A "Hitlerjugend" kind of story, set in the Soviet Union during the Second World War, based on a fictitious story from the eponymous book by Vladimir Kunin. The Red Army has a gang of ... See full summary »
Sergei and Simon have to deliver a suitcase full of heroin to Mikhalych or else they will be killed. There is one minor detail: the only problem-solving technique they are familiar with is ... See full summary »
The film is based on the second book from the Adventures of Erast Petrovich Fandorin series of novels written by the Russian author Boris Akunin. The film takes place in 1877 during the ... See full summary »
A very typical post-Soviet era storyline. Three young men lured an innocent teenage girl to their apartment, offered her a drink, intimidated then gang raped her. Local cops are incapable ... See full summary »
A Finn preparing a work on the Russian hunting traditions and customs, comes to Russia to collect materials and is invited to take part in a hunting party. His flamboyant companions include... See full summary »
I didn't already know the short story and straightforward adaptation that already existed for this story, but it seems like you can get all you need to know from being familiar with the basics of the genie-in-a- lamp trope. It's a comedy based on juxtaposing that old myth with the world of hackers and the internet - which is presented with just enough of knowledge and a wink that we get the sense that the filmmakers are really familiar with it, but not so much from an insider view that anyone not very good with computers themselves would be alienated.
In the main, the plot doesn't matter beyond the fact that it's there enough for the movie not to suffer from being totally plot less. It's a frame for a series of good gags, mostly framed around the ancient genie Khottabych being exposed to the internet and the modern world. It's an old device but it's done well here and with a particular combination that's no, so success is achieved. There's a lot of good material in the genie's antiquated suggestions for wooing women, his misadventures with his own online romance, etc.
The animated shadow that the devil/villain character gets is quite original and amusing as well. But a big plus is the humorous performance of Vladimir Tolokonnikov as Khottabych. I'd seen him before as another semi-human person is "Heart of a Dog," and this is another very different but also excellent acting job, with maybe more depth that one would have thought the role required. But he puts some humanity into the lonely old genie.
Marius Jampolskis is also pretty good as the main character; he mainly has to make this shut-in whose life revolves around being a shut-in hacker into a semi-believable hero, which he manages. Liva Kruminya seems to be appearing here in her only role, and its fine but not memorable. I can't help but suspect she isn't usually an actor and was chosen for her ability to sound American, then be magically given the ability to speak Russian.
It's pretty much a live-action cartoon, but good gags with a lively soundtrack, pace, and script keep it consistently entertaining.
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