Kubrick at War
Today I watched:
Paths of Glory (1957)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Stanly Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001)
Today I watched the two most war based films that Stanley Kubrick made and a documentary about his life and career. One of the most interesting things my little lady said while popping in on Paths of Glory was asking "is this a new movie or an old movie?" It doesn't have that old feel to it that other movies from the 40's or 50's can have. While Paths of Glory does have some slow points, the contrast of light and dark and composition in the frame feels like something from the last 20 years despite the black and white coloring.
Full Metal Jacket does not feel this way. It might be that it is a color film that it feels faded or like the colors run. While Paths of Glory always feels like watching a great movie almost like a stage drama (with the exceptions of the battle action), Full Metal Jacket is just unsettling. I think that some of the idea of the film is exposing the brutal cult-like nature of basic training and embracing of war as hell as an opportunity for hellish behavior but when I was in high school there were kids who seemed to romanticize these negatives as something you do to become tough. It was one of those cool movies that was watched in high school in the late '90's along with The Matrix and Pulp Fiction that it became cool that it had violence and swearing but the message became warped for some of the more military bound classmates.
Even though I have a JD and am a member of the Washington State bar and I have a large collection of DVD's and blu-rays Paths of Glory is the only film I have with a scene in a courtroom. It's not a from a sense of "this scene isn't real enough" that I don't like law movies, I just don't think there are many that are in movies that are entertaining as a whole. Paths of Glory is that entertaining and the courtroom scene has a level of drama that lives up to the drama of the amazing raid on no-man's land that is the subject of the trial. Additionally, World War I is fascinating to me and even though there aren't a lot of movies that cover this subject, I have very much enjoyed almost every movie about that war I have seen.
The documentary on Kubrick is pretty good. It covers his entire live and career starting with his first professional photograph he sold to a magazine at the age of 16 that captured a man's grief over the death of FDR to his later years when he was building his own movie cameras using mechanics from old cameras and projectors.