Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Private Property (2006)

The sale of a family home causes some ugly truths to be uncovered in this drama from writer and director Joachim Lafosse. Pascale (Isabelle Huppert) is a middle-aged divorcée living in a restored farmhouse in the countryside with her twin sons, twentysomethings Francois and Thierry. After years of bickering with her ex-husband about the estate, Pascale has decided to sell the farmhouse with an eye toward opening a guest house in a resort community, but the twins are vehemently opposed to the idea. Pascale persuades her boyfriend to talk with Francois and Thierry in hopes of changing their mind, but the meeting does not go well and the twins inadvertently discover a long-held family secret that causes them to turn against Pascale, as well as one another. Also starring Jérémie Rénier and Yannick Renier as the twins, Nue-Propriété received its world premier at the 2006 Venice Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 89 mins
Private Property (2006)
To me it was more like the older brother being a brat and wanted things his way and only his way. No job to speak of and just smooched off his mother while supposedly attending classes. Although both were lazy at times, Theirry thought he could just take his other brothers bike to go to town without even asking. Ultimately his rage caused his brother harm. The third party certainly did not help the situation also and partly due that the mother was not completely open and truthful about the whole situation to her boyfriend.

The one most weird moments is when "family affairs" become too natural. In the first 10 minutes of the film, does she not only pose with sexy clothes but pees with the bath room door open and then even takes a shower in the same room as the older brother while it looks like he is ogling her.

Overall not nearly as well done as the dust jacket would have us believe.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Stratosphere Girl (2003)

In this imaginative independent drama, Angela (Chloé Winkel) is a French art student living in Germany who loves to draw comics and creates elaborate tales drawn in a soft and romantic style. One night, Angela meets Yamamoto (Jon Yang), a club DJ from Japan, who invites her to come to Tokyo with him. Infatuated with Yamamoto, Angela impulsively agrees, and is soon sharing an apartment with a handful of Western expatriates who work at a nightclub where Japanese businessmen drink, sing karaoke, and date the "hostesses" for a fee. When money runs low, Angela signs on to work at the club, but when a customer is murdered in an ongoing mob war, she realizes she's entered a far more dangerous world than she imagined. The frantic pace of the city and the violence of her new environment has a strong impact on her artwork, which loses its serene qualities and becomes increasingly aggressive and mechanical. The Stratosphere Girl was written and directed by German filmmaker M.X. Oberg, who shot the film on location in Cologne and Tokyo. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 85 mins
The Stratosphere Girl (2003)
Even thought this was a relatively short film, it still had a lot of shots of the main actress just reflecting on things and sketching. The intrigue was well done with each character seemingly in turn backstabbing her.

Ultimately, the film was just a reset button technique and the real story was just her writing about her boyfriend and friends into the story. Not really needed on a thriller such as this one.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Insomnia (1997)

Norwegian filmmaker Erik Skjoldbjaerg makes his directorial debut with the psychological police drama Insomnia. Swedish homicide detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård) and his partner, Erik Vik (Sverre Anker Ousdal), arrive in a small Northern Norwegian town to help the local police investigate the murder of a teenage girl. When Jonas finds the girl's backpack, he sets a trap for the killer near a remote shed. While waiting to make an ambush in the morning fog, Jonas accidentally shoots Erik. He knows it was only an accident, but he decides to keep it a secret because he could lose his job. Jonas chooses to carry on with his investigation while trying to cover up the evidence of Erik's death. Meanwhile, he's unable to get any sleep due to the constant sunlight of the Norwegian summer and his increasingly guilty conscience. His only help comes from highly intuitive local police officer Hilda Haugen (Gisken Armand), who begins to form her own doubts about Jonas. As he continues to lose his grip on the case at hand, he becomes dangerously close to the suspects, Jon Holt (Bjørn Floberg) and Frøya (Marianne O. Ulrichsen). Filmmaker Christopher Nolan directed the English-language remake of Insomnia in 2002 with Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 97 mins
Insomnia (1997)

After recently watching all of the Dexter series on DVD, it was natural to see the same aspects with the detective especially with respect of getting too close to the perpetrator. The perp also was meticulous about covering up evidence that could implicate him. He also seemed to confess that he had been doing it for 20 years because fiction became too boring to him and wanted real life situations.

Although this was not one of the best films I have watched recently, it still portrayed the frustration with not getting any sleep and his anguish over killing his partner better than the remake version. Also, there seemed to be a certain sexual tension that the remake did not have, probably due to ratings considerations. Like in one scene the detective fiddles with the teenage girl in his car and we see her having sex with the victims boyfriend later on. The detective watches the scene from behind the door as he was interrupted leaving the murder weapon under his bed.

Nothing special for the special features on the disc, but the disc comes with a small pamphlet which has the following passage:
,Skarsgard creates a man who is outwardly assured while harboring profound insecurities within. He cannot handle any kind of intimacy, nor can he come to terms with his responsibility for the death of Vik. He sustains his identity by adhering to certain moral precepts; once he has broken one of these principles, he becomes truly dangerous...
Sounds like Dexter, or at least some of killers he gets rid of.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rachida (2002)

Directed by Yamina Bachir, this French film chronicles the life of Rachida, a young divorcee who lives with her mother and works as a teacher at a local school. Her life is turned upside-down, however, when she goes to work without wearing a veil over her face. This leaves her prey to a band of terrorists, who promptly kidnap her and instruct one of their members to bomb the school. Despite being left for dead, Rachida manages to survive and take refuge in the country side. Rachida was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002, and features Ibtissem Djouadi, Bahia Rachedi, Rachida Messaouden, Zaki Boulenafed, and Amel Chouikh. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 100 mins
Rachida (2002)

Although the film makes it an issue about not wearing a veil, the terrorists used that purely as an excuse and wanted her to plant the bomb in her classroom. Only an idiot would agree to that!
Dust Jacket:
Rachida, a young and self-assured teacher at an elementary school, becomes the target of terrorists when she refuses to place a bomb in her classroom. This acclaimed debut feature offers a unique glimpse into the lives of ordinary citizens in Algeria, where terrorism was commonplace during the civil conflict of the 1990s.

From reading that it sounds like she was approached in the classroom when she was actually approached on the street in broad daylight. They were accosting her for what seemed like along time while no one came to her defense. Only after the shooting and the terrorists left the bomb next to her, did people come out to help.

That pattern then repeats as for most of the film is after she leaves Algiers and moves into a rural community to also teach in a school. There she also experiences the thugs and brutality of the "terrorists". In the end she does manage to pick up the pieces and to start teaching her remaining students in the broken down school.

All the way through the film, I kept expecting Rambo or an Arnold Schwarzenegger character to jump out and defend the community. No one tries to become the hero and they only flee and coward at the criminal gangs. It seems obvious that they needed neighbor watch programs and an armed militia. Not a single police was observed in the rural areas and the police only showed up after the shooting on the street to dispose of the bomb. There government was corrupt and crooked, but resorting to terrorism to make political statements was not the case but excuses to victimize civilians.

Very good film overall even if it was not a typical American film of good and bad with a Superhero to save the day. Foreign commentators have noted on occasions that many countries do not have the Superman hero to save the day.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bolivar I Am (2002) {Bolivar Soy Yo}

Director Jorge Ali Triana attacks political corruption and historical accuracy in entertainment in his satirical 2002 film Bolivar Is Me. Actor Santiago Miranda (Robinson Diaz) is cast in a Latin American television miniseries chronicling the legendary revolutionary Simon Bolivar's life. The hyper-sensitive actor -- whose mental well-being was already questionable -- snaps when forced to perform a revisionist version of Santiago's death. As the actor angrily leaves the set, he also takes leave of his senses and believes himself to actually be Bolivar. Furthermore, he assumes Bolivar's mission to unite Latin America -- which shocks his producers and provides a rather unexpected opportunity for the local political leaders. Bolivar Is Me was viewed at the 2002 Los Angeles Latino Film Festival. ~ Ryan Shriver, Rovi

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 112 mins
Bolivar I Am (2002)

Dust Jacket:
An engaging, hilarious and entertainment delusion ("Bolivar is back, Bolivar is in campaign, Bolivar is crazy"). A satire and humorist film that portrays with great irony the violent and strange world in which all Latin Americans of the 21st century live in. The actor, Santiago Miranda, abandons the production set of the popular soap opera "The Lovers of The Liberator" because he doesn't agree with the script considering is a misunderstanding of history and instead flees toward delusion. Balancing between lucidity and madness , Miranda is also determined to finish Bolivar's dream of creating the "The Great Columbia": a strong and unified state consisting of 5 Latin-American countries and ignite the rebuilding of a region that faced 160 years of internal war.

The first part was really on the boring side and the idea of a film about films often comes across as dull and insipid. The ending did finally pick up some momentum {last 15 minutes of film} and slightly more interesting when the rebels took over the ship.

There is a couple of parts when discussing the motives of the particular real people that each person has a different interpretation of history-and sometimes almost diametrical different.

