Friday, 25 November 2016

Flicky Flicks Round 2

Having enjoyed the first round of Flicky Flicks, the guys and I soon turned our keen gaze to round two which, as chosen by Chip as the first round's victor, would consist of the films of Stanley Kubrick. This was not initially met with huge excitement by me as I've never really been that keen on his films. I know he's one of the greatest directors of all time and all that stuff, and his films are technically brilliant, but I just haven't really enjoyed watching them that much in the past. I guess some film snobs would therefore say I'm not a 'true film fan' but that's fine, I don't mind. As it turned out I've quite enjoyed this round anyway though, which consisted of a couple of classics I hadn't seen before. As before, the winner will be revealed at the end!

Paths of Glory (1957)
Director: Stanley Kubrick Starring: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson

Nominated By: Hipster Ben Running Time: 88 Minutes

It's two years into the First World War and the French and German forces have reached an impasse, both stuck in their respective trenches and unable to make any headway. The ambitious General Mireau, however, decides to send his division to take a strategically important position known as 'the Anthill'. Commanding the mission is Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) who knows it's next to impossible but tries anyway. The general is furious when it inevitably fails and demands that some of the soldiers are court martialed and executed for cowardice...

Pinbot: I’d not heard of this one and didn't really expect much of it to be honest. Well, it was a pleasant surprise. Another anti-war film, but this felt more subtle in comparison to others, but none less powerful or cynical. War was still hell of course, but this time the film was concerned with highlighting the foul machinations, hierarchies and politics behind the blood, guts and bullets of World War One: a very brutal and low-tech conflict. The battle scenes were still pretty realistic and the choice to film in black and white was a master stroke. Battles with all the colour drained out of them look a lot more brutal and it was reminiscent of cine camera clips filmed during the war itself. I watched this with my wife who thought the ending was a cop out – a tacked-on 'happy' ending. I had to disagree, I thought it was really poignant and bleak. The soldiers are watching a girl singing a beautiful song in a language they do not understand against her will. At some point these poor bastards will be ordered back to the front, from which they will most probably not return. And it was 88 minutes! Who says Stanley can't get to the point?! The Ant Hill out of Ten

Chip (viewing beverage: Guinness): The only movie in the line up I was unaware of before the round started, this was a very pleasant surprise. Another anti-war film, this time going firmly after those giving the orders sending the troops out to die. The dialog is excellent, and while not quite as darkly humorous, it has plenty of echos of Catch 22... 7 courts-martial out of 10

Randar: I didn't know much about this one prior to viewing but I was quite looking forward to it, mainly because there just aren't that many World War I films. Not that I know of at least. The black and white suits it though, I think, and I also enjoyed its surprisingly trim running time. Not that I dislike a longer film, it just suited my mood at the time I guess, and I really enjoyed it too. Kirk Douglas was exactly the kind of character I expected him to be, and he's as watchable as always, but the story isn't what I expected. The twist around halfway through of the crazy general, initially reluctant to even send his men on the mission, condemning 100 of them to the firing squad before being talked down to just three men was more than a little surprising. This and the ensuing trial/sentencing scenes made it a 'film of two halves', much like Full Metal Jacket, but unlike that film I found both halves equally enthralling here. The battle scenes are the highlight from a visual point of view but the later scenes are superbly acted and genuinely upsetting, and the poignant ending really summed up the futility of the whole affair, and the war in general too. War has always been horrific and this is one of those films that reminds us of that rather that glorifying it. It's no surprise to learn how controversial it was in its day either... 8/10

Grumpy McUnt: It might be clever, it might be all sorts of things that right now - while very tired - I cannot give two brown cigars about. Nearly every scene left me feeling frustrated and irritated; I fear I'd smash something if I forced myself to endure the last 40 minutes. Possibly my mistake for watching it the day after FMJ, but I really care not to see the rest of this. Sorry... 2 fat shits out of 10

Neptune King of the Sea: Not only is this a Kirk Douglas film I've never seen but also a WW1 film I never knew about. Another beautifully filmed B&W film from Kubrick, truly powerful stuff. Vaguely based on the real practice in France of executing "cowardly" soldiers, the film is part war film and part tense court drama. Douglas masterfully plays his part with passion and dignity. The film really shows the futility of war both on the battlefield and in the political manoeuvrings which lead to the inevitable conclusion of the court case. A special mention should go to the beer ball scene, which is as emotionally charged and stunning as any film I've seen. I like this film a lot.

