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Most intelligent sci-fi film ever made
In an era where just about every sci-fi film has evil aliens taking over human bodies as part of a plot to eat all the humans while taking over the ship and planet while buckets of blood are tossed everywhere, this is a very welcome change of pace.
In 1984, while the movie was being made, the film makers worked closely with NASA and the publishers of OMNI magazine to get every aspect of this movie correct. There aren't any over the top lapses of technology in this movie as every scene was carefully weighed in the reality of what was known about space travel in 1984.
This is a great stand alone movie as it is a sequel, where the sequel is much better than the original. The opening minutes of the movie spell out many of the loose ends left by the original, then we find out that a perilous joint U.S./Soviet space mission has to take place to fix a very broken spaceship while solving a mystery left by the original movie. The mission has to take place in the shadow of a US/Soviet stare down over Central America.
Roy Scheider and John Lithgow are in excellent form in the movie, with Lithgow showing how he was a great movie star before becoming a TV star who would say or do anything to take home a buck. Russian actors played the cosmonauts, so the accents aren't fake or intermittent. The tension in several scenes are reminiscent of great performances you would see on Masterpiece Theater. In a way, it's Shakespeare in Space, as the bard would've written something like this had he known about space travel.
It is a two hour movie, relying on the viewer to actually pay attention and eschew the desire to see cheap effects and plot lapses. If you can watch the Royal Shakespeare Company do Hamlet, and enjoy it, you'll enjoy this movie. If you need something more low brow (or unibrow), this isn't your cup of tea.
Great Kids Show
I'm a fan of Saturday morning kids shows going back to the late 1960's. The show is built around making crafts, which is original for any kids show. The United States is so very lacking in originality in kids shows, it's like studios don't even try.
The biggest problem with Cake, besides the lead character's name, is the casting of Anna Marie Perez De Tagle as Miracle. The studio was super lucky to land her, then really didn't know what to do with her once they had her. In case you're not up on Anna's happenings, she is not only a gifted actress, but also a great singer. Onstage, she can hold her own with Cher or Tina Turner. It's hard to believe that such a mighty voice can come out of someone so tiny (she's 5'0"). The other two look often look at Anna knowing that one day, Anna will be one of the greats, with Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys on her mantlepiece. They instinctively know that the audience's eyes are on Anna as she dominates the scenes she's in-without even trying.
It's a crying shame only 13 episodes were ever shot. It's interesting to see that now, two years later, Krista has small bits inserted with her in 2008 with a new craft idea. I've seen most of the eps now, but I'm keeping my eyes open for the series DVD. It's Anna's best role yet.
De zaak Alzheimer (2003)
A truly excellent cinematic achievement
In Hollywood history you find great cop classics like Maltese Falcon and Dirty Harry. Hollywood substituted substance with CGI years ago, and we've been stuck with poorly written, bloody, explosion strewn messes ever since. Myself, being a fan of the 1940 type of film with true acting and writing, finds today's Hollywood efforts sadly lacking.
I have turned to euro films to find true acting and well written stories. In Memory of a Killer, there is a modern day classic, a must have for fans of the Bogart type movies with feel and substance.
The movie opens with something that makes most of us sick to our stomach-a father selling his twelve year old daughter for sexual purposes. The Police bust in (Thank God) and set forth a chain of events that take us deep into the heart of darkness of man complicated by bureaucratic bumbling. The buddy cops can be a cliché in most films, but the buddy cops in this movie never sink into the stupidness found in the cop film genre.
The Angelo Ledda character (the assassin) is John Wayne type in his take no prisoners approach in his crusade to wipe out a protected group who have been preying on children. We almost cheer as he kills each one in cold blood.
A truly excellent film not only worth the price of rental, but also of owning.
One person can make a difference, even a child.
This is a heartwarming, make you sad, happy, angry movie. Samantha, an orphan, lives with her grandmother. Samantha is taught to be a proper Victorian era lady, but Samantha is also a 10 year old girl who loves her uncle dearly. Samantha's life goes spinning in unexpected directions when she befriends the three girls living next door. The thing is, the three girls (10, 8, and 3) are maids. It is 1904 and there is no such thing as child labor laws. Samantha takes it upon herself (at risk) to teach the oldest girl how to read. The two girls become inseparable, but then another crisis arrives. Samantha's very much beloved uncle is going to marry.
Samantha is unhappy about the upcoming marriage, but eventually comes around. Then, after the uncle returns from his honeymoon, Samantha goes to live with the uncle, and her new aunt. Soon after, the father of her three friends dies and the girls are sent to an orphanage. The head of the orphanage is a corrupt spinster who operates the orphanage like a prison. Samantha rescues her three friends and hides them in her attic. The oldest girl goes to get a job, then the middle child gets deathly ill. Samantha gets an eyeful when she goes to the factory to get her friend and she sees children younger than herself maimed by machines. Samantha then causes a stir at school when she makes it her mission in life to get children out of factories and treated better in orphanages.
AnnaSophia Robb is believable in her role and carries the movie well. If you have a heart, you will get a lump in your throat several times during this wonderful family movie. Hug your children, hold them tight, and love this movie.
Der Kuß meiner Schwester (2000)
Dysfunctional family and forbidden teen love
This is a German movie, dubbed in Japanese (my copy). My German is much stronger than my Japanese, so my understanding may be a bit off. This appears to be a tale of a brother and sister spending a summer together, and accidentally falling in love. They fight the urges, but it just becomes way too powerful. There are obstacles in their path. The brother has a male friend with latent feelings for him. There are a couple of girls in the village interested in the brother and when it appears that he prefers his sister-the tongues start wagging. Add in that the father is always listening for the shower upstairs. When he hears it cut off, he runs upstairs and bursts in the girl's room (more than once) trying to get a peek at his very blossoming daughter. When he busts in one time too many, to find the two siblings in the act, everything unravels. The actors who play brother and sister are very appealing and have a wonderful chemistry. This movie is well acted and directed. Although it is about a family, this is not a family movie. If you are into wonderful cinema, this is a movie for you.