Reviews written by registered user
hazelfreeman

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27 reviews in total 
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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Good action adventure spoilt by over-emphasis on homophobia, 4 October 2003

The action follows the rescue of a group of gay and transsexual people who were stranded following a plane crash in the forest in rebel-held territory on the border of Thailand. The film could have traced a familiar theme in a new (to Western audiences) format, with no Rambo style hero and no high-tech rescue equipment; just walking through the jungle, in some cases in high heels.

The tension is well developed, with the jungle itself, booby traps, the cliche of treacherous politicians refusing helicopter help, and the armed rebels. The rescued group antagonise their rescuers by failing to co-operate, and the tension arising from the homophobia of some of the soldiers is played on.

However, the homophobic angle is a little jagged for the Western viewer, with just too many "fag" references, and too much camp, peevish behaviour from the people who are being rescued. In fact this last dimension destroys the tension that ought to be carefully built up; it's just not believable. (Nor is it comedy, as suggested by another reviewer.)

If you can overlook this shortcoming, then the film is an interesting new take on a familiar story, and it's good entertainment.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
English musical comedy period piece, 2 October 2003

Proudly billed as a British film, Sailors Three was a brave attempt to emulate successful American light comedy of the 1930's, but the screenplay retains a Britishness that is very powerful, and therefore the film falls between two stools.

Released in 1940 it could hardly avoid a wartime theme, and the three main male characters are Royal Navy Sailors. Tommy Trinder has a couple of songs and there are some references to his music hall persona. While the film was being made, we were still in the phoney war period, and the Germans could still be portrayed as comical buffoons. So when thirty or so German sailors re-board their ship, that the three British sailors have taken over (with the help of an Austrian, played by James Hayter, best known for doing voice-overs for Mr Kipling cakes), no-one produces a firearm, and the brave Brits manage to overpower them one at a time, mostly by knocking them on the head with something; we get a hollow coconut "clop" sound, and that's another enemy sailor hors de combat.

The romantic interest is also played in a rather unreal, stilted way; maybe the need for a U certificate (allowing children to see the film) forced this. Being upper class, Carla (Jane Davies) only toys amusedly with the common sailors' amorous advances on shore. And when she is on the captured German ship, and a British plane is sighted, she exclaims "Oh, how absolutely delightful!"

So on a number of counts, the result is "nice try, but really not quite on the button". Interesting nowadays only as a historical document.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Weak story line lets Rühmann down, 22 June 2003

Heinz Rühmann brought the portrayal of his character to a fine art: always the little man, battling against the uncertainties of life and romance, but winning through with his honesty and tenacity.

Unfortunately, the establishing of the formula led the film companies to get lazy, and not pay much attention to a strong story line. This one starts off promisingly enough, but it runs out of steam about twenty minutes in, and then it resorts to putting Rühmann's character into embarrassing situations with no concern for creative worl.

Stronger acting support and some real dramatic situations might have saved the film, but they aren't there.

Amusing light musical comedy from West Germany, 9 November 2002

An amusing musical set in Berlin in the 1950's, when jazz and other international influences had gained strength. The plot is plausible enough, involving several comic mistaken identity scenarios, but the film is really a vehicle for the song and dance numbers that dominate it.

Several strong performers are in the cast, and Walter Giller himself in the title role, although still in the early stages of his career, was to go on to perform a long series of major parts.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Sentimental romance in which tradition meets rock'n'roll, 14 October 2002

Austria was a conservative country in 1957 but there was a need for film makers to appeal to the rock'n'roll oriented youth market and the admiration for America without alienating the traditionalists.

The Lindenwirtin combines all the necessary elements of beautiful homeland, the old way of doing things, a mild but comical bad character who becomes reformed, some rock'n'roll jive, and above all some chaste romantic interest for young and older characters in the screenplay.

Nowadays it is very much of its time ... sentimental, backward looking, with unsubtle characterisations ... so it couldn't be made today ... unless of course it was a soap series.

Well worth watching for a sentimental view of a vanishing way of life.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Lavish version of the Andersen fairy tale, 13 October 2002

A Czech production with German assistance, this is a world away from the weak versions of fairy tale stories so beloved of the Eastern European bloc before 1990.

With lavish costumes and a well implemented script, the film appeals to young people with a developed version of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy story.

Tobias is believable as the young lead, and the Emperor and the Duchess are selfish and vain without being evil, so that the happily-ever-after ending is believable.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Obsessive documentary about New York feet, 23 July 2002

A jerky documentary with plenty of shots of the feet of New Yorkers, and embarrassed comments by many. It's pretty difficult to be articulate when some camera crew stops you on the way to work and asks you how important your feet are.

The Director got deflected from his theme a couple of times; the first was when a woman said she was on the way to a photo-shoot, which turned out to be for a men's fetish magazine, and secondly when an office worker stood in the window and stripped during a baseball victory parade.

Whether this film adds very much to human understanding I rather doubt; watch it if feet are your special interest in life.

Sambolico (1996)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mysterious fantasy film set in exotic location, 22 July 2002

Finland is a fine country but if you want to make an exotic short film then Brazil is an even better location.

Kaurismäki won acclaim at film festivals for this mysterious fantasy set on the Copacabana beach at Rio de Janeiro. A chance encounter in a hotel lift results in an extended sexual fantasy in the night streets and night clubs of Rio.

Andrea Bloom, in her only film to date, and billed just as Girl is pure sex and the film follows the interplay between her, the very unprepossessing hero Eric, and the Girl's boyfriend and, we presume, pimp.

There was too much allegory for me; the drag bar performer who suddenly turned hairier, mirrored later by the Girl herself suddenly turning rather masculine, didn't enlighten me.

Maybe the thing to do is just to enjoy the atmosphere and the spectacle. The credit list of extras at the end of the film is the longest I've ever seen, no doubt all willing to join in to generate the Carnival spirit for the film.

0 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Childrens circus fantasy, 14 April 2002

A children's film in which performing bears provide the biggest part of the excitement. Like so many Eastern European films of this era, there isn't much of a real plot.

Basic slapstick stuff really.

5 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
Limp Russian fairytale, 25 February 2002

A film based on a variant of the fable of the beauty and the beast, it never really grips the imagination, with weak use of special effects and lame characterisations.

The colour is poor and the sense of being in the depths of the forest, prey to spirits and magic spells, is never really captured.


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