock off Monica’s hair to gain her love but is falsely accused of sinister motives.  Things get worse when he’s found holding Martin at the bottom of a pool… but only because he was frightened seconds earlier and wanted protection.  Monica (sob sob sob) can’t take it anymore, David’s gotta go.

So what does she do?  She drops him in the middle of the woods with nothing but a smart Teddy, some money, and a dismal parting message: “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the world.”  WTF?  He may be artificial, but he’s still a kid.  All he can figure is that his mother must not love him because he isn’t real like Martin.  He decides to search for the Blue Fairy so that he can become a real boy like Pinnochio.

Part two, the story takes a turn and we are introduced to (though we don’t thoroughly explore) this “world.”  Mecha exist everywhere, but humans resent their presence.  “Flesh Fairs” are held to destroy and publicly ridicule mecha, led by Lord Johnson-Johnson (Brendan Gleeson).  Human nature hasn’t degraded far enough for them to ridicule an 8-year-old boy, however, when David is under display.

David still searches for the Blue Fairy, still accompanied by Teddy and newly accompanied by Gigolo Joe – Hey Joe what do you know? (Jude Law).  He is led (guided by Dr. Know (Robin Williams)) to an underwater Manhattan.

The end to this film is an end for discussion, and I must admit I have a few issues with it myself.

David is reunited with Dr. Hobby, creator.  We learn that David is the new frontier.  Soon he will be available to anyone who wants a child that can love.  Suddeny, though, David leaves.  Hey Joe what do you know is taken by the police.  David finds the remains of a Pinnochio exhibit on an underwater Coney Island.  David and Teddy stay in the helicopter thing for, wait for it, two thousand years praying to the Blue Fairy.  After those two thousand years – the Mecha of the future and some sort of real Blue Fairy (Meryl Streep) find David and are able to reunite him with his mother for a day only.  The film ends after a perfect day spent with Monica.

I’m not in the habit of writing an entire synopsis for a simple review, that’s not my thing.  But I’ve been thinking about this movie so much that it helps me to sort it all out.  I’m even having difficulty throwing in sarcastic comments, made-up words and dumb jokes I’m thinking about this so hard.  Allow me to interject now with a big WTfreakingF???  Like, seriously.  I don’t even know what to think.  But now that I’ve gotten this out of my system, thanks for listening to that really boring summary instead of our usual review format.  I feel much better now, folks.  Anyway, there are the little things that bug me… for example though I liked Jude Law’s character I found the sexual innuendos unnecessary.  It gave an interesting perspective to David’s unique ability to truly love, but in the end it contributed nothing.  I also wonder what the point is of owning a perpetual 8-year-old.  But those are small things.

Many complain about the end.  Many are convinced that Spielberg took this film a completely different direction than was the intention of Kubrick.  (Spielberg has been quoted to say that this is false, Kubrick’s intentions were met in the finished product.  Apparently).  Granted, I had a WTF moment myself and it took two viewings to really place it but seeing as mecha cannot become human, this is sci-fi not fantasy, I found the ending appropriate.  David found closure.  His wish essentially came true.  He was able to spend a perfect day with his mother and do the things he wanted to.  Who knows what his future holds – he is one of a kind, now.

My issue concerns the almost-end.  Apparently he was led to Manhattan as part of a plan.  Apparently he was special.  Apparently the fellow scientists (including Miles from Lost!)  were dying to meet him.  He was made in the image of Doctor Hobby’s son for crying out loud!  Yet…. nothing else happens?  David… gets left?  Did they search for him?  What would have happened next?  Now do their Davids and Darlenes get shipped to the world?  We are led to this moment and nothing happens.  That threw me.  And really bothers me.

My admiration for this film outweighs my contempt for its faults, and although I was thrown by the ending it adds to my appreciation.  Though I love Spielberg and Sci-Fi always – the selling point is Haley Joel Osment.  He may be the very best child actor to have passed through cinema, and yeah I’m being serious.  It’s not easy for an adult to correctly display artificial emotions, yet he does it without a single misstep.  His eyes tell the story.  His performance could not be duplicated.  If anything, the film is worth it for him.

It is unique.  It is fascinating.  I was invested every second.  As with all works of art, it’s now left to interpretation, so do what you will with the ending.  I, however, highly recommend the film.  It must have been worth it if I’m already eager to watch it again. 🙂 8/10

On a side note – I want a Teddy.  That’s my kind of companion!

please, don’t shoot me

with 11 comments

Should you happen to read this post and the thought crosses your mind that someone who has not seen these movies is obviously under-qualified to write a movie blog… keep in mind that I’m only 18-years-old.  I’ve still got time.  This whole list thing is all very embarrassing, so give me kudos for admitting my shortcomings to the world.  It goes something like this:

Movies I haven’t seen (but should have)

30. Alien (1979)

This would be higher on the list, but I have seen a LOT of this movie.  The problem being, I can’t remember if it was Alien or Aliens… all I remember is Sigourney Weaver, violence, and aliens.  Which is basically common knowledge.  So I just need to sit down and watch the whole thing.

29. Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

A bank robbing couple?  I’m there!  Why haven’t I seen this movie again?

 

 

28. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Despite my interest in Kevin Spacey, no dice.  I haven’t seen this one either.  Though, I must add, my interest in this film grew after I moved to Tahiti, so I haven’t really had a chance to see it.  See, now I’m making you feel pity, rather than disgust.

