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Racing the Rez (2012)
Inspiring - Poignant - Funny - Exquisite
Maybe it's because I'm a teacher, but this is now on my list of favorite documentaries. These kids are just kids. They are not Ghandi. They are not Golda Meir. They are just amazing, precious little high-school babies. I wish I was their dad. Their dedication, skill, and innate charm are impressive.
As an Oklahoma native, I'm naturally drawn to NA kids ( you're AWEsome ), but I've seen the sort of hunted, insecure reaction of some NA to whites. I could cry. Getting an inside look at life in the rez is sad but hopeful; it shows the good and the bad, and I truly appreciated that.
You ROCK, guys!!
Brian! MORE MOVIES!!
Onmyô taisenki (2004)
More decent but repetitive battle beast drama...
Although a fan of anime and manga, I'm continuously disappointed by the writing. Onmyo Taisenki is actually pretty sharp for this style of TV show -- endless battles between opposing animal avatars. There is the usual plot weakness of continuously introducing new characters in order to keep the audience interested, but the overall quality of the anime doesn't suffer as a result.
The art, animation, and fight choreography are more than watchable. The character design, however, is what makes the show a winner. Fans of Bakugan, Dinosaur King, Digimon, Pokemon, and on and on, should find this a bit edgier and a good stepping stone to more serious anime dramas. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I became so involved with the characters that I teared-up a couple of times. . . . I'm a dope.
Anyway, this one seems to be getting very little in the way of press, so I have to grudgingly review it, and admit to being a fan. >_< doh!
Tragic horror story.
In a post-apocalyptic world, four boys scramble for their existence in a form of playing. Their Peter Pan, Szafran, leads them in tests of endurance to strengthen them, calling himself 'the antichrist' and 'demon' in order to suggest greater strength and spur them on.
The boys seem to enjoy the games, which wear them out, but make them strong enough -- strong enough, at his urging, to bury Szafran up to his neck in the mud. Szafran has trained them to kill him, demonizing himself, because he did not have the emotional strength to either endure or end his own life. He has committed suicide through friendship and play. His friend Kacper begs him to dig himself out. We are left with the question of whether this was even possible.
How many children are suffering, and are unable to end their sorrow?
Are we adults strong enough to dig our children out of the mud and give them better lives?
Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956)
Anything Cyd Charisse is in is worth watching.
Okay, so "Singing in the Rain" it's not, it's still better than... okay, I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but it's an enjoyable movie with lots of singing, dancing, pretty colors and fun cameos from a host of stars. AND it has the best version of "Frankie & Johnny" I've ever heard -- courtesy of Sammy Davis Jr.
Cyd Charisse is in the top ten of 'the-most-gorgeous-and-talented-women-to-ever-appear-in-movies'. She is displayed like a flawless multi-carat gemstone in "Meet Me in Las Vegas". In fact, there are so many gorgeous women in this movie my eyes bugged out. Wowie-wow-wOw!
If you don't like musicals, forget this one, it's just a cute diversion. If you DO like musicals, don't miss this one. It's a tad long, but it's still a winner.
Im Auftrag des Vatikans (2005)
Excitement! Laughs! You know, ...for kids!
Even though I'm not Catholic, I weary of movies that bash them or portray their clergy or adherents in the worst possible light. 'Lasko: Death Train' is charmingly pro-Catholic, and a lot of fun.
What could be more enjoyable for Catholic 9 to 15-year olds than to see kung-fu monks try and stop mercenaries from distributing a deadly stolen virus on a train of pilgrims bound for Lourdes to see the Pope? For what it is, this movie is relatively safe for young people -- only a smidgen of vulgar language, very little blood, and nothing prurient. Classroom teachers should feel pretty safe about showing it to students.
The editing, music, cinematography, pacing, etc. are all very good. Okay, so the dialogue sounds like it came out a Japanese animated film at times, but kids won't care. There won't be anything new here for action flick fans, but what is here is handled carefully and done well.
I liked it. Kids will enjoy it, too.
Gunsmoke: Chesterland (1961)
Poignant portrait of loneliness and longing
In hopes of wooing the pretty and seemingly sweet Miss Daisy, Chester attempts to farm a dreadful patch of bone-dry land and construct his sad little idea of a home for his bride-to-be -- which turns out to be a well-constructed, but disappointing dugout hole. Miss Daisy is horrified, and backs out of the wedding plans. Matt tries to comfort Chester with the hope that she'll change her mind, but the rejected man soaks his tears with the doily Daisy had made for their new home, and sadly retires for bed.
Chester wakes the next morning to find his dugout filled with water. All seems 'well' as he and Daisy set up a watering hole for beleaguered farmers. Unfortunately, the well eventually goes dry. Chester and Doc go into town to withdraw funds to purchase a new pump, but the story doesn't end there...
"Chesterland" is a charming character piece which gave Dennis Weaver an excellent chance to shine, drawing the audience by the hand through his trials, joys and tribulations.
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Holeee cow, but I'm a sap...
The Naked Kiss is the most overdrawn. sordid, melodrama I've ever seen. At times I confusedly wondered if it were a parody of the weepies of the 1940s, at other times I wondered if it was an exploitation film full-blown. The Naked Kiss will, for some, be an hilarious caricature of 'girl-gone-wrong' films of the 40's and 50's, but for me personally, it is a film about redemption and human horror. This is the most shocking film from this period I've ever seen. I had little idea what I was getting into when I purchased it. It is a frightening portrait of human nature, with heart-wrenching portrayals of nobility and goodness. As sordid as the subject matter, This is an important and recommendable film. Good wills out. Evil is conquered. I, however, was exhausted by the end. Yikers!
Moon Pilot (1962)
corny, cute cosmic candy
Bearing in mind that this was a made-for-TV-movie, Moon Pilot isn't bad. Disney didn't blow their budget on it, but the production and effects were serviceable if spare. The actors try to inject as much into their bland dialogue as they can, but the writing isn't Disney's cleverest.
The genuine highlight of the film is the parade of loony beatnik girls toward the end of the movie, as the military tries to identify their astronaut's supposed space-chick -- Very funny. Dany Saval is adorable. To the best of my knowledge, I've never seen her before. She shows off to advantage the cute outfits designed for her. What a doll.
The Kissing Bandit (1948)
Aw, stop it. This was cute!
Okay, so it's not West Side Story, but The Kissing Bandit is darned cute. There were so many silly musicals throughout motion-picture history, I'm surprised that this one is getting such a bad rap.
The 1940's, regardless of how thinly the stories were laid-on, was the most beautiful decade in history for films. The remarkable lighting, set, and costume design of the '40's can make just about every movie enjoyable. Sinatra and Grayson are delightful; any scene in which Kathryn appears is worth watching just because she was so adorable and lovely. Mildred Natwick's role isn't very vivid, but she's a wonderful actress no matter how small the part.
If you don't care for the silliness of the "filler", just fast-forward to any scene with singing, dancing, or an actress -- Heck three of the most beautiful and talented women in film are all in the same movie. Just enjoy the pretty colors and all will be well... sleep... sleeeep...
The Broken (2008)
Beautifully done --
While 'The Broken' doesn't cover any new ground, it is still very well-made, well-acted and effective. Lena Headey and the cast are flawless. The lighting, color and photography of the film are stylish and attractive. The symbolism and foreshadowing are well-handled. I'm surprised that it hasn't been better-received. It is an 'art film', which might not be to the taste of those who like gory horror flicks, but for those who like creativity and chilling subtlety it is more than satisfying.
'The Broken' is for those who like 'The Orphanage', 'Dark Water', 'House of Voices', and the original 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'.