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Short Term 12 (2013)
inaudible dialogue made film unwatchable
28 September 2014
I got 25 minutes into this film before giving up: I could only make out 10% of the dialogue. Maybe this is to be expected of a low-budget film - probably using amateur actors - but the lead parts appear to have been given to professionally-trained actors who have not troubled to learn to speak properly!

I rate the film 2 instead of 1 out of 10 as visually it looked as though the actors are convincing in their roles. Grace (Brie Larson) and Mason (John Gallagher) looked to to be well-cast, and the chemistry between them was apparent. But I'm not going to waste my time guessing at a plot when the actors mumble or garble their lines. Films should be consumer-tested for audibility and released with subtitles if the actors/sound recording team have not done their work properly.
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A Separation (2011)
thoughtful, brilliant film
2 December 2011
This is the first Iranian film I've seen, and I'm recommending it to every-one I know. It is so well-crafted; the twists of the plot throw up new moral dilemmas for all the protagonists, which are explored sensitively and without judgement - so refreshingly unlike mainstream American films. I felt sympathy for all the characters, even the threatening Hodjat, full of misplaced rage which often erupts volcanically. And as a footnote, the film felt like an intimate view into a society that our news media portray as monochromatic and extremely foreign. (I am writing this a few days after the UK embassy in Tehran was ransacked)
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Jaya Ganga (1996)
moving, lyrical and poetic
27 November 2011
I saw Jaya Ganga in a group of a dozen people, and at the end there was silence for 5 minutes till the first person spoke. It took us 15 minutes of quiet chat for any-one to feel strong enough to leave! We start with the hero, Nishant at the source of the Ganges. He intends to travel its length, an allegory of a spiritual journey. The photography was stunning - except for the absence of smells, it was like being in India for an evening. Halfway through the film, I thought this was a conventional romance heading for a happy ending. But darker themes, both human and spiritual, emerged. With superb acting by the two main characters, I can't imagine a better film - although I haven't read the book. And it's a mystery to me how under-appreciated and hard to find this film is. I give it an enthusiastic 10/10!
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Yes (I) (2004)
unintelligible & pretentious
20 November 2011
OK, there was some good acting but I watched it on DVD and English subtitles were not available. I should have chucked the DVD out when the cleaner(Shirley Henderson) spoke in a monotone at the start of the film with barely a word enunciated audibly. Then Joan Allen(She)appeared and I realised this was an art house film where you have to guess at the dialogue because the actors are too narcissistic to bother to project their voices. Actually Simon Abkarian (He) spoke well and halfway through the film - when I went to IMDb and found that it was in iambic pentameter - it began to engage my interest. It seemed there were some interesting ideas brought up within a banal love story, but I could not engage with any of the characters and the background music drowned out the conversation - maybe that was the director's intention, to create needless obscurity. Another (all-too-frequent) example of the emperor's new clothes.
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