rev-ewe 22: Ballad of a Soldier

баллада о солдате (US title: Ballad of a Soldier)
Russia (USSR)
Gregory Chukhrai

Masterpiece! Just like practically every other Janus Film production I've seen, this movie is magnificent. Visually captivating, emotional, inspirational, well-written, and definitely not dated (okay, maybe a BIT dated..but at the root of it, the characters face all the same dilemmas as today!). It's not too much of a tear-jerker, but it sure does play on quite a few of your emotions. It starts out a bit like a typical war movie, but quickly becomes a collection of vignettes into the lives of little characters across Russia. There is no happy ending, so don't expect one.. but that makes it oh, so wonderfully Russian!

The story is about this young soldier who, instead of being decorated, elects to go home and visit his mother. On the way, he meets various people who he tries to help out, which cuts into his time getting home...

I'm trying to put less and less info on the plot because I really don't want to ruin anyone's idea about it, but it really is an interesting look into 1950s Soviet Russia and film-making at the time. It didn't feel like an old movie for me, but obviously faced some technical issues that make it clear just how old it is. Really an easy plot to follow and the characters constantly keep you interested. Basically, a great piece of art.


rev-ewe 21: I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK
South Korea
Park Chan-Wook

I don't remember where I first saw this film, but I came in the middle of it where two characters were talking to each other by looking at each other only through a compact mirror. They were seated in front of a large wallpaper image of the Alps. A large woman comes into the middle of their conversation and informs them she has learned how to levitate by using wool socks. She says she does this by creating enough static electricity from rubbing them together that it actually lifts her off her bed.
This movie is about a mental institute and the patients within it. The main character, Young-goon (I still wonder if the Korean names are also a pun in English terms.. maybe not), believes she is a cyborg designed to kill the doctors which keep her (and once took her grandmother long ago). She meets another patient named Il-sun who claims he can steal people's characteristics, and promises her to take her sympathy so that she may go through with killing the doctors.

That's about all I want to say for the plot. I watched most of it again recently and it was very, very funny. In its over-the-top absurdity, it makes complete sense and is extremely entertaining. I can remember one scene where the patients are made to talk about something in their childhood that upset them, and one character nervously starts with 'mother..' and then quickly hocks a loogie and finishes with '..fucker.' and that was it. LOL. If you can find this film somewhere, DEFINITELY watch it. It's not on Netflix, so go out and find it. Worth it fo sho!!

rev-ewe 20: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Aditya Chopra

Cute, cute, cute! I've loved bollywood since the first time I watched Lagaan when I was 13, and this movie definitely does bollywood! It's cute, funny, cheesy, musical, and actually quite romantic. I suppose my review of this is a bit biased since I love Indian culture so much, but it's really a charming film that goes on for 2 and a half hours (but it's so worth the duration!).

This middle-aged nerd-y type man is somehow arranged to marry a younger woman because of complications, but he is actually very in love with her. When he sees that she is interested in a dance competition, he creates an alter-ego to join her in her dance classes. This character is not shy and openly admits his love for her, but this complicates things when she falls for the alter-ego as well. Escandalo!

I looooved it, highly recommend for a predictable, feel-good fun film. Fawesome!

rev-ewe 19: XXY

Argentina [set in Uruguay]
Lucia Puenzo

Hmmm. Not impressed. I love me some taboo social topic films, but this one didn't do anything for me at the end.
It's basically about this character Alex who is a teenage hermaphrodite -- both male and female bits. Alex has been raised a girl her whole life, but is starting to question which gender (if any) she prefers.
That's about it. There is no resolution, no character arc, nothing. It is simply a series of events that happen to Alex and her family and then it's done. There are plenty of films that do this, but leave you feeling like something happened and that you got something from it... but I didn't get anything from this. Again, credit goes that I actually finished it and the movie kept me interested JUST enough to finish it. But, I wouldn't really recommend watching it. It just seemed to be sad for no reason and all the characters were all sorts of shady, unhappy people. No gratification in the end at all.

rev-ewe 18: Only When I Dance

Only When I Dance
Beadie Finzi

Definitely a feel-good doco! Follows 2 young, black Brazilian ballet dancers and their endeavors to get out into the professional ballet world. I have not much to say about this film except WATCH IT! It's realistic and not overly feel-good, it deals with race, body image, and THE HUMAN SPIRIT. I really enjoyed it also just because ballet is pretty great to watch. Looooved it. The topic of race in Brazil was something I studied recently so it was interesting to see it happening in the ballet arena. Overall, really heart-warming... beautiful to watch. 10 stars!