The Zone's Quest to Find the Greatest Director (CAGLE)

Which director made the best films, made the best visuals, or smelled the best? This is the forum to find out.

Postby HollywoodBabylon on Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:47 pm

John-Locke wrote:How is Barry Lyndon a failure? I know you don't like the casting of Ryan O'Neal (who I think played the part of a scoundrel bastard very convincingly) and you feel it's too long (I admire it's slow pace) but I can't see why you would call it a failure, it's my second favourite of his films behind Strangelove and one of the greatest films ever made in my opinion.



This is a contentious one, John-Locke. You certainly know more about Kubrick than I, so if you regard it as one of the greatest films ever and your second favourite Kubrick film, then certainly it has a lot going for it. So in the light of that, my criticism may well not hold up well, but I'll be as honest about it as I can.
Well, visually and technically it is stunning, no denying. And some of the set pieces are spectacular; infact they rival '2001' and 'Spartacus' as some of the best Kubrick ever filmed.
But......
You hit upon the two main reasons why I think the film failed (for me, at least). The central casting of Ryan O'Neal in a role that basically carries the whole film. I just don't think he was good enough. There's something too nervous, too jumpy about his performance. He seems out of his depth. There's not enough of the true rouge about him, the out and out bastard. It's as if he's afraid of the part and the weight that it carries. I know very little about O'Neal as an actor, but the films I have seen him in ('Paper Moon', 'What's Up Doc?' for instance) he seems likeable enough with a deft comic touch. But he didn't do it for me in this and I think it undermined the film quite badly. It needed an actor who could carry it (like O'Toole did in 'Lawrence Of Arabia') and O'Neal wasn't up to it.
The second is length. I honestly thought it was about 45mins too long. It was a rare case when Kubrick got the editing wrong; and I'm not averse to long films, having sat through the likes of Gance's 'Napoleon' and 'Fanny & Alexander' for nearly 6 hours each. But they flew past; with 'Barry Lyndon' I really did feel I'd sat through every single minute. It seemed too drawn out at times to me. I think David Lean made the same mistake with 'Ryan's Daughter' (though let's get one thing straight: 'Barry Lyndon' is far superior to that piece of rubbish).

Having said that, I still marvel at the cinematography of it and it was obviously a labour of love for Kubrick. I know, too, that Scorsese rates it very highly. And, like I say, a lesser Kubrick film (in my eyes, at least) is worth ten of the likes of Tarantino or Cameron and their ilk.
Of course, nothing I've said here detracts from the fact that I still regard Kubrick as a master. I don't think any of the great directors have a 100% perfect record. They've all had their failures (not necessarily bad films, but films that just didn't quite work).
I'd be very interested to find out why you regard it so highly? Even above '2001', 'Paths Of Glory', 'Clockwork Orange' and 'Spartacus?'
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Postby Adam Balm on Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:27 pm

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:
I'm having a hard time trying to pin down your point of view.

Earlier on you said that you disliked Kubrick because you thought
watching his films was tantamount to being sermonized to; preached
to:

Peven wrote:am i the only one who feels like someone in the pews being preached down to while watching a Kubrick film?


Now you are saying that you want to be preached to? Told
what to felt? I'm sort of confused as to your actual point of view.

I mean, I understand and accept the fact that you don't like Kubrick,
but your reasons for disliking his films aren't consistent. It seems
your dislike of his work is more based on emotional reactions than
critical or formalistic ones. First you say its because he's too didactic
or preachy, then its because he's too objective? Which is it? Because
it can't be both.

And being objective is far from being "safe". Safe is holding people's
hands and stroking their heads and telling them what to think, rather
than leaving that up to the viewer. I find the didactic, preachy method
you seem to prefer to be rather condescending. Which is why I love
Kubrick; his objectivity puts the onus on the viewer to use their
critical and intellectual faculties to find their own answers.

What you seem to be saying is that you want to be coddled and led.

(Please keep in mind that I'm not bashing you or anything; this is
just a discussion between friends (I hope!), right? I just think your
bashing of the man and his work is a little off base; its as if you're
taking personal offense in some way rather than just saying, "look,
his work just isn't for me.")


Wow. Well done, ZZS. Ultimately, it seems to me that Peven in fact wants to be preached to. He just wants the 'warm and fuzzy, good triumphs over evil, uplifting, life-affirming, subtle-as-being-tea-bagged-in-the-face, simplified and emotionally manipulative hollywood preaching'. I.e., he seems to be asking for the cinema equivalent of paxil.

To paraphrase David Mamet, art is proking, getting you to ask questions that you don't know the answer to yet, disturbing your worldview and making you grow as a person. Entertainment on the other hand, comforts you, and tells you what to think, gives you the easy answers, and leaves nothing to the imagination.
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Postby TonyWilson on Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:54 pm

I had real trouble deciding between these final few. Personally I'd have liked to see Cronenberg up there instead of Spielberg.
But apart from that choosing between the rest was terribly difficult.
I've seen all the films of the other 4, except for Kurosawa, I've only seen Ran, Rashomon, Throne Of Blood and Seven Samurai. So immediately I had to discount him as it would be unfair otherwise.
Scorsese films are so rooted in Americana that I can't connect with them on one level. However the themes of guilt, power, greed and the like are universal, it's the filter that makes them lesser experiences for me.
Hitchcock, a Roman Catholic like Scorsese also deals with guilt (of course) greed, corruption but he makes fear a theme of his movies not just an emotion experienced in them as well. (does that make sense?) For me that puts him ahead of Scorsese's earthy very much flawed human dramas (heck Scorsese is so in love with humans flaws and successes that Last Temptation of Christ is about how much the divine envies humanity)
My gut goes with Kubrick. His films just do something to me, they strike a chord. They infect my subconcious. I can't say the films of anyone else on that list do that to me. It's like he transcended his background and biases to present truthful objective treatises on humanity. People complain about how clinical he was and how cold his films are, first of all are you really telling me "I am Spartacus" is an emotionally distant moment?????. But I believe it's that detachment that makes his films so powerful, e.g Dr Strangelove is brilliantly satirical precisely becuase of Kubricks detachment. It's not an angry polemic. It's fiercely intelligent and presents the stupidity of nuclear war as just that...stupidity. Not a tragedy but a farce. Ultimately, that speaks more to me than a thousand in your face rants.
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Postby John-Locke on Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:57 pm

HollywoodBabylon wrote:I'd be very interested to find out why you regard it so highly? Even above '2001', 'Paths Of Glory', 'Clockwork Orange' and 'Spartacus?'


