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Reviews by diogenes

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250 reviews/ratings - 13 pages (20 reviews/ratings per page)

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1864 (2014)

I love this gorgeously rich depiction of part of Denmark's history, and the boys are just marvellous.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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300 mil do nieba (1989)

Nuanced, truthful and engaging.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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4000 Steps (2010)

Simple. Straightforward. Beautiful.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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50 Ways of Saying Fabulous (2005)

The character I felt the greatest sympathy for was Roy (Jay Collins) - and everyone was unremittingly horrible to him throughout the entire movie! It was hard for me to feel much sympathy for the film's protagonist Billy (Andrew Patterson), though I quite liked Arch (George Mason). A very faithful adaptation of Graeme Aitken's novel. Definitely worth a view.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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The Adventures of Ociee Nash (2003)

Tomboy Ociee Nash goes to live with her aunt, en route solving the chief engineering problem of the Wright brothers and supplying President McKinley with one of his more fatuous slogans, all the while showing that anything boys can do girls can do better. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. And Gypsy John Leon suddenly turns up out of nowhere at the end at exactly the right place to deal with the bad guy - how convenient! I did like Lucas Till as Harry Vanderbilt.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 5 / 10
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L'Albero degli zoccoli (1978)

An outstandingly beautiful, and truthful, film about man's best moral qualities. It is perhaps worth mentioning, however, that the peasant kindness that figures so prominently in this film did not extend to non-human species, and the (real-life) butchering of the pig whilst still alive was unbearably hideous. (N.B. Get the Arrow blu-ray [Region B locked] if possible. The Criterion release got the colour balance wrong - see review on 'dvdbeaver' site for more details.)

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Amintiri Din Copilarie (2018)

Wonderful.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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André Valente (2004)

Having viewed this utterly stunning masterpiece, a number of thoughts occur to me. First, in the totalitarian endgame of western snivilisation, Portugal is clearly not as 'advanced' as the Anglophone countries. In this film, a mother allows her young son to visit the apartment of a young man unsupervised 'for dinner' - not a scenario that you are likely to see happening in the United States or Britain, where hysteria reigns. Second, children are infinitely more patient and tolerant than adults - the reason being that they have to put up with adults. The direction of the film is amazing. The director allows moments of gentle silence where one is simply witnessing the interaction between the characters, as though they are completely unaware of being watched. The performances are astonishingly naturalistic, particularly that of Leonardo Viveiros as André - what a wonderful young actor he is! Not an 'actorly' actor - you know, the sort that proclaims with every gesture that they've been to RADA, like Asa Butterfield, say - but the opposite, a completely natural actor (which in the end just means a good actor). This film tells truths about childhood based on a real empathy with children, a lucid perception of what it feels like to be a child in a world of adults. A wonderful film with a terrific cast and great direction. Perfection!

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Archangel (1990)

The cinematic equivalent of conceptual art. It's all incredibly stylised and 'witty'. There are also some hilarious scenes (a man throttling another man with his own intestines!). This film can thus be entertaining, but only in a sort of intellectual way - one enjoys it in the same way one can enjoy a good joke. And this is the problem. Its intellectuality completely eclipses any possibility of aesthetic response, and thus it fails as a work of art. This film constantly foregrounds directorial technique in a way which obscures any 'themes' the film might otherwise have. It's as though with each scene the director is waving his arms in your face, saying 'Look at me! Aren't I CLEVER! Oh, the cleverness of me!' Having said that, I did like the scenes with the boy.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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Arthur's Trip to India (2005)

Best bit from episode 1: when one of the Duncan girls was talking to a Jain girl, the latter explained to her that because she ate flesh she would herself be devoured by an animal in her next incarnation - and then go to Hell! Hilarious! Her reaction was some blather about life being a 'mystery' - which I thought was a Madonna lyric rather than a philosophy. Anyway, Arthur Duncan makes a charming guide to India in what turns out to be a very interesting and enlightening series. The family seem to spend much of their time suffering from explosive diarrhea. This seems to be a tradition of the Brits abroad. I wonder whether Indians visiting England customarily get diarrhea from English food... "All this steak and kidney pie is playing havoc with my innards!!" sort of thing...

