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Interesting, moving and beautiful.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this two hour documentary about a boys' choir, but I was both charmed and entertained. I also gained real insight into the kind of life these boys and young men lead as part of a boarding school,...and one of the best choirs in the world.
I think the film-makers did a great job of showing the hard work, passion and occasionally, tears that are part of the extraordinary commitment these boys and their families make, and the musical parts of the film are, at times, truly breath-taking. I found myself wishing they could be longer!
It's a beautiful film to look at, too. The churches, concert halls, cities and other locations are the 'guest stars', but the 'Thomaner' themselves really steal this show.
Well worth seeing, and not just for Bach fans. I saw it in German, but I hope the DVD version has subtitles - this film deserves a wider audience.
7 Zwerge (2004)
German Humour? - Racist, sexist and insultingly bad.
OK...a sad collection of extremely unsophisticated 'sketch' jokes, often repeated several times, and none of them original. Embarrassing.
Plus...racism! A clumsy wordplay on the similarity between the sounds of 'Jaeger' (hunter) and 'Neger' (insulting word for a dark skinned person).
Also...violence towards women! One of the 'dwarfs' has a 'problem', later overcome, in that he **can't hit women**. Hilarious. Women are repeatedly referred to as (translation)'cold-hearted bitches'. The person who wrote this trash is the one with the problem.
Speech impediments! This is supposed to be funny??
Otto Waalke's character - I hope it is a character - is annoying beyond belief, as are the lisping dwarf and the cooking dwarf.
The only enjoyable moments were provided by the fabulous Nina Hagen, playing the wicked queen, the Mirror - Ruediger Hoffmann, and the miserable dwarf played by a wonderfully dead-pan Boris Aljinovic.
Having said all that, the thing that I found really disturbing was that I was sitting in a packed cinema full of people laughing their heads off. This disaster actually got a considerable round of applause when the credits came up!!! A sad day for Deutschland.
See it if you have to, or you want to experience what, believe it or not, actually passes for comedy in Germany, but avoid it if you can.
Fight Club (1999)
Black comedy at its finest.
I find many 'narrated' films rather irritating, but this was superb and *really* entertaining. The initial situation, involving Edward Norton's character and the way he meets the slightly odd Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) is hilarious. The arrival in his life of the mysterious and manipulative Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is a roller-coaster of fascination, disbelief and horror; Norton's narrator is utterly seduced by the hypnotic Durden and his testosterone fuelled Bolshevism, climaxing in a fabulous twist and a spectacularly audacious final scene.
The performances? Brad Pitt (Tyler Durden). I'll be so glad when I stop seeing "Hey, Brad Pitt can really act!" comments. Yes, he's beautiful, but that doesn't preclude his being good at his job. He is superb here; perfect casting of a exceptional actor giving an amazing performance. Doubters; stop thinking 'It's Brad Pitt' and just watch. Helena Bonham Carter is warm and very watchable as the neurotic, chain-smoking Marla Singer. Sadly, her character is reduced to 'flounce in, pout, flounce out' for most of the film. Edward Norton (The Narrator) gives a good, solid turn as the disoriented insomniac, but for reasons I find hard to define, the performance doesn't get out of the monochrome for me. Didn't spoil the film one iota, though. One of the best I've seen all year, and one of the finest black comedies I've ever seen.