2001: A Space Odyssey As A Picasso Painting & Blade Runner As A Van Gogh

Wow. I absolutely love the look of this!

Apparently someone named Bhautik Joshi used “Google’s neural network to teach Deep Dream to interpret Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as a Picasso painting”. Did I even say that right?! I honestly have no idea what that sentence even means, hence the quotation marks as I’m kind of quoting THIS ARTICLE ABOUT IT. That link contains short videos of Joshi’s Deep Dream interpretations of the Picasso-like 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as Blade Runner looking like Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

I have no idea what the hell Deep Dream is but I love seeing these two absolute sci-fi classics looking like paintings from two of my favorite artists. Good job, Bhautik Joshi! 🙂

Paths Of Glory & On The Waterfront IMDB Top 250 Reviews

These are my final two IMDB Top 250 Project movies I’ve watched but not yet reviewed (not counting the Clint Eastwood or the Akira Kurosawa films, which I plan to review all together). So from now on I’ll only be reviewing movies for this project on the occasional Tuesday as I happen watch more of them. My Tuesdays are now free! What the heck am I going to post weekly instead of these Top 250 reviews?!? Hmm. Most likely, nothing. I like the idea of a blog-free weekday!

I’ve put off “reviewing” these two as I don’t have much to say about them. They didn’t connect with me like so many of the films that I’ve watched for this project have. I understand why they’re classics & agree that they do deserve to be in the Top 250, though, despite them not working for me. Hey – we can’t all love the same movies! What a boring world this would be if that was the case.

So I’m going to say a very small bit about each film now just to get them off my list. Here you go: Two short paragraphs each for two all-time classics I’m clearly not cultured enough to have fully appreciated! 😉

Paths Of Glory (1957)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Based on Paths of Glory by Humphrey Cobb

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson

Plot Synopsis:
Set during World War I, the film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, the commanding officer of French soldiers who refuse to continue a suicidal attack. Dax attempts to defend them against a charge of cowardice in a court-martial.

My Two Paragraph Opinion:

Wow – I, um, believe this is the only Kirk Douglas movie I’ve ever seen. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t watching Michael Douglas as they’re so similar (I suck). At least I’ve added another Stanley Kubrick to my list of movies seen (I’ve ranked his films HERE – I need to add in Full Metal Jacket at five while Paths Of Glory would be at six).

I preferred Paths Of Glory to On The Waterfront. The pacing was pretty slow so I’ll fully admit that my uncultured, non-war-movie-loving mind wandered quite often but it did have an overall story that I found far more compelling than that in On The Waterfront. I won’t give away the full story for those who know nothing about this but it’s something that should have moved me a bit more than it did. I think that, perhaps, they didn’t spend enough time developing a few characters who really deserved to have more time spent on them. I’ll say that Douglas was great in this so, yes, I really should watch at least one other movie he’s been in. The novel was based on a true story & this practice (what happens in the film) was done during World War I from what I can tell of the very little I read of this movie at Wikipedia (war experts can feel free to chime in on this). I don’t know how often this tactic was used but it’s truly appalling & the movie did finally have my full attention at the end. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue what the outcome would be – I don’t know how I managed to avoid such a huge movie spoiler for all these years. Paths Of Glory is a film deserving of all its praise with great performances & a very important topic that needed to be brought to light (apparently this movie was fairly controversial at the time as it’s a pretty anti-war film). It’s just not my type of thing but I’d certainly not disagree with anyone who says they love it as I can see it being a favorite film for some people. For all lovers of war movies, it’s a must-see.

My Rating: 7/10

On The Waterfront (1954)

Directed by Elia Kazan

Starring: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J Cobb, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint

Music by Leonard BernsteinIt’s the end of the world as we know it! (And I feel fine)

Running time: 108 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

My Two Paragraph Opinion:

I watched this movie on September 9th, 2014. It’s taken me almost two years to muster up the (strength? courage??) to do a little write-up for it. I remember sticking this movie on & kind of half-watching it while doing some housework then finishing it later while in bed. This is when we were working on painting a wall in the bedroom so a big cabinet was in the middle of the room & partially blocking my view of the TV from the bed. So, yeah… this is how I watched On The Waterfront – a huge Oscar-winning, beloved classic. What can I say? I have no class. I’m a bum!