Hipster Ben: It's a powerful anti-war film. Reviewing it based on the Kubrick films I've seen so far, it's the most complete and well rounded (2001 still to go). Nothing feels unfinished, overworked and certainly it didn't feel too long. Clocking in at around the sweet 1hr30 mark. The battlefield scenes were excellent. Really intense and in particular the scene where the three men are crawling out alone at night stuck in my head. Genuinely made me feel anxiety for what they were doing. Every performance was strong, the cast was brilliant, and it left me quite drained, I wouldn't say emotional, just drained, perhaps a little anxious and angered at the outcome of the events. Kubrick nailed this film and everything he was trying to say. The closing scenes with the beautiful German girl singing in tears as the troops turn from rowdiness to melancholy and realisation, hit home extremely hard... A brilliant and well deserved 9/10

Spartacus (1960)
Director: Stanley Kubrick Starring: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin, Tony Curtis

Nominated By: Neptune King of the Sea Running Time: 184 Minutes

It's the 1st century BC and the vast Roman Empire covers much of Europe. Amongst its many slaves is Spartacus (Douglas) who is even more disgruntled by his current social standing than the rest. When his insubordinate nature earns him a spot on the brutal gladiatorial roster it's the last straw. Seizing the first opportunity that comes along, he and his fellow combatants soon escape their captors and before long a full scale slave revolt is underway with Spartacus as its leader. The Roman Senate is far from pleased about this though...

Pinbot: 'Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?' A swords 'n' sandals movie that was epic in every respect: scope, drama, cast and length. And as camp as Christmas. It had some great performances: Douglas owned the screen, was super-manly and looked like he was chiselled out of granite: Olivier was in fine scenery-chewing form and Ustinov provided some welcome comic relief. Unfortunately, I really began to feel its three-hour-plus length towards the middle. So much so, I had to throw in the towel half way (just before the thoughtfully provided 'Intermission' caption!) and watch the second part the next day. It's not that it was boring, it’s just the pacing felt very slow and someone should have told Stanley he had a visitor, locked the door after he left and got the scissors out. I guess it was a product of its time, much like Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia, epics were simply expected to be… well, epic. Perhaps in 1960 there was nothing on the two TV channels or on the radiogram, so people expected a full night out and wanted to get as much cinematic time for their two shillings and sixpence as possible. It felt the least Kubricky Kubrick film I've seen so far in this round. It had very little of his signature directorial style – I’m guessing it was early in his career and he didn’t have much control over such an expensive production. From viewing his other work, he was also a master of sound design and this was very much lacking in that department. The music was very over-powering, parping away with little subtlety and was quite distracting. Par for the course for the genre and era it was made I guess. I’m very glad I watched it, it felt like a classic Golden Age Hollywood production, the kind that just isn’t made anymore. I’m just not sure I’ll be risking deep vein thrombosis by watching it again anytime soon... A galea out of Ten

Chip (viewing beverage - not enough): Undeniably epic, and rightfully a classic. Much too long though, and not really my cup of tea... 4 body servants out of 10

Randar: I first watched this film when I bought the DVD during my short-lived mission to watch all 'the greats' from bygone eras, and I enjoyed it in a "I can see why it's a great but I probably wouldn't watch it again" kind of way. But here it is nominated for Flicky Flicks so I will be watching it again! Having done so, and I'm left feeling the same way really. Its story is certainly one worth telling, the production values are superb for the day, and some of the performances are fantastic, especially Kirk Douglas of course, but when you keep checking how much of a film is left, you're clearly not wholly engrossed in its world. It is a classic, it has too many great, now-iconic scenes to not be, but it would've held the attention better if it were an hour shorter. I'd probably be lynched for saying this in some circles but I'd rather watch Gladiator any day of the week. Sorry! 6/10

