Recent Rentals [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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10-04-2005, 06:47 AM
Have been keeping on my international viewing.

Layer Cake - (England) Mathew Vaughn (guy ritchie's long time producer; lock stock, snatch, etc) makes his directorial debut on familiar territory. another brit gangster film, with all the same 'style and feel' of lock, stock, but much much much more serious. this is definitely a drama and much better paced than lock, stock. that was one problem i had with the two ritchie movies i've seen. lock,stock was a leeeeettle bit too slow, snatch was a leeeeettle bit too fast, but with Layer Cake, Vaughn gets it just right. The story revolves (and is carried by) Daniel Craig, who plays a gangster businessman, or a businessman who doesnt think of himself as a gangster. hes a dealer and has worked himself into a good position with a good plan. it has a voice over narration that is extremely similar to, and as effective as, ray liotta's narration in goodfellas. Craig tries to keep things simple and clean (he's a dealer who's never used a gun before, that's how simple and clean he keeps it). But his boss/buyer gives him an order to find a girl and to make a deal with some crazy cohorts who work in his territory. these guys steal a million pills of x from serbians and want to sell. Craig's boss orders him to make the deal and find a buyer. He also tells him to find HIS boss's daughter, the grand poohbah (my words, not theirs) of the whole operation. Craig gets caught up in the complications he has been trying to avoid. GREAT supporting cast including Colm Meany (from star trek, the next generation) in a solid role. highly, highly reccomended. oh, and the one caveat would be it can be tough to sift through their accents at times, but not any more difficult then the dudes in lock, stock.

A Very Long Engagement - (France) finally got to check this out and thoroughly enjoyed it, although its pacing was a bit slow. it definitely was a very long engagement. but i loved amelia and this was good, but not nearly as good as amelie. i think the main reason was because the very stylized narrative methods he used to tell the story in amelie worked perfectly with the whimsical nature of the story itself. here, you're dealing with the same power of love, but in a much different setting, and that same stylized narrative just didnt seem to fit as well. it's already been discussed on here, so will just add my reccomendation. OH, and the coolest part was watching jodie foster speaking fluent french. i had no idea she could do that. that girls got some skills!

Lagaan - (India) this was nominated for best foreign language film academy award in 2002 (same year as amelie, although No Man's Land was the winner) . i'm not a big fan of musicals, mainly because of my own shortcomings in dealing with the reality of the film. now under the rules of the game, you just accept that people spontaneouly break out into song and dance. i completely understand how this is absolutely the same thing as just accepting people can pseudo-fly in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I JUST CAN'T DO IT! However, that being said, i loved this movie. It's a period piece (as most bollywood movies are) that centers around the british occupation of india in the 1890's. the british fort excises a tax (lagaan) over the countryside in order to give the raja "protection" from the other raja's surrounding the area. Meanwhile, the brits offer the exact same "protection" to the other raja's from THIS one. so they're collecting against everyone, pitting each raja against the other. The movie centers around a conflict between the brits and the people of a small indian village (which was great showing muslims and hindus living peaceably together) and how they protest the tax on their village when there's been no rain (they pay the tax in food). the british commander (who looks like an evil version of cary elwes) makes a bet with the hero. beat us in a game of cricket, and you dont have to pay tax for 3 years, but if you lose, then you play triple tax. (they came to protest a double tax hike that just happenned which, given the current drought, there was no way they could pay). it follows the traditional conventions of them learning the game, finding new twists, and the hero putting together his band of misfit players to try and beat the daunting brits at the game they invented. and the second song/dance number (i think the second one) is a damn good song, very catchy, really really good. the others ididnt care for too much and the weakest one was the one in english as the brit captain's sister falls in love with the hero, who also has the love of the local hottie village girl. also to remember, they lip sync to the songs, and do about as good a job as ashley simpson or a "live" brittney spears concert. AND, there are usually 1 male and 1 female singer or 2 and 2, that are singing that EVERYONE is lip syncing too. so you'll have 4 different guys 'singing' with the same voice and same with the girls. i just found that to be incredibly funny and couldnt stop laughing, but in a very enjoyable way (as laughing generally is). AND, this is 3:45 long and has an intermission, so be ready to sink in. the songs are basically what makes the movie about an hour longer than normal. it has a great band of misfits, underdog, hero, villain, betrayal, redemption, love, unrequited love, requited love, one incredible song, great costumes, and everything else you can cram in to 3:45. and this is a melodrama (by the definition of the word). The good guys are pure and good, and the bad guys are extremely bad. almost, if not exactly, caricatures. the brit cary elwes type dude squints and scowls and raises his eye brow and smirks and indicates 'evil' just as the good guy has tears in his eyes well up when he talks to mom or pleads with the village or any other moment to indicate the 'goodness' overflowing within him. the style of acting in bollywood has its own flavor to it, and its something that you either love or hate. generally, i hate it, but this time i didnt. so if you dont like melodrama, stay away. although i do highly reccomend this one.