They do use "America" a few times and wonder if it is a snub at the USA or just trying to make a point, that I readily agree with. "America" has become synonymous with the US and thus the other millions of "Americans" are not included in that definition.

The ending was pretty predictable as the opening scenes had a similar leitmotif. Reset button technique was used but then it becomes hard to distinguish between reality and fantasy. I suppose that that was the technique they were trying for, in the mind of Miranda.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sin Nombre (2008)

Student Academy Award winner Cary Joji Fukunaga makes his feature directorial debut with this epic dramatic thriller following a Honduran teenager who reunites with her long-estranged father and attempts to emigrate to America with him in order to start a new life. Inspired by the director's firsthand experience with Central American immigrants, Sin Nombre opens to find dejected teenager Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) biding her time in Honduras while dreaming of a brighter future. Upon reuniting with the father she hasn't seen in years, Sayra seizes the opportunity to finally make her dreams a reality. Her father has a new family in the United States, and he's preparing to travel with her uncle to Mexico, where they will then cross the border to freedom. Meanwhile, in Mexico, Tapachula teen Casper (aka Casper, played by Edgar Flores), has gotten caught up with the notorious Mara Salvatrucha street gang. He's just delivered a new recruit to the Maras in the form of desperate 12-year-old Smiley (Kristyan Ferrer), and though the youngster's initiation proves particularly rough, she adapts to gang life rather quickly. As involved as Casper is with the Mara, he does his best to keep his relationship with girlfriend Martha Marlene (Diana Garcia) a secret from the gang. Just as Martha encounters ruthless Mara leader Lil' Mago (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) and suffers a grim fate at the hands of the gang, Sayra and her relatives arrive at the Tapachula train yards and prepare to rush a U.S.-bound freight train with a horde of other immigrants. Rather than attempting to gain access to the cars, Sayra and the rest of the immigrants decide to ride atop the train. Little do they realize that their lives are now in danger, because Lil' Mago has recruited Casper and Smiley to rob the immigrants as they make their way to the United States. When dawn comes and Lil' Mago makes his move, Casper finally decides to stand up to the tyrannical gang leader. Now, as the train winds though the Mexican countryside, Sayra's only hope of surviving the journey and making her way to a new beginning is to align herself with Casper as he flees from the most feared gang in Tapachula. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Sin Nombre (2008)

It was an excellent film. Found no reason to fault it even with a tragic ending, which was foretold already in the film. Character development was quite good and although it was strange even for me to see a Spanish young girl to show such attention and affection toward Casper, it worked for me. She was hesitant but also desiring to find someone to help and be helped by. During the film Sayra shown distance from her estranged father and uncle. She said that her father would not have come back for her except that he was deported back to Honduras.

The only aspect that was strange was that Casper did not save at least the gun the gang leader had on himself after killing the gang leader. In one deleted scene he also dismantles Smiley's one bullet pump action gun into the river from atop the train. I knew that it had to come down to a life and death between Casper and Smiley, but the suspense might have been more if Casper had a gun also.

In addition to about 10 minutes of finished production deleted scenes, the DVD contained directors commentator. The director pointed out some important points about how the gang was like a collective in the sense of a commune where everyone shared the resources of the gang-that included the woman-which Casper did not abide with respect to his girlfriend.

Sin Nombre (2009 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia mentions the fact that the last bit of memory of Casper's girlfriend and one of his only assets he gives to the man to help Sayra across the river. Thus sacrificing everything he had to help her get to the USA.

It might be an interesting film to see how Sayra's life is like in the USA.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stupidity (2003)

Take a closer look at the "dumbing down" of contemporary culture in an alternately enlightening and hilarious documentary from filmmaker Albert Nerenberg produced to explore the prospect that willful ignorance has increasingly become a strategy for success in the realms of politics and entertainment. From the Internet to television to popular film and virtually everything in between, stupidity's stronghold over society has reached an all-time high. Despite the vast potential that mass media holds as a tool of education and self-betterment in modern society, why is it that the masses are so determined to simply turn on the television and turn off their brains at the end of the day? In an era where even the mere mention that mass media may be detrimental to our mental development may prove offensive to the vast majority of consumers, director Nerenberg gathers some of the best-known cultural critics, authors, and academics of our generation for a thought-provoking exploration into the potentially damaging effects of film, television, and other forms of media on the modern mind. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 77 mins
Stupidity (2003)
Maybe a little harsh to rate this a one, but it was simply a leftist dogma propagandized film. It started out fairly normal but for a Canadian produced film, it decided to pick on George W. Bush. Of course Bush was not the brightest bulb in the box, but if that was their case study of stupidity then plenty of Libs have their share of stupid politicians.

Bias then shows through on who they choose to interview like Bill Maher and Noam Chomsky. The later blaming all the "stupidity" of society on "business". Their goals is to control the masses and "dumb them down" and create a feeling of futility of the masses. Of course not themselves according to Chumsky. He also says that humans did not "create" language but it was just a random event of evolution which is on the same level of growing arms and legs. I am not sure how someone so intelligent to think that. Humans could have not developed this skills and just treated it like a useless appendage or developed it in much different ways.

Of course by showing "stupidity" in all its glory, they are in fact promoting such stupidity. It is not really an intellectual endeavor to explore the issues but is gratuitous stupidity presented as pseudo intellectualism. It allows the elite intellectuals to consider the unwashed masses as stupid. They even seem to question the aspects of democracy. That is allowing the unwashed masses to make decisions over government.

The one interesting point that was pointed out was that many of the actors on screen do not have a good education and in fact many dropped out of high school. Makes us wonder why we as a culture would in fact consider them as someone worth listening to. The next time I have to listen to some actor telling me how to live my life, I truly will look up his/her education background. Not that it validates that he/she is an idiot, just that it shows that maybe he/she was easily swayed and manipulated in his knowledge.

Marx felt that the three forces of the development of society {"world historical determining forces"} as: 1. Capital, 2. Violence, 3. Stupidity.

Special Features:
1. Extended interviews of the commentators.
2. Directors comments soundtrack.
3. Interview of director on Documentary Channel.
4. Trailer.
5. Reading materials used in the documentary-research.

On second thought, the extended interviews makes this at least a 2.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie [Subtitled]

One of Luis Buquel's masterpieces, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is in beautiful form in this Criterion Collection two-disc DVD edition. The movie has never looked better outside the theater than it does in the pristine 1.66:1 print transferred here; it's as though it were filmed yesterday rather than in 1972. The Dolby Digital Sound is equally excellent, giving bold power to Buquel's disturbing visions and scenarios. The subtitles appear in white text at the bottom of the movie's image, not in the black bar, and can be turned off. Bonus features are spread over an additional DVD. Disc one includes the movie and a 24-minute documentary titled "The Castaway on the Street of Providence," dating back to 1970. The documentary is more voyeuristic than enlightening, as too much time is spent on the personal life of Buquel and his efforts to make the perfect martini rather than his great career. The three-minute theatrical trailer is redundant, and it gives away far too many of the movie's wicked surprises. Disc two features a second, more interesting documentary, "Speaking of Buquel"; running 98 minutes, it encompasses reminiscences by cast and crew from many of Buquel's films, as well as clips of those films. Disc two also includes a Buquel filmography with country of origin and release date information as well. Both the movie on disc one and the documentary on disc two can be navigated by scene access menus that give instant access to the feature's 21 and 28 respective chapters via chapter titles. Given the great supplemental material, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie goes from being a great movie to an essential DVD title. ~ Tim DiGravina, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 101 mins
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie [Subtitled]

That pretty much summed up what features I got from the library's version. This must be the only movie critique that went into so much detail about the contents of the DVD features, but clearly something that is needed on more movies. A film is either enhanced or seems a let down on certain films when there obviously is a lot of background material to work with. "The Castaway" was not very informative as the critique states. I did not bother to watch "Speaking of Buquel" as this just seems to be too much at around 100 minutes. From “The Discreet Charm of Luis Buñuel” by Carlos Fuentes was part of the pamphlet that came with the discs also.
Every now and then, he gazes at the trees and murmurs: “I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of dying alone in a hotel room, with my bags open and a shooting script on the night table. I must know whose fingers will close my eyes.”

Strangely, they are rated differently from the other version that gets a 5 rating at:
In typical Luis Buñuel fashion, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie surrealistically skewers the conventions of society. Buñuel applies his surrealist touch to a mundane event: a dinner party that may never come to pass. A group of well-to-do friends attempt to gather for a social evening, but are thwarted at every turn. The initial problem seems to be a simple scheduling mistake, but the obstacles become more and more bizarre. At one point, the guests are interrupted at the table by an army on maneuvers. Later they learn that they are merely characters in a stage play and so cannot have dinner together. These misadventures are combined with symbolic dreams of the various characters, some of which also involve interrupted dinners. Wicked social satire and one of Buñuel's funniest films. Winner of the Academy Award for "Best Foreign Film" in 1972. ~ John Voorhees, All Movie Guide
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

But some of the "dinner events" are actual dream sequences and thus the reviewer misses that point {I think}. For example one where all the guests die is clearly another case of reset button technique as the film would end if they all died.

