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So weit die Füße tragen (2001)
An awful, awful movie...I am a sucker for foreign (i.e. non-American) movies, and have yet to seen a bad one, which makes it all the more sad that this one was beyond bad. Horrendous script, right out of chauvinistic B movies from Hollywood..From the very first scene when one of the child actors started looking at the camera rather than the co-star, I knew this was gonna be a dread.Acting was laughable, but what can you do with lines like ..Spoiler Ahead......"It is my victory" at the end(those who have seen the movie will know what I am talking about)...What the heck was that all about..This reminded me of those pathetic propaganda movies that west and east used to produce by cookie cutters during the cold-war times...What a waste...
One of the worst movies ever made; combined with worst acting and a ridiculous plot...If he keeps making movies like that Nicolas Cage will have his Oscar taken from him..The actor who plays the boy exhibits the worst child performance ever, but I don't know who is to blame, a talentless actor or equally talentless director.Other than the visually disturbing disaster scenes, there is nothing tangible in this movie..So many empty holes in the plot one can not imagine where to begin..Without giving anything away, the ending is the silliest and most incomprehensible ever; no logic...On top of that, since when did loud noise take over the storyline, soo bothersome during the whole movie..AVOID at all costs...
The Last Year (2002)
Probably the worst movie I have ever seen. Cheap production values, horrendous acting, laughable writing, etc etc etc..I spent most of the movie cringing at the pathetic dialogue, or wincing at the beyond amateurish acting..My goodness, who was the one playing the father, or the dean, or the dean's wife, who must have seen this as her attempt to jump into A-list stardom!!!!!What was the director thinking, did he even try to give directions or thought about the editing process..Avoid like a plague, unless you want to join folks to claim they have seen the worst movie ever made. The only tiny bit redeeming quality (for a lack of a better word) comes from the actor playing Alex -Mike Dolan-, at least he act act...
Very well done
After 60 years of constant anti-propaganda, it is a very hard job indeed to have someone sympathize with the German point of view of the second great war. This movie achieves it.
War on the Russian front was one of the greatest mistakes any leader could have done and Germany paid dearly for that, in terms of causalties as well as consequences. The movie Stalingrad depicts the story of ordinary soldiers caught between the duty of the reich and their own personal consciousness. We see soldiers, warriers, young innocents who for whatever reason are thrown into the firelines and pushed to their physical and offensive levels. The villains and the heroes are on the same side, both are germans..Tribute to the filmmakers and the storytellers and the actors of the Stalingrad that, they achieve to humanize the most loathed subjects of the last 6 decades. They are frightened, traumatized, have dreams and hopes, and want to survive..They could be anyone, from any race, from any country; it is so easy to identify with them. This a one of the best anti-war movies ever made..It is haunting, painfully realistic void of cliches and emotionally affective without being cheesy..
The Shipping News (2001)
Considering the pool of exceptional talent involved, this movie left me with a bad taste. Although a very good director, Lasse Hallstrom attempts to juggle a lot of stories in one movie; one issue after another comes up with no chance of developing properly and then a sudden resolution, and on to the next one; hard to keep pace and interest with all the happenings. Although an excellent actor, Kevin Spacey tries his hands in portraying a totaly different character then what we have seen in him so far; a loser with no confidence. He has too much of a presence and not enough depth (in this movie)to shed his previously conveyed image of sinister, at times sleezy, overpowering and overconfident characterizations. Unfortunately I could not see him as the title Quoyle and felt like he was trying too hard to go against his typecasting. The ladies fared much better. As it has been proved, Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench can do no wrong, and even the at times unreliable Julianne Moore does a good job. Newfoundland scenery is absolutely breathtaking...Overall a so so movie...
