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Mia madre (2010)
A story of a family held together by their mother's love
Uccio, the father left Cisternino in search for a better life for his family. He left his wife, Nuncia behind with their 3 children. But one night when someone tried to rape Nuncia, and her father died as a result, she follows Uccio to Turin, where he works for Fiat.
Ucciodies at the plant trying to save a younger worker and Nuncia is forced to work at the factory to raise her children and give them a good education.
The family goes through hardship and trials. The youngest boy becomes involved with other boys who are children of migrant workers... born in the country but raised in Turin. They choose a life of petty crime. The older boy finishes school and is hired by Fiat and given a good job while Nuncia continues to work in the assembly line. The only girl gets involved with an older man but quickly realizes he is no good.
The Tree of Life (2011)
ugh. boring, what was it all about?
I guess I am not a genius??? I absolutely agree with one commentator... this film was a panoramic view of .... nothingness. Reminded me of the fairy tale, "the emperor has no clothes!" You wait for some answers that will never come.
It reminds me of another film that i walked out of in the first 15 minutes of watching it--"It's all about love" starring Joaquin Phoenix shown in 2003. The only reason why i did not walk out of this film was simply because it won best picture! So i stayed so i could make sense of why it won that award... maybe i had to be patient enough and see it through so i will get it. I did not. It talked about the death of a younger sibling and how the family tried to make sense of it... cope with it... goodness the older sibling in the movie was still despondent about it in his old age! I can say that this film is one of the worst i've seen in my entire life.
Taking Chance (2009)
Respect for those who have been killed in action...touching.
I have just finished watching HBO's "Taking Chance" and was deeply moved by the film and how it showed the journey of Pfc. Chance Phelps who was killed in action in Iraq. It was very informative and showed the respect the Armed Forces bestowed on their fallen colleagues... from the time the soldier is killed in action to the point where they bring his body back home to his family. I was deeply moved by the respect shown to Pfc. Phelps by his Marine escort and by the civilians who happened to be there as he was being flown back to his parents house in Wyoming. Although I do not personally think America should have gone to war in Iraq, I salute the soldiers who have served and are still serving their country by fighting this difficult war. I once received an email from an acquaintance (he is a WWII veteran) and he had a slogan in his email: "Fight them there or fight them here. Awake America!" I may be wrong in my opinion about the war in Iraq (or I may be right) but one thing I know is that America is safer because of the sacrifice of the soldiers who are fighting for their country in Iraq and Afhganistan.
Déjà Vu (1997)
I watched this movie for 2 reasons: (1) i just love stephen dillane (ever since "firelight" with sophie marceau) and (2) it is a love story. the only things i loved about the movie was stephen dillane and vanessa redgrave; the songs (where or when, it had to be you, the white cliffs of dover, my serenade). Otherwise, had i known it was going to be like a fantasy of some woman finding the love of her life and jumping at the opportunity to be with that soul mate, well... it was to far-fetched for me! Not that i don't believe in finding one's soul mate; but the story line for this particular movie was weird and personally, i felt the lead actress didn't know how to act at all. But she was the writer, hence she got top spot.
So many others have given excellent comments about this made-for-TV film and so I shall not add any more to that except to say this is a very excellent film. Its use of historical footages add to the authenticity of its depiction. All i can say is that I found tears falling down my cheeks as the film ended--with the Emperor of Japan telling his military advisers that they too must endure the unendurable as he must. While I somehow felt some sympathy for him, I cannot understand why he did not use his imperial powers to stop these madmen from starting the war in the first place. The footage showing the soldiers with Gen. Wainwright need no words to describe the brutality of the Japanese occupation. Neither has Japan apologized for the atrocity done on so-called "comfort women." On the other hand, the photos taken right after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are too painful to look at. Dr. Oppenheimer was right in his assessment--(I paraphrase--)"We may developed a weapon that will put an end to all wars...but can man be trusted not to useit for evil purposes?" The good book tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" I cried for all who suffered during the Bataan Death March, those who lived through the barbaric occupation of the Japanese Imperial Army but I also cried for the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who had to endure the unendurable. In war, everyone loses. This film did not glorify war but gave a factual presentation of the events that led to the bomb which changed the course of modern history...it showed both sides--good and bad...and so I gave it the highest rating.
Sword of Gideon (1986)
How does one fight terrorism?
Like the character played by Steven Bauer, Avner--he said he had no answers, just questions. I found this film really fascinating as it was based on real events. Munich didn't quite do it for me. I like this version better. Too much angst in Spielberg's version I think--he tried to be politically correct.
