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A nearly perfect epic adventure!

 

 

'The Physician' Set Visit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOj-Pn5WJkw

 

The Physician is one of the best epic adventure films I’ve ever seen—there that pretty much says it.  However, the folks at Influx will not allow single-sentence reviews, so I suppose I should talk about the movie a bit and explain why I enjoyed it so much.

The film begins in England during the Middle Ages.  A boy watches his mother die and no one can help.  After all, there aren’t any doctors and medicine is extremely primitive.  Having no place to live, he takes up with the closest thing they have to a doctor—a barber!  The guy is very gruff and his knowledge of medicine is negligible but young Rob Cole (Thomas Payne) learns what he can from his new guardian—including very, very basic surgery, since in those days, barbers often supplemented their income with such procedures.  Later, when Rob’s guardian loses his sight, a Jewish surgeon does cataract surgery!  Rob is intrigued—where DID this man learn such advanced techniques?  He learns that there is a medical school but unfortunately it’s in the East…in Muslim land.  And Christians are NOT welcome there.  So Rob comes up with a seemingly insane plan—to pose as a Jew and enroll in the school.  I know what you might be thinking…yes, Jews were treated well in Muslim lands at the time and were quite welcome.  And, the only hospitals and true doctors in the world were in these same lands.

The first thing Rob needs to do is a VERY painful thing indeed.  To make himself appear to be a Jew, he not only cuts his hair but his schmeckle.  I would say more, but just don’t know if Influx will let me elaborate further.  Suffice to say, it was a very painful but relatively minor operation!  Then, he joins a caravan heading East.  Along the way, he meets a beautiful Jewish woman and you KNOW that more will come of this relationship—but that comes much, much later in the film.  In the meantime, Rob must survive a killer sand storm, find the medical school and somehow get himself admitted.  What’s next?  Well, what I’ve told you occurs only in the first 45 minutes or so—and the film has nearly another two hours!  But, considering how exciting Rob’s adventures are, you won’t find yourself squirming or getting bored!  All too often, I’ve found epic films have great difficulty maintaining their pace—this is certainly NOT a problem here.

This movie has nearly everything going for it.  The script is very intelligent, engaging and fascinating.  Rarely is history made this fascinating in movies—but this fictionalized story is sprinkled with interesting tidbits about the times, the way folks lived and what it was like to be a doctor in the so-called ‘Dark Ages’.  Excellent acting is also evident throughout—with Ben Kingsley providing a nice bit of class and an excellent performance as Rob’s teacher.  However, it’s not all Kingsley.  Despite a lot of relatively unknown actors, they deliver the goods.  In particular, Tom Payne is quite good in the lead.  Add to the acting great cinematography, excellent direction, a wonderful soundtrack and a real sense of escapism, and you have a heck of a film.

So if I enjoyed the film THIS much, why didn’t I score it an A+?  Well, I rarely would give such a score to any film—and this one nearly earned it.  However, I was a bit irritated that such a great history lesson would include quite a bit of nudity, as the film otherwise would have been wonderful for teens.  Why did they have to do this when the film didn’t need any of this to advance the plot?  I might still consider recommending the film for teens but understand that many parents would blanch at letting their kids watch a rated R film.  I very, very minor trimming (which would have done nothing to harm the plot) could have easily made this one PG-13…and would have earned the highest possible mark from me.

Wow…this Little Rascals film is quite cute and a nice homage to the originals…

Little_Rascals

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENu4rpDqR0o

 

Finally, the editors of Influx Magazine have asked me to watch a film that is right up my alley.  This is because one of the many dubious distinctions I have as an insanely compulsive movie viewer is that I have seen perhaps EVERY Little Rascals short that is currently available.  I say ‘currently available’ because quite a few of their early films have simply disappeared—decomposed like so many of the nitrate film stock films during the first half of the 20th century.  It’s a shame, as the silent films in the series that exist today are among the very best of the series.

