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Sharafat (1970)
Fairly typical film, but Hema's dancing mesmerizes
29 November 2006
If you need a reason to watch this film, here's one: if you're a fan of Hema Malini and her graceful dancing in any movie, you'll love the songs of Sharafat, which exploit her talent excellently.

The plot is not anything special. A lot of Hindi films from this era follow the same plot conventions, like losing familial connections. This, in the end, is also what Sharafat is also about.

Otherwise it's a story about a good man (Dharmendra) and an "indecent" girl (Hema Malini), and their love. Hema's character is a naach girl (dancer/prostitute), which serves as a good reason for her to dance in Bharatanatyam-influenced numbers. These are naturally a joy to watch. Dharmendra both looks and acts youthful and is very charming. This is one of the first, if not the first film with the legendary jodi of Hema-Dharmendra and the chemistry is visible from the get-go.

Ashok Kumar has a nice performance, but Jagdeep's somewhat separate comedy track gets old very fast, though it may be funnier to those understand Hindi.
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A good watch despite or maybe because of its typicality
29 July 2006
Despite my blind purchase of this film (I only glanced at the plot summary before of buying the film), this film turned out to be worth the money and worth the time.

Dharmendra and Ajit play brothers Ranjit and Ajit who were forced to become dacoits thanks to the villain giving a false testimony against their father and throwing their mother out of the house. Tragic Hindi film fate, but what can you do. Vinod plays Sarju, a loyal member of the gang. Hema plays Asha, a girl who Sarju attempts to rape during a looting of a village, but Ranjit saves her. She makes him consider giving up life as a crook as they fall in love.

It's one of those complex Hindi film plots that just don't make any sense when explained. You have to watch it to understand it, and endure all the over-dramatic dialogues about revenge, blood, honor and so on and so forth. I happen to like the over-dramatic liners, even if they at times sounded like a first class delivery from Film Cliché Library. It just worked for me, the story and the performances.

Dharam was great as the dacoit with a heart in the right place. That's the thing about Dharmendra, those angry lines could sound so dumb coming from someone else's mouth but when he says he's going to hack someone into little pieces or swears revenge or something, it just works. It especially worked in this film, because of the character's nature. He had good chemistry with Hema, I especially loved the scene where she makes him consider his actions as a dacoit, looting places shamelessly. Hema's performance was not like her brilliant one in Khushboo, but still wonderful. The character wasn't helpless, but as a woman she was obviously overpowered by men in terms of strength - no SAG butt-kicking to be witnessed here.

What could be witnessed was some very lovely dancing by one of the industry's best ever dancers (that's Hema I'm talking, not Dharam). The music was okay, pretty catchy and maybe better with more listening, but overall I wasn't hugely impressed. The item number girl in Kaun Hoon Main I didn't even recognize. She had some of the skimpiest clothing I've ever witnessed in an oldie, though. Another interesting fact is that the film only had songs sung by Asha and Lata - no male singers had to open their mouths for this one! But back to actors. Vinod Khanna was good. This was the first full film I'd seen him in and definitely liked the guy. He was sleazy in just the right way.

I rate it 8/10 as a typical, yet good, 70's flick. It kept me entertained and had very little of those moments that just drag on and on.
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The One Zombie Film to Watch
20 April 2006
I'm not into zombie flicks, at all. I fell asleep during Night of the Living Dead. I dislike horror to a certain extent, too. But I'm so glad my zombie flick & horror fiend friend recommended this film to me, truly. I can even call it one of my favorite films.

It's a very character-based and focused film. This is not a bad thing, at all, it's what makes and shapes the film and it's the one thing that makes it stand out over all other zombie flicks. In my opinion it's what makes it superior. You get to know the characters, you live with them, you fear with them, you laugh with them.. It's almost as if you're one of them - that's the mood every horror film hopes to reach but often fail to.

The acting performances are good and even the tiny bit of romance works in the context of the film really well. The special effects, especially the fast moving zombies are fantastically made and just awesome to watch.

The ending hurts because you really truly learn to like and enjoy the characters when you watch this film. At least I did. But still, at least you know you just saw a good film, when a film grabs hold of you like that.
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Yeh Dillagi (1994)
Fun 90's Bollywood
10 March 2006
I saw this without subtitles so I possibly missed out on something, but overall the plot is so basic there wasn't much to miss out on. I know a bit of Hindi so I could follow the plot just fine.

This film was cute. Nothing more, nothing less. It has some pretty hilarious comedy (Saif Ali Khan has always had a talent for comedy) and some lovely songs ("Ole Ole Ole" being the best one out of them all), and while the jodi of Akshay Kumar and Kajol didn't exactly win me over, it was alright. It's very much a Kajol film, she was the star of the show with her acting and her beauty - this girl makes even the most awful 90's outfits look good.