Grumpy McUnt: Just epic. An epic waste of my life. Well, it's not terrible, of course, but this is merely my opinion. If it was a 90 minute yarn it might be easier on the stomach, but the character development is strong and the performances are ace. The battles are top notch but the conversations are deathly dull. Kirk was great, some of the lines within are awesome, but I couldn't care enough to enjoy the movie... 4 dead babies out of Ten

Neptune King of the Sea: The Epic of Epics. In every sense of the word the template Gladiator film for everything that follows. Firstly the positives, some amazing acting performances Douglas is amazing as a charismatic and physically imposing rebel leader, the portrayal of eloquent political manoeuvrings, the sweeping and astounding cinematography. Now the bad, my one main issue is the length - 3 sittings to get through the film, it's gripping but I feel like some of the Senate scenes could have been shorter. For all its length the bittersweet ending is one of Kubrik's best. All in all proti-sandal awesomeness.

Hipster Ben: Epic. In length, Storytelling. Film making, and Spartacus' ability to not smile or blink in over three hours of film. Of course he probably did. I enjoyed the film a lot, but it's was just soooooo long, probably by over an hour. I found it to have so much unnecessary romantic filler that it could've been edited out to make just an epic action film. I understand it's part, and for the year of 1960, it was probably very welcome in a film, but 56 years on I found the want to shoot myself in the face during these scenes. Excellent story and battle scenes and some very strong performances throughout. My favourite character being the pompous dithering, coward of Batiatus, the gladiator slave trader. Even with it's age, the film still has plenty to offer the viewer and can hold its own against even some modern day films if you like this sort of historical film... It's 8 roman wine gulps out of 10 for me.

Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Director: Stanley Kubrick Starring: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, Tracy Reed

Nominated By: Pinbot Running Time: 94 Minutes

We are at the height of the Cold War this time and a rogue USAF General (Hayden) has taken it upon himself to launch a first strike against the Soviets using a wing of B-52's carrying nuclear bombs. Frantically trying to stop him are an RAF exchange officer at his base (Sellers) as well as the President (Sellers) and his gathering of politicians and generals at the Pentagon. Meanwhile, the crew of one of the bombers tries to confirm the attack orders while attempting to evade Soviet detection.

Pinbot (viewing beverage: Hardy’s Sauvignon Blanc): As the sage Boy George once noted, 'War is stupid and people are stupid' and this film certainly shared that sentiment. This film was truly brilliant, a none-more-black comedy that was very funny and deeply unsettling in all the right places. Its cold war setting may be a footnote in history now, but it was sadly still very timely as a comment about the mutually assured destruction of world conflict. I'm not a big Peter Sellers fan, he just has never really done it for me. However, in this he was amazing: playing three different roles as completely disparate people with expert comedic timing and a lot of nuance. The stark black and white visuals made it all look stylish and very bleak, with the iconic war room almost being a character in itself. Hilarious and horrifying: well written, expertly directed and superbly acted. A poignant statement about the futility of war that is right up there with Black Adder Goes Forth and Catch 22... A precious bodily fluid out of Ten

Chip (viewing beverage: a lovely cup of tea): One of those films that is so iconic it frequently felt familiar even though I'm sure I'd never sat down and watched it properly before. Peter Sellers delivers a masterclass of performances, and the film is visually stunning as we come to expect from Kubrick. Once again it's another movie based on a book, but as I haven't read the book I am unable to comment on that aspect this time. As anti-war/nuclear weapon satire it's superb, and up there with Catch 22 for use of humour to explore such a dark topic. The dialogue is excellent and heavily quotable... 8 B-52s out of 10

Randar: I wasn't really looking forward to watching this one. I'm not sure why since I hadn't seen it before and only knew the basic story, and I often tend to like Cold War films too. Sure enough, soon after starting it I was drawn in. I liked how it switched between the War Room, the lead B-52, and particularly the crazy General Ripper (chortle) at the Air Force Base trying to fend off an attack while Captain Mandrake tries to talk him down. George C. Scott's over-the-top performance was amusing (though also a little annoying), although it's interesting to hear he was tricked into it by the dastardly Kubrick, and Slim Pickens was also memorable as the gung-ho Major 'King' Kong. Much of the support is great too, but the Sellers is unsurprisingly the standout. Embarrassingly, not only had I not seen this film before but it's also the first Sellers film I've seen - a fact made even worse when I discovered upon looking into the film for this feature that he was born in my hometown and made his stage debut at a theatre I can see from my house! Eeek! Well, better late than never, and I definitely enjoyed this one. It's funny, the satirical aspect works superbly, it was superbly shot, and its point remains relevant today. It could well end up being my favourite of the lot... 8/10