The Little Rascals were brought to the screen by Hal Roach Studios—the same folks who brought us Laurel & Hardy as well as quite a few other wonderful comedians, like Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chase.  Is this new version of the Little Rascals up to the same quality and spirit as the older, original films?  Or, even as good as the pleasant re-boot they brought out in 1994?  I sure hoped so when the film began!

This family film has a LOT of familiar elements if you are familiar with the old films.  I appreciate this, as most folks who will watch this movie will have never seen the original films.  So, they didn’t have to replicate the style and look of the old shorts.  But SOMEONE associated with this film thought it was important to be faithful to the franchise—and I really appreciated that.  A few examples of the old Little Rascals elements are when the boys tried to skip school and end up missing out on a party (I’ve seen this in two other Rascals films—one with an ice cream party and the other where the teacher took them to an amusement park—and the boys missed out on this because they played hooky), all the more familiar old characters from the franchise’s most familiar period (with Porky, Buckwheat, Darla, Alfalfa and Spanky—as well as villains like Butch and Waldo), Miss Crabtree, the kids’ taxi and much more.  On top of that, the marquee at the theater, if you look carefully refers to a Hal Roach Film Festival and the emcee of the talent show is Leo McCarey!  McCarey was a brilliant director who worked for Roach and directed many of the Rascals films (he later went on to become a top director of full-length films).

The plot involves Grandma (Doris Roberts) who about to lose her business.  She needs $10,000 fast and the kids all decide to help her.  However, the Rascals’ plans are all terrible and backfire badly—and it’s kind of cute seeing them turn everyone’s pets green (among other things).  Eventually, as a last ditch, they decide to enter the kids talent show—and first prize is, of course, $10,000.  Who will win—the Rascals or the insufferable Waldo?  What do you think?!

I am sure that the film will appeal to kids and their parents (and grandparents), though I am not sure if it will appeal to teens.  Teens will probably find it all a bit mushy and predictable…which is true.  But it’s well made mush!  Plus, it’s nice to have a film that will appeal to parents and kids alike…so leave your picky teens at home and enjoy or lock them in their rooms if you decide to buy the video!  Overall, this is a cute and surprisingly well made and enjoyable family film—and a bit better than the 1994 film.

Disney REALLY reimagines Mickey!

Two new incarnations of Mickey Mouse have recently been created by the Disney folks recently.  One is REALLY radical–the new Mickey Mouse shorts shown on the Disney Channel.  The other, though it looks old, brings a crazy new CGI version of Mickey to the big screen as a short before the feature “Frozen”.  Here’s a quick blurb on each:

 

clip-from-great-new-mickey-mouse-animated-short-get-a-horse

http://geektyrant.com/news/clip-from-great-new-mickey-mouse-animated-short-get-a-horse

GET A HORSE!

When the film begins, you don’t think it’s a CGI or 3-D film. It looks like a Mickey Mouse film circa 1929–complete with scratchy film stock! However, when the baddie, Pete, tosses Mickey THROUGH the screen and he becomes a full-color 3-D character, you know you are in for something unique! What’s next? See the film–it’s well worth it.

This is an interesting case where it turns out that I liked the short more than the feature film it accompanied. In the case of “Get a Horse!”, it was shown before the Disney CGI film “Frozen”–a moderately enjoyable full-length film. However, the short was indeed magical and appeared to be a real work of love. I say this because the folks who made the film did a great job of trying to replicate the exact look and sound of the very early Mickey Mouse cartoons–something that is no small feat! Unlike most 3-D films I’ve seen, I think it’s very important you try to see “Get a Horse!” in 3-D. This is because rarely has another 3-D film tried so hard to incorporate this sort of camera-work into the film (another exception being the underrated “How to Train Your Dragon”). Most 3-D films, to me, seem as if they just tacked on the 3-D at the end and didn’t plan for the use of 3-D all along (this is especially true of the live action 3-D films).

Overall, a wonderful little film that no doubt will get nominated for Best Animated Short for the Oscars. If it doesn’t, I’ll be incredibly surprised as the film isn’t just fun but an amazing film technically.