Did Golda Meir make the right decision? How does one fight an unseen enemy who has sworn publicly and with terroristic acts, the total annihilation of your country? The Mossad agents were placed in a tight spot...they had to grapple with their consciences... unlike the terrorists who don't care whether their victims are enemy agents or schoolchildren or athletes--in other words, non-combatants.
Does the end justify the means. I don't think so. And this is what the film wishes to convey.
The Ten Commandments (2006)
Don't waste your time on this.
I gave it a rating of "awful" not for the acting--the actors had nothing to do with the interpretation of the Story of Exodus. I don't know how the writer came up with such a story. He made the Jews appear to be a bloodthirsty people who followed an arbitrary, intractable, and demanding God--Ron Hutchinson made up his own story--this mini-series is not what the Bible relates at all. He gives a wrong picture about God and how He dealt with Pharoah, Moses, and the Jewish nation. It showed that Moses did not even know where to lead the people--that God is a fickle God and unreasonable and vengeful. I was aghast at how Mr. Hutchinson interpreted the exodus of the Jewish nation from slavery. Don't waste your time on this.
The Lost City (2005)
Story of Cuba
Andy Garcia does a superb job of telling the story of Cuba from the perspective of one family caught in the turmoil of the revolution.
It is the story of one family composed of 3 brothers, one is a musician whose life revolves around his family and his music lounge;one brother is a student at university--it is not clear what the other one's occupation is. Their father is a university professor who believes in Ghandi's philosophy of passive resistance. But one brother is captivated by Fidel Castro and joins the rebels. The other brother is also lured into the political fray and only Andy Garcia's character, Fico, is apolitical.
There is a parallelism in the break up of the country with the break up of the family. Family affinities are either strengthened or discarded depending on which side of the revolution one chooses to ally one's self with. This is the tragedy that is Cuba--it deposed a bloody dictator with a bloodier one.
Similarly, Fico's love for Aurora (his brother's widow) parallels his love for his Cuba. He loves her and he will love her forever; yet, he has to go away. Aurora chooses to stay in Cuba--she believes that communism is the the road to follow; Fico chooses to leave for New York--freedom is non-negotiable--it holds the highest value in his heart.
Wonderful story telling and directing from Andy Garcia. He presents this heartbreaking story with passion and understanding of its turbulent history. The poem at the end of the film is equally haunting in its beauty...to quote a portion:
"Todo es hermoso y constante, Todo es musica y rezo, Y todo, como el diamante, Antes que luz, es carbon."
(Everything is beautiful and faithful, Everything is music and prayer, And everything--like the diamond, Before it sparkles, is coal.")
Forgive me if I failed to translate it right; maybe someone can translate it more accurately and lyrically. But you get the idea.
I really loved watching this film, i give it 9/10!
Mr. & Mrs. Bridge (1990)
lovely period film
SPOILERS! I always love Merchant Ivory films and this is no exception. Sure, the movie is quite slow but the acting of Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Blythe Danner is superb. Although Paul Newman's character is quite stern, he is not unloving. He just doesn't know how to express his feelings. When he thought that he was very sick and could die soon, he made sure that he set his estate in order and showed his wife the important papers she needs to be aware of. He wanted to make sure she would be all right. He also talks to his son and tells him the extent of his illness (which he conceals from his wife--he doesn't want her to worry!) and asks his son to take care of his mother in case he becomes very ill and possibly die. He also surprises Mrs. Bridge with a cruise to Europe during a tornado alert! He remains cool while a tornado is raging outside the hotel where he and his wife are dining.I realize that his reactions are based on his priorities...he might die soon and what's a tornado to do with what he wants to accomplish at this very moment? This is a lovely film about family relationships and how families interacted then--we see similar values (love of family, concern for children's future) but different ways of living it out.
Mr. Bridge doesn't quite like that his daughter will be marrying a plumber's son (not good enough for her!) and he gives his other daughter $1,000 to start a career in acting in New York. The best adjective for him is "reticent." Mrs. Bridge on the other hand, is such a naive and kind-hearted person. She sees the bright things in life although she is quite unhappy because she feels her husband doesn't love her enough.
If you happen to like European films and how they flesh out relationships, you will love this film.
Cidade de Deus (2002)
disturbing, shocking, sick
I can't seem to find the words to describe this very disturbing film. I cannot imagine such a life...reminiscent of "The Lord of the Flies." Kids aren't kids--they shoot, they kill, they have no consciences. It is like peering into the eyes of soul-less little people.
My stomach turned while watching this horrific movie. It is a scene straight out of hell. It depicts apocalyptic events--where evil runs unhindered.
Rocket, the photographer, was the only one who seemed to escape the destiny of the rest of the residents of that hellish place.
Maybe they should re-name their city "Cidade de Diablo."