Grumpy McUnt: Peter Sellers is brilliant. The film is genuinely bonkers - and Stephen Fry, for his Black Adder character, must have seen this dozens of times - wow. Slim is tremendous, and James Earl Jones is almost out-voiced by Peter Bull - I even wonder if he tried to emulate him to a degree, in terms of timing and delivery. Great fun, and utterly harrowing in that one can easily believe how selfish cretins could easily bring about the end of the world. I would love to know if we ever came close to such a catastrophe occurring... 8.5/10. I don't like round numbers. And I now would like nothing more than to go to a pub with mates, get piddled, and wax on about the end of the world.

Neptune King of the Sea: First of all let me iterate that I love Team Flicky and Flicky Flicks, it' s a real opportunity and excuse to watch real gems like this. Briefly, the film is a satire on nuclear proliferation, the cold war, and government. Scarily most of the film is relevant to modern audiences, clueless governments, political spin, the feeling that there is no good and bad guy, and the fact that most individuals are incredibly self-serving. On face value much of the film could be seen as a straight and tense political thriller but the ludicrous nature of government policy and military bungling derail such a simple premise. The film is an amazing vehicle for Sellers who is at the top of his game, playing numerous characters who are all equally convincing and suitably complex. Special mention should be applied in his portrayal as a Nazi mad scientist with a blatant obsession with Hitler which has become in later films the archetype of this character, truly funny and sinister. There are also plenty of strong supporting character actors, Slim Pickens and especially Stirling Hayden as the deranged Jack D. Ripper deserve special mentions. There's a lovely attention to detail in this film also, you feel you’re getting a really well researched insight into the military processes of the time. The film looks amazing too, black and while used to devastating effect. A brilliant start to the season.

Hipster Ben: Interesting. Funny. A dark comedy on a serious impending tragedy. General Turgidson was brilliant. Peter Sellers was brilliant, and to realise he played three roles all very well makes it seem more impressive. It took me awhile for everything to click in this film. I fell asleep on five separate occasions, having to rewind parts and watch on different days, but it did in some odd way help me to like the film more. I imagine in its day this was somewhat a masterpiece, but I can only score it on my personal thoughts. I'll definitely watch it again, some of the one liners were great, "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room" I'll give this an 8/10

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Director: Stanley Kubrick Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Douglas Rain

Nominated By: Chip Running Time: 142 Minutes

In earth's distant past a tribe of apes are going about their business when suddenly a featureless black monolith appears. Millions of years later when man is on the verge of the space age, a similar object is discovered buried on our moon. Upon exposure to sunlight it emits a high-pitched signal towards Jupiter. Eighteen months later, a ship - the Discovery One - is heading for Jupiter to find the target of the signal. There are five humans on board, three in cryogenic hibernation, and the advanced HAL 9000 computer equipped with the latest 'fool proof' artificial intelligence...

Pinbot (viewing beverage: The Hardy’s Sauvignon Blanc just kept on giving): This was the first time I’d ever actually watched this film in its entirety in one sitting. It had always been a film that I’d recognised as being important, but never really warmed to. All very impressive, but so very pretentious and more of an overlong tech demo than a movie. This time however, I finally 'got' it. It certainly was a visual masterpiece with Kubrick’s infamously obsessive attention to detail fully visible in every frame, with some amazing model work and special effects for 1968 (especially the zero-gravity sections). This came out a year before the moon landings and it must have blown so many people’s minds. The classical music soundtrack, gave it plenty of atmosphere and gravitas. The stand out sequence was of course was the scenes in space with the crew of the Discovery and the HAL 9000 computer: understated and amazingly tense. At just shy of two and a half hours it was undeniably a long film. It had very little plot, simple characterisation and extremely sparse dialogue, but It could be said that it was more of a piece of art than a film and you should view it differently to more 'lightweight' sci-fi like Star Wars and Star Trek. I re-tuned my brain, sat back and enjoyed the show in all of its beauty... The Blue Danube out of Ten

