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Human rights
I have been carefully watching Kurosawa's films for years, particularly his samurai work. Mifune's presence on the screen is undeniable. He commands respect and attention, with every turn of his chin or move of an elbow. I watch Kurosawa's movies with a sense of the sublime, as well as a sense of disbelief. How does he do it?

This is a film about human life and the importance of empathy. This film, better than so many which make the same attempt, communicates the need for human understanding and care for the unfortunate. By exploiting the arrogance and ignorance of the self-centered doctor, Kurosawa finally explains to the thickest of us, in beautiful scenes with heart-wrenching acting, why we should care about others. Akahige should be mandatory viewing for all. An important story about tragedy, poverty, and the dis empowered that, in the hands of this director, is never sappy, cheesy, or self-indulgent.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

I have reservations about awarding such a violent, brutal, obviously offensive, irresponsible production a 10/10. I thought I'd seen enough women viciously beaten and/or raped in popular film over the last few decades, but I guess I was wrong. And, oh yes, the women are violent themselves... I suppose that's some sort of excuse.

However, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is one of the most entertaining films I have ever seen. It incorporates everything proven enjoyable by film history. It is Natural Born Killers meets The Empire Strikes Back meets Crouching Tiger meets Enter The Dragon meets The Crow meets a lot of other shiny recent movies that take the concept of "aesthetic" pleasure to a whole new level.

Everybody rocked. Everything rocks.

8 Mile

The Eminem Show
Wow, who knew that Eminem was so darn great? He's a hero, a fighter, a lover, a talent, a prodigy, is envied and adored by his neighbourhood, and is just about the coolest guy around... Gee. He's practically a messiah.

It takes some kind of ego to make a film like this. Eminem's "based on a true story" autobiography is written like a band's promotional bio, and comes off as terrific propaganda. The guy makes himself out to be the greatest common-man's hero since Atticus, and tops it off by giving himself Herculean qualities of strength, reserve, smarts, and let's not forget he's the greatest rapper ever... Oh yeh, and everyone around him is useless and just wants to be near him or loving him. My hero... (sigh...)

Anyway, if you can get past the ego-polishing, 8 Mile is a good bit of entertainment. The movie gives a great view of the struggles of underground artists, particularly musicians just waiting for their "break." I like the message too, and despite all the negative imagery and events, the true moral of the film will sink in with kids: work hard, keep at it, and you just might succeed.


nothing new
Full points for style. A beautiful film. Huge losses in the originality and scripting departments. The dialogue is frequently insulting, and the acting is stale and predictable. For some reason, we accept that "no emotions" means acting like you're slightly irritated and full of rage. I would love to see a science fiction film where lack of emotion is displayed as a well thought out stoicism: a completely foreign disposition.

Equilibrium is an awesome view, but convention is the mighty director here.

Yi yi

everything... something.
What do I mean by everything... something? It's an assessment of the feeling I have after seeing this film. I'm overwhelmed, I'm touched, I'm a little bit amazed... but I'm not sure what caused all this. More or less, Yi Yi is the story of a nuclear family and each member's individual experiences. The film follows each character over a short period of life (perhaps a few months, one year?) as the most significant moments of human life occur. In other words, a first love, wedding, funeral, birth, murder, reminiscence, recapitulation, and all the rest of it... There's something for everyone to relate to, whether you like it or not. Perhaps that's what touched me so much about the film. I don't think I've ever seen something that so delicately and meticulously examined the extreme experiences that members of different age groups and gender have in human society. And it's cute, and sometimes ironic, and well, everything. Comparisons to more popular films might include Magnolia, for example, or The Ice Storm. But the style, while not altogether original, also caught my eye. Yang never gets too close to his characters - we are kept at a distance. The viewer is purposefully detached from any sort of voyeuristic tinge. In other words, while the big Hollywood directors zoom in for their big moment-Oscar winning-Meryl Streep-running tears-extreme-close-up, Yang prefers to film such moments through glass, in reflection, in long shot, making visible only the character's back or profile, in the dark, etc. I really liked this movie. It is long, so prepare to be patient. But if you let yourself get involved, you will only want to see more when the film reaches its conclusion.

Dancer in the Dark

unyielding masochistic experience
I got mad at this film. No, really - it hurt me.

The performances are gripping; the musical interjections are wonderfully surreal. Dancer In The Dark explores human pain (notably: economics, disease, and naivete) by placing a selfless, generous, innocent at the mercy of a cruel existence. The Dogme95 folks are relentless in their ability to assault you with images and concepts.

