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Alien: Resurrection (1997)
best one ever!
Whereas the whole Alien series is a unique enterprise, Resurrection is the gem. It is snobbishly underrated and ostracized, it has plot holes and other goofs, it may seem childish in an attempt to frighten, but it is much more than just a sci-fi horror. The Resurrection visual and sound design is nonetheless flawless. Acting is genuinely brilliant and cut timing is superb. Besides, this is about a wondering soul who knows there's no trade with the evil, and the struggle between this view and the desire to get a profit over anything. Of the stories dedicated to this controversy the Resurrection is the best. Hooray to the makers! People who loath this movie simply do not dig what's going on.
when you laugh, does it matter why?
Is there anyone here alive that HAS experienced time-traveling and knows from the experience what it feels like? If no, our discussing the matter is but a mind game. I may be wrong, but the only suspicious thing about this feature is its alleged intention to become a blockbuster (yes, the rotating camera and the slow mo!). Now, i never question the way a movie i like came into being. And i love movies with unexplainable holes, exaggerated gags, unmotivated behavior, unsophisticated dialogs, clicheyed punchlines, clumsy acting, because they are SO funny you can laugh yer ass off! (Of course if you put aside the Humpty Dumpty's posture for the time being - the highbrow attitude is not always a must to make one smile!) Besides, Slipstream has an above average soundtrack. Talking about homaging, ripping and other forms of cross-reference, i saw this movie as Master Samwise's dream he was having with the Ring on (something not shown in the LoTR). Roars of laughter. Though in fact this one could easy be 30% shorter simply for the riddim sake.
Yisraelim Matzhikim (1978)
a hidden camera as a soul mirror
This one is an Israeli legend. The legendary Boaz Davidzon, Ariel Silber, Arik Einstein et alii have had and given a lot of fun with ordinary citizens caught at thoroughly planned unawares. While some of the gags are flat and obvious as they lampoon quite well explored Mediterranean mentality, the tops are world class human nature observations. Also, the feature intention on the large scale is not so obvious and plain as it might seem from the first sight. The invisible train gag could be Kusturiza, the cab hustler could be Woody Allen, the egg sorting job could be a Lynch short, the absence of special effects could be a Dogma. But it is Israel-1978 at its funniest.
Messagest Hatzameret (1981)
Touch her gently, and the whole world is yours!
It is all about flirt, one huge jibe at the very Israeli male tendency of sexual boasting. While a massage virtuoso has it all, he lacks only an apartment to give his beauties some private time. Eventually he pretends to be a brilliant merchant from Holland and manages to rent the apartment of his wife's mother. At this point the feature becomes pure Bollywood except for the dances and the final couple of weddings. The apartment is rented with the help of more than vicious lawyer who frames the naive massager into an allegedly rape case. But the hands of the maestro work the way for him even in jail. Ultimately happy ending. With so many nude beauties and a lot of men small talk, this feature is good to go in a male company after a round or two of strong liquors. A feminist feature has not yet been shot in Israel (as of 2006), though this one at least suggests that a man should ensure his lady that she has all his time, no matter what an illusion it may be. Funny.