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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Ártún (2014)

Writer/director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson joins the ranks of those select few filmmakers who are prepared to tell the truth about boys on the cusp of puberty.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Aventuras de Juliancito (1969)

There was a time when Julián (Juliancito) Bravo was quite a star in Mexico. He was born in Spain but moved to Mexico when still quite young. His mother then took him to a casting for a TV commercial, hoping to get 200 pesos if he got the part. The boy left with just a bag of sweets, but was able to meet Jaime Jiménez Pons, who produced many television programmes at the time. This led to a number of parts, but what really catapulted him to fame was actually "Primera comunión" ("First Communion") (1969). In the same year, the public saw "La gran aventura", which cemented his celebrity status. As he moved into adolescence, however, his appeal seems to have diminished for the public, and the parts rapidly dried up. After leaving acting, he went on to have a family (including three children) of his own.

"Los Aventuras de Juliancito" is a modestly pleasing version of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer', and an excellent vehicle for Julián's acting talent, but devotees should definitely view "La gran aventura" (1969), which is now available on DVD with English subtitles.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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Barnens ö (1980)

Absolutely stunning coming-of-age movie taking a realistic look inside the thoughts of an introverted and intelligent 10-year-old boy as he approaches the onset of puberty - an event he fears because he thinks it will turn him into a selfish, sex-obsessed 'pig' like the adults around him, and distract him from the big philosophical questions, including the question of his own unique identity and the significance of his individual life. The film boasts an amazing soundtrack courtesy of Jean-Michel Jarre. An absolute must-see.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Den Bästa sommaren (2000)

Absolutely stunning. A wonderful film full of gentle humour, but with a serious, even darker, edge, as the kids fight for their right to love, to control their own lives and to live with whomever they like, against adult authority and against the state. Unmissable.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Beau (2016)

Clumsy, confusing and somewhat unpleasant.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed Star 2 / 10
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Bedone marz (2014)

In this film, visual style seems to have been privileged over narrative content, and I'm not sure that the result is entirely successful. In the end, we know too little about the protagonist to care very much about him.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 5 / 10
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The Believers (1987)

Some people have spoken a lot of rubbish about this movie, claiming that it constitutes a negative portrayal of the religion of Santaría. In fact, the movie distinguishes between Santaría and Brujería, and ascribes the murderous acts of the cultists to a version of the latter. There are a lot of classic, crowd-pleasing elements here: strange dances to drum music, hypnotic powers, blood sacrifices, etc. It is, in fact, an excellent follow-up to the classic "The Possession of Joel Delaney" (1972) from fifteen years previously. But the villains in this film are nearly all white yuppies. If the film is saying anything, it is saying that the rich white elites in the US and elsewhere will do anything to maintain their power and wealth, not excluding the sacrifice of their sons! I can well believe it! The acting is completely superb. Harley Cross is brilliant, a real talent. At nearly two hours it can seem quite long, but the pace and atmosphere is judged so well by the director that it never seems boring.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Big City (2007)

A nice concept, but the writers are a little heavyhanded with the political preaching on the theme of the treatment of the negro and the Red Indian by the white man. Can't hold a candle to "Bugsy Malone", but pleasant enough, and Vincent Valladon is very photogenic and likable as 'James Wayne'.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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Blue Lagoon (1980)

The characters are too simplistic and sketchily drawn, so we never really care much about them. Also, there's very little dramatic tension. So although, for example, we learn early on that there are other people occasionally on the island, they never really come across as a threat to the two protagonists' cosy existence. The whole thing is almost like a television broadcast for schools on the changes your body is going through at puberty! Neither of the teenage actors is particularly charismatic. The scenery, however, is very beautiful.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 5 / 10
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The Box of Delights (1984)

Based on the 1935 novel by John Masefield, this is one of the finest ever adaptations of a children's novel for British television. There is a great deal to like in this thoroughly English story: suspicious foreigners, kidnapped choirboys, "the wolves are running", servants who know how to make a posset, Master Kay bonding with Herne the Hunter in a primordial English forest, a strange fusion of the Pagan and the Christian, not to mention Patrick Troughton (surely one of England's finest ever actors) adding gravitas to the proceedings, and Robert Stephens hamming it up beautifully as the evil Abner Brown. Devin Stanfield is wonderful as Kay Parker. Devin has a charm that is hard to describe, a sort of slight hesitancy in his gestures - perhaps something to do with his being on the cusp of puberty. Troughton was later to say of the young Devin that he believed that he was the boy whom Masefield himself would have chosen to play the role of Kay - and I think Troughton was right.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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