Chip (viewing Beverage: Lech Polish lager): Although an admittedly slow burn, this still stands as one of the finest Science Fiction movies of all time. It's another case of outstanding book and movie, although in this case I believe the book and movie were developed together as a collaboration between Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke. It's also undeniably helpful to read the book to better understand the film, but a general familiarity with classic Sci-Fi helps too. As ever, the film is visually stunning, and the sound design and orchestral score superb. 2001 also has some of the best use of silence in any movie I've ever seen. I now need to go and reflect on my favourite Sci-Fi films and see where this stands, at the moment I'm struggling to think of anything better. Think I'll also delve back into some Sci-Fi novels while I'm at it... 10 rogue AIs out of 10

Randar: I've owned this film for many years but it's also been many years since I last saw it. I remember thinking at the time that it was a unique and fascinating film but also very strange in places and not tremendously rewatchable. After seeing it again for FF, I think I feel exactly the same way. It starts off with several minutes of music over a blank screen before twenty minutes of grunting ape-men - it's a full 24 minutes before a word is spoken by a human - and there are numerous other periods of silence through the film's long running time too. There's even an 'intermission' part way through it! None of this is necessarily bad but it's definitely unusual. Of the handful of humans in the film, only Keir Dullea has a significant amount of screentime as Dr. David Bowman but neither he nor any of the others are that important to what Kubrick was trying to do. The presence of humans in the film is almost superfluous, with many of the most memorable scenes wordless. There are many wonderful spacey shots and the use of classical music during them was genius. Of course, the spoken word does play a part too, most notably during scenes featuring the eerie HAL who you just knew was going to go wrong. Considering most people didn't even know what a computer was back in the 60's, this film must've terrified them about the future as real computers started to emerge. There's a surprising amount of product placement during the early space scenes too - I didn't expect that in a film of this age. It's poetic, mysterious, even rather baffling, and shows Kubrick at his most self-indulgent, but it's also very clearly a classic film and one that should be experienced by everyone at least once... 8/10

Grumpy McUnt (viewing beverage: oven cleaner): I've seen this before, years ago, so I reserve the right to do some chores while the fantastic soundtrack blasts through my flat. Bloody hell. Kubrick wasn't in a rush was he? So we have several short, but awesome, scenes stretched out over 150 painful minutes. Hal is the best character and the only person I gave 2 fat cigars about. I dearly love this genre in book form - but even the book of this boring self indulgent movie was impenetrable. 5/10 because I love sci-fi and you have to admire Arthur C Clark's vision of future tech - the revenge of an AI device is now old hat, but I can't think of an example that came before this.

Neptune King of the Sea: Conflicted. Beautiful, stunning, inspiring, impressive, future, boring, banal, thought provoking, quiet, sad, strange, ai, space is pretty, minimalistic, Rez, planets, what?

Hipster Ben: My face and brain have melted. I don't think I've ever experienced anything like this before and I'm undecided on how I feel about it, so I'll keep this short. It's a masterpiece, of sorts... The sound and visuals are spectacular, as we've come to expect from Mr Kubrick. There is intensity at times that makes you feel ridiculously uncomfortable, it's something he delivers brilliantly. That being said, it's equally as pretentious, long winded and lacking in any direction other than self indulgence and as someone else mentioned, a collection of tech demos. Nail on the head. At times I just found myself rolling my eyes, looking around the room, muttering "fuck off Stan", under my breath. Other moments just completely transfixed. My favourite moment: The scene where they go down to the planet to unearth the giant PlayStation 2 memory card was just incredibly tense. Absolutely beautiful lighting and music and with headphones on my head near exploded. I didn't want to review this personally. Its a tough one. I don't give in to the ‘it's a masterpiece of cinema and made in the 60s’, articles I've been browsing. Of course it is… is it? For you to decide. I've felt they have swayed my decision a little though when you put it into context. I liked parts. It's a good film. It won’t be good for everyone... 8/10

The Shining (1980)
Director: Stanley Kubrick Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd

Nominated By: Grumpy McUnt Running Time: 119 Minutes

Jack Torrance (Nicholson) is a struggling writer who applies for and wins a job working as winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel which is closed during the harsh winters in the region. He is warned before accepting, however, that it was once the site of some gruesome murders. Although taking his wife Wendy (Duvall) and young son Danny (Lloyd) with him, his intention is to use the time to get some writing done. He gets little done though, and becomes prone to some increasingly deranged and violent outbursts while Danny also exhibits some very strange behaviour.

