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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:41 pm
Location: Framingham, MA
(sigh) This is like those "revelations" (neqm) found in Room 237

(neqm = not enough quotation marks)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC
Found this old interview with Vanessa Shaw (Domino, the prostitute) which was done for the film's tenth anniversary, which gives something like a layman's perspective even if Shaw had been an experienced child actress by the time she was cast. For example, some of the mystery behind his methods become a lot more understandable and prosaic. With regards to the large number of takes, she mentions that Kubrick would concentrate on one particular aspect of the scene (like the lighting), then move on to another (like the camera movement), and then another, which could be frustrating for an actor when it's clear it'll be a while before he really pays attention to your performance.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:53 pm
I liked the film when it came out. I had to. I am a huge Kubrick fan. I also loved A.I. just because it was Stanley's pet project. But I rewatched EWS last month and I find very uninvolving. It just lacks life. The only good scenes involve Sydney Pollack and Nicole Kidman. Tom Cruise is his usual semi-rigid self and this really does a disservice to Kubrick's own detached take on the action. The film suffers from such overstuffed mannerisms that it plods along without much gumption or fluidity. Those 69 takes show in the leaden performances. Yes, Kubrick liked a certain stilted delivery, but Sidney Pollack and Nichole Kidman manage to avoid the trap (and the workout in front of the camera) and I think their scenes are better for their resistance to Kubrick's whims. The story is mechanical and Kubrick's tight mise-en-scene smothers whatever salacious pleasures it might have offered. It de-saturates sex and turns it into a Ken and Barbie coupling, Kubrick's lack of flexibility lets people conjoin but only stiffly assume the position without heat. Some say it's a dream story, and perhaps it was Kubrick's intent to suggest that in the odd episodic fleeting encounters Cruise has, but at that same time that six degrees between dream and reality acts as a time-delayed between the audience and the action, and any real sense of urgency or danger floats away. It's just not a very engaging experience other than a half dozen scenes where, as I said, Pollack and Kidman rise out of the manufactured miasma. Anyway, I still love Kubrick, but I just find this film a misfire.


Last edited by theseventhseal on Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:47 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
theseventhseal wrote:
I liked the film when it came out. I had to. I am a huge Kubrick fan. I also loved A.I. just because it was Stanley's pet project. But I rewatched EWS last month and I find very uninvolving. It just lacks life. The only good scenes involve Sydney Pollack and Nicole Kidman. Tom Cruise is his usual semi-rigid self and this really does a disservice to Kubrick's own detached take on the action. The film suffers from such overstuffed mannerisms that it plods along without much gumption or fluidity. Those 69 takes show in the leaden performances. Yes, Kubrick liked a certain stilted delivery, but Sidney Pollack and Nichole Kidman manage to avoid the trap (and the workout in front of the camera) and I think their scenes are better for their resistance to Kubrick's whims. The story is mechanical and Kubrick's tight mise-en-scene smothers whatever salacious pleasures it might have offered. It de-saturates sex and turns it into a Ken and Barbie coupling, Kubrick's lack of flexibility lets people conjoin but only stiffly assume the position without heat. Some say it's a dream story, and perhaps it was Kubrick's intent to suggest that in the odd episodic fleeting encounters Cruise has, but at that same time that's six degrees between dream and reality acts as a time-delayed between the audience and the action, and any real sense of urgency or danger floats away. It's just not a very engaging experience other than a half dozen scenes where, as I said, Pollack and Kidman rise out of the manufactured miasma. Anyway, I still love Kubrick, but I just find this film a misfire.
Your response mirrors mine very closely, after not having the seen for at least 10 years or so (and having liked it a lot when it first came out), and going through the entire oeuvre once again last year.

My notes after watching it again last year (or very early this year, meaning '16): Kubrick falls from grace on his last film. He was known to wait until he fell in love with a book until he made a film, and he wound up adapting Schnitzler’s novella only after other projects fell through. The story and screenplay simply aren’t as good as previous Kubrick films. There’s still a lot to fascinate – notably how the film recalls many of his previous films in various ways (Clockwork Orange, Lolita, The Shining) – but even the masterly touches don’t come off without a hitch. There are bits that are a bit silly, like the orgy, the direction of the actors, though lauded, sometimes betrays a few bad moments (in the Cruise and Kidman scenes), and the music, for example, isn’t as powerful as in the director’s many masterpieces. It’s still interesting, but disappointing in contrast to the rest of his output.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:15 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 4:50 am
Location: Toronto, ON
I also agree with some of the criticism regarding EWS.

BUT your critique of the music I do not agree with. I find his use of Ligeti's Musica Ricercata (2nd movement), though a sparse selection for a movie, is absolutely fantastic.

The atmosphere he creates in this movie is for me arguably the best aspect of it, and the music has as much to do with that as the cinematography.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:48 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
I think my first post on this forum was in this thread, and years later it's still my favorite film. I love a few other Kubrick pictures but this one is just special. I've analyzed every element of it and know it like the back of my hand, and I really think it may be the most complex and bottomless piece of cinema I'm aware of. But I also continue to be riveted by it on a purely narrative level. There's an incredible suspense to the movie, not a traditional suspense but something else, which just keeps me glued and haunted and fascinated. And of course the use of color and general visual design is spectacular, probably the most beautiful color film of all.

I've seen EWS so many times and it's so familiar that it's difficult for me to look at it with fresh eyes, but one thing I'd say is that part of what makes it unique is its blending of so many disparate genres/modes: 70s paranoid/conspiracy thriller, 60s erotic Euro art-house film, domestic melodrama, Hitchcockian "wrong man" narrative (replete with NxNW Glen Cove reference), Lynchian dream-film, almost Gothic horror in one sequence, etc. And I think the film's nonchalant mixture of banal, quotidian reality with the most surreal, disturbing occultism is incredibly effective and not quite like anything else I've seen. For example, a Lynch film might take you to similarly weird places as Eyes does in its Somerton sequence; but a Lynch film starts off odd, unusually-pitched, not of this world. Eyes starts off perfectly normal, almost "boring" even, and then very suddenly veers into some unfathomably alien territory. The effect is shocking and probably more frightening than a real "horror film" like The Shining.

Barry Lyndon is one of the greatest films of all, astonishing and far more moving than most give it credit for; 2001 is nearly as sublime; and The Shining is not quite as perfect but still a masterful work. But EWS is the most mysterious, rewarding, poignant and interesting of all. With each year it only seems more relevant, and more people seem to realize its greatness.


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