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The Notebook (2013)
8/10
Terrifying excellence
16 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Because the movie is about children experiences in WW2, I compare it to French movies with a similar plot and I can tell without doubt that this is perhaps the most terrifying of all. I think that the rough unexpected ending is not justified by the events preceding it. The boys do train themselves to withstand hardship--this is a very interesting point in the movie--but there is no justification to the way they treat their father. They cannot blame him for their hardship, except perhaps the fact that he returns from the war as a broken person, hardly compared to the attentive and loving father he was before he was recruited. I think the movie is outstanding in many aspects. There is no good person and bad person in their life during the war, but that's no reason for their last action. Their separation is also hard to understand. All in all however, it is a masterpiece and deserves to be widely seen.
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Sand Storm (2016)
9/10
A story about women in a conservative Muslim society
22 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie after it has received the Ofir award for best movie- the Israeli Oscar, which will make it the Israeli submission for the foreign language Academy award. I think it is a good movie in its novelty. The movie depict Bedouin life in modern Israel, although there is no sign really that this is the country where this story takes place, as the language is only Arabic and only an Israeli plate on the father's car indicates that the country is Israel. Much is already known about the treatment of women in Arab society, but here the father seems to be progressive: he sends his daughter Layla to school, and even considers university...she drives and believes that her father is different than other Bedouin fathers. To her dismay she finds that he isn't. On one hand the movie deals with the issue of polygamy, but is actually deals with all the issues affecting women in Arab society: the power of a husband to ban his wife and send her to her parents, the position of the father of daughters in the Bedouin society, the "do" and "don't" when it comes to family life. The movie revolves around the "must" issues. The father feels that the society expects from him to behave in a certain way, where the women in his life expect him to be different. The father might be willing to allow his daughter to drive and to study, but this seems to be the limit of his openness to Western values, to the huge disappointment of Layla.
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Flight Crew (2016)
9/10
An impressive thriller
15 October 2016
This movie was a surprise for me. I knew that Russian cinema is good, but I have never seen a Russian movie with complicated special effects, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Without going into the details of the plot, this is a movie that has a mix of issues that are usually dealt with separately, and here they are interconnected. A love relationship, two separate son-father relationships (between Alex, the main character and his father, as well as between Alex's boss and his son), adventure and even satire on the way workplace relationships are handled in Russia, as well as a basic human desire to help fellow humans and be brave, all are smartly combined to produce a very satisfying movie that keeps you in continuous suspense. The special effects are impressive and would not shame a Hollywood movie. Highly recommended.
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The Past (2013)
9/10
This is a movie about the links between the present and the past.
22 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is an amazing movie. Everything here deserves praise: the acting in particular is outstanding, and the little boy Fouad is unbelievable. This movie reminds me of the Japanese masterpiece Rashomon, in which a number of witnesses tell different sides of a murder. Here, Celine's suicide, an event that took place eight months ago, is still bothering all the participants in this drama. Marie-Anne and her daughter Louise have a broken relationship; Ahmed, who left Marie-Anne four years ago, is still on good terms with Louise, and when he finds out why the relationship is broken he thinks that the mother should know what the problem is, and why Louise cannot stand Samir's presence in the house..this is where Rashomon's story starts, and various pieces of puzzle come together, lies are revealed and Ahmed, who came to finalize the divorce is caught in the family web more than he expected... This movie can be watched a number of times. Bravo!
