Color Me Kubrick

2007

Color Me Kubrick

Critics Consensus

Colour Me Kubrick has a fascinating premise, but provides little insight into Kubrick and the man who impersonated him.

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 60

42%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,182
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Movie Info

In the mid-'90s, an Englishman by the name of Alan Conway (John Malkovich) conned many people into believing that he was the reclusive American director Stanley Kubrick, despite the fact that Conway was openly gay, bore no physical resemblance to Kubrick, and knew little about the director's work. Conway's story has been loosely adapted into the comedic feature Colour Me Kubrick. Anthony Frewin, who worked as Kubrick's personal assistance for many years, wrote the script, and Brian Cook, who served as Kubrick's assistant director on several films, including Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut, marks his directorial debut with the film. Colour Me Kubrick follows Conway on a number of adventures, wherein he cadges drinks, cash, sex, and more from unsuspecting victims, ranging from a heavy metal band to a wine bar owner (Richard E. Grant) to a British lounge singer (British television comic Jim Davidson making his feature-film debut), who are awestruck by his purported fame and fortune, and willing to overlook Conway's genuinely bizarre behavior in the hopes of impressing the great director. Conway's act reached its pinnacle when he temporarily pulled the wool over the eyes of then-New York Times theater critic Frank Rich (William Hootkins). Colour Me Kubrick features cameos by Ken Russell, Honor Blackman, Peter Sallis, and Marc Warren. The French production had its international premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

Cast

John Malkovich
as Alan Conway
Tom Allen
as Charles
Lynda Baron
as Mrs. Vitali
Linda Bassett
as Trolley Lady
Jonathan Benson
as Aristocratic guest
Marisa Berenson
as Alix Rich
Paul Burnham
as Hex Mortimer
Paul Chowdhry
as Club Announcer
Kammy Darweish
as TV Journalist 1
Teresa Churcher
as TV Journalist 2
Bindu De Stoppani
as TV Journalist 3
Enzo Cilenti
as Waldegrave
Toby E. Cook
as Young guy
Phil Cornwell
as Police Duty Sgt.
Oliver Cotton
as PC Metcalf
Jim Davidson
as Lee Pratt
Ayesha Dharker
as Dr. Stukeley
Gabriel Diggs
as DJ in nightclub
Shaun Dingwall
as Maitre D'
Lance Forbes
as Ned Bridges
Henry Goodman
as Mordecai
Sam Gordon
as Police Officer
Spencer Hawken
as Man at Bar
Nolan Hemmings
as Butch Roberts
William Hootkins
as Frank Rich
John Leyton
as Lord Charles Benson
Luke Mably
as Rupert Rodnight
Ruth Negga
as Lolita
Peter Sallis
as Mental Patient 1
Shaun Parkes
as Mental Patient 2
Ken Russell
as Nightgown Man
Jack Ryan
as Steve
Audrey Tom
as Valerie
Al Weaver
as Darren
Mark Webb
as Policeman
View All

News & Interviews for Color Me Kubrick

Critic Reviews for Color Me Kubrick

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (30)

  • Malkovich captures not only the nuttiness of Conway, with his smorgasbord of foreign-sounding accents, but also his pathos.

    Apr 9, 2007 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • Not only is there nothing there, the nothingness is a complete bore. When a film's highpoint is a soundtrack that relies heavily on other soundtracks, you've got problems.

    Apr 1, 2007 | Rating: D | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • The irony of Color Me Kubrick is that the visual tricks merely serve as a backdrop for Malkovich's inspired high-wire performance.

    Apr 1, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A little bit like a coloring book -- flip the pages and each is pretty much like the one before, escalating variations on the same scam, with Malkovich filling in the cartoonish shadings, and occasionally going way outside the lines.

    Apr 1, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's an impressive moving wax museum, certainly, but even metatextual follies eventually need a pulse.

    Mar 31, 2007 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…

    Mark Holcomb

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It literally only has one idea in its head, and when that idea runs dry, it's as lost as Conway is without his plethora of Kubrick masks.

