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45 reviews in total 
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Sarrainodu (2016)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Delightfully insane style over substance, 22 April 2016

The English subtitling for this Tollywood effort is rough, and much of the humor doesn't fully translate, but director Boyapati Srinu and "Stylish Star" Allu Arjun (aka "Bunny") succeed in transcending the language barrier with their waaaay over-the-top action scenes, and some infectiously fun - hip-hop influenced - dance sequences. Music is by SS Thaman, with choreography by Bollywood's Bosco, and it impresses and/or inspires giggles in equal measure.

The first half of this fully ridiculous ride is the strongest by far, highlighted by a nasty fight scene on skates at a roller park, and ultimately, with a show stopping massacre at the ill-fated marriage ceremony that concludes Act 1. Sadly, topping this visual mayhem would be next to impossible, which leaves the 2nd Act as a bit of let down.

Love interest for our impossibly unstoppable fighting superhero is provided - during most of the 1st Act - by Catherine Tresa, and - in the 2nd - by the very alluring and talented Rakul Preet Singh, easily the best of all of the actors in this film (and a fella's best reason for sticking around past intermission).

Poorly made, but emotionally effective in the end., 6 August 2015

OM JAI JAGADISH is actor Anupam Kher's directorial debut, and I enjoyed it, but it is not a great film by any measure. The editor toys with bafflingly haphazard jump cuts that are so artless and - frequently - minute, as to have virtually no effect at all. It's as if he were ordered to cut several minutes from the film, and having not a single clue how to do so, decided to randomly remove two frames here... four frames there... without any hint of reason. Similarly, the scriptwriter expects the audience to make leaps that Evel Kneivel wouldn't risk. And finally, the music, lyrics, and choreography are pleasing, but redundant. Each number briefly entertains (the first number not occurring until after the 30 minute mark), but is instantly forgotten as soon as it's over. Yet, despite the technical and artistic incompetence's, this film does somehow manage to move one before the final curtain falls.

Anil Kapoor, Fardeen Kahn, and Abhishek Bachchan play three brothers: Om, Jai, and Jagadish, respectively. Though not fully explained in the English subtitles, I gather that the names, spoken in order, replicate the beginning of a traditional Hindi prayer for family unity. In fact, the films full title is "Om Jai Jagadish: A Prayer For Togetherness".

Om is the eldest brother, an honest, responsible man who guards the family honor, while looking after his younger moral and financial well being, as best as he can afford. To Jagadish's disappointment, however, Om's financial ability appears to have been largely exhausted on sending Jai to American for a college education. This causes Jagadish's future (as a software designer) to have to sit on a back burner until Jai finishes his education and returns to India. Om's expectation is that Jai will agree to commit to a long term corporate position in India, which will earn him a large monetary advance (and apparent Indian custom), with which Om can pay back the loan he took out to finance Jai's education.

But the Americanized Jai has other ideas. He intends to pay his brother back, but he sees his options as brighter and more open in America, where committing to a long-term position could be career suicide. As such, he will not immediately be able to provide his brother with the lump sum that is needed to pay off the loan. Unbeknownst to Jai, however, this decision of his may cost Om the family home! Jagadish, in the meantime - who also does not know about the threat to the family home - spends his time hacking into the school computer in order to assist his friends with their grades and attendance records. Naturally, this lands him in great trouble, leading him to have to leave home, as he has so horribly embarrassed the family honor.

But wait a minute you say, what about Mahima Chowdhary, Urmila Matondkar, and Tara Sharma? Aren't they important to this film? Sadly, no. Chowdhary does a bit of vivacious dancing, but beyond that she is merely wallpaper. As for the stunning Matondkar (sigh!), she isn't even given a single song or dance to tantalize with! She is here merely as a symbol of the challenges that Westernization forces upon traditional Indian family values. Credit must be given to her for chutzpah, though! She must be very confident in her position within the Indian film industry in order to agree to play such an unlikable character. As for Sharma, like Chowdhary she does a bit of a dance floor tease (while wearing a super-mini fringe cowgirl skirt), but she is completely tangential to the plot.

The message of this movie, hammered in again and again, is that the strength to overcome adversity lies NOT in money, but in familial love. And before the end of the film, I'll be damned if I didn't buy it, Bolly-hook, Bolly-line, and tear-drenched Bolly-sinker!

Vinyl (2000)
Pretty damned near brilliant, 7 May 2015

Pretty damned near brilliant. Director Zweig interviews, nay - psycho-analyzes, and CROSS-EXAMINES - record collectors in an effort to understand the roots of his own obsessiveness, loneliness and feelings of self-loathing. Among the collectors he's interviews are Harvey Pekar, Guy Madden and Bruce La Bruce, though nobody is identified in the film. Make no mistake, some of the collectors put under his microscope are quite sick, more hoarders than collectors, allowing their obsessions to paint their lives into a frighteningly cluttered corner. Though - as a collector myself - it could be rather painful to watch at times, and though the directors soul-searching occasionally wanders a bit too far, this is really a MUST SEE for any collector!

