Excalibur (1981)

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David: The legendary expounding of how, when your best friend steals your girlfriend, literally everything turns to excrement. As the hapless players unfold this tragedy, supernatural mentor Merlin is to be found meddling with ruthless benevolence in the affairs of men. But with a pained, fatherly expression he watches as time and again they hold the prize of a golden age in their hands, and drop it.

Jules: Not only an impossible love-triangle, but an impossible political romance unfolds in this robust and sinewy retelling of the ancient, troubadour-filtered tale of a God-given head of state who both physically and metaphysically unifies his island kingdom. The myth of the benevolent dictator finds its apotheosis in the overwhelmingly decent, occasionally-befuddled character of Arthur, whose innocence both makes and unmakes his dynasty.
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Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

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Jules: It seems Kubrick’s last film (excluding conspiracy theories, or Spielberg public relations) disappointed, riled, puzzled, or otherwise stymied almost everyone who saw it upon first release. A publicity campaign that teased a salacious treatment of the hottest Hollywood couple at the time didn’t altogether help. But has the passage of time, and the rumors that surround the film, suggested a re-reading? Is it a cynical, last gesture of a cool-minded technician? A plodding attempt by a blocked artist to reconnect with fading emotions? A final confession by a regretful propagandist? Or the closest thing to a love story Kubrick could make?

David: A film that punctuates the lives of both its stars and and its director, marking the end of Kubrick’s life and the end of Tom and Nicole’s marriage. Is this about too much honesty or too much mendacity? Intimations of infidelity send Tom on a walking tour of a hitherto undiscovered hell populated by lost women, to ends and threats obscure.

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