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Time Freak (2011)
What Would YOU Do If You Had a Time Machine?
I've just come back back from seeing this year's crop of Oscars' Live Action Short nominees. TIME FREAK seems to be this year's answer to last year's winner, GOD OF LOVE. These two movies are very much alike, as both are on the quirky, funny side of things, and - unless I missed something - TIME FREAK was also filmed in New York City. Perhaps what little TIME FREAK lacks in charm (compared to GOD OF LOVE), it makes up in what could be considered serious, maybe even philosophical questions it raises. However, the overall similarity to GOD OF LOVE may end up hurting this movie. Last year, GOD OF LOVE was the only comedy in a relatively gloomy field; this year, it is just the opposite - the funny vote might be split 3 or 4 ways, with the only completely serious film (RAJU, which was also quite good) perhaps emerging as the favorite.
Anyway, to make a short story even shorter - a neurotic genius invents a Time Machine. What will he do with it? The answer might surprise you. Without giving away too much, I will just say that traveling back in time to kill Hitler is not on the agenda.
This was probably my favorite movie of the bunch - I give it 9/10. I do think the Live Action Short field is quite strong this year, so I would not be surprised if any one of these movies were the winner.
O chyom govoryat muzhchiny (2010)
From Russia... With Sex and the City
Take Sex and the City, change the main characters to Russian men, add Seinfeldian and Woody Allenesque observations about relationships with the opposite sex, and the quirkiness/instant flashbacks of modern sitcoms like Cougar Town, and you get What Men Talk About. It is a road movie about 4 Moscow men going to a rock concert in Odessa, Ukraine. As they take turns driving the car, they swap stories, observations, fantasies, and just have fun. Much of the movie happens in flashbacks and fantasy sequences. During their conversations, they end up talking about a variety of topics which include women, silverware, women, modern art, and women.
The film is funny and smart enough that it, in this reviewer's eyes, goes beyond the typical Hollywood comedies, and would would not be out of place in an art house movie theater.
If there is one flaw, it is that most/if not all dialogue has one "voice" to it, as it were - that is, by the end of the movie, you will probably not remember who told which story. This is somewhat of a contrast to Sex and the City, where the main character are -perhaps too artificially - made to be quite different from one another. But then again, maybe the approach in What Men Talk About is more realistic as people are more likely to be friends with people who are similar to them.
I am a Russian speaker and saw it in Russian, but other than a couple of jokes regarding the similarity between Russian and Ukrainian languages, and one or two Russian pop culture references, this should translate rather well. Not sure if this will ever be seen by many outside of Russia, but if you get a chance to see this, and you enjoy, say, Woody Allen's films (especially, the "early, funny ones"), then you might just like this one.