It didn't even occur to me that it was a version of Sabrina. It's an overall nice film so it doesn't really matter that the plot is a ripoff.
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Mediocre film with funky 70's fashion and a superb soundtrack.
1 January 2006
This is a film you see for the soundtrack. I know I did. Okay, I also like Dharmendra a lot but this is not his best role ever so don't expect any miracles.

The story is that of three brothers whose parents get killed in their childhood. The brothers then part ways due to circumstances and grow up separately without knowing anything about each other's whereabouts.

You know the story and its ending after watching the film for 20 minutes so I suppose it's useless to mention what happens later. The good things about this film is of course the amazing R. Burman soundtrack, an appearance by Aamir Khan as a child artiste and its funky 70's fashion in clothes and overall style. The romantic subplot is quite silly and unnecessary, though it gives the unforgettable song Chura Liya.

With a worse soundtrack I'd give it 6/10, now it's a 7/10. General advice: buy the soundtrack, not the DVD!
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The fluffiest Bollywood film ever.
1 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you want to see a romantic, sweet comedy that's nice to the core, family-orientated and lacks of any real conflict, watch HAHK.

Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit, two of Bollywood's biggest stars in the 90's, play two youngsters whose siblings marry each other and soon the two youths also have to ask each other, "Who am I to you?" (translation of the title).

Salman and Madhuri are cute and have just the right kind of tension between them - I especially love the opening credits and their song in it. The film is pure sugar, what with it's 12 songs and 3 hours of family entertainment. If you like your Bollywood with melodrama, you might not like this film because it lacks of any conflict. Every goes well from the beginning to the end. There is a tiny twist at the end but it's hardly anything serious or heart-breaking.

All the other actors do a nice performance. I especially loved some of the romantic subplots. The songs are very memorable, though some of them blend into one another as there are just so many! If you're looking to introduce someone to Bollywood, my advice is not to pick this film. Unless they're fans of silly romantic comedies, they'll want to watch something with more content and less fluff.
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The Germans sure had a weird sense of humor back in the 70's.
14 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This film was shown around 1 AM on television, which tells us something about the content of this "comedy". So, is it funny?

Well, define funny. To me, it was funny because it was so comical and stupid. Let me summarize the plot for you:

SPOILERS START HERE. There is a playboy, who is also a duke. He has some debts, so he flees to the countryside to his grandmother's castle, companied by his servant. On the way he meets a girl called Amélie and the girl's chaperone, a foxy marquise. The same girl is engaged to him by the order of his father. He doesn't know this and the girl doesn't know he's her future husband. They fall in love during their stay at an inn. Then the police turns up to capture the duke (henceforth called Armand) and his servant. They both escape the police along with the girl and the marquise. Amélie doesn't trust Armand yet and she runs away with the marquise.

Then a whole load of things happen, the police are always running around chasing Armand & his servant, for some reason lots of women get naked, there's some dressing up as nuns and Indian people and Amelie sees Armand in bed with other women (but these times are always set-ups) and doesn't want to marry him anymore, but then he manages to change her mind... But there's a happy, romantic ending. SPOILERS END HERE.

My friend said that this is not a movie, it's just some script written so that the film-makers could film loads of girls showing their breasts. As much as the rating allows, that is. There's never any actual sex shown, but there's a lot of suggestions that there's sex going on and there are peeping Toms and these kinds of things. So it's a bit pervy. I laughed, because it was all just so silly and nuts and a bit unoriginal as well.

It's a clichéd movie and therefore my friend's theory could be right. It's a bit slapstick and it has comedic value, but it's definitely not for the things that were supposed to be funny. The male lead is pretty ugly and the romance isn't really touching, but it doesn't seem too forced, either. I think all actors understood that it's not the most intelligent or best comedy they were going to film. Then again I could be wrong. Maybe they thought this comedy wasn't silly or crap at all. I haven't seen any other German comedies from the 1970's.

The movie is set in the 19th century or so. The sceneries and the costumes are pretty cool, but not the most spectacular.
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Slightly preaching, but a really nice story and a funny film.
17 June 2003
I saw this a year ago on my visit in Prague. It had English subtitles, so I understood it pretty well.

First of all, the story was inspiring & interesting. In the end the whole thing unfolds and things aren't as they seemed in the beginning. Brilliant. I love to dialogue between the two main characters. It was pretty funny. Their drugged up moments were interesting, the way they tried to get to the bottom of Vera's death..

