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Dave (Tucson, AZ USA)

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The Daytrippers (Sous-titres français)
The Daytrippers (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Hope Davis
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 47.74
7 used & new from CDN$ 19.99

2.0 out of 5 stars great cast but slow story, no more than slightly amusing, Feb. 5 2001
I'm afraid I had a different experience than most of the other reviewers so far on The Daytrippers.
The movie has a great cast who have certainly proven their abilities in other films. But Daytrippers seemed to just do a basic setup for a road trip, then the roadtrip, then the confrontation/surprise at the end.
Along the way we get to listen to some normal or eccentric family members arguing and talking (much like real life). But not much in the way of storyline or humor. A few smiles, no laughs, little plot. Some of the characters may remind you of people you know or relatives which could make it funnier.

Visions of Light
Visions of Light
DVD ~ Conrad L. Hall
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 399.93
7 used & new from CDN$ 99.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Well done, recommended viewing for any fan of the movies, Feb. 5 2001
This review is from: Visions of Light (DVD)
This film is not just homework for film students. I think anyone who enjoys movies will find this an entertaining & informative collection of movie scenes.
The format of this collection is to have a brief (minute or so), well done interview with the cinematographer for a particular movie scene describe what's important, followed by the scene itself. The pacing, clips, and interviews are such that the overall film keeps your interest and is entertaining and at times fascinating.
I came away with a greater appreciation for some past movies as well as an improved eye to better enjoy future films. I found myself reaching for pen & paper several times to write down the name of a movie I had not seen that looked interesting.
Quality of the scenes is good to excellent, with some allowance for some of the earliest B&W films scenes.
I've watched some other "collection" films and found them to be either short on meaningful interviews/narration, or, frankly, a little on the boring side. Not so with this film.
I found "Visions of Light, the Art of Cinematography" entertaining, informative, and a good source of new (as in "new to me") movies to go out and rent.

Ponette
Ponette
DVD ~ Victoire Thivisol
Offered by eplayplay
Price: CDN$ 85.41
10 used & new from CDN$ 56.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good film, story, plot twist, & acting, Feb. 5 2001
This review is from: Ponette (DVD)
I discovered this movie somewhat by accident. I was impressed by all the actors and actresses in the recent movie release "Chocolat" staring Juliette Binoche, so I looked up their previous film history. One of the impressive roles played in Chocolat was that of the young daughter, Anouk, played excellently by Victoire Thivisol.
Due to her age I figured this was probably her first film. But when I looked up her history, much to my surprise I see that she had already won Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her role as Ponette in this movie!
I was impressed with the honesty of emotions between the children in this movie as Ponette slowly comes to terms with her mother's death. The film follows Ponette through this painful process of loss, disbelief, belief, faith, and childhood perception of life, death, and the afterlife.
The film portrayed this process from a child's eyes extremely well and gives the rest of us pause for thought and reflection at times as well. There are a couple of well done twists in the movie that are very effective (can't say more without giving too much away).
Though sad at times, the film ends on an upbeat note with a positive message.
[Those who may find the film slightly slow at times will be repaid for their patience during the last third of the movie]
Recommended!

Tampopo [Import]
Tampopo [Import]
DVD ~ Ken Watanabe
Offered by The Digital Vault
Price: CDN$ 99.99
10 used & new from CDN$ 19.43

4.0 out of 5 stars very funny, great scenes, Jan. 31 2001
This review is from: Tampopo [Import] (DVD)
This is one of my favorite food-based movies. In this movie, the food truely takes the center stage. The main plot centers around Tampopo, a woman running a small noodle soup shop, trying to improve the quality of her noodles & soup. She is taught by a collection of noodle-experts from the unlikiest walks of life: a truck driver, a homeless noodle master, etc.
The scene where the truck driver is coaching and timing her with a stopwatch (like an olympian in training) as she prepares food is one of several hilarious scenes in the movie. Her actions and expressions are great! You may find yourself going back to re-watch a couple of the sequences after you finish the movie -- they are quite funny.
Another scene shows a noodle-master teaching an apprentice the art of eating a bowl of noodles - very funny.
As a aside, Tampopo actually makes some excellent examples throughout the movie about customer service in general, knowing your customers, studying your competition. For example, the truck driver points out that she should look at each customer entering her restaurant to figure out whether the person is in a hurry, being leisurely, etc. And when the customer finishes, is there any soup left, why?
Another good sequence is when one of her competitors discovers that she and the trucker have not finished eating their soup, is insulted, and confronts them.
The subplots also all center around food in different settings ranging from: a business meeting, a hobo breaking into a restaurant in order to cook a gourmet omelet, women being taught how to eat noodles when visiting a foreign country, and an especially sensual sequence of the use of food in the bedroom.
The sensual food use was quite sensual and well done, if not somewhat bizarre. These sequences involve some brief nudity, but are quite suggestive and very well done as such. But, this is also the reason I'm giving the movie 4 stars... I know you can't (and shouldn't) make a movie that appeals to all audiences, but in this case the sensual food use is not pivotal to the main storyline and will likely prevent some people (and kids) from watching or enjoying the whole movie, even though they would have enjoyed it otherwise. I liked the whole movie very much, but I've found myself somewhat selective in which sets of friends I loan the DVD to due to these (short) sequences.
If you've seen A Taxing Woman and thought it was just ok (me too), don't let that stop you from giving Tampopo a try. I found Tampopo quite different and much funnier. If you liked A Taxing Woman then you are sure to like Tampopo.
I will certainly watch, enjoy, and laugh at Tampopo again in the future.