Well I marvel at the technical stuff like the next man, I LOVE the music but what does it for me everytime is it's a film I can totally immerse myself in, it's the perfect Sunday Afternoon film for me. I can spend 3 Hours watching history through the eyes of a punk kid who ends up a complete bastard, see him get in fights, getting seduced, more fights, being opportunistic, being crafty, learning to do bad things, mourning and becoming bitter, I love the story and the way it makes me think about the possibilities for storytelling, setting a character piece against a historical background that is. I also love the way each scene is shot like a classic painting from beginning to end and has just as much nuance to hold your attention as it does action or subtlety of character, it's tense when it needs to be and the acting is almost flawless throughout. I could go on but I won't.

Honestly I wasn't completely blown away the first time I saw it, it wasn't until the second time some time later that I realised how much I enjoyed it the first time, I now revisit this film about every 8 months or so and it's the only film I'll glady spend a lasy afternoon watching that often.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:09 pm

Adam Balm wrote:
ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:
I'm having a hard time trying to pin down your point of view.

Earlier on you said that you disliked Kubrick because you thought
watching his films was tantamount to being sermonized to; preached
to:

Peven wrote:am i the only one who feels like someone in the pews being preached down to while watching a Kubrick film?


Now you are saying that you want to be preached to? Told
what to felt? I'm sort of confused as to your actual point of view.

I mean, I understand and accept the fact that you don't like Kubrick,
but your reasons for disliking his films aren't consistent. It seems
your dislike of his work is more based on emotional reactions than
critical or formalistic ones. First you say its because he's too didactic
or preachy, then its because he's too objective? Which is it? Because
it can't be both.

And being objective is far from being "safe". Safe is holding people's
hands and stroking their heads and telling them what to think, rather
than leaving that up to the viewer. I find the didactic, preachy method
you seem to prefer to be rather condescending. Which is why I love
Kubrick; his objectivity puts the onus on the viewer to use their
critical and intellectual faculties to find their own answers.

What you seem to be saying is that you want to be coddled and led.

(Please keep in mind that I'm not bashing you or anything; this is
just a discussion between friends (I hope!), right? I just think your
bashing of the man and his work is a little off base; its as if you're
taking personal offense in some way rather than just saying, "look,
his work just isn't for me.")


Wow. Well done, ZZS. Ultimately, it seems to me that Peven in fact wants to be preached to. He just wants the 'warm and fuzzy, good triumphs over evil, uplifting, life-affirming, subtle-as-being-tea-bagged-in-the-face, simplified and emotionally manipulative hollywood preaching'. I.e., he seems to be asking for the cinema equivalent of paxil.

To paraphrase David Mamet, art is proking, getting you to ask questions that you don't know the answer to yet, disturbing your worldview and making you grow as a person. Entertainment on the other hand, comforts you, and tells you what to think, gives you the easy answers, and leaves nothing to the imagination.


Thanks, Adam...

And, of course, you know I agree with Mamet completely. Not that
theres anything wrong with simply wanting to be entertained, but
in order to achieve true greatness in my eyes, an artist has to go
beyond entertainment to achieve greatness. Kubrick is one of the
few artists I know of (and the first one who always comes to my
mind) who has consistently achieved this level of greatness and
intelligence. Especially in terms of film, I don't think there is anyone
who comes close to his genius.

This isn't meant to imply that I don't like the work of the other
directors in the poll, I enjoy them all (especially Kurosawa and
Scorcese), but Kubrick is far and way the best of them; the best
who ever lived.

I have no idea who could possibly fill his shoes, but I look forward
to watching his or her films whensoever they should be made...
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Postby Adam Balm on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:17 pm

Oh I'm all for entertainment btw. Let me be clear before someone pounces on it. Was it C.S. Lewis who said 'You know who's against escapism? Jailers'. Most of the stuff I read/watch is escapist and dumb as hell. And art can be entertaining. In fact, you have Tom Wolfe's aristophanic oath "First entertain." If I didn't find Kubrick entertaining, I wouldn't rate him highly. But I think entertainment can also be a means, and not just an end in itself.
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Postby John-Locke on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:20 pm

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:I have no idea who could possibly fill his shoes, but I look forward
to watching his or her films whensoever they should be made...




This guy

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Terrence Malick.

He needs to make a few more films but he's the closest to Kubrick we've got.
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Postby colonel_lugz on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:24 pm

im with you there JL, Malicks stuff is mezmorising
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:29 pm

Adam Balm wrote:Oh I'm all for entertainment btw. Let me be clear before someone pounces on it. Was it C.S. Lewis who said 'You know who's against escapism? Jailers'. Most of the stuff I read/watch is escapist and dumb as hell. And art can be entertaining. In fact, you have Tom Wolfe's aristophanic oath "First entertain." If I didn't find Kubrick entertaining, I wouldn't rate him highly. But I think entertainment can also be a means, and not just an end in itself.


Yes! I agree! And I am exactly the same way in terms of escapist stuff...
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:35 pm

John-Locke wrote:
ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:I have no idea who could possibly fill his shoes, but I look forward
to watching his or her films whensoever they should be made...




This guy

Image

Terrence Malick.

He needs to make a few more films but he's the closest to Kubrick we've got.


Holy crap! You are correct! How could I forget the amazing Mr. Malick!
In some ways they are similar directors; at least in terms of maintaining
this kind of sustained objective view. Perhaps Malick has more of the
poet in him than Kubrick, but both fashion their shots and narratives like
paintings; although Kubrick is all about symmetry and form whilst Malick
is more impressionistic.

Have you seen THE NEW WORLD yet? Its stunning. And the DVD is out soon! Yay!
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Postby John-Locke on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:49 pm

I have indeed seen it, I loved it very much.

Any news on if we are getting a longer cut on DVD? I hope so, I want to know what happened to Ben Chaplins character, surely they filmed much more than ended up in the final cut.

The Tree of Life is slated to start filming in Austin in June or July before moving to India, I think it's my most eagerly anticipated movie by far, I know I posted this in another thread but reading this makes me happy.

This is Richard Taylor talking about Malicks 1979 Project called Q, it's prologue ended up being the basis for the film before Malick fucked off to France and the project was canned, supposedly Tree of Life is Malick having another go at the story.

"Imagine this surrealistic reptilian world, There is this creature, a Minotaur, sleeping in the water, and he dreams about the evolution of the universe, seeing the earth change from a sea of magma to the earliest vegetation, to the dinosaurs, and then to man. It would be this metaphorical story that moves you through time."