 

mickeydonald

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDD1f-w9__4

MICKEY (Disney Channel)

One reviewer for this show on IMDB clearly hated these cartoons. They describe them as ‘despicable, detestable, deplorable desecration of Walt Disney’s early works’. I can certainly understand WHY they felt that way, as the animation style is NOTHING like the classic Disney characters and it seems pretty cheap at first. And, I can certainly understand WHY they felt this way because the characters were doing many things that would make Walt spin in his grave like a rotisserie. Imagine having episodes with a zombie Goofy, Mickey and Donald trying to hide their nudity, dogs urinating, bites being bitten off Mickey’s ear and a lot of very un-Disney-like violence!! It IS shocking and I could see how a purist would blanch at such things. However, I am NOT a Disney purist. Sure, I love the old cartoons but will quickly admit that Mickey’s old cartoons were awfully sanitized–a bit too sanitized if you ask me. Rarely did Mickey have any sort of edge–that was left to Donald and, sometimes, Goofy. But here, Mickey is a rather impish character–more like you’d see in the very, very early Mickey cartoons and not the sweet and 100% wholesome guy you’d see in the 1930s to today! While the art style takes some getting used to, I can look past the cheap look. More importantly, as I sat and watched these cartoons during a recent Disney cruise (where they pipe them into the rooms), I found myself laughing louder than I ever have before with a cartoon. Imagine blending a bit of “Ren & Stimpy” with Mickey–that is what you’ll find in “Mickey Mouse” (2013). I love them and want more!

I have my first fan…..sort of….

Guillame Filion and Martin the Penguin 001

http://blog.thegrandlocus.com/2012/06/The-elements-of-style

http://blog.thegrandlocus.com/2013/03/one-shade-of-authorship-attribution#disqus_thread

A few months ago, I did a Google search on my IMDB name, planktonrules.  Wow, was I surprised.  I found that there was a website in Barcelona that was talking about me!  Strange….very strange.  Fortunately, the site was in English and I saw that a Microbiologist, Guillaume Filion, had posted a blog entry about me….or at least about my posts on IMDB!  That’s kind of weird…and I was intrigued–especially since the posts were about a statistical analysis of my entries!

 

In his first post, Guillaume compares the style of my reviews to the average review.  He found that mine differed in a few interesting ways.  In general, the more I disliked a movie, the longer the review.  That came as no surprise to me, as warning folks about a horrible film is like a civic duty to me!  Besides, a bad movie can be so bad that it is actually fun to dissect it!  He also noticed that I tended to avoid doing what most reviews did–I did not get bubbly and excited over a good film and talk about it using teen-speak (such as OMG, or using multiple exclamation points).  Finally, I tended to use the word ‘film’ much more than ‘movie’.  That last one I didn’t realize…but I sure do now when I write a review!

 

In his second post about planktonrules, which came a few months later, he tried to answer a question I had no idea was buzzing around the internet–‘Is planktonrules a single person or actually a group of people who pretend to be just one person?’.  When I thought about it, I realized that this IS a valid question.  After all, I have about 14,500 reviews on IMDB and that DOES sound impossible.  So, using statistics, he was looking for internal consistency to determine if the style varies–which he found did not.  Still, his blog did not sound 100% convinced.  So, I contacted Guillaume….and suggested we meet!  After all, I would be in Barcelona in June and wouldn’t mind meeting him.  Plus, I was really intrigued.  Why would he write about me in his blog?!

 

Above is a picture of Guillaume.  I took it at the bar in the hotel where we were staying back in June.  He does not look like a serial killer or nut…and I hope he did not think the same about me!  Overall, it was a delightful get together and I am happy to have met my one and only fan!  We chatted and I learned that Guillaume is absolutely in love with his work–he adores math, statistics and microbiology.  And, he learned that I DO have a life beyond just writing IMDB reviews!  I’ll keep you posted in case he does any more blogs about me, though I really think he’s exhausted this topic!

 

It’s not the sort of thing I usually watch, but I liked “Last Passenger” and suggest you try to see it when it debuts in August.

