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skybrian's reviews view profile

unsolved mystery with no clues  
on November 22, 2003 - 11:39 PM PST
  of Picnic at Hanging Rock (Criterion Collection) (1975)
4 out of 18 members found this review helpful

There's some excellent photography but not that much happening here, just a slow-moving, unsatisfying story that never really goes anywhere.
high cheese factor  
on November 6, 2003 - 8:34 PM PST
  of Rangeela (1995)

For die-hard Bollywood fans only. Sometimes obviously low-budget, very predictable plot, bad acting in spots, and rather repetitive dance numbers. But there are some interesting visuals and the movie doesn't take itself very seriously, so it was okay with generous use of the fast-forward button.
Should have been funny, turned out confusing  
on October 5, 2003 - 5:27 PM PDT
  of Bollywood Hollywood (2002)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

I like the concept of this film and wanted it to be funny, and still think some of the farcical situations ought to have been funny (particularly with Lisa Ray's character), but somehow it turned out to only be confusing in practice. Maybe it's better if you've watched more Bollywood films (though I have watched a few) and didn't miss a few important lines of dialog due to difficult accents like I did. Anyway, not so fun as an introduction.
fast forward through history  
on September 9, 2003 - 1:15 AM PDT
  of The Soong Sisters (1997)
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful

Lots of excellent scenery, great photography, well acted, and highly dramatic (sometimes a bit cheeseball). The problem is it's all big scenes - hardly have you met the characters before they're married off or attacked or on their deathbed or something. Bears some slight resemblance to history.
ordinary life  
on June 26, 2003 - 11:51 PM PDT
  of Summer (1986)
1 out of 3 members found this review helpful

This is a movie about ordinary real life when nothing much is going on. A woman tries to fight off the blues and boredom and enjoy her vacation, that's all. Things move slowly and there is lots of run-of-the-mill conversation with no background music.

It's a good movie to watch if you're learning French - if mine was a little better I would have turned subtitles off.
a kids movie - yes, really, it is  
on June 19, 2003 - 12:38 AM PDT
  of Panda! Go, Panda! (1972)
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful

A sweet children's video but unlike Totoro or Spirited Away, there is not the additional depth to interest adults. The animation is minimal, TV-quality.
a bit of background  
on June 11, 2003 - 10:49 PM PDT
  of Costa Gavras' Z (Criterion) (1969)
14 out of 17 members found this review helpful

The dialog is in French, it was filmed in Algeria, and the movie never explicitly says where it takes place, but the story is based on the assassination of the Greek leftist Grigoris Lambrakis in Thessaloniki in 1963. "Any similarity to actual events or persons living or dead is not coincidental. It is intentional." Based on a novel by Vassilis Vassilikos.

not much history  
on April 20, 2003 - 1:39 AM PDT
  of The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
1 out of 8 members found this review helpful

There are a few good scenes, but Indonesia is used only as a backdrop for a ho-hum romance between two Westerners. The most interesting character is a dwarf played by Linda Hunt(!)
mostly violence  
on April 18, 2003 - 9:32 PM PDT
  of Akira (Special Edition) (1988)
3 out of 14 members found this review helpful

It's basically a sci-fi disaster film with motorcycles. Also, bizarre mental powers like in the Matrix. I'll admit some of the visuals were kind of cool (like the teddy bear) but otherwise, there's not much to it. The biggest problem is that I didn't relate to any of the characters in the film. The main characters, members of a motorcycle gang, are reckless jerks.
First Rate  
on April 16, 2003 - 12:35 AM PDT
  of Salaam Bombay! (1988)
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful

There is no sugar coating here and you might think such a movie would be absolutely depressing, but it's not like that. I think it's because things keep happening, and while life goes on there is still hope. Also, the movie is extremely well put together with never a false note, and the story behind the movie is quite inspiring. The DVD includes some short interviews with some of the people who were in the movie showing where they ended up.
Lavish but empty  
on April 13, 2003 - 1:18 AM PDT
  of Devdas (2002)
10 out of 12 members found this review helpful

The settings, costumes, and production numbers are unbelievably rich and quite something to see. But the soap-opera of a plot becomes tedious quickly. Perhaps try Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham instead, which is similar in but has more variety.
lavishly produced drivel  
on April 1, 2003 - 10:17 PM PST
  of Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (2000)
3 out of 6 members found this review helpful

This is not so much a movie as an exhibit of a famous movie star in India (Hrithik Roshan), in which he pretends to play the guitar, sing, and act. There are lavishly produced musical numbers but the plot is like a bad TV episode, not to be taken seriously. Fans of Hrithik Roshan probably like it fine; others should look elsewhere.
not credible  
on March 23, 2003 - 2:09 AM PST
  of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
4 out of 6 members found this review helpful

The first half is mostly on a college campus and is laughably bad - most laughs are unintentional and the songs are a relief. The second half is at some kind of summer camp and is somewhat better.

