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Forgotten Tune for the Flute [VHS]
Forgotten Tune for the Flute [VHS]
VHS
12 used & new from $1.98

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Russian satirical film., October 9, 2003
Good Russian satirical film from the "Perestroika" time. Also known as " Zabytaya Melodiya Dlya Flejty" (1988). Directed by Eldar Ryazanov: "Cruel Romance", "Garage", "The Irony of Fate, or "Enjoy Your Bath". Starring Leonid Filatov, Tatyana Dogileva, Irina Kupchenko, Valentin Gaft.
Leonid (Leonid Filatov) is a high rank bureaucrat in a Soviet bureaucratic agency which has no purpose at all. He is stock between his mistress (Tatyana Dogileva) and his wife (Irina Kupchenko), who happens to be his bosses daughter. At the same time this film shows very good angle of the Soviet life. Bureaucrats with their values: privileges and "good stuff" which regular people was not able to buy. And regular Russians with their values: love, family and real friends.
The only one reason why I gave this film 4 stars is ideas "borrowing" by the director Eldar Ryazanov (who is one of my favorite Russian directors). Every "original" and surprising technique in this film was taken from Luis Bunuel's "The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie". But Bunuel's films was banned in USSR and average Russian had no ability to se them. It changed with Gorbachev's "Perestroika" and in 1988 "The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie" came out on the big screen in USSR just few weeks before "Forgotten Tune for the Flute". Ideas borrowing by director E. Ryazanov was too obvioust and it spoiled the effect of his film.
Reviewed by "[...]


Burnt By the Sun [VHS]
Burnt By the Sun [VHS]
VHS
Offered by R2Bookstore
Price: $12.89
42 used & new from $1.78

20 of 69 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very different film., October 9, 2003
This review is from: Burnt By the Sun [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Very different film. The story of the after Civil War USSR during Stalin regime. A former Russian "war hero" on his "dacha" (country house) with his family and friends. Another friend shows up... to arrest him as the "enemy of the Russian people" (Vrag Naroda). In one hand this film will show the brutality and crazyness of this time in USSR history. In another hand? Very good actors with a VERY bad and fake acting. Grotesque is way OVER done, what made this film looks like a mediocre student movie.
This film was made at the time when movie studios in Russia had to produce money making films. This period in Russian cinema history should be called as "The Russian Cinema Big Depression". And this film came as best example of it. It did win few awards and made good money, but Nikita Michalkov should be ashamed for making this one. I gave it 3 stars only as my respect to the director who made such excellent films as: "Siberiade" '79, "Oblomov" '80 and "An Unfinished Piece for Player Piano" '77.
Reviewed by "[...]
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 19, 2009 7:12 PM PST


Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears [VHS]
Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears [VHS]
VHS
Offered by anyswinggoes
Price: $65.00
13 used & new from $2.98

37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As real as it gets!, October 9, 2003
I miss those times. I really do. This film was a huge hit in USSR when it came out in 1979. I went to the movie theater with my parents to se it. Loved it then, still love it now. Did you know that this film was first experimental movie made in USSR with long run and big budget? "Air Crue" went out right after it, trying to catch up. But it was not as successfull as " Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears".
We didn't care much then about politics, we cared about each other. And the way how we was living and surviving was very simple - we was helping each other. And this is what this film shows at it best - real life, real friends, real meaning of life in our hearts. And this is what I miss so much from that time of my life. And this is what I was trying to find here without much success. Just how Vladimir Visotskiy said: This is very hard to find a black cat in the dark room ... especially if cat is not there ...
This is a subtitled version of the film.
Reviewed by "[...]


White Desert Sun "Authorized International Edition" (In Russian) [VHS]
White Desert Sun "Authorized International Edition" (In Russian) [VHS]
VHS

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Russian action comedy!, September 26, 2003
First Russian experimental film from the short period of "free market economy" experiment in the 60's. "White Desert Sun" became instant and most successful classic of Russian comedy action films. Almost every line from this movie became known, remembered and repeated zillions of times. This is a film legend which every Russian loves and remembers.
Russian Civil War is over (mid 20's). "Tovarisch Suhov", a life smart Russian soldier, walking thru the southern desert back home. Blood thirsty Abdulla with his "gang" looking for his lost harem. Honest and kind of cute in his own way former customs officer Vereschagin get stock with his "good house, good wife ... and what else do you need to meet your old age". Clumsy green soldier Petruha. Said, who always shows up from nowhere when the shooting occurs. Gulchatai, the cutest and youngest girl from Abdulla's harem. All of them cross Suhov's path and "stick around".
Finally this film is available in US format and I can't wait to se it on DVD. This VHS copy doesn't have subtitles and I don't think it is possible to translate this film without losing the flavor of the Russian humor.
If you like this film, you will like "At Home Among Strangers, a Stranger Among His Own" (1973).
Reviewed by "[...]