Last passenger

Before I talk about what I thought about this movie, I think I should mention why I watched “Last Passenger”.  While I rarely watch action films, I was approached by someone who made the film and was asked to see the film and comment on it before its release in August.  I have occasionally had a few filmmakers do this and I assume it’s one of the perks of being such a prolific reviewer here on IMDB.  I agreed to see the film but in no way was paid or given anything in order to write a positive review—I told them I’d just give my honest opinion.  Fortunately, it turned out the film was awfully good—so reviewing and seeing “Last Passenger” was a pleasure.

The film begins with a doctor (Dougray Scott) and his son (Joshua Kaynama) getting on a train in England.  They soon strike up a conversation with a very lovely young lady (Kara Tointon) and it really looks like it’s going to be a romance film.  You like the people and hope that they’ll hook up by the end of the movie.  But in a great case of misdirection, the film has other plans! Soon the doctor gets a call from the hospital—they need him as soon as possible and he’ll have to drop off the boy at his grandparents.  But it’s still a while until they get to his stop and he’s obviously tired, so the nice lady tells him to take a nap—she’ll watch the boy.  Again, here is a nice case of misdirection—the lady is NOT a serial killer or kidnapper.  Instead, the surprise comes later, after the doctor awakens.  His stop is nearing but he notices that almost all the passengers are gone and the train is NOT stopping at the stations!  Soon it becomes apparent that the train is either unmanned or some crazy person is hurtling the train towards oblivion.  And, the few passengers aboard and the people outside the train seem unable to do anything—as the train is a diesel and is racing towards the end of the line.  What’s next?  See this film for yourself.

As I mentioned above, although the story is simple, there are some nice cases of misdirection—which I really appreciated.  Additionally, although I didn’t recognize any of these actors, for relative unknowns they sure did great.  I particularly liked Scott—he was nice looking but no pretty boy and did a very nice job in the lead.  In fact, all the actors (including Iddo Goldberg, David Schofield and Lindsay Duncan)  were excellent and having ‘normal’ faces in these parts instead of big-name stars was a plus, as it made the film seem a lot more realistic.  As for the direction and cinematography, these were big pluses—and you wonder HOW they managed to make the film in such a confined set, as ALL but the final seconds of the film are aboard a train.  Finally, the music was great—and really helped create a tense mood throughout.  Overall, an exciting film that I hope gets wide distribution, as it really deserves to be seen.

last passenger2

 

Those ‘Damned’ movies….

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Back in 1960, George Sanders starred in one of the finest horror films ever—“Village of the Damned”.  I think this because it not only has a wonderful and frightening plot, but it was also made on a tiny budget.  Sure, the film is in black & white and features relatively simple sets, but it really packs a HUGE punch.  Yet, oddly, the film spawned a couple follow-up films that were pretty terrible.  The immediate sequel isn’t exactly a sequel.  It is as if they filmmakers took all the terror out of the original film and tossed it out the window!  Gone were the malevolent little demonoid children, here in “Children of the Damned”, these spawn simply want to be left alone and appreciated for their differences!  Then, decades later, Hollywood does what it usually does–makes a mindless remake that offers no improvements over the original.  “Village of the Damned” (1995) is not exactly a terrible film but it begs the question why remake a film from a classic into a mediocre movie?  Below are reviews of the three films.  I STRONGLY advise you see the first one and stop…seriously…just stop!

 

 

village1

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960)

I am giving this film a 10 based on the “bang for the buck” it provides. Despite having a small budget, few special effects and an unknown cast (aside from George Sanders), it is an engrossing and terrifying sci-fi adventure.

The movie begins with a VERY STRANGE occurrence–a small village just STOPS. All people life within the village stops–machinery, animals and people. And, when the military tries to enter the town, the soldiers just STOP as well–falling into comas. Then, just as suddenly, everyone awakens–none the worse for wear. Or so it would seem, for later, many women in this small hamlet are found to be pregnant! Once these little bundles of joy are born, the fun begins as these brilliant but disturbingly freaky kids slowly scare the crap out of everyone–especially as they walk, talk and look alike and speak as one (sort of like an evil version of Huey, Dewey and Louie)! And, it turns out, they are apparently unstoppable and up to some sort of evil (though exactly what they intend is uncertain–but it MUST be bad considering their evil proclivities)!