27. Harvey (1950)

I’ve seen….. roughly 80% of James Stewart’s movies.  Just not this one.  Ironically enough, I became more interested in seeing this after watching Donnie Darko.  You know, giant rabbits?

 

26. His Girl Friday (1940)

Basically the same thing as above.  I’m a hard core Cary Grant fan since birth, but I’ve never seen this one.

25. L.A. Confidential (1997)

Kevin Spacey.  Russell Crowe.  Guy Pearce.   David Straithairn.  Why haven’t I seen this yet?

 

 

24. The Big Lebowski (1998)

I really haven’t seen that many Jeff Bridges movies, to be honest (and embarrass myself further) so I’m not sure why I’m choosing this one as the “one to see” but I’ve always had this off-hand interest in “The Dude.”

23. Shadowlands (1993)

Despite my love for C.S. Lewis and Anthony Hopkins…

 

 

22. Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Oh have I heard so much about this movie.  It’s Christopher Guest, after all, that can mean nothing but good.  It’s my kind of movie, and seems like my kind of humor.  I can’t wait to see it one of these days.

21. Capote (2005)

I’ve been dying to see this movie ever since it was released.  We even rented it, but for some reason I wasn’t able to watch, so my mom saw it by herself.  She raves about it, and I’m still dying to see it.

 

20. Twelve O’Clock High (1949)

Gregory Peck, how I love you.  I can’t believe I haven’t seen this movie of yours.

19. Spirited Away (2001)

I remember watching  the Oscars when Spirited Away won Best Animated feature.  I thought, (being  eleven) what the heck IS that?   Since then, I’ve heard nothing but critical acclaim and  I am now very anxious to cross this off my list.

 

 

18. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Best Actor win (classic film fans will hate me for saying that, ha) plus Director, Picture, and Screenplay wins… I should probably see this movie one of these days.  It’s a favorite of my parents.

17. The Hustler (1961)

Ever since I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for the first time I’ve been in love with Paul Newman.  I’m pretty far behind on his filmography and this is the first on my list to see.  Plus I dig the poster.

 

 

16. The Great Dictator (1940)

I grew up with Charlie Chaplin, and Modern Times is one of my all-time favs.  I’ve yet to see this classic, though.

15. The Deer Hunter (1948)

These are getting kind of repetetive aren’t they?  Christopher Walken’s Oscar winning performance, Meryl Streep’s first nomination and Best Picture winner deserves (more likely than not) SEVERAL viewings, and I haven’t even seen it once? WTF?

 

 

14. The African Queen (1951)

My mom has raved about this movie, and I love me some Bogart.  Since its recent DVD release, hopefully I can check it off soon.

13. Schindler’s List (1993)

Yeah… like I said.  Don’t shoot me.  I know this is an excellent movie, I’ve seen several scenes in fact.  I know I should see this movie pronto.

 

 

12. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Honestly, I may have heard of this movie ages ago but I didn’t REALLY know about it until just a few years ago.  My interest piqued when I went through my Stanley Kubrick obsession phase and read absolutely anything I could get my hands on about him.

11. Out of Africa (1985)

Meryl Streep.  Robert Redford.  In the same movie.  I promise, I’ve seen SOME movies.

 

10. Annie Hall (1977)

The ultimate Woody Allen.  Ranked #4 in AFI’s 100 Laughs series.  Won the Oscar for Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Screenplay. This is a bad caption.

9. Sophie’s Choice (1982)

In case I haven’t made this clear, Meryl Streep is my favorite modern actress.  Someday I’ll do a post especially for her because I just love her so (and I’m still pulling for another Oscar!)  Sophie’s Choice won Meryl her Best Actress Academy Award and is, perhaps, her best film to date.  Or so I’m told.

 

 

8. Die Hard (1988)

Seriously?  I haven’t seen DIE HARD? Yeah, I know.  I suck.  I lurve Alan Rickman too, so it’s really a shame I haven’t seen it.

7. The Graduate (1967)

“Mrs. Robinson you’re trying to seduce me… aren’t you?”  Basically I already love this movie.  And I knoow I love Dustin Hoffman.  But, all I really know of it is Anne  Bancroft’s sexy legs.

 

6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Jack Nicholson in a mental institution?  1 of 3 movies to take home the big five Oscars?  Man, I gotta get me some of this action.

5. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

One of Johnny Depp’s billions with Tim Burton.  Yeah, I can’t believe I haven’t seen this one either.  It’s totally my kind of movie.

 

4. The French Connection (1971)

The most famous chase scene of all-time.  One of my favorite actors, Gene Hackman.  Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Actor winner.  I cannot describe the anticipation I have to one day see this movie.

3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Another Hopkins.  And (like Cuckoo) 1 of 3 to win the big five Oscars.  (In case you’re wondering, the other is It Happened One Night. I’ve seen that one!)

 

2. Citizen Kane (1941)

Wow, this is really getting embarrassing now.  I’m pretty sure I’ve previously lied to people about this one.  See, my family and I were going through the AFI 100 movies list and we just… didn’t make it that high!   I’ve sort of had this two year hiatus of serious movie-watching through this whole Tahiti excursion, and seeing as I don’t have as much access to what I want, this one has had to wait.

1. The Godfather (1971)

It’s a sin, I know, not to have seen this movie.  Forgive me.  I want nothing more than to repent, and quickly.

Yeah.  I know I suck.  There are many more great movies I haven’t seen (I won’t name them, however, or NO ONE will read this blog!)  but these are just the ones that I, personally, can’t believe I haven’t seen.  Now go ahead.  You may mock me all you want.