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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
This isn't a movie review as much as a response to those who feel that slow-paced equals bad, where scifi or suspense is concerned. I do think this is one of the classics of cinema, and much that came after is deep in Kubrick's debt. Every student of film should see this.
Admittedly, this is more like reading a novel then watching a film. However, that meditative approach, together with the stunning visuals and the silence of deep space, gives the viewer time to think! The film CERTAINLY raises more questions than it answers, and this is a good thing. Not every film experience has to be neatly tied up at the end of two hours, and if you accept that this film is a metaphor of the human condition, then there is definitely room for loose ends.
What about character development? HAL is one of the best realized villains in all of cinema (example, paraphrased as I don't have the lines in front of me *SPOILER*: "I can tell you're very upset about this, Dave." "Open the airlock, HAL." "I'm sorry, Dave, but I can't do that. You're going to find it very difficult to get back on board without your helmet, Dave." His calm menace is unreal!) I was ten when I first saw this, and couldn't get through it, because as a ten-year-old, I was expecting laser blasts and rockets. I saw it again several years later, and it was more to my liking as a young adult. It grows on you and is worth repeated viewings. I have seen it several times and own the soundtrack as well.
IF you want Star Wars, then by all means, watch Star Wars. But if you want some serious hard science fiction, this is a great film.
The Incredibles (2004)
First of all, no spoilers in this review. Well, one... watch for the kid on the tricycle. This was AWESOME, the best animation I have ever seen, except for Toy Story (which will always be my favorite Pixar film, unless something really amazing comes out). I LOVE the James Bond-style music, the sly asides to films and cartoons like Dr. No, Star Wars and The Simpsons, and everything else about this film. I have read other reviews here that chide the film for "copying" scenes from Return of the Jedi (for instance); what those reviewers somehow missed is that a large part of this film's reason for existence is HOMAGE. This IS all the childhood cartoons I watched on Saturday morning, and James Bond, and the comics, Star Wars, Johnny Quest, et cetera. It must reference those to succeed, and this it does very well. Great art takes what has gone before and presents it again, on a higher, sublime, synergistic level. That is what The Incredibles accomplishes. I think I reviewed this once already, in fact, and I've seen it twice now too! That shows my appreciation of this film as I rarely pay to see a film two times. It is a little long and not for 6-year-olds (there's some fairly serious violence). Still, five stars out of five!
Ghost Busters (1984)
SNL Horror film
I love this film, mostly because of the interplay between Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray. Not to mention Rick Moranis. And Bill Murray was pretty funny too! Oh, yeah, I already said that. I'm going to just give some sample one-liners and exchanges to show why (minor spoilers). If you don't think these are funny, fine. I think they're hilarious!
Male Student: "Hey! I'm getting a little tired of this!" Venkman: "You volunteered, didn't you? We're paying you, aren't we?" Male Student: "Yeah, but I didn't know you were going to be giving me ELECTRIC SHOCK!"
Venkman (standing in front of fancy table setting): "I've always wanted to do this... AND THE FLOWERS ARE STILL STANDING!"
Ray: "I did that! That was my fault!" Venkman: "It's okay, the table broke the fall."
Ray: "Hey, where do these stairs go?" Venkman: "They go up."
Ray: "He's an ugly little spud, isn't he?" Venkman: "I think he can hear you, Ray."
Venkman: "What floor are we on?" Ray: "We're somewhere in the teens." Venkman: "Well, let me know when we get to twenty. I'm gonna throw up."
Egon: "Have some coffee." Louis Tully (to Janine): "Should I?" Janine: "Yes, have some." Louis Tully (to Egon): "Yes, have some."
And on and on. ...... it would have been scary without all the dialogue. I get the feeling that at least some of the flip, attitudinal lines Murray threw off were done on the fly, improvised.
A fun picture. See it, and then rent Army of Darkness.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The best war film I have seen
NO SPOILERS! This is a review, not a synopsis.
First of all I love Kubrick's work, so I came into this with a bias. However I have seen a lot of action and war films, and this one, to an individual who never went to war, seems the most true-to-life, taken as a whole. This IS how you have to look at this film, incidentally; trying to break it down into two or three parts and say which was better is missing the point of the film, I think.
In the same way that "Trainspotting" was an anti-drug film that did not gloss over anything, "Full Metal Jacket" is (for me) an anti-war film that stares straight at the ugliness of war and the potential for violence within almost all people, especially those trained, conditioned, even twisted, into military roles, without preaching even a single time. Less allegory and more applicability! Wonderful!
The camera work was superb. I felt like I was walking through the movie with the Marines, from the barracks to the battlefield scenes.
I have seen others criticize this film for the voice over, but I felt that it was used sparingly, and was helpful, not overdone. The narrator doesn't say anything that seems out-of-place.
Others have commented on the music, the acting, and so on, so I won't add my repetitive comments, except that the drill sergeant is perfect!
The combination of the demented treatment the recruits receive in boot camp with the combined "hours of boredom, seconds of terror" feel of the Vietnam scenes is intense and not for everyone, but feels REAL.
10 out of 10, perfect.