Stanley Kubrick - The Masterpiece (Blu-ray)
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In '2001 - A Space Odyssey' (1968), at the dawn of mankind, a tribe of ape-like beings are visited on Earth by a large black monolith. Thousands of years later, in the year 2001, scientist Dr Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) discovers a similar black monolith on the moon, which then emits a signal aimed at the planet Jupiter. A year later, astronauts David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) are en route to Jupiter to investigate the signal's destination and purpose. However, their mission comes under threat when the ship computer, HAL (voice of Douglas Rain), seemingly develops a malfunction.
In 'Barry Lyndon' (1975), Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal) is an Irish country boy who falls in love with a well-to-do local girl (Gay Hamilton) and is subsequently tricked by her family into leaving town. Disillusioned with love, the brokenhearted youngster then embarks on an adventure which sees him serve in the Seven Years War, earn a living as a professional gambler, and eventually move into the higher ranks of society when he meets and marries the beautiful Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson). However, despite the luck which has brought him such riches, it is this final move, the cynical choice to marry for social advancement rather than love, which brings about Barry's downfall.
In 'The Shining' (1980), adapted from the Stephen King shocker, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as an off-season caretaker at the remote Overlook Hotel in Colorado in an attempt to seek solitude to write a novel. Eager to get started, Jack disregards warnings that the isolation drove a former caretaker mad, and moves into the massive resort with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). But Danny has a supernatural gift which makes him aware of an evil lurking in the hotel, and sure enough, as winter storms cut the hotel off from civilisation, Jack gradually becomes murderously insane.
'Full Metal Jacket' (1987) details the dehumanising effect of military combat, as experienced by a bunch of Vietnam conscripts under the training of the sadistic Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey). The second half of the film follows one of the recruits, Joker (Matthew Modine), onto the battlefield as he is thrown into the war at the height of the Tet offensive.
Finally, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star as a married couple in 'Eyes Wide Shut' (1999), Kubrick's last film. One night, returning home from a party, Alice (Kidman) confesses that she still has fantasies about a sailor she once knew. William (Cruise) is shocked and jealous, and when he is later called away on business, he finds it impossible to return home, embarking instead on a journey into an illicit underworld of prostitution and sexual debauchery.
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