Overall, another disappointing film, especially given that they used the reset button on a movie film. Supposedly it helps build character but on a limited length film then wasting such footage seems odd at best and wasteful at worst.

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish cinema, this allegorical tale is set in a remote village in the 1940s. The life in the village is calm and uneventful -- an allegory of Spanish life after General Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War. While their father (Fernando Fernán Gómez) studies bees in his beehive and their mother (Teresa Gimpera) writes letters to a non-existent correspondent, two young girls, Ana (Ana Torrent) and Isabel (Isabel Telleria), go to see James Whale's Frankenstein at a local cinema. Though they can hardly understand the concept, both girls are deeply impressed with the moment when a little girl gives a flower to the monster. Isabel, the older sister, tells Ana that the monster actually exists as a spirit that you can't see unless you know how to approach him. Ana starts wandering around the countryside in search of the kind creature. The film received critical accolades for its subtle and masterful use of cinematic language and the expressive performance of the young Ana Torrent. ~ Yuri German, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 99 mins
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

Maybe it was just too subtle for me but I was deeply disappointed with the film as the title alone held my imagination to such lofty levels. This was not to say the two young stars were not excellent in their roles, it was more like the there was no "spirit" and very little of the actions of the beehive. The only beehive actions I could see was the viewing of the film but the participants were not "busy as bees" but just passive viewers, and also when the towns people found the fugitive and shot him with a hail of gun fire. We never do find out why he was running away or what his crime was.

It is worth remembering the scene taken from Frankenstein (1931 film), and part of the scene description:
It {the monster} then has a short encounter with a farmer's young daughter, Maria, who asks him to play a game with her in which they playfully toss flowers into a lake and watch them float. The monster enjoys the game, but when they run out of flowers, tragedy occurs. Because of his defective brain, the monster thinks the little girl will float, so he picks her up and throws her into the lake, and the girl drowns. Realizing he has made a terrible mistake, the monster walks away feeling troubled and remorseful. This drowning scene is one of the most controversial in the film, with a long history of censorship.

The older of the two daughters tells the other one that the young girl in Frankenstein and the monster were not really killed. It was just fake, but this does little to reduce the fear and anxiety in them.

Even though this was highly rated, I just can't give it more than an average rating. Nothing to really peak my interest. The version I watched had the same jacket cover as Blockbuster shows. It included 2 disks and a small pamphlet. The second disk was for special features including long interviews.
From the pamphlet with link:
The Spirit of the Beehive: Spanish Lessons By Paul Julian Smith
Released in 1973, in the dying days of General Franco’s forty-year dictatorship, The Spirit of the Beehive soon established itself as the consummate masterpiece of Spanish cinema. Yet, strangely, many of the gifted artists who collaborated on Víctor Erice’s first feature, an atmospheric exploration of a child’s experience in a bleak village just after the civil war, have had troubled afterlives. Erice himself, acclaimed by critics as Spain’s greatest auteur, has completed only two features since (The South, another period drama, in 1982, and Quince Tree of the Sun/Dream of Light, a documentary on a painter, in 1983). The career of Luís Cuadrado, the creator of the luminous cinematography, was tragically cut short by blindness. Ana Torrent, the six-year-old star, remains haunted by the role that made her a Spanish icon. In 2003, on the thirtieth anniver­sary of The Spirit of the Beehive’s release, she posed for the poster for the San Sebastián Film Festival. Re-creating a scene she had shot so many years before, she stood solemn faced on the railway tracks. Erice has said, "When I’ve finished a film, it’s no longer mine—it belongs to the people." Surely few films have had such an enduring effect on both their makers and their audience.

The picture reminded me that the father spent a great deal of time with the two daughters in the fields talking about poisonous mushrooms. Many of the actions seem to portent possible fateful endings for the movie. Ana also goes back and finds one of the mushrooms and looks at it for a while.

On the more close to home aspects, a woman in our complex supposedly killed her daughter yesterday. Ventura mother arrested for allegedly killing 8-year-old daughter | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Housekeeper (2002)

One of France's most respected filmmakers, Claude Berri here brings viewers the story of Jacques (Jean-Pierre Bacri) a middle-aged sound engineer whose wife has just left him. Living on his own for the first time in years, Jacques decides it's high time to clean up his life, literally and figuratively. In short order he hires Laura (Emilie Dequenne, a bright, vivacious young housekeeper, to bring order to his apartment. Laura's presence makes Jacques realize what has been missing from his life, and as their relationship evolves over the subsequent months, both Jacques and Laura gain uncomfortable knowledge of one another, and of themselves. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, All Movie Guide
Theatrical Feature Running Time: 86 mins
The Housekeeper (2002)
It might be more appropriately called "No Rest for the Wicked". It is classic case of girl is the first to fall in love but it becomes transitory and the new love feel is lost by the next good looking thing to come along. In the end Jacques is surrounded by countless people on a French beach but utterly alone, except for maybe his new friend that also recently was divorced which is the mother of the boy that is courting Laura. But the French do love their intermingling complicated relations. A sequel would be just as funny along those lines. The ex-wife does also try to complicate his life in constantly calling and not talking and then finally showing up after Jacques and Laura had made love.

A shallow but funny movie on several levels. Just average at 2.5

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

One of Luis Buñuel's most episodic films, The Phantom of Liberty focuses on no one particular narrative. In the beginning, a man sells postcards of French tourist attractions, calling them "pornographic." A sniper in Montparnasse is hailed as a hero for killing passersby. A "missing" child helps the police fill out the report on her. A group of monks play poker, using religious medallions as chips, and in the most infamous sequence, a formally dressed social group gathers at toilets around a table, occasionally excusing themselves to go into little stalls in a private room to eat. ~ John Voorhees, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 104 mins
The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

Technically it seems it should be episodic or not and thus "most" is inappropriate as a adjective in this case. I missed the parts on the "pornographic" postcards, but at one time the small girl gets some pictures of buildings and the parents go through them tearing up the ones they consider in bad taste, i.e. pornographic. Dirty minds find dirty things.

I also missed the monks poker chips, but it was already obvious that the director was having fun with their immodest behavior. As they already were drinking and smoking like chimneys while gambling. But the funny aspect was that they suddenly were offended when one couple in the bed and breakfast got out a whip and the male was being whipped on the bare butt. They both went into the restroom to change-private bath where others shared a common one.

So in one way it was funny that defecating in public was acceptable but eating required a separate room that could be locked. But this was a far cry from the jacket cover as to how funny this film could have been. Some of the "jokes" could have been told in a lot less time. Like the child that was missing in school but then on roll call she says here and then they still proceed to do an investigation for like 18 months.
Bourgeois convention is demolished in Luis Bunuel's surrealist gem The Phantom of Liberty. Featuring an elegant soiree with guests seated at toilet bowls, poker-playing monks using religious medals as chips, and police officers looking for a missing girl who is right under their noses, this perverse, playfully absurd comedy of non sequiturs deftly compiles many of the themes that preoccupied Bunuel throughout his career-from the hypocrisy of conventional morality to the arbitrariness of social arrangements.

Not really demolished and not really bourgeois as do any culture consider excrement as a form of social interaction and eating as something to shun in public?

In hind sight maybe many of the social arrangements are indeed arbitrary but then the analysis would be apolitical and ahistorical. Basically the film had some funny moments including the very perverse nephew that wants to see his aunt naked and at one time tells someone else she is his mother. After much coaxing we get to see the aunt and that was funny enough to see the movie. But overall I could not rate it more than a 2.

When I think back today, The Milky Way, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and The Phantom of Liberty, which were three original screenplays, seem to form a kind of trilogy, or rather a triptych, as in the Middle Ages. All three have the same themes, sometimes even the same lines; all evoke the search for truth, and the need to flee that truth once we think we’ve found it, and the implacable nature of social rituals. And all deal with the indispensable quest for chance, personal ethics, and the sense of mystery which must be respected.

That was from the introduction to the interview entitled: BUÑUEL ON “THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY”. The library version had a pamphlet which included the interview and also a longer review of the film at The Phantom of Liberty: The Serpentine Movements of Chance By Gary Indiana. Still keeping my rating low for this film but with the variety of information about the ideas behind the film, I will schedule to watch the other two. The purpose more of a thought experiment and research.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ram Lakhan (1989)

Director Subhash Ghai also dreamed up the story of the Indian Ram Lakhan. Raakhee plays a widowed mother who lives for revenge. She raises her sons Ram (Jacki Shroff) and Lakhan (Anil Kapoor) with hatred in their hearts. It is her wish that her sons avenge the murder of their father. To that end, both boys become police officers, though one is far more committed to honesty than the other. Like most Indian films, Ram Lakhan is something of an endurance test for western audiences, unfolding its simple tale in an epic 186 minutes. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 175 mins
Ram Lakhan (1989)

Only got to see the first hour or so of the movie as the disc did not go past a certain portion of the disc and no matter which new tract I tried it did not play. Maybe rent it again as it was a traditional family on revenge and the effects it has on its members. The self entitled song Lakhan sings is funny and whimsical. A little like Ram Jaane but more humorous.

