Tag Archives: stanley kubrick

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (film)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence had the potential to be one of the best films of all time. Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg collaborating on a movie about robots and the future seems like a guaranteed hit. It starred the kid from The Sixth Sense before he hit puberty and was still a bona fide child star. It even had Jude Law playing a sexbot. This was a whole new world to explore but it becomes a glorified version of Pinocchio.

Henry and Monica Swinton (Sam Robards and Frances O’Connor) are a loving couple with a kid in a coma. To pass the time they decide to adopt David (Haley Joel Osment), an advanced mecha with the ability to love. He’s programmed to love his mommy like he’s a real boy. He fills a void in her life and things are good for a while. Then her real son wakes up and David is obsolete. She decides that abandoning him in the woods is better than destroying him. She ditches him and David can’t understand why she doesn’t love him.

He decides that becoming a real boy is the only option. So he hits the open road with his faithful robot teddy bear and a pimpbot named Gigolo Joe in search of the Blue Fairy, who he believes will grant his wish to become a real boy. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t happen. Instead there’s a ridiculously bad ending. It’s a disappointing conclusion to a disappointing movie.

The movie looks cool. It has great visuals and special effects. But it just doesn’t work. It’s hard to pinpoint where it all went wrong. It probably started when Kubrick died and they decided to make it anyway. This was also one of the first signs of Spielberg losing his touch. He still makes decent films, but they are no longer iconic. A.I. is forgettable and regrettable. You probably haven’t thought about it for years until you read this obscure review for it. Did I mention the terrible, terrible ending?

Critically Rated at 9/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick is responsible for some other cinema’s greatest films. Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange… and Full Metal Jacket. Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Baldwin, and R. Lee Ermey turn in amazing performances, but the Vietnam War is the main character.

There are a few films about the Vietnam War that are required viewing to call yourself a film buff. Oliver Stone’s Platoon is one. Francis Ford Coppala’s Apocalypse Now is another. But Full Metal Jacket is the best of the bunch.

The film starts with a new group of Marines arriving for basic training. The two main recruits are Joker (Matthew Modine) and the bumbling Gomer Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio). Pyle isn’t cut out for the Marines; he is fat, slow, and lazy. To make matters worse, their Drill Instructor, Sargent Hartman, has it out for Pyle. He targets him, humiliates him, punishes him, and tries to break him. Nothing works, so he makes Joker responsible for training him, and for a while things get better.

Pyle keeps fucking up, and eventually Hartman decides to punish the other Marines instead of Pyle. This causes the other Marines to start hating Pyle, and they let him know that he sucks. Pyle eventually becomes a model Marine, but suffers a nervous breakdown. In a disturbing scene, he shoots and kills Hartman and then turns the gun on himself. And just like that, two of the main characters are gone.

Joker ends up reporting for Stars and Stripes, and goes to Vietnam in time to experience the Tet Offensive. Joker meets and interviews a bunch of Marines and they all have different views on war and combat and life in general. During a patrol a single sniper begins picking off the Marines. They track down the sniper and discover it is a teenage girl. Talk about a mind fuck. Joker kills her out of mercy, and he gains the thousand-yard stare of a man who has seen war.

Full Metal Jacket shows what war does to a man. It can make him, or it can break him. Joker made it, he became a good Marine, he saw war, and he survived. Pyle didn’t make it. He wasn’t ever cut out for the Marines, and lost track of who he was. He went crazy, and his descent into madness is one of the most memorable moments of this movie.

Props go out to R. Lee Ermey. He isn’t even acting; he is a real life drill instructor that they hired as a technical advisor. You can’t contain him. He spews out poetic insults like Shakespeare pops out beautiful sonnets. Half the stuff he says is improvised, and Kubrick was a control freak, so you can’t deny his talent.

This movie doesn’t have a strong plot. It kind of meanders around loosely, but that adds to the theme of the movie: that war is pointless. Pyle and Hartman die halfway through the film. But the movie doesn’t end, just like the war doesn’t end just because someone died.

Full Metal Jacket is a classic. You owe it to yourself to experience this film at least once. Kubrick is a great director, and this might not be his best flick, but it is definitely his best Vietnam War movie.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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