NOTE: Do NOT see the supposed sequel, “Children of the Damned”. It’s terrible. Instead of the kids harassing people (such as making them crash their cars into walls or blow their heads off), the kids are misunderstood and only want to live in peace!! What crap–I want murder and global domination!

Another NOTE: Do NOT see the recent remake of “Village of the Damned”. It lacks the subtlety of the original and just does NOTHING to improve an already great film.

 

 

children

CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED (1964)

Many of you out there can relate. When I was a kid, like any other kid, I adored Christmas. However, like most kids, there were times when I got presents that looked wonderful–until I opened them. Getting underwear or socks were such “presents”. Well, CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED is like a pack of underwear at Christmas. It looks great, you really anticipate it and when it arrives you are thinking “is this all that there is?!?”. That’s because the first film, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, was an amazingly good movie–one of the best of the 1960s. Yet, this eagerly anticipated sequel is a horrible, horrible film–rotten in just about every possible way. The only other original film and sequel that may be THAT different might be WILLARD (a fine film) and BEN (a sequel so saccharine that I feel nauseous just thinking about it).

So why is CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED so darn bad? Well, in the original, these “children” were alien creations with super-advanced brains and telepathic powers they used for evil. They viewed outsiders the same way we might view ants! Yet in the sequel, these children are creepy looking and gifted BUT they just want to be left alone and be given respect!!!!! What happened to all the terror?! In VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, the kids talked in a creepy monotone manner as one voice AND they used their powers to force people to drive into walls or kill themselves. Here, they just whine about wanting understanding!!! So, a sequel to a horror movie has become, instead, like a live action version of the comic strip “Wee Pals”!!! Ugghh!! Now that is scary!! The production values are okay–so I am giving it two stars. This is generous, as the plot is just horrid–an abomination and a complete waste of time.

By the way, in a blatant case of false advertising, look at the poster above.  These little creeps did NOT come to conquer the world–and the filmmakers knew it!  Shame on you for lying to the audiences like that!

 

 

village of the damned 2

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1995)

The original VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960) was one of the most brilliant, spooky and “best bang for the buck” movies ever made. With a tiny budget, it managed to do so much. So, why remake this wonderful classic? Other than to make a fast buck without spending much effort, I can’t see why. And, unfortunately, this does appear to be the reason why the film was made. Gone are the thrills and suspense. Instead of an eerie build-up, we have more gore and a movie that is a “dumbed down” version for people who insist on hi-tech films. In its place is a flat, pale imitation of the original. I don’t know about you, but I find that in at least 80% of the cases, the original is better.

So why does the film STILL get a 6? Well, with such a great plot it is almost impossible for the film to still be very watchable.  Plus, I will admit that the special effects were very nice.  After all, look at these little monsters!

Save your time and watch the original–it’s often on Turner Classic Movies and it’s available on DVD and video.

The Academy loved this one…I thought it was truly awful.

antonia

In 1996, “Anotonia’s Line” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.  However, I just thought the film was rather depraved and nasty.  This is not because I dislike Dutch films–there are many wonderful Dutch films (such as “Black Book”, “Twin Sisters” and “Yes Sister, No Sister”).  It’s also not because the film features gay characters–there are tons in “Yes Sister, No Sister” and I adore this movie.    Read my IMDB review below to find out more:

 

I felt VERY frustrated by this movie. It had so many WONDERFUL elements but the overall package was hopelessly baffling because it appeared as if the writers had no idea WHAT type of film they wanted to make. At first, the movie seemed quirky and comical when one of the characters imagined seeing grandma getting up out of the coffin during her own funeral while the statue of Jesus comes to life. I was excited, because I like surreal movies like “Happiness of Katakuris” or “Raising Arizona”. BUT, just as quickly as these images came, the movie completely changed direction. This sort of thing happened again and again in the movie–as if the film had eight different writers who combined their stories without creating decent segues to join the stories. Comedy, philosophy (not the fun type–the “life is futile and then you die” type), sex, love, lesbianism, anti-church rhetoric, ultra-feminism, child prodigy stuff, sexual abuse, murder, etc., etc. all thrown together do not make ONE coherent film but either many separate movies or one big mess. How this film got the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture, I am uncertain, as it had too many holes and left me so unsatisfied. Perhaps it was a slow year. Or, perhaps AMPAS (the Oscar people) just have contempt for traditional morality and so they are rewarding this film for its stand against traditional values.

