22 Reviews
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Entertaining: Yes; True: Er.. Hm.. Define "true"
29 April 2005
It is entertaining. How much of it is true? Well, define "true". Like other documentaries and too often news programmes the footage has been edited to give Michael Moore's version of the truth. In this he is no different to his opponents and peers.

As with any such work you should not watch it in isolation if you are looking for truth rather than entertainment.

There are some poignant scenes which make some thoughtful points. Not least regarding the US military recruitment process.

I'd recommend the film to anyone. Very entertaining. Just take it with a pinch of salt as you would any news or documentary programme. If you are concerned - do your own research.
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Has passed the test of time....
22 April 2005
If I had voted for this the first time I saw it I may not have given it such a high score. But I have seen it a number of times now and it continues to entertain. There is nothing exceptional about the performances by the players, or the setting. But the concept, however, it just simply appeals. Perhaps it appeals to its own generation most and so continues to appeal to them as the get older. It's about a group of white teenagers in Middle America but it still reaches to the viewer wherever they are as it addresses some of the issues all teenagers face to a greater or lesser degree. Perhaps that is why it passes the test of time. It is the sort of film which could be remade every 40 years for a new generation.
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Good adaption of the original Japanese version
22 April 2005
Since this is a remake it is difficult to comment without reference to the original. Japanese and American cultures are somewhat different, this is a good adaptation of the original Japanese film (which I enjoyed very much - I do ballroom dance too). This too was very enjoyable. The dialogue has been updated to suite the American audience and the different cultural back ground. This makes it a more accessible version to the western audience than the Japanese version; otherwise it's a reasonable remake of a lovely film. Richard Gere, Lisa Ann Walter and Jennifer Lopez turned in good performances on the dance floor, though I must admit I liked the dance scenes in the original better.
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Mostly Martha (2001)
Bitter sweet with emotional flavours
20 June 2003
Not exactly a comedy as billed, though amusing in places, never the less a good film. Excellent for those who like food and food films. Well acted, great little film. Doesn't top 'Eat, Drink, Man, Woman' by Ang Lee, though.
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The one which should have won an oscar!
26 March 2002
This is a poignant film based of the real experiences of E.R. Braithwaite.

It's difficult to define what makes a film a classic. But I believe this is one. You can watch it time and again.

The film addresses issues which (sadly) are still current today.

Most often I think of the way in which the children in the film are reported in the newspaper after a visit to the school by a reporter and photographer. Whenever I read an article about delinquents in school in a newspaper today, I take it with a pinch of salt. The one thing which has not changed since the '40's and '50's is the way in which the media colours the truth to make a sellable story.
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The Postman (1997)
The sound of music really makes it.
11 March 2002
Not a bad interpretation of the book, but did not really keep me entertained nor did it really transport me to this fictional time.

The best bit was the clip of The Sound of Music, which the people, tired of war and misery, preferred to an action movie.
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Excellent acting by both Jodie and Yun-Fat.
20 October 2001
This is a colourful version of the story, really supported by Jodie Foster and Yun-Fat Chow. Yun-Fat Chow plays the king ruling an ancient kingdom facing the inevitable progress of the modern world into his country. Jodie plays the English governess who is asked to teach the Kings children. These two really make the film. Their relationship developing a depth and intensity, which Jodie and Yun-Fat make feel as you watch, despite the gulf of responsibility and culture between them.
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Spartacus (1960)
A classic historical movie, restored
14 August 2001
I recently saw this again in the cinema (previously only on TV) in a restored 70mm format. I really enjoyed seeing it in this format.

At slightly over three hours in length it is not a long film to tell the story. By modern standards some scenes may be slow but overall the pace was appropriate for the sombre story of downtrodden slaves seeking freedom from manipulating Roman overlords.

The colours and cinematography are excellent. Alas I can only imagine how it looked when first released in 1960. The restorers have worked well but the clarity of the picture has been lost in parts of some frames. The casting is good with all turning in good performances in their roles.

Leaves the modern efforts like Gladiator looking flashy but lacking depth and scope.

