Reviews written by registered user

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69 reviews in total 
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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Lovely heartfelt biopic, history, and drama, 9 July 2017

I enjoyed this lovely heartfelt biopic, history, drama, and romance. You don't need to know anything about golf, or even like it, to enjoy it. The lead actors, Jack Lowden, Peter Mullan, Ophelia Lovibond, and Sam Neill, are great. While the very first section of the movie is a little thin and TV-movie-ish, with predictable family scenes and sappy music, it recovers itself and becomes quite interesting once the major threads of the drama get underway, so stick with it and your attention will be rewarded. I'm happy to be aware now of this little-known chapter of fascinating history.

Leonie (2010)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful, haunting true story of a fascinating, independent-minded young woman at the turn of the 20th century, 20 March 2017

This is a beautiful, haunting true story of a fascinating, independent- minded young woman at the turn of the 20th century.

Her life ends up crossing boundaries, borders, and oceans. Though her name may be obscure, she created a legacy that lives on, and may live on for centuries.

The film is beautifully crafted, artfully presented, enormously well written and well acted. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves true stories artfully presented, and beautiful, heartwarming, uplifting films.

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Great movie that meets and exceeds expectations, 26 October 2015

If you like dance movies, this is for you.

It's comparable to the best true-story dance movies like 'Mao's Last Dancer', 'Dancing Across Borders', and so on. If you liked those movies, you will love this.

It's well cast, well acted, well danced, and very interesting and dramatic.

I loved it!

Highly recommended for dance-movie fans.

The lead character is especially well cast, and he dances marvelously, with passion and beauty and skill, while also being an excellent actor.

Cosmopolitan (2003) (TV)
Utterly charming and unique, 13 June 2015

To quote another reviewer, this film is a charming must-see.


* Unique indie film

* Cross-racial and inter-cultural romance

* Romance after all seems lost

* Top-rated stars (Roshan Seth and Carol Kane) at the top of their form

* Funny, charming, sad, bittersweet, meaningful, tongue-in-cheek all at once

What's not to like?

If you love hidden gems, then definitely watch this!

I guarantee you will not be disappointed. This is an intelligent, witty, heartfelt film that is unlike any other I've ever come across.

A quiet but powerful, beautifully emotional film, 30 March 2015

The Spanish Gardener is a quiet, beautifully emotional film. Dirk Bogarde shines as a loving and convincingly Spanish gardener and athlete in small-town Spain, where stuffed shirt Harrington Brande (veteran British actor Michael Hordern) has been stationed as a small-time diplomat. Brande's son Nicholas (young Jon Whiteley) is kept out of school, out of the sun, and out of other children's company, ever since his mother left the family. The possessive, stuffy single father becomes repressive and protective of his only child when Nicholas shows interest in the outdoors life of the gentle, loving gardener.

With a sub-plot somewhat similar to 'Captains Courageous' regarding the education of fathers, and excellent performances all around, this is a fine film for fans of classic films.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A must-see for fans of Tom Hardy or Benedict Cumberbatch, 16 December 2014

This BBC movie is fabulous.

It's a true story, based on the book of the same title.

Tom Hardy is Stuart Shorter, a gifted but troubled homeless man.

Benedict Cumberbatch is author Alexander Masters, who accidentally befriends him and finds him delightful company.

This is a must-see for fans of either of those actors.

Unexpected, real, quirky, funny, touching, and weird or occasionally disturbing, but not excessively so.

Mainly fascinating.

It's very well acted, and a moving film.

The film unfolds in a fascinating way, and is easy to follow and understand, while at the same time being very moving.

Definitely worth seeking out and viewing!

Great for adults or children of any age, 16 December 2014

This classic from the classic 1961 children's novel by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) was created and directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) in 1995, five years after Dahl's death. Dahl had refused numerous film proposals for the book, but his widow approved this one. Selick's plan was to make either the insect companions or the entire film stop-motion animation, but due to budgetary concerns, the film is approximately 1/3 live action time-wise, and completely stop-motion animation during the peach journey adventure, which works just fine.

Newcomer Paul Terry does a fine job as James, both in the live acting and the voice-work. However Joanna Lumley should definitely be indicted for and convicted of scene theft, if not film theft, as one of James's two vicious aunts.

The stop-motion insects are voiced by Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, David Thewlis, and (my favorite) Susan Sarandon as a mysterious Spider. In the live-action part, Pete Postlethwaithe has an important role.

I have not read the original much-loved and much-revered (especially in the UK) novel, so I cannot comment on the film's faithfulness. However, as an adult I found the film cute, interesting, enjoyable, and entertaining -- and at 79 minutes it never palls. It's a film that can and will be enjoyed by viewers of all ages, so it's excellent for multiple generations and thus, for instance, holiday and other family gatherings.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Utterly deep and absorbing; addicting, 12 July 2013

Wow, flamenco is not what you thought it was! Watch this emotionally raw and fascinating documentary and even if you know little or nothing about flamenco, you will emerge an aficionado, if not an addict.