This film is a psychological masterpiece: the lead character must distance herself from existence through adolescent daydreams and a sincere love for music; and you must distance yourself while watching it because of the immense suffering on screen, en route, and in you.

Any criticism of Bjork is misguided: her childlike joy and pretty smile (not to mention her pure, gutsy, haunting singing voice) make this film what it is. No other actress could have BEEN this.

I think this is art. It expresses, it affects, it destroys. I don't know what else to say. Only problem is, I don't imagine ever being able to see it again...

The Sealed Room

One of Griffith's early Biograph films about a king who becomes enraged upon seeing his lover with another in her room. Clever, and mostly interesting for its historical value, this short film is quite entertaining and should not be passed over if you a get a chance to see it.

Anémic cinéma

Well, it's only four or five minutes, so if you can see it do so. Any fan of Duchamp or anyone interested in the experimental films made during the Dada movement in the 1920s would find this fascinating. Others will find it pointless. Non-sensical French phrases are placed on a spinning wheel and inter-cut with neat spiral visual effects. The epitome of Dada and Duchamp's only experience with directing film (to my knowledge.)

The Blair Witch Project

I honestly don't know what to say about this film. So why am I writing, you ask? Because this film is possibly the best one I have seen in years. It is confusing, jaded, jarring, thrilling, and mystifying. The acting is superb, the production even better. Even an experienced film student walks away from The Blair Witch Project unsure of the true nature of the images on the screen. The barrier between fiction and non-fiction is truly tampered and disguised. And after much debate with many skeptics and cynics and filmmakers, I can only say that the only conclusion we have reached is that if it is crafted fiction - it is a supreme example of how a filmmaker can control sight and sound. And, of course, if it is non-fiction...

See it. It charmed and scared me.

Megáll az idö

Adolescent delight.
Just prior to the explosion of American teen films in the 1980s that followed American Graffiti (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Risky Business, The Outsiders, Revenge of the Nerds, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Stand By Me, Sixteen Candles, Teen Wolf, The Breakfast Club, Dirty Dancing and My American Cousin just to name a few), Gothar made this Hungarian film about a group of teens living in Budapest. The film traces their lives over the course of over ten years, focusing on two brothers in a family torn apart by politics. The institutions represented by the school and revolutionaries frame the protagonists' plot, but do not interfere. The result is a delightful and intriguing tale of a young man dealing with all the problems of adolescence: women, friends, popularity, sex, alcohol and cigarettes - combined with the ever-present influence of American culture. The film is beautifully photographed and there are some innovative uses of the camera and colour. All the tricks are here: slow-motion, wide angle, different colour; but they do not cloud the film and they are certainly not kitschy. Gothar creates an atmosphere filled with confused and mature teens (more like the dramatic Dead Poets Society rather than the other films mentioned above) that will keep you involved and interested in the characters' lives.

Highly recommended.

Alien Terminator

Perfect shlock.
One of the dumbest and yet most entertaining films I've ever seen. The conversations are like porn dialogue, and the plot is ridiculously stupid. Interesting, though, that most of the sci-fi movies that have come out recently have similar plots - goes to show what budgets can do. A great film to watch with a bunch of people - no one will care if they miss anything due to the roaring laughter caused by this intense thriller. Some great lines, too - the stuff lasting inside jokes are made of.

Büvös vadász

Wow, what a film. Enyedi is a masterful director and the blend of fantasy, myth, magic, and spy-oriented suspense in this film is wonderful. Dialogue, acting, story, action, it's all here; wrapped in a mystical package that will keep your eyes dazzled and your mind buzzing even after the end. Anyone who sees this film will get caught up in it. Luckily, it was made in English, so it's a great chance for anti-subtitle viewers to experience Enyedi and perhaps get interested in Hungarian films. Highly recommended.

American Boy: A Profile of - Steven Prince

Terrific interview.
Although the movie is simply a document of an interview with Stephen Prince, the film becomes so much more. Scorsese truly gives the viewer an in depth view into the man's life; mostly due to Prince's wonderful role as a story teller. Some of the tales he tells are fascinating, some silly, some so outlandish you have to doubt their sincerity. Extremely entertaining, and a prerequisite for any Tarantino fan -- see the film and you'll see what I mean.