Pinbot: I'm a complete wimp and I was unprepared for how much this film would freak me out. It really got under my skin without relying the usual horror movie tropes like jump scares or gory splatter. Instead it piled on atmosphere and ominous music (and silence) to maintain a near constant sense of dread. Everything from the little boy riding his trike through the long corridors, the stark empty rooms and even the '70s decor was just deeply unsettling. Nobody does crazy better than Jack Nicholson and he excelled here. However, I didn't think Shelly Duvall was quite as effective as Jack's long suffering wife. She was an inconsistent character - one minute a weak wide-eyed damsel in distress, the next a fearless baseball bat wielding protector. The kid was amazingly creepy though and I'm still terrified of the little bugger. Of course being Kubrick it looked amazing, with great attention to detail and despite being over two hours long and fairly slow paced, it felt just right. Powerful, nerve-shredding stuff... Room 237 out of Ten

Chip (viewing beverage: Aberfeldy 12 year old): Considering the theme this time, we should get the whole "the book is better" stuff out of the way first. Comparisons of this sort are redundant, the experience of reading a book is so far removed from watching movies as to make the statement meaningless. However, for me, no other director has successively taken great books and made them into great movies, and that is exactly the case here. I understand the criticisms (mostly from Stephen King) relating to the adaption, but that's not the issue in point. As a movie, The Shining is a masterpiece, and one of the greatest horror movies of all time. So many shots in this film have become iconic, with references still continuing to crop up in modern culture. The art direction and sound design are sublime, creating a great sense of isolation and tension. Thoroughly enjoyed watching this again, although I never need much of an excuse... I give it 9 creepy kids out of 10

Randar: Here's another one I'm ashamed to say I'd never seen prior to this feature. My shame is perhaps even greater since it is much more recent too, and I knew very little about it other than the famous "Here's Johnny!" scene. I've always just kind of assumed it's a psychological horror, but I was a little surprised to find the whole film takes place in and around the hotel and features very few characters. That's okay though, it adds to the spooky atmosphere I guess, and there is indeed a foreboding sense of impending danger from the off, but that was kind of a problem for me too. It's rather slow with little happening, and you just know that some sort of crazy shit is coming. This wouldn't matter if the build-up contained more exposition but it just kind of gradually happens. Jack Nicholson is fantastic though - Torrance is the kind of character he was born to play and his descent into apparent madness is superbly conveyed. Danny Lloyd is also great/disturbing, but I found Duvall a mixture of amusing and annoying - not the intention I'm sure. I liked Scatman's character but it's a real shame his return was built up only to be dashed so abruptly. I'm struggling to come to a satisfactory conclusion for this one to be honest. It's so well regarded I kind of feel obligated to love it. I can see why it's regarded as a classic but there were periods I was bored and even when I wasn't I found I didn't really care too much what happened to those involved. The atmosphere is great for most of the film, my main problem is that I just didn't find it scary - there were a few scenes that were a bit freaky and the tense atmosphere was put across well (even if the 'scary' music got a bit annoying) but I definitely wasn't scared. It certainly looks great though, the whole film was wonderfully shot and the 70's decor was fantastic and a highlight for me. It's unquestionably a film I'll remember vividly and I'm glad I've now seen it but it won't make my favourites list I'm sorry to say... 6/10

Grumpy McUnt: The scenery is beautiful, the setting is wonderful, the characters are great ... Jack is terrifying. As BenBen said I too love, and remembered, from decades ago, the sound of the buggy wheels on the floor as the kid peddled around the hotel. It is a little on the slow side, Kubrick is never knowingly rushed it appears. I'm not a big fan of horror movies, but this is easily one of the greatest made - the creep factor, terror, and uncertainty are all palpable, yet never cheesy. I can never decide if the woman is brave, clever, stupid, or cowardly - in fact she probably alternates between the states in a most realistic human way. Marvellous... 8/10