I hope it's THE Richard Taylor talking there and I hope WETA are doing the FX.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:56 pm

John-Locke wrote:Any news on if we are getting a longer cut on DVD? I hope so, I want to know what happened to Ben Chaplins character, surely they filmed much more than ended up in the final cut.


I heard that there was going to be, but Amazon doesn't have it listed
as such. The original cut of the film was something like 3hours 30min,
and the wide release cut was just under 3 hours, so we know that
an extended cut already exists; its the one they showed to the Oscar
peeps and had a short run in NYC and LA before the wide release...
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Postby Adam Balm on Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:58 pm

Yeah, Malick in some ways is a lot like Kubrick, definitely. But on the other hand (as ZZS pointed out), he's a polar opposite (which is to his credit. He's his own director and defies comparison). Whereas Kubrick is very clinical and detached, Malick is organic and he pulls you into a scene.

Both have this amazing ability to let the film breathe, give time for the viewer to really soak in what's going on.

I'm less of a fan of Malick simply because (again here he's the polar opposite) Malick seems to buy into the whole Rouseau noble savage fantasy. Kubrick shows humanity as violent and destructive from the beginning. The monolith brings us tool-making, we use the tool to kill. So, in one way Malick seems to me to be going for a bit of an 'easy answer' more than Kubrick. Or am I wrong?
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:05 pm

I chose Spielberg. Why? He created Jaws, which is one of the most perfect films I've ever seen. The characters are fantastic, the lines are memorable, each individual scene is top-notch. The cinematography might come across as a bit aged now, but for me - it's just a brilliantly entertaining piece of cinema. Not only is it an extraordinarily effective piece of horror, which still barely contains any cliché (Spielberg's a master of tension) it's a film about responsibility, on both a personal level and in the wider society.

People may disagree with me on this one but for me, as a special effect, Bruce still holds up well... it's a shark! They generally look kinda rubbery anyhow! :P The sheer size of the thing as it drifts by the rickety ol' boat of Quint's is a hauntingly terrifying image. It's nature hellbent on stuffing you into its gaping maw and hasn't really been outdone since. Fantastic.
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Postby TonyWilson on Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:08 pm

Adam Balm wrote:

I'm less of a fan of Malick simply because (again here he's the polar opposite) Malick seems to buy into the whole Rouseau noble savage fantasy. Kubrick shows humanity as violent and destructive from the beginning. The monolith brings us tool-making, we use the tool to kill. So, in one way Malick seems to me to be going for a bit of an 'easy answer' more than Kubrick. Or am I wrong?


I'll chime in quickly as I'm just about to try and have a bath with a cast on my leg. Anyway I don't think it's the easy answer Malick is going for. I think he's more optimistic that war (not violence though) is not a natural state for man. Whereas Kubrick seems to think that our very essence is violent.
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Postby DennisMM on Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:11 pm

I haven't seen enough Kurosawa (kill me now) to consider him, but what little I have seen is very strong.

Kubrick is too cold for me. He is a technical master and handles actors very well, but he is a cold bastard for all of it. A Clockwork Orange, 20-something years after I first saw it, seems less a study of rage and outrage than a portrayal of what we think should outrage us. Full Metal Jacket is weak in the second half, when we should be getting a Platoon or Paths of Glory feeling for the horrors of war.

In the 1960s Hitchcock began to limit himself seriously as a director of character-based stories. The last 15 years of his career show a decline into b-movies. To me, everything after Psycho was just makework. I believe that if he'd stepped outside genre he would have been the greatest director of all. As it was, he considered actors merely a necessary component of movie making and so found people less important than plot and sometimes less important than gimmicks.

In the end, I wish Howard Hawks had made the final cut. I'd far sooner see him on the list than Spielberg. I must, however, admit a great fondness for much of Spielberg's work. Spielberg is so endlessly variable that were he willing to work harder at making better movies all of the time he would be the greatest. Since his break through into "serious" fillm making, too much of his sf/fantasy work has been fun and competent but lacks the obvious love for the genre shown in CE3K and E.T. Always, Hook, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Minority Report -- these are all trifles. AI was an ambitious failure, though I am fond of it and Osment's performance. Then there are the comedy/dramas of the last few years -- Spielberg is reaching into new territory but creating, again, trifles. Not all his dramatic work is wholly successful, either, but he's working hard at telling stories about people. WOTW seems to be an attempt to do the same in his sf work, whether it succeeds or not.

Martin Scorcese is a seriously inconsistent director. As I mentioned in an earlier post, though, I give him great credit for wanting to talk about the human condition. Sometimes he is too grim for me. I still can't get through Raging Bull; the "you fuck my wife?" scene is too hard for me. His range, though, is enormous. In a decade he moved from Mean Streets to Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, then Taxi Driver, New York, New York, The Last Waltz, Raging Bull and The King of Comedy. Not all successful; I don't understand the cult of The King of Comedy. But they're all about people and they show a fondness for humans, especially those who are seriously flawed.

Following those came After Hours, which in 1985 was like having someone kick open your skull and play with your brains. The Color of Money, The Last Temptation of Christ, "Life Lessons" in New York Stories. And we're only up to 1989! Eleven movies, most of high caliber, in 16 years! Through the '90s and since 2000 we've had Goodfellas, Cape Fear, The Age of Innocence (holy fuck!), Casino, Kundun (holy bigger fuck!), Bringing Out the Dead (I was one of the fifteen people who really liked it), Gangs of New York, The Aviator and the Bob Dylan doc.

Especially in the last 15 years I haven't followed Scorsese's path so much as I once did. He's meandered off the course I expected. I certainly don't understand his devotion to Leo DiCaprio. But it's not Scorsese's fault for going places I didn't expect. Though his technical skills may not equal those of the other four, what he has done consistently is make more interesting, if not "better", movies than the others.. I don't think Spielberg, Kubrick or Hitchcock has told in such a realistic manner the stories of people, and for that I name Scorsese the greatest director of all.
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:16 pm

I'd rather look at what people have achieved rather than their failiures, but that's just me. :) I see Spielberg's ame, I think of so many films I love. Rather than analysing it in-depth, I just know what choice I'd make in this respect.
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Postby John-Locke on Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:17 pm

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:
John-Locke wrote:Any news on if we are getting a longer cut on DVD? I hope so, I want to know what happened to Ben Chaplins character, surely they filmed much more than ended up in the final cut.


I heard that there was going to be, but Amazon doesn't have it listed
as such. The original cut of the film was something like 3hours 30min,
and the wide release cut was just under 3 hours, so we know that
an extended cut already exists; its the one they showed to the Oscar
peeps and had a short run in NYC and LA before the wide release...


