Author Topic: Danae's reviews  (Read 10112 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Danae's reviews
« on: March 24, 2011, 03:33:40 AM »
So, thought I'd post reviews here now, so I'll have something to post over here.    ;D

(Often I'm a lurker, because I'm not sure what to say.  So doing the reviews here will be good for me.)

I thought I should add my schema:

   5/5 = a masterpiece
4.5/5 = just short of a masterpiece
   4/5 = an excellent film that has something valuable to say
3.5/5 = a great film, solidly entertaining, no glaring flaws
   3/5 = a good movie, entertaining, worth watching
2.5/5 = a tolerable film that's an entertaining waste of time
   2/5 = a poor film that's an entertaining waste of time
1.5/5 = a bad movie you can put up with because your friend likes it
   1/5 = a really bad movie that's not worth your money or time
0.5/5 = a movie so god-awful bad you want those 2 hours of your life back
   0/5 = a movie so bad you want those 2 hours back to get a root canal instead
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 05:12:57 AM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
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Offline Kathy

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2011, 03:39:04 AM »
I'm really looking forward to your reviews. You have lots of movies that I'm not familiar with and can't wait for you to talk about them.

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2011, 05:01:03 AM »
Mahiha ashegh mishavand  (The Fish Fall in Love)  
2005, Iran

Aziz returns to his hometown after 22 years away.  He finds that the house he owns has been turned into a restaurant by his former fiance, Atieh.  She and her friends believe he has returned to sell the house.  To convince him to stay, she prepares his favorite dishes and serves them to him each day.  However, their inability to communicate may stand in the way of the love they are rediscovering in each other.

This is the third Iranian film I've seen, the others being Baran and Tam'e guilass (Taste of Cherry), and all of them have had a few things in common:  a slow pace, character driven story, ambiguous ending.  Oh, and all the people look like real people, not like they've all had plastic surgery and the latest Photoshop tricks.  

They're also all ... I guess you'd say "clean" .... they lack the gratuitous sex and violence of Hollywood films.  Yes, I know a lot of people would cry censorship, because I know Iran has codes about what can and can't be made, but I miss the kinds of films where you had a real love story, not just a story about unnaturally pretty people in lust with each other.  Sex and violence have their place in things, but sometimes I want a story without them too.

In case you couldn't tell, I enjoyed this film quite a bit.  It's very low budget, it's slow paced, there's no quick cut camera work or anything fancy.  It's just a nice little slice-of-life story about two middle aged people reconnecting with each other and finding love in their hearts again.  Not for everyone though - the ending is one that you decide for yourself.  I have a friend I could never show this to, because the ending (or lack thereof) would upset her too much.

Oh, and finally ... Atieh's food looks absolutely delicious.  I would eat at her restaurant any time.

Overall: 3/5
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 05:13:21 AM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
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Offline goodguy

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2011, 10:14:34 AM »
This is the third Iranian film I've seen, the others being Baran and Tam'e guilass (Taste of Cherry), ...

Thanks for the review. So far, the only Iranian films I've seen are Kiarostami's Copie conforme and Shirin, although the former doesn't really count because it was made in Europe and the latter is more of an experimental exercise.

... they lack the gratuitous sex and violence of Hollywood films.  Yes, I know a lot of people would cry censorship, because I know Iran has codes about what can and can't be made, ...

Even if severity and consequences are very different, censorship happens in the US all the time. The latest prominent examples were Polanski's The Ghost Writer, Hooper's The King's Speech and Schnabel's Miral, all of them international films getting a censored US release different from the rest of the world.
Matthias

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 12:52:03 PM »
Thanks guys.  I'm glad you find my random movie thoughts somewhat interesting.  :)

Even if severity and consequences are very different, censorship happens in the US all the time. The latest prominent examples were Polanski's The Ghost Writer, Hooper's The King's Speech and Schnabel's Miral, all of them international films getting a censored US release different from the rest of the world.

After watching This Film is Not Yet Rated, I knew censorship happened in the US all the time to get the "correct" rating, but you're absolutely right, nobody talks about it.  Its very rare that I go to the theatre any more, but looking at the info for my copy of Ghost Writer it's rated, so it's got to be the censored version.  Looks like The King's Speech will be coming out as the R version.  Maybe it is seriously time to consider a second player for region 2 blu...
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2011, 08:51:15 PM »
Really nice review, Danae. Glad you no longer lurk! :thumbup:

I hadn't heard The Ghost (as it is known here) was censored. How ridiculous. It is such a sharply written screenplay that any fruity dialogue is well-placed. ???


Offline Achim

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2011, 05:06:51 AM »
Sometimes they just want to open up the market, reaching more people with the film (and make more money along the way). That seems at least they with King's Speech, not sure what happened to Ghost Writer...


A recent example in the UK was Made in Dagenham. The director pointed out, that his target audience included young teenage girls, yet the fiulm got a 15 rating for a high count of the f-word. The director tried to change the BBFC's mind, whcih he couldn't, but Kermode simply said "should seen that coming"... It's obviously only an indirect example; the movie didn't reach all the audience it should have due to a higher rating.