Chocolat Original Motion Pict
Chocolat Original Motion Pict
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 22.95
14 used & new from CDN$ 3.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, a perfect blending of multiple styles, Jan. 30 2001
This soundtrack is one of the many factors that make Chocolat a truely excellent film. Part of the plot of the movie concerns a merging and acceptance of people from different cultural backgrounds. The music supports and contributes to this feel by setting the culteral, mystical, reflective, and lively tones of the film.
The music reflects a blending of different times, places, and people. I'm impressed with just how much the music contributed to an already strong movie -- much more so than any recent movies I've seen.
While the music does bring back great memories of the movie, the CD also stands quite nicely on its own. A peaceful and sometimes lively merging of orchestra, gypsy-style music, with a pinch of Andean/Peruvian flute for a mystical feel.
If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen the movie, I think you may be surprised by exactly how good the story, characters, scenes, and music all fit together and complement each other.

NEW King Of Masks (DVD)
NEW King Of Masks (DVD)
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 127.24
9 used & new from CDN$ 48.42

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie - highly recommend, Dec 8 2000
This review is from: NEW King Of Masks (DVD) (DVD)
I've seen the King of Masks several times both in the Theatre and on DVD. After seeing it in the theatre, I called up several friends and talked them into watching it with me a 2nd time. Everyone thought it was a great movie.
Of the many excellent foreign DVDs in my collection, it is the one I'm most likely to loan out to friends who may not be too into foreign films or subtitles -- everyone has like it so far. If you've watched it, you also know that this is a great film to encourage friends to *start* watching more independent / foreign films.
The general storyline is well described in the other posted reviews. The King of Masks combines an excellent storyline with excellent characters, scenes, and cinematography. In my opinion this movie is suitable for all ages.
Subtitles are clear and easy to read.
There are many genuinely touching scenes in the film that will tug at your emotions. All of the lead acting is excellent.
If I had to (this would be hard) recommend only one "foreign" film to someone out of all the films I've seen so far from various countries, this would probably be it.
A person comes away from this film experiencing all of the good things a foreign film can present: dialect, characters, scenes, culture, unique plot. A lot of excellent movies only hit on 3 or 4 of these; this one hits on all cylinders.
This is one not only for your library, but to loan your friends, including the ones that usually only watch Hollywood box office hits.

Run Lola Run (Sous-titres français)
Run Lola Run (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Franka Potente
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 14.84
14 used & new from CDN$ 4.59

4.0 out of 5 stars a fun, fast paced, and different style of movie, Dec 8 2000
Run Lola Run is a fun, fast paced, and uniquely styled movie.
The plot centers around Lola frantically trying to get money and deliver it to her boyfriend within 20 minutes.
The movie repeats three such attempts, all with Lola starting at the same place, but with very different results each time -- not only for her, but for others in her wake.
The plot sounds basic but is actually fast paced with lots of interesting and, after the first pass, familiar scenes with twists, how bystanders in the background are affected by her passing, etc.
Imagine if today at breakfast you spilled some milk, which delayed you by 30 seconds in leaving your house, which placed you in an intersection in your car 30 seconds later, which caused you to narrowly avoid a collision... Now reset the day, don't spill the milk... What happens now?
Each of the three Run Lola Run sequences is off just a little, but then you see the differences to Lola (and passers in the street) created by these subtle changes...
Fascinating to watch and insightful into how much each of us can ultimately (and unknowingly) affect each others lives.
The soundtrack to the movie is excellent and maintains the fast pace of the movie superbly.
I liked the start of each of the three sequences when Lola starts running down the hall of her house. The camera view follows her and then spins off away from her path into the living room where her mother is sitting -- analogous to a wind vortex spinning off the edge of an airplanes wing and affecting passing bird -- sets the stage nicely for the scenes to follow.
Run Lola Run is an excellent cause and effect movie. It doesn't get hung up in time travel, sci-fi, or even why this is happening. It is just a fun ride, great visuals, music, and a little food for thought along the way.
The movie is best watched in the original language (German) with subtitles turned on as necessary. The subtitles were clear and easy to read at all times.
Definitely worth watching.

