The dinner game

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The Dinner Game (buy from Amazon)

Type: Comedy, France 1998

Director: Francis Veber

My rating: 4

Key actors/actresses:
Thierry Lhermitte .... Pierre Brochant
Jacques Villeret .... Fran?ois Pignon
Francis Huster .... Just Leblanc
Daniel Pr?vost .... Cheval
Alexandra Vandernoot .... Christine Brochant

Story:
A bunch of friends play a dinner game every Wednesday, each one brings a guest and whoever's guest is the most stupid idiot wins. So they all look out for idiots. With a little help from a friend, Pierre finds at the last minute an idoit called Pignon, Pierre thinks he has a winner! Pignon arrives at Pierre's place and they are going to leave for the dinner party, the problem is Pierre hurt his back and he is going to miss the dinner. Pierre soon realises his nightmare has just begun from the moment he invites Pignon

My review:
A very funny storyline and carefully crafted script, highly entertaining!

The Russia House

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The Russia House (buy from Amazon)

Posted by Sigrid

Type: Drama, USA 1990

Director: Fred Schpisi

My rating: 3

Key actors/actresses:
Sean Connery... Barley Blair
Michelle Pfeiffer .... Katya

Story:
Barley (Connery), a hard-drunking, middle-aged London publisher, became friends with a dissident Soviet physicist on a drunken evening. He soon found himself being drawn into the espionage business. During his mission, Barley came to know Katya (Pfeiffer), the physicist's former girlfriend, whom he had to save from the Russian military intelligence.

My review:
Based on a spy novel by John Le Carre, this movie set out to capture the age of glasnost in the former Soviet Union. It was filmed mostly in Moscow and Leningrad, with some beautiful scenes shot in Lisbon.

The plot itself is intriguing and Connery turned out a masterful peformance as a hard-drunking, middle-aged, book publisher who managed to outwit both the British secret service and the CIA. One memorable scene showed Connery playing the saxophone at a Moscow book fair.

Unfortunately, the subtlety of the spy novel did not play well on the movie screen. Perhaps the editing could have been done better as well. I would think that most moviegoers got lost initially towards the end. As a result, some time had to be spent to recapture what happened -- and the entire effect was dumbed-down.

While some would call this a thriller, the movie was strongly reminiscient of "mini-series" produced by the major (American) TV networks in the late-1980s.

See also:
http://www.allstarz.org/~seanconnery/russia.htm
http://members.tripod.com/rossiya_david/id170.htm

Belph?gor - Le fant?me du Louvre

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Belphegor: Le Phantom Du Louvre (buy from Amazon)
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Belph?gor - Le Fant?me Du Louvre (Widescreen - Original French with subtitles) (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama Suspense, France 2001

Director: Jean-Paul Salom?

My rating: 2
Key actors/actresses:
Sophie Marceau .... Lisa/Belph?gor
Michel Serrault .... Verlac
Fr?d?ric Diefenthal .... Martin
Julie Christie .... Glenda Spender

Posted by Dominic
Story:
In 1935 a French archaeologist brought back an unnamed mummy from Egypt to France and stored it in Louvre, little did he know that this mummy has been condemmed and shall be stuck in the in-between worlds. The mummy becomes known as the phantom of the Louvre and has killed many guides and it is trying desparately to get to the next world...

My review:
I must say the initial story line looks quite interesting but the actual movie was not that exciting.

Himalaya

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Himalaya (buy from Amazon)
Type: Drama, Nepal 1999

Director: Eric Valli

My rating: 3
Buy it now:
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Key actors/actresses:
Thilen Lhondup .... Tinle
Gurgon Kyap .... Karma
Lhakpa Tsamchoe .... Pema
Karma Wangel .... Passang
Karma Tensing .... Norbou/Urgien

Other similar movies: more
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Country: Nepal
Type(s): Drama

Posted by Dominic
Story:
Tinle, an aging chief of one of the tribes on the Himalaya mountain just lost his eldest son in an accident, reluctant to give up his position to a young man who is strong and with leadership skill named Karma, because Tinle accused Karma of causing his son's death. The tribe is divided and they set off at different times to do the important trade on the other side of the mountain. The old and young, the tradition and modern are in conflict, soon they find they have a lot to learn from each other and they have a lot of respect to each other.