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8/10
A fairy tale in western style
23 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I liked "Balada L'Aviv Haboche", showing at the Israeli Film Festival in Melbourne. I am not comparing it to 'The magnificent seven' because there is no gunfight. But Benny Torati was definitely influenced by western movies, and despite the fact that the plot takes place in a (non-existent) Israeli countryside, it could take place even in Mexico, except that the music is Middle Eastern. This is a romantic fairy tale, about Yosef Tawillah, the man who never gets drunk, and who went to jail many years ago for killing his best friends in a car accident...Yosef goes about collecting a group of music players to play the Ballad to the Weeping Spring, a song composed long ago by him and his dying buddy Avram. The characters are fairy tale characters: love for music and friendship are the driving forces. People have no need for money, go around playing music for the love of music and to pay respects to their dying friend Avram...That's why I see it as a fairy tale. What is missing from the Western-style movie is the final duel scene, so here there is a concert instead. There is even a drinking contest between a girl and a bad macho guy, reminiscent of a similar scene in Indiana Jones. This is a 'feel-good' movie, a pleasurable pass time, incredible music and very good acting.
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Joanna (2010)
9/10
A ray of light in the darkness
17 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Joanna is a woman with a number of troubling issues: Her husband was recruited as a Polish soldier and she has not heard of him after the German invasion. The café she has been working at has closed after a raid, and she is likely to loose her apartment because it is too big for a single person. She adds to her trouble by rescuing a Jewish girl whose mother has been caught in a raid. She now has to protect the girl not only from the Germans, but also from the prying eyes of neighbors and relatives. The girl is discovered by a German officer and in order to save herself and the child she offers herself to him, but this relationship gets her into trouble with the local Resistance. She then gives the child to a Monastery and flees Poland with an unclear destination. The movie is very well acted and the situations are believable, but it seems to me that the story is fiction. Many Poles have rescued children during the war, and many children were rescued by the Catholic church, so the story is not entirely fiction, but usually movies of this genre are based on real life stories. This is my only criticism of otherwise a very well made film.
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8/10
A very tense movie with unbelievable sightseeing and great acting
19 August 2012
I can't understand how there can be negative reviews to this movie, with people claiming there is no plot...I don't know what else can you expect from a movie in this genre: it has good acting (luckily everybody agrees with this statement), a very tense action, a plot that makes sense and has no holes in it, spectacular views, unbelievable cinematography and a motorcycle chase that will become the benchmark for motorcycle chases in any future movie. A number of scenes resemble scenes from other movies in the series. This includes the hiring of an agency killer to kill Cross, similar to the scene in Tangier in Ultimatum, and the chase on rooftops also reminded me of a similar scene in Ultimatum...The movie is 135 minutes long, and even though the end comes suddenly the ending makes sense for a future sequel. It ends suddenly, but so does The Bourne Identity with Marie going to a Greek island. My only problem with this movie is that it does not have anything in common with the book by the same title written for the Ludlum franchise by Eric van Lustbader.
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3/10
Overly intellectual movie fails to convey its message
9 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I am sorry to disappoint all movie experts, but I hated every moment of this movie with only a few exceptions, in scenes in which there is some action developing, in which the relationships in the household are being formed. Other than that it seemed to me that the director hates his audience and is trying to bore them to death. Reading the outline in wikipedia, I was wondering where was I when a lot of this was happening, and I am asking this because nothing in this film is explicit: nobody tells the audience who died and why, it is not clear at all why Sean Penn's character has his flashbacks so long after the death of his brother, the connections with the beginning of the universe and the scenes with the dinosaurs are totally out of place. The only positive thing I can say about this movie was the acting. But the plot, the pace, the continuity, and some of the special effects were much beyond anything I can bear in an overly intellectual and overly ambitious movie. Even assuming that I am too insensitive to the spirituality (quasi-spirituality in my view) of the movie, there are still unanswered questions in the 'normal' scenes, such as: what happened with the family after moving from Wako, what happened to the kid brother, and so on. It was also impossible to understand from the movie that the father was going around trying to sell his invention, I only found this out from wikipedia. Some people in the audience were laughing at the end of the movie, and I don't think the director would like to know that.
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8/10
An indictment of military trials, then and now
15 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed the history lesson offered in this movie. After reading some of the reviews here however, I am not so sure that the history lesson was accurate, but I think that the trial itself is accurately described. For people who are not that familiar with all the issues surrounding Lincoln's assassination, it was unclear who were the other people killed in the event. The central issue in the movie is the style of the trial. Had it been an ordinary, not military, trial the ending would have been different for Mary Surratt, and I believe Robert Redford is trying to convey a message in connection with the military trials of the prisoners held at Guantanamo.