14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
If you enjoy laughing AT a tedious film with stoned friends, this might just be for you., 17 August 2014

I believe that Markastzm's review gets everything right, except one very thing. Indeed, he is correct that the mimes and the sharks both represent "The Man", and also that the film does not refute hippie ideals, but rather shows the unrelenting glee "The Man" takes in squashing those embracing those ideals. Markastzm is wrong, however, when he states that "Neither the characters, the actors, nor the director take themselves too seriously". There is an interview with two of the actors on the blu-ray disc and they indicate that took all of this very seriously, and that - to some extent - they all naively thought they were making a important statement. And it is precisely this that makes this film such a jaw-droppingly WTF oddity. Tedious to no end, but also fun in the right mindset with the right group of friends.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
funny, odd and adorable, 11 August 2014

I caught a 35mm screening of MY WEAKNESS at the 12th annual Capitolfest in Rome, NY and absolutely adored it. It's a twist on Pygmalion in which an uncouth office cleaning woman (Lilian Harvey) with hidden intentions, agrees to a make-over, leading her to deceive three different men into wanting to marry her... Charles Butterworth, Henry Travers and Lew Ayers. The dialogue is often reminiscent of what one might expect from the mouth of Groucho Marx, and it is laden with innuendo (when chastised for not taking an interest in his uncle's brassier manufacturing business, the playboy nephew indicates he does his best to stay in touch with their product," and in another scene, a saleswoman announces that "brassieres will be half-off on Tuesday".) Best of all is a song titled YOU CAN BE HAD - BE CAREFUL sung by animated nick-knacks, toys, human wine-stopper cork figurines and Rodin's "The Thinker", one figurine ridiculously having the voice of Popeye. Additionally, movie star magazine portraits join the chorus, adding the (imitated?) voices of - among others - Janet Gaynor, Clara Bow and Will Rogers (whose daughter, Mary, also has a role in the film). Also featured in the film - as Cupid - is Harry Langdon.

Aberdeen (2014)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
An focus on women's issues with an troubling message, 11 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film has a decided focus on women's issues including a look at sexual exploitation in the acting/modeling business, the constant pressure a woman feels to remain young-looking in order to keep their stinkin' husband from cheating, the life of self-loathing that can follow in the wake of certain mother/daughter issues, the bullying a female child is subjected to when she is not seen as being as pretty as her classmates, and the personal and professional difficulties that can come later in life for women judged less attractive. Given this focus, it is peculiar that the film appears to tell parents that they should not worry about their unattractive female children because a) the bullies are more likely to live with guilt over this, than the victims are to be damaged, and b) the girls can always choose to have plastic surgery when they're older! What I WANT to think is that there's a subtitle translation issue, and what was MEANT was that girls choosing plastic surgery should be made to feel no more stigma about doing so, than one should feel in choosing to be a "housewife" over other careers. I fear that this massaging of the message is merely wishful thinking on my part, however. Other qualms: In what world would a young attractive woman be horny for (I don't care if he's a physician of not) an old troll like Eric Tsang? Also, is it possible that a woman in HK – particularly one in the modeling/acting industry – would not have ever considered having oral sex with her husband? And even harder to believe, how is it possible that an extremely handsome and popular man would not have even ever asked his wife if she might consider oral sex? All that said, I enjoyed this film a lot, despite it's ultimate insensitivity to the very issues it observes.

Zhong gui (1983)
slow to start, but oh my, what a finish!, 28 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A grave robber is chased onto the road and accidentally run over by taxi driver, Philip Ko Fei. Ko Fei gets out of the car to check on the man, but he has disappeared, only to reappear in Ko Fei's back seat. He tells Ko Fei that he is a Taoist wizard and he used black magic to save himself from death. He also tell's Ko Fei that he (Ko Fei) is now cursed to a life of misfortune for having crossing paths with him. Sure enough, we soon discover that Ko Fei's wife is having an affair with the married Norman Chu. Roughly 20 minutes of unspectacular nude romping leads up to Chu refusing her offer of the both of them leaving their spouses for one another. She gets angry and jumps out of the car, but not before the pair have an ugly encounter with a couple of cocky young men in a red sports car. Both cars leave, and the woman then makes her way to a phone booth, where she calls her hubby's taxi dispatcher to ask that they send Ko Fei over immediately to fetch her. Before he gets there, however, the guys in the red sports car return. They abduct her and take her to an abandoned mansion, where one of them rapes her and knocks her about a bit, accidentally causing her to fall over a balcony ledge to her death. Upon arriving at the phone booth, Ko Fei receives another call from the taxi dispatcher informing him that his wife is now at the mansion, a message that seems rather curious, given that nobody at the mansion had access to a phone, and – in fact – when questioned later, the dispatcher says she made no such call to Ko Fei. Ko Fei then seeks out the Taoist wizard for help and THAT is when the film really begins to get good. It takes a LONG time to get to this point (maybe 40 minutes), but everything from this point on is great fun involving a reanimated corpse with a need to be "seeded", the demonic possession of Norman Chu's wife, and the bloody, explosive birth of the corpse's revenge-seeking evil seed!