According to IMDB the runtimes for theatrical are like this

135 min / Argentina:125 min (Mar del Plata Film Festival) / UK:150 min

I can't say for sure how long the cut I saw was.

I have heard Malick likes the shorter cut as it makes it more focused on Pocahontas story so I'm not sure we are ever going to see a different cut now.

I also heard at the time that the DVD cut was going to be a whole new cut specially for DVD and possibly longer than his first Cinema release, if Tree of Life is happening now it might have to wait until thats out the way.
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Postby DennisMM on Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:25 pm

AtomicHyperbole wrote:I'd rather look at what people have achieved rather than their failiures, but that's just me. :) I see Spielberg's ame, I think of so many films I love. Rather than analysing it in-depth, I just know what choice I'd make in this respect.


Completely valid. I just think that in this sort of "competition" one has to look at just more than what makes us happy. God knows lots of Scorsese doesn't. lol.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:25 pm

TonyWilson wrote:
Adam Balm wrote:

I'm less of a fan of Malick simply because (again here he's the polar opposite) Malick seems to buy into the whole Rouseau noble savage fantasy. Kubrick shows humanity as violent and destructive from the beginning. The monolith brings us tool-making, we use the tool to kill. So, in one way Malick seems to me to be going for a bit of an 'easy answer' more than Kubrick. Or am I wrong?


I'll chime in quickly as I'm just about to try and have a bath with a cast on my leg. Anyway I don't think it's the easy answer Malick is going for. I think he's more optimistic that war (not violence though) is not a natural state for man. Whereas Kubrick seems to think that our very essence is violent.


I don't know if Malick is going for the easy answer so much. I also
don't necessarily think he's in the "noble savage" camp. In THE NEW
WORLD, he shows the Native Americans as being just as close-minded
and violent as the explorers/colonists. It's really a brilliant, beautiful,
thought provoking film.

What he does do is show how John Smith falls in love with the
culture and begins to define them in this romantic manner.
But the way this is done is through voice overs with the character;
it seems to me that Malick was trying to illustrate the character's
thoughts, not so much Malick's thoughts. It really felt like he was trying
to have a sustained omniscient objective view. Do you know what I
mean? I think the way it is done seems very real, very genuine without
being didactic or preachy.
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Postby magicmonkey on Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:02 am

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
Adam Balm wrote:

I'm less of a fan of Malick simply because (again here he's the polar opposite) Malick seems to buy into the whole Rouseau noble savage fantasy. Kubrick shows humanity as violent and destructive from the beginning. The monolith brings us tool-making, we use the tool to kill. So, in one way Malick seems to me to be going for a bit of an 'easy answer' more than Kubrick. Or am I wrong?


I'll chime in quickly as I'm just about to try and have a bath with a cast on my leg. Anyway I don't think it's the easy answer Malick is going for. I think he's more optimistic that war (not violence though) is not a natural state for man. Whereas Kubrick seems to think that our very essence is violent.


I don't know if Malick is going for the easy answer so much. I also
don't necessarily think he's in the "noble savage" camp. In THE NEW
WORLD, he shows the Native Americans as being just as close-minded
and violent as the explorers/colonists. It's really a brilliant, beautiful,
thought provoking film.

What he does do is show how John Smith falls in love with the
culture and begins to define them in this romantic manner.
But the way this is done is through voice overs with the character;
it seems to me that Malick was trying to illustrate the character's
thoughts, not so much Malick's thoughts. It really felt like he was trying
to have a sustained omniscient objective view. Do you know what I
mean? I think the way it is done seems very real, very genuine without
being didactic or preachy.


I agree mostly with what is written here about Malick. Its his use of voiceover (a common trait he shares with Kubrick) that helps us understand the myriad of voices in this world. This, when matched with his cinematography creates the most awesome metaphysical poetry.

Also, to go back to Tony's point about Malick, I think he does suggest that war is part of us. One of the voiceovers observes that nature is itself at war with itself, constantly vying and fighting within itself for survival. Yet it is all masked with such beauty and in "The Thin Red Line" a seeming ly hypnotic tranquility too.

Kubrick in "Full Metal Jacket" points at lunacy. The sheer insanity of war. A sense of cause is not held, its just your regular street community thrown into a paintball session and told to kill. The soldiers to me are essentially innocent, they sing their songs (in boot camp and ultimately the "mickey mouse" song at the end) like children to escape the horrid reality and loss of innocence around them. Rationality is lost. As a document of war it succeeds better than Mendes "redux" "Jarhead", just.

With Kubrick, in many scenes you can either laugh or cry, he strikes a great balance, you just have to teeter one way or the other.
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Postby Peven on Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:15 am

magicmonkey wrote:
ZombieZoneSolution s wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
Adam Balm wrote:

I'm less of a fan of Malick simply because (again here he's the polar opposite) Malick seems to buy into the whole Rouseau noble savage fantasy. Kubrick shows humanity as violent and destructive from the beginning. The monolith brings us tool-making, we use the tool to kill. So, in one way Malick seems to me to be going for a bit of an 'easy answer' more than Kubrick. Or am I wrong?


I'll chime in quickly as I'm just about to try and have a bath with a cast on my leg. Anyway I don't think it's the easy answer Malick is going for. I think he's more optimistic that war (not violence though) is not a natural state for man. Whereas Kubrick seems to think that our very essence is violent.


I don't know if Malick is going for the easy answer so much. I also
don't necessarily think he's in the "noble savage" camp. In THE NEW
WORLD, he shows the Native Americans as being just as close-minded
and violent as the explorers/colonists. It's really a brilliant, beautiful,
thought provoking film.

What he does do is show how John Smith falls in love with the
culture and begins to define them in this romantic manner.
But the way this is done is through voice overs with the character;
it seems to me that Malick was trying to illustrate the character's
thoughts, not so much Malick's thoughts. It really felt like he was trying
to have a sustained omniscient objective view. Do you know what I
mean? I think the way it is done seems very real, very genuine without
being didactic or preachy.


I agree mostly with what is written here about Malick. Its his use of voiceover (a common trait he shares with Kubrick) that helps us understand the myriad of voices in this world. This, when matched with his cinematography creates the most awesome metaphysical poetry.

Also, to go back to Tony's point about Malick, I think he does suggest that war is part of us. One of the voiceovers observes that nature is itself at war with itself, constantly vying and fighting within itself for survival. Yet it is all masked with such beauty and in "The Thin Red Line" a seeming ly hypnotic tranquility too.