An unexpected pleasant surprise
I originally rented this movie just to see Cate Blanchett. And surprisingly found a movie well written, directed and acted. The characters and the story is written very well with intelligent-adult humor dispersed all throught the movie. It was more than a simple bank-heist movie with nicely drawn human characters who could have been anybody. I am not particularly a fan of Billy Bob Thornton and his vulgar style of acting but in this movie that fits him perfectly, and he plays the little nuances that accentuates his character flawlessly. I think of Bruce Willis as one of the least talented overhyped stars of the era, always giving a one dimensional sneery sarcastic personafication; well that fits him well in this movie too (watch for his real daughter as the young offspring of the first bank manager; she is hysterically funny and natural in her acting; much better then her mom and dad!!)..And of course the great Cate never ceases to amaze me, with again another one of her marvellous transformations into the character, her comedic timing, her mimics, her naturalness; and despite her being in 4-5 movies this year, there is no repetitiveness and familiarity in watching her.. Overall this is a very funny movie with cute surprises along the way..
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
A nice surprise
In this movie, actors were the main draw for me. I had a vague idea about the storyline, and in the end I was pleasantly surprised. It is a war movie, it has a love story and interestingly the lines between the bad guys and the good ones are blurred, which makes it all the more interesting. Some viewers may be put off by the blunt violence yet that only adds to the realism. One special praise to the extraordinary production design and the photography which captures the under-siege city and the battle scenes exceptionally...
Billy Elliot (2000)
While Hollywood is too busy (or preoccupied with solely materialistic gains), fortunately good movies are being made around the world, unfortunately very few of them getting the due publicity. Billy Elliot is one of the lucky ones and it sure does deserve it. Even though it may contain a formulaic story, it also boasts exceptional acting and directing. Stunning visual expressions, beautiful cinematography and a very fluid, encompassing storytelling all in one movie..What else would one want if one is interested in the cinema as an art. The gems that stick to mind are Jamie Bell's breathtaking performance, the sensitive treatment of the gay subplot, the exceptional chemistry between son and the father(excellent Gary Lewis),between the son and the ballet teacher (always dependable Julie Walters), the little family moments, and ***SPOILERS***, the final unforgettable moment: the stunned,proud,amazed all at once expression on the father's face in the audience as the grown Billy jumps on to the stage.. Overall an absolute masterpiece, not to be missed, destined to be a classic...
Murder on the Orient Express (2001)
Stick to the original one
Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express contains one of her most ingenious plots. It is also easy to stage, as only one major locale is needed. The original movie played around this monotony and presented excellent characters. For those of us who have read and seen the great writer's books and adaptations, we are all familiar with the timeline of the plots, i.e. 1920's thru 1940's...The recent remake suffers extensively from the modernization of the events and the characters. It is almost disorienting to see Poirot using the internet, other characters talking about and utilising the most modern and recent devices etc. That just does not fit well and seems so illconceived. Fans of this genre to which I believe this movie was most directed at, are familiar with the original characters and timeline, and would surely be turned off by the changes.(To set the record straight, Orient Express stopped operating several decades ago, and people in Turkey do NOT wear arabic outfits.) As far as the narrative goes, the characters were not well developed, and acting was at best passable, except Leslie Caron, who in her brief spot walked away with the movie. My best humble advise would be to go and rent the original one, which served the writer perfectly...
An acting triumph
This is an excellent movie if you are into period pieces, granted that the discrepancies between the movie and the historical facts are ignored by the viewer.It moves well, there is never a dull moment; interesting storyline, intrigue, romance, etc etc...Mr. Kapur put it all together well,and the movie contains spectacular costume and production designs. But most important of all, it totally belongs to the new acting godess, Cate Blanchett. (Finally there is a replacement for the grand-dame of acting, Meryl Streep. I would give anything to see those two in a movie together.) Ms. Blanchett embodies the Virgin Queen and creates a marvellous performance. Just watch the scene where she rehearses her upcoming address to the religious leaders of England; that scene and the subsequent one alone should have nailed her the academy award, had it been a fair world. She is a virtuoso actress and her transformation from an innocent passive scared sideliner into a shrewd leader and decision maker proves her range. She is also surrounded by some other marvellous performers. Kathy Burke is excellent as her ever suffering step sister, Geoffrey Rush holds his scenes well, and Joseph Fiennes, not only good to look at, but gives a sensitively rich performance... Do not miss this movie...