Not One Less
Not One Less
DVD ~ Minzhi Wei

3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but never really took off, Dec 6 2000
This review is from: Not One Less (DVD)
Not One Less is a movie about a young (14 year old?) girl who is hired by a small village as a substitute teacher to replace their normal teacher for a month. She is promised a small amount of money plus a bonus if none of her students have dropped out when the real teacher returns.
I never really got hooked by this movie. There are a lot of other movies that use locals (non-professional actors) with very effective results, but I didn't really buy into most of the characters in this film for some reason -- seemed kind of one-dimensional...
The girl playing the teacher seemed excessively driven by money at the expense of other feelings, which I found odd, but that could be due to her portrayed age or other factors.
I've never been to China, but I didn't think this movie gave me that much insight into either a story, or persons involved in such a story in that culture.
The cinematography was good, but nothing stood out as a particularly memorable scene, setting, or technique.
Subtitles were clear and easy to read at all times.
If you haven't already seen it, I'd suggest as an alternative film the "The King of Masks" which is a truely excellent movie on many fronts: storyline, characters, scenes, culture.

Coral Sea Dreaming - DVD
Coral Sea Dreaming - DVD
DVD ~ David Hannan
3 used & new from CDN$ 9.61

3.0 out of 5 stars not what I was hoping for, but very good photography, Dec 1 2000
This review is from: Coral Sea Dreaming - DVD (DVD)
Coral Sea Dreaming consists of the main feature, "Coral Sea Dreaming" (54 minutes), and six short features Wetlands", "Surfin' Dolphins" (3 min), "Ocean Moods" (6 min), "Undersea Breeze" (4 mins), "Sea Lions" (7 min), and "Save the Reef" (1 min).
My personal favorite was the Surfin' Dolphins short feature which had nice shots of dolphins playing in the surf off an Australian beach set to lively music.
The cinematography in all the features is excellent and captions (when turned on) clear and easy to read.
But... What I was hoping for in the main feature was a more relaxing, less rushed, somewhat aquarium-like, view of underwater coral and fish of the reef -- what I got was more of a very well done streaming catalog of short clips of each fish or coral.
Rather than a more continuous flow of images, the main feature presented a view of one scene or fish species for 3 to 7 seconds before cutting to another fish or angle for another 3 to 7 seconds, over and over again.
This gave me the feeling that I was reviewing a substantial catalog of excellent views of coral and individual fish species rather than the more relaxing views that I had desired.
I was hoping for something that would bring back memorys of past snorkeling trips (Sea of Cortez) -- holding a view of a continuous and/or contiguous background longer or following a school of fish longer. But, too many scene changes too fast...
So, partly based on my expectations (perhaps unwarranted), I have to give this DVD 3 stars. I would happily give any of the 3-7 second scenes 5 stars, but I found the constant cutting and fading of scene after scene in such rapid order disruptive -- enough so that I did not find the feature relaxing, nor particularly suited for repeated foreground or background viewing.
I'm guessing that this would be a wonderful video for anyone planning to go the the Great Barrier Reef who wants to view and study a large collection of short segments of different creatures of the reef.

Central Station
Central Station
DVD ~ Fernanda Montenegro
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 71.51
8 used & new from CDN$ 19.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good characters, excellent cinematography, Nov. 28 2000
This review is from: Central Station (DVD)
I saw central station based on the other positive reviews here. I was not disappointed.
This is a very good film about a cynical retired school teacher who, begrudgingly at first, helps a little boy who's mother has just died search for his father now living in a remote town. In the process of searching for his remaining family she slowly rediscovers herself and a new meaning to her life.
The film starts in busy Rio and moves out into small towns. The main characters are all excellent and portray the complexity of human emotions and behavior. Cinamatography is excellent and interesting. The film gives a good portrayal of how people view each other and how we get closer or create distance between ourselves.
A well made and interesting movie. Recommended!

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