Kubrick in "Full Metal Jacket" points at lunacy. The sheer insanity of war. A sense of cause is not held, its just your regular street community thrown into a paintball session and told to kill. The soldiers to me are essentially innocent, they sing their songs (in boot camp and ultimately the "mickey mouse" song at the end) like children to escape the horrid reality and loss of innocence around them. Rationality is lost. As a document of war it succeeds better than Mendes "redux" "Jarhead", just.

With Kubrick, in many scenes you can either laugh or cry, he strikes a great balance, you just have to teeter one way or the other.


i did not get the impression from "The Thin Red Line" that Malick thought war was anything but insanity and unnatural; whereas "Full Metal Jacket" had a matter-of-fact approach to war, just another day at the office of human behavior. at least, thats how it struck me.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:39 am

Peven wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
Z ombieZoneSolution s wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
Adam Balm wrote:

I'm less of a fan of Malick simply because (again here he's the polar opposite) Malick seems to buy into the whole Rouseau noble savage fantasy. Kubrick shows humanity as violent and destructive from the beginning. The monolith brings us tool-making, we use the tool to kill. So, in one way Malick seems to me to be going for a bit of an 'easy answer' more than Kubrick. Or am I wrong?


I'll chime in quickly as I'm just about to try and have a bath with a cast on my leg. Anyway I don't think it's the easy answer Malick is going for. I think he's more optimistic that war (not violence though) is not a natural state for man. Whereas Kubrick seems to think that our very essence is violent.


I don't know if Malick is going for the easy answer so much. I also
don't necessarily think he's in the "noble savage" camp. In THE NEW
WORLD, he shows the Native Americans as being just as close-minded
and violent as the explorers/colonists. It's really a brilliant, beautiful,
thought provoking film.

What he does do is show how John Smith falls in love with the
culture and begins to define them in this romantic manner.
But the way this is done is through voice overs with the character;
it seems to me that Malick was trying to illustrate the character's
thoughts, not so much Malick's thoughts. It really felt like he was trying
to have a sustained omniscient objective view. Do you know what I
mean? I think the way it is done seems very real, very genuine without
being didactic or preachy.


I agree mostly with what is written here about Malick. Its his use of voiceover (a common trait he shares with Kubrick) that helps us understand the myriad of voices in this world. This, when matched with his cinematography creates the most awesome metaphysical poetry.

Also, to go back to Tony's point about Malick, I think he does suggest that war is part of us. One of the voiceovers observes that nature is itself at war with itself, constantly vying and fighting within itself for survival. Yet it is all masked with such beauty and in "The Thin Red Line" a seeming ly hypnotic tranquility too.

Kubrick in "Full Metal Jacket" points at lunacy. The sheer insanity of war. A sense of cause is not held, its just your regular street community thrown into a paintball session and told to kill. The soldiers to me are essentially innocent, they sing their songs (in boot camp and ultimately the "mickey mouse" song at the end) like children to escape the horrid reality and loss of innocence around them. Rationality is lost. As a document of war it succeeds better than Mendes "redux" "Jarhead", just.

With Kubrick, in many scenes you can either laugh or cry, he strikes a great balance, you just have to teeter one way or the other.


i did not get the impression from "The Thin Red Line" that Malick thought war was anything but insanity and unnatural; whereas "Full Metal Jacket" had a matter-of-fact approach to war, just another day at the office of human behavior. at least, thats how it struck me.


"What is this war at the heart of nature?"

I think thats a pretty bold statement from THIN RED LINE that war,
conflcit, and brutality is a part of our inner nature; something both
Kubrick and Malick seem to agree on. I don't think either of them is
saying that it's good, or that its the sum total of our experience, but that
it is something the human race seems unable to escape and which keeps
occurring again and again. Perhaps it is inevitable. Its been millions of
years and the same things keep happening again and again.

Malick's take on it may be 'softer' and more poetic / comtemplative
than Kubrick's, but they are both exploring the exact same theme in
as objective a manner as possible.
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Postby Peven on Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:01 am

i can't recite any exact lines at the moment, its been a few yrs since i last watched "The Thin red Line", but i remember some of the narration questioning war, questioning the sanity of it. the entire movie, to me, is putting the concept of war as a means to resolve conflict on trial. and the presentation of the peacefulness of the island natives contrasted with the ongoing war, to me, presented an alternative way of life as opposed to war, which was orchestrated by a few men to the detriment of many.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:11 am

Peven wrote:i can't recite any exact lines at the moment, its been a few yrs since i last watched "The Thin red Line", but i remember some of the narration questioning war, questioning the sanity of it. the entire movie, to me, is putting the concept of war as a means to resolve conflict on trial. and the presentation of the peacefulness of the island natives contrasted with the ongoing war, to me, presented an alternative way of life as opposed to war, which was orchestrated by a few men to the detriment of many.


And the characters in FULL METAL JACKET don't question the rationality of war?

Methinks you need to watch the films again...

Again, I don't need to be told that war is bad. I don't think it takes that
much of aleap to reach that conclusion. What is more interesting to think
about is why, given the insanity of it, that it keeps happening.

"Is it some devil thats inside of you?"

Don't be afraid of art that provokes you to ask questions. This is how
we truly learn, not by being told what to think; thats merely being soothed.

Thats why a film like PLATOON is not only condescending, it's
monumentally corny. Oh, war is bad? You don't say!
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Postby magicmonkey on Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:17 am

Peven wrote:i can't recite any exact lines at the moment, its been a few yrs since i last watched "The Thin red Line", but i remember some of the narration questioning war, questioning the sanity of it. the entire movie, to me, is putting the concept of war as a means to resolve conflict on trial. and the presentation of the peacefulness of the island natives contrasted with the ongoing war, to me, presented an alternative way of life as opposed to war, which was orchestrated by a few men to the detriment of many.


Yeah, I like the peaceful natives in the movie, but it is also remarked by the soldier gone awol that the kids never fight, to which the mother replies "of course they fight".
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Postby Peven on Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:28 am

the characters in "Full metal jacket" seem much more accepting of war than Cavezial's in "The Thin Red Line", imo. and please, stop assuming i desire to be spoon fed my beliefs from films, just because i don't share the same love for Kubrick that you do. its a matter of taste, not intelligence. art is subjective, we all have our own tastes, and i have kept saying that Kubrick is just not my favorite flavor, even though i appreciate his technical ability. why is it that so many Kubrick fans like to think they are somehow more insightful or intelligent than those who don't care for Kubrick's style as much? is it that hard to accept that he just doesn't "do it" for some people?
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:43 am

Peven wrote:the characters in "Full metal jacket" seem much more accepting of war than Cavezial's in "The Thin Red Line", imo. and please, stop assuming i desire to be spoon fed my beliefs from films, just because i don't share the same love for Kubrick that you do. its a matter of taste, not intelligence. art is subjective, we all have our own tastes, and i have kept saying that Kubrick is just not my favorite flavor, even though i appreciate his technical ability. why is it that so many Kubrick fans like to think they are somehow more insightful or intelligent than those who don't care for Kubrick's style as much? is it that hard to accept that he just doesn't "do it" for some people?