Phone Booth
Phone Booth
DVD ~ Colin Farrell
Offered by Clyde Parks
Price: $15.18
427 used & new from $0.01

31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The art of listening., September 26, 2003
This review is from: Phone Booth (DVD)
Before I watched this film, I read several reviews on it. Most of them was negative. Than I checked out the director: Joel Schumacher. I found few mediocre films by him but at the same time I found few of my favorites: The Lost Boys (1987), Flatliners (1990), Falling Down (1993), The Client (1994). Based on this research I had no choice but to watch this film.
Main character Stu (Colin Farrell at his best performance) is one of this fake New Yorkers: some publicist, dressed in a fake coat of bogus fame and unexciting BIG contacts. He stops by at the phone booth to make his regular call to another women, the one which doesn't know that he is married... As soon as he hangs up? A phone call... A phone call for him... A phone call by a sniper. He has to play by the sniper's rules, or someone will die.
A thriller? An action? A psychological drama? I would say all of it at the same time... but much more. Did I want to know what will happen next? Yes! Did this film make me think? Yes!
From my point of view, this film mostly about art of listening. We often prejudge situations and people. But we forget to listen, to understand and hear the meaning of simple clues which might save our own life. And Forest Whitaker as Captain Ramey did this part very well.
On the other hand it gives us a slight idea how one second can change our life forever. And it does every single day.
The ending made me disappointed but I can't give this film less than A- grade. I've seen better, but not as many as you might think.
Reviewed by "russianwriter.net"


Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History
Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History
by George Crile
Edition: Hardcover
316 used & new from $0.01

413 of 654 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Best example of one sided "journalism", September 11, 2003
"Charlie Wilson's War" serves as best example of the direction which American "free" press shifts in the last few years. The direction of one sided, pro-government "journalism" which serves as one of the tools used to brainwash average American. No wonder to see it in the book written by George Crile, long time producer of the TV show "60 minutes".
I read this book not from "average American" point of view. I read it as former Russian Airborne soldier, who was drafted at the age of 19 and sent to Afghanistan in 1984. 621 days of war I didn't want. 217 days of combat I couldn't forget.
I read it as a soldier who had to watch his friends getting killed. Friends who was same as me, 18-19 years old. Who was drafted and didn't want to go to that war. But we had no choice. Friends who had to kill not for the triumph of USSR, but in order to survive. We were soldiers.
I read this book as a Veteran who became journalist after the war and fought propaganda machine in the USSR, who was telling the truth about a war and had to leave his home in order not to get arrested for doing so.
Mr. Crile is a very good writer and it is sad to see that he is an excellent "demagog" at the same time. He proudly presents Congressman Wilson as some kind of hero. The hero, who went around the legal system of the USA and built up a machine to train and finance extremists to fight "Evil Soviets" in Afghanistan. But he forgot to mention 75% of the side effects of his doing:
1. For the first few years of Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, this was no war in existence. Not until US money started flowing and new "Hero Wilson's" trainees begun attacking Soviet troops and their supporters. As result of this war? Over ONE MILLION Afghans was killed and over 50.000 Russians.
2. The "Evil Russians" was mostly 18-19 years old kids, who were drafted and didn't want to be at this war. But Mr. Crile carefully forget to mention that.
3. Same as he carefully forget to mention that "Soviet supporters" then are now on the American side during antiterrorism fight in Afghanistan. Where American soldiers have to fight "formally known as freedom fighters", well grown on Wilson's financial and training "Miracle Whip".
4. Mr. Crile has interesting point:
"After the last Soviet commander crossed the bridge back into what was then the USSR, '60 Minutes' asked Pakistan's President Zia ul-Haq: how was all this possible? Zia's simple reply: "Charlie did it."
But he forgot to mention that this was not Wilson who did it. But President Gorbachev, who gave the orders for Soviet troops to leave Afghanistan and who stopped the bloodshed in torn apart country.
PS: When did real journalism switched to one sided propaganda machine? When would we understand that cutting off the branch we are sitting on usually brings bad luck? I don't have an answer, but if I would want to read books by real American journalists? I would read books by Mark Hertsgaard.
Reviewed by "russianwriter.net"
Comment Comments (52) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2014 12:33 AM PST


About Schmidt
About Schmidt
DVD ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by PRIMETIME DEALS
Price: $5.02
610 used & new from $0.01