The night life of Prague seemed exciting, if not too involved around drugs. Hehe. In the end, the movie seemed like it was just saying "If you do drugs, this is what will happen!". This was slightly boring, but if you don't consider the message too much, you'll get an interesting story with fascinating characters and some funny dialogue. If you want to watch a Czech film, watch this one. 8/10
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Hardball (2001)
No Mighty sucks, with a touch of ghetto life.
17 June 2003
The best thing about this movie is that it truly doesn't focus on baseball, even though the title might suggest that. It's a movie about life, not baseball. I think the movie's title represents the movie well, but is still very misleading and sounds silly. "Ball" because there is the baseball element, "hard", because that's how life is for the main character, gambling addict, and the kids in the team.

Overall, I liked this movie. When I first saw the title & read the plot summary, I thought it was going to suck majorly, but I thought I'd watch it because it was a Keanu Reeves-movie and I like any film with him at least a little, because he's a pleasure to watch on screen. Then I read some of the user comments here & was pleasantly surprised. When I watched the film, I was even more surprised of the humor in it, the sense of rough reality. It most certainly wasn't a fun kids' film like Mighty Ducks... A lot more cursing, a lot more violence. Don't get me wrong, the violence wasn't THAT bad. There was only like 2 scenes of it.

I really liked the drama in this movie. I like Keanu Reeves' character. His life is a complete mess with all his debts & associations with bookies. Naturally, with the story, he evolves, changes. Keanu Reeves did a good job. He doesn't usually get to act much, because I guess the directors a. Don't find him a good actor or/and b. Only want him to look pretty on-screen. This has got to be my favorite movie with him so far alongside the first Matrix. Absolutely. He gets to act, he does a good job at it. A good break for Keanu.

The kids were great actors & very funny. I liked their input a lot on this movie. None of them really stood out, but as a group they worked well and did a good job on the film.

Then onto the parts that weren't all that.. great. First of all, it's really disturbing to hear Keanu Reeves sing Notorious B.I.G's "Big Poppa". Now matter how drunk his character is, he just shouldn't sing that. Second of all, the love affair between Connor [Keanu's character] and Diane Lane's character, Elizabeth, seemed a little forced. It brought some pretty funny moments to the movie & Diane Lane was a good, emotional actress, as usual, but it didn't give the story much & didn't seem very essential. Her character was necessary, but the romance seemed slightly forced.

If you get to watch it on DVD, watch the deleted scenes as well. Some pretty nice scenes there.

All in all, in my pretty loose rating scale [I could give lots of movies 9, very little movies a 1], I'd rate this one 7+/10. Or perhaps even an 8. Watch it if you want to see a decent drama film. Watch it if you want to see some really tragic things happening in the ghetto. Watch it if you want to see Keanu Reeves really act for once.
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Out Live (2000)
Needs some time to get into, but good.
11 June 2003
This was the first Korean movie I have ever seen & it really inspired me to watch some other new Korean films. I have to warn you, I'm unsure of what might be spoiling this movie for you, so if you haven't seen it and don't wish to be spoiled, don't read this.

First a few words on the action: good, good & good. Very well done fight sequences, though at some point the ..exploding bodies were a bit too much to take. It was just quite disturbing. The secret art of Bichunmoo was something that glued me into the plot immediately; I've always liked all kinds of mysterious martial arts & Bichunmoo was very interesting.

Like someone said earlier, Bichunmoo moves incredibly fast, not allowing the viewer to really understand what they've just seen. The pace is so fast you really need to watch it over & over again, until you finally manage to put all the pieces of this puzzle together. At some point, me & my friend who were watching it, just completely lost track. The only thing we understood after watching it the first time, were the main points of the plot and the love story.

My advice: Watch it as many times as you need to. I think they had cut out a scene where Jinha becomes Jahalang [goes under a false identity] and that really confused me a lot. After the second time of viewing it, I managed to figure it all out. The plot is rather typical, but it's not completely uninteresting, so the movie is worth watching not only for its action. I like how fate brings the two lovers together, in the end. It is quite sad, though.

The leading lady is amazingly beautiful, but it seems all her character has to do is contemplate on the pain inside of her of losing her beloved & cry on a few occations. So, based on this, I see why she could've been critisized for her acting in this movie in Korea. The main actor has, like many have noticed, a weird nose and a even more weird mustache, but his character seems to have a little more depth than Sullie, the leading lady. I'm no expert in acting, but I think some of the characters definitely lacked of depth and therefore their actors didn't really have a chance to show much talent..

One thing that bothered me was that since I don't speak Korean very well [read: at all!], there were a few lines that had no subtitles.

Overall, this film was good, if you like these type of action/epic films. Overall I'd give it 7/10, because it had some potential it just clearly, unfortunately, lost. I don't know about the comparisons with Croaching.. because I have completely forgotten if I liked that movie or not.
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