The acting was excellent, the photography was unpleasant at times, but quite original, with everybody looking like they were filmed walking in a dusty area. However, the value of this film lies in its accuracy, if the story did not happen this way it would be very very disappointing.
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9/10
A story about unhappy people
18 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I thought that this is a very good movie, and it can make a good candidate for the foreign language Academy Awards. The storyline is based on a novel titled 'A woman in Jerusalem' by one of the better known Israeli authors, A.B. Yehoshua. I have not read the book, but I am told that the story in the novel takes place in Siberia, whereas the film (or most of it) takes place in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. The English title is misleading, the full title in Hebrew means 'The mission of the Human Resources Manager'. A Romanian worker of a very large industrial bakery in Jerusalem is killed in a terrorist attack and is taken to the morgue; a journalist finds out that a salary slip found on her is from the bakery and writes an article blaming her workplace of lacking humanity. Driven by this bad publicity, the bakery sends its HR manager with the mission to "do the right thing" and take care of the proper burial of Iulia Petrache in her home country. However, things are not that simple. For a burial papers need to be signed by the next of kin, and a quest starts for the next of kin, the first one being her husband. However, it turns out that her husband is actually her ex-husband, and her son is still a minor, and the only eligible next of kin is her mother who lives very far, high up in the mountains. So the HR manager decides to get there and do the right thing, bury her in her childhood village, although he had the opportunity to take a shortcut and bury here en route. The intricate story line actually develops into a story of human relationships between total strangers. The journalist travels with the HR manager, and along the way they pick up Iulia's rebel son and travel to their distant destination in the company of weird people. There is humor and drama in these relationships, and the initial mutual animosity and contempt develop into a weird friendship. There are many twists and turns in the story and they all add to a movie that keeps the audience in constant suspense about what happens next. The characters, even the minor ones, are well played, and although some of the situations are practically impossible, overall the story line gets the viewer involved not only in the tragedy of Iulia's death but also in the tragedies of each of the other characters: the HR manager and his shattered family life, the orphan teenager and his bad relationship with his father, the bakery's night shift manager, and finally, the encounter with Iulia's mother who says that Iulia was unhappy in the village. This movie is very close to being a masterpiece. The cinematography is amazing and the camera goes into small details, such as a herd of geese crossing the road on the Romanian countryside. The only happy people in the movie seem the be the Israeli consular representative and her husband, and they provide some comic relief for the otherwise tragic situations. Highly recommended.
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The Concert (2009)
8/10
A good drama with too much comedy
26 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I liked this movie overall, but I was disappointed by the fact that too much of it is pure comedy. The credibility of the movie overall is affected by unbelievable parts of the plot, for example when musicians go AWOL for a few days and then reappear and give what turns out to be an excellent performance, without rehearsals. Some parts of the comic plot make sense, but still, there is exaggeration there, and this has annoyed me, in particular because other parts of the plot are not at all comic. A few people have commented here on the veracity of the purge of the Jewish musicians in the Soviet Union under Brezhnev. There is nothing to disbelieve in this. Radu Mihaileanu has lived under Communism himself and that part is not 'Zionist propaganda' at all; this part of the plot was very tragic and realistic. Of course, not only Jews were sent to Gulags, but also any dissident, including people who were not even real dissidents and just happen to say the wrong thing when someone was listening. Overall, this is a good, moving movie that could be a crowd-pleaser, but it seems to me that it did not have much success at the US box office because it's not in English and it's got subtitles.