A final note: although these many story elements are perfectly acceptable for adult fair, this is NOT a film for kids as the subject matter is VERY mature. Also, I was deeply disturbed by the families portrayed in the film because apparently, NOTHING was private or adult in this extended home. Two examples come to mind: the one scene where EVERYONE is making love like sex-crazed weasels so loudly that the little girl yelled at them to be quiet so she could get to sleep AND the scene where this same person (now an adult) is debating whether or not to have an abortion–while each child in the family tells her their opinion! This is sick and the family demonstrates a complete lack of reasonable boundaries. I’m not suggesting adults need to be prudes, but the idea of putting kids in these situations seems abusive and disturbing. If these types of situations are thrust on kids, what’s next–showing them step-by-step photos of a prostate exam?

 

Weird, clever and very sweet–this is a great Dutch import!

zuster

 

Not only did I have more fun watching this DVD than any film, but I did something I never did before–I ended up watching the movie again that very same night! I was utterly charmed by this wonderful Dutch musical-comedy and anticipate that I will probably see it again a few more times–it’s THAT good! I think a lot of the reason I loved the movie so much was that while bits and pieces of the film reminded me of other films, overall it was so unique and quirky that it’s got to be one of the most original films out there. In addition, when I heard the songs, I couldn’t help but swing in rhythm to the bouncy and adorable music! Despite not knowing Dutch and relying on subtitles, I can’t think of ANY musical that I enjoyed more because the songs are that catchy and kooky. They all have a charming old fashioned style with wonderfully funny lyrics.

The film itself has an early to mid-1960s look to it and although I noticed in one of the reviews that this movie was based on a TV series, the film looks even more like a film of a play in style. Plus, the sets look very fake, but I don’t mean that in a bad way–more like an idealized and perfect world that you know can’t exist but you really wish it did! Apart from great music, the film has a wonderful ensemble cast. The standout character is Mr. Boordevol who is a lot like a combination of Sam the Eagle (from The Muppets) and a crazed version of the AFLAC duck! He must have had a wonderful time playing such an outlandish character–and his voice was like something out of a cartoon! Other standout performers were Jet, an incredibly cute and shy young lady who is in love with Garrit, Garrit, a reformed burglar who has a wonderful voice, the Engineer (he has no name–and is just called “Engineer” throughout the film) as well as many, many others.

A word of note to parents–This movie was released by Wolfe Video–a Gay movie distributor. While there are two gay main characters, I really didn’t see this as a gay film, per se, but a film about many people–just two of which are gay. And, unless you are ultraconservative, I doubt if you would be offended or mind if your kids watch the film. I am a pretty conservative person myself, but really liked ALL the characters and let my teenager see the film–in fact, I nagged her until she watched it with me!

By the way, it took me three viewings to realize that the plot of this film is a slight reworking of Seuss’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE Christmas! Seriously!!

Sometimes, just because a movie wins the Best Picture award doesn’t mean it’s worth your time.

Here are a few reviews for some Best Picture Oscar winners that just seem insanely overrated.  Watch them if you like, but you might just want to avoid them as the films are tedious and awful.  What do you think?

the_last_emperor_3

The Last Emperor–It’s hard to like a film when you couldn’t care less about the central character.

This film is a wonderful example of the Best Picture Syndrome. A dull film receives many Oscars (including Best Picture) and suddenly it’s considered a “masterpiece”. My theory is that the year the movie premiered, it must have been a very bad year in general OR it confirms that many on the Oscar committee LOVE to vote for giant epic films that are visually stunning (but unwatchably dull). I also wonder if many who voted never actually saw the film–if they had, many would have died of boredom and couldn’t have voted for the film!

