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Purity: A Dark Film (2010)
This was on youtube and I stumbled across it by accident. For a short film it was quite well-shot and lit, I did like the dark angles and how it evoked a sort of film noir atmosphere. However, I didn't really understand the point to be made at all (won't give it away without spoilers) as the main character doesn't really explain her behaviour or how she's changed by the end. I know that's asking a lot for a short film but it's a bit strange to invite somebody who broke your hurt over to take your virginity because YOU want to hurt THEM. Maybe I'm missing something? I also think if the actress/writer had actually had sex she'd be in a better position to talk so much about the importance and meaning of it! It's boring to have virgins preach when I'm quite happy with my non-damaging, healthy, enjoyable and respectful sex life. I also find it amusing that it's apparently considered more pure to put films on youtube where you are featured in your underwear with almost all your breasts exposed than it is to have sex.
Wild Ocean (2008)
I saw this today on an IMAX screen, it was a pretty cool piece, it had nice visuals that worked well. There were some nice shots flying over coast line which were very exciting, and lots of footage of schoals of sardines and their predators, it was nice to see dolphins, penguins and other animals on a huge screen in 3D. The documentary was about the natural food chain of the ocean and how it has been disrupted in many places by human fishing. This focused on the sea around South Africa where the food chain is still intact like it used to be elsewhere. It also showed a fair bit of fisherman and other people of the area which was much less interesting than the amazing land/sea shots. It spoke about how we need to protect the delicate balance of the food chain. It also had quite nice accompanying music.
Ek Ajnabee (2005)
similar to "Man on Fire"
This strange Bollywood copy of the film "Man on Fire" was neither better nor worse than the original. It was just very much the same, and I didn't like the original film much. Luckily, this film wasn't as long as a normal Bollywood film, although like "Man on Fire" I found it a touch long, and it wasn't packed with songs. The setting was changed to Thailand, but otherwise the story and even the lines were very much the same - depressed ex-soldier goes to be a bodyguard for the child of a rich family. They form a special bond, and then she gets kidnapped. The bodyguard goes on a brutal revenge rampage. I thought the actors were okay and the girl did quite a good job. Unfortunately the director decided to imitate a lot of the strange cinematography and jerky edits of the original film. In my opinion it didn't work originally and it still didn't work in this version. There seemed to be less of the violent revenge in this, which was good, although there also seemed to be less of an insight into the business of kidnapping, or into corruption. It was just very much the same as "Man on Fire" and not even significantly Bollywoodised, just with different actors and half spoken in Hindi. (Incidentally, I really admire the actors' ability to switch languages the whole time.) It doesn't matter which version you watch because the story is silly and the camera work will probably make you seasick.
Main Aisa Hi Hoon (2005)
I didn't really like it
This strange copy of the 2001 American film "I Am Sam" isn't very good. I guess if you like seeing Bollywood versions of stories then you might appreciate it but I'm not really a fan of Bollywood cinema so as a result I wasn't so fond of this film. The story is just like "I Am Sam" - a mentally disabled man (apparently "autistic" in the Indian version) ends up being the single father of his young daughter and then it must be decided by the court whether or not he should continue to have sole custody of her once her chronological age becomes higher than his mental age. In this case the challenge comes from the maternal grandfather who suddenly pops up on the scene in a vaguely contrived manner, unlike the original film where Social Services gets involved. This version is longer than the original film, with a whole bunch of songs. It adds to the story, such as having a long plot line involving the girl's mother (who leaves). I didn't really like the songs much, and some of them seemed to have only a minimal relationship with what was happening in the film. Also, despite some interesting copycat shots (credits, man with baby outside hospital, lining up cups in the cafe, etc.), editing, and lines, a lot of the best and most poignant moments were missing. An example of this is the scene from the original film, where the young girl deliberately stunts her reading skills in front of her father because she doesn't want to be able to read more than him. This was a devastating scene, but unfortunately in this version it was changed - the girl was happy to read but rather than recognising his daughter could excel further than he did, like Sam, this father denied that she his daughter could read English, because he couldn't. The girl's interview for the court, such a stunning scene in the original film, was missing from this one, and she seemed to be ignored completely during the proceedings. The loss of scenes like that meant that this film just didn't have the same emotional impact, and the ending was hard to swallow. It's hard to judge acting because it seemed to be in a different style, but overall I wasn't too fond of it, although I did feel the lead actor was all right. They tried to add a few nice scenes showing the father-daughter relationship but it didn't seem as good as in the original film. This is a nice effort and I'm sure it'll work well for a more traditional Bollywood audience who are used to lengthy musicals, but for everyone else I have to recommend the far superior "I Am Sam".