15 Park Avenue (2005)

It was most definitely not worth a 5 rating that Seema S. gave the film at Blockbuster: 15 Park Avenue (2005).

15 Park Avenue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The film is the story of the relationship between a woman, Meethi, (Konkona Sen Sharma) who suffers from schizophrenia, and her sister Anjali (Shabana Azmi).

Meethi (short for Mitali) hails from an upper middle class family, fraught with a complex relationship structure. She is the child through the second marriage of her mother, and this is not explored in much detail in the movie since it focuses on other issues. Anu, her older sister, is a professor of physics at a university, who is shown to be intellectual and practical; however, the paradox in her character becomes obvious when she decides to forsake her personal life for her ailing younger sister. This shows her in a different light, and the viewer sees the contradiction throughout the movie.

Meethi is shown to have dormant schizophrenic traits since childhood, as depicted in the scene where Anu tells her doctor Kunal Barva (Dhritiman Chatterjee) that Meethi had always been a loner. Meethi felt everyone could hear her swallowing or gulping and so was embarrassed to go to school. Anu believes that a traumatic gang rape by political goons during Meethi's work assignment has pushed her over the edge and has led to the onset of full-blown schizophrenia.

Meethi lapses into incoherent delusions about a happy family and children which have been her erstwhile dreams. (In reality, her fiance Jojo (Rahul Bose) backed out from the relationship.) Clutching on to these straws, she desperately looks for her home 15 Park Avenue, where she feels she will be at peace. A chance meeting with her Jojo, 11 years after they broke up, gives Meethi a further impetus into her delusional world, as she touchingly trusts him to look for her home since now he is an outsider whom she does not recognise. For Meethi, the world is divided into her imaginary home and the outsiders, who keep her from going to her "family."

Guilt is a predominant colour in the landscape of this movie, depicted in the persona of every character, be it Anu, Joydeep or Mrs. Mathur (Waheeda Rehman). Iit is in the background of this tale of reality, illusion and the thin line between the two.

Very little subtitles as English was the primary language. Strong accents but was acceptable in understanding the cast. But it just did not do anything for us. I rated it as a miserable 1 as this seemed to have little value. The ending seemed weird and in a way, the real world we were exposed to could have actually been the dream and that she returned to the real world after finding her home. The director did not seem to give us enough clues for either conclusion. This makes it a perfect example of reset button technique again, which I consider not a very good technique in films.

The scenes were slow moving and the dialogue tedious at best. Some films work good at building suspense but this was just dead air space...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Things I Left In Havana (1997)

Veteran director Manuel Gutierrez Aragon provided a portrait of Cubans in Spain with this Spanish film, a winner of the Silver Spike at the 1997 Valladolid Film Festival. Three sisters -- aspiring actress Nena (Violeta Rodriguez), timid Ludmila (Broselianda Hernandez), and motherly Rosa (Isabel Santos) -- travel from Havana to Madrid to stay with their aunt Maria (Daisy Granados). Aboard the same plane is Barbaro (Luis Alberto Garcia), who stays with penniless but streetwise Igor (Jorge Perugorria), a man who thinks sleeping with Spanish women is the route to upward mobility. The impoverished Igor also creates forged passports to help others depart for Miami. The three girls move in with Maria, who lives downstairs from her friend Azucena (Kiti Manver). Minus papers, the trio is employed at Maria's fur shop. Matchmaker Maria brings Rosa together with awkward Javier (Pepon Nieto), but Javier goes for Nena instead. So does Igor after he spots Nena in a Cubano bar. Igor sleeps that night at Azucena's place, and the proximity to the sisters during the long night's journey into day makes a commotion and fracas almost a certainty. The film's music blends rumba, bolero, and tango. ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 110 mins
Things I Left In Havana (1997)

Dust Jacket:
Funny, poignant, and refreshing. THINGS I LEFT IN HAVANA sensitively explores the sense of loss felt by immigrants who discover that their dreams come with a high price. Three Cuban sisters come to Spain in search of a better life, but they must contend with exploitation and seduction as they pursue the capitalist dream.

Forced by their aunt (Daisy Grenados) to work in her fur store, they are each in turn seduced by Igor,a dashing gigolo who barters sexual favors for the freedom in America that exit visas provide.

Actually, the movie is more about how to get legal papers so they can work in Spain and I saw no real mention of "America". Igor although a gigolo has serious cash flow problems as the girls do also.

Javier is seduced by the timid Ludmila, after being rudely rejected by Nena in public with Igor. She asks about his experiences in seeing naked women and he finally confesses that he has only seen his mother naked and at which time she slaps him. He remembers the way the breasts swayed back and forth. Ludmila then proceeds to show one breast and let him squeeze it a bit and then plays with his chest.

Basically a cute movie and the reviews are right that there is a conflict on what to do. Although Ludmila refuses to go back and as such she takes on the responsibilities that Rosa fails at to make sure that the family has money, Nena has doubts and thinks about going back after her struggles to get papers and to find rewarding work for an actress. She also is upset with her director as he waters down the script and makes it more pro-capitalistic.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Berkeley in the Sixties (1990)

Berkeley in the Sixties takes a fond, if not always loving, look back at the epicenter of leftist political activism during the seventh decade of the 20th century. The free speech movement caught national attention in 1964 when the University of California tried to suppress activists distributing literature and making speeches in an outdoor plaza on campus. On December 3, Governor Edmund "Pat" Brown ordered the arrest of demonstrators who had occupied the University's Sproul Hall; over 1,500 protestors were taken into custody in what was then the largest mass arrest in U.S. history. The escalation of the Vietnam War kept the winds of dissent blowing in Berkeley, and TV coverage of the 1964 demonstrations and subsequent clashes with the police fueled similar protests on other campuses. Off-campus, Berkeley was also home to a strong chapter of the Black Panther Party, which offered a more violent alternative to the established civil rights organizations. Vintage clips of the demonstrations and official reactions to them from Brown and his successor, Ronald Reagan, are supplemented by contemporary interviews with activists and observers who offer both reminiscences of and perspectives on the period. ~ Tom Wiener, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 117 mins
Berkeley in the Sixties (1990)

A more balanced approach of the subject than I originally thought it would be. Maybe one reason that I had not heard it mention as often as the other radical documentaries like The Weather Underground (2003), and Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2003).

The archival footage is worth just watching that. Including a longer version in the special features of Ronald Reagan giving a speech about the radicals at Berkeley. I think he was right what he said although on some level of course the students had some rights to express their opinions.

Special Features:
There were certainly lots of special features segments but sadly no running commentary. Some of the additional clips did have some small statement about the individual clips in text.

1. Archival Gems:
A. Kennedy Girls-"A clip from the 1960 television news documentary called "Youths in Politics"," singing "High Hopes".
B. Free Speech Movement Victory Celebration. Gloating basically and ironically arranged just before the humbled Hells Angels' clip.
C. Hell Angels' Press Conference. "The Hells Angels attack the first march against the war in Vietnam. A month later, when another march occurs, the Hells Angels are ordered by the court to stay away. So they call a press conference at their bail bonds-woman's office, hosted by Sonny Barger, head of the Oakland Chapter. Pay attention to the line at the end; the picture cuts away but the audio is priceless."
I was unaware of their objection of the anti-war crusaders. They make it appear that the HA were randomly picked out. I am sure that somehow the anti-war groups must have appealed to the courts. "People's have been calling us that for years." in reference to a question about being guerrillas in North Vietnam. Anyway, this does point out the irony that certain groups "free speech" was violated to promote the whims of the "Free Speech Movement". LOL.
D. Friends of Lone Ranger Rally. Idiots talk about "Yellow Submarine".
E. Ken Kesey {leading figure of the counter-culture} @ Acid Test Graduation. Perplexed!? Just a bus with the slogan on side and an interview with reporters. Just publicity stunt and even most in the present time carry it off better with actual "testers" showing up.
F. "Tim Leary's strange journey from Harvard researcher to LSD guru led him to San Francisco and some provocative pronouncements." Which was 22 seconds of "learn from your kids and turn on to LSD".
G. Robert Mitchum {stranger argument?} on Vietnam. "Can't pull out of human race." But then he does say drop the bomb on them if they can't behave.
H. "Grow Up!" "As governor, Ronald Reagan battled student unrest at Berkeley and elsewhere throughout the '60s. His most famous comment- "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with"-we could not find on film. But we found lot of other barbs, including this favorite."
Makes me wonder if he actually said it and if so, what was the context. Certainly agree with "Grow up!" though.
I. Runaway Girls {Haight-Ashbury}. Sandra Smith {14} ran away 3 times and showed that she was a truly confused child.
J. Joan Baez at Stop the Draft Week. Two and half minutes of rough cut outtakes and Joan chewing bubble gum and then being arrested.
K. Black Panthers' Free Breakfast Program. "The Black Panthers ran a free breakfast program for kids. Here you'll see part of a story about it, a taste of Revolutionary zeal or absurdity."
Black is beautiful! But they are not "black" just as I am not "white".