    Mar 31, 2007 | Rating: C

    Tasha Robinson

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Color Me Kubrick

  • Jun 14, 2011
    What a remarkably grating film. Comes off like a vanity project for Malkovich, eager to indulge a wide variety of swishy accents (done badly on purpose for character accuracy?). The story is jokingly billed as being "true-ish," which makes me wonder just how many people were fooled by this con man and whether he really adopted personalities that were so wildly divergent from the demeanor one would expect from a man of Kubrick's obvious intellect. The director of "2001: A Space Odyssey" as a vapid, boozed-up queen? Seriously? Trainspotters will enjoy the soundtrack (full of music repurposed from Kubrick films) and director Ken Russell's totally unexpected cameo as a far-gone asylum patient. Honor Blackman, Richard E. Grant, Robert Powell ("Mahler," "Tommy") and "Barry Lyndon"'s Marisa Berenson also turn up in wee roles.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2011
    I expected to love this movie. One of my favorite actors, John Malkovich playing a Stanley Kubrick imposter. How can it go wrong? Well, it did. Boring unfunny garbage. Basically the same thing would happen over and over. He would meet a new person, say he was Kubrick and then they would find out he was a conman after being duped for a few days. The only good thing about this movie was the showcase of all Kubricks classic music scores.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 28, 2010
    Con-man stories always hold some interest for me, even if they fail to truly go into detail about the protagonist or their victims. Color Me Kubrick is more of an interesting idea than a complete story. Alan Conway pretended to be Stanley Kubrick, despite knowing little about his work, or looking anything like him. He deceived people in order to receive free meals/gifts and the popularity. The film shows a number of these cons, which aren't plotted out, he just says he is Stanley Kubrick and people believe him. The film does a good job at showing the naivety of those tricked. Only one man even attempts to catch Conway out. The film may hold some fascination for UK viewers, just to see Jim Davidson in a rather well played role. It does manage to be funny, but often puts the emotional focus where it shouldn't be.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 14, 2010
    3.3/10 "Color me Kubrick" is a film which attracts viewers with a simple yet hopeful premise. But like most films that do so, "Color Me Kubrick" fails to fascinate on any given level. The acting is nothing special, and there's simply not enough Kubrick to make this film nearly as good as a film about Stanley Kubrick should be. That man was a legend to cinema, rendering the art of film in ways that were thus thought to be impossible. "Color Me Kubrick" nearly insults the great man, and that was clearly not the film's intention. The film doesn't feel like anything it wants to be. If it wants to be funny, then it obviously failed in nearly every way. If it wanted to be charming, then note that it fails at that too. And if it wanted to be a good film, then it fails at that miserably as well. Simply put, "Color Me Kubrick" lacks a sense of general fascination. It's not genuinely well directed, nor is it well crafted to say the least. Any real fan of Stanley Kubrick will find this failed "homage" bleak, mostly boring, and nearly tasteless. I'm simply being honest, despite the fact that fans of the theater should most likely find "Color Me Kubrick" to be anything but inspiring. I was compelled to watch "Color Me Kubrick" mainly because of the film's intriguing premise. The plot essentially revolves around Alan Conway, a formally unsuccessful man who (quite successfully) attempts to pose as director Stanley Kubrick. At first, most people believe that he is indeed this magnificent man, although he doesn't have everyone fooled. But he enjoys it while it lasts. And while it lasts, the plot is laden with nothing but Alan attending parties, staying in fancy hotels, and drinking like hell. Yes, Alan is also a heavy alcoholic, although this isn't made not of until near the end. But we see it coming. As far as true...ish stories go, this is one of the least fascinating ever to be adapted into film. I'm sure the somewhat "real" source material was slightly more interesting, but the film however is quite a bore. The film is genuinely under-plotted to the point where it comes off as bland, bleak, and nearly emotionless. The characters aren't exactly what I'd call likable, even if they're all supposed to be intriguing. Then the structure of the plot is all wrong, relying simply on obvious references to the various works of Stanley Kubrick, and even that isn't the slightest bit entertaining for the majority of the time. These "encounters" are equal to the sheer tasteless quality of most "spoof" or "homage" films. Sadly, nothing adds up to anything genuinely good. John Malkovich is essentially the only recurring actor throughout the film. Sadly, his performance isn't nearly as intriguing enough to make you wish for him to stay around as long as he does. His performance never comes off as annoying, but it's not really good, now is it? I'd think such a portrayal would be landmark, but it's hard to see any intended goodness in Malkovich's role when every possible flaw within the film constantly obscures your very vision. But with that being said, Malkovich's performance doesn't rank among his absolute worst's by any means. The film also attempts at putting genuinely popular actors and actresses at the "cameo" status, although it almost never works out. At least the intended audience will be smart enough (and educated enough) to spot that type of thing. I was hoping that "Color Me Kubrick" would at least deliver an experience that was visually quirky. Boy, was I ever so wrong! The visual style is yet another genuine flaw in "Color Me Kubrick". There's absolutely no moments of dazzling imagery, and the way the film is shot simply doesn't appeal to me, partially because there's nothing unique about the cinematography or the texturing of the colors. And after I'm disappointed by the lack of visual flare, I get the interpretation that the film is intended to be humorous. The premise alone is interesting, yet not funny in most ways. Then the actual humor in the film is dry, tasteless, and just plain unfunny. I didn't laugh once, and instead I felt slightly depressed afterwords. The film is essentially supposed to make you laugh if you can catch the references to Stanley Kubrick's films, but these moments are too obvious to be funny. The intended slapstick is even worse, considering it's not even appealing to the general American audience. And now, I feel it would be necessary to mention the music. Basically, "Color Me Kubrick" feeds off of the various scores from some of Stanley Kubrick's most notable films. And you know when a film has to do so; it's almost never a good thing. While the music fit in fine to each respective Kubrick film, the moments in which they are placed in for "Color Me Kubrick" simply feel random, out of place, and utterly awkward. These songs suddenly don't give me Goosebumps of epicness anymore. At least not in this film. Instead, I stared and listened out of pure disgust. Sadly, this homage simply feels as if it is indeed a film about Stanley Kubrick....although without the Kubrick. I simply did not care for "Color Me Kubrick". I found it to be a weakly directed and cliche driven film. While there are not many films like it, there may as well be a reason behind just that. Many would not attempt to do such a thing to Stanley Kubrick's character of even his impersonator, intending not to offend fans of the great director. So as you can clearly see, it was attempted, and sadly it failed quite miserably. Simply, it's a film that has its moments, but otherwise it is an uncommonly bleak homage. I just can't tell what the film wants to do, although the simplicity of the film also damages the film a great deal. Sadly it's just not important for one to see this film. It's just not good enough. In fact, it's not even good to begin with. As Dr. Parnassus would say, "Another great idea lost to Mr. Nick".
    Ryan M Super Reviewer

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