The Stanley Kubrick Collection Blu Ray|
A Clockwork Orange 40th Anniversary EditionCausing major controversy when first released, the film garnered four Academy Award nominations – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Screenplay – and is number 4 on AFI’s Top 10 List of Best Science Fiction films of All Time.Disc 1: Feature Film New Special Features: Malcolm McDowell Looks Back: Malcolm McDowell reflects on his experience working with legendary director Stanley Kubrick on one of the seminal films of the 1970s Turning like Clockwork Considers the Film’s Ultra-violence and its Cultural Impact Commentary by Malcolm McDowell and historian Nick Redman Documentary Still Tickin’: The Return of Clockwork Orange Great Bolshy Yarblockos!: Making A Clockwork Orange Theatrical Trailer Disc 2: Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (Produced and directed by Jan Harlan the brother of Christiane Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick's widow). Kubrick’s career comes into sharp focus in this compelling documentary narrated by Tom Cruise. Fascinating footage glimpses Kubrick in his early years, at work on film sets and at home, augmented by candid commentary from collaborators, colleagues and family. O Lucky Malcolm! Documentary about the life and career of actor Malcolm McDowell produced and directed by Jan Harlan. Spartacus (1960) This genre-defining epic is the legendary tale of a bold gladiator (Kirk Douglas) who led a triumphant Roman slave revolt. Filmed in glorious Technicolor, the action-packed spectacle won four Academy Awards including Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Cinematography Costume Design and Art Direction. This is the first time the film has been included in a Warner Bros. Kubrick Collection.Lolita (1962)Humbert, a divorced British professor of French literature, travels to small-town America for a teaching position. He allows himself to be swept into a relationship with Charlotte Haze, his widowed and sexually famished landlady, whom he marries in order that he might pursue the woman's 14-year-old flirtatious daughter, Lolita, with whom he has fallen hopelessly in love, but whose affections shall be thwarted by a devious trickster named Clare Quilty.Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)The cold war satire is a chilling dark comedy about a psychotic Air Force General unleashing an ingenious, foolproof and irrevocable scheme sending bombers to attack Russia, as the U.S. President works with the Soviet premier in a desperate effort to save the world. The film stars Peter Sellers, in multiple roles, George C. Scott, and Sterling Hayden.2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)Stanley Kubrick’s dazzling, Academy Award-winning achievement (Special Visual Effects) is an allegorical puzzle on the evolution of man and a compelling drama of man vs. machine. Featuring a stunning meld of music and motion, the film was also Oscar-nominated for Best Director, Art Direction and Writing. Kubrick (who co-wrote the screenplay with Arthur C. Clarke) first visits the prehistoric age-ancestry past, then leaps millennia (via one of the most mind-blowing jump cuts ever) into colonized space, and ultimately whisks astronaut Bowman (Keir Dullea) into uncharted space, perhaps even into immortality.Special Features: Commentary by Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood Documentary 2001: The Making of a Myth Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001 Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001 2001: A Space Odyssey – A Look Behind the Future and What Is Out There? 2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork Look: Stanley Kubrick! Audio-Only Bonus: 1966 Kubrick Interview Conducted by Jeremy Bernstein Barry Lyndon (1975)Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) is a young, roguish Irishman who's determined, in any way, to make a life for himself as a wealthy nobleman. Enlisting in the British Army and fighting in Europe’s Seven Years War, Barry deserts, then joins the Prussian army, gets promoted to the rank of a spy, and becomes a pupil to a Chevalier and con artist/gambler. Barry then lies, dupes, duels and seduces his way up the social ladder, entering into a lustful but loveless marriage to a wealthy countess named Lady Lyndon. He takes the name of Barry Lyndon, settles in England with wealth and power beyond his wildest dreams, before eventually falling into ruin.The Shining (1980)From a script he co-adapted from the Stephen King novel, Kubrick melds vivid performances, menacing settings, dreamlike tracking shots and shock after shock into a milestone of the macabre. The Shining is the director’s epic tale of a man in a snowbound hotel descending into murderous delusions. In a signature role, Jack Nicholson (“Heeeere’s Johnny!”) stars as Jack Torrance, who’s come to the elegant, isolated Overlook Hotel as off-season caretaker with his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son (Danny Lloyd).Special Features: Commentary by Steadicam inventor/operator Garrett Brown and historian John Baxter Vivian Kubrick’s Documentary The Making of the Shining with Optional Commentary View from the Overlook: Crafting The Shining The Visions of Stanley Kubrick and Wendy Carlos, Composer Full Metal Jacket (1987)A superb ensemble falls in for Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant saga about the Vietnam War and the dehumanizing process that turns people into trained killers. The scathing indictment of a film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Joker (Matthew Modine), Animal Mother (Adam Baldwin), Gomer (Vincent D’Onofrio), Eightball (Dorian Harewood) and Cowboy (Arliss Howard) are some of