Umm. Unions? Mobs? I think I remember some pigeons. Marlon Brando! He’s in this. I haven’t watched a lot of Brando’s films (but at least I’ve watched more Brando films than Kirk Douglas films). Let’s see: I’ve seen this, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, and Superman. That’s it. I’m not a fan. Should I delete my blog? Will some big Brando fan come along to yell at me & tell me that my blog should be “taken down” like the Western-loving guy who commented on my review of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? As much as I’ve moaned about having to watch all the war movies & Westerns in the Top 250, I’ve ended up really liking the ones I’ve watched so far (some are even favorites now, like The Bridge On The River Kwai & The Good, The Bad And The Ugly). So maybe I can’t keep saying they’re “not my type of thing”? The story in On The Waterfront, however, is what I think really isn’t my type of thing. It didn’t connect. I’ve never really gone for movies involving the mob in some way or for this type of drama. When it comes to older films, I prefer the “grand epics” to the types of films involving true-to-life human conflict with Oscar-worthy performances and lots of talking & drama. I find something like a Morricone score coupled with beautiful cinematography far more moving than an intense performance from an actor/actress. That’s just me – we’re all moved by different things & I’m not one to care too much about the “acting” in a movie (as long as the performances don’t totally suck). Brando is great in this, yeah. I didn’t follow the story very well or really find myself caring about any of the characters. I don’t remember it much now but that’s to be expected, I suppose, when you are only partially paying attention to a movie while it’s on. On The Waterfront won loads of Oscars (best picture, director, actor, supporting actress, screenplay, cinematography, art direction & film editing). Oh shit… That’s really a lot of Oscars. I’m going to delete my blog. I coulda had class! I coulda been a contender! I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it! *blog deleted* (Let’s go ahead & give this the same rating as Paths Of Glory, although I preferred that one. I’m sorry! Don’t hurt my pigeons!)

My Rating: 7/10

**If you can’t bear to see nothing posted on this blog on a Tuesday, here are the remaining films available for guest reviews:

Cool Hand Luke 1967
The Wrestler 2008
The Graduate 1967
The Lives of Others 2006
The Sting 1973
Die Hard 1988
Léon 1994
The Hobbit 2012
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
Rain Man 1988
Taxi Driver 1976
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
Before Sunrise 1995
Before Sunset 2004
Life Is Beautiful 1997

**Selected for now**
Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels 1998 (Tom)
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 (Tom)
Gone with the Wind 1939 (dbmoviesblog)
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 (Drew)

Bizarre Video Combines Hitchcock and Kubrick Characters Into One Nightmarish World

I love when my favorite things get put together in mash-ups such as these! This time we have Stanley Kubrick characters inserted into Alfred Hitchcock/Jimmy Stewart movie scenes.

This video was put together by Gump and you can read about it here: GeekTyrant. I want to see more movie mash-ups of two brilliant directors! 🙂

Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Kelechi of Confessions From A Geek Mind. Thanks for the review, Kelechi! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb, IMDB rank 37 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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“Hello?… Uh… Hello D- uh hello Dmitri? Listen uh uh I can’t hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little?… Oh-ho, that’s much better… yeah… huh… yes… Fine, I can hear you now, Dmitri… Clear and plain and coming through fine… I’m coming through fine, too, eh?… Good, then… well, then, as you say, we’re both coming through fine… Good… Well, it’s good that you’re fine and… and I’m fine… I agree with you, it’s great to be fine… a-ha-ha-ha-ha… Now then, Dmitri, you know how we’ve always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb… The *Bomb*, Dmitri… The *hydrogen* bomb!… Well now, what happened is… ahm… one of our base commanders, he had a sort of… well, he went a little funny in the head… you know… just a little… funny. And, ah… he went and did a silly thing… Well, I’ll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes… to attack your country… Ah… Well, let me finish, Dmitri… Let me finish, Dmitri… Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?… Can you *imagine* how I feel about it, Dmitri?… Why do you think I’m calling you? Just to say hello?… *Of course* I like to speak to you!” – President Murkin Muffley

Nominated for four Oscars at the 1965 Academy Awards, Dr. Strangelove is based on a fictional and calamitous series of events where an insane general sets in motion the path to a nuclear war.  Fighting to save the world from total annihilation, it is up to the President of the United States (Peter Sellers), other leaders and generals in the war room to save us all.

