Reviews written by registered user
michaelmalak

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13 reviews in total 
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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Pervert movie not entirely without merit., 30 October 2014
8/10

It's not a masterpiece, but it's an important movie that I'm glad was made and that I was fortunate enough to see.

Like changing a diaper, this film is not fragrant or glamorous, but outlines a very basic reality of the man-woman relationships; Old wrinkled geezer wanting to get into panties of a young and beautiful girl, just for the heck of it, just to feel alive for a little longer. And the young beautiful girl not unwilling to let him - just for the opportunity to spice-up her dull existence, learn something (anything) from an older, more experienced person, And maybe, just-maybe, forward her artistic career as a result of it.

And for us, old geezers, it's an opportunity to look in the mirror and see how pathetic we look, literally and figuratively speaking.

Important movie.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Seinfeld in District 9 :), 28 March 2014
8/10

Seinfeld, meaning Jerry, George and Kramer - in District 9 ----- that's the best way I can describe the atmosphere of this film. It's a comedy. A really funny and original comedy about love, infidelity, deception, and jealousy. ********************************************************************* The ending was a bit weak, but overall great script and very good acting. An ambitious and original project. It would be very hard to find anything else comparable, and that's where its beauty lies - in its originality. The closest movie, in mood, that I can think of is the 1984 "Seksmisja" ("Sex-Mission") from Poland.

7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
What a movie!!!, 14 November 2011
10/10

I rented "1612" from my local library. As a Pole living in the U.S. I was trilled to see a movie about any aspect of the Polish-Russian history - especially one presented from the Russian perspective. Of course - the Poles are presented as the bad guys (now I know how the Germans must feel after watching "any" Polish or Russian war movie made during the last 70 years.)

The movie is almost EXCELLENT. There are little too many unicorns for my taste, and the main character of Andrei looks too soft for the role he's playing. I would have preferred if Andrei was played by someone harder, tougher. And it's not his physicality, or corrupted faulty character that make him soft, but rather his good looks. His face is just --- too pretty. He looks too much like Johny Depp in Don Juan DeMarco and he "should" look like ...I don't know - harder, tougher; like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry :) And yes, Andrei ages about 10 years during the first 15 minutes of the movie, while the Tsarina retains her youthfulness despite passage of time.

The movie is not a portrayal of historical events, but a fantasy merely set in a historical period. It entertains - it entertains like hell! and prompts one to get on-line and look up the real elements of that period.

The story, the plot twists, the battle scenes - are just incredible - Hollywood could learn a lesson or two from these Russians.

I'm glad I saw this movie and would recommend it to anyone willing to go for a ride on the back of a panting snorting stallion. I'm also getting on-line right now looking for more films from the director Vladimir Khotinenko.

Joanna (2010)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Just shy of perfection., 7 November 2011
8/10

Overall a good story. Well directed, with great cinematography, cinematography with subdued mood, one that's not detracting from the picture but enriching it.

In few instances however (especially in the opening scenes) the director rushed too much info at the viewer, trying to explain the circumstances, trying to get the story rolling. Instead - the viewer would have been better served having to wait (to delay) the discovery of the few pertaining details that wove to create the story.

After the movie we've met with the director who, despite his broken English, vigorously defended, what most people found to be a gloomy, uninspiring ending. In his own words he viewed it as "open ended ending".

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful Summer = Miraculous Summer, 31 October 2011
8/10

I saw "Cudowne Lato" on PBS, as a teaser forecasting The 23rd Polish Film Festival in Chicago.

I thought the movie was very good.

The heroin of the movie is a wonderful young woman. Her face kept reminding me of Chelsea Clinton; the resemblance lies in their small weak chins, puffy cheeks, and thin, luster-less hair pulled in a pony-tail - Not your typical Hollywood starlet. But despite her homeliness, or perhaps, because of it, the heroine shines. She has an inner beauty. She is ordinary, approachable, relatable (if I may). Her character is that of a normal,young person searching for answers, and opportunities, person who's trying to establish her foothold on this Earth.

The movie is original, funny, and beautifully shot. The direction is even, and engaging. Acting very good. The story develops, our heroine matures.

The movie requires a slight suspension of reason (since it weaves-in the supernatural), but the mother-ghost shows herself only to one person - her daughter, our heroine. And it manifests itself not in reality-of-the-movie, but merely in the mind of her daughter.

P.S. Word on the title: The movie is marketed in English-speaking world as "Wonderful Summer". The original Polish title is "Cudowne Lato". "Cudowne" could be translated more directly as "Miraculous", which is a deliberate play on words.

AWARDS: 2010 Viewers Choice Award at the Seattle Polish Film Festival, and 2010 Special Jury Award at the 2010 Chicago Polish Film Festival for the most universal film of the festival.