Oh, and just a warning if you're planning to view this film on region 2 (yes it was a legal version) - the English subtitles were unfortunately terrible. I think the translator changed halfway through because the spelling of "Neel" changed to "Neil" and the quality of the subtitles became awful, with such bad English (not to mention probably completely wrongly translated as well) at times it was hard to understand what was going on.
Man and Boy (2002)
This is a reasonably good adaptation of Tony Parsons' book but some things are a little off. Generally, the story followed quite closely, but a few little changes made the whole storyline less believable. I had read the book before I viewed this, and although the protagonist isn't quite likable, the parent-child relationship is very nice and also very funny. That does come across well in the film, mainly because of the acting. Ioan Gruffudd is good as usual and I thought Dominic Howell did well enough especially for one so young. There was also good acting by Natasha Little and the actors playing the grandparents. Unfortunately, the plot line of the wife moving to Japan didn't seem believable at all. It better explained in the book but in the film it made her look like a callous, selfish mother for putting herself and her strange needs before her child - not how they had tried to build her character up in the beginning. Also, the man's new relationship with a woman named Syd came into being a little too fast and it seemed stupid, compared to the more leisurely way I remember it developing into the book. She barely knew the guy at all, except that he was horrible to his wife, but they still went out together and I thought that we saw too much of them kissing when I would have rather been seeing the more important, title relationship - the man and boy. There was also some of the humour not as strong - for example, when Pat says rude words it was clear in the book that this was because he'd been allowed to listen to rap music, but less clear in the film. Uunfortunately, the ending let down the rest of the programme with an inexplicable decision regarding the boy's custody, and a lame ending that seemed straight out of a romantic comedy. Other than those points, it was good.
As I had expected, "Top Spot" was a load of crap, and after listening to a bit of the commentary as well, I think Tracey Emin is a self-obsessed freak. But I don't want to dwell on her because that would mean that I know about her and her work, and I'd rather not be in that position and so I hope I forget about her soon. At least the film is short (1 hour). It's the story of a bunch of teenage girls, and all of their stories are about sex in one way or another. I find it sad that the idea of young girls having sex is so exciting to so many people that all sorts of vicious or pathetic things pop out as "art". I'm sorry Tracey Emin has so many issues, it didn't stop this film from being boring! This film seems to take a strange delight in its own amateurish qualities. It is essentially an amateurish production pretending to be something more by glorifying its own amateurishness, as though if you know you are making something that looks amateur, you are in fact making quality art. You're not. It's just amateur. I fail to understand the reason behind the choice of the title (okay I get what it means but was it really relevant?) nor did I find anything interesting in the stories portrayed. I quite liked the scenes at the beginning, with the girls talking to an off-camera person, they reminded me somewhat of the scene with the psychologist in the "400 Blows", and although the acting was of course nowhere near the standard of Jean-Pierre Leaud, I thought some of the (inexperienced) girls did okay (even though they were all talking just about sex). There were a number of extended sequences just showing the girls moving slowly while music played in the background, these went on for too long which I really don't think counts as film-making. The suicide scene seemed more laughable than shocking, a bit of fake blood and a razor blade? Reminds me of the sort of photos kids take as a joke, not powerful art. Hoepfully you won't be able to find this film, chances are you won't enjoy this crap and I recommend that nobody watches it.
