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Witold

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25 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Imagine things going on in a shopping center !, 20 March 2013
8/10

I was quite surprised how low is the average evaluation of this film & also that nobody reviewed it before. This is a very nice film & strikingly original. I have seen shopping centers in as diverse places as Lviv, Rio de Janeiro (3 of them), Bangkok and Rouen, not to mention Denton, Texas. I have never seen before a film such that the action takes place almost exclusively in a shopping center. In ancient Greece there was the requirement of unity of the time (short time) and place (one place) in theater plays. In modern theaters and films this is considered a hampering limitation. The script author and the director of this film have turned the limitation to an advantage! The texts such as "Day 2" increase the suspense.

Nonna Grishaeva plays the main female role of Ira, a girl who ostensibly is at the bottom of the shopping center hierarchy, putting bar codes on packages and even sweeping a floor. She is cheerful, friendly to everybody & helpful to other shopping center employees, winning them over quickly. She soon has her designs on Vadim ... We find from Nonna Grishaeva's biography that she was born is Odesa and is now a very successful theater actress in Moscow, apart from playing in Russian films. This is clearly a loss to the Ukrainian theater and to Ukrainian film making.

Pyotr Fyodorov plays Vadim, doing also an outstanding job. Like Ira, Vadim is cheerful, friendly and helpful, but with a complicated past. He lives in the shopping center and ventures outside only in a dire emergency; only in a second part of the film we are briefly told why. In his private life he is very thoughtful, actually excessively careful. Trying to win him, Ira has to be very thoughtful herself - which fits her real nature not only the role she has assumed in the shopping center - as well as really soft as far as Vadim is concerned.

Other actors play quite well too. The real names of the actors are not connected to their roles, so here are some names of the roles: the actor playing Vova; the actress playing Lisa who quickly becomes a real friend of Ira & who is great in the scene "let Lisa out"; the actress playing Grandma Nina who actually is Vadim's grandmother by courtesy only; the actor playing Vitaly, a nasty character who in the beginning of the film as the shopping center manager cries "I can fire you all!"; the corrupt but quite funny official performing marriage ceremonies; the boy playing Misha.

The film is played in Russian with English subtitles. There is only one error when Vadim tells Ira "I can show you the cheque" when he means the receipt. Sometimes the translations are ingenious such as "Pushek" into "Fluffy".

This film can be currently seen on the Singapore Airlines flights between San Francisco and Seoul Incheon. Singapore Airlines provide a much larger choice of films for their passengers than most airlines. Flying from San Francisco to Incheon and back, I have see also a Canadian, a Danish and a German film. They were all good, but this film is a clear winner over them.

A romantic comedy with a food for thought, 7 January 2013
8/10

This film has been directed well, has good actors and a nice story. There are of course other comedies nice while you watch them. This one has more; there are serious issues to be pondered on after viewing the film. Should a single woman told repeatedly that she cannot give birth to a child consider adoption ? What is the point of view of a girl considered for adoption ? If the company the heroine Ama (Amanda ?) works for has very strict behavior rules, are there situations when breaking these rules is worthwhile ? At what price ?

This film presents a variety of points of view, all plausible, even though some of them contradict some other ones. Even a dog has an opportunity to present his point of view on an issue important to him: with whom he would rather stay ?

Anna Dereszowska has a difficult role as the main female character - precisely because she is not only a nice girl to look at but also a thoughtful person who is trying to make decisions. Jan Wieczorkowski as Marek is very good too, and also he faces difficult decisions.

Our DVD has the sound track mostly in Polish, there are English subtitles. Fantasy comedies aside, considering comedies coming out of Poland in recent years, this is one of my two favorites. The other one is "Darling, don't lie".

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Something new on an old topic, 11 June 2012
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a nice film. As the director Krzysztof Lang says, the outcome in a romantic comedy is foreseeable - but how does end of the film come about is important. Thus, the viewer expects that Julka played by Karolina Gorczyca and Kacper played by Marcin Dorocinski will eventually get together - after perturbations. The perturbations are original. Kacper who is a photographer is strongly hit by the fact that photo editing (read falsification) has been used against him. A little scene in which Julka first time on the board of an airplane asks her neighbor to exchange a window seat for a middle seat is precious. So is a short scene when Weronika played by Olga Frycz says she intends to drop the fashions field and to study to become a veterinarian. Since Weronika is both Kacper's sister and his assistant at work, he is hit twice; he understands, however, and says: "The animals need you". The very thought that there is life outside the limelight of fashions is precious. ALL actors play very well !

For some reason the ratings of this film on IMDb are not high. One wonders why. Those who submitted their ratings are used to horrors from Hollywood and are disappointed that there are no massacred dead bodies ? The last question is of course a speculation on my part.

A fairy tale with an enchanting atmosphere, 8 January 2012
7/10

The important moment when Inge loses her voice is not very realistic - what classifies this film as a fairy tale. This is not a criticism; quite a few films, with "Pretty woman" as a classic example, present events which are not exactly probable while strictly speaking possible. What I like in this film is its atmosphere, which is also fitting into the fairly tale category. The action takes place in an unnamed town in Poland, the film creators do not provide us with the name of the town, probably deliberately so.

Inge carries this fairy tale atmosphere with her, not a small feat. Aneta Todorczuk in the role of Inge has to rely on her histrionic abilities other than her voice for a large part of the film. Jan Wieczorkowski whom we have seen as an organist in a series of films about a small town in north-eastern Poland not far from the border with Belarus has here the main male role - and he deserves it. We also see other very good actors: Magdalena Schejbal who played so well as Magda in "Darling, don't lie", Maria Gladkowska who was the unforgettable Dorota in "Emergency exit", Jan Frycz and Michal Lesien. Aneta Todorczuk is a new face (for this reviewer) as is Anna Chylarecka as the teenager Ania. Whenever she shows up, Ania nearly steals the show. Overall, we hope Ewa Pytka will direct more films.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
well founded surprises, 3 January 2012
8/10

Usually in films of this genre the mysteries are revealed just before the end of the film. Here throughout the film there are mysteries revealed at various times, often unexpectedly. In some cases we think a mystery has been already cleared - but then later a different explanation comes up. This has been done in films before, but then an earlier as well a later explanation have to be plausible; creators of the film have succeeded also in this respect.

The actors are wonderful. Maja Ostaszewska as Agata has a very difficult role - and she is convincing in all situations and at all times. Marek Bukowski as Slawek is very good too, as is Danuta Stenka, the same applies of course to Andrzej Seweryn - almost to them all.

A previous reviewer questions why a prosecutor gets involved in the crime investigation from the start - instead of the usual waiting for the police to provide enough evidence to charge somebody with the crime. However, here Agata has several strong motives to get involved early: the fact that this is her first criminal case after working in the white collar economic crime office; baffling circumstances of the case; the fact that she is the daughter of a law professor; and the fact that her law school classmate Slawek is the police inspector in charge of the case.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A charming mix of people known before with new ones and of situations seen before with new ones, 31 July 2011
10/10

Before watching the film we have read the reviews: this is a continuation of the Irony of Fate 1, but a bad one; no, this is a good continuation; still different, this film should not be considered as a continuation. There is an 'objection' that a hero drives a certain car; was he supposed to change cars every 20 minutes to give "equal rights" to different car manufacturers ? There is another 'objection' that the heroes behave as they did in Part 1; should nice people now become nasty and vice versa ? There is a still different 'objection' to lights in the city and fireworks on New Year's Eve. Rarely one sees such a diversity of views, many mutually contradictory and some outlandish.

Now that we have seen Part 2, I can comment on it: on people, devices, locations and situations.

There are actors known before from Part 1: Barbara Brylska as Nadya; Andrei Myagkov as Zhenya; Yuriy Yakovlev as Ippolit; Aleksandr Shirvindt as Pasha (mostly Pavlik in Part 1); Aleksandr Belyavskiy as Sasha; as well as Valentina Talyzina as Valya. It was so good to see them again ! Now we also have Elizaveta Boyarskaya as Nadya Number 2, the daughter of the original Nadya; Konstantin Khabenskiy as Kostya Lukashin son of Zhenya; Sergey Bezrukov as Irakliy (note a carefully chosen name, similar to Ippolit). There are naturally more new faces, including Igor Savochkin as Kolya the Border Guard; he makes his unique contributions – largely because most of the time he is as confused as a hungry baby in a topless bar. While Nadya Number 1 now wears large glasses, her smile is the same as before. While Zhenya now has less hair, his smile is also the same as before.

As for devices, frequent use of cell phones makes this means of communication look nearly ridiculous. An original comic approach, while in more and more locations around the world there are limitations on the use of cell phones, including driving.

Obviously Apartment # 12 in House # 25 on the Third Constructors Street plays its role again, as does the elevator there. We also see again the train station from which trains go to Moscow as well as two airports. This helps the impression of continuity – as does music repeated from the first film (except for the song at the end which is new).

The situations are sometimes similar as before, but with interesting twists. It is not easy now to send Zhenya to St. Petersburg; this becomes a clever two parts operation executed by Sasha and Pasha. Zhenya starts to figure things out when Pasha phones to reserve "another" plane ticket. There are also new situations – well connected to Part 1. Nadya Number 2 is asked by Grandfather Frost to play his Snow Girl. She gets instant advice not to agree. However, in a wonderful twist of action, Nadya says: when I was five years old, I had to do things I hated; when I was 10 years old, it was the same; enough is enough; I agree. When one knows that Ippolit is her father and one knows his character from Part 1, the fact that he has been a despotic father is anything but surprising. Thus, events in Part 2 are admirably rooted in Part 1.

One sympathizes so much with Kostya - who can hardly get a moment alone with younger Nadya. One admires his ingenuity in creating opportunities to talk to Nadya. When Grandfather Frost walks into Nadya's apartment, one wishes that inside the costume covering largely the face should be Kostya. One hears later an explanation of the original Snow Girl: he agreed to take over and complete the Grandfather Frost route but on the condition that he will have his own Snow Girl. Incidentally, I recently learned something about Grandfather Frost: Santa Claus was strictly forbidden for a number of years in the Soviet Union – until Stalin found the tradition too strong and allowed him but renamed Grandfather Frost and wearing blue instead of red. The vote of five children on who should marry the Princess is new and fresh - in spite of centuries of fairy tales.

We have seen recently a US movie called "Fast Five", with virtually nothing left to imagination and much noise most of the time. Here both Part 1 and Part 2 have two levels; the amusing or moving surface level, but also a deeper level where the viewer has much food for thought. This is one more common feature of both films. Timur Bekmambetov as the director, Emil Braginskiy as the story writer – together with Eldar Ryazanov himself – have much to be proud of. One needs to say this: the richness of Part 1 has much helped the creators of Part 2 to make such a good film.

Let me provide at least an example of two levels in this film. Kostya asks: "are we in Moscow or in St. Petersburg ?". Younger Nadya provides a charming – but also a profound – response: Does it matter ?".

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
a third in a series but very good, 17 July 2011
8/10

Usually a sequel is worse than the original film. The third in a series is typically still worse. Not so here. Each of these three films tells a different story - even though the characters that appear in two or in all three have consequently the same attitudes and lifestyles as before. In this third film in the series we have local politics: elections of the mayor of the town and of the town council will take place soon. The current mayor and his strong opponent both are seeking the support of the local Catholic priest: there is also an Orthodox church with a priest. The Catholic priest handles these situations in his unique way.

The actors are very good. Those playing the police chief and the Catholic priest we have seen before, they are as good as before, although before the first film in this series their experience was limited to providing voices in a marionette theater in Bialystok. The girl in the bank who fights off her admirers with "I am Orthodox" clearly has shining talent. The actor playing Stasio back-home-after-20-years-in-the US is a good addition, not seen in previous films. Emilian Kaminski who made his strong appearance in the second film as Jerzy Bocian is very good here also. In spite of these other good actors, in my opinion the show is stolen by Agnieszka Kotlarska who plays the policewoman Marina Chmiel. She provides feel- good moments, as in the scene when she is asked where her unusual first name comes from; she replies: "My parents liked a song that begins with that name". Actually, her role is quite difficult. Marina has a black belt in karate & functions well in combat-like situations. However, in ordinary situations she is quite shy, with men in particular. Talking to men, she sometimes falls into the area comfortable to her, like in the street scene in which she is telling the young policeman Marian about martial arts. When that topic of conversation is not possible, her shyness seems to overwhelm her; wonderfully played. Her sudden feeling for Stasio - after she has rescued him from thugs - is received by the viewer as quite natural & fits well with her character.

Our DVD has voices in Polish with subtitles in English and French.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A nice under-appreciated film, 11 June 2010
7/10

Crooked politicians and crooked decision makers are funny ! Crooked lawyers helping crooked politicians are funny too. If you are not an object of their machinations, that is. However, you might be an object of nefarious activities; needless to say, you have then to figure out a way to beat the crooks. Since the devil needs to be fought with fire, former criminals are an asset against crooks ... We have in this film a nice combination of political satire, a thriller, a comedy - and a love story as well.

Actors in this film are great. Anna Przybylska carries well a difficult role. Edward Lubaszenko as Mirka's grandfather makes you smile every time, even if he says only a few words. Krzysztof Kowalewski as a cabinet minister shows many different faces. Cezary Pazura made famous by the two "Killer" movies is good too. Olaf Lubaszenko has created one more good movie.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Worth seeing, but can you?, 5 August 2009
7/10

"Darling, don't lie" is a comedy with bright dialogs, talented actors and views of Cracow as a bonus. Ania and Magda have met as small girls in an orphanage. Now Ania is a student while Magda works in a supermarket. The girls share an apartment in Warsaw - actually an adapted attic of a house; house roof beams are visible since there is no ceiling. Ania's vision of Prince Charming materializes as her neighbor Marcin - who pays no attention to her. Marcin is a playboy who lost his job but still lives above his means and his large debts are catching up with him. His financial salvation could be his Aunt Nela who lives in Britain but currently visits his parents in Cracow. There is a catch: the aunt wants to see a suitable fiancée of Martin. Martin calls his numerous former girlfriends one after another; each rejects his offer to play the role of the fiancée. They enjoy the rejection - a moment of triumph after being brutally abandoned by Marcin. Now Marcin has no other option but to enlist the help of Ania; she does so lying to her, lies are his way of life. When in Cracow a big lie comes out, Piotr Adamczyk as Marcin shows his formidable histrionic talent; for the first time since his childhood Marcin wants to tell the truth - to Ania - and his internal struggle not to resort to lies once again is tremendous to watch. The DVD contains interviews with the actors. Marta Zmuda Trzebiatowska describes her role as Ania: Ania is not naive. This is worth saying since Ania has limited life experience because of her orphanage past. In the scene with her lecherous boss, first Ania does not know how to handle him. However, since she is highly intelligent, she soon figures out a way. Other actors display their talents too: Magdalena Schejbal as Magda (a coincidence?), Grazyna Szapolowska as Marcin's mother, and as always inimitable Beata Countess Tyszkiewicz as Aunt Nela.

Recent German films have sound tracks in at least four languages. The director of "Darling, don't lie" Piotr Weresniak did a good job. The producer Piotr Weresniak turned out to be a moron. On our DVD there is no sound track in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and/or German. Even English subtitles are missing. Thus, in Brazil alone 200 millions people will not see this film - and so among others will not see views of night Cracow taken by the cinematographer Piotr Weresniak.

7 out of 56 people found the following review useful:
An important lesson in history wasted by a silly script, 10 December 2007
2/10

One of the previous commentators tells us that Skolimowski wrote the script in one day; this shows. We do not hear any conversations between the workers who are heroes of the film ! We hear sometimes thoughts in the head of the main character. The martial law period in Poland was aimed at crushing the Solidarity movement. It succeeded - for some years. Compare this film with wonderful "The man of iron" directed by Andrzej Wajda who shows the birth of Solidarity. So much could have been done showing how Solidarity was crushed - only the director who is also the script writer had hardly a clue what to do. As another commentator points out, the workers are kept in the dark by their foreman. Seeing on TV the streets of Warsaw with tanks, do they really believe this is normal ? Particularly so since they left Poland when Solidarity was flourishing ... Jeremy Irons is a very good actor; one can presume he wanted to show to the world how Solidarity was crushed. Irons apparently assumed that Skolimowski originating from Poland knows what he is doing; a sad mistake. If you have sympathy for the Solidarity movement and its role in history - as many people around the world do - do not watch this film. You would be terribly disappointed.


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