Neptune King of the Sea: Just like the last rounds I left the "worst" films till the last viewings, my pre-conceived ideas in numerous rounds have been incorrect and this film cements that view. I was wrong again that's my key admission... So why is this film good? Well, the film is visually arresting and is masterfully framed but intensely examines isolation in it's intricacies and relies on amazing acting performances to support the amazing visuals. The film hugely successful due to extraordinary acting performances, Nicholson is rarely as sublime, but everyone is incredibly strong. I wasn't expecting this but my favourite Kubrick film... 7 snowballs out of Johnny

Hipster Ben: The Shining is tense, it's creepy, any horror film involving kids usually is for me, and I tend to avoid them for that reason. Strong performances by all the lead characters, in particular jack Nicholson of course. He's just fantastic. Even before he goes to the faeries, he's frightening and you just cannot be impressed by his performance. Just such a great character and he plays it perfectly. The film setting is beautiful, the camera shots and lighting all excellent added with stunning sound that adds a real tension and atmosphere, Some of the scenes were just more terrifying because of the music and sound used. It almost drives the horror itself.
One of my favourite parts be it simple, is the sound switch between Danny on his tricycle running over wood to carpet, wood and back to carpet. It's terrifying. It's brilliant. Simply brilliant. I could watch this again easily, but I feel it's an easy 8, and I'd give it a 9 for the horror genre. A few qualms, I felt some things weren't resolved in the story as a film, that perhaps would've been in the book. But, without reading it I can't really comment. "Redrum redrum redrum"...

Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Director: Stanley Kubrick Starring: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Arliss Howard, Kevyn Major Howard, Ed O'Ross

Nominated By: Randar Running Time: 116 Minutes

It's 1967 and the war is well underway in Vietnam. A new batch of Marine Corps recruits including Joker (Modine), Pyle (D'Onofrio), and Cowboy (Howard) have just arrived at boot camp in South Carolina where they are faced with the punishing discipline of Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Ermey). After barely making it through his strict regime, we catch up with some of them in Vietnam a year later. Joker is now a war correspondent and is reunited with Cowboy when he joins his squad to cover the Battle of Huế...

Pinbot: And so I arrived at the final instalment of Kubrick’s 'Anti-War' trilogy. The movie started with the infamous boot camp sequence with Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) loud, large and in charge. You know the guy – he's pretty much played the same person in every film he’s been in. Including Toy Story of all things, albeit watered down with no potty-mouthed language. This sequence reminded me of the 'SAS: Are You Tough Enough?' style reality TV shows to which my wife is oddly addicted. After twenty minutes of misery and noise, I was wondering when it was going to end. Was this the entire film? Three quarters of an hour later playing Combat School with better graphics, we finally graduated! Crack out 'Paint It Black', we're off to 'Nam... With only two of the characters we'd spend any time with so far – Joker and Cowboy. Both these guys weren't that interesting and to be honest I didn't really care about the other troops either. Only the squad's heavy machine gunner, Sergeant Animal Mother (played by Jayne from Firefly) had any sort of personality and as such when the infantry started to get taken down, it didn't mean anything, they were just cardboard cutouts or crudely drawn stereotypes... In fact the whole second half of the film was made of self-contained set pieces each a little anti-climatic. The endgame Battle of Huế sequence felt like a side mission, a second plot line to complement a larger, more interesting story that sadly never arrived. It was powerful, but nothing to really raise it above the many other Vietnam movies. I quickly wanted to go back to Hartman and his filthy shouting, which I soon realised was actually the best and most Kubrickian part of the whole movie... A 7.62mm bullet out of Ten

Chip (viewing beverage: Amber Ale): Had been a long time since I'd watched this one, and aside from the iconic boot camp, other parts of the rest of the movie had blurred in my mind with other Vietnam War movies. The whole thing is incredibly well shot, but it is only really outstanding during the first half, once the men are shipped off to war it is a bit more familiar... 7 push ups out of 10

