Reviews written by registered user
|9 reviews in total|
A parody of American intervention in Afghanistan, ominously close to
reality. Brad Pitt is not at his best but does the job. Ben Kingsley is
excellent in a minuscule role, doing one more exotic character which he
doesn't even have to rehearse for. Tilda Swinton is excellent in an
even more minuscule role.
The film is (painfully) funny, at times (uncomfortably) sidesplitting, very enjoyable. It is a must see because it makes a major contribution helping the general public navigate through years of lies and delusions on Afghanistan and foreign policy generally.
Having said that, an ideological ALERT is called for: Anybody concluding from the movie that all you need to do is get out (of Afghanistan in this case) is in my view missing the intricacies of conflicts within Islam and the complex interaction between Islam and the Western World. That is for leaders with courage and imagination to sort out. This is just a movie review.
Having read some of the demolishing ("don't waste your time" type)
reviews, I would like to offer my perspective as a retiree (who has
time to waste) who understands German and has read, some time ago, the
Isaacson book on which the series was based.
I found the Isaacson book well documented and credible. Is the series helping to make Einstein and the other characters truly believable? I am afraid not quite due to some of the reasons mentioned in previous reviews. Having said that, I had forgotten most of the details in the book and that sustains my interest and suspense in developments in the series. And I am sure I will remember them longer than was the case after the book.
Yes, the German-accented English (so often used in the past) is a tad ridiculous, but let's face it. Over 90% of the audience to which this series is addressed do not understand German, so direct perception of the dialogue will suffer anyway, whether it is in straight English or in German with subtitles. On the other hand, yes, there are some subtle ways to communicate period and alien culture (as possibly reflected in "The Reader" and Schindler's List).
Regarding complaints about the emphasis on sex and other personal stuff, over "science", once again about 90% of the audience (including myself) is more interested in the former. Anybody wanting to learn more about relativity and other physics issues should rather find some documentary films about these. I would concede that the sex scene right at the start is a little "blatant".
The series does ultimately filter through the theme of public greatness and private shortcomings which so many giants show. At least, it is fair to say that Einstein was honest with himself and the world even if not quite so with the women in his life from day to day.
There is, of course, some "scientific" drama in the case of Einstein. He made a giant theoretical leap as a very young man and spent the rest of his life in frustrating and failed search of another such leap, falling behind others in the race to the mythical "ultimate" answer to "everything". Perhaps the rest of the series will still reflect that.
Finally I totally disagree with negative reactions to having the story shift back and forth in time. The past is not necessarily remembered chronologically and such shifting, if not confusing or frustrating is a completely valid dramatic device. What's more, it is my belief that history generally should be taught that way also. It does not make sense for students to have to plod for months or years through antiquity and the Middle Ages to get exposure to modern times. Rather, the subject should be tackled by focusing on themes, such as slavery, democracy, the role of religion, etc. moving through different periods, starting from present day implications.
I will continue to watch Genius.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie is quite good.
Strange though that nobody thought of linking it to Hidden, a 2005 French movie with Daniel Auteil, even when somebody on the board asked about other movies with video tape scenes.
In fact, the French movie covers the same "Stalker as avenger" theme, in a somewhat different context, but suggesting, to use the language of "The Gift" that, in fact, bad things happen to bad people.
In this case, an apparently fine young man is stalked by a former classmate, which unleashes revelations that ultimately unravel the "fine young man"'s life.
Good acting and good dramatic tempo. Only precisely the video scene toward the end could have been made clearer - it is hard to follow.
I have been to India. I am moderately familiar with Indian history. I had never heard of the book. I found the film very entertaining, emotionally gripping, and altogether a very interesting perspective of what the lives of children born at the stroke of independence could have been like. Of particular interest, almost a shock is a scathing assessment of Indira Gandhi, at least of a portion of her period holding power. Never mind the book, I think the film is abundant food for thought or perhaps "rethought" on how freedom and post-colonialism works and human destiny in a broader sense. One thing the story definitely confirms: Most revolutions, whatever their justification and ultimate vindication, have meant mostly disaster and misery for the first generation.
This movie has gotten overall bad reviews. It is in fact uneven, as you
might expect from 7 directors handling 7 segments to some extent
If you don't understand enough Spanish to follow the Cuban dialog, I am sure a lot gets lost in translation. Others complain the film tells them nothing new.
From my perspective, with some familiarity with Cuban culture, down to the iconic Hotel Nacional featured in the film (where I stayed for 3 mights in 2011), I can only say that I may have learned little that is new but through most of the film, the vibrancy, the music, the sensuality, the sheer joy and pain of the Cuban experience shone through and it touched my soul.
I'd like to add my vote to the non-haters of this movie. Also I am on a
one-man campaign to persuade reviewers and posters to stay away from
extreme best-worst knee jerk judgments.
The movie is reasonably entertaining, based on usual clichés of small-time America, British-American culture chasm, etc.. The women are nice to look at. Colin Firth does an average job, which suffers from comparison with some of his major movies. Also both he and Hugh Grant have clearly been over-stretching their franchise on the bumbling Brit cliché.
All together, if you stumble into this while zapping channels, you won't be sorry.
I haven't read this particular Maupassant novel, but it definitely retains a Maupassant flavor, it looks like a well done adaptation, a very good historical reconstruction, not only of the period but of Maupassant's take on his contemporaries. The tale evolves well. The female characters are a pleasure to watch, with no loss of authenticity even though they were primarily Anglo or Anglo-French. I am no fan of the actor playing the main male character but he does a pretty good job portraying a creep. That does not detract from believability at all. In my experience, beautiful and smart women keep falling for incredible creeps all the time!
(Minor spoilers) As part of the historical discussion that hovers over
most reviews, I think my experience as an elderly (71) non-American
(but who has spent time in the U.S.) is interesting. Belonging to an
older generation, the Civil War, Lincoln assassination, etc. are much
more vivid events than for younger people who may have trouble finding
Vietnam on a world map.
Having said that, I was quite unaware of the simultaneous attempts to assassinate the Vice President and Secretary of State. I was aware of the "Sic semper tyrannis" quote - I remember my father mentioning it to me not less than 50 years ago, but I was not aware that it had been adopted by Virginia as part of its state symbol.
I had read and saw films about conspirators, including notably one about incarceration and trial of a physician who allegedly set John Wilkes Booth's fractured leg. I remembered reading - probably in a history magazine - a story about one conspirator who was hunted by U.S. agents all the way to the Papal States and brought back in chains but ultimately acquitted. After watching the movie, I wondered whether that could be John Surratt, so I googled it and lo and behold, it was. Perhaps they could have added a few words regarding this extraordinary story in the final footnotes.
So for me the film was extremely interesting from an historic perspective. From the point of view of cinematographic entertainment it was just OK, not overwhelming, possibly too "serious" to stand out as fun.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this with my wife and she gave up after the first half hour, she was so confused. I was too but I sat it out, later researched all the reviews, discussions and movie spoiler, then saw it again. It is really excellent, enjoyable - after you are aware of all the wrinkles. Maybe this is only me but I have found this problem with many films including the Argentine "The Secret in your Eyes" which earned the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Movie. I wonder whether cinematographers could find it in their hearts to make concessions to some of us who are not so diligent and attentive and clarify some things for us early enough to better follow the action. Give an example: the Kristin Scott Thomas character, which I confess I missed in the blurry initial scene, when she later appeared looked like some possible romantic interest of the main character - little could I identify her as his sister's lesbian partner!