As I said before, I'd accept that if you expressed that Kubrick just
wasn't your cup of tea. However, time and again, your criticisms of his
work weren't just inconsistent, they were tinged with what seemed to me
to be a kind of moral outrage; like he hurt you in some way.

For instance at first you claimed he was too didactic or preachy, then
that he was too objective; implying that you wanted something more
didactic or preachy; something which "provided solutions" not just asked
questions. Either way, as I mentioned before, he couldn't possibly be
both too preachy and too objective, right? That just doesn't make sense.

Of course the appreciation of art is totally subjective. And I completely
understand why Kubrick's work may be off putting, but if you are
going to criticize something you don't enjoy, at least have the criticisms
make sense and be consistent.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:49 am

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:
Peven wrote:i can't recite any exact lines at the moment, its been a few yrs since i last watched "The Thin red Line", but i remember some of the narration questioning war, questioning the sanity of it. the entire movie, to me, is putting the concept of war as a means to resolve conflict on trial. and the presentation of the peacefulness of the island natives contrasted with the ongoing war, to me, presented an alternative way of life as opposed to war, which was orchestrated by a few men to the detriment of many.


And the characters in FULL METAL JACKET don't question the rationality of war?

Methinks you need to watch the films again...

Again, I don't need to be told that war is bad. I don't think it takes that
much of aleap to reach that conclusion. What is more interesting to think
about is why, given the insanity of it, that it keeps happening.

"Is it some devil thats inside of you?"

Don't be afraid of art that provokes you to ask questions. This is how
we truly learn, not by being told what to think; thats merely being soothed.

Thats why a film like PLATOON is not only condescending, it's
monumentally corny. Oh, war is bad? You don't say!


Eh man, don't knock Platoon on that level. It's only Oliver Stone's personal account of what happened to him when he was there, what do you expect him to do?

Yeah OK, FMJ the soldier's question war, but not to a terrific extent. More than that, they seem to be disillusioned with it, there's a gung ho attitude in what they're doing, ("Hard core man!" goes Animal Mother when Joker shoots that sniper) and they represent the soldier as being quite a lost soul - Joker's sarcastic look towards the events that surround him, don't really speak a great deal of any anti war sentiments ("Ain't war Hell!??!" is said for a laugh) or a terribly heavy questioning of things by the Grunts. ("Do we belong in Nam? I dunno, I know I belong in Nam")


I never found the moraliy examination or psychology of the grunts in FMJ's last half to be necessarily deep or articulate anyway. But I really don't think there is a lot of the soldiers' questioning of war in this part either. More I think that it shows soldier's who have lost the plot a little, who don't seem to give a fuck or to have a great conscience (maybe deliberately) about the Hell that they're in.

I think the point of Full Metal Jacket Potatoes is that it shows an opposite POV or portrayal of the soldiers in this war, then it does other movies. Like the novel it's based on, though the movie doesn't go as deep, the less the anti war feelings that the soldiers feel, the greater the anti war story it eventually becomes, go back and check out my quotes for back up. I love this approach, the coldness and soullessness that inhabits these characters, really makes the spiritual Hell of being there feel more genuine. It's just not indulged enough in the movie, and there are a lot of cliches in it's approach too.

Oh, and do check out Gustav Hasford's 'The Short Timer's, the novel I was telling you about. Though not much different, it's much more effective than the film.
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Postby magicmonkey on Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:54 am

Peven wrote:the characters in "Full metal jacket" seem much more accepting of war than Cavezial's in "The Thin Red Line", imo. and please, stop assuming i desire to be spoon fed my beliefs from films, just because i don't share the same love for Kubrick that you do. its a matter of taste, not intelligence. art is subjective, we all have our own tastes, and i have kept saying that Kubrick is just not my favorite flavor, even though i appreciate his technical ability. why is it that so many Kubrick fans like to think they are somehow more insightful or intelligent than those who don't care for Kubrick's style as much? is it that hard to accept that he just doesn't "do it" for some people?


Hehehehe. No sweat Peven ;) I really respect your opinion dude. I just love to theorise about films and directors. No harm done eh?
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Postby magicmonkey on Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:57 am

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote: Full Metal Jacket Potatoes


Haha! ISPUDILASH!!
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:10 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:Eh man, don't knock Platoon on that level. It's only Oliver Stone's personal account of what happened to him when he was there, what do you expect him to do?


So Stone's experience in the war was being caught between two
father figures? One who smokes weed and is Jesus and the other
who drinks and is the Devil???

Stone is a gentleman. :wink:

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:Yeah OK, FMJ the soldier's question war, but not to a terrific extent. More than that, they seem to be disillusioned with it, there's a gung ho attitude in what they're doing, ("Hard core man!" goes Animal Mother when Joker shoots that sniper) and they represent the soldier as being quite a lost soul - Joker's sarcastic look towards the events that surround him, don't really speak a great deal of any anti war sentiments ("Ain't war Hell!??! AHAHAHAAAA!!!") or a terribly heavy questioning of things. ("Do we belong in Nam? I dunno, I know I belong in Nam")


I never found the moraliy examination or psychology of the grunts in FMJ's last half to be necessarily deep or articulate anyway. But I really don't think there is a lot of questioning of war in this part either. More I think that it shows soldier's who have lost the plot a little, who don't seem to give a fuck or to have a great conscience (maybe deliberately) about the Hell that they're in.

I think the point of Full Metal Jacket Potatoes is that it shows an opposite POV or portrayal of the soldiers in this war, then it does other movies. Like the novel it's based on, though the movie doesn't go as deep, the less the anti war feelings that the soldiers feel, the greater the anti war story it eventually becomes, go back and check out my quotes for back up. I love this approach, the coldness and soullessness that inhabits these characters, really makes the spiritual Hell of being there feel more genuine.

Oh, and do check out Gustav Hasford's 'The Short Timer's, the novel I was telling you about. Though not much different, it's much more effective than the film.


I love 'The Short Timers'! I think it's a great novel, but I love the film
more. It's also a very authentic novel in that Hasford was in Nam and
apparently didn't experience a STAR WARS like battle between opposing
father figures.