2. Deleted Scenes
A. Beginnings of a Student Movement
B. "Don't Trust Anybody Over Thirty"
C. Continuation of the Anti-War Movement Scene.
D. "A Bunch of Beatniks, Radicals and Filthy Speech Advocates...". Ad homs against Ronald Reagan.
E. The Rise of Black Power.
F. The Mood of '68-A Tale of Two Campaigns. Or in other words the violence and destruction of the Democratic Party from the beatniks, radicals and filthy speech advocates... LOL. It was over 10 minutes of length, and some brief nudity-floppy tits bouncing.
G. First Stab at an Ending. True but when a film about peace using brutal and militaristic language, we have to wonder if it was truly based on peace, no?> Admitting that the movement transformed into "petty bourgeoisie" and petty capitalism as well as the stereotypical drugs, sex and rock and roll-or the description that Reagan gave them. Delusional talk about how they actually changed the direction of the war. If nothing else, I think they actually hurt ending the war. But that is something that I need to analyze that question in more depth.

3. Archival Photo Gallery {Collection of photos around the same places and events as the film.}
4. Original Theatrical Trailer
5. Trailer Gallery:
A. The Trials of Henry Kissinger ***
B. 42UP
C. Fighter

Friday, July 30, 2010

Paris (2008)

Love and life pose dilemmas for a handful of friends in the City of Lights in this romantic drama from French filmmaker Cedric Klapisch. Pierre (Romain Duris) has enjoyed a successful career as a dancer performing in Parisian nightclubs, but when he's diagnosed with a serious heart condition, his doctor warns him that the strain of his work could kill him. Pierre must reinvent his life, and as he ponders his future and his mortality, he turns to his sister, Élise (Juliette Binoche), a social worker and single mother, for help. Élise is facing some life changes of her own; she's tired of being alone, and has developed an infatuation with Jean (Albert Dupontel), a grocer who sells his wares in the city's open-air market. But Jean is recently divorced and is still preoccupied with his former wife, Caroline (Julie Ferrier). Pierre also finds himself falling from afar for a lovely college student named Laetitia (Melanie Laurent), but he has a rival for her affections in Roland (Fabrice Luchini), one of her professors, who is considerably older than her. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Paris (2008)

Not really a "handful of friends" but more like the lives intertwining and the relationships as they develop. We both felt the professor was clearly overstepping his bounds and did not have reasonable expectations for the relationship. The lives become more intertwined but on superficial levels when Élise pretends to do a survey on Laetitia so that she could find out if she was single and her younger boyfriend shows up. During the interview, Pierre is watching across the street in his flat and how he first saw her.

Basically a nice little film about life, love and death. It was one of the most funny French movies I have seen. The part with the professor and Laetitia is funny but sad.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rocky (2005)

No review or much information at Blockbuster{Rocky (2005)} but funny the comment from another member:
Don't be misled by this title like I was, this is not "Rocky" with Sylvester Stallone, this is a foreign film! It may be good, but I didn't even watch it because I thought I was renting Rocky the boxing movie for my son. I didn't know there could be two movies with the exact same name. So beware and read ALL the small print when renting a movie.

Of course, I was just as silly to post a review of Kisna on Rocky. Duh.

I did choose this film based on desire to see more of Isha Sharvani from watching the film Kisna. The biography notes that Rocky was not successful. Maybe they should have used more of Isha's dance skills/physical talents! Some photos of her also at Isha Sharvani Photo Gallery.

Interestingly enough the second heroine of Rocky in the movie is born in the same year as Isha {1985} and is even more beautiful. Her biography is at Minissha Lamba.

It does not do credit for the beautiful dancing but this clip from YouTube is worth a watch: Junoon from "Rocky: The Rebel";. They also had a short 6 second clip of dancing in London at: Rocky Dance Clip - Zayed Khan. And lastly another longer clip: Rocky The Rebel Dil Rang Le Saavn com

Overall a nice film, and presents different sides of what is the role of citizens in a liberal democracy. Even one part presents an Indian that gets too involved for his own good and not knowing the whole story concerning an incidence of violence on the streets. He turns out to be the brother of the first heroine Isha.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)

While the Fox News cable network has promoted itself as a "fair and balanced" news outlet -- so much so that they've even trademarked the phrase -- not everyone believes that they're living up to their slogan, and this activist documentary by filmmaker Robert Greenwald takes a close look at the political perspective of Fox's coverage. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism examines the right-wing slant of Fox News' reporting, as represented in stories the network chooses to cover and their shoehorning of editorial opinion into stories, revealed in interviews with former Fox employees and several noted journalists (including Walter Cronkite) who discuss the pro-conservative, anti-Democratic views of the channel's management and how they're manifested in their programming. The film also puts talk show host Bill O'Reilly under the microscope and offers potent examples of his frequently abrasive interviewing style. Production of Outfoxed was supported in part by the leftist political action network Moveon.org. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 110 mins
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)

For special features it contains a "Behind the Scenes Featurette" of almost 30 minutes. The producers and people working on the film seem like normal everyday people. I would even say every day working people and capitalists trying to make a buck. For example Michael Moore is the biggest capitalist around, literally and figuratively. But the people that watched and reported on the Fox News channel programs were completely and totally losers. They got together a bunch of libtarded idiots and then had them watch something against their ideology. About as useful as a bunch of ultra conservative ideologues watching MSNBC for 24 hours a day. I do have to admit that I have the same general feelings when I watch the propaganda from MSNBC. And historically, CNN was even more outwardly biased during the 80s and not much was ever mentioned about that at the time-at least from the left wing nuts.

This weekend I had the chance to listen and watched part of the NBC-Meet the Press program. Even though they are suppose to have a couple of conservatives it really was a hate fest of the right. They had Peter Schiff which was reluctant to say anything on the race issues except that all groups of people have racists in their midst as in Democrats and Republicans. And they had David Brooks, which he may be many things but not a true blooded conservative. The part that was most shocking was that "right-wing" or "ultra-right-wing" was thrown about with complete ease and not one "left-wing" was hurled. The conservatives were confined in their dialogue but not so for the Libtards at the meeting. Including one saying that Obama needs more outside advisers and implying more black representations. Obviously those advisers would be considered ultra-left-wing-wackos but was not even brought up.

Anyway, just as I suspected so supposedly my rating is too low at .5 but that was about the usefulness of the movie. One obvious problem with their approach is that while they accuse Fox of blurring the line between journalism and editorializing they also confuse the issues while bringing up the commentary sections without noting it is not even addressed as news. If they had wanted to uncover the differences they needed to get another example such as comparing Fox to MSNBC. It is like the scale then becomes whatever they desire with their liberal talking points and views.

Here is another interesting blog post at: Matthews: The NBA Uses Affirmative Action For Whitey.

McLibel: Two Worlds Collide (1997)

This documentary tells the story of two ordinary people that dared to take on one of the world's largest corporations. Viewers will see not only how the 1.8 billion dollars that McDonald's spends on advertising affects their bottom line, but how it manages to gloss over the unsavory aspects of their operations. The program also considers the extraordinary lengths a company like McDonald's will go to protect its own image. ~ Rob Ferrier, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 85 mins
McLibel: Two Worlds Collide (1997)

Basically a couple of Libtarded fools expressing their hate for the way society is formed and McDonalds was only a scapegoat and a symbol for their own self loathing. Most definitely not "heroes of our time" as one fat libtard said about them. In several locations they talk about what is happening to society, so to pick one target seems so ironic. The one question that never gets answered for me was, Why McDonalds? Why not all fast food and for that fact most diets in the UK and USA? Why not the hot-dog vendor down the street? He supplies a product that is harmful to the body and has a limited and thus unbalanced diet for a consumer. Heck, it probably is destroying the enviroment and destruction of the rain forest and his customers might not get everything into the garbage cans also. Heaven forbid!!!

The basic win for the two libtards was changes in Libel laws in the UK. Now that might be something to celebrate but the whole case clearly was a win for McDonalds based on the laws as they were at the time when McDonalds filed suit. There really is not freedom of speech in the UK at least at what most Americans would consider it, and similar situations seem to happen in Europe and Canada. All the good "Social Democracies".

The lies are like one after another. For example McDonalds is forcing people to do certain actions against their will. "This is not a battle between the two libtards and McDonalds"-lol. Actually it was as they had no other reason to go after McDonald's. They even brag about not paying the judgement against them of 60,000 £s.

I personally have no loyalty to McDonalds and rarely go there. But there is a something I detest most is biased attacks on "corporations" when all they hate is society. McDonalds will produce whatever their customers want-nothing more-nothing less.

1. Diets {}: Why would it be assumed that consumers would only be eating McDonalds food? Just like the silly movie 30 days {Super Size Me}. Just think of living off a hot dog vendor as mentioned earlier. Nutritious food is not the same as "Healthy food".