This was awful. I feel bad saying it, but it was really an excruciatingly terrible event, so much so that I couldn't even finish watching it. It was a strange idea, making an opera out of "The Little Prince", and I don't know who thought of it, but I wish they hadn't. It's a weird book to begin with and turning it into an opera doesn't improve it at all. I was upset to find that Rachel Portman was the composer. I don't understand how she continues to get so much work because I've always found her compositions to be ordinary and bland. In this case, the music was nothing special, and some chorus parts were awful. The lyrics weren't so great either. "Please draw me a sheep", repeated many times, just doesn't make for a good opera. The Little Prince is such a strange character. I had been fond of Teddy Tahu Rhodes' singing for a while, but in this I found all the singers a little disappointing because I had to listen very, very hard to hear and understand what words he was singing, they were too fast, or poorly-spaced, and unclear. My companion didn't even think they were singing in English at first! Joseph McManners is also a good singer, he was a nice find but it was a shame the rest of the production wasn't so good. I believe this was filmed like a film but as it seemed like it was done on stage, the sets were minimalist. I didn't mind but there were some awful ideas like the strange heads of the children's chorus appearing in space. I would have to describe this as a disappointing disaster.
Endless Love (1981)
I agree with "endless bore"
"Endless Love" is a very aggravating film about two horny teenagers who were so obsessed with having sex with each other that they ruined a lot of people's lives, including (fortunately) their own. I think the audience was meant to feel they had true love, or something, but it really didn't come across like that, it seemed more like a study on lust and obsession. Although there were a couple of scenes showing briefly how the two got on, there were far more scenes of them having sex. It even made me feel as though the director was having a laugh as if to say how much he enjoyed spending days watching naked teenagers writhe around while pretending he were making a normal film and not child porn. Neither of the teenage characters were nice, because they were so obsessed with having sex with each other, and they didn't do much else. The male one was particularly bad and a creepy, stalker-like obsessed guy, and in the end he started doing stupid things to ruin everything for himself, instead of keeping his pants on for a few days. Nobody even wanted to seriously keep the stupid kids apart anyway, they just suggested that, when you're in high school, a bit of studying before your exams is probably a better thing to do than endless bonking. Our characters were too stupid to realise it and deserved all the misery they had, it's just a shame they made other characters miserable too - not to mention the audience. This was a short and empty storyline stretched out into a feature length film. However James Spader was quite good and Tom Cruise was fun in his short appearance as a pyromaniac.
I really loved the first "Pirates" film but I found the second one a bit disappointing on the plot front. I must be very dim because I found it a little confusing to follow, but I didn't mind because it contained plenty of lovely sword-fighting sequences, amusing lines from Jack Sparrow and lots of lovely Will moments. Unfortunately, the third film also seemed confusing to follow, just jumping from crazy sub-plot to crazy sub-plot, as though the writers finished it in a hurry because they were forced to (which I think is the case), bringing up all sorts of crazy rules and laws of seas and pirates to make all sorts of crazy and inane (and not terribly amusing) things happen. We saw less of all the good characters and too much time was wasted introducing new ones. There wasn't as much humour in this one either.
That said, everyone was technically magnificent. They really have amazing settings and special effects, even though this had a lot of dark, cloudy seas rather than lovely sunny islands. The actors are all excellent at playing their characters and things like the costumes and music are amazing. It's definitely enjoyable enough for fans, but not as good as it could have been.
ER: Be Still My Heart (2000)
Anton Yelchin was quite good
I watched this episode because I am a fan of Anton Yelchin. He is a very good actor and this episode is some of his earlier acting work. He plays a boy who is brought into the ER along with his sister and parents, all of whom have been in a car accident. It's tragic - the children only have minor injuries, but the parents both die, and somebody has to tell the children. The boy then requests to see the bodies. It's designed to be very emotional stuff and Anton Yelchin made it work quite well. Also, I think this is the episode where two doctors get stabbed by a mad patient. The last scene was very interesting. I borrowed this episode on DVD so if you're an Anton Yelchin fan you might be interested in doing so too.