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Reviews

Anna
(2019)

Formulaic and recycled
There is nothing new to see here: recycled multiple times plot, fake sex scenes, cliche KGB characters, speeded up action scenes, etc. Avoid.

Metro
(2013)

not bad
From the cinematic point of view, this is a pretty good movie, and it shows excellent craftsmanship and directing skills. This is a showcase of capabilities of Russian filmmakers and production facilities that won't get unnoticed by international distribution and producing circles.

There are, however, numerous inconsistencies and illogical situations in the script that require a HUGE suspension of disbelief for people who are familiar with how the subway system functions.

Other than that, there are normal for this genre stereotyped characters, a love triangle, and, of course, a catastrophe itself that changes everything...

Nine
(2009)

Failure
It seems, nobody can make movie musicals right anymore. Marshall is no Fosse - that became quite clear after the failed Chicago, now he is given another musical, and it's also a failure. Nicole Kidman should not be given a part in any musical - that became clear after horrid Moulin Rouge!, so I absolutely don't understand how she ended up in another one. The material that this film is based on allowed for an interesting storyline, yet Marshall was not capable of doing anything beyond glossy, no-substance, vaudeville. After all, I think, this piece would have been much better with unknown actors who could actually sing and dance.

Boxing Helena
(1993)

don't read the reviews - it's not that bad
After reading how awful this was, I didn't expect much of this movie and was pleasantly surprised. The thing is it works in its own way. This movie doesn't pretend to be anything, it just tells the story of an obsession. Acting is actually quite decent too, well, except for Paxton, who should be banned from acting anywhere, period. Personally, I think its a good thing that Basinger didn't get to play the part of Helena as she would only ruin this movie being very overrated, incompetent actress that she is. Sherylin Fenn, on the other hand, is very interesting to look at and deserves much more compliments for acting than she is getting. All in all, this is no Oscar contender, but it will get you amused...

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
(2003)

nothing special
The Terminator series ended with T2. This one is just an homage to the first two. The director of this one has no talent, nor imagination to do it right. Yes, those who expect special effects and Arnold's trademark one-liners will get what they paid for, but Cameron's craftsmanship, character development, humanistic ideas and precise casting are nowhere to be seen.

Storytelling
(2001)

bad storytelling
Another abortive, pitiful attempt from Solondz... His problem is that subjects of his films are not interesting at all. You just don't care for them. I wonder, how long will it be, before he starts to film a life of some low-life idiots in real-time and present it as "art"...

Camille Claudel
(1988)

superb acting, brilliant cinematography
This is the film that shows that French cinema is still the best in the world. Adjani's acting is mesmerizing, cinematographer uses his camera with such an ease that Hollywood would never match. While watching the film, I lost sense of time... I didn't expect much from this movie after reading complaints that it's too long. What a pleasant surprise! Don't listen to anybody: if you like the cinema, this film will impress you, if you think that Titanic is the best romantic movie ever made - then you might never get it...

Titus
(1999)

spend your money and your time elsewhere
This film just doesn't work. Not because of eclectic mixture of Shakespeare and "innovative" direction, but simply because Ms. Taymor doesn't understand the medium she is working with. Awkward camera movements, distracting angles, serious pacing problems to name just a few, make this film a very difficult one to watch. It looks like too many theater directors think that cinema is merely a way to save their stage work or, in this case to broaden the audience. For hardcore Shakespeare fans only.

Being John Malkovich
(1999)

desperately inventive
This could have been a great movie, but the director's lack of experience shows. This is a one- gimmick movie that tries desperately to be inventive. Unfortunately, there are no sympathetic characters in the movie and that really kills it. Of course, among abundance of inept movies from Hollywood, this one might look as something different, but masterpiece it is not. Rent it, but don't buy

István, a király
(1984)

a very good musical
This is probably the best Hungarian rock musical ever made. Largely unknown outside Hungary, it boasts impressive music score and builds on strong Hungarian rock traditions. It does borrow some elements from Jewison's JCS, though.

Utomlennye solntsem
(1994)

overrated exploitation of Stalin's theme
This is another example in a long line of movies made by N. Mikhalkov who always tries to please the international film market. While you can't say that he is unsuccessful (quite the opposite), his movies look crafted, not created. It seems that Mikhalkov is very envious of his brother, Andron Konchalovsky, who is a really good filmmaker (Tango & Cash notwithstanding). Usually, Mikhalkov uses Russian classic literature, such as Chekhov or Turgenev, or well-known topics, such as Stalinism to generate interest in his movies . This movie is an example of the latter. If you are interested in Stalinism as a period, go ahead - watch it, but if you like really good movies, skip it and pick up something by Konchalovsky instead. Oscar's foreign film committee should have made a better choice.

A Simple Plan
(1998)

well crafted, but not great
The film is a well-crafted one, with some good (by Thornton) and not so good (by Paxton) performances. The story is involving, but not believable: too many dead bodies around Paxton should have raised suspicion among authorities eventually. Overall a good show but not an Oscar contender, except maybe Thornton's acting job.

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