2. Advertising at children{}: So what? Adults have complete power as they have the purse-strings. Just grow up libtards. Oh, and ruined their self serving "good deads". "Exploit Children"?

Secret recordings seems a little underhanded and dirty. And allowed grandstanding by the two libtards.

3. Cynically exploit their workers???: That does not even have a logical bases of complaining. Dehumanizing is explained by a fat slob. The libtarded girl explains that she started a job at a bar. Probably no union membership there and just as exploited by the workers at McDonalds. Low wages depresses wages for others in the same industry is another example of the lies. If McDonalds did not hire then there would have been more supply of laborers and not less. Illogical libtards.

4. Detrimental to environment: Again just complaints about corporations and not necessarily any different for McDonalds-which is just a complaint about the society at large. The Libtards stated made the case that they are responsible for the litter of their packages. Destroying rain forests-which actually is right that McDonalds just purchases the raw meat on the wholesale level.

5. Cruel and inhumane to the animals. Again they are not directly involved with the raise of the animals. Here they should have gone after KFC or any other chicken supplier to the society. The judge went against McDonalds but that was pure stupidity.

McDonalds lost on:
Exploit Children.
Misleading advertising-Should have been the same for the Libtards.
Cruel to Animals.
Antipathetic to unions.
Pay low wages. The longer version talks about minimum wage which is a joke since many of the people probably would be unemployed if not for McDonalds.

Won on Libel for 60k pounds:
Heart disease & cancer.
Food poisoning.
Third world starvation. What a fucking joke that they even published such shit!!!
Rainforest destruction.
Bad working conditions.

They even brag about not paying and having no intentions to do so their moral obligations when they lost in court!!! Talk about hypocrisy! If McDonalds refused to pay in a court case, then the libtards would have protested that for decades and it would have ended up in a movie such as this.

As clearly can be shown here, these people are useful idiots...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tera Naam

Blockbuster does not have a single bit of information and even the year made is not included in the title, Tera Naam. At Tere Naam - Wikipedia, they also don't have much to say:
Tere Naam (Hindi: तेरे नाम, English: In your name) is an Indian Hindi film. The film was directed by Satish Kaushik and released on 15 August 2003. The film stars Salman Khan and Bhoomika Chawla in leading roles. It is a remake of the 1999 Tamil film Sethu.[1]

The film is about Radhe Mohan (Salman Khan), a rowdy ex-college boy who, after a ragging (hazing) session, loses his heart to first year student Nirjara (Bhoomika), a traditional Brahmin girl. Just when Nirjara reciprocates his love, Radhe is attacked by a gang of thugs, loses his mind and is admitted to an asylum where, it is hoped, the more traditional means of treatment could have a therapeutic effect on him.

It nearly ends as the Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet" with at least one of them taking their own life which was needless and unnecessary. They also show the mental hospital as nearly worse than the conditions that Kalki had to suffer under in Matrubhoomi (2003). Living conditions that most people would die in within a short time especially with an open wound. The part that was unforgivable was his friends and family abandoning him there when they knew the conditions he was living under.

He "loses his mind" because they ram his head into a steel beam at the railroad station. We kind of expected the usual revenge and hero comes out on top and most definitely not this time.

Rated lower since it was badly written for reality. One actor said the asylum was a prison where they do nothing to cure and make people worse off and that certainly was the case.

Here is a video of the college where they meet Tera Naam. His dancing is funny especially the hip motions. It reminded us of the Red Fort although it is suppose to be a college campus.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Nada + (2002)

Juan Carlos Cremata's comic look at how the Cuban government affects its citizens, Nada + (Nothing More), is a film about a female postal worker. Thais Valdes plays the woman who dreams of living with her mother and father in Miami while dealing with her horrible boss (Daisy Granados). She livens up her existence by romantically responding to the correspondence she is supposed to deliver. Nothing More was screened during the Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 88 mins
Nada + (2002)

A cute little film that contains a lot of whispering of the letters she writes-supposedly in a romantic mood. Other than than the ridiculous romantic voice the rest is a funny film with a lot of slapstick comedy including one chase scene close to the end. The film is filmed in B&W with a little colorization for select items in the various scenes. Like her yellow pencil or a dress or a cartoon butterfly that flies around in the scenes. Along with the colorization the side characters are a motley crew of misfits of society including one of her supervisors that is cross eyed crazy lady and one that is a mad scientist and is protected by an overzealous subordinate, and of course her immediate supervisor that is filled with rage when she thinks that Carla is somehow stealing.

I was a little surprised at its portrayal of the run-down condition of Cuba. Maybe they think it is fine but even her job is just merely stamping the letters by hand one at a time at a desk. Clearly a job better suited for any simple machine to do. Carla is clearly bored with this meaningless job and ventures into people's lives to live vicariously through their writings. In the opening scene they show an outside phone that almost looked like it needed a crank to start it. Must have been 50 years old or older.

It is funny that she gets postcards from Miami and it is really fat women on the beach. I wonder if it was to portray Americans as fat slobs???

A nude scene in a bath tub which had little to do with the overall message of the film. Most of the bonus features were just text of the history of Cuba {Film in Context}, Director Biography, and a short photo gallery.

Jacket cover texts:
Carla, a postal worker in Havana, fulfills her romantic longings by opening letters and rewriting them into passionate prose before sending them out again to their intended recipients. After her co-worker Cesar catches her, Carla turns her amorous talents on him.

Beautifully filmed in black and white with accents of brilliant color, Cuba's 2003 Oscar entry combines visual humor, poetry, satire of Cuban bureaucracy and lighthearted love story.

Looks like I might have to check out more films with Thais Valdes. Rating: Rating: 4.5 (/5)

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Kisna is a Hindi film that was released in 2005, starring Vivek Oberoi (who plays the title role), Antonia Bernath, and Isha Sharvani. The musical film is set in the British India of the tumultuous 1940s when Indian nationalists fighting for the country's independence rose up as one[dubious – discuss], urging the British Raj to leave. It is a love story about two people who are torn between Karma (the noble deed) and Dharma (the duty). The film has two veteran composers, A. R. Rahman and Ismail Darbar; the lyrics were written by Javed Akhtar. This film also marks Amrish Puri's final performance. The film, however, did not perform well at the box office.
Kisna befriends a British girl named Katherine (Bernath), and then shields her from an enraged mob of nationalists including Kisna's own uncle and brother. Katherine is the young daughter of a ruthless British collector. Kisna takes it upon himself to escort Katherine to the safety of the British High Commission in New Delhi, who will arrange for her to board a ship home. A tender attraction develops between Kisna and Katherine during the journey. Latchmi (Shravani), Kisna's Indian fiancée, forms the third point in an emotional triangle involving the Indo-British romantic pair.
* Vivek Oberoi ... Kisna Singh
* Isha Sharvani ... Lakshmi
* Antonia Bernath ... Catherine
* Polly Adams ... Lady Katherine
* Amrish Puri ... Bhairo Singh
* Om Puri ... Juman Masum Kishti
* Yashpal Sharma ... Shankar Singh

Kisna: The Warrior Poet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A beautiful love story about sacrifice and love even if the love can not be fully implemented and reciprocated by both parties. In classic Indian self sacrifice motif, Kisna could not partake of the love between them, even though Kisna risked all to save Catherine. He showed not only his Karma side by his stand to rescue Catherine from the mobs and even family members seeking revenge in Catherine's death but also his Dharma side by eventually stating his desire to go back to marry Latchmi.

All the women in the film were pretty and above average but Isha Sharvani was amazingly beautiful and her dancing was superb. The previews shows only her feet twirling on the ground at like a 45% angle. It was done with a rope she holds while twirling. She also does some very outstanding acrobatics including the lotus position with the ropes holding her up. She plays her jealousy well and her relatives try to explain and help her cope with these emotions. She is very devoted to her religion but it avails her little in calming her mad lust.

The older Catherine is used as a story filler and book ends which was similar to movie Titanic.


Kisna videos, trailers, songs. Kisna Hindi Movie Film. Kisna Movie Clips, Music Videos and Trailers - SmasHits.com

Bewafaa (2004)

Anjali, the young, vibrant daughter of an Indian father and Canadian mother moves to New Delhi to marry her late sister's husband. At the time she thinks she is doing the right thing as she can help raise her two nieces. However, in doing so she leaves behind her first love, Raja. Will she be able to live with the personal sacrifices she has made for the good of others, or will her decision come back to haunt her?
Genres: Drama and Romance
Running Time: 3 hrs. 00 min.
Release Date: August 27, 2004 Limited
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Eros Entertainment
Bewafaa (2004) - Movie Details - Yahoo! Movies

Definitely too long of movie again. The late sister's husband turns out to be a manipulator and not a generally nice guy but all Indian women have to suffer in the films so her fate and her decision is beyond her own self interest at heart including the two children she raises for 3 years before fate makes her decide again which direction and which man to follow. Of course the decision becomes easier as Raja also shows his dark side and unwillingness to just let it go...

