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Alpha Dog (2006)
7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
What a headache!, 11 April 2007

Oh boy, this was the worst movie I watched in a long time. It's pure botch and annoyed me to the point that I almost left the cinema halfway trough if not for the person who was with me. It was truly painful to watch!

I don't even know where to start but the worst part is definitely the laughable dialogue, adding an almost comic like "quality" to this crap flick. There is a scene where Timberlake urges a distressed Dominique Swain (?) to repeat something like "I've got everything under control" which had me laugh out loud. Or when Swain shouts "This shirt is cool, Bob Marley is cool but kidnapping isn't cool" it made me cringe in my seat! There's plenty of "fuck", "Faggot", "bitch", almost every other sentence included the F-word; it added up and went on my nerves. The movie lacks direction and the cut seems often random and unmotivated. It is obvious that Nick Cassavetes took here the same approach as his father did in many of his Indie productions and gave the actors much room for improvisations which resulted in them screaming, pushing, cursing and fighting each other till you get a headache. The story is totally predictable, there's lots of bad acting (Heather Wahlquist was surprisingly good and funny though) and even accomplished actors like Harry Dean Stanton or Sharon Stone couldn't save this mess. Especially Foster really overdid his role most of the time. The soundtrack fits the story of a bunch of teen wannabee gangstas well.

Alpha Dog reminded me of Larry Clark's "Bully" only that the latter is still a much better movie despite Clark's manipulative and hypocritical exploitation of his protagonists and his playing the shock card about the oh so disturbing state of the nation's youth. But I prefer to watch a couple of totally unmotivated full frontals and zooming in on teen crotches/asses embedded in MTV-aesthetics over having to sit trough lines that had me wince in pain!

Only way I can explain the surprisingly good IMDb rating is loads of Timberlake groupies pushing the 10 vote button.

Oblomov (1980)
27 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful literature film version of Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov, 10 April 2006

Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov is a classic of Russian literature and a true masterpiece. It's a sociocritical and philosophical work and it anticipates the formation of the Russian revolution by showing the apathy, phlegm and decadence of the impoverished Russian (landed)gentry at the end of 19th century. The main character Oblomov is a very lovable yet weak-willed and frail nobleman. He lives in St.Petersburg and lives off the income of his manor which is far away and run-down. For days Oblomov just stays in his bed, thinking and lamenting about all the things he should do but his lethargy prevents him from taking care of these problems. He reflects on hectic daily life and what is important, the meaning of life. His counterpart is his best friend Stolz, a German. Stolz is vibrant, fun-loving and burning for action and he tries to pull out Oblomov from his lethargy but it's a very hard task. One day Oblomov falls in love... The book was written in the tradition of new realism in Russian literature, like Tolstoi, Dostojewski or Turgenjew. The interpretation of the story varies a lot between then and nowadays and critics are still arguing what Goncharov's real intention was. Many people see the novel as a swan song on Russian class society and tsardom; and it is essentially a Fin de Siècle novel. Oblomov is like the representative of a class that has outlived itself, a dinosaur of Russian nobility. It's not a coincidence that Stolz is German, he's a symbol for the modernistic and educational ideas that came from the West at that time. I agree with this interpretation on the whole, looking at the novel in the context when it was written. The novel was published in 1858, that was only 3 years before the official abolition of serfdom trough Alexander I, the beginning of extended reforms which couldn't prevent the progression of the coming revolution as we know today. Lenin later spoke at a party convention about "Oblomovism" in reference of the overthrown system, threatening that the days of Oblomovism are over. You'll even find this term today in Russian thesaurus. The other interpretation is that today many celebrate Oblomov as an icon of refusal and idleness and point out the more philosophical aspects of the story. In the days of globalisation and people worshipping "shareholder value" and the mighty dollar, Oblomov can indeed be seen as the hero of all deniers. Many of his thoughts in the novel are universal and pose questions to us that are more up to date then ever before it seems. The movie captures the essence of the story in a great way and is free of any Soviet propaganda influence you might detect in similar films; it's very accurate to the original work and one of the best literature film versions I've ever seen. The cast is wonderful, the cinematography is top notch and fits the moods of the story perfectly, sometimes dreamy (in the great outdoor scenes), sometimes realistic. Oblomov's character comes over every bit as lovable, melancholic and pensive as he is portrayed in the book. The end is a little abrupt and an important part of the story is missing. That's a pity and the reason I give this film 8 instead of 10 points; I wonder if the director encountered some problems there or if their budget was cut short for any reason. Who knows. Check this movie out, it will be hard to find I guess but it's a great work and a refreshing change when one is only used to modern films. Of course this gem should be watched in cinema and I still hope that my local art cinema will someday organise a Nikita Mikhalkov retrospective so I get the chance to see it on the big screen.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Best High School series I've ever seen..., 12 March 2006

I'll make it short because most comments here will already tell you how great this show is in detail much better than I could and in adding a lenghty review I would only repeat much of the other reviews. Freaks and Geeks is a wonderful show with real characters the viewers can identify with and it tells school life as it was with all the humiliations, pain, angst, joy, discoveries,'s a very honest and low key show with a slow narrative but the stories and characters really grab you by the heart. The casting was incredible and the chemistry between the actors is something else. Especially the geek trio is awesome. Sams unanswered crush he has on cheerleader Cindy is something all Geeks of the world can relate to, as we all know nice guys finish last :-) I was fed up with all the models and pretty boys who follow these stupid, superficial, oversexed and manipulative dating&love story lines a long time ago already and only recently saw these episodes of Freaks and Geeks. And it was like a fresh breath of air! I didn't watch it from the beginning unfortunately and zapped in to "We've got spirit". Then came the scene when Todd thanked the team and the high school and then he thanked God, and I knew I was in for something special. Only I didn't know right then and there just how great of a show freaks and Geeks truly is! The fact that NBC stopped this series after one season only is a true testament to the sad state of television these days.