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45 reviews in total 
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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Mother Camel Rejects its Newborn, 2 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an amazing documentary! It's very real, very authentic, and gives the viewer an intimate look into the lives of a Mongolian family, four generations, living on the edge of the Gobi desert, deriving life and existence from their animals, camels, sheep and goats. Although they seem primitive to us, they are very creative and accomplished in the task of survival in a very bare and isolated area. We see their close attachment to and understanding of their animals, and they take very seriously the difficult birth and later rejection of a white newborn by the brown mother. In nature, sometimes for obscure Darwinian reasons, the mother sometimes rejects the newborn offspring. Maybe it was the difficult and prolonged birth. Maybe it was the unusual white color of the colt.

The family tries every which way to get the mother to suckle the colt, but they are unsuccessful. They try ritual prayers. Finally they try a time-tested remedy, and that is a melody, more specifically, music from a medical musician, a particular specialist with the violin. Sure enough, after requesting the 'consultation,' the violinist comes with the indigenous violin, a primitive-looking two stringed instrument, but it produces soothing and mesmerizing music! This, together with the whole large family watching, the beautiful young woman stroking and singing, brings about the desired result. The mother is actually weeping and allowing its offspring to suckle! It seems like a miracle, but also very natural. How did the Mongolian family come to this wisdom?

We cannot help but identify as human beings, with some mothers rejecting their babies. Sometimes healing interventions bring about rapproachment. Sometimes it is an extended family and sometimes it is therapy. Psychotherapists have something to learn from watching this extraordinary film closely and deeply. What we see is something at the core of the human condition. This documentary will be understood by bright children as well as perceptive and intelligent adults.

Capote (2005)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
There but for the grace of God..., 25 February 2006

This is a riveting movie about the dark side of human nature. Why was Truman Capote so drawn to the multiple, apparently senseless killings in rural Kansas? All the reviewers miss this deep meaning, but I can tell you the deep dark secret, never mentioned, but inescapable is--- THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I.

Capote identifies with the killers, especially Perry, who is also from the south, also abandoned by his mother and ultimately raised in an orphanage, where we presume he had the usual care, abuse and neglect. Capote had a similar abandoning mother ("we were both abandoned by our mothers"), but at least had the saving grace of being raised by a relative, an aunt. Probably his childhood had a modicum of love and security, but just the bare minimum, as Capote can identify with 'cold blood.' He also identified with Perry's creativity, as he was literate and artistic. After hearing Perry's childhood story, he said, "we were raised in the same house, and one day you went out the back door and I went out the front." This was the most telling moment in understanding their connection.

In a way, Capote was as cold-blooded as Perry, using him to write the story that would make him famous and earn him a goldmine. He was shown to have two faces, the sympathetic one toward Perry, gaining his trust and finally getting the details of the killing to end his book, and the other, the egomaniacal entertainer at Manhattan parties. He went from eccentric to an out of control alcoholic, but he was always discreet, never getting falling down drunk, but always sipping a drink. His writer friends were concerned for him but there was nothing they could do, nothing anyone could do.

The closing credits said he died in 1984 from the complications of alcoholism, but Ebert wrote that he died of an overdose. I figure he ultimately could not live with himself or his memories, knowing that just under the surface, he was a cold blooded murderer too.

And such is the human condition, that some emerge from a traumatic childhood and become an overt monster, and some emerge from a traumatic childhood, an eccentric celebrity, fiendishly brilliant, and a covert monster.

Audiences will be drawn to this by the millions and will be affected by viewing this, because all of us have a dark side. We can identify and there but for the grace of God go I!

Syriana (2005)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Hollywood Leftwing Propaganda, 4 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The end of "Syriana" says it all. The rest of the film was leading up to it, chopped up vignettes with a bearded Clooney as a CIA hit man.

The movie ended with a young, idealistic looking Arab, pointing a motor boat with a bomb aboard, heading toward a huge oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

As the case for the suicide bomber developed throughout the film, it was shown how corrupt were the American oil billionaires and their diabolical relationship with the corrupt oil sheiks, who live in luxury while poor Arab workers, unemployed because of an oil merger, languish on the desert sands, playing pickup cricket on a desolate field with high rises in the distance.

The poor, downtrodden unemployed Arab workers are the bottom of the food chain, and understandably are prone to fundamentalist Muslim jihadist rhetoric. Blowing themselves up for Allah is their only chance at glory and redemption.

There are two Arab princes. Which one is to become the next Emir? One is scum of the earth, not fit to run a brothel, no less a nation. The other is educated and idealistic, and if he succeeds his father, will use the oil money to build an infrastructure and raise the standard of living for his people.

Of course the Emir knuckles under to the oil conglomerate because he prefers to retire in luxury in Europe! He has no use for bettering the lives of his people.

Translation--- America IS THE GREAT Satan. CAPITALISM IS EVIL.

The suicide bombers have no other choice.

If you want to see another Hollywood left wing film, go for it. "Syriana" is yet another of Michael Moore's ilk, Hollywood's disingenuous attempt to turn American politics around, to poison the audience's mind against the current administration, suggesting that this WWIII is nothing more or less than our 'addiction' to Middle East oil.

No mention is made of the alternative, the corruption of the so-called idealists, who seek to change human nature by force and oppression. The Soviet experiment speaks for itself.

We Americans enjoy our freedom and prosperity. Too bad protecting it involves sordid undercover operations. Considering the alternatives and the lesser of evils, I'll do my share of gas guzzling until energy alternatives become available, as most certainly they will.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
13 year old kids need a lot of parental involvement, guidance and supervision!, 13 September 2005

This HBO documentary may prove useful to parents of middle school kids, as it explores the various traps and pitfalls that kids get into. It shows the details of different problem areas (sex, violence, depression, alcohol) and how parental meetings and professional help can turn problem kids around. It ends on a mostly positive note, fortunately.

On the sex issue it was clear that peer pressure forces young girls to become actively sexually, prematurely.

On the violence issue it showed how role-playing helped kids to avoid violent confrontations.

On the depression issue it showed a family with strong genetic predisposition and yet how shocked the parents were to discover their child was depressed and thinking of suicide. Fortunately, he received professional help and medication which successfully helped to turn things around.

On the alcohol issue the documentary showed how easy it is for kids to obtain alcohol and experiment with it. Families with a strong history of alcoholism are most vulnerable and sometimes strong measures are needed to prevent further addiction. Kids made it clear they will not rat on other kids.

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Little Man Tate is a disappointment, 13 December 2004

As a psychiatrist I have a dim view of the psychology of this flick. The characters are caricatures, stereotypes. Jodie Foster doesn't come across as gum-chewing, cherry pit-spitting, carefree, loving mom who doesn't know how to deal with a genius son. She's just a step above trailer trash and it doesn't work. Neither does Diane Wiest as the psychologist who specializes in genius kids, because she's so oblivious of kids' feelings and sensitivities. The kid is another caricature--- a sensitive genius. Lots of plot twists are empty and pointless and there's a false happy ending. I would have expected more from a movie that was somewhat autobiographical for Jodie Foster, who was a bright Hollywood kid, one who had intelligence and sensitivities beyond her age. She's too smart to do justice to a character who is so dumb.

Elephant (2003)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I was hoping for better than this because it won an award and the director is famous because of "Good Will Hunting" and "Finding Forrester." The Roger

Ebert review gave it the full four stars **** because it was unique and

courageous in depicting a school shooting without having or suggesting any

explanations for the tragedy--- these things just happen and we will never know why. I strongly disagree with this and I am an experienced psychiatrist--- there are always explanations, not necessarily simple or definitive, but clues to

aberrant behavior. The Ebert review does not mention the fact that these boys were homosexual lovers. It was not shown that they were exposed or made fun

of, but perhaps they were and/or perhaps they were afraid of getting outed.