If you are looking for castanets, polka dots, and ruffles, and Hollywood-style dance moves, look elsewhere. You will not find a single castanet in 'Kumpanía: Flamenco Los Angeles', and if you see ruffles or polka dots they are quite the rare exception. What the extraordinarily talented and dedicated performers (singers, guitarists, and dancers) in this film are practicing and carefully upholding is 'flamenco puro' -- the style of flamenco that most closely reflects its origins among the oppressed Gypsies in southern Spain in the 1700s. Flamenco at its core is an expression of deepest emotional truth -- whether that is pain, isolation, loss, or celebration, or all of those. Done well and authentically (rare in the U.S.), it's absolutely mesmerizing.

The filmmakers do a wonderful job of storytelling here, moving from 18th-century Spain to modern Los Angeles, modern Madrid and Saville, and even Japan -- deftly intertwining stories and performances; opinions and emotions and history and deep life changes; singing and dance and guitar. There's just the right mix of live performance footage, heartfelt interviews, and informative historical information. For instance one of the main singers of the film, the great Antonio de Jerez, insists that unlike flamenco dancers and guitarists, a flamenco singer must be born in Spain, because the precise soulful accent required cannot be learned.

All in all, this is a great arts and performance documentary. While in fact flamenco is an inextricable combination of singing, guitar, and dance, I have to comment that this is one of the very best dance documentaries I have ever seen, capturing the soul and spirit not only of dance and dancers, but in this case the musicians involved as well. Very well and artistically and informatively done. I've watched the film four times -- it is that enthralling!

Performances (singing, dance, guitar): all intricate, all heartfelt, all exceptional, all deliciously absorbing and often goosebump-inducing. While these dozen or so performers currently based in Los Angeles may not be familiar to a wide U.S. audience -- with the possible exception of the sexy Timo Nunez who has been a guest performer on "So You Think You Can Dance" and in other television and film -- by the end of 'Kumpanía' you will feel like you know them intimately. That is certainly the mark of a very well done documentary.

By the way, the film is viewable on Hulu, Amazon Instant, Amazon Prime Instant, YouTube, and Rhovit.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
An incredible look at one of the world's most virtuosic musicians, 21 May 2013

Jake Shimabukuro is not a "ukulele player" -- he's a world-renowned musical virtuoso who blows away anyone who hears his music. He is in the same pantheon as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Bela Fleck, and even great classical musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma and Hilary Hahn. Jake, more than any musician I know of, transcends his instrument and creates pure music, touching the souls of his listeners.

A well-kept (though award-winning) Hawaiian and Japanese secret until 2006, Jake burst upon the world stage when someone posted the now-famous video of him playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on YouTube. The video instantly went viral, and Jake became a international star, receiving concert requests from around the world, and playing with and opening for such stars as Jimmy Buffett, Bela Fleck, Ziggy Marley, and Bette Midler, and being produced by Alan Parsons.

All while retaining his youthful humility and disarming openness and lack of pretense. This movie is a lovely look into his life, both for Jake fans, and for those who have never heard of him. The film is by turns fascinating, jaw-dropping, inspiring, funny, touching, and moving. It's a well-rounded and expertly done piece of cinema by a very experienced Japanese-American documentarian, who strives to bring the human touch to his work. The film should appeal to anyone, regardless of age, nationality, or musical interest (or lack thereof). Jake's life alone is fascinating, never mind his brilliant music (which we are given glorious exposure to).

Jake has a special connection with Japan, both through his heritage and because his longtime manager is from Japan. Thus, he's an even bigger star in Japan than in the U.S. Hopefully, this wonderful film will open the eyes of further music lovers in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.

By the way, this hour-long documentary is viewable for free until August 8, 2013 on the PBS site. Go to their Video page, and click the drop-down Progams menu (or access it directly here: or

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Magnificent! Now on DVD., 29 December 2012

This 9-hour presentation, hosted by the illustrious Michael Wood, covers 2500 years of Western art, architecture, and sculpture, beginning with its indelible foundations in ancient Greece and Rome. The series took four years to produce, and and it visits 150 locations in 8 countries. From Greece and Rome, the series continues through the Middle Ages (the Romanesque and Gothic periods), the Renaissance, the Baroque, Age of Reason, and Rococo, and then the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and all of Modern Art including Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, etc., and Post-Modernism through the 1980s.

This series is meant for any and all levels of knowledge from beginner to master, and even the confirmed art student cannot fail to learn a lot. I was most impressed with the earliest episodes -- I was unable to watch them without frequently exclaiming "Incredible!" "Extraordinary!" "Amazing!"

As the series approaches modern times, the choice of what to include and what to exclude becomes much wider, and it's possible that a viewer may disagree about what was excluded, so the latest episodes could possibly seem to some viewers somewhat sketchier or less well thought out. Still, learning opportunities abound, and doors are constantly opened to new levels of understanding and exploration. And the historical information that accompanies the series is flawless.

All in all, this is a magnificent document and a must-see for any art or architecture lover or anyone wanting to become more knowledgeable. It's available on DVD in the consolidated 9-episode U.S. version (rather than the 18-episode UK version of the same length), and also viewable online on Amazon streaming. It's possible to locate it elsewhere online, but the video quality will be very very poor (and after all, you're viewing it for the details of art), so stick to the DVD or Amazon streaming.

Please do check this out if you love art or long to appreciate it. You will not be disappointed.

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