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 04:35:36 AM »
Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes
2010, USA

A series of diamond heists, a beautiful singer framed as the crook, a dastardly villain on a black horse ... oh, heck, why do you need an overview of the plot?  It's a film titled Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes, that tells you everything you need to know.

We had been planning to watch Jiang cheng xia ri (aka Luxury Car) this evening, but events brought us home later than we planned, so there wasn't enough time for that film before bedtime.  So, instead, we watched this.

Now, I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan - and I love cartoons.  So, naturally, these two things came together and thus I have this on blu-ray.  It's a cute cartoon, and at just under an hour, exactly what was needed this evening.  There's a lot of laughs in the slapstick style of Tom and Jerry, and obviously this is set in a world where talking, anthropomorphic animals are not unusual, even if Tom and Jerry don't talk.  There were a lot of in-jokes, both for fans of Warner Bros. & Hanna Barbara cartoons, and for fans of Holmes.  It was fun catching them, and at some point I'll go back and watch it again and see if I spotted them all. 

This isn't great cinema, but if you're expecting that in a Tom & Jerry cartoon there is something wrong with you.  It's cute, it's funny, there's plenty of action and fun for everyone.  A very entertaining film and easily as good as the other Holmes cartoon I've seen (The Great Mouse Detective).

Overall: 2.75/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 05:02:51 AM »
I have this movie too.  I picked it up last year and I really enjoyed it.  Like you said, it is cute and fun.  I'm really glad I decided to pick it up when I saw it.

Offline dfmorgan

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 10:57:20 AM »

A recent example in the UK was Made in Dagenham. The director pointed out, that his target audience included young teenage girls, yet the fiulm got a 15 rating for a high count of the f-word. The director tried to change the BBFC's mind, whcih he couldn't, but Kermode simply said "should seen that coming"... It's obviously only an indirect example; the movie didn't reach all the audience it should have due to a higher rating.

Another point about Made in Dagenham is that the director could have made it truer to the times and possibly then have reached his target audience as the amount of bad language used was not reflective of the women involved nor the period that the film was set in.
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Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2011, 06:55:49 PM »
Letters to Juliet
2010, USA

Sophie, an aspiring writer, goes on vacation in Verona with her fiancee, an obsessed chef.  He's more interested in his job than he is her, heading off to dig for truffles and bid on wine.  Sightseeing alone, she finds the courtyard where heartbroken lovers leave letters to Juliet.  Finding one from fifty years ago, she answers it and is soon scouring the countryside with Claire, the letter writer, and her grandson Brian, looking for the man Claire lost so many years ago.

I love movies; my friend Katrina loves movies ... you'd think this would be good, but getting us to agree on a film to watch is like pulling teeth from a radish.  We find a place to meet at romantic comedies, which seems to be the middle ground between my love of movies that have something to say and her love of movies where things blow up.  

I'm happy to have added this to my collection; I enjoyed it quite a bit.  First, the movie itself is simply beautiful.  Both the countryside and the charming old buildings make you want to head to Italy, like yesterday.  The characters were all decent, honorable people, which I liked, and well-developed enough for the story.  You could see Claire's growth in self-confidence through the film in her wardrobe, as each successive choice looked more sophisticated and put-together on her, whereas Charlie's growth was shown in his expressions and body language.  It was a sweet, romantic film, and like Mahiha ashegh mishavand, showed that you can tell a story, a romantic story, and make it about the romance, about the characters, about the relationship - and it will be sexy instead of raunchy.  You can sit down with your grandmother, or your daughter, and watch this movie and not worry about a thing.  It's just an enjoyable, romantic little film.

Overall: 2.75/5
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 02:03:00 AM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2011, 05:48:39 PM »
Due Date
2010, USA

Problems at the airport trap expectant father Peter into riding cross-country with aspiring actor Ethan, whom he doesn't know ... and who he is the exact opposite of.

I'm not completely opposed to comedy, but I'm picky about it, so normally I wouldn't have looked twice at this film.  The entire reason I picked this up is Robert Downey Jr.  Because he's awesome.  This has been compared a lot to Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which I haven't seen and never had any intrest in, and the big advert on the front is that it's from the director of Old School and The Hangover, which again, haven't seen, have no interest in.  But Downey is awesome, so I'll watch anything he's in.

Perhaps surprisingly, I enjoyed this movie.  There was some crude humor, though not as much as I feared.  There was one moment that really didn't work for me, when Ethan laughs after Peter has told him about his father leaving him.  The whole bit with the guy in the wheelchair also seemed way overdone and unrealistic to me - not that a guy in a wheelchair could do what he did, but just that the situation seemed unrealistic.  

Tossing that aside, both of those moments are early in the film.  The movie got better as it progressed, and I got involved with it, with the characters, with their journey.  I was pleased that it wasn't just crude humor, that there were some genuinely touching moments, that you came to understand and care about these two people - despite Peter being a stuck-up rude prick and Ethan being a clueless ditzy stoner.