Early in the movie was a classroom discussion exploring how you could tell if a person was gay. Was it obvious? If he wore pink or rainbow colored bracelets? Not necessarily. One wonders about being able to get assault rifles and

explosives in the mail from the internet or whether violent video games could add to the motivations, or footage from the Nazi era. There is no focus, no

suggestion as to how it could have happened, and one can only wonder in

retrospect how a film about a school shooting could spend 80% of the time

simply in tracking shots of kids walking down endless school corredors. It was pointless and boring, although some critics in this series made a point that it was all about alienation. I would question the weird music accompanying green skies, the kind of skies that accompany a tornado. The movie suffered from self- consciousness, an obvious attempt to be arty and stylish, but completely lacking in character development or meaningful plot or focus. One can only wonder

about contemporary standards or criteria for film awards.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This is a coming-of-age, rags-to-riches, princess-and-the-pauper movie. It's definitely grade B but at times affecting, at other times suspenseful, at other times Hallmark-romantic, but altogether tolerable, if not downright enjoyable. There's a lot here that is true-to-life and worth seeing. A masterpiece it is not. A classic, it is not. Still, try it, you'll like it. The acting is not bad and there are sub- plots worth viewing. One is how the kids deal with the death of their mother, and another about the father's premature attempt to find a replacement in a

duplicitous woman. The cute little boy has a hobby which leads to the undoing of the gold-digging new mom. The princess-girl gets her suburban upscale

girlfriends to take 'the bus' to the inner city. The inner city is full of nice people, we would like to believe.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A Harrowing Triumph of Justice in Racist Texas, 4 February 2004

I agree with the previous two reviews in that this was an excellent film all

around. I only hope that eventually a DVD will be available so that I can see it again. The depiction of the false accusation of murder and rape of a white girl by a black school janitor is gripping and harrowing. All the evils of the racist south are distilled in this prosecution and courtroom drama. The acting was

underplayed rather than melodramatic and appeared true to life. Despite the

horrors of prosecutorial intimidation, lying and deceit, a redeeming ending was not evident until the last few minutes. This movie should be seen by all those debating the value of the death penalty. The fact of the unredeemable lethal injection was ever present, adding to the tension and suspense.

Due East (2002) (TV)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Simplistic and contrived but somehow satisfying..., 9 December 2003

The story is a setup to blast conservative-religious attitudes toward a pregnant teenager attending high school. It does a good job and it's hard to believe a principal would actually expell a valedictorian girl just because she was pregnant and it made people uncomfortable. They way she was, everybody loved her and she got lots of support and the mean old principal had to back down, especially after she wrote a brilliant letter in the town newspaper that got her lots of support. What was satisfying was the quality of the acting of the girl, who had a quiet simple honesty and intelligence about her. In a pivotal scene the principal blusters "how could such an intelligent girl do something so STUPID?" She answered simply that she didn't PLAN to get pregnant... no surprise. The father of the child died and in the end... well, better not give it away. It's a touching scene.

Fourplay (2001)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
One scene makes the movie worth watching, 10 October 2003

There's not much to it except for beautiful people (Mariel

Hemingway) and a few funny situations. Not so funny is a

repetitive theme of unprovoked violence, which was passed off as

slapstick but proved more painful than funny.

The one scene was the couple in the marriage counsellor's office,

only the counsellor was a personnel counsellor and a hapless

chap that was clearly over his head, especially when the lovely lady

straight-facedly asked the counsellor to ask her husband, why

does he not like to kiss me between my legs like he used to. After

a go-around like that, she asked the counsellor to ask her

husband why he doesn't want her to make love with him with her

mouth anymore. "Ask him all the places where I do it." The park,

the Metro... "THE METRO?"

That's the funniest part about a half hour before the end. It's all

downhill after that.

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