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Reviews by diogenes

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288 reviews/ratings - 15 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)

A very beautiful short film.

Must Watch 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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Die Abenteuer des Huck Finn (2012)

The character of Jim in this film bears no relation to Twain's Jim. Instead this film's Jim a sophisticated and dapper urbanite (who, despite being a slave, has wine with his dinner - where did he get the wine from?). He also regards himself as morally superior to everyone else. He's an abolitionist who contemptuously refers to "white man's law". The character of Huck also has little relation to Twain's feral character. He is not shown having any of the conflicts of the original novel. He doesn't go through any agonizing soul-searching, for example, before his decision to free Jim. He's also way too young and rather too well-fed, with a soft squishy physique more Huckleberry Fatt than Huckleberry Finn. One can't imagine that he has ever had to fend for himself.

Everything is sanitised and politically correct. Jim's an abolitionist, Judith Loftus is the post-feminist Strong Assertive Woman. The screenwriters have tried to enliven their tale with humour but the humour consists largely of fart jokes and crude slapstick.

Basically, the screen writers have just sampled some incidents and names from the story to make their own narrative, which is as flat and uninteresting as the East European landscape where this film was shot, and as unconvincing as the CGI steamboats. As a matter of fact, the look of the movie is almost identical to that of the recent turkey of a film, 'Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn', with Val Kilmer, Joel Courtney and Jake Austin. It seems that nowadays it is impossible for film-makers to make a decent version of Twain's novels. Oh well.

Don't Bother My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 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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The Adventures of Pinocchio (1996)

It has a certain charm. The animatronic Pinnochio was quite impressive and likeable. (Like Cinefan below, I found him cuter than JTT!) The computer-animated cricket, however, is awful, and jars with the visuals of the rest of the film. Another letdown is when, at the end, Pinocchio wants his Papa to make him a girlfriend. Come on, you've got Lampwick (Corey Carrier); what more do you want? All in all, worth viewing at least once.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938)

Still probably the best cinema version of Twain's novel ever made, though I wish Mickey Rentschler was Tom, rather than Tommy Kelly. Jackie Moran is excellent, and David Holt's Sid is gorgeous!

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Akademia pana Kleksa (1984)

One of the finest productions for children to come from Poland. A total classic. Wonderful songs!

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

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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Le Avventure di Pinocchio (1972)

What Saga said. Italian story, so naturally Italians do it better!

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 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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