Given the number of times this has been shown on TV it is obviously still popular with many of the viewing public. However if you do get the chance to see it on the big screen in 70mm it is still worth the entrance fee.
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I never tire of this film
14 August 2001
I have seen this film a number of times, most memorably at the Nederlands Film Museum, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, to live accompaniment. When seen with such accompaniment, the film is a delight to watch, with the film and music and live sound effects making a real evenings entertainment.

A classic silent movie with all fun of the fairground. A fairy tale which is enriched by the style and presentation of the times.

Fairbanks plays an excellent thief full of mischief and daring.
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Robin Hood (1922)
The predecessor to Mel Brooks men in tights
14 August 2001
Fairbanks doing what he does well, playing the Hero, to the delight of everyone. The story is well told with the images and the film is fun when seen with live accompaniment.

The rendition of Robin Hoods 'Merry Men' could obviously be the inspiration for Mel Brooks 'Men in tights'.
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The Good, The Bad and the Silly
13 August 2001
Falls into the 'B' movie category. The plot is outlined in other members comments so I won't repeat them here. The film is a little predicable. It has the Good (and lovely) cop, the Bad cop and the silly parole officer. The jokes are OK, though it has all the hall marks of a made for TV movie rather than a big cinema film. For all that it was nice to watch. But don't expect to see it at the Oscars.
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Pearl Harbor (2001)
Two films in one and neither live up to expectations
13 August 2001
The film, while named Peal Harbor, covers two war time events. The Japanese attack on Peal Harbour and the 'Dolittle' raids in April 42 on Japan by US bombers flown from carriers.

Really the film is just a triangular romance set during the war incorporating the above events.

Hollywood thoughtfully presumes, though not accurately, that pilots trained to fly fighter planes will obviously make expert bomber pilots.

The effects were good and the film does address the affects on the ground during the Pearl Harbour raid more than previous depictions.

Where the film really falls down is in over setting expectations. By calling the film Peal Harbor people will judge it as such. However the film is a romance set in a war.

If you want a film on Peal Harbour you still should watch Tora! Tora! Tora!

There has been nothing beter since.
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A high scoring film in the votes for its quality not content.
13 August 2001
This is a unique film, it is worthy of note due to Leni Riefenstahl's powerful ability to use imagery to make a documentary / propaganda film. Interesting in terms of how a director uses the imagery to portray the values and feeling of the time.

I have heard the film likened to a party political broadcast. However such broadcasts usually endeavour to set out the parties ideology and plans. In 'Triumph des Willens', despite its two hour length, there is very little of either. What Leni Riefenstahl portrays is the beginning of the personality cult. Frequent cut away's, Hitler always has the last word, the greatest applause. Aspects such as continuity are given little attention as the focus in on the imagery.

Many techniques used by Leni Riefenstahl in this film became the standard for other later dictators in their propaganda films and are still used today.

The film documents the party rally the NSDAP (Nazi party) held in Nuremberg in 1934, having been in power for one year. It is also shortly after the 'night of the long knives' in which Hitler's henchmen consolidated their power by murdering opposition within their own ranks. It is therefore as much a bit of breast beating as propaganda, hence the title 'Triumph des Willens'.

If, in watching the film, you feel 'I've seen that before' then you probably have. A great many 'clips' have been taken from this film and used in other documentaries covering the period, giving testimony to the quality of Leni Riefenstahl's work.

A last note: Leni Riefenstahl's requests for royalties for public viewing of the film have always been refused, so she has earned little from it, despite it's infamy. The film is held by the Imperial War Museum and is considered War Booty.
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Classic British war film, showing comradeship, determination and stiff upper lip.
11 August 2000
This is a classic movie about a group of soldiers and nurses struggling against the desert during WWII with the thought of an ice-cold beer in Alex to sustain them in their journey.

All the usual interpersonal rivalries as they cope with success and failure.

Classic British war film, showing comradeship, determination, stiff upper lip and humanity in the face of war.
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A delightful family film, as much about Japanese culture as Ballroom dancing.
9 August 2000
This film revolves as much around Japanese culture as it does the lives of one modern Japanese family. Physical contact is frowned upon for those over 7 (especially in public) hence all that bowing instead of hugging even when you are close friends/ relatives. Ballroom dancing involves putting your arms around someone else and that in public too! Never the less Ballroom dancing is (on the quite) immensely popular. People who do Ballroom dancing in Japan are viewed a bit like nudists in the west... many more would like to than do but are inhibited by the culture. A delightful family film, which any amateur dancer would enjoy for the dance sequences alone. I understand that it was more popular than Titanic in Japan. I guess the Japanese are just like the rest of us - they like to be hugged too.
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An entertaining presentation of history
3 June 1999
I first saw this film on British TV (shown in the middle of the night during a TV based 24 hour fund raising event). Worried I might fall asleep before the film, I recorded it.

