Reviews written by registered user
ninoguapo

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44 reviews in total 
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Abandoned (2001)
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Harsh but excellent coming of age movie, 15 June 2007
10/10

Abandoned also known as Torzok is a powerful movie. It was made in Hungary and is a fine example of the East European cinema. Its director Árpád Sopsits shows the reality of a reformatory school during a communist regime in the country. He uses the yellow color to separate the dream like scenes from the rest - this color technique is later used in the movie Traffic. The movie portrays the harsh reality of the live in Hungary from that time because it is actually based on the writer/director's own childhood.

The main character is Áron - a boy send to a reformatory school not because he has some something , but because his mother is sick and the father does not want to take care of his son. Once in the school Áron has to face the initial hostility of the lands there towards the newcomers - including beatings and hard words .He manages to survive through all those harsh moments and is soon accepted and befriended by the boys from the school.

The actors in the movies are exceptionally talented despite their young age and the characters they portray come to live - each with its own uniqueness. The overall atmosphere is dark and the movie can be considered as hard to watch by anyone - probably the only one witch harsher atmosphere on a similar topic was in the movie Song for a raggy boy . The few moments of hope which the viewers can observe are directly related to the friendship between Aron and another student Attila as well as the one with his melancholic teacher Gálffi - who seems to be the only teacher from the reformatory school who cares of his students and opposes even the despotic director of the institution.

Some of the scenes are really cruel - in one of them one of the teachers makes few boys to beat a friend of theirs themselves because he prayed to God - which was forbidden during the communist years. The cruelty in which the boys in the school are treated is awful and I do not buy the statement of their directors - that this is the only way to prepare them for the reality outside .

The soundtrack is very powerful -classic music mostly - a bit of melancholic as well - it really contributes to the overall atmosphere.

Movie that inspires, 18 April 2007
7/10

Not only this is a good coming of age movie – but when it finished I had to question myself who actually learned more – Bobby Garfield or me. I felt inspired – somehow I was able to relate a lot of the experience of the boy to my own when I was his age and am wondering now if other people who have seen "Hearts of Atlantis "would feel the same way? Take only this quote that refers to the first kiss for example: It will be the kiss by which all others in your life will be judged… and found wanting.

Or that one: Why do we always expect home to stay the same? Nothing else does.

Before seeing the opening credits I did not know that the movie is based on a book by Stephen King. He is one of my favourite writers and he has that talent not only for horrors but and for coming of age stories – just take "Stand by me", "Silver bullet ", "IT "and many, many others.

"Hearts of Atlantis " has crates a unique atmosphere – real one – soon after I started watching it I associate myself with the some characters and somehow knew what the others think – not that am a medium myself – but one can really trace the development of the personages . The acting, the cinematography, the story itself – even the soundtrack itself – were exceptionally good - the ending songs still echoes in my mind. (I remember hearing it in another movie as well) The friendship between the 11 years old Bobby Garfield and Ted Brautigan -the much older stranger that rents an apartment in his house seems to be growing stronger and stronger and stronger. Ted (played remarkably well by Anthony Hopkins) is becoming a role model for Bobby and has such a huge influence on his life that the boys remember their friendship even when he becomes almost as old as his friend once was. ( official web site )

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Powerful drama about a lonely boy, 10 April 2007
9/10

Much more than another coming of age movie – Ciske the rat is a fine example of the Dutch cinema. If you are found of the treble music you will definitely notice the song at the beginning performed by the Danny De Munk (famous singer from Netherlands) who plays the role of the troubled young lad – Ciske.

The childhood of Ciske in not easy – his father is sailing away and his mother does not really care about him. With rebellious spirit the young Ciske spends most of his time on the streets of Amsterdam. No one pays attention to the lonely boy. Trying to cope with the harsh live and attract some love and sympathy he has troubles with the law and even spends some time in prison. I really admired the way he protected himself there – if only all people were as strong as he turned out to be. Ciske has generous heart and when his teacher notices that he tries to help the young lad to take the right path.

Ciske the Rat is powerful and graphically brutal drama which is sure to leave a long lasting impression to anyone who had a chance to see it. I truly enjoyed watching it and highly recommend it.

30 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
I am speechless, 31 March 2007
10/10

Sometimes I stumble on a movie which all of the sudden turns out to be a real masterpiece. Pelle the Conqueror really surprised me – touching story told in a unique way. Pelle is a boy from Sweden who immigrates to Denmark with his dad after the death of his mother. They are both full of hope – hope for a new beginning – and there is a scene in the boat on which Pelle wants to hear over and over about the new country they will be living at: "Tell me about it again, papa. It's very different this new country.

- You'll hardly… - You'll hardly believe your eyes. They put raisins in the pork roastand butter on your bread…Some places they put butter on your bread.- And kids are free all day.

- Yes, Pelle, yes. Wages are so incredibly high, that kids…That kids don't have to work." It sounds too good to be true – may be not for you – but imagine what those words meant for a boy who is used to live in a missy , probably due to the hard life he had to live after the death of his mother. As soon as the boat reaches the shore the reality of this new world came out of the dream mist. Finding employment is not as easy especially considering the age of the Pele's father and the fact that he has a small boy with him. At the end they are offered an employment at a large farm, but find the life would present many challenges to them.

The acting is very good – the young Pelle Hvenegaard who plays the role of Pelle is so good that one can thing that he has a dozen of movies in his carrier and probably that is the reason for which 2 years after the movie is released he wins two award for the Best Young Actor in 1988 at the European Film Awards and for Best Young Actor in a Foreign Film in a Foreign Filmat the young artists awards for his role in Pelle the Conqueror.