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8/10
"Broken Promise" vs. "The Shop on Main Street"
28 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie at the Jewish Film Festival in Melbourne and I learned later that this was the Slovak entry for a foreign language Academy Award. The movie is a historical movie, and it seems that the director took a lot of trouble to deliver authenticity. The movie feels very authentic, and since the real Martin Friedman appears in it at the end, one may assume that the events depicted in it were true. This film reminds me of two other movies, "Defiance" and "The Shop on main Street." Although "Defiance" takes place in Belarus, it also depicts the life of Jewish partisans in Eastern Europe, and from this point of view there are many similarities. The same period as the beginning of this movie is described in 'The Shop on Main Street'. The movie begins in 1938, when the country called Slovakia was created after Hitler's breakdown of Czechoslovakia. And both films take the trouble of depicting the decent Slovaks who lived their life alongside Jews and did not hate them. The Jews in Slovakia were not very religious, and society was quite open towards them until 1938. Martin was playing soccer with non-Jews, the coach loved him and all seemed to be well. With years passing however, the attitude towards Jews in Slovakia gets worse, and they find it more and more difficult to hide. One of the strongest scenes in this movie is when Martin is hiding in a monastery where the staff was taking care of Jewish patients at varying degrees of dementia, and the villagers organize a pogrom to kill the Jewish patients. It is impressive to realize that the producers of this Slovak movie did not try to embellish or remove this scene, because it depicts the ordinary Slovaks in a very bad light. Like in "The Shop on Main Street" however, Slovak society is not monolithic, and in both movies there are many decent people who take risks and help Jews. The movie depicts seven crucial years in the lives of Martin Friedman and Slovakia, including the Arianization that was also the topic of 'The Shop on Main Street'. From an artistic point of view, the latter was a better movie, but from an historical point of view the viewer is exposed to much more Slovak history in this movie. It was very disgusting to see that there was no difference in attitudes towards Jews among the pro-Nazi civilians and the Soviet-controlled partisans, even though, as the partisan leader says 'The Red Army forbids antisemitism'. A very realistic and courageous movie.
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9/10
Soviet atrocities and Kazakh humanity
14 November 2009
This movie depicts the atrocities committed by the Soviet regime, particularly during the Stalin era in graphic detail. The movie depicts communist officials with the same brush used for Nazis in other movies, and in this respect the movie is a first. It was disappointing to find out that the movie is fictional,because it is hard to invent a story like this unless it's been a life experience and I wish I knew more about the author. Btw, the background music of the movie is the Israeli anthem, HaTikvah. I believe that the reason this was chosen is not only because of the scenes that take place in Jerusalem, but because the words of HaTikvah talk about the strength and eternity of the Jewish soul. Perhaps this is the only truly Jewish aspect of the movie. The cruelty of the Soviet authorities here cover the entire spectrum, from the very high levels (Stalin, his propaganda and his deportations) to the lowest level (Vera's rapes by military and militiamen irrespective of rank). Not one decent person is found among the uniformed Communists, military and militia. Against this background, all that happens to Sasha is a miracle, including the way he discovers his Jewishness, while his grandfather is dying. The film is very impressive on all levels: in its choice of subject matter, film sets and actors. On the background of cruel dictatorship, where people who have done nothing wrong rot in the Kazakh steppe in harsh conditions, the movie is optimistic, and this makes it very watchable. The humanity of the Kazakhs in risking their lives in saving the boy and the fact that neither communism nor gulags break their spirit is remarkable. Moreover, the film manages for the first time to stress that all monotheistic religions are basically the same at their core. Muslims, Jews and Christians pray to the same God, and have strikingly similar rituals, and there is no basic reason for hate other than criminal ideology of Stalin (and in our times, other leaders). There is much more to say about this movie, but I think this is sufficient for people interested in life in the Soviet Union. I saw this movie at a Jewish film festival, but the movie is not Jewish. Sasha's Judaism is in my view marginal to the plot. The acting is terrific and the movie is a feast.
