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Member's Reviews

Chelovek s kino-apparatom, a review by Danae Cassandra

Where We Are:  The Soviet Union

What We Watched:

Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man With a Movie Camera)
Year of Release:  1929
Directed By:  Dziga Vertov
Starring:  The people of Moscow and Odessa
Genre:  Documentary

Dziga Vertov's MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA is considered one of the most innovative and influential films of the silent era. Startlingly modern, this film utilizes a groundbreaking style of rapid editing and incorporates innumerable other cinematic effects to create a work of amazing power and energy.

After his work on The Commissar Vanishes, a multi-media art event in 1999, composer Michael Nyman (The Piano) continued researching the period of extraordinary creativity that followed the Russian Revolution. His artistic inquiry resulted in a new, celebrated score for MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA, performed by The Michael Nyman Band on May 17, 2002 at London's Royal Festival Hall.

This dawn-to-dusk view of the Soviet Union offers a montage of urban Russian life, showing the people of the city at work and at play, and the machines that endlessly whirl to keep the metropolis alive. It was Vertov's first full-length film, and it employs all the cinematic techniques at the director's disposal—dissolves, split-screens, slow motion and freeze frames—to produce a work that is exhilarating and intellectually brilliant.

My Thoughts:
First, the obvious disclaimer.  This is a non-linear, non-narrative, experimental film.  The average movie-goer would likely be either confused or bored, or both, by this film.  I can't think of one of my friends to share this film with.  That having been said, this is one of the most innovative, interesting films to watch.  There are dozens upon hundreds of modern films that don't have even one tenth of the creativity demonstrated here. 

The camera work and editing are simply amazing.  Jumps, stops, split-screen, frenetic movement, trick work, every little technique is used to create a look at the Russian people at work and play. 

There are a lot of reasons to watch this film - for its innovative camera work, for its place in cinema history, for its view of everyday life in 1929 Russia, for a look at a successful style of propaganda film.  This is, after all, a celebration of the working class, an everyman's picture.  There are no stars but the people themselves, and the magical world of the cinema is the world of the worker, of society, working together in harmony. 

I'd say it's absolutely essential viewing for cinema enthusiasts, recommended for art film lovers, but blockbuster lovers should skip it.  I found it a dazzling piece of work and enjoyed it quite a lot.

Bechdel Test: not applicable

Overall: 4/5

(From Around the World in 86 Movies on August 27th, 2013)

Member's Reviews

Shadow of the Vampire, a review by addicted2dvd

Title: Shadow of the Vampire: Widescreen
Year: 2000
Director: E. Elias Merhige
Rating: R
Length: 92 Min.
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio: English: DTS: 5.1, French: Dolby Digital: 5.1, English: Dolby Digital: 5.1, Commentary: Dolby Digital: 2-Channel Stereo
Subtitles: English

John Malkovich as Murnau
Willem Dafoe as Schreck
Udo Kier as Grau
Cary Elwes as Wagner
Catherine McCormack as Greta

John Malkovich and Academy Award® nominee Willem Dafoe star in a riveting suspense thriller about an obsessive director who's so consumed with making the most realistic vampire movie ever, he's willing to sacrifice everything – and everyone – to achieve his vision!

In his quest to create a vampire film to die for, F.W. Murnau (Malkovich) hires the mysterious Max Schreck (Dafoe) to play Count Orlock in his masterpiece, Nosferatu. Murnau introduces Schreck as "the ultimate method actor" – one who will appear only in character, in full makeup and only at night. But as the cast and crew begin to disappear, it appears that Murnau has made a devil's bargain with Schreck.

With luminous performances and biting humor, Shadow of the Vampire holds you in its icy grip from start to finish.

Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Bonus Trailers
Production Notes
Closed Captioned

My Thoughts:
This is a movie a good friend sent me from her collection when she realized she had 2 copies of it. I know I seen this one before... but it was so long ago I really couldn't remember it. Well... it is definitely different then what I was remembering.I wouldn't say I didn't like it... but it is definitely a different kind of film. Willem DeFoe did a wonderful job in his role as Schreck. The movie is really slow paced... but it pretty much has to be for the movie they were making. Over-all I enjoyed it. But it isn't a movie I see myself watching too often... not your typical vampire movie.

My Rating:
Out of a Possible 5

(From What Movies I Been Watching on April 11th, 2010)

Member's TV Reviews

My PILOT Marathon, a review by Rich

Teachers - Series One

Episode 1
On his 26th birthday Simon is persuaded to steal a statue from Summerdown School. He spends the next week worried the authoritarian Claire will find out.
Simon also gets it in the neck from Jenny, who feels he is too undisciplined, and he's in for a shock when he realizes his girlfriend Maggie is in fact a police officer.

The debut series of Channel 4's comedy drama TEACHERS revolves around the lives, loves, and lost homework of a young group of school teachers. Andrew Lincoln (THIS LIFE) stars as Simon, a feckless English teacher whose enthusiasm is somewhat eroded by his sharp-tongued and uninspired Year Eights. In addition to problematic pupils, he finds himself and his equally hapless colleagues having to spark up in the toilets whilst the formidable Head of Year attempts to glean countless unstarted bits of marking and reports off him. The action follows the teachers' arbitrary attitudes to their own work and includes many school-night drunken confessionals and adolescent antics. Also starring Nina Sosanya, Richard Dale, and Jeremy Lovering.

Surprisingly good gritty comedy, still totally up to date, graphic and addictive.
Probably not a great idea for me to watch as my daughter has just landed her first job as a teacher, but totally hilarious in so many ways, and I understand many of the scenarios and characters have been lifted from reality. A lot of swearing, boozing and bonking, but not overboard.
I will come back to watch the rest of my series of Teachers based on this pilot.

(From My PILOT Marathon on September 4th, 2009)