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countryway_48864

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58 reviews in total 
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The Lost Prince (2003) (TV)
18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Gorgeous presentation, 12 January 2006
10/10

This is a truly wonderful production with brilliant, almost surreal touches that lift this drama about the crowd.

I would love to know if any of Prince John's drawings survived. They had, or at least the ones used for the film had a Chagal-like quality that was both very graceful and artistic and filled with insite as to the inner character of the subjects. "The Tsar Swimming" and "Fat Mary" are two example. His father wearing a crown far too big for his head is a masterpiece.

I also wonder if Prince John wasn't a savant. His drawings were exceptional and far ahead of his time and his musical ability was,(if the film properly portrayed this talent)quite remarkable.

What is wonderful about this film is the sense that John despite everything managed to form his own little community on his "Estate", surrounded by people who really did love him. I also have the feeling that he was quite a happy child most of the time.

His parents were no worse than other Royal parents and a great deal better than most.

Special mention should be made of the marvelous Bibi Anderson who played Queen Alexandra so perfectly. At the funeral she even managed to look almost exactly like the Dowager Queen.

Someone mentioned that they didn't believe that the Tsar and the Tsarina would have acted as coldly toward their relations when visiting at Cowes. Unfortunately, that's just how they acted. They did believe that they were seated higher at the table of the Rulers of the World than their cousins in England who had to make-do with smaller versions of their own vast palaces in St. Petersburg. After all the Tsar was the last Absolute Monarch in the world. He even had to approve of every marriage and every divorce. No decision could be made unless he gave his approval. His cousin George had to actually deal with a rabble of advisors and that intrusive Parliment.

The scenes of the Tsar swimming were especially out of touch with reality, just as the Tsar was out of touch with the reality of his situation.

The Russian Grand Duchesses were so dream-like in their lovely summer laces and huge flower-like hats. All of John's imagined scenerios were touched with this combination of wistfullness and joy.

I mention these things because they haven't been mentioned before and they are what I will bring with me forever. Those haunting images of the children running on the beach, the flower-hats in the flower-garden and John peeking through the rails of the balcony at the beautiful lady at the banquet who smiles and waves back at him...a small and precious moment to be treasured.

See this film and fall in love with a child that refuses to be "Lost".

Stalingrad (1993)
103 out of 115 people found the following review useful:
A harrowing tale of young men being betrayed and slaughtered, 9 January 2006
9/10

This film affected me on many emotional levels. I saw the results of the war in East and West Berlin in 1957. While in Berlin I lived with a girl my age who lost her father in the battle for Stalingrad. Her tales made my hair stand on end as he was one of the many young Germans send there to fight as a punishment for errors,(read that as failure to win), in other battle zones.

It isn't well understood, but the Eastern Front was used as a threat and as a punishment by Hitler. Even Schindler in the film Schindler's List used that threat on the train station in order to get his bookkeeper released from the death train.

There are two scenes that will haunt be for the rest of my life:

The scene where Lt. Hans von Witzland, played by a very young and splendid Thomas Kretschmann, and the Russian actress Dana Vavrova who plays Irina.

That scene is so emotionally charged that it left both actors physically shaking. I can't imagine having to repeat that scene more than once. To have to hold that raw, totally exposed feeling/expression and body language while lights are adjusted and a different angle is used must have been physically and mentally exhausting for these two brilliant actors. They perform a brutal Dance Macabre that is both horrific and fascinating.

This scene is no longer about an enemy and the one who has been conquered. It is about a young man desperate to find one moment of humanity on an endless nightmare and a young woman who hates him and herself and yet can not resolve her situation. That he is a German and she is Russian is not as important as that they are both souls in torment with no way out.

The human agony of that scene is superior to anything I have seen in over 60 years of watching movies.

The other is the final scene between Dominique Horwitz and Kretschmann as Fritz and Hans clinging to each other overwhelmed and miniaturized by the vast Russian winter.

That final scene reminds me of Napoleon's death march from Moscow in 1812. The results were to same. No enemy can come marching into Russia and live to march out again.

I began watching this film firmly committed to cheering the Russians and hating the Germans.

By the end I was crying for them all.

That is the message of this fine film. War is a waste...a waste of human lives, of property, and of moral and religious focus.

This is a classic anti-war film not unlike All Quiet on the Western Front or What Price Glory.