Randar: As well as being the most recent of our selections, this was also Kubrick's second-to-last film and the only one released at a time I was old enough to remember, and yet ironically it was the first of his films I saw. I remember it for two main sequences, the first of which takes up the whole first half of the film - the infamous boot camp section. This is where we meet a couple of the main characters but we don't really have the chance to find out much about them, they're too busy following Hartman's hardcore disciplinary regime (Emery was a real drill instructor too!). It's hard not to feel sorry for the bumbling Private Pyle though. The rest of the film, set in Vietnam itself, is less focused. There are some decent battle scenes including the other sequence that sticks in my mind - the battle against the lone sniper at the end - but it often feels a bit muddled and directionless. There isn't much in the way of story or exposition either, and the inevitable deaths don't have that much impact simply because we didn't have the chance to get to know their characters. Perhaps it's supposed to be a parallel of the war itself, or at least how the US's involvement was looked upon by many including a large percentage of Americans themselves - the futility, the pointlessness, the senseless loss of so many lives on both sides. It's really well made though, and worth watching to experience the phenomenon that is Sergeant Hartman alone... 7/10

Grumpy McUnt: The first movie in history to be fully paid for via its own on-set swear box; but the brutal language is the least of your concerns in this epic, and miserable, tale. I'm sure someone else said this, but this flick is in two distinct parts, the boot-camp section which I'd give 8/10 and the "proper" war bit for which I score 6/10. I did like the film, I have massive respect for it, but I never want to see it again. Startling, and I found it harrowing because I can imagine some boot camps are not too far removed from this... 7 tough bastards out of 10

Neptune King of the Sea: 30 minutes of greatness, two amazing acting performances, then an average but brutally pretty Vietnam war film... 6 unexploded Samsung phones out of 7

Hipster Ben: I split this film into 3 parts. It almost felt like that's how my head separated it. It felt almost unfinished but I get the feeling this is somewhat deliberate in kubrick’s delivery, but that doesn't take away from moments of brilliance. The films opening at marine training was just engaging and brilliantly written. In particular the drill instructors dialogue, which was one of the highlights in performance for me of the whole film. So many funny and quotable lines that It almost felt like some dark comedy and then the music creeped in, like darkness is coming. Pyle is losing his shit... his suicide and murder of the drill instructor was the wake up back to reality. Shit. The central part of the film and the shortest section, began building up a picture of the realities of war. Soldiers not really knowing what they are fighting for, some with half a brain to not even care to know taking innocent lives and all for the kill count or bragging rights. The marine Journalists begin bantering over who has seen more action and bam, there's an attack. They are thrown into it. I lost my way somewhere here and found it a little incoherent. I don't recall how I got from the mid section to the end... The final scenes involving being pinned down by the sniper, losing men fast. This was so well shot, great camera movements, great lighting, slow motion bullet hits, added to the anxiety of being down there with them. Realities of war hitting home even more to find out the sniper is a young Vietnamese girl... I give this film a solid 8/10, losing only marks because it didn't hold me to full attention all throughout and as I said, just felt perhaps, unfinished.

Winner: There we have it - all six films watched and reviewed by all six of us. Again,none of them proved to be universally adored or despised but the ultimate victor, narrowing beating Paths of Glory, was... Dr Strangelove! (tootle, tootle) Congratulations to Pinbot for his winning nomination. The next theme, as chosen by the victor, will be sequels. See you again once they have all been watched and reviewed too!


  1. Would FF please consider specifying a score rather than a strange sentence? I do not understand what "A precious bodily fluid out of Ten" means! Also some of you do not specify a score at all, which is an inconsistent approach to the reviews.

    Also, it would have been nice to have an explanation regarding the metric you used to decide which films were not included in the review. For example, why is "The Shining" & "FMJ" worthy of review, whilst "A Clockwork Orange" & "Eyes Wide Shut" is not? Please consider explaining your reasoning before the reviews, or review them all! I appreciate your love of films, thanks for the reviews :)

  2. Hey buddy, thanks for reading :) As mentioned in the first FF post, each of the six of us nominate a film based on the chosen theme (which, aside from the first, is chosen by the winner of the previous round). I agree regarding the scoring system which doesn't really mean much in the case of some FF members :P