Strike (2006)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Unbelievable movie experience - (loosely) based on historical facts., 27 October 2011
9/10

An unbelievable movie experience! ...But the film is not, nor does it claim to be, an account of actual historical events.

I was born in Poland in 1970, and having lived there until 1988 - I believe (despite the fact I was merely a child at the time); I believe that the movie portraits an accurate picture of life in Poland and prevailing political scene of those years.

Being a child of those years - I was surprised how little time was devoted in the movie to the character of Lech Walensa, who for me (living in Poland in the 80s) WAS Solidarity. But in THIS movie Walensa is only a secondary character. Instead, the movie is about "a woman". A woman (or two women) who opened the door for Walensa, a woman who started it all. A woman who, almost singlehandedly, instigated an opposition towards the Establishment. An opposition which subsequently lead to a revolution that eventually changed Central and Eastern Europe.

The biggest complaint against the movie comes from those who knew the people and events first hand. The complaints pertain to discrepancies between the movie and historical events. Having seen the movie, and having caught-up (a little) on those historical facts on the internet I believe the director chose to alter several facts for two reasons; 1) to allow himself/herself a freedom of artistic expression---and protect himself/herself from overbearing scrutiny. And 2) to create additional drama and tension in the movie that work very effectively. In support of this opinion I would like to point to two examples where the movie differs from actual events: 1) Agnieszka - the heroine in the movie - is a compilation of lives and actions of two women. And 2) The son of Anna Walentynowicz, in real life never wore a uniform (but in the movie this little alteration strikes gold).

Overall - very impressive and very important movie.

6 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Hopply, hopply hop - it's a flop!, 17 October 2011
5/10

The movie plays out like a bad "Winnie The Poo" episode - but with a lot of fireworks.

There are some great performers here; a beautiful woman, handsome hero; and great, colorful costumes, horses, and all the spiel that comes with making a big-budget-movie. However, as it usually is the case with Polish cinema, the movie (as a whole) falls short. It falls short unable to decide whether it wants to be a slapstick comedy or a serious, patriotic war hymn.

The cinematography is great. Natasza Urbanska is beautiful, graceful, and not a bad actress either. But the first half of the movie is very choppy, with the action moving back-and-forth between several threads in a matter which fell short from challenging me to really care about the characters or the story.

Some of the scenes, or rather dialogues, are overtly infantile even for a Winnie The Poo episode - ruining the whole movie.

The 3D effects in some scenes are phenomenal, and in others are extremely poor.

Michael Malak - Polish-American

6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Horrible, just like last night's left-over meatloaf., 26 September 2011
1/10

I was born and raised in Poland (until I was 18) and came to US 23 years ago.

The reason WHY I mention it upfront is to make it understood that I viewed this film from the "Communist" and "Capitalist" perspective/indoctrination... and I didn't like anything about this movie.

There is nothing original about the movie. There is nothing compelling (to me) about this movie. Just a very poor re-cycling of old Hollywoody clichés (like the helicopter raising behind a heroic soldier... or a reprimanded commander who is itching to get back in the fight, but who is prohibited from doing so). The scene where "the commander" is sitting in the field of red-poppy-seeds crying - is just such unsophisticated and clichedy scene that it evolved laughter in me instead of compassion which no doubt the director was shooting for.

If you really want to see Russian war drama, a real tension, than nothing beats the old and tested "Seventeen Moments of Spring".

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Deeply disappointing, 7 May 2010
2/10

The only five minutes of the movie worth watching are the last five minutes of the movie. The rest is of such substandard quality that I could not justify showing it on TV, not even at three o'clock in the morning.

In all, the first 45 minutes are nothing more than a collage of clichés. The rest is not much better.

I suppose the movie could have been saved by weaving-in-between the plot lines some of the works of Lev Tolstoy, but there isn't one single quote or even a reference to his works in all 120 minutes!

I'm very surprised about the relatively high marks given by other viewers on this site. The only explanation for this I could come-up with is that at age 40 I was the youngest person at the theater. So I'm guessing that older people must be not as discriminating as I am, more tolerant of a movie without a plot line.

11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Feast for the soul, 22 March 2010
9/10

If you like quiet walks in the park,---------------------------------- If you like to rowboat on a lake, ------------------------------------ If you like flying a kite, ------------------------------------------- If you like warmth of the sun on your face, -------------------------- If you like to stump your shoes in a puddle, ------------------------- If you like clicking of shoes on cobblestones, ----------------------- If you like feel of a kiss on your lips ------------------------------ -----------------------------------You will like this movie.

This movie, pardon me; film, is about; relationship, love, desire, and infidelity. Ordinary emotions filmed in the most romantic way only the French could do.


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