The Vagabond King (1956, Directed by Michael Curtiz) English 5

Starring Oreste Kirkop, Kathryn Grayson, Rita Moreno, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Leslie Nielson, Walter Hampden, Vincent Price

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(5-Okay Film)

Dim. Uninspired. Meager.

Inferior to If I Were King (1938) in depicting Francois Villon’s unlikely rise from street poet to King’s confidante during the Burgundian invasion in 15th century France, the folk hero of sorts is played, here, by unknown opera singer Oreste, who’s a fantastic singer but limited dramatically. The supporting cast is strong, most notably, Walter Hampden as King Louis XI, and the operatic music is good, but the films suffers from no sense of dramatic tension. It’s a respectable diversion devoid of any real spectacle.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(120)

Full Metal Jacket (1987, Directed by Stanley Kubrick) English 9

Starring Matthew Modine,  Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Arliss Howard, Adam Baldwin, Ed O’Ross

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(9-Great Film)

Provocative. Strange. Unforgettable.

Clinical, episodic war film that breaks nicely into two parts: boot camp and then combat. I’ve heard many people state that they prefer the first part that centers on Private Joker and the troop black mark, Leonard (an over-weight, dim-witted, unlikable slob played perfectly by D’Onofrio), as they do their best to survive boot camp under the hard rule of drill instructor Hartman (Ermey, whose relentless and odd insults are classic). The second part is more divisive. Some find it uninteresting. Technically, it’s superb, as Kubrick executes some of the most elaborate tracking shots and long takes ever put on screen. I think the problem some people will have is the dispassionate tone throughout, and lack of character development, which I see as part of the point. These soldiers are meant to devolve into killing machines without thoughts or character. It isn’t a unique theme for a war movie, but Kubrick’s ice cold vision and technical prowess make it one of the best.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

(85)