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24 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Suggestive dream, 7 June 2007

A master story - ambiguous, multi-level, fascinating and both visually and musically beautiful.

Awarded with an Oscar surrealistic story from the Japanese master of the genre ('Princess Mononoke') was likely compared with 'Alice in Wonderland'. Truly, the main character is a little girl who gets into a world populated by strange creatures and ruled by mysterious laws. However this is where similarities end.

10-year-old Chihiro - a girl, to be honest, quite spoiled and whimsical, is on her way with her parent to her new place of accommodation. At one time the father who is driving, decides to take a short-cut through the forest, drives through an odd tunnel and the whole family lands in a strange place that resembles an abandoned entertainment park. Meanwhile Chihiro ends up in an enormous bath-house which is a place of relaxation for all the ghosts of the world. She is threatened that she will be turned into an animal and eaten at the nearest ghost feast. Having that as an alternative, she decides to work in the bathhouse...

It sounds a bit eccentric and it in fact is (I must add that I really simplified the main plot of the film). "Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi" mostly resembles a dream (or a fantasy taken out of a child's mind) and it is like a suggestive dream and arbitrary in its solutions. The characters here change both shape and identity. Magical power shows up and disappears. Everything has its own soul and it lives equally in the real and the phantom world. Beauty and grotesque ugliness, or charm and fear are not opposites in here. They adjoin each other by an inch and create a feeling of that wacky world's unity. It is an exotic experience and it is rather not for babies.

Rebecca (1940)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Masterpiece, 7 June 2007

After having succeeded in Europe, the master of spy films, Alfred Hitchcock was invited to Hollywood by David O. Selznick in the year 1939. This time the director reached for a novel 'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maunier. It is a story of a young woman (Joan Fontaine), who becomes a second wife of a British lord (Laurence Olivier), and his residence she meets with the cult of Rebecca. Rebecca was the lord's previous wife and she has died in very peculiar circumstances.

Film cost more than a million dollars. And it was matter of conflict between the creator and the producer. But it gathered more than 10 Oscan nominees and two Oscars for the best movie and cinematography. Selznick himself was quite surprised by the piece of art. He decided to produce the movie only due to the fact that the final scene of fire reminded him of the fire of Atlanta in 'Gone with the Wind'.

This master psychological thriller opened a new chapter in Hitchcock's works, making him the Hollywood's master of manipulating with mood.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Polish bigos - Nearly drunk narration and a moving camera watching what people would like to hide, 10 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From the first scenes of the film where the father of the bride gets furious because the video-operator doesn't have on tape the moment where he brings the daughter to the groom, you already know that Smarzowski's movie will be ruled by the law of absurd.

The story evolves like in a drunken vision. The local wealthy man Wojnar (Marian Dziedziel) is getting his daughter married and he buys them a luxurious Audi TT as a gift. What Wojnar doesn't know is that the car is stolen, but what he does know is that excluding the money, he must give two thousand acres of land to the gangster who brought the car for him. The land however is grandfather's and he is not willing to sell it. On one hand the viewer sees the wedding on which Tymon Tymanski sings out 'The White Bear' and hosts some totally embarrassing games. Everybody are getting drunk, argue and strangely enough tend to undress. On the other hand the criminal plot evolves. The gangster (Pawel Wilczak) gets angry with Wojnar for the delay. He shoots off his finger and after the arrangements are done, he leaves him with false papers.

'Wesele' is similar to a volcano - ready to blow up. The grandfather dies, but his corpse doesn't seem to have an effect on anybody. The bride watches if the her ex-boyfriend is beaten good. Wojnar drives home for money, but is stopped by the police. The filled toilet explodes and pours out what becomes a metaphor of the disgusting on-screen world. Everybody here is covered in... 'excrements'. Everything smells and bring disgust.

Wojciech Smarzowski has made a logical, with an aim to be dirty and a great realization. The camera who watches over what man would like to hide most.

From "Wesele" which wants to portrait the modern Polish mentality, just as Wyspianski's play wanted to (there is even a quote from the play - "one should be in boots at the wedding"), comes out a whole catalog of our bad sides. The characters are sick about the money. They envy, lie and cheat. And it is not Wojnar who is the most disgusting here - it is his company surrounding him. Starting with the administrator, the musician and the bride. Because everybody can be saint and indigested when bad, mean and nasty is always 'he', 'someone', 'the other one'.