I'd recommend seeing Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham instead. It's somewhat of a remake (by the same director and with some of the same actors) and is a much better film. Or if you want to see 30ish actors pretending to be college students, Dil Chaihta Hai is a much more credible job.
modern Bollywood  
on March 18, 2003 - 12:02 AM PST
  of Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
5 out of 7 members found this review helpful

Dil Chahta Hai is a very modern production that had me wondering at first whether it was really a Bollywood film at all. Its opening could easily be from an American movie and it wasn't until the first dance number that it become clear that some of the rules of planet Bollywood are still in effect.

The movie focuses on three young, well-off men just out of school. There are romances as expected, but well done and one is rather unconventional. I particularly enjoyed watching Akshaye Khanna (Sid).

And there are digressions away from the usual themes. There is time for a light buddy/road trip movie before things become serious.

The musical numbers are first rate. (I didn't think so at first, but have changed my mind after a second viewing.)
very dated  
on March 16, 2003 - 11:02 PM PST
  of Silsila (1981)
2 out of 5 members found this review helpful

They say it's a classic, but the poetry is lost in translation, and distracting camera work, cheesy 70's fashion, and sloppy subtitles make this movie painful to watch. There are a couple of good scenes towards the end: the Holi ceremony and the scene where the two wives meet. But it's not enough to be worth slogging through except for the hard-core.
a muddled message  
on March 11, 2003 - 12:34 AM PST
  of Fiza (2000)
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful

The story of the mother and sister is very well done and the riots are convincingly dangerous and horrific. There are a couple good dance numbers at the beginning. The parts concerning terrorists don't make a whole lot of sense, especially the ending, which was just wrong.
beautiful photography, so-so writing  
on March 8, 2003 - 8:59 PM PST
  of Pleasantville (1998)
3 out of 7 members found this review helpful

There's rather less questioning or reflection about the past than advertised. On the 90's team: Sexual Liberation, Feminism, Art, and Books. For the 50's: white men. One guess as to who wins.
weird and yet kinda conventional  
on March 8, 2003 - 8:32 PM PST
  of Ranma 1/2 OAV Series: Box Set (Disc 1 of 3) (2003)
5 out of 10 members found this review helpful

Here we have the very first episodes of the long-running and famous (among Anime fans) Ranma 1/2 TV series, which is about a boy who magically and involuntarily transforms into a girl, and back again, at the most inappropriate times. Oh, and everyone's a martial arts expert. And that's not all. It's absolutely bizarre, and yet sort of like Three's Company.

If you've seen some other random episodes (as I did, a long time ago) and found them just a little surreal, you might have the impulse to watch the first episode to straighten things out. I'd say resist that impulse - the explanation is only a cheesy sitcom setup (and you expected anything else)? It's really more fun when it makes less sense.
endless surreal tearjerker  
on March 4, 2003 - 10:04 PM PST
  of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001)
10 out of 14 members found this review helpful

It's a big-budget musical about an extremely rich Indian family where a father disowns his son, and the emotional consequences for the family. Very exaggerated and stylized to the point of being surreal with MTV-like dance numbers, beautiful women and fancy cars. (For someone who hasn't been to India, the part set in London brings this out especially as a nearly unrecognizable funhouse reflection of western culture.) Despite it all, the core story is simple and excellent performances make it emotionally compelling, even when dragged out for an incredible length. Got me crying anyway.

(The title means "Sometimes Happy Sometimes Sad".)
educational too  
on March 1, 2003 - 2:58 PM PST
  of Lagaan (2001)
4 out of 7 members found this review helpful

Not only is this movie fun to watch, but it's a good way to learn a little about cricket if you don't know any. (Or at least, I have better questions to ask the cricket fans I know.)

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