Reviews written by registered user
sjm136

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11 reviews in total 
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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Closer to the truth, 18 March 2004

The only comment I have read thus far that encapsulated this film was by a Russian woman from Moscow. Everthing in this film evokes Russia in Summer for the period intended. There is a quality of innocence that is captured by the characters and lost in metaphor. The father represents Europe seducing a young capricious Russian female. Her young lover is the true Russian unable to save his love from her fate until in the end he stands as witness to her ruin and death. Turgenev felt very strongly, as do all Russian writers, that Russians must look to themselves for the future and they felt a duty to warn their country of the temptations that would lead to Russia's downfall. Kirsten Dunst does a very good job of portraying Zinaida as a young woman desperate to grow up and at the same time hold onto her past, much like Russia. Her older lover, Valdemar's father (Europe) cannot understand her devotion to him and abandons her to her fate. He doesn't have the endurance her real lover (Valdemar)has - or the patience.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Worth Seeing, 6 March 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

But not for children.I can see why there would be some who would say it's anti-Semetic but there's ample evidence of the real message in the film. *Spoiler* As Christ falls on the Via Appia his mother is there at his side. She says to him that she will always be with him and he replies, "You see Mother I make everything new." Stoic resolve in the face of unremitting sadism is something anyone of whatever creed can find redeeming.It's the flashbacks and the last couple of moments that make the whole film worthwhile.I really hope that anyone who sees it will recognise it for its universal message and see past what they feel may be justifiable criticism of the violent aspects and dubious historical references to the role of some of the protagonists.

14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A riddle wrapped in an enigma, 15 October 2003

I've seen David Lean's version, this version and studied (briefly) the life of Pasternak under the Communists. For some reason I can't find a Russian version of this novel - maybe some predjudice still lingers in the FSU. Of all the characters in this novel, Pasternak's favorite isn't Yuri - it's Lara. Maybe Winston Churchchill wasn't talking so much about Mother Russia as he was about her women (there's a reason they call it the Motherland). Russia is an impenetrable mystery, impossible to summarise in a few words and women such as Lara are very difficult to portray for a non-Russian. So don't be surprised if Keira Knightley doesn't seem to have captured the essence of Lara - in fact, she does quite a competent job, probably because of Julie Christie before her. The one quality that Christie had and which is reflected in Knightley is a quiet acceptance of fate (in Russian "sydba"). It's a quality that is very attractive and also the most irritating aspect of Lara. You want to yell at her to kick Komarovsky between the legs but she just soldiers on. Julie Christie , however, captured Lara in one look in David Lean's movie - when Omar Shariff enjoins her to go with Komarovsky and without a word, she looks back at Omar/Yuri with a wordless plea. Knightley's Lara is more forthright, more self assured and in that respect she is faithful to Pasternak's writing. But Christie - and that one look- will always be Lara to me.

Firelight (1997)
4 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Romantic? - Um, not......, 6 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***



Call me a little old-fashioned but I found the plot of `Firelight' a little disturbing....*LARGE SPOILER* Charles Godwin engages a woman to have sex with her for cash and thereby father a child because apparently he requires an heir, something his comatose wife is physically incapable of. Some years later, Sophie Marceau's Elisabeth tracks down her child who she's consigned to a man seemingly bereft of morals. In a fit of pique, she admonishes the young girl to `develop her mind' so as to have a chance in a world dominated by men where women are viewed as mere chattels. Prophetic words, but the daftness of the plot continues when Ms. Marceau's Elisabeth falls for the very same man who views her as little more than chattel and who, having brought his estate to ruin, finds a convenient way to have his cake, and the healthy Elisabeth, too. You guessed it - bump off the sick wife. If passion truly has no limits, then what kind of love is it where murder is justified by unrequited passion? Such love isn't true love at all because it is, in essence, selfish. Wrap this movie up in as much sugar as you like - this film boils down to a nasty little attempt to validate euthanasia.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Subtitles please!, 9 September 2003

Despite seeing this in the original (Russian) language, it's still a very funny touching film. Irina Seleznyova (see her in the Russian version of "Kreutzer Sonata")and Leonid Yarmolnik are perfect together. Both strike sparks from the moment they meet at Sheremetevo Airport. Their trip around Moscow and trial together is both entertaining and informative. Watching it helps anyone who hasn't been there understand why Moscow is one big village and the film itself is a welcome departure from the other violent Russian films like "Brat". 7.5/10

Spider-Man (2002)
Please put Peter's part in porportion, 16 July 2003

Having watched this movie until the end I can offer only one comment- and that is that it should be obvious to everyone who observed the costume of the caped crusader and its effect on Kirsten Dunst,(as it was to me after an hour of this drivel) that Mary Jane Watson prefers the perfect pecs of Peter Parker's speckled parka- probably.

Savior (1998)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Second Showing, 12 March 2002

I just saw this film again. It's not what a lot of bigots believe, about religion and supposed excesses of religion. It's more broad based covering all the negative aspects of the human psyche that stop us from focusing on ourselves as human rather than chunks of meat to the slaughter. It's not Quaid, the mercenary, who's the Savior. It's the small baby he can't abandon, left to his care by the woman who sacrificed herself for both of them, man and child. To hell with which side or psyche one belongs - the future is in the innocence hope represents.

Traffic (2000)
"Traffic" or "Traffik"?, 23 March 2001

Seeen it! Read the book (or in this case watch the UK production) before Hollywood makes a movie about it. The most telling scene was the final one where ..weell, watch the movie(or the mini-series) and you'll see the same thing. The only real difference is that while "Traffic" is set between the States and Meckhico, "Traffik" is set between England and Pakistan. It was also a bit hard to concentrate on "Traffic" with all the picture theatre laughing at what was supposed to be pathos..I suppose Kiwis are just a little too jaded when it comes to the subject of drugs and scumbag dealers.

"Traffik" (1989)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Better than "Traffic", 23 March 2001

Not sure if this version contains the same scene but "Traffic" has a conversation about the futility of law enforcement by a dealer to a cop that can be summed up by the cop: "There's only one thing wrong with all your math; you're busted". A lot of opinion about drugs and this very thought-provoking mini-series didn't rid me of my own opinion based on seeing dealers and their victims all around the world: dealers are the most evil s.o.b's walking the face of this earth and if anybody had seen what I've seen and still had a conscience they wouldn't waste time about the morality (or lack of it) when deciding what to do with people who deal. Try cleaning up someones vomit and then tell me drugs are glamorous.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
In Russia, no-one can hear you scream., 12 July 2000

This is as close as anyone wants to get to the facts. 1000's of people disappeared in Russia and no-one knows if they became attractions for the Underworld. The film itself doesn't come with the warning that it is based on a true story - because no-one would believe the terrifying truth.Thank God if you aren't there.


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