I watched this movie with constant hope to see happiness in the eyes of Pelle and the moments in which he felt happy was shining like a real diamonds surrounded by the dust of the harsh live he had to deal with. Although Pelle is often refused friendships from the local Danish boys he shows his good heart befriending a boy who has some physical disability – and their friendship through a little odd at times shows that people can find someone to care for , even in the toughest places.

Pelle the Conqueror is classic movie and although some may thing that the story gets a bit depressing at times I recommend it to anyone who treasure excellent coming of age movies.

Duma (2005)
Nature , friendship and courage, 23 March 2007
7/10

Duma reminded me of one of my favourite books "Rules of the Bone '. It is a movie about friendship between a boy living in South Africa and a cheetah named Duma. At first the story line may seem a bit simple, but then you will notice all the serous issues Duma deals with. The role of the young Xan is played by Alexander Michaeletos – he has really cute English accent which made me seek some more information about him. I found out that he is leaving in a farm in South Africa like the character he plays so well in the movie – real you can almost sense his feelings and fears. Duma is also a fine example of a coming out of age movie – I would like to quote some of the dialogue:

"Change, yeah. That's what happens. All the time. The little boy that left home......is not the little boy that is with me now, eh? See? Change."

Duma is a movie you would enjoy watching with your younger friends and relatives – they will like it and learn many things from it.

The cinematography is brilliants –you will enjoy the beautiful nature scenes or the animal scenes – I almost felt like I was watching a documentary about animals at times – so believable were those scenes.

Close to Leo (2002) (TV)
7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Excellent french COA movie, 22 March 2007
8/10

This movie was for a while in my collection, but it wasn't before a friend of mine reminded me about it – until I decided that I should watch it. I did not know much about Close to Leo – just that it was supposed to be excellent coming out of age movie and it deals with a very serious topic – Aids.

Although the person who has aids – is Leo – the scenario wraps around the way in which Marcel (the youngest brother of Leo) coupes with the sickness of his relative. At first everyone is trying to hide the truth from Marcel – he is believed to be too young to understand the sickness of his brother – the fact that Leo is also a homosexual contributes to the unwillingness of the parents to discus the matter with the young Marcel. I know from experience that on many occasions most older people do not want to accept the fact that sometimes even when someone is young this does not automatically means that he will not be able to accept the reality and act in more adequate manner then even themselves . With exception of the fact that the family tried to conceal the truth from Marcel, they have left quite an impression for me – the way they supported their son – even after discovering the truth about his sexuality and his sickness. The fact that they allowed the young Marcel to travel along with Leo to Paris to meet his ex boyfriend was quite a gesture from them– most families I know will be reluctant to do that. There is a lot of warmth in the scenes in which the brothers spend some time together – you can see them being real friends , concern about each other.

Close to Leo is an excellent drama, which I strongly recommend

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Chase Ellison - in a great movie with a lot of powerful messages, 15 March 2007

Chase Ellison – just that name is enough for you to know that the movie you are going to watch will be a good one. And he is not the only star that shines amongst the actors in that production - Chad Allen who plays the role of a missioner (Chase plays as his son) acts amazingly and I truly enjoyed the father- son relationship they portrayed at the begging scenes. Here is a quote from the movie illustrating that relationship:

Nate Saint: Do you know how far away the sun is? Young Steve Saint: 93 million miles. Nate Saint: Do you know that that's just a fraction of how much I love you?

The cinematography of the movie is really nice – there are many beautiful nature scenes most of which are very vivid. Most scenes have powerful messages hidden in them – messages about love, forgiveness and complete dedication.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Coming out of age story - at its best !, 1 March 2007
7/10

"12 and holding" is another great movie directed by Michael Cuesta, who recently became my favourite movie director. If you are looking for a fine Coming Out of Age story – chances are that that you will find it all in "12 and holding " . It is a simple story – without much special effects or famous actors playing – but the way the story is shown will make you remember what you've seen .One could say that the movie was disturbing – as it showed things most people would never want to happen to them or their kids – at the same time everything seems to real. One just couldn't miss the exceptional performance of the young Conor Donovan who plays two roles – and does it so well, that I have to admit that I haven't noticed that both boys are played by the same actor.

The soundtrack is extremely powerful – especially the melancholic music in some scenes. I did not notice any flaws and felt quite related to the actors. My opinion that all viewers would able to sense something similar to what they felt when they were growing up – that sense of anger, or desire for revenge …or the will to protect your relatives and friends .

Despite of what some other reviewers wrote – I did not find the movie tough to watch – yes it deals with violence even death , but it does it in quite an unique way .

Jesus Camp (2006)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Manipulation, 18 February 2007
4/10

Watching this movie made me really, really sick – it is like a horrible fairly tale or even worse that that – because what thee movie showed is actually happening – in the US and in other countries. I am watching how the kids are being manipulated and wonder why there is not anyone there with some brain in his mind – to stop all that madness. How can these people do that – religion – playing with the feelings of the people, with their beliefs? Organizing weird shows – getting the politic involved with the religion and vise versa. Honestly I am glad that this is not happening near me – but it will soon – just few months ago there was an American organisation advertising a movie of Jesus for kids – and after seeing this movie I feel really shared that someone is trying to plan those filthy weeds . There are normal churches, and normal people who are Christians or not – have believes and live by them, but do not manipulate other people – especially kids – this is so sick.

Bastards (2006)
9 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Good Russian war movie, 13 February 2007
6/10

Recently I have noticed that the Russians began to make very good movies – and Svolochi is for sure one of them. The action is really moving – while the viewer has a choice - to sympathize with the young criminals who seemed doomed to die or to look at them from a different perspective. Some of the boys were caught for committing crimes such as murders and they were given a chance between death and training in a military preparing them for risky missions behind the enemy lines. The movie does not do very good on the realistic scale but still seeing it is worth it as it has some quite emotional moments and the acting was pretty decent.


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