It remains one of my prized possessions.

The film's message (and final song) is 'Give peace a chance'. It is a remarkable collage of film clips (from movies and documentaries and actual war footage) and music. The film is an entertaining presentation of history, showing many aspects of the second world war.

Particularly interesting for historians of WWII and/or Beatles music.

Over the Christmas 1992/93 I saw a similar film on Dutch TV using classical music and footage of the Balkan conflict (the Serbia vs Croatia one, for those who have lost count), showing the carnage of the war. Since then we've had Bosnia. Now it's Kosovo.

Perhaps it is time to re-release this film for a new generation.

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
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Ludwig 1881 (1993)
A poignant film with a Ludwig of added depth and subtlety.
3 June 1999
Donatello Dubini and Fosco Dubini have produced a well scripted film, giving a more in depth view of just one episode in Ludwigs life. Helmut Berger again plays Ludwig adding subtlety and experience to the role he played in the original film Ludwig (1972).

It's not often an actor gets to play the same role in a different film. Helmut Berger's portrayal of Ludwig was good in Ludwig (1972). In Ludwig 1881, he plays Ludwig again with all the experience he has gathered since the original film. Donatello Dubini and Fosco Dubini have produced a wonderful script, managing to tempt Helmut Berger back to play Ludwig again. The result is a King Ludwig II of more depth and subtlety and a poignant film with beautiful scenes of the Swiss lake.

The most memorable moment is when the king gives Josef Kainz a watch (also shown in Ludwig -1972).
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A rare re-make - added something to the original
2 June 1999
Is it a re-make? The plot is clearly based on Chris Marker's 'La Jetee' (and acknowledged in the opening credits). Terry Gilliam has taken the plot and really fleshed it out. I saw the film at a small independent cinema in Amsterdam which was showing La Jetee and then 12 Monkeys. Terry Gilliam has managed to make the film Chris Marker didn't have the money for. Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt add the depth needed to the characters. La Jetee is a great French film. Generally I hate the American re-makes of successful French films. 12 Monkeys is a rare re-make, it really adds something to the original.
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Twin Dragons (1992)
More Hong Kong films please...
2 June 1999
This is an old film cashing in (in best Hollywood style) on Jackie Chans recent success in the west. The Hong Kong film makers are still the masters of this type of silly action comedy. It's badly dubbed, poorly edited, the plot is silly... but the martial arts, stunts and jokes are excellent and so it's as much fun as all those really old Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies. I hope this success will get more of the Hong Kong movies onto the European film circuit.
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Bugsy Malone (1976)
2 June 1999
Like all period films this is timeless. It is characterised by the fun and enthusiasm shown by the young cast (average age 12). Who wouldn't have wanted to join in. Films don't have to be grand with big budgets to entertain. I read somewhere once that the film was shot with an amazingly low number of re-takes. An indication of how easy it can be to work with children. Of all films made with a cast of only children this one has to be the best. A film which I go to see whenever I find it showing somewhere. Excellent stuff for the big kids (like me) around.
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Zulu (1964)
Still awesome
2 June 1999
I first saw this movie in 1971 when I was 9. I thought it was just awesome. I recently saw it again. It's still awesome. There is little amongst the latest crop of great movies which are it's equal, including Schindlers list. The sheer scale of the movie, the size of the cast means that modern movie makers are unlikely ever to equal it. Excellent film making and acting. As a period film it is of course timeless. In 1999 it is just as watchable as I found it in 1971.
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An excellent film in its category.
6 May 1999
This film I saw when it first came out in 1993. It made such an impression that I can still recall many scenes and the whole story. Ken Loach creates really believable characters who might live next door. He builds and presents the story so the viewer really becomes involved in the cast's problems. It remains my favourite Ken Loach film. An excellent film in its category.
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