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5/10
A powerful singing performance in a poor cinematic package
6 November 2009
I have been a Brel fan for many years and it so happened that I never had the chance to see Brel translated in English. I am glad that I found this DVD at the library and I enjoyed most of it. I have read some criticism here on the cinematography, and I fully agree with it. In particular, my criticism is on the voice synchronization. It is very rare to find such poor technical quality in movie, but in this case I do bear in mind that this was play before it was a movie. I am very familiar with the French originals and I was impressed by Mort Shuman's lyrics, and by the powerful performance of Elly Stone. IN particular I found the interpretation of (the very difficult) "Marike" very impressive, in particular since part of it was in (very well pronounced) Flemish. I liked Brel's performance of course, but I would have expected translation subtitles, since the rest of the songs were in English. As a movie, this DVD is unwatchable and I fell asleep watching it. However, after waking up, I listened carefully to the music and the lyrics and realized that this was a very talented crew, but the filming was amateurish. In part this was deliberate, but overall I am sure a remake of this movie as a series of new music videos would be well received by Brel enthusiasts like myself. My rank of 5 is an average of Music 9 and Cinematography 1.
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8/10
A remarkable film- not for the faint-hearted
27 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I read many comments I agreed with here. This film is shocking. On one hand it is very well played and directed, on the other hand...I wouldn't recommend it to my friends because it is too disturbing. Perhaps this is what movie are supposed to have, catharsis, but...on the other hand...reality bites too hard here. April and Frank live in an idyllic American suburb, in house set among trees, they have two kids. All is nice, neighbors adore them, even (Kathy Bates) the Realtor who showed them the house loved them...These are the appearances. Frank (Di Caprio) hates his job, but accepts it as a given and when April (Winslet) suggests that he should quit he is willing to take her advice.. go to Europe into the unknown. He was really going to do it, quit and go, until...opportunity intervened...for a job with more responsibility and more money...and perhaps less boredom. This was an ego trip for Frank. And yet --in a situation that is upside down from what anyone would expect-- April is unhappy, and this unhappiness is so entrenched that it will finally lead to disaster and turn a career turn into a family disaster. Sam Mendes has done it again. After brilliantly depicting the hell of family life in an idyllic suburb in 'American Beauty,' he managed to reinvent himself in Revolutionary Road. He was helped by his extraordinary cast and by a good script, but still... Winslet is very good in depicting April's step-by-step descent into madness, and she definitely deserved the Golden Globe, and perhaps even the Oscar (but wasn't nominated for this movie). Actually it is hard to judge who is the better actor between her and DiCaprio, but I guess hers is a more difficult role because of her frequent mood changes. A great film, NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED.
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Gran Torino (2008)
8/10
A western without cowboys
21 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I would like to compare this movie to a totally different one, namely No Country for Old Men. Why do I compare these two? Mainly because of the upside-down ending. However, unlike in 'No Country', here the criminals do get caught. And this is an important difference. Walt is not a likable guy. He's very old fashioned and his racial views are disgusting at first. However, his was a 'harmless' racism. He does not want anything to do with his Chinese neighbors, and---as the ending shows---he's also no so trigger-happy either. Clint Eastwood is better here than in any of hid previous roles, and I am an Eastwood fan. He constructs a very believable character, a veteran who is disturbed by those who break the American values of "live and let live." He dislikes his neighbors because of their un-American behavior, but then observes that they are all-right, and they only mean well. He sees it as his duty to defend the American values, which include helping the weak and getting justice done. Going back to the comparison, both movies have the subject of good fighting evil. In 'No Country' however, the ending is disappointing. Here, despite the fact that Walt is killed, his scheme served its purpose and the criminals are caught, which makes it both realistic and dramatic and more satisfying than 'No Country'.
