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The Great Jang-Geum (2003–2004)
A true Heroine!
22 June 2006
Jang-geum's story is engrossing, as other comments have noted, for all sorts of people. Very inspiring for its central moral drama, it is also full of great incidental historical and cultural information. The lead, Yeong-ae Lee, as Jang-geum, is a fine, subtle actress; here's hoping she will appear in more films. Since she apparently was part of the jury at 2006 Berlin Film Festival she should have a wider world cinema audience. Also, the English subtitles are exceptionally well done, but I regret that they don't give English language production information. Those writers, directors, producers and actors deserve to be honored. It is good that IMDb lets us fans research this, though. Thanks IMDb and commenters, too!
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Buddy Faro (1998)
A Clever Caper that was Crushed
14 July 2005
BUDDY FARO should be on DVD! At least as fun as "Get Shorty", "Midnight Run" or "Analyze This!", this "crime" show deserved to be on for many, many seasons. I saw all the broadcast episodes and they never ran out of good stories, jokes or ideas. Dennis Farina made Buddy a believable character: from the dregs to dude-dom. Frank Whaley could have been the re-incarnation of W.C. Fields' "Bank Dick." Another part of the overall fun were the sets and decor and the lush, even lurid color photography. All in all a terrific show. Calling Dennis Farina: get the rights/permissions and issue this on DVD. It worked for that other delicious oddment, "Wonderfalls."
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On the way to the Revolution
20 May 2005
This banquet, unlike one of foodstuffs, can be savored again and again to discover its parts. A political tale, a moral tale, an aesthetic breadth that rewards repeated viewing. The casual brutality of the palace: children playing darts against a painting; nobles and servants tossing around a dead rat; and, of course, the walking latrine! As above, so below: brutish soldiers, "shanghai-ers" for the colonies, provincial nobles who live in squalid houses barely above hovels. Noiret, Rochefort, Marielle so perfectly embody their characters; wise yet inconstant Orleans, conscienceless striver Dubois, impetuous, foolish yet gentlemanly Pontcallac. It would be rewarding to view this en suite with Etore Scola's brilliant "La Nuit de Varennes" to bracket the themes.
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A true "totentanz"
5 May 2005
Made only ten years after the actual events, and set in the Bunker under the Reichstag, Pabst's film is wholly gripping. It reeks of sulfurous death awaiting the perpetrators of world war. Haven't seen this in over three decades, but it remains strong in my visual and emotional memory. The characters seem to be waiting to be walled up in their cave. Searing bit of dialog between two Generals: "Does God exist?" "If He did, we wouldn't." Shame this is not more readily available for exhibition or purchase because it would be interesting to view and compare this film with the documentary about Traudl Junge, "Im Toten Winkel" {aka "Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary") and "Downfall" with Bruno Ganz.
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