My biggest problems with the movie are the turgid pacing as well as the general unlikability of the main character. When the Communists imprisoned this deposed emperor, I could sympathize with the revolutionaries and was shocked they didn’t put him to death! His life was lived in complete self-indulgence and he didn’t seem to care one bit for “his people”. So, for the only time in history, I found myself rooting for the Chinese Communists! If you DID actually enjoy this film, I can suggest several other epics that are dreadfully dull and overrated: “The English Patient”, “Gandhi”, and “Ryan’s Daughter”.

This is NOT to say that I hate epics or long movies–just not ones where you could care less for the characters (with the exception of Gandhi) and where the pacing is so slow. If you are not a glutton for punishment, try watching” The Big Country” (one of our greatest Westerns), “Ben Hur” (wow), “Dances with Wolves”, “Chariots of Fire”, “The Best Years of Our Lives”, etc. Make them LONG and BIG but give them characters you care about and pace them better!!!!!!

 

Gandhi (Ben Kingsley)

Gandhi—Superficial and often inaccurate

“The Last Emperor”, “The English Patient” and “Gandi”–three recent movies that won tons of Oscars but were ultimately pretty boring and unappealing to the common people. You may not appreciate me for saying this, but it is a fact that all three films were not exactly box office draws and the average bloke would rather see most anything other than these LONG films. And, I say long not due to their length, but to their slow and plodding pacing. And, of course, they are rewarded for this by the Oscar. So, in recent years Oscar = Dull or overblown film. While I certainly didn’t hate the film like many of my students, I could understand their feeling that the whole thing was a bit too long and slow going.

This film is a pretty decent general overview of the life of Gandhi. However, as a history teacher, I gotta admit that there were a lot of liberties taken with the truth. While the overall message is true, some details are not and many aspects of Gandhi’s strange personal life were omitted (such as his attitudes towards parenting, his sleeping habits, etc.–all VERY odd indeed). While I hate to see films that trash good people and focus on the weird, this film nearly elevates this man to godhood–making him seem super-human, not just a great man. After you see the movie to do an internet search or pick up a biography on the man to get a more 3-dimensional view of this extraordinary character.

PS–I know I will be hated for demeaning the name of Gandhi, but I strongly agree with the other posts that preferred or at least recommended the movie UHF because of its parody on GANDHI–“GANDHI II–he’s back and he’s looking for revenge”! Funny stuff, indeed!

 

the-english-patient

The English Patient–It’s about as romantic as a case of the clap!

Years ago, I saw an episode of SEINFELD in which Elaine described this movie as a colossal bore that seemed to go on forever (though less than 3 hours long, it did seem to go on for an eternity). I should have taken her advice and avoided this movie like the plague. The first tip-off that it would be a bore-fest was that it had won so many academy awards. In recent years, several amazingly dull films have been the recipient of arm loads of awards but were box office poison because the public couldn’t stand them (another example of this would the the sterile LAST EMPEROR).

My wife and I were amazed at how much we disliked the film. The “love” affair between the leads was completely unbelievable and stupid. One minute, they hate each other and the next they are copulating like crazed weasels! And, to top this off, these were perhaps the ugliest stars ever seen naked on the screen. I kept wanting to shout “put it BACK on–PLEASE”. In fact, they were such an unappealing couple that I strongly recommend parents send their teenagers to watch this film. The sight of their naked bodies is perhaps the strongest enticement towards abstinence known to mankind!

However, the ugliness of the film doesn’t end there. Towards the end, in order to try to save his lover’s life, the male lead makes a deal to help the Nazis….yes, Nazis!!! Who cares that they were trying to take over the world and liquidate a few million?! All his character cared about was his sweetie. Oh, and did I mention that along the way they ended up killing her husband? Nothing says romance like this film!!

FYI–About the top reviewers on IMDB….

While this list is not completely current, this is a breakdown of the top reviewers on IMDB.  Wow….

 

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