Good, 10 May 2007

The film is a bitter, sci-fi story. It is the year 2035. 39 years earlier the mankind was hunted down by a mysterious virus. Only those survived who managed to hide underground. The scientists from the underground world decide to send a man to the past. A man who would be responsible for finding out where the virus came from and how to defeat it. What they have is an archival telephone record suggesting that the virus comes from Philadelphia and it has lots to do with an organization exotically called The Twelve Monkeys.

It is Philadelphia where in 1996 James Cole (Bruce Willis) is supposed to land.

There is one thing that must be said. Inside this adventure story there have been concealed many important things. 'Twelve Monkeys' destroy the clarity of two definitions - time and identity that is.

Inferno (2001) (TV)
Average, 2 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The full-lenght breakthrough by Maciej Pieprzyca. I liked everything in it (except the pretentious title): young actresses provoking performances; the way of presenting that moving subject, which is the murder of a high school student by her friends. The narration isn't trivial. We know from the beginning that one of the girls will die. We just don't know which one.

A shocking film has been created. The grown-ups are a screaming crowd without faces. Except for the girls' favorite teacher. However he also turns out to be a swine. He pretends to be a cool guy at school. But on the weekend he goes out for the street hookers. The best student in class wants to go to the medical studies. But for not he he sells drugs to the kids. The only guy with character is the ruthless leader of the block gang.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Hot summer in New York, 2 May 2007

Richard Sherman. The editor of cheap books in New York. An honest husband and a caring father. During summer in a flat in Manhattan he is left by himself against the temptation of Marylin Monroe's beauty and shapes.

The film has been following the moral code of the 50's. And so it reduces that romance-or-so to the play of a male imagination. It exposes the plot on the the attractive neighbor. The director and co-writer of the film, Billy Wilder, was perfectly clear about one thing. How big can Marylin Monroe be as an asset to this film.

And truly the story itself is funny and well told, with a good performance of Tom Ewell (Golden Globe Award) and hilarious quotes from other films (i.e. the parody of the beach love scene from 'From Here to Eternity'). But it would have been forgotten nowadays. It would have, if it was without Marylin Monroe. There is a scene that has gone well into the pop-culture. It is that scene in which the actress stands on top of the subway vent. And the blow of air lifts up her white, almost transparent skirt to the level of her arms. The episode was shot in front of the Trans-Lux Theatre in Manhattan. Even though it was 2 AM, few thousands of people gathered to clap at the star after every shot was taken. The present husband of the actress was noticed in the crowd. It was a former baseball player - Joe Di Maggio. The gossip wouldn't even be worth mentioning if it wasn't for the fact that Monroe divorced him even before the end of filming. And the crisis in her private life was synchronized with the attempt to change the course of her carrier. After the divorce Monroe, who was usually confused, not remembering the dialogs, guided by the director step by step; came back on stage calm and focused. She surprised the crew with perfect co-operation.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Trouble with Marilyn, 28 April 2007

'It's the biggest slapstick comedy ever created,' Billy Wilder used to warn the reporters.

Gangsters from the era of prohibition and ladies from a female orchestra. Milioneers and the unemployed of the Great Crisis. Escapes and chases. Love. Sex and dressing-ups. All this spins in a craftly-planned order.

In the year 1984 an English magazine 'Time Out' judged 'Some Like It Hot' very harshly. 'Stereotypical sexism, hopelessly stupid jokes, lots of bad taste.' Five years later, the same magazine asked 60 film critics and directors to join a survey for 100 greatest film in the history of cinema and Wilder's movie ended up on the 4th place. As the greatest comedy of all times. In movie guidelines edited by that newspaper, the quoted opinion has never been repeated.

The idea was given to the writers by a German film 'Fanfares of Love' with a female orchestra 'The Cyclamens' and dressing-ups. They however changed everything here. The plot begins in the year 1929 in Chicago. Joe and Jerry. Two unemployed musicians. They unwillingly become witnesses of the infamous St. Valentine's Day massacre and the begin running away in female costumes. They join a female orchestra which is on its way to Florida. Joe. Dressed as Josephine. He falls in love in a singer called Sugar. And Jenny as Daphne becomes an object of energetic courtship of an old millionaire.

