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Nice visuals, but ridiculous even for a genre, 25 January 2005

Not being a great fan of the "historic martial-arts" movies I have nevertheless enjoyed Crouching Tiger and loved Hero. I went to see the House of Flying Daggers hoping it would be in the same league. To me it was not. I'd say it was on par with Iron Monkey, with even thinner plot which grows less and less believable throughout the movie and becomes outright ridiculous during the last 15 minutes. Actually after seeing the film I learned that one of things that I considered a reality lapse was not originally in the script and actually happened during the filming - go figure. On the plus side visuals and especially colors are stunning, sequences are well choreographed and actors are good-looking - what else can one ask for?

Onegin (1999)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
onegin in the style of..., 15 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**** CONTAINS A possible SPOILER for those who have not read the book ****

I remember back in school we were doing silly projects like Cinderella in the style of Kurasava, or as an action movie. This movie is something like that. And although I could not exactly pinpoint of what exactly, but it's definitely Onegin in the style of something. Don't get me wrong - the movie has it's strong points - Liv is as pleasant to look at as anywhere else... What "made" the film for me, and still is the defining (only) moment I remember is the duel scene, where <SPOILER> the bullet is shown to hit Lensky's head and his brains fan out from the other side in a VERY slow motion </SPOILER>.

But what can make this film from a mere "painless 5" into an "unforgettable 11", is if you speak Russian, and have read (memorized) the original, get a Russian version, which instead of just reading Pushkin is dubbed with synchro translation of the English dialog back into Russian. It's truly hilarious.

19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Exquisitely depressing, 28 April 2004

This film is very well written, directed, acted and executed. It contains some great humor. It works on multiple levels and has a lot of symbols (if Parigi was Lynch's pupil the master would be proud of him). However the film is very depressing, probably the most depressing I have seen in a while. And I being a big fan of dark comedies, do not get depressed easily.

I left the film in a very bad mood, a dire need of a strong drink and desire to see a silly comedy, action, romance - anything to get rid of the aftertaste...

I would recommend it to an emotionally stable connoisseur, though...

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Quintessentially American movie, 19 January 2004

I was truly surprised when I learned that it was directed by a Brit, who also shot some pretty good movies. It presses all the right emotional buttons and I expected it would be correlated with the likes of Black Hawk Down – wrong again. Maybe I just did not get something about the movie. The thing which amazed me most it the plot – the film is about an American, which went to another country, broke the laws of that country, got himself caught, received a severe punishment as a result of US pressure on Turkey to fight drug trafficking. While serving his sentence he breaks many rules, customs and regulations, tries to escape, gets caught again and finally escapes killing in the process a law enforcement officer. And he is a HERO – the director skillfully employs every trick in the book to make us feel for the guy and rejoice at the ending.

To me it's a must-see movie for those of us who were born outside the US of A and seek to understand how the natives think, feel and relate to the outside world. It might also help to understand the recent and past LIBERATIONS of ungrateful nations.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
boring beyond belief, 7 March 2003

I kept watching it and not believing that a film which received that much acclaim from all the "right" sources could be so dull. Kept telling my wife let's watch another 10 minutes, something must happen... but to no avail... she left, took the shower, came back after 20 minutes - "what did I miss?" "well, nothing really...". You get my drift... The only message I got from it: if you marriage is stained, try doing something fun together, like ... murder. Might help.

An excellent illustration to the book, 10 December 2001

There have been some truly excellent reviews, so I just wanted to add a few strokes which the previous people might have missed.

The Director swore to stay close to the book and he did that. Too close in fact, so to those of us who are familiar with the book and see movies as an art form in itself it looked like a series of excellent illustrations with moving characters in them (like illustrations in all the magical books should be :) I was curious how it would look to someone who had NOT read the book (yes however hard it is to believe, but such people do exist), and I found one. Her reaction was: "It was a very pretty cartoon strip".

And finally the Quidditch (?sp?) Match was perhaps a bit too long and had too much influence of G. Lucas (not that either are necessary bad things - it was very visual).

GO SEE IT (if you haven't yet), but do read the book first and try to get it on the biggest screen there is around).

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
well made, acted and directed, but still somehow disappointing, 10 July 2001

I went to see it base on a recommendation of a friend, who almost always gets it right for me. It is the kind of movie I like. It has all the right ingredients... And yet I left disappointed. Why? I have been trying to answer that question for the last couple of day. The answer (I think) is "for the same reason I did not like Eyes Wide Shut". I kept watching it and wondering "why did someone make this movie?". And it's not that every movie HAS to have a point - I have enjoyed many totally devoid of it, but it was missing so ... deliberately? And also it was FULL of symbols, most of which I either could not get, or they were plainly out of place and context. My recommendation - go and see it if anything to figure out what's wrong with it.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
weaker then I expected based on the plot., 19 October 2000

The plot & idea were quite interesting and deserved a much more professional implementation. Both acting and directing seemed amateur at times.

I was disappointed that this supposedly independent film had very weak and quite Hollywood-style ending.

weaker then the original MI, 5 June 2000

I really liked the original MI (still not quite sure why). This one left me somewhat disapointed. It was less believeble (more UNbelievable), more predictable and I kept thinking that it must have been a different director (which it was). The only really good thing about it is Thandie Newton - she was great.