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Praying with Lior (2008)
A cute story, but superficial
This is a very cute story, but there could have been a lot more to it. The story is only about Lior's journey to his bar mitzvah, and there are only two brief moments of philosophical exploration. The first is when Lior's father says that Lior has fewer "veils" between himself and God, and the second is when a woman suggests that Lior is just imitating that which earned him praise when he was younger. There's a lot of room for philosophy here, and the movie could have been a lot longer. But it's not - there's only the story of a young man.
Praying with Lior is definitely cute. Lior himself is very high-functioning and I think this movie is relevant to both the Jewish community and intellectual disability communities. It's a fun watch, but don't look for too much in-depth philosophy.
Ai rabu yû (1999)
This was a great movie, my first time seeing what it is like for deaf people in Japan. I never saw JSL before but I think I learned a few words from this movie! I go to Gallaudet University and I will have to ask around to see if there are any Japanese students there, because I would like to learn more JSL from them. This movie was very sweet with a happy ending! They seem to have used deaf actors and actresses but there are also some characters (Asako's husband, the neighbor girl) who are hearing but seem to be very good in JSL. There are some very tender moments but it turns out to be a very positive movie. I didn't know the ILY sign was used all over the world! I got this movie off eBay on DVD so you might be able to find it too...the English subtitles are pretty good so anybody can enjoy it. (If you are Japanese and deaf, you might be able to find a version with Japanese subtitles, because not all of it is signed, there are some parts that are spoken only.)
Passable but not outstanding.
I was surprised to find so many comments already on this movie; I didn't realize that it had been widely released in Europe before it was available in the U.S. I just saw a special screening as part of a perfume club event, and I was approaching this from the perspective of someone who had not read the book.
The movie is pretty good, but that's all I can say about it. I felt no attachment to any of the characters, particularly any of the girls - it had no impact on me when they met their fates. I found Grenouille an utterly distasteful character, and not at all well-played; the actor did not seem to put any heart into the role, I didn't think he made it his own...he was wooden the whole time. Dustin Hoffman, on the other hand, was an excellent choice for his role.
"Perfume" is artistically decent. It was refreshing to see a well-crafted movie that was not a huge Hollywood blockbuster - from an American perspective, the film is somewhat edgy, but it was easy to look at...not a single scene was poorly designed.
A word of caution for animal lovers: Avert your eyes during the scene where Grenouille discovers the smells of glass and copper cannot be distilled.
Jenseits der Stille (1996)
Sign languages around the world
Contrary to previous comments, sign language is NOT the same around the world. It is true that American Sign Language and French Sign Language are quite similar; this is because one of the first teachers of the deaf in the United States was a Frenchman, Laurent Clerc. However, at the the present time, French and American Sign Languages only have about 50% lexical similarity. Additionally, although German Sign Language is somewhat similar to other European sign languages, it is not related to ASL at all.
The sign language used by the little girl in this movie is German Sign Language. Her father is played by an American deaf man and her mother is played by a French deaf woman; their signing in German Sign Language is understandably accented.
For the record, I am a certified interpreter in American Sign Language.
Delightful classic for gymnastics fans
Filmed just after Nadia dropped out of international spotlight and defected to the United States, this movie is a real classic for gymnastics fans. It is extremely difficult to find but occasionally turns up on television or eBay.
The film follows Nadia from childhood through the 1980 Olympics, and along the way chronicles her battles with her coaches, depression, suicide, and the lack of a "normal" childhood. There is also some perspective on the changes taking place in the Romanian government, and of course some wonderful gymnastics routines. Highlights include actual footage of Nadia at the Montreal Olympics (when she got the first perfect 10) and also great performances by Marcia Frederick.
I remember watching this movie many times when I was young! I always had to fast forward through the part when she first opens the tin because the dessicated body was too much for me as a young child. But I too first knew Max Wright from this movie than anywhere else! It's a very cute movie. I have even found that now that I am an adult, many of my mannerisms are the same as Bertie's...my house looks the same! I do have to warn small children away from that scene, though. The factory scenes may also be intense for young viewers. Highly recommended as a family movie, with perhaps some explanation for small children about adoption.
Rose Red (2002)
Not very scary, not very engrossing, not very good.
While Stephen King has written some excellent works and some of those have worked very well on film, this is not one of them. The haunted house theme has been done over and over, and King just reuses the same old tricks. The movie is not scary, but is actually rather comical - the characters are all stereotypes and only a few of them possess any actual depth. The miniseries was amusing enough but I certainly wouldn't want to watch it again. This was a promising concept that was unfortunately not carried out well. The primary bright spot comes from Matt Ross's performance as Emery, one of the few truly interesting characters in the film. Kimberly J. Brown's portrayal of Annie was supposed to be a big draw, but I found the character unbelievable, unrealistic, unlikeable, and had no sympathy for the girl who was supposed to earn sympathy more than anyone else.
nice show from Stockard Channing
Stockard Channing probably doesn't remember that she was in this movie, but it's a great biopic about a deaf stuntwoman. Deaf viewers should be warned that Kitty O'Neill was an oralist! Colleen Dewhurst and Brian Dennehy are also pleasing as Kitty's parents.
Predictable, yes, but thrilling just the same
As soon as the movie begins, we know how it's going to end. And yet "Fear" stays captivating the whole time. What makes it so interesting is the exploration of human emotion: the use of fear as a tool of communication. Yes, this is a movie about psychics and psychopaths, but it's also a movie about exploring the depth of human understanding.
The Tunnel (1935)
Amazing idea, well-executed film
The concept of the movie is very basic: the building of a tunnel connecting the eastern United States with the island of Great Britain. If this were actually possible, it would probably have been done long before now -- but this film is an excellent portrayal of the possibilities. It's quite entertaining for not only fans of old movies, but for history buffs as well -- and even students of transportation should enjoy it!