One thing I absolutely love about Dr. Strangelove is that it’s filmed in black and white.  If you’re watching this for the first time without reading the plot or having no knowledge of the film, on the surface you probably see this as a dark, tense documentary style film based on a very serious matter.  There’s nothing to hide in a black and white film – all the permutations are laid out on the screen.  However, there is one thing that sets it apart.  When you see the delightful Peter Sellers playing three distinctive yet memorable characters, your mind is put at ease.  What you have let yourself in for is 95 minutes worth of genius, satirical comedy.

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The greatest achievement in Dr. Strangelove is taking a familiar and fearful concept and turning it into a comedy that is both hilarious but also a social commentary on the real world.  It’s the biggest hurdle the film faces and in the wrong hands, Dr. Strangelove could have been remembered as something entirely different.  Originally it was meant to be a serious piece until director Stanley Kubrick and writer of the novel (which this film was based on) Peter George decided to change its tone.  What they delivered was a particular type of comedy.  This is not a slapstick comedy in the vein of Airplane or The Naked Gun.  The humour is more deadpan and cerebral as if every character totally and genuinely believes in what they’re saying and doing.  As the audience, this only increases the disbelief and the laughter we get from it.

The theme of the entire film is based on one principle – fear.  It’s the fear from the enemy.  It’s the fear from your closest friends and their actions.  It’s the fear of not fulfilling your duty and your job to the letter.  What sets off this chain of events belongs to one general – General Ripper (Sterling Hayden).

Ripper believes that politicians and leaders are incapable of handling war situations – too much talking and not enough affirmative action.  He’s a no-nonsense style general who would rather let his soldiers shoot first then ask questions later.  Through sheer paranoia based on the idea that the commies are going to take over our fluids (yes you read that correctly), he takes matters into his own hands and gives the order to a B-52 bomber to drop a nuclear bomb on the Russians.  Trust me, if you suddenly feel the urge to shake your head wondering how he came to this conclusion, you are not alone!

Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.” – General “Buck” Turgidson

Because Dr. Strangelove is set during the height of the Cold War doesn’t make it irrelevant.  I think there are plenty of lessons that Kubrick infuses which make the war room aspect easier to parody.  The whole idea of the film is designed to make you feel uncomfortable and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if scenarios like in Dr. Strangelove happened in real life.

It’s a scary notion seeing how easy it is to launch an attack on another country, with one man “pushing” the self-destruction button with such ease and no concern for anyone else.  It’s a scary notion knowing that all the failsafe plans to stop it, has an abundance of technical or procedural loopholes, which can’t be overturned.  It’s a scary notion how people of authority can react so stupidly, like Colonel Guano telling Mandrake that he would have to answer to Coca-Cola for shooting at the vending machine for change.  There are many more examples which I won’t spoil for you, but everything descends into madness all based on fine margins of political and diplomatic posturing.

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The film does have its tense moments with the paratroopers on board Major Kong’s B-52 plane as a case example.  They go through their manual checks before locating their target and dropping the bomb, all to the backdrop soundtrack of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”  This reinforces the scare factor of the film with precise attention to detail of the crew’s operations.  It reminds the audience the seriousness amongst the humorous stupidity.

Even the character names are interesting – General Jack D. Ripper aka Jack the Ripper.  Coincidence?  I think not, but these supposedly cool-headed individuals in the highest positions of power revert to uncontrollable eccentric behaviour.  Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove is a classic example.  His character is in the film for the briefest of moments but his impact is unforgettable, playing a former Nazi German scientist, most likely pardoned for his crimes but enthusiastically provides advice on eugenics to the President of the United States.  Turginson who rapidly inserts chewing gum into his mouth in every scene he’s in, is an animated individual. He’s always concerned about what the enemy is going to do in a particular scenario and his energy feeds into that paranoia.  It’s a brilliant performance by George C. Scott who is a standout alongside Peter Sellers.

Dr. Strangelove is a film hell bent on showing humanity at its lowest ebb.  Even when the world is at stake, common sense should prevail but the distrust and fear of the enemy is the real winner.  It’s filled with surreal moments such as the often-parodied scene where Major Kong rides the bomb as if he’s participating at a rodeo.  The ending with Vera Lynn singing while the world blows itself up is a bleak reminder of what the world could become and the whole absurdity of war.  Kubrick’s careful balance keeps the message on point yet at the same time the satirical jokes will live with you for years.

It’s safe to say, you will have a blast watching this!

