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|Stanley Kubrick a Life in Pictures|
Genres: Kids & Family
The career and life of Stanley Kubrick is explored through pictures, clips from his films, his old home movies, comments from his colleagues and a narration by Tom Cruise.
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An insightful look at cinema's most enigmatic filmmaker
B. W. Fairbanks | Lakewood, OH United States | 12/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" was apparently produced as a bonus disc in Warner Home Video's Stanley Kubrick Collection from a few years back, but it's no cheap giveaway. Produced and directed by Jan Harlen, great care was taken to present an overview of the revered auteur's career. With a running time of 142 minutes, it has time for clips from all of Kubrick's films going back to his short, "The Day of the Fight" and first feature, "Fear and Desire," to 1999's "Eyes Wide Shut" which was released posthumously. There are interviews with assorted Kubrick admirers and cast members, including Marie Windsor of 1956's "The Killing," and Jack Nicholson from "The Shining." It provides food for thought, and may even raise some questions for inquisitive viewers.
Nicholson says he had a good time working with Kubrick in "The Shining," but notes he was a completely different director with co-star Shelley Duvall. We then see some intriguing behind-the-scenes footage (from a making-of documentary by Kubrick's daughter included as a bonus on "The Shining" DVD) of Kubrick berating Duvall for her performance. "Do you want mood music?" he barks. Duvall claims she wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but notes Kubrick's "cruel" treatment of her. Was this a form of Method directing? In the film, Duvall is mistreated by her husband throughout, and eventually terrorized and almost murdered by him. Was Kubrick playing her quarrelsome spouse to create the atmosphere of disrespect he thought Duvall needed to convey the proper feeling of terror?
Kubrick worked slowly, spending more than a year filming "Eyes Wide Shut," a rather modest, small-scale drama, and his widow said he wished he had made more films. Martin Scorsese, however, says the 13 feature films Kubrick directed were "enough." Kubrick's films are new experiences each time you see them, he said. Sydney Pollock, the director who appeared as an actor in "Eyes Wide Shut," says Kubrick never released a film without controversy. Both "2001" and "Barry Lyndon" came in for their share of pans, most notably from Pauline Kael, the so-called "dean of film critics," whose wretchedly written review of "2001" is briefly spotlighted. Hit the "STOP" button on the DVD player, and you can read an excerpt and be amazed at her awful choice of words.
"Ten years later," Pollock said, "they're masterpieces." And Kubrick's films have remained masterpieces no matter how much time go by.
Kubrick was aware that the expectations were high for a filmmaker who let a full decade pass between releases, as it did with 1987's "Full Metal Jacket" and 1999's "Eyes Wide Shut." One observer suggests Kubrick was under such pressure with his last film that the relief he felt following the positive reaction it received in a preview for Warner Bros. executives, may have created such a sudden change in his body chemistry that it might have led to his death one week later. Interesting theory, but bear in mind the one offering it is not a physician.
"Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" is must viewing for anyone interested in this fascinating, enigmatic artist.
Brian W. Fairbanks"
Needs to Be Released By Itself!
J. Merritt | 08/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame that the only way to get this excellent documentary is to buy the entire Kubrick collection. Not that the collection isn't absolutely worth buying, but that's a lot of money to shell out. Hopefully this will become available by itself one day, because it's a mammoth and comprehensive and fascinating look at a great and strange artist, mixing extensive clips from his films with interviews with his contemporaries and stars. It also takes a rare and generous look inside his private life. If you are a fan of Kubrick's work or just a student of film in general, this is not to be missed. If a separate version becomes available to miss in the first place, that is."