Fabri develops his characters and their lives very well in the early moments of the film, who then becomes trapped while mining. The portrayal of their situation and the events going on in the world around them are interesting enough to keep the viewer's attention, but it's the relationships that develop between the different personalities and social types trapped in the mine that really intrigues. Political symbolism is rampant, and feminist and liberal undertones exist throughout the film. Overall, the film covers melodrama and comedy, and, to be honest, I really wanted to see what would happen. Although, depending on the English translation you get, the end might be totally given away...

Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov

Bizarrely funny.
The adventures of Mr. West in the land of the Bolsheviks is as bizarre and absurd as its title. Most interesting for us Westerners is the stereotypes portrayed of the Bolsheviks and the Americans themselves. Ignorance is universal, I suppose. All in all, the film is rather funny and Kuleshov's use of the Soviet montage techniques popularised by the period is fascinating for any student or fan of film.


Originally played as an intermission with no sound, this film is now a must for any fan/historian of fine art. Featuring cameos by Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and other notables, Clair and Picabia's dada collage of different narratives, experimental use of the camera, and surrealist and absurdist images is the best example of experimental or dadaist films from the period. As unusual as it is to watch a film with no sound, the images created by the artists provide an extremely unique experience for the viewer. Fun for anyone, and especially interesting for those acquainted with the artists or the art movements themselves.

Kuroi ame

Nothing is worse than the genocides of our world's history. This film attempts to describe the horror faced by one particular family - a common narrative device - in the atomic bomb world of Hiroshima. The most memorable parts are the graphic and saddening images that the people of Hiroshima face in the aftermath of war. The story, however, becomes more concerned with the effect on a specific group of people and how they cope with getting on with their lives; in other words, if you don't really care about them, the film grows boring. It's hard not to care, though, when a family's homeland is wrecked. I'm not sure if I would recommend this film, because it says very little politically and, honestly, did not keep my interest in the family's troubles.

Angi Vera

Politics and love hardly ever mix, but those pesky filmmakers are always exploring it anyway. Angi is torn, typically, between her duty and her emotions. Her choice and her actions are at times surprising, but the film is generally bland, bleak, and maybe even boring. The characters are well developed, though, and to be honest I was interested to see what the end would have to offer.

Der amerikanische Freund

probably postmodern
A wonderful film whose plot elements are not nearly as important as the characters' development. Hopper is endearing, and the suspense created in a few paramount scenes is very effective. The music, and the surreal cameos and nature of the story create a very involving film full of clever twists, scenes, and dialogue. The use of different characters might be interpreted as symbols for different national characteristics; but the film is best seen for what it is. A really good story that plays on many of the cliches that were established ten or twenty years before it. Wenders knows his American films.


Akira Kurosawa's version of Macbeth, with Mifune as the distorted and erratic Washizu. Concentrating and the spiritual and supernatural atmosphere of Macbeth, Kurosawa employs the style of Noh drama to bring the viewer into this phantasmagorical world of man vs. nature; and of man vs. his own greed. The film is beautiful. Kurosawa's use of "planes" and of Noh aesthetics helps to portray a theatrical world of chaos (symbolised by the contorted forest) and order (as in the rigid structure of the military forces and castle.) Shakespeare's poetry is put aside in order to emphasize the atmosphere of the cobweb forest and its naturalistic inhabitants. A wonderful motion picture. One of my favourites.


Ain't seen nothing yet?
This film's value is probably more as a peek into early sound motion pictures than for the story itself. The characters are interesting, and the plot is based on typical literary themes: family, money, and tradition. The scenes in the dance hall are bizarre, and in one flashback scene, Mamoulian shows techniques way ahead of his time in portraying a surreal dream-like sequence - complete with closeups and dissolves. The mother is brilliantly acted, and you will be left with some heartfelt sentiments at the end of the film. Most fun is looking for where the soundmen placed the microphones on the set. Pillows, clocks, and plants in every scene... hee hee.

Shakhmatnaya goryachka

A clever and funny story of a man addicted to chess. Most interesting for its place in the infamous Soviet montage period of early cinema, this film takes us through the cartoon-like events of a man and his girlfriend. She becomes desperate to sway him from his chess fever, and can only think of one solution...

On the whole, the film is worth watching, short, and lots of fun.

Ballet mécanique

I would not recommend this film to anyone not interested in the cubist painter Leger, or in the dada and surrealist films of the 1920s. Fascinating for its primitive use of montage and eye-line match, the film is just an experiment with different rhythms and images. Your experience may differ grandly depending on the soundtrack that accompanies it. Most videotapes produced of the film have dinky little organ melodies that really take away from the ballet-like beauty of movement that Leger was going for. In the end, the film's value lies in its historical and fine art historical importance.

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