I think the soldiers reactions in the FMJ potatoes are very authentic,
just in terms of how men act around each other all the time. It's all
about being cool and not caring and being the tough guy. Of course,
this is largely a cover, and underneath all of that is really just the
bravado of a bunch of scared little boys who get their assess largely
handed to them by a tough as nails poor farmer girl with an M-16.

Oh, but clearly Joker is the questioner in the film; he's the fly in the
ointment. The rest of the grunts just want to get the fuck out or
don't give a shit. Meanwhile there are a bunch who seem to enjoy
killing; its what they're best at. Terrible, sure, but authentic.

Of course, in the end Joker succumbs to the pressure of the pack,
the Beast, and shoots the girl in the head. At that point it seems less
about caring then it is about proving how much of a bad ass he can
be to his fellow grunts. Has he lost his moral center? Did he have one
to begin with? Or was he just a smart guy wise ass?

Then it cuts to the grunts marching across a flaming field singing
the Mickey Mouse theme. These are children, puppies with razor sharp
teeth, stomping across the world with no seemingly direction whatsoever
because they can...
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Postby TonyWilson on Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:38 pm

I've never believed for one moment that the line "What's this war at the heart of nature" was a saying that the war mankind wages against itself is a natural thing. Remember it's "WHAT'S this war at the ehart of nature" the endless cycle of death and life from the husks of the dead. Like the sea eroding the cliff and then bringing it back as sand in the beach. Mankinds war is purely destructive, there's no underlying creation about it.
That for me is the philosophy of TRL, that's the reason it's my favourite war film.
Elitism is positing that your taste is equivalent to quality, you hate "Hamlet" does it make it "bad"? If you think so, you're one elite motherfucker.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:47 pm

FMJP to me is too much of 'Me Luv you long time! Too bookoo! Too bookoo!' and not enough talk about Born To Kill, for my liking. A lot of meandering and going nowhere, and not enough penetration into the soldier's - minds.

A lot of clichedness and unrevelationary observations of the Grunts, like when they're standing over the dead Marine and paying their respects, blah blah, I've seen it all before nad not much new light is shed on scenes like this.

And bring the action enough already, you've got a whole Tet city there man, get in there and blow it the fuck up! Don't just shoot one sniper!

Oh, and I still prefer Platoon. You knew that Oliver Stone was really there, and the grunts are much more genuine. You really feel that you're not watching actors at all but real soldiers. The Namspeak in FMJP is unconvincing in places. "Joker knows 'Didi' - very little" Oh, thanks for explaining the lingo all the time you Lee Strasberg cough out. "I was in the shit. I was in the shit, with the grunts". Oh, were you now? If you know so much about shit, here eat mine - and die - motherfucker - and tell me why it's different then Shynola.

Platoon did far more for the Grunts psychology than FMJP did. Demoralisation, good vs evil, anger and insanity, confliction within the soul as well as the Platoon, self doubt, fear, but more the point, all this was done a lot more realistically.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:48 pm

TonyWilson wrote:I've never believed for one moment that the line "What's this war at the heart of nature" was a saying that the war mankind wages against itself is a natural thing. Remember it's "WHAT'S this war at the ehart of nature" the endless cycle of death and life from the husks of the dead. Like the sea eroding the cliff and then bringing it back as sand in the beach. Mankinds war is purely destructive, there's no underlying creation about it.
That for me is the philosophy of TRL, that's the reason it's my favourite war film.


But isn't human waged war apart of that endless cycle of death and rebirth?

I think the key difference is that nature goes about its process without
conciousness, while humans conciously make the decision to go to war.
Regardless, we are apart of nature; the grim sheppards of the red tide
(with occasional joys and transcendent moments of enlightenment like
the smile from a child, a puppy, sunshine, a pleasent day).

I love TRL too, btw. I think my favorite war movie is Apocalypse Now,
though. Not because its realistic, but because its so completely crazy
and hallucinatory; it's like a cosmic war, a fever dream, a bloody fucking
nightmare...

I think theres a truth in the film that goes beyond being realistic.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:59 pm

It's hit that like Apocalypse Now that would ahve made Francis Coppolla the best director if he kept it up.

That film really does take you into Hell. It's like a fucking horror movie at the end. Possibly my favourite film.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:01 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:It's hit that like Apocalypse Now that would ahve made Francis Coppolla the best director if he kept it up.

That film really does take you into Hell. It's like a fucking horror movie at the end. Possibly my favourite film.


Totally! I completely agree. It's my favorite film too.
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:07 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:It's hit that like Apocalypse Now that would ahve made Francis Coppolla the best director if he kept it up.

That film really does take you into Hell. It's like a fucking horror movie at the end. Possibly my favourite film.



I can never understand why critics on the whole either lambast or ridicule Brando's performance. I honestly think it's one of his greatest ever, full of strangeness and mystery and foreboding. His improvised monlogue (when talking to Sheen) where the shadows and light move across his face still impresses me the more I see it.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:47 pm

I dunno why they're slagging him off. I think they're bang out of order and possibly hypocritical. Throughout his career Brando's been prasied for his method acting style and his approaches to acting on set, yet when he improvises or uses visual referenced notes on Apocalypse Now they just mock him for it. I think that's the reason or one of the resasons why they attack him for it.

They're being fucking wankers at the end of the day. If they didn't know he was making it up they would have loved it. They're up their won arse with all their film knowledge and they end up self defeatign because of it, not looking at it simply as an incredible piece of character interpration.

To me, I really don't give a fuck how he arrived at his acting in Colonel Kurtz, I look at it for what I see, and I don't need anymore than that.

I loved all his speeches, all that stuff about making a friend out of Horror, and I found myself questioning wether or not he really was as evil or mad as they said he was, and therefore ended up looking at myself, wondering what kind of a person I was to be taking his side in some of the things he said. Was he really that monstrous, or was I being seduced by the 'Dark Side' by Kurtz the way that he had done to others? This for me, means not only that that the performance worked but this is what makes it such a masterful portrayal of evil, you get to see right inside his heart and soul, seeing his good side too and how it makes him become bad. It works on it's own higher level not seen done by other actors.