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3/10
A painful, unsatisfying movie
16 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I took this movie at a video store without knowing anything about it. The reason I took it was that D. D. Lewis is one of our most favorite actors. And a very good actor he is indeed, and this movie definitely shows it. However, I will definitely NOT recommend this movie to my friends, unless they have an extra two and a half hours in which they want to get utterly bored, disappointed and depressed. Why bother seeing a movie in which whenever something happens it is disturbing? One in which every scene takes forever with no particular reason. I have seen other movies about oil magnates and their greed. Anyone remembers 'The Giant'? That's the movie with Rock Hudson, Liz Taylor and James Dean, who died during its shooting. That movie describes greed and ruthlessness, but without being boring. I have learned on this board that HW was somebody else's child; that's not clear at all in the movie. The director takes his time in showing Daniel shoveling for a piece of gold in a very long scene, but we are supposed to 'understand' that the child shown in his arms wasn't his? The movie develops a character all right; my problem was that this character does not interest me at all. His development from a nice guy looking nicely after somebody else's child (as it turned out) as his own, worrying about Eli's treatment of Mary, and being overall a fairly reasonable oil digger, into a greedy heartless monster is unclear, and many other things are unclear. No wonder it took Andersen two years to raise the funding. A great movie? Perhaps. A real masterpiece? Maybe. But definitely not for me.
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9/10
An unbelievably believable film
14 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with the writers of the previous comments.This is an unbelievable film, and what is unbelievable about it is that...it's believable. The movie describes the harsh life of misery in India's slums, the viciousness of those who benefit from this misery, and in this aspect it is very hard to watch. But, on the other hand, the movie has romance, real drama, true love, hope, and -of course- suspense. In short, it has the complete recipe for a good movie, while also drawing attention to issues such as India's slum children and Police brutality. However, Danny Boyle follows a tradition set by movies such as City of God, Totsi and others in depicting life in the slums. In this aspect this movie reminds one also of other big-city slums in the world, Central Station that takes place in Sao Paolo, Man of the Year (on the slums of Rio), Totsi (South Africa), and others. The topic is popular among filmmakers, and among these, Central Station and Totsi have won Academy Awards. I would expect Slumdog Millionaire to get not only a nomination, but also an award. The story is very good, the acting, direction and cinematography are also excellent and in all these aspects the movie is flawless. The only problem I had was with the sound, it was excessively loud for the small theater I watched the movie in.
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7/10
was it a good movie or not?
15 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed and did not enjoy this movie, hence my ranking at the level of 7.

I am a speaker of Romanian, but left that country a long time ago, and as such I was very interested in the historical content of the movie. However, the movie, like the television show in it, leaves the spectator with the main question unanswered, and perhaps this is the director's message. Unlike other commentators on this board, I think that Manescu, the history professor, actually was in the Main Square protesting something or other on that day, and the callers who called during the program left sufficient doubt in my mind to believe that the guy has indeed been there. But that's not the main issue. The main (and very good point) of the film was the fact that the callers were trying to justify their own actions during that day and to dismiss anything Manescu might have done, only because had Manescu's story been accepted they would look bad in the eyes of their peers. The incident with the Chinese merchant is also very moving, showing that Manescu was a indeed a decent person, and making his version more credible in my eyes than that of the other eyewitnesses. I did not like the fact that for the first hour or so in the movie there is no closeup on the various participants, so that when they finally gather in the same room together, it is the first time that one sees their faces. In any case, there were a few things that reminded me of a few other Romanian films I have seen recently, such as The Death of Mr Lazarescu and 4-3-2. The common things are the simple apartments, the derelict buildings and the way people speak with each other, which is so different than the way people talk in the West. However, in my view the vulgar language had the effect of diluting the film's message. It is realistic, it does reflect the way people speak, but I can't believe that people use this language when calling a TV station. There was also a small problem in the plot: IN an early scene Jderescu is asked by his wife to bring his entire salary home, whereas in a later scene it turns out that he owns the TV station, and 'he made it' from a former engineer to a respected TV journalist and station owner. Overall, the movie has a mixed message. For Romanians living in Romania, it is a cruel satire on their way of life, their behavior with each other and their self image. The telephone call from the former Securitate agent-cum-factory owner is compelling, since to this day Romania has not acted against these people and it's a sore point in society, probably because of their large percentage in population, and also because the people who were closest to the Party were also those who managed to get ahead in business when the system has changed. In summary, I think that a good movie has to be able to make a mark beyond the local viewers, or the speakers of the language, and the fact that a Danish viewer gave it a low mark says something about this issue.