the Marine recruits experiencing boot-camp hell under the punishing command of the foul-mouthed Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermy). The action is savage, the story unsparing, and the dialogue is spiked with scathing humour.Special Features: Commentary by Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey and critic/screenwriter Jay Cocks Full Metal Jacket: Between Good and Evil Eyes Wide Shut (1999)Kubrick’s daring and controversial last film is a bracing psychosexual journey through a haunting dreamscape, a riveting suspense tale and a career milestone for stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Cruise plays a doctor who plunges into an erotic foray that threatens his marriage – and may ensnare him in a murder mystery – after his wife’s (Kidman) admission of sexual longings. As the story sweeps from doubt and fear to self-discovery and reconciliation, Kubrick orchestrates it with masterful flourishes. His graceful tracking shots, rich colours and startling images are some of the bravura traits that show Kubrick as a filmmaker for the ages.Special Features: Three-Part Documentary: The Last Movie: Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut The Haven/Mission Control, Artificial Intelligence or The Writer as Robot EWS: A Film by Stanley Kubrick Lost Kubrick: The Unfinished Films of Stanley Kubrick Interview Gallery Featuring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Steven Spielberg Kubrick’s 1998 Directors Guild of America D.W. Griffith Award Acceptance Speechfrom£17.99 | RRP:
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Average Rating for The Stanley Kubrick Collection [Blu-ray][Region Free] - 5 out of 5
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The Stanley Kubrick Collection [Blu-ray][Region Free]Calvin MacKinnon
In a career spanning nearly five decades he directed 13 feature films - seven of which are included in this collection. This collection neatly demonstrates Kubrick's versatility, ingenuity and above all, his ability to create outstanding cinema.
Chronologically the first film in this collection is Kubrick's 1962 adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita - the story of Humbert Humbert and his obsession and sexual relationship with the teenage Dolores Haze (aka Lolita). Due to its objectionable content the book was temporarily banned in many countries including Britain but is now hailed as one of the 20th century's literary masterpieces.
The problem with Kubrick's Lolita is not so much to do with what it is but what it could have been. James Mason and Peter Sellers give amazing performances as Humbert Humbert and Clare Quilty (respectively) and the film is worth seeing for that alone but the film, unlike many of Kubrick's later adaptations, fails to equal or better the source material.
Promotional material for the film used the tagline "How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?" Well Kubrick did but it lacks much of what made the novel great. This is not necessarily Kubrick's fault, due to restrictions by the MPAA he was pressured to tone down the film and ten years later he remarked that if he knew how much concessions he would have to make he "probably would not have made the film". For a comedy the film lacks laughs, for a satire it doesn't pack much of a punch.
The second film in this collection is 2001: A Space Odyssey, a 1968 surreal science fiction epic co-written by the author Arthur C. Clarke and Kubrick himself. The most basic premise I could give you is that the film charts human evolution but it provides so much more with themes such as technology, extraterrestrial life and existentialism.
To try to provide a review of this "film" is difficult as it is almost not a film at all. The best I can do is to describe 2001 is to say it is a visual experience. There is not really much in the way of plot or a conventional narrative, instead the film is enigmatic and touches your subconscious in a poetic and philosophical way that no other film can. There are characters but very little dialogue; they take a backseat to the visuals that are the primary way the film communicates with the viewer. Kubrick deliberately chose to use existing classical music for the film that doesn't provide emotional cues, as is the norm with soundtracks, instead it provides a perfect accompaniment to the visuals.
I hope that my review has not portrayed the film as dull in any way as it's certainly not however words cannot do justice to what is a visual-led film.
The third film in the collection is perhaps Kubrick's most controversial - a 1971 adaptation of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange. The film is set in a dystopian future where gang leader Alex is caught by the police and offered a shortened sentence for his numerous crimes if he agrees to an experimental treatment on his brain to suppress all violent urges.
The first shot in this film is perhaps the best opening to any Kubrick film - the camera retreats hypnotically from Alex, introducing us to our bowler hat wearing, milk drinking protagonist. It's perhaps the most chilling opening shot ever committed to celluloid as he stares directly at the camera lens, as if acknowledging the presence of you, the viewer.
Alex is only one piece of A Clockwork Orange however, he is as important to the film as Winston is to 1984 as the film is also a narrative on violence, oppression and free will. The film is a strong contrast to Kubrick's Lolita that was also an adaptation of a controversial novel but was made before the relaxation of restrictions on film. Kubrick had complete control over A Clockwork Orange and the scenes of extreme violence would never have been permitted ten years prior.