Overall just an average film.
Nothing from Blockbuster at Bewafaa (2004).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WAQT: The Race Against Time (2005)

Nirmal K. {3 Stars}
Yes it definitely worth watching once!! Got some foot-tapping tracks and nice choreography!!
Bijal P. {5 Stars}
Excellent, tear jerker, but what a great family story. Amitabh was brilliant as usual. Still thinking about the movie! Classic!
Samera J. {5 Stars}
This movies will stand the test of time, it is a classic. I cried every time I see it, the actors did a wonderful job!!!!

WAQT: The Race Against Time (2005)

No movie review provided by Blockbuster and the above are comments from Blockbuster members. We both gave it low marks as this film was nothing more than a long soap opera with endless maudlin dialogue. It could have been an interesting film if it was about 75 minutes in length and not so much crying even by the strong son that weeps at nearly every scene. We were like, you are a man, grow up!!!

Wiki treats it more like a comedy at Waqt: The Race Against Time. With nearly the last 20 minutes of crying then I could hardly call it a comedy unless you treat the characters as tragic worthless people. But this in fact is an important issue and how do families raise the next generation in a land of plenty. Not just for the rich but poor alike are getting obese and have an easy life filled with video games and TV.

Laxman was only mildly amusing and clearly no one I would have around as a "servant". I could only assume that at times he deliberately avoided work by being stupid. Thus, even though the father is trying to alter his son to become a man, he also has a problem correcting the behaviors of others including his staff. Thus, it would be hard to imagine that the father could have been as successful as they portrayed him to be. And the in-laws also were very rich. Pooja had a swimming pool in her bedroom. We thought about it and it sounds like a bad idea. They did beautifully contrast that with the "outhouse" the father offers them with not a stitch of furniture. Pooja plays the dutiful wife as willing to sacrifice greatly for her love for the son. She even refuses to either go back to her parents or move in to the father's house temporarily when pregnant. Pooja is the Mother India character in this film.

Matrubhoomi (2003)

Young Indian filmmaker Manish Jha writes and directs the French-Indian co-production Matrubhoomi (A Nation Without Women). In rural India of the near future, a small village has been reduced to a violent state of barbarianism. Because of the immoral tradition of female infanticide, the town is populated exclusively by brutish men. Nevertheless, wealthy Ramcharan (Sudhir Pandey) still tries to arrange a marriage for his eldest son Rakesh (Pankaj Jha). He manages to purchase the only woman around, Kalki (Tulip Joshi), who ends up serving all five of his sons. The violence only escalates from there. A Nation Without Women was shown at the 2003 Venice Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide
Matrubhoomi (2003)

Kalki not only has to serve the 5 sons but also serving the father which then in a twist of betrayal reveals her father to be simply a Pimp asking for more money as the number of men getting "servicing" increased. What they end up doing to her is clearly unimaginable and would have meant the death for most people as she was chained up and raped repeatedly.

I give this film high praise for dramatic script and originality. I would truly like to see more Indian films that delved into science fiction. Although this is meant to be in the near future as the villages just started getting cellular phones, it is still sci-fi in that the world has never experienced that degree of misogynistic. The opening scene is an ancient one of a female child that is drown in a tub of milk.

But honestly, although they are making a point about how many women are aborted or infanticide of females in India, it is very unlikely that such a scenario would come to fruition. It was even noted in the film that it was no longer the family of the women that paid dowry but the shortage of women caused the price of available women to skyrocket. Thus the economics would bring the pendulum closer to the natural selection process. There would be increased incentives for people to have women to fill the need for sex and marriage and to even have a son...

Watched any good Sci-Fi Indian films? Let me know.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

John Ford's fine direction distinguishes this highly fictionalized account of the early life of Abraham Lincoln. The film shows Lincoln (Henry Fonda) as he rises from a country boy born in a log cabin to a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois defending two young men unjustly accused of murder. The film, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, received an Academy Award nomination for "Best Original Screenplay" for its screenwriter Lamar Trotti. Henry Fonda perhaps the most American of actors, is at his best playing Lincoln as the quintessential, compassionate American hero. ~ Linda Rasmussen, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 100 mins
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is the YouTube video: Lynch mob scene from Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford.

Strangely, or just good editing and shooting techniques, I missed who did the murder. So in essence it was just as unexpected as it was to the jury. Of course this meant that Lincoln was playing the part of Perry Mason where the guilty break under pressure of the witness stand, and in this case even out of the box.

Interesting but not sure the worth in political science classes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The World of Apu

Apu, a college graduate living alone in an attic apartment in Calcutta, spends his time working on a novel aspiring to become a writer. He marries his friend's sister, as a favor, but his wife soon dies during childbirth. Apu refuses to see his son and, overcome by grief, leaves Calcutta and wanders through the countryside, renouncing everything. His old friend looks for him and finds him working at a remote coal mine and implores him to return and take responsibility for his son. He goes back and finds himself drawn to his 5-year-old who is distrustful of him at first, but eventually, a bond is formed and, together, they set out for Calcutta.
Also Known As:
Apur Sansar
The Apu Trilogy
The Masterworks of Satyajit Ray

Production Status: Released
Genres: Drama and Sequel
Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min.
Release Date: October 4th, 1960 (limited)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Sony Pictures Classics
Produced in: India
The World of Apu (1959) - Movie Details - Yahoo! Movies

The movie ends as they decide to adventure to Calcutta but the son is not aware of the man being his father. A very delightful film that shows the strong societal influences on the father to do the right thing. The wife also feels emotionally divided as the life they start to live in Calcutta was not what she wanted as her family came from the upper castes. She alone carries this burden not wanting to upset her husband. She shows her love to him but decides to move back to her parents home-presumably to have the child. They state the separation is to be just a couple of months but the next scene has Apu receiving news that the mother died in childbirth. He physically attacks the messenger in his anguish that carries over to his relationship with his son.

The World of Apu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Apu Trilogy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

DVD Cover:
"Rich and contemplative and a great, convincing affirmation." -Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

Named the Best Foreign Film of 1960, by the National Board of Review and winner of numerous festival prizes, The World of Apu is the crowning finish to Satyajit Ray's unforgettable Apu Trilogy.

Forced to abandon his education, Apu's prospects look bleak until fate intervenes in the form of an insane bridegroom. To save the abandoned bride from public disgrace, Apu marries her, beginning a new life as husband and father. Like the earlier films in the trilogy Pather Panchali and Aparajito, The World of APu is more than a mesmerizing look at Indian culture; it is a universal look at family love and personal sacrifice. "Rich and contemplative and a great, convincing affirmation." -Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

Although he was a father in the biological sense he was estranged from his son until the son was 5 years old and was not even present at birth.

Appu Raja????

The Americanization of Emily (1964)

The lively but somehow slightly distasteful The Americanization of Emily stars James Garner as a WWII naval officer who happens to be a craven coward. While his comrades sail off to their deaths, Garner makes himself scarce, generally hiding out in the London flat of his lothario navy buddy James Coburn. Garner falls in love with virtuous war widow Julie Andrews (the "Emily" of the title), but she can't abide his yellow streak. Meanwhile, crack-brained admiral Melvyn Douglas decides that he needs a hero--the first man to die on Omaha Beach during the D-Day Invasion. Coburn is at first elected for this sacrifice, but it is the quivering Garner who ends up hitting the beach. He survives to become a hero in spite of himself, winning Andrews in the process. Paddy Chayefsky's script, based on the novel by William Bradford Huie, attempts to extract humor out of the horrors of war by using broad, vulgar comedy instead of the light satirical touch that would seem to be called for. Americanization of Emily was Julie Andrews' second film; it should have led to a steady stream of adult-oriented roles, but the box-office clout of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music consigned her to "wholesome family entertainment". ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 115 mins
The Americanization of Emily (1964)

Quite an excellent film. I enjoyed it immensely and one of James Garner's best performances. I disagree with it being vulgar-at least by today's standards. But was surprised by the nudity-although only the backs of young women it still has the two men in the room unashamedly looking at them in the nude from their angle. The only part that might be over the top for distasteful dialogue was when Garner's character explained his opinions of war to Andrews' mother with the three of them there.

I liked to see the character development and the back and forth of the romance. Garner's character changed very little but Andrews' showed quite a bit of change in opinion of wars.

While this was portrayed as anti-war and anti-American, it clearly does not meet either criteria from my perspective. First the director even admitted as such on the director's cut commentary. He said that it was not meant as anti-war but over glorification of war, and clearly most good war movies have been that way including most versions of "All Quiet on the Western Front". And even thought the Americans are brass and pompous they still have admirable qualities including generosity. One aspect that might be considered distasteful is the idea of sacrificing individual soldiers for an idea that has no real value. In this case it was to have a Navy soldier be the first to die. I am sure that many died before even hitting the beach as the Germans used mortars, long-range artillery and long barrel riffles that could easily hit and kill soldiers in the open air transports. In real wars many men died as soon as the door of the transport opened up.

This film does a good job in showing the inherent problems of direct authoritarian hierarchical structures when one man decides the fate of an individual or any group of men. If that man is unfit for command because of mental and emotional problems then his/her decisions could be against the welfare of his/her troops.

