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Man Push Cart (2005)
The new type of a bad movie
To me, this film represents a new variety of the bad movies. So the 3 stars I give it are mostly for inventing a new genre. There are many bad movies out there but not similar to this one.
From the very beginning, I could not understand if I was watching a documentary or a movie. For a documentary, it was lacking a voice-over. Plus, the supporting characters' behavior/motivation looked a bit too scripted/contrived. For a real movie, it lacked the plot and the dialog. For a real movie that is just so out there that it does not need either a plot or a dialog, it lacked that spark of life and originality that captures your imagination and keeps you glued to the screen until the end (and then you want more).
We meet a Pakistani immigrant who used to be a popular singer in Lahore and who is now reduced to doing menial work in NYC in the name of, I suppose, the great American Dream. I say "I suppose" because we never find out exactly how he got here and what he wants in life (besides seeing his son). The House of Sand and Fog, Before Night Falls, Mississippi Masala, heck, even The Kite Runner did it before and did it better (and that list is not exhaustive).
There are some good technical things about the movie. The monotony of his existence is represented very well by showing how he gets the cart ready every morning by lining up cups, taking out bagels, etc. Exactly the same sequence is shown twice - at the beginning of the movie (in his own cart) and at the end (in the friend's cart). But what happened in between does not qualify as full feature film. A technically excellent film school project, but very weak if reviewed otherwise.
Apt Pupil (1998)
"bad" and "wrong" does not equal "nazi"
I am a fan of Stephen King's work but I would not consider this venture in the realms of *real* world his finest. The creators of the movie seem to know almost nothing about fascism. No matter how hard I tried I could not make the conclusion I was supposed to make, which is what the characters did was caused by their fascination with the all-mighty fascist ideology. People kill, lie and play mind games without being fascists, without being obsessed with super power or superior beings. Take the tortured Germany's past out of the story line and you will get a decent film about twists and hidden corners of human psyche.