A Clockwork Orange is a fascinating tour de force by Kubrick, combining Orwellian themes with an arresting performance by Malcolm McDowell and fantastic design and use of music.
Next up is Barry Lyndon or what I like to call Kubrick's 18th century Citizen Kane. Like Citizen Kane it charts the rise and fall from power of one who was not born into it but that is where the comparison ends. It's in this film that Kubrick's ingenuity with technology is demonstrated most prominently and it results in some of the most stunning imagery in history.
Kubrick wanted to shoot with natural light and candlelight and to this end he (with some help) invented cameras that could use the lenses developed for the Apollo moon landings. The film still features the largest lens aperture in cinema history. It paid off; the cinematography is simply stunning and almost any frame from the film could pass as art.
Barry Lyndon is perhaps the most emotional film in the collection and I have to admit that I did shed a tear at a scene. Ryan O'Neal gives an amazing performance of the titular character and perfectly portrays his weakness, vanity and cowardice.
The Shining follows Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. During Jack and his family's stay at the hotel strange things start to occur and when Jack has a mental breakdown the situation takes a sinister turn for the worse. Kubrick adapted the film from the Stephen King novel of the same name and King, now famously, hated the film.
Nicholson, as you might expect from a 12-time Academy Award nominee, delivers a stupendous performance along with Shelley Duvall.
The result is a subtle but chilling and utterly fantastic psychological horror. Kubrick uses the horror genre as a vehicle to ask questions on the nature of evil while still providing the jumps and thrills expected. The Shining is perhaps Kubrick's most accessible film and one of the best horror films of all time.
Kubrick's first outstanding feature, Paths of Glory [not included in this collection], was an anti-war film and 30 years later he returned to the war film with Full Metal Jacket. Full Metal Jacket follows 18-year-old marine Private Joker from boot camp to the frontline in Vietnam.
The film finely charts the dehumanising effects of war in a much more subtle way than other war films of the time. The opening shot is that of the recruits getting their hair shaved off to be replaced by the characteristic army skinhead. That is bookended by the ending that depicts the marines walking away from a battle site singing the Mickey Mouse Club song.
Full Metal Jacket may be the definitive Vietnam movie for a long time to come. While Apocalypse Now is the overall better film it deals very little with the war itself, instead it is an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and prefers to muse on insanity and the hypocrisy of Western imperialism. Platoon lacks the realism that Full Metal Jacket has in spades and perhaps too unnecessarily melodramatic. Full Metal Jacket has been named as the most realistic Vietnam movie from the veterans who were actually there and that must be an honour encompassing any Academy Award or Palme d'Or for a film.
On March 7th 1999, Stanley Kubrick died of a heart attack. Later in the year his final film, Eyes Wide Shut, was released posthumously. In the film we follow Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) on his erotic escapades in and around New York after he discovers his wife (Nicole Kidman) contemplated an affair.
The film looks fantastic. The Venetian masks and costumes look grand while being both creepy and chilling. New York City doesn't feel like New York City, it feels artificial but I suspect this is deliberate to bolster the dream-like qualities of the film. The dream-like qualities are visual, structural and thematic - Eyes Wide Shut feels like Kubrick doing a Lynch.
Tom Cruise gives an excellent performance as Bill Harford but the women of the film steal the show. The film is not Kubrick's best but it's perhaps his most haunting. The film doesn't provide jumps like The Shining but it feels like a horror. Unusual for a Kubrick movie, the film ends on an optimistic note. It makes me happy to think that at the end of his life Kubrick viewed the human condition with a more optimistic note.
Eyes Wide Shut is a very underrated film, like some of Kubrick's other films it came before its time, reactions and reviews at the time of release were mixed but I hope that like Barry Lyndon and 2001 it can find the praise that it deserves in the future.
Overall this is a great set, certainly the best currently available. It is conceivable that some of the films in this collection will be re-released with better picture and audio quality - a new restoration of A Clockwork Orange already exists but has not yet been released for example. However every film in the collection looks and sounds great except Eyes Wide Shut that is plagued by noise and a flat audio track. Disappointing for Kubrick's most recent production but rest assured that the set is still well worth the money with the discs here being the best currently available.
As for the extras they vary from film to film with Lolita and Barry Lyndon being practically void of any. There are plenty of highlights worth watching such as the documentaries on the 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange discs that are informative and interesting, A Life in Pictures [on a separate disc alongside O Lucky Malcolm!] and The Last Movie [on the Eyes Wide Shut disc] provide a fantastic overview of Kubrick's career and finally Lost Kubrick [also on the Eyes Wide Shut disc] gives us a glimpse of the masterpieces that could have been.
More DVDs Directed by Stanley Kubrick
More DVDs Starring Malcolm McDowell
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