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Three Wishes (1995)
8/10
A very warm and watchable movie
18 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is not a 'major league' movie, and I don't think it was intended to be. It is a very nice and watchable feel-good movie. Patrick Swayze is excellent in the role of Jack the drifter and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is excellent in her role of a dedicated widowed mother of two. The movie is a flashback to a month in the life Tom, who is now a father of two with difficulties in his business. The flashback takes him back to year 1955, when he was about 14, and his mother took Jack the drifter into their home to heal from a leg injury she has caused. Jack develops a close relationship with Tom, but after his leg heals Jack leaves them and goes back to being a drifter. The reason for the close relationship is that Jack teaches Tom some baseball tricks, and brings Jack to coach the entire team. The coach believes that Jack is actually a Major League who left baseball after yr 1941. But this simple, unsophisticated movie has a number of Buddhist messages: 'Enjoy life's every moment and count your blessings. If you try too hard you will not succeed. Everything also contains its opposite. Believe in magic.' And the blend makes a nice all-family movie.
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8/10
An allegory
5 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Whenever I see a movie which deals with injustice stories I feel frightened that it may happen to me. Turn of the 20-th century Austria under the Keiser was otherwise a 'modern' country by European standards, and yet such an injustice story is very credible, and it could have happened elsewhere(although not exactly in the same way in classless rural America). The story line is tragic: a land-owner who has been ruthless and evil during his lifetime, is found dead. For an unknown reason he decides to be generous in his death and leaves his property to the ten peasants who were working on it. The plot thickens. The 'peasants' are not supposed to become property owners. The fact that they do own property now causes trouble with the rest of the village farmers who are unwilling to accept the new breed of farmers, they try to burn their property and this causes a chain of events in which Lukas, the main character, is killed and the others have to flee to America. The lawlessness of the ruling class is the topic here, and it hurts to see how much power they have.

A second story line is that of another injustice, that done to Rosalind, the mother Lukas never knew, and who turns out to be the one who killed the farmer because of what he did to her when she was young. In a story resembling Charles Dikens's dramas, she was raped by the farmer and then accused of stealing from him. Her child is Lukas, who never knew his mother,and also never knew who was his father, growing up as 'the foundling' and being ridiculed by everyone in the village. The only flaw I found with this movie is that there are a few flat characters, such as the former foreman, who have no real reason for being so evil. The idea is the communist idea, of the exploitation of the poor by the rich, and the existence of the oppressing class society in old Europe. The idea of injustice by the rich and powerful is not new and can be found also in westerns. The film would have been more satisfying however if the final outcome would have been more positive, good overcoming evil in their own society. But of course, one cannot change the course of history, and indeed at that point in time the only way out of the situation would not have been fighting the system but fleeing to America.
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Oliver Twist (2005)
10/10
An excellent movie
24 January 2006
Oliver Twist in Roman Polanski's version has many similarities with the earlier Oliver! version, despite to fact that more than 20 years have passed between these versions. Even the actors who play Fagin and Skyse look the same. I think however that this movie is even better, because, since it's not a musical, the plot does not stop for songs and it flows more smoothly. Moreover, this movie of course also follows the book more closely.

Why did I find it to be excellent? Because the acting, the settings, the costumes and everything else were excellent. Oliver and all the children play amazingly well, Fagin (an unrecognizable Ben Kinglsey_ and Sykes play their wickedness perfectly and their characters are very convincing. Even the dog is very convincing! Add to the acting the coherent script and the three dimensional characters, the romantic goodbye scene in jail between Oliver and Fagin, and one could definitely say that the film contains all the elements of a sensitive and well made movie.
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