My wife was right that Garner's character could not die off. I know that most films during that time period could never have a hero die off, I just could not help but think that the anti-war elements would see him die as both the witnesses said he died in battle.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rodrigo D: No Future (1990)

Rodrigo D (Ramiro Meneses) is a Colombian youth who aspires to join a punk-rock band. His musical skills are negligible, but Rodgrigo feels sympatico with the punkers: he's angry, alienated and destructive. A member of a motorcycle gang that robs and pillages neighboring communities (several of the "actors" were actual street kids, six of whom were killed after the movie was completed), Rodrigo ends up a "big man" only through use of brute force. He finally ends up in the notorious city of Medellin, where he finds it impossible to escape the drug-and-violence syndrome that he thought he'd left behind in the slums. Rodrigo D: No Future is of historical interest in that it was the first Colombian film to be entered in the Cannes Festival. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 91 mins
Rodrigo D: No Future (1990)

Part of the plot was hard to follow with cuts to seemingly random events. Ultimately this film proves their is no honor among thieves. In his effort to prove his worth he kills a police officer but his new friends quickly abandon him and ultimately actually kill him themselves.

The film also notes how many of the actors had passed away which tragically is the most interesting aspect of the film. Just like many from South America, I find stories like this as predictable and dull. They may have some social justice quality but those facts are not in dispute.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Buffalo Soldiers (2001)

Australian director Gregor Jordan makes his sophomore effort with this tale about crooked U.S. soldiers based in Germany during the waning days of the cold war. Special Fourth Class soldier Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix) guards against the Soviets while on duty, and rips off the U.S. military while off duty. Handsome, calculating, and thoroughly amoral, Elwood runs a profitable black-market business that operates just below the official radar. He and his associates make drugs to sell to his fellow GIs; steal Army supplies, selling them to a German connection; and a host of other dirty deeds. One day, he and his gang uncover some loot that will land them some real money -- high-tech military weaponry. As they try to quietly offload the stuff, the new sergeant, Robert K. Lee (Scott Glenn), catches on to Elwood's nefarious deeds and sets out to put him out of businesses. Elwood, in turn, catches on to the fact that Lee has a very attractive daughter (Anna Paquin) and sets out to bed her. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide
See All Buffalo Soldiers Trailers and Clips

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 99 mins
Buffalo Soldiers (2001)

Watched this with a close relative and she asked if I thought it was anything close to reality. Truly a fictional account but still has elements that appear in any bureaucracy especially government run. Some of the same elements are shown on a more benign level in films like "M*A*S*H" with Radar being similar to efficient Elwood. For example Radar in the last Mash episode I watched he got his CO to sign off a discharge for a sheep that the Greeks has donated to the unit for a party. Radar may have not been doing it for malicious reasons but still he was doing it for personal and not to the betterment of his unit. Stripes also comes to mind about this sentiment of the US military but more with regards to peace time operations.

Before watching the film I came across this: An Interview With Gregor Jordan.
MOVIE CITY NEWS: I imagine that one of the complaints you'll hear about Buffalo Soldiers is that it's just another attempt by Hollywood liberals to slander our proud fighting men and women. Guilty or not guilty?

GREGOR JORDAN: I grew up on an Air Force base in Australia, where my father was a pilot. He fought in Vietnam, so I grew up on war stories and around soldiers.

I don't see this film as anti-American or anti-military. It poses some interesting philosophical questions about warfare, aggression and the need for violence by certain people ... I think that idea really translates well in these characters.

MCN: Obviously, then, you don't see Buffalo Soldiers as being hopelessly dated by the swirl of events in Iraq and Afghanistan?

GJ: It's of its time, yes, but I think the film actually is way more topical now, than it was before. It says that war and warfare are things certain human beings really like and want.

There are warlike people out there who are aggressive and expansionist. Those ideals of the '60s and '70s - you know, "give peace a chance" - seem to be overly romantic.

MCN: That's a fairly extreme notion, especially for a Hollywood movie.

GJ: Warfare is something quite innate in humans ... war was invented way before diplomacy. Today, it is seen as this weird aberration, which only happens when diplomacy breaks down ... and no one really wants war.

This movie suggests that there are people out there who do. This may be a pessimistic viewpoint, but I think it's a fact.

I would say this is anti-military in the least. Mainly for the basic fact that it paints the military as not capable of being just a standing army and has to resort to self destruction. But I put that aside since it does have an important message about failure to value the standing army in peace times as well as war times.

Still worth watching it overall. Rating: 3.5 (/5)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Cow (1971)

This highly symbolic Iranian drama (shot in black-and-white) revolves around the most important figure in a remote rural village. That figure is the village's sole cow, owned by Mashdi Hassan (Ezat Entezani). The beginning of the film makes clear just how vital the cow is to the life of the village and how much Mashdi and his neighbors cherish it. When the cow is threatened and then killed by members of a nearby clan, Mashdi becomes so distraught that he is gradually transformed into a cow himself. One highlight of this film is the glimpse it offers into a style of rural life which has gone unchanged for thousands of years. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 100 mins
The Cow (1971)

Dust cover script:
Influenced by Italian Neorealism. The Cow has the beauty and simplicity associated with the great films that movement. In a small village in Iran, Hassan cherishes his cow more than anything in the world. While he is away, the cow mysteriously dies, and the villagers protectively try to convince Hassan the cow has only wandered off. Grief stricken, Hassan begins to believe he is his own beloved bovine.

The Cow won great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival after being smuggled out of Iran in 1971, and was twice voted best Iranian film ever made by a survey of Iranian film critics.

Quite a feat to be voted best especially considering the number of great films I have seen.

At the end, the group watching it will me wondered if the village and Hassan would have been better off if he had been told the truth and allowed a natural grieving process to develop naturally. As not seeing the body, Hassan reacted with disbelief and then the delusions of himself being the cow. If I had been there I would just have asked some questions and if all else fails-try to "milk" his cow.

DVD Bonus Features:
* Interview with Dariush Mehrjui
* Film Notes by Godfrey Cheshire
* Director Biography
* Photo Gallery

A funny little film although I seriously did not find as much substance as the film critics praised it. Not much on social commentary but some may have shown the benefit of showing a culture from the past.

Paths of Glory (1957)

Adapting Humphrey Cobb's novel to the screen, director Stanley Kubrick and his collaborators Calder Willingham and Jim Thompson set out to make a devastating anti-war statement, and they succeeded above and beyond the call of duty. In the third year of World War I, the erudite but morally bankrupt French general Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) orders his troops to seize the heavily fortified "Ant Hill" from the Germans. General Mireau (George MacReady) knows that this action will be suicidal, but he will sacrfice his men to enhance his own reputation. Against his better judgment, Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) leads the charge, and the results are appalling. When, after witnessing the slaughter of their comrades, a handful of the French troops refuse to leave the trenches, Mireau very nearly orders the artillery to fire on his own men. Still smarting from the defeat, Mireau cannot admit to himself that the attack was a bad idea from the outset: he convinces himself that loss of Ant Hill was due to the cowardice of his men. Mireau demands that three soldiers be selected by lot to be executed as an example to rest of the troops. Acting as defense attorney, Colonel Dax pleads eloquently for the lives of the unfortunate three, but their fate is a done deal. Even an eleventh-hour piece of evidence proving Mireau's incompetence is ignored by the smirking Broulard, who is only interested in putting on a show of bravado. A failure when first released (it was banned outright in France for several years), Paths of Glory has since taken its place in the pantheon of classic war movies, its message growing only more pertinent and potent with each passing year (it was especially popular during the Vietnam era). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 87 mins
Paths of Glory (1957)

Although this film was highly recommend by a friend, and deserves accolades for the film's outstanding portrayal of war {WWI}, it was not the anti-war film from my self appraisal. There is no denying the similarities with the film and book "All Quiet on the Western Front". As such, Paths of Glory was more along the lines of an anti-WWI movie. One that showed the horror of war with a set of strategic paradigms when the weapons of war had changed but the general's approach had not.

Throwing good men after a hill worth nothing proved the war was not worth the costs in young men's lives. When the Americans arrived, they set out to not be boxed by the paradigms currently employed. According to my history class. some strategists had assumed that when their side lost so many that they could calculate the amount lost on the opposing side without a complete assessment.

Ultimately in the end, the authoritarian hierarchical organization only wanted to preserve order and individual lives of the soldiers meant nothing. As the three executed were all innocent compared to what was expected of them and the truly guilty got free. One squad commander had killed one of his men and as such he selected the man that knew it to the court marshal hearings. And lastly, Colonel Dax was sent to the front again. Life expectancy was not long in the front lines and was a punishment for not accepting the field promotion.

PS: I know that I am a little thick but my review is more along that it was an anti-WWI type war. Every war has its own unique circumstances so much of that was specific to WWI, especially the fact that everything was so "civilized" and civil just a few miles away from the battle lines. War was glorious as long as you were a civilian or someone not in the trenches. Much as "All Quiet on the Western Front" portrayed.