Koko Ben 19 (1985)
thefts drugs rock-n-roll
It seems the Eastern Jews are the biggest source of entertainment in the Israeli movies. This one is about a talented kid Koko whose song gets stolen by a greedy producer. Desperate Koko influenced by his fierce friend Pini pulls a job on a jewelry store. A quite realistic sequence of unhappy coincidences makes the two Moroccan kids from a poor Jerusalem neighborhood wanted by the police for a murderous bank robbery, which they did not do. Koko's girlfriend's father, a journalist of the European Jew origin, how symbolic, attempts to save Koko and Pini - too late. This is the break-time for Israeli music trends: the stage goes Eighties! But a rock-n-roll hero should live bright and die young especially when a legend is made. Koko is just the case. He never sees his 19th birthday. Other symbolic scenes show an Israeli policeman brutally beating Pini, poor Moroccans refusing to leave Jerusalem for then remote Maale Adumim where the government offers them a housing program, Tel-Aviv mobsters trying to deceive the Jerusalem kids, the stolen song bringing fame and money to anyone but the real creators. The producer, pointing at Koko, says "This one, a song can come from this one?" - hey guys, we are being suggested, look, the real music comes from those poor Eastern kids, what your European elite can do is but steal it from them and then treat the kids with police brutality. All these makes the feature an attempted cult film in honor of the Israeli Eastern Jews working class, or even the decades. The Director, Dany Verete, turns the Israeli mostly comedian mainstream of the 60s and 70s into a new narrative, not less dramatic though tragic. Still a good story properly told, the feature lacks certain cinematographic approach (camera work, sound processing, and editing are quite plain; actors do their best for the Israeli school). Nevertheless, this is a piece of honest work.
Hamesh Ma'ot Elef Shahor (1977)
Mediterranean Chicago comedy
What if a Chicago gangster story was taking place in Israel-1977? This feature is just the one. Two comedians borrow 500,000 Israeli pounds (about US$ 90,000 of 1977) from an entrepreneur who launders the mafia money via his night club. What do they want to stage with such a budget? No less than a musical "Awaiting Godo". Needless to say their show has no success, the mafia wants the money back, and the heroes have to run and hide (though unlikely to an American gangster story, in the feature it takes 1 hour screen time between doing the wrong thing and having to escape to Latin America).
During their escape they find an unexpected secured place - an African refugee home with mysterious music and healthy food, the very African Hebrews community famous for their musical performances. The movie features famous Israeli actors Yosef Shiloah and Zeev Revah (the Bourekas films). And, as a Mediterranean comedy, this feature is full of scheming, talking heads, situational gags, cross-cultural jibes, and mistaken identities. A quote must be noticed: "-Who is Godo? -Must be a mafia boss" In one scene a hero tells his friend: "We are not in Chicago", thus indicating that the authors had had the parallel in mind. Israel in the 1970s was a spectacular jazz stage. The soundtrack features a rich spectrum of Mediterranean music, jazz, funk, and ethnic funk performed by Israeli artists including an on-stage appearance of the African Hebrews. This is a Mediterranean comedy classic, maybe less straight, picturesque and dense than "Snooker", "Officer Azulay" and "Eskimo Lemon". On the bottom line it is a nice family movie.
A must feature about the Eastern music star
Zoar Argov has become a musical legend not less than Elvis in Israel of 1980s. Born of the Yemenite background famous for its vocal proficiency, Zoar, a son and a grandson of chronic drunkards had become a drug addict in his youth. The feature argues that the drugs were not the only thing that had led him to the tragic end. The lack of truly devoted friends, cruel attitude of his beloved wife, and the environment by and large ignorant to his inner tragedy had had also contributed a great deal toward his desperation. I liked the feature for its sincere and accurate exposure of the ambivalent issues of Zoar the King's life.
Alex Holeh Ahavah (1986)
Milestone Israeli feature.
This feature is one of the Israeli cinematography milestones. It displays the atmosphere of the late Israeli 50s from the view of young boy Alex, just becoming 13. His mom is the classic "Polish Mother", his school friends are young hustlers dreaming of nude girls, his schoolmaster is a nervous Russian immigrant. The street speech is full of Polish, Russian, and Farsi slang, full of the small talk that had later entered the everyday speech. The soundtrack, which is quite remarkable, is built solely on the American music of the period. Everyone in the feature finds one's love and happiness. We witness the mood in which Israeli youth grew up to meet the wars of 1967 and 1973 at the age when they become soldiers. Remarkably, there is not a single hint on politics. I like this feature for its mood. In my opinion, it is a must for those studying Israeli cinema, and a nice one for a night with the younger kids.