A Clockwork Orange (1971) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Troy of The Review Club. Thanks for the review, Troy! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about A Clockwork Orange, IMDB rank 61 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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‘A CLOCKWORK ORANGE’ (1971)

A magnificently disturbing film of sex and violence and the way society views this behaviour. Seen and told through the eyes of the ‘droog’ leader Alex we find ourselves taken from dystopian shots of a futuristic city to a prison and back again. The main character of this nasty, twisted individual is a really interesting one as you do feel a sense of likeness towards him, you can’t help but like his charm and his confidence and the fact he narrates the story is a creative choice that puts you on side with him from the outset as he is telling the story for us.

Stanley Kubrick’s seemingly effortless gliding tracking shots can be found numerous times pulling into and back from characters and locations and it fits with the uneasy dread of something about to happen, it also ties in nicely with the music used throughout the film. The entire film is shot with care and it does look amazing, even messy tower block lobbies and a distant wood with a pig trough are made to look crafted to an inch of their lives. The place has an air of a London vibe but with an odd unsettling futuristic centre, even if this future does look like a more updated vision of the 1970′s, with the colours and the fashion.

The music is one of the strongest points and it has to be concerning the fact that Alex is a fan of music and Ludvig Van in particular. Beethoven’s 9th becomes a symbolic tool later on and the power of it really and disturbingly makes you feel sorry for Alex. Having classical music played over nearly constantly provided a delicate yet assuring punch of authority over everything. It fitted with the assurance of Alex and also gave a case of opposites in seeing violence on screen but hearing something normally associated as pleasant. A brilliant soundtrack of classic material. The use of electronic sounds and synthesisers fits with the future we are presented with and also lets the viewer feel another layer of unease as we hear the sounds – which would have been even more out of this world when the film was first released.

Malcolm McDowell who plays the young whippersnapper who likes the old in-out is utterly compelling and deliciously bad, mad and engaging. He takes you on a journey and you hate him, like him, feel for him. A sort of roller coaster ride as we get taken through the bigger theme of government control and what is right and wrong in terms of treatment for a sick individual. I’d commend McDowell’s performance for the conditioning section of the movie alone. The eyes being clasped open is enough to make me feel queasy and he went through with that and being humiliated on stage where he broke a couple of ribs. That’s commitment to a role or probably Kubrick’s domineering directing getting the best out of his actors. Also the moment where he spontaneously sings Singin’ in the Rain is brilliant and downright awfully evil. McDowell carries the film and also gives a voice over that isn’t unnecessary, its another way to hear the amazingly created language of this story. It all sounds other worldly yet overly British and that’s the main disturbing factor for me that Alex sounds and looks so calm, collected and intelligent, a fearful powerful character that starts off having no limits.

Aside from the middle section being a little of a lull to the film this is a feat of cinematic wonder, sure it’s dark and explicit but it needs to be to provide shock and to make the meddling government theme have any legs to stand on. A twisted orchestra filled movie with the concerning idea of state versus individual fully demonstrated through the eyes of Alex Delarge. A film of importance, vidi it now young chelloveck.

8.5/10

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Full Metal Jacket (1987) IMDB Top 250 Review

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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Starring:
Matthew Modine
Adam Baldwin
Vincent D’Onofrio
Lee Ermey
Dorian Harewood
Arliss Howard
Kevyn Major Howard
Ed O’Ross

Running time: 116 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Full Metal Jacket is based on Gustav Hasford’s 1979 novel The Short-Timers. The story follows a platoon of U.S. Marines through their training and the experiences of two of the platoon’s Marines in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. The film’s title refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by infantry riflemen.

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My Opinion:

Yes – it’s me! I’m finally doing my own IMDB Top 250 review since asking guest reviewers to help me out with the movies I’d already seen. Thanks again for all your contributions – it’s been far too easy for me to be lazy and just post your reviews but I realized that I’m now way behind on my goal of watching the rest of the 250 as this is only the second movie I’ve watched for this so far this year (the last being City Of God in January, which I reviewed for Cara over at Silver Screen Serenade HERE).

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So… Here I am having watched another damn war movie for this project. All along I’ve said that what I’m looking forward to the least is watching all the war movies & Westerns in the Top 250. So I decided to get a bunch of them out of the way and, I’ll be damned – they’ve all been pretty freaking fantastic! Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid was fun, Once Upon A Time In The West was beautiful & had a kick ass score, The Great Escape was OH MY GOD SO GOOD, and The Bridge On The River Kwai was the best of all & ended up being one of my absolute favorite films I watched in 2013. I like a lot of Kubrick films (The Shining being a personal favorite) so I decided it was about time I see if Full Metal Jacket was as good as the other war movies & Westerns I’d been dreading watching. Well… No, unfortunately. I don’t think it quite lives up to the rest (although I did enjoy it more than the Westerns I’ve watched so far).

