11 Reviews
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Deliciously chaotic
21 February 2004
This movie is about gypsys. it's also about love, death, family, business, alcohol, crime, and barnyard animals.

I'm not too sure how close Emir Kusturica's movie is to reality, but the reality he presents is one in which people, second-hand appliances, geese and two cats exist in a swirl of chaos. this chaos is only apparent, because it's obvious that generation after generation maintains this chaotic existence. that doesn't mean it's not one of the funniest circumstances I've seen in a long time.

For it's originality, humor and brilliant screenwriting, I whole-heartedly give this movie 7/10.
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Pearl Harbor (2001)
In one word: dissapointment
15 December 2003
Tsk tsk tsk. What a miss.

Michael Bay had the chance to tell a great story, and do it in a magnificent way. instead, he tried to please everybody, or so it seems. The result is a mish-mash of historic facts, cinematic cliches and the worst of it: a corny story.

The on-screen love triangle between the leading characters doesn't work, and I'm not really sure what makes it so unbelievable. the competition is hard between the mediocre acting, the lame dialogue or the forcing of it on the historical story.

One point of bright light in this movie is the cinematography. Michael Bay certainly knows how to shoot sunsets and explosions. And there's plenty of both. Unfortunately for us, even the best scene in the movie, the actual attack on Pearl Harbor, is shot without any real flight, pun intended.

And I'm not even gonna start about the rhythm of the movie.

For wasting 3 hours of my life I'm never gonna get back, this movie receives a 5/10.
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Panic Room (2002)
A brilliant exercise in cinematography
23 November 2003
The art of cinema is first and foremost a visual art. David Fincher brings this visual aspect to new heights every time, which makes him one of my favorites. His expert use of the camera can be matched to Christopher Nolan's mastery of editting.

The idea of the movie is not really amazing: a mother (Foster) and her diabetic daughter (Kristen Stewart) move into a spacious townhouse, and on their first night there three burglars break in. Their only defense is the built-in panic room, which unfortunately is what the thieves are after. So far, nothing innovative.

The story contains a few twists, and this is a suspense movie more than anything else. But to me, the real beauty of the movie is the cinematography. I've seen this movie on a big screen, and again on a TV screen, and both are remarkable. This is a rare quality in movies.

The soundtrack dictates a suspense atmosphere very adequately, and the actors are quite good (though not amazing). After you've seen this movie once to enjoy the storyline, watch it again with the sound off, just to enjoy the breathtaking shots and the lighting of the scenes.

For the excellence in filming, I gave this movie 8/10.
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It's OK, we don't need a story
8 November 2003
Bottom line - I liked it. The soft belly of every movie, in my opinion, is the story. A good story diverts the audience's attention from the technicalities that make the film (photography, editting, soundtrack...). An OK story can still show you a good time, while revealing some of the backstage stuff. The Matrix trilogy is all about making you pay attention to the background. When I saw the 1st movie I was completely blown away. I mean, weren't we all? Then came Reloaded and Revolutions and showed me that the Wachowski brothers did not, actually, have some hidden philosophical meaning to share with the world... they scraped the story of this trilogy too thin, over too much bread. eventually, the holes in the story are too obvious, which leaves the filmmaking too obvious as well. Now that the story is out of the way... Disconnected from meanings, the movie is a spactacular piece of art. It is beautifully made, shot, editted, etc. And for this alone, this movie deserves a vote of 8/10, at least from me. See this film in a good theatre, because that's the only place where you'll enjoy it.
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What a waste of talents
18 May 2003
Correct me if I'm wrong here. Please, someone, I beg you. I'd like to see the greatness of this movie. I tried. it completely missed me.

This movie features a band of excellent actors, who give a good performance each. Gene Hackman and Anjelica Huston play their roles magnificently. So do Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow. The rest of the cast are not bad either. The editing and cinematography are very nice, and so is the soundtrack. The narrator is a nice touch too.

But one thing is missing in this movie, which is the first and most important element of a movie: A STORY. Most movies try to tell a story, which is the centerpiece of what this art tries to communicate to the audience. This film seems to try, in vain. There's no story here! It was so boring to watch, and on top of that, the dialog is so lame! I expect that's a result of trying to fill 105 minutes with something other than music.

Film making is an art. I believe this art should tell a story, not just convey a still image of a reality. For failure to complete the most important role of a movie, The Royal Tenenbaums deserves a lower grade.
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Citizen Kane (1941)
Perfecting the art of cinema
20 November 2002
Seeing "Citizen Kane" is seeing the full potential of the cinematic medium. Charles Foster Kane comes to life before the viewer's eyes and ears as only the great Welles could have done it: with the greatest of vision.

When you look at this film 61 years after its initial release, the story of the rivalry between Orson Welles and William Randolph Hurst is long forgotten, but this movie still stands as an artistic landmark, an island in a sea of mediocre movies of its time.