5 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars " Dear Ndugu, I am writing now a review for About Schmidt ", September 5, 2003
This review is from: About Schmidt (DVD)
Very interesting and confusing film about 66 year old, just retired and widowed Mr.. Schmidt (Jack Nicholson). During this 2 hour long movie we find out much more about him not from what he is doing during the film but from his letters to Ndugu, some kid in Africa whom he decided to sponsor. Something like that:
" Dear Ndugu,
Last night I decided to rent few videos and watch it with my girlfriend Christa. She loves old British dramas and I was absolutely sure, that she is going to like this movie, called in America "About Schmidt". I don't now if you heard about it, but when you'll grow up nobody will remember this film so just don't worry about it.
An old retired Nebraskan taking off in a trailer and drives to Denver, for his daughter's wedding. I don't know if you heard anything about Denver, but they have very good hockey team "Avalanche". I bet you heard about them in your little village in Africa. During this very slow trip he explore himself and others. My girlfriend Christa liked this movie, but I have to make a comment. I gave it only 3 stars because during this 2 very long hours (not including 2 trips to the bathroom and one trip to the kitchen to grab a beer) I was waiting for something to happen. I was waiting for a reason why this movie was made. And guess what, my little friend Ndugu? Nothing happened at all and even two excellent actors, Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates was not able to save this film.
I just whish that instead of spending $4 to rent this film, I would of send it to you, my dear Ndugu."
"russianwriter.net"


Dawn of the Transcendence
Dawn of the Transcendence
by D. Mikels
Edition: Hardcover
8 used & new from $5.76

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The twilight zone of reality., September 1, 2003
Have you ever been in the twilight zone of reality? When you are not sure if this is really happening or you are dreaming? When you wake up in a cold sweat just to find yourself in the middle of a nightmare? The nightmare where no one cares and you care of no one. The world where you don't fit and you don't want to fit in it anyway? This is the world which Mr. D. Mikels opens to us thru the eyes of a teenage boy in the nowhere town. Little New Mexico town where people ether half asleep or half awake. He finds himself a new world, the world of his own reality and the more he believes in it, the more real this world becomes for him.
Excellent and very original debut novel by a new and very talented author. His stile and originality reminded me the early films by Louis Bunuel. Can't wait for the next book by D. Mikels!<BR


Tears of the Sun (Special Edition)
Tears of the Sun (Special Edition)
DVD ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by SOUTHWEST MEDIA
Price: $9.49
587 used & new from $0.01

3 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well done empty Hollywood film, August 29, 2003
Grade: C
Category: War
Director: Antoine Fuqua
(Training Day '2001, The Replacement Killers '1998)
Year: 2003
Running time: 121 min
Rating: R ( violence, brutality, language)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci
My point: Well done empty Hollywood film
Bruce Willis playing a Navy Seal unit commander. The mission is to evacuate American doctor from the African country during a military coup. But the doctor ( Monica Bellucci ) doesn't want to leave "her" people and in the middle of the operation Bruce decided to disobey the orders and help them.
Very good and very fake story with very unrealistic and too made up script. Actors doing excellent job, but has nothing really to go with. Their characters are too fake.
I even don't want to start talking about the combat scenes. After watching few of them I decided to go to the kitchen and make myself a cup of coffee. On the second shelf in my refrigerator I found few donuts. It made me very exited and what could be better than a big jelly donut with a huge cup of coffee in the early afternoon?! Definitely not this movie!
Very well made but very fake, war glorifying and boring film which could be used as excellent example how Hollywood being used to promote the war.
"russianwriter.net"
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2008 3:09 PM PST


The Pianist
The Pianist
DVD ~ Adrien Brody
Offered by Big_Box_Bargains
Price: $14.65
195 used & new from $0.01

18 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very important story..., August 26, 2003
This review is from: The Pianist (DVD)
Very important story based on an autobiography book by Wladyslaw Szpilman, Polish Jewish great pianist who survived the Nazi rape of Poland in WW-II. Great and very talented director Roman Polanski who for the second time in his career went in the undermined world to make a point, to tell the real story which have been told before.
Nazi march thru Poland, placed Jews in Ghettos and than shipped them to concentrating camps. To burn them, to gas them, to kill them. Wladyslaw Szpilman ( best role by Adrien Brody ) was lucky to get away and hide to survive. Five stars! A million Oscars! No! Why?
After first 30 minutes of the film, I lost any interest in main character. Even Polanski admitted that this was not much to go with. This is not the story of someone who sacrificed something for better. It is a story of a chicken which never crossed the road. But I have to admit director's talent. The way how he showed his personal point of view on the main character: by making him watch in hiding the others, the ones who chose not to hide but to fight. The ones who didn't care about their little lives but cared about real freedom... the ones who won the war.
At the end the story of the German officer got my attention but it died without deep look into it.
I would of give this fine film A- grade, but I watched not well known "The Truce" few month before "The Pianist" came out. Compare to that film? Solid 4 stars, not an inch more.
"Vlad"
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 9, 2007 10:12 PM PST


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