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A metaphor for life. We fail to see how quickly it passes.. and how completely we decline., 6 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an unusual film that follows Neddy (the very fit Burt Lancaster, 53 years old at the time of filming), as he decides to swim (and hike) from one friends private luxury pool located at one end of a large well-to-do county, to his own home at the other end of the county, via a series of widely spread apart pools belonging – mostly - to socialite friends. On it's surface, it can appear to be the story of a man who has lost his money and social position, yet has little or no memory of this loss. What it is actually about, I believe, is the rapid passage of our adult lives. Even in our middle-ages, we start out feeling young, healthy and full of both friends and confidence, yet – far faster than we are able to recognize – we lose one thing after another, usually due to our own poor choices, finally ending up cold, exhausted and alone. This is partially signaled in the film by the ever-faster change of both the seasons and weather, but also in the change in people's attitudes toward Neddy, most dramatically, in the lightening fast change of heart Julie (Janet Landgard) exhibits toward him. To Neddy, she is in one moment infatuated with him, and in the next repulsed, but I contend - in reality - a fair amount of time has passed from the beginning of their stroll together (when she seemed barely more than a child), until the end of their journey, by which point she appears to be a somewhat more mature, experienced woman with an apartment and job in the city. Along his own path in life, Neddy has cheated on his wife, taken fromfriends without giving back, unthinkingly distanced himself from other friends for long periods of time, and deliberately turned his back on childhood friends as he climbed social ladders that they could not. And – seemingly (to him, anyway), in the mere blink of an eye - he realizes that he has lost everything... his wife, his lover, the respect of his children, and every single scrap of his status. He has not only become unwelcome at the pools of his former friends, but has become so "dirty" that he is not even welcome at the public pool, where even the attendants snub and insult him.

The Mist (2007)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining, yet rather troubling re-imagining of NOTLD and DAWN, 6 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frank Darabont, the director of SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE GREEN MILE, once again adapts a Stephen King story and somehow manages to create an entertaining little jump-shocker, despite the story being little more than a rewrite of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD... right down to a horrifyingly downbeat ending. Disappointingly, this films ending lacks the pitch black social criticism of Romero's ending, wherein - of course - the "establishment" rescuers ended up killing the films heroic survivor. Instead, in this version, the rescuers are merely too late to stop our hero from doing something horrific, yet they are seemingly quite successfully at saving many others. Thus, in the end, the "moral" of THE MIST seems to simply be about the power of fear to make us behave toward each other in terrible ways. Sure, there's an important message there, but it lacks the political bite of the message in the film that it borrows from, thus making it feel inferior. And by substituting creatures-from-another-dimension for zombies, the film also loses an additional, dread-inspiring, man-against-himself element.

But enough with comparisons to NOTLD, you say? OK, but there's also this... by setting the story in a supermarket, King has also borrowed significantly from another Romero film, DAWN OF THE DEAD. And sadly, it does so without including any equivalent to DAWN's darkly comic social critique. In short, THE MIST can't help but be compared to these other films, and these comparisons can only leave it lacking. Though I enjoyed THE MIST, and would certainly watch it again, I very much wish King had found a more fully original structure to hang his story on.

Dreadnaught means "Fearless", 30 March 2014
8/10 I urge those with a fear of subtitles to "man-up" and make an exception for this film, as watching the dubbed version offers a very different, and inferior experience, to watching the subtitled version. The main issue is with the tone, which is more difficult to nail down with the dubbed version. In fact, Sunny Yuen Shun-yi – despite having no lines - comes off more comic than frighteningly psychotic in the dubbed version due to that version's prevailing tone... or rather, its awkward shifts from one tone to another. Sure, quite a lot of the film is comic, and both versions are hampered by scenes of that wacky cross-eyed pie-in-the-face humor that writer Wong Jing so adores, but still... these maddeningly ridiculous bits manage to seem more like "asides" in the subtitled version, thus allowing for far more successful shifts to the scenes of brutal terror. In any case, though often doubled, its nonetheless great to see Kwan Tak-hing (in his final film appearance) as the legendary Wong Fei-hung, a role he played in over 100 other films! Also, Leung Ka-yan (aka, "Beardy", though entirely beardless here) is as likable as ever, even though he is portraying a particularly trouble-making version of Master Wong's famed protégé, Leung Foon. Highlights include two terrific Lion Dances (the 2nd even more fantastic than the 1st), a classic bout of Tailor-fu (Fung Hark-on vs. Kwan Tak-hing), some very clever Doctor-fu (Shan Kwai/San Kuai vs. Kwan Tak-hing), and Lili Li as the scolding sister of Yuen Biao, who manages to teach him Laundy-fu without his being aware of it, a skill that - naturally - comes in quite handy in a final confrontation between Biao and Shun-yi. Yuen Woo-ping, of course, directs and choreographs the action with an assist from his famed "Yuen Clan". Also starring Philip Ko Fei as Wong Fei-hung's crosstown nemesis

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