So, despite some stuff at the start of the film that felt rather forced, Due Date turned out to be a better movie than I thought it would be and I enjoyed it.

Overall: 2.75/5
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 05:50:25 PM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 05:33:06 AM »
Jiang cheng xia ri  (Luxury Car)
2006, China

A old schoolteacher leaves his rural village to travel to Wuhan, looking for his missing son whom his dying wife wishes to see one last time.  While he searches Wuhan he stays with his daughter, who works as an escort and is dating a mobster. 

This film is part of The Global Lens Collection, which also released Mahiha ashegh mishavand which we watched earlier.  Their stated purpose is to "promote cross-cultural understanding through cinema" and I've come to see, in the films I watched from their collection, that perhaps it is through a slice of life in the culture. 

Here we see parents estranged from their children, a father searching for his son, speaking of his son, a mother asking to see her son before she dies ... all while ignoring their daughter Yan Hong, a beautiful young woman who so obviously yearns for a connection to her parents, for their love and their approval.  She tries very hard to hide the seamier side of her job from her father, and to hide her lover's true identity. 

Like the other films I've watched from this collection, this is a low budget film.  This film is not about special effects or grand production values.  It's about people, about characters and their relationships and the story that develops around them.  They are very realistic people too.  The mobster is short, balding and paunchy, not some hot ultra-fit dude.  He's doing his mobster thing, but it's also obvious he truly cares about Yan Hong and tries to please her, as well as protect her.  Qi Ming, the father, also comes off as a real person, someone who doesn't know how to communicate with his daughter yet you get the feeling that he wants to, that he wants a relationship but that there's a gap he can't seem to bridge.  Yan Hong can't seem to bridge it either, can't talk to her father about what she wants, even when it's obvious she wants him to love her the way he loves her brother.  Her role is played by Tian Yuan, a Chinese pop star who is simply gorgeous and seems to me a pretty good actress - she says a lot in silence, in her expressions and body language, in the way she has Yan Hong look at her father, look at her lover, look at herself.

A good little film, an interesting look at China in a way you don't see in the Chinese films that hit mainstream US.  There's no martial arts, no cinematic tricks, no mythology, and not a lot of action.  It's a family story, a character story, a look at life in modern China.

Overall: 3/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2011, 05:25:50 AM »
Fantastic Mr. Fox
2009, USA

Mr. Fox, an newspaper columnist and reformed thief, plans one last heist ... and puts himself, his family, and friends in danger he hadn't planned on.

A clever, imaginative piece of animation.  One of the most original I've seen in a very long time.  Certainly the choice of stop-motion, which is rarely used, helps with this, as do the ingenious character designs, but it's also - and most importantly - the story that makes it so very clever and original.  I haven't read the Roald Dahl book this is based on, so I have no idea how close, or how far, it hews from the story.  What I do know is this was good, very very good.

There's so many layers to this film, to its story and its struggle.  On one level it's about a fox's (man's) relationship with his vixen and cub (wife and son), and his understanding of who he is and what his place is in the world.  On another level it's about the struggle of the little man against the big man, the individual versus the corporation, and the survival of individuals in the face of rampant corporate greed and power.  It touches on the choices one can make in the face of bullying, both individually and communally.  It touches on the choice of going along with the flow, doing nothing to disturb or anger outside events - or of living life, of being who you are and doing what you believe you were meant to do.  I expect when I watch it again I'll get something different out of it.   

All in all, a great film.  See it if you like stop-motion, or animation in general, or see it if you want something to think about later.  Awesome little flick.

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Danae's reviews
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2011, 02:06:24 PM »
Mamma Mia!
2008, USA

Sophie is getting married and wants her father to walk her down the isle.  Except he could be one of three different men. Undeterred, she secretly invites all three to her wedding certain she will know which he is.  What happens when they arrive, when her mother sees them, and when her fiancee finds out?  Based on a Broadway musical filled with the songs of ABBA.

I am the anti-Pete.  I love musicals!  Generally they're sweet, frothy fun - and this one is no exception.  Certainly this one is a bit campier and goofier than usual, but it makes it work.  Amanda Seyfried's general lack of acting skill is masked by the ensemble cast.  Christine Baranski plays a character I've seen her play somewhere before.  Some of the singing is not great - but you're going to do no worse with quite a few other musicals I can think of.  The setting is gorgeous and the film moves quickly from one musical number to another.  It seemed much faster than the nearly two hours it's timed at.  I watched this with five other women and we all had a great time.  I think even the one guy who watched it with us enjoyed it - but he might have stayed because his relationship to his girl is boyfriend, and we were abandoned by the fiancee and the husband of two of the others.  

Not great cinema by any stretch of those words, but if you're a chick who likes musicals it was a lot of fun.  

Overall:  2.75/5
« Last Edit: April 19, 2011, 02:08:01 PM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield