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wordsmith_57

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34 reviews in total 
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Swades (2004)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Better Bollywood, 4 October 2009
9/10

We have been savoring Bollywood films for the past couple of months and we are definitely enjoying the cultural experience. Swades by far has touched me the most, as it not only combines that happy musical abandonment I have come to enjoy about India films, but this one reaches a new level. Swades manages to include the new aspects of India culture, becoming educated and proving abilities (NASA, no less), but superimposing how parts of India don't even have electricity yet.

It makes me appreciate my lifestyle here in America, yet the culture and traditions that India possesses is something to be a bit wishful for. As the actor playing Mohan said in the movie, America does have its own culture--somehow it doesn't run as deep as what I viewed in the movie.

Enlightening, edifying, and definitely educational. I look forward to sampling more thought-provoking films from India.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Not the best Bollywood, 19 September 2009
5/10

Having recently discovered Bollywood films we are trying out different titles. This one goes on the bottom of the list, whereas Bride and Prejudice remains at the very top. Hearts Collide starts out overly dramatic with a young man weeping his story out to an interested soldier at a train station and it continues for three hours. Three hours! There were aspects of the plot that held well, such as the near misses of the on-line lovers meeting, and the altruistic intentions of the college president to help the young man. Yet the usual array of song and dance were way overdone, and the strung out finale was almost too much. The nearly ten years age of this film shows. Bollywood has greatly improved in plot, pace, and music over the years. I suggest this film as a means of showing where Bollywood started.

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Mostly the Poem, 6 September 2009
8/10

Considering how many cinematic versions exist for Beowulf, amazingly enough this 30 minute animated version is about the only one to cover the epic poem correctly. For those desiring to see the poem come to life, this would be the choice. It covers the fight with Grendel and the Dragon most true to the poem. Don't be swayed by golden-covered actresses or Scottish hunks--this animated version swiftly, though a bit surrealistic at times, covers the great monster story. The animation is a bit sketchy and rough at times, but the narration is quite well done. This is an especially helpful version for showing to students or for those wanting a quick version of the classic tale.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Story Begins, 6 September 2009
9/10

As a Westerner watching another culture's view and tradition of marriag, I found Just Married mesmerizing and delightful. The idea of marrying a stranger through the mutual arrangement of parents is difficult, especially in this modern age. Yet this is the case in this Hindi film. Told with humor, and fresh perspective, we learn of Abhay and Ritika who have only met once and are now on their traditional five day honeymoon. As said, it is difficult to believe in this cell phone affluent age that such an archaic custom as an arranged marriage still take place. We see the awkwardness that this young couple feels as they come together on their first night, and how they try to forge a bond, even though they do not know one another. We see different views of marriage and commitment as presented by the other couples also on holiday, from a couple of forty years married to others still unsure of making marital commitment. There's song, witty dialog, poignant moments, blending and comparison of new ways and tradition. Watching the movie with subtitles definitely loses some of the trueness of the story, yet it is still a delight to watch. Granted some of the plot is a little trite and the bus incident a bit drawn out and contrived; however the overall movie was worth watching.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Found Another Bollywood Fave, 1 September 2009
9/10

Having watched Bride and Prejudice and being an Austen fan, I was more than curious to see how this adaptation of Sense and Sensibility would turn out. What a treat! This film takes the basic plot line of two sister's and their journey with love. There is an older sister who longs for love, yet puts family above her own needs, and the younger one, who nearly misses true love because of her inability to see past her romanticized ideas. The opening battle scenes are definitely not Austen, and neither are all the MTVized song and dance numbers. BUT, that's what makes this movie a unique screen experience. It's the blending of Western and Eastern ideas of a universal plot: love lost and love regained. There is comedy, romance, even action in this one. We are becoming definite fans of Bollywood films. They bring a new twist to the old Hollywood musicals of yesteryear, and subtitles don't get in the way of the entertainment. Very colorful, fun, and even enchanting.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Cooking Up Great Cinema, 25 August 2009
9/10

Meryl Streep is always a draw for me, and the previews had me anticipating the movie. Finally, a plot not involving comic book heroes! Julia Child is an icon--of sorts. If the whole movie had just focused on her it would have been perfect. Streep captures Child's charming,effervescent personality without parody. Her chemistry with Stanley Tucci as husband Paul is enchanting. The Child portions takes us back to France and the time period through mannerisms, clothing, ambiance. I was transported by the script, the fabulous acting, and the great editing.

As for the Julie part. If that had been a movie on its own. I probably would have waited for the DVD and then maybe skipped it. If Nora Ephron meant to show the juxtaposition between yesteryear and the two women, she most certainly achieved it. Julie Powell comes off as insecure and whiny when compared to Julia's approach of embracing life, be it good or bad. Julia wrote a cookbook, taking several years to do so, because it needed to be done and it was recognized for what it was-genius. Julie, is inspired by Julia, yet one gets the feeling food and cooking are a means of achieving something--a tension release, a means to fame, unlike Julia who had a true passion for food. Julia's rapture for food as she shopped and visited with all the merchants reminded me of an artist at work, preparing the canvas and relishing her skills. Julie, on the other hand, gave the impression of tackling a task, climbing the mountain because it is there, so to speak. Where is the appreciation? the savoring? the meaning? It would be interesting to explore the reasons behind Julia Child's lack of embrace for Julie Powell's blog.

As a whole the movie is delightful, and go if you haven't. The Julia portion is the backbone of the movie and the Julie portion adds moments, yet is the weaker portion. I do want to mention how much Chris Messina added to the concept of supporting husband with reality. I look forward to the DVD, in hopes of featurettes.

Audrey's Rain (2003) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not the Usual Hallmark, 10 August 2009
5/10

When the opening shot is of two women in mourning black blowing away a gopher with an expletive, I knew this would be more than an interesting movie. Definitely not the usual Hallmark fare. As stated in other comments, there are too many stories that don't get resolved, or at least that don't tie in well. For most of the movie I thought Carol Kane was Audrey's other sister, simply because she resembled Jean Smart's character and was a bit wacky like the other sisters. Then there is the problem of Terry, the long lost love who suddenly returns and the kids immediately take to him and call him Uncle. It all starts to bump together too rapidly with all the loose ends trying to tie up neatly, and unfortunately the ending comes way too fast and tries too hard to bring in the happy ending. A mini-series could have done this plot justice. Lots of possibilities, but there was just way too much to cover in the alloted time.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Freedom found on Liberty Street, 31 July 2009
8/10

Denise oversteps her authority as an ER nurse and finds herself working at a mental facilities halfway house called Liberty Street. Reluctant about working at what she feels is a convalescent center, she nevertheless finds herself helping Rick who was involved in a car accident when he was 16 and now at 25 is struggling to become independent. The strength of this movie is the realistic dialog and slice-of-life characters. Denise is both strong and vulnerable, and very likable in her roles as nurse, mother, and life coach. Rick plays his part admirably, yet the time element given seems his growth was rushed. Jake, the on-call facilities doctor, is a great touch of warmth to the script,and Lucy the director of Liberty Street, lends her strength and compassion for working with "damaged" people. Some of the plot is formula driven--overbearing, protective father who hinders the recovery of his son, a crisis between patient and nurse, a faltering relationship, a misunderstanding that gets resolved--but it's how it all works together that makes this another notable Hallmark production. Annabeth Gish, as Denise, really pulls this all together. Definitely keep this one in mind for family viewing, as it combines humor, poignancy, and discussion possibilities.

Cheering on an underdog, 22 July 2009
8/10

An endearing everyman movie with a UK setting. Frank, a traditionalist, would rather leave than kowtow to the new management. After 36 years of work he is at odds what to do with himself. He can't communicate his emotions to his wife, he barely expresses his feelings to his chums, and he struggles with his relationship with his son. Woven through this is the 23 year old tragedy of losing his other son to a drowning, which has haunted him all these years. Frank finds a way to redeem his self-esteem and that is to swim the English Channel. The movie weaves this main plot in with several sub-plots and it all works well. Indie movies are brave enough to portray real characters with plausible dialog. A tremendously capable cast with the talents of Billy Boyd (Pippin) as the comic relief, and Brenda Blethyn (Pride and Prejudice) as the stalwart wife, plus the wide array of minor characters, blend to create a thoroughly enjoyable family movie. Some of the lines with Billy Boyd are laugh out loud hilarious.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Bye Bye Mr. Tibbs, 3 April 2009
6/10

Sydney Poitier is marvelous in any movie he has been in, so far as I have noticed. When he first showed up as MISTER Tibbs in Heat of the Night, I knew it would be a great watch. Unfortunately, by the third run, The Organization, even his usual and expected dazzlement could not save the faulty plot and slow pacing. The premise of a group of amateurs trying to bring down "the organization" and then trying to drag in a good cop like Tibbs (who doesn't let the force know what he is doing) is, well, thin and silly. There were great slices of Tibbs' home life with his son and daughter, which goes to show that Poitier brings life into even a tedious period cop piece like this one. Overall, it's still watchable, but only if you are a dedicated Poitier fan.


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