A parody of gangster movies from the 20's. It fluently bind with humor and burlesque of the crazy comedies from the 30's. The dressing-ups give occasions of playing uncountable spicy jokes. And they co-create the atmosphere of the film which is filled with eroticism. But Wilder succeeds in keeping balance.

The film was such a big success thanks to marvelous acting of the the three main performers. Tony Curtis as Joe makes a parody of Cary Grant. Jack Lemmon with the role of Jerry/Daphne begun a wonderful co-operation with Wilder (7 movies, including 'The Apartment'). And Marilyn Monroe. Sensual. Full of charm. Always troubled with something. She made a discrete parody of a naive-blond-type. And she filled the gaps of her role with some songs.

There was however a mass of trouble with her. Monroe was usually late or she didn't appear on the stage. She didn't remember her dialogs. She sometimes got the grip after more than 20 cuts. There is a scene. She goes into Joey's room in it. And she asks, 'Where is the bourbon?'. That scene was repeated 47 times. Nothing helped. Even cards with text that were put in the drawers she was opening. Noot even big signs behind the camera. Her partner, Tony Curtis, was significantly frustrated. He was tired of repeating because his freshness of play was gone. After the scene with the kiss, Curtis said, "Kissing Monroe is like kissing Hitler". The behavior of the actress was later explained by her shyness. Her problems. Suspecting her own disbelief in her talent. And psychological depression caused by the fact that she was pregnant at that time.

The movie won Golden Globe Awards for the best comedy and the performances by Marylin Monroe and Jack Lemmon. However the Oscar went only to the costume designer - Orry-Kelly.

Elling (2001)
Very good, 13 April 2007

A gentle comedy about an extraordinary friendship between two socially-unprepared 40-year-olds.

Small, shy Elling (Per Christian Ellefsen) lived with his mother all his live, and after her death, unable to live on his own, he was placed in a mental clinic. He shared a room there with Kjell Bjarne (Sven Nordin), little mentally-disabled, unclean thug who dreamed mostly about food and women. After a few years of therapy both of the so different men are, in the means of resocialization, placed in a common flat, where they are supposed to begin a normal live. And it isn't easy...

A funny film, in which comical attitude comes out of the relations between so the totally different characters (Elling is a grumpy, neurotic intelligent while Kjell Bjarne - good-natured, bear-like strongman). But not only that - the remarks of these social outsiders about out everyday reality are surprisingly precise. They make us see its "under-skinned" absurd. Making movies about "the abnormal" is quite difficult. You have to be wary about not to be too protective, not to be to cheap in feeling, and not to make an easy joke. The Norwegian director was able to dodge all those traps. He told this strange story in a very natural way. It is fresh and very tasty.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Very good, 13 April 2007

Film begins in not-so-happy mood. Like the classic "Bambi" it begins from a mother's death. A little fish called Nemo in the effect of a barracuda's attack looses his birth-giver (and 399 potential brothers and sisters). After this horrible experience Nemo's father - Marlin, became over-caring towards his son. But he won't be able to save his from the lurking dangers. That's because on the first day of his (underwater) school Nemo swims to the dangerous areas of the ocean and he gets caught by a diver and places in an aquarium. Desperate Marlin goes out on the search for his son...

His story about the double search of father and son, when you omit the naiveness, makes its character "human-like". Even the smallest fish under its paddles has its own soul.

Kiler (1997)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Good, 13 April 2007

Is is a story of a taxi driver named Jerzy Kiler (Cezary Pazura) who is taken by everyone for a hit-man called the Killer. It's no use for the taxi driver to explain that mistake. Finally, for his own protection, he decides to pretend to be who he was thought to be...

There are many well done jokes in here. The story goes quickly and has its own charm. But there is also a sad reflexion. It is the moment where Polish popular cinema begins to feed on itself. The most characteristic thing about Polish commercial cinema is its resemblance towards the hits signed "made in USA". That pretending looks as false as Jerzy Kiler pretending to be the Killer. Machulski knows about this perfectly and makes fun of it. In one of the funniest scenes Pazura plays in front of the mirror some on-screen characters like "Taxi Driver" or "Leon".

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