Orson Welles' vision brought notions into this movie that weren't to be seen again for years later, and some are even today used in a bad way, pale imitations of the original mind of Welles. The script of this movie is absolutely genius, and the idea of overlapping lines is a fascinating experiment in a 40's movie. only Woody Allen movies come close to exploring this idea nowadays. The cinematography is, as it should be, haunting and unique. The editing is rhythmic and vibrant, and dictates the mood of most scenes. The acting is fantastic, of course, but you would expect nothing less from an experienced theatre group such as the Mercury.

All together, this movie stands out so obviously among its contemporary films, much as it stands out among modern films.

For the absolute genius of putting so many fine elements of the cinematic art together so beautifully and perfectly, I give this movie a whole-hearted 9/10.
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Aberdeen (2000)
This is what acting is all about
14 October 2002
I saw this movie In the 2001 Haifa film festival. The movie was shown without subtitles, and it was a little hard to follow at first, I admit. But this excellent movie has a way of engulfing the viewer, whether it is on a big screen or on TV.

The talented actors in this movie are directed beautifully by Hans Molland, and I myself will try to catch more of his films and follow his career. Stellan Skarsgård plays the part of an alcoholic middle aged man with so much authenticity and depth, that I find myself completely identifying with the character on screen. Lena Headey gives a stunning performance herself. the reversal of roles towards the end of the movie is graceful and subtle, as the actors follow the brilliant script.

The movie progresses smoothly across several layers of depth, and as the main two characters evolve in opposite directions, the audience is taken for a physical, as well as psychological, trip with them. The combined methods chosen by the script writers and the director make this an unforgettable movie, and for that I give it a solid 8/10.

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Insomnia (2002)
With Nolan and Pacino you can't go wrong
29 September 2002
I went to see this movie for two reasons: Al Pacino and Christopher Nolan. Let's just say I'll bet on every movie either of these two participate in, and this is no exception.

Without spoiling too much, Al Pacino's character is having trouble sleeping all through the movie, for more than one reason. His behaviour gets more and more confused and unfocused as the sleep deprevation takes effect. Pacino's acting in this movie, directed superbly by Nolan, is his best ever, in my opinion, which is a good enough reason to go see this movie.

The photography in this movie seems to focus on extreme long shots of the Alaskan landscape and on close ups of the characters, to show that there is little in between in that environment. The editing, however, plays a much larger role in telling the story, specifically sharing the main character's state of mind with the viewer to complement the intense acting. Therefore, as the tagline says, try not to even blink throughout this movie.

If anyone is expecting another masterpiece like Memento, this isn't it. But still, for Pacino's acting and Nolan's marvelous direction, I give it 8/10.

Enjoy! =8-)
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Piedras (2002)
Breathtaking cinema!
24 September 2002
I saw this movie at the 18th Haifa film festival, and it is one of the best I've seen this year. Seeing it on a big screen (and I mean BIG, not one of those TV screens most cinemas have) with an excellent sound system always enhance the cinematic experience, as the movie takes over your eyes and ears and sucks you into the story, into the picture.

The movie presents a set of characters, which are loosely inter-connected. Their stories cross at certain points, and the multiplicity of story lines reminded me very much of the great Robert Altman and his exquisite films. But the true hero of the movie is obviously the city of Madrid, which provides the backdrop for the entire movie. It houses the characters, contains the pavements and roads on which they walk, and sets the background atmosphere for all the events, all in beautifully filmed scenes.

The movie returns again and again to certain themes (shoes, for instance), and in essence Salazar makes his metaphores more and more understandable to the viewer as the movie progresses. He combines the views of the city with the shots of the characters, and elegantly matches the feeling of the scene to the background. A set of talented actors helps him portrait a wide variety of characters. One excellent example is the scene in which Juaquin takes Anita across the street for the first time. It might not work on a small screen, but it gave me goose bumps easily on a big screen.

The message of the movie is very positive, and accordingly the movie is light and funny at times. The music along the movie is usually pop, with a few instrumental pieces (I hope to put my hand on the soundtrack one day, although I seriously doubt I will).

All together, I came out of this movie with a sensational feeling, and I'm not easily impressed (you'll have to take my word for it). For this and more I give this movie a solid 8/10.
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China Beach (1988–1991)
They don't make 'em like they used to
5 March 2001
Although I'm a 25 year old Israeli guy, born after the Vietnam war was over, and halfway around the world, this series touched me in a way most dramas didn't. Perhaps it was Dana Delaney's excellent dramatic acting, or the music, or any of the wonderful features of the talented crew that made this beautiful series possible, but I get the feeling that although I like new drama series like ER or The West Wing, I feel that John Wells has learned well, but not enough. China Beach had a certain something that other drama series did not. I'm no expert, so I can't put my finger on it, but whatever it was, I haven't seen it since, and I suspect I'll never see it again.
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Dogma (1999)
Comedy at its best
22 August 2000
This was the first movie that really made me laugh in a very long time. There's comedy, and then there's COMEDY! I loved it. OK, so I'm not a Christian, and I didn't get all the jokes, but I know enough theology to find it the most refreshing comedy I've seen in months.
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