I've never seen a villain been portrayed so psychologically like this. I feel like you get to see all of his character here. A true powerful performance.
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Postby Peven on Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:27 pm

just to set the record straight, and put the matter to rest and move on, when i made the analogy of feeling like sitting in the pews while watching Kubrick's films, i was referring more to the feeling of being talked down to, as if Kubrick viewed his audience the way the aliens viewed mankind in "2001", rather than being preached to in the sense of someone trying to get me to buy into their belief system. the misunderstanding is on me, for not choosing a better analogy.

and Magicmonkey, no sweat dude, i don't expect my pov to be the only one out there, and it certainly isn't the only legit pov either. a good healthy debate is no different than a sports competiton to me. no harm, no foul.
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:50 pm

Peven I know you don't choose to argue for the sake of it, you choose your arguements well and I assume it's always where you have a different view point to the general consensus, can I just say thank you for being so vocal, if there was no one brave enough to voice their difference of opinion this thread would be nothing but a private wank room where we all agree and don't get to the bottom of what makes someone great. There has been some fantasic debates in this thread because of stuff you have brought up.
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Postby Ribbons on Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:03 pm

John-Locke wrote:Peven I know you don't choose to argue for the sake of it, you choose your arguements well and I assume it's always where you have a different view point to the general consensus, can I just say thank you for being so vocal, if there was no one brave enough to voice their difference of opinion this thread would be nothing but a private wank room where we all agree and don't get to the bottom of what makes someone great. There has been some fantasic debates in this thread because of stuff you have brought up.


w00t.
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Postby Flumm on Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:30 pm

Seconded Locke.

There were a couple of times when I almost felt compelled to step in and perhaps give you some support Peven, or at least help keep things friendly, but no matter how goodwilled it may have been, it would have been presumptious of me, and tbh, you didn't need it in the least. You've put yourself accross as articulately and honestly as anyone else here, and you did it with good grace to boot. You faced the the finest officers the Kubrickian army has had to offer and survived. Well played, sir!

And to many other people too as it goes. I think it's fair to say this has been one of the most interesting threads the Zone's had in a long while. Amidst all the fun and frolicks, it's been great to see a thread devoted to just movies, and all that entails, really blossom and invoke such passion and creativity from people. It's inspired some really interesting debate, from not just movies, but the way people approach their art, what they want from it and beyond. I've been following it from the start, and read it with great interest.

I'd have really loved to contribute more, but I felt content a lot of the time just to read, and see which way the conversation would go. I confess, I partly even drafted my last post, just to hopeully inspire more discussion from people.

:o

But I say quite honestly, that of late my perceptions and opinions of things have been changing, and hopefully evolving from what they once were about a great many things, and the sentiments and thoughts that have been expressed here, directly and indirectly, has been one of several things that has helped fuel those internal discussions. If that makes sense. So yeah... erm. Thanks I guess.

:o :roll:


(And BTW I don't mean internal discussions in teh same way that Dino does when talking bran muffins. Just to clarify.)
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Postby Leckomaniac on Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:10 pm

I have to echo a lot of the sentiments expressed here. This has been one of my favorite threads to read/contribute to. Just like Kirk, I wish I would have had more to contribute but I was more then content to just read what others were articulating. A tip of the hat to all of you.

To get back to the point of the thread, I am really surprised that Kurosawa didn't get many votes. When I voted, I was torn between Kubrick and Kurosawa. Kurosawa's movies cover a very wide spectrum. He went from epic to intimate without skipping a beat. Perhaps he suffers because his films were not very widely distributed here in the United States or the UK. That meant that he wasn't able to earn that special place in our hearts that the other choices were able to .

Anyone else have any thoughts?
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Postby Nachokoolaid on Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:17 pm

I think this poll has a pro-western bias. This is Orientalism at its finest (or worst, depending on your stance, I suppose). Bah. Kurosawa mops the floor with these bitches.
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:20 pm

I've not seen enough Kurosawa to contribute much, what I have seen (Yojimbo & Sanjuro) I liked but I honestly wasn't as blown away as I was expecting to be. I honestly think Kurosawa like Fellini & Bergman made films that appeal more to mature audiences who are more in touch with certain aspects of the human condition, maybe I'm wrong, I just feel like I'm not quite ready to get into their work yet and get the most from their films.

Kubrick is easier to get into and comprehend and I guess I'm a little lazy like that. Soon though, especially after hearing all the good stuff about them in the Zone.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:43 pm

I've had a great time slinging words back and forth here too.

Peven, I hope you weren't taking offense at anything I said. I
know I can sound a little cold and unrelenting (heh, ironic?), but
I'm really a pleasent person, I just love a good debate; the
fiercer the better.

Anyways, I hope theres no hard feelings. I respect your opinion,
I just like to try and bring forth as much as I can from others
during debates. I want to know why people feel the way they
do; both in terms of honing my own critical eye and in terms of
the art of conversation vis a vis knowing what makes other
people tick.

I truly feel that people build their intelligence through debates like
this much more than slinging mud for the sake of slinging mud.
Challenging each other means we all learn and grow and develop
as intelligent human beings. We are, after all, eternally learning
and evolving...

So, anyways, peace...
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Postby Leckomaniac on Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:50 pm

Well I think there is a kind of "western-bias" to the extent that people will go with what they know.

Spielberg, Kubrick, Scorsese and Hitchcock were all directors whose work was featured prominently in the West. For someone like me, I grew up seeing movies by these film makers and so those movies hold a special place with me. As I grew older and attempted to reach out and find other film makers from other countries, I discovered Kurosawa. However, it is hard for him to compete with film makers who I have become familiar with while growing up.

This was the point I was trying to make, do other people feel that this is why Kurosawa is not getting as many votes as the other three. In other words, do people really feel that Kurosawa's body of work is that far behind the work of Scorcese, Spielberg, Hitchcock and Kubrick?
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:03 pm

Leckomaniac wrote:Well I think there is a kind of "western-bias" to the extent that people will go with what they know.

Spielberg, Kubrick, Scorsese and Hitchcock were all directors whose work was featured prominently in the West. For someone like me, I grew up seeing movies by these film makers and so those movies hold a special place with me. As I grew older and attempted to reach out and find other film makers from other countries, I discovered Kurosawa. However, it is hard for him to compete with film makers who I have become familiar with while growing up.

This was the point I was trying to make, do other people feel that this is why Kurosawa is not getting as many votes as the other three. In other words, do people really feel that Kurosawa's body of work is that far behind the work of Scorcese, Spielberg, Hitchcock and Kubrick?


I agree that Kurosawa didn't garner as many votes because most
Westerners aren't as familiar with his work. This is a tragedy.

Personally, I love Kurosawa. I'd put him right beside Kubrick;
although they are very different directors, both bring a
level of craft and artistry to the form that is just nigh unrivaled.
If I could have voted for two directors, he would have been a very
close second.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:16 pm

I am in the same camp with you Zombie...the choice between Kubrick and Kurosawa was a very tough one.
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