Tuesday 20 January 2009

Eyes Wide Shut, Role Models...and Kubrick...

So here we are, post #251, and as I've not blogged for a bit I thought I'd pimp up some quick thoughts on a couple of recently viewed flicks.

Role Models - the lads and I originally went to see The Spirit, but our nearest cinema is having some odd problems with the film, or probably the theatre in which it is being screened. So it was only around for about a week and a half, and since then it's not been around - hopefully they'll fix whatever the stupid problem is and put it back on screen so we can go and see it.

As a result we checked out Role Models instead, which was on our to-see-list anyway. All pretty good fun, chuckles were had, and like many films of its ilk, when the third act kicks in so the plot can be resolved, the humour tails off a bit - but I've seen far worse comedies in my time, and it's good for a laugh with the lads, and certainly worthwhile seeing if you're a fan of Paul Rudd's style - who delivered some of the guffiest of guffaws in the movie.


Now, I've been in a bit of a Kubrick phase for the past several days as I snapped up the 10-disc Stanley Kubrick box set (2001, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut, plus Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures - and all the copious extra features).

I'd never seen Eyes Wide Shut, I'd only seen snippets of it on Sky last year at most. I just never got around to it I guess, so here we are almost 10 years after it came out (and indeed almost 10 years since Kubrick's far-too-early death), and I finally checked it out thanks to this superb 10-disc box set.

I hadn't watched a Kubrick film all the way through in a fair while (there's just so many movies out there to see), but I'd been very strongly into Kubrick in my GCSE and A-Level years, and then I got distracted by many other films throughout my time at university - although I still found time to fit in a comparison between Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket - in terms of how each film showed us war. The former shows us warfare from a soldier's eye view, meanwhile the latter shows us warfare from a filmmaker's eye view.

But anyway, the point being, I realised it had been quite some time since I really indulged in some Kubrick - and with this box set, I finally got to see Eyes Wide Shut - which alerted me to the fact that I'd forgotten how sumptuous filmmaking could be. The meticulous attention to detail, the measured feel throughout, the slow but steady pacing and that deeper-something, which only comes out after a myriad of takes.

The lighting in itself was superb, but then the whole film was pretty damn great too. It's an intriguing film, and I just get the feeling that perhaps it needed a few years to mature to really show what it's made of. If memory serves it had a mixed reception, or was considered "unfinished" (even though this was not the case in actuality).

So indeed - it has stuck with me since seeing it.

It really is a great thing, this box set business, you can really indulge in whatever it is you have chosen - in this case the later works of Kubrick with lashings of the old ... extra features. It's great to rediscover these films all over again - and indeed 2001, which I'd only seen once before many years ago, has been particularly lodged in my brain since I watched it on this DVD set.

Last night I re-watched A Clockwork Orange, for the first time in a good few years, indeed it was the film of my final year in GCSE - it even became the focus of my final piece for my 2-D Art course (I still have the painting itself, in all its youthful obsession, covered up in the garage). It really took me back to that time - the film itself had only just been re-released in the UK, following Kubrick's death, and I subsequently dived into the world of the film - I saw the film, listened to the soundtrack, and read the book. I will point out that the obsession wasn't with the violence on show - indeed the violence is only a small part of the film (a bigger part in the book) - I guess it was really just the film that captured my imagination at that time when I was 15/16 years old.

Next up - re-watching The Shining for the first time in, yep, a good few years. Then obviously, Full Metal Jacket (which seems to have an interesting line-up for the commentary).

Alright, I've rambled on long enough - this has really become a post that's like a sandwich - Role Models is a sliver of meat wedged between two chunks of really thick-cut Kubrick bread, hehe.

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