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A waste of time except for Thomas Kretschmann, 6 January 2006
4/10

Unfortunately Stewart Townsend can't act. Unfortunately Ms. Theron was bored when this film was shot. Unfortunately Ms. Cruz had disconnected for most of her scenes.

The photography is lovely and the scene with two rabbits on leashes was fresh and amusing. BUT that's not a reason to see this film.

Thomas Kretschmann is the ONLY reason to watch this film and his final scene as Ms. Theron's German Officer lover is marvelous and gut-wrenching. Now Thomas Kretschmann CAN act! Even Ms. Theron dialed in for this scene and she was convincing for the first time in the film.

For Thomas Kretschmann fans this film is a feast that leaves you hungry for more. For anyone who is looking for an honest film about the role the French Resistance played in WWII, check out The Last Metro.

18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
The film that gives Mr. Rochester his motives and makes Jane Eyre more understandable, 9 June 2003

Anyone who has ever read Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte's brooding masterpiece, knows the adult, world-weary Edward Rochester. They also know about the secret locked in the tower room of Thornfield Hall. What Charlotte never fully explains is how Mr. Rochester came to be the aloof, stony man he is and how is wife came to be mad.

Well, The Wide Sargasso Sea attempts to answer those questions. In my opinion The Wide Sargasso Sea does an excellent job.

This is a vivid and sensual film, and depending on the version you see, VERY explicit. But in this case I think the nudity and sexual activity is justified and not gratuitous.

Nathaniel Parker gives a stunning performance as Rochester. I recommend this one.

I like to watch The Wide Sargasso Sea first and then put on my VHS of the splendid A&E production of Jane Eyre with Ciarn Hinds as Rochester. The two follow each other beautifully and seen together, the puzzle of Edward Rochester is solved, at least to my satisfaction.

15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Nathaniel Parker as Rob Hall is the reason to watch this film, 2 June 2003

After reading many comments about this film I see that most of those who saw the film thought it a tacky and not very well-done attempt at cashing in on a real tragedy. I agree in part.

First of all, I watched Into Thin Air with Jon's book on my lap. The resemblances were, for the most part, stunning. Nat Parker looks so much like Rob Hall they could have been brothers. Horton isn't as tall or as handsome as Fischer, but fairly close. I wished they'd had Horton wear Scott's trade-mark pony-tail. And so it goes.

Many people objected to the non-Everest setting. For that you must consult the Miramax documentary filmed at the time of the tragedy. I have that film as well.

Too me the Into Thin Air group did a good job of simulating the conditions on Everest and the quiet heroism of both Hall and Scott at the end.

The real reason to watch Into Thin Air is to watch Nat Parker as Hall. He has superb control and is beautifully understated. He always makes you believe that he could guide you up anything and take you back down again, safely. He conversation with his wife is one of the most remarkable scenes I've ever watched. Intimate, warm and sadly filled with hope that is all bravura on Hall-Parker's part and all faith in her husband's ability to survive on Mrs. Hall's end. This scene had me in tears, just as the real voice of the real Rob Hall recorded in the Miramax documentary made me cry.

Not a great film by any means, but still worth watching.

This is a cautionary tale. Don't take silk sheets, coffee makers and computers to Mt. Everest, unless you are willing and able to carry them yourself.

The exploitation of the Sherpa's by professional climbing teams is well known. Tenzing Norgay cautioned his son, Jam-Ling NOT to become a beast of burden when he climbed Everest for himself.

A wonderful continuation of the epic story of The Lord of the Rings., 14 January 2003
10/10

I was worried that Peter Jackson might not get Shadowfax right. He DID! I was worried that he might not get the battle of Helms Deep right. The battle of Helms Deep is splendid, thrilling and has moments of great emotional depth.

I was worried that Golum would not come to the screen the way I had him pictured in my mind. When I saw the film I thought to myself, "Gollum's REAL!"

This is a film to see many times, for it is so full of magic, humor and monumental moments that one viewing won't be enough. The Lord of the Rings-The Two Towers will be watched and loved for many generations to come.

Now I can't wait to see The Return of the King!

I love the play by Oscar Wilde, but the additions did not bother me., 22 August 2002
8/10

Despite the nit-picking by some critics, I found the newest film version of The Importance of Being Earnest to be fresh, funny and very SEXY.