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First of all, I did enjoy the first part of this film where they’re in training before they go to Vietnam. R Lee Ermey was brilliant as the Sergeant shouting the absolute best insults at everyone. Man I wish I could go around insulting people like that! Especially in the workplace – how cool would it be to talk to your co-workers like that?? “Five-foot-nine, I didn’t know they stacked shit that high!” (And that’s by far the least offensive quote of his that I can safely put in this review). Vincent D’Onofrio was good in this, although it was very obvious where that storyline was headed. I really only knew him from Men In Black & as “Thor” before watching this so it was interesting seeing him here (yes – Thor. If anyone gets what I’m on about, you’re my new best friend). I’ve actually not seen Matthew Modine in that much & I really liked his “Private Joker” character in this. He gives a solid performance, as does everyone, but I wouldn’t say any of the acting really stood out in this movie in the way we got some brilliant performances in other war movies such as The Deer Hunter, The Bridge On The River Kwai, and Platoon. I suppose a lot of that was due to the directing & the way Kubrick approached the topic of war, which I’ll try to go into now.

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War movies (the ones I’ve seen, anyway) always try to show you the horrors of war & how terrifying and harrowing it is. Full Metal Jacket does a slightly better job of this in the beginning before they even head off to war but, overall, it takes a much “colder” approach to it all. This is very much Kubrick’s style, though, and I do think it’s a good film & another worthy classic from him (you can see the list I did of My Top Stanley Kubrick Movies HERE – I’d probably add Full Metal Jacket in at five but it’s close with number four). But it meant I felt very detached from these characters so it didn’t feel like it was as effective as a “war movie” as those I mentioned above. I guess it depends on what you want out of a movie – I know this is widely loved but I’d take The Deer Hunter over this, a movie in which you felt for the characters and how they were so obviously deeply affected by their war experiences.

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Full Metal Jacket is very much like A Clockwork Orange – humans are what they are and no excuses are made for those who engage in violent activity, some of whom thoroughly enjoy it and feel no remorse for their actions. At least with Full Metal Jacket we get to see a little bit of a differing opinion from the likes of Modine’s Private Joker, who wears a peace symbol (whether this is truly a belief of his or if it’s just another way for him to live up to his nickname). We never REALLY know for sure and, by the end of the film, you’re kind of just left with a “Yeah, war sucks and some people are animals. So what?” kind of feeling. This movie is a little too “cool” in that you have things like the “Me so horny” hooker bit and all the Sergeant’s thoroughly inappropriate insults, making this a movie I often heard quoted by the teenage boys I went to high school with. It’s not like I ever heard them quote anything from The Deer Hunter. I’m not saying that Full Metal Jacket exactly glorifies war. It’s just that, in typical Kubrick style, it doesn’t necessarily say it’s a bad thing either. It just is what it is.

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Summary:

Full Metal Jacket is a definite Kubrick Classic but the cold approach to the topic meant I didn’t warm to any of the characters and the movie therefore didn’t pack the same emotional punch that you get from other war classics in the IMDB Top 250. The pre-Vietnam scenes are the strongest with very good but ultimately somewhat forgettable performances from Matthew Modine & Vincent D’Onofrio. It’s a very quotable film with some iconic scenes – I did like it but it’s perhaps a little too much “fun” at times, much like a Tarantino film or something like Scarface. It doesn’t exactly discourage violence but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it glorifies war (it’s not as borderline “irresponsible” as you could argue A Clockwork Orange is). This was definitely worth the watch but, if you want a more serious take on the horrors of war, I’d probably recommend a different war movie.

My Rating: 8/10

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My Top Stanley Kubrick Movies

In honor of what would have been Stanley Kubrick’s birthday today, I figured I’d rank his films. Oh dear – I’ve seen less than I realized! Shameful! So I’ll rank what I’ve seen from least favorite to favorite:

**I’ve seen some more! List updated July 2019**

9. Eyes Wide Shut
8. Lolita (but I barely remember it)
7. The Killing
6. Paths Of Glory

Top Five:

5. Full Metal Jacket

4. A Clockwork Orange
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3. 2001: A Space Odyssey

2. Dr Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb

1. The Shining
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LOVE The Shining… 🙂