Colin Firth and Rupert Everett have starred together in several different films and they make a great comic team. Colin's timing is perfection and Rupert is particularly droll. Dame Judi Densch is very dry in her role as Lady Bracknell. If there IS a weakness in this beautifully photographed film it is with the ladies playing the romantic foils for Firth and Everett. I would have prefered English actresses.

I saw this film in Ann arbor, Michigan while on a visit. The audience was very attentive and laughed a lot. A great date film!

The Importance of Being Earnest was playing in Madison, Wisc. when I was there last week. Seems the college towns are the best audiences for this witty film.

16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Reminds me of No Way Out and other avant gard films., 25 June 2002
9/10

Wings of Fame is a discussion of the fleeting nature of fame and how little it actually means in terms of happiness or fulfillment.

Peter O'Toole is a great actor. Colin Firth is the author of a book titled Wings of Fame that the actor claimed as his own work.

The actor is at the height of his fame. The book would have given the writer the fame he deserved.

In a moment of anger and opportunity, the writer shoots the actor at a film festival in front of his adoring fans. Then the film begins in earnest.

The two are linked together by the act of murder. The journey they take to discover themselves and each other is fascinating.

Many philosophical questions are asked, but no conclusions are drawn. The one thing that is pointed out graphically is that all famous people fade in the memory of the living once they are no longer producing anything new.

The film is slow paced but loaded with acid wit that Dorothy Parker would admire. It also contains brilliant acting by O'Toole and Firth.

The cinematography is wonderful and full of references to modern art.

This is not a film for everyone. But those who love films with depth and challenge and those who love great acting will find a great deal in Wings of Fame to applaud and think about for a long time after it ends. I was grateful for the privilege of watching two great actors explore the nature of fame and its consequences.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A witty new version of the Wilde classic., 11 June 2002
8/10

I have read that some critics object to the added scenes in this film version of Oscar Wilde's classic play, but they didn't bother me that much. Usually additions DO annoy me, but when you take a play that is basically housebound and put it on the screen you DO need to move the action to other locations for the sake of interest if nothing more.

I found the two men, Jack Worthing/Colin Firth and Algie Moncrief/Rupert Everett absolutely flawless. Firth is more subtle, and his comic timing is beyond praise. Everett may be leaning too heavily on his familiar delivery, but he's fine in his role. The two men together are a pair of comic, lyric loons, especially when trying to talk themselves out of an increasingly more impossible situation!

I thought Reese Witherspoon was a bit cautious with her accent which made her less spontaneous than she might otherwise have been, but she too, was delightful.

Dame Judy Densch is perfect as Lady Bracknell, especially when she intones the famous lines (which I am not quoting accurately): "...losing ONE parent is indeed sad, but losing BOTH parents is CARELESS!..."

This is an enjoyable summer film that is beautifully acted, photographed and costumed. And, no one does more for a plain white shirt that Colin Firth!

Enjoy!

12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
On the surface, a film about The Arsenals and their fans, but REALLY about clinging to the one thing that binds you to a lost parent., 28 May 2002
7/10

Fever Pitch may not be a great film, but it is certainly a wonderful, charming, pitch-perfect film.

On the surface, it is the story of a Peter/Pan who can't give up his obsession for a local Football Team.

The man in question, (an incredibly handsome Colin Firth), is a teacher of English at the high-school level. The teacher next door is a lovely young woman with the knick-name of "iron britches". Of course the predictable happens.

What is unpredictable is the painful growth of Colin's character, and his slow progress in being able to give up his team just enough to make room for an even greater and more important love, the teacher next door.

What I love best about this film is that Colin Firth here is NOT Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy would NEVER let his Lizzie see him in his Fire Engine RED and white Arsenal Boxer Shorts!

Here Mr. Firth is rough-edged and scruffy. A man who prefers to hang out with his mates drinking beer and holding a fatalistic view that his beloved Arsenal will NEVER win the Championship.

The charm of the film lies in the growth of this man/child and the patience and understanding of the woman who loves him and their slow but certain progress from attraction to real, lasting LOVE!

See it!! I happen to love soccer. All my children played it and now my grandchildren play it. I believe the rules are different for British Football, but those difference didn't take away from the thrill of watching Arsenal in action!

Any golf,football or baseball "widow" will understand and love this film!


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