My review:
An interesting movie that shows off some of the beautiful scenary of the Himalaya and also give the viewers some ideas of the life and tradition of the tribes in Himalaya. Nicely firmed.

Whale Rider

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Whale Rider (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama, New Zealand 2002

Director: Niki Caro

My rating: 4
Buy it now:
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Key actors/actresses:
Keisha Castle-Hughes .... Paikea
Rawiri Paratene .... Koro
Vicky Haughton .... Nanny Flowers
Cliff Curtis .... Porourangi
Grant Roa .... Uncle Rawiri

Other similar movies: Bungee jumping of their own 情约笨猪跳, more
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Country: New Zealand
Type(s): Drama

Posted by Dominic
Story:
On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe that their ancestor named Paikea, once rid on the back of the whale to survival after his canoe was capsided. Since then they believe the first born son should succeed as the Chief of the tribe. In modern day, the current chief Koro whose eldest son left New Zealand after the death of his wife when she died after giving birth to twin babies (a boy and a girl), the baby boy also died at birth. Koro now left with only a granddaughter, refused to let her to inherit the position of the chief. The baby girl is delibrately named Paikea by her father, same as their ancestor, in protest to Koro. Soon, Koro and the young Paikea realise it is her destiney to become the chief, while Koro tries very hard to look for his successor out of the boys and she fights very hard to win the approval of her grandfather.

My review:
A very interesting movie that shows some tradition of the Maori. A complicated relationship between the grandfather and granddaughter, a love relationship with the struggle of the old tradition. Thoroughly enjoyed the movie, taking a nice break from the traditional commercial movies.

Everybody has secrets

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Everybody Has Secrets (2004) (buy from Amazon)

Type: Comedy Drama, South Korea 2004

Director: Hyeon-su Jang

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
Byung-hun Lee .... Choi Su-hyeon
Sang Mi Chu .... Han Ji-yeong
Hyo-jin Kim .... Han Mi-yeong
Ji-Woo Choi .... Han Seon-yeong
Yongnyeo Seonwoo .... Mother

Story:
A story about how one man encounters and goes out with the youngest sister out of 3 sisters ends up secretly having affairs with all 3 sisters. Each sisters have very different personalities but all end up loving the same guy, the eldest sister is married with kid and the 2nd sister is a typical 'bookworm' type of girl with thick glasses and always studying and the youngest sister is an energetic person who sings at clubs for a living.

My review:
A funny comedy about adultary affairs. I have seen a Spanish comedy called The Age of beauty where the guy had affairs with each of the 4 sisters.

Art museum by the zoo

Type: Comedy Romantic, South Korea 1998

Director: Jeong-hyang Lee

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
Eun-ha Shim .... Chun-Hi
Sung-jae Lee .... Chul-su
Sung-kee Ahn .... In-Gong

Story:
Two strangers under some unforeseen circumstances are forced to stay in the same house and they didn't get along at the beginning, but soon things began to turn for the better and love is in the air...

My review:
You guessed it, happy ending, boy and girl fell in love and lived happily thereafter...

Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo

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Zatoichi 20 - Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama, Japan 1970

Director: Kihachi Okamoto

My rating: 4

Key actors/actresses:
Shintar� Katsu .... Zatoichi
Toshiro Mifune .... Yojimbo
Ayako Wakao .... Umeno
Osamu Takizawa .... Yasuke Eboshiya
Masakane Yonekura .... Boss Masagoro (as Sakatoshi Masakane)

Story:
Zatoichi, a blind but very skilled swordsman, is tired of killing and drifting from places to places. He returns to a place that he visited 3 years ago, he remembers it as a nice and quiet town. Not anymore, the town has been occupied by gangsters and the secret police also has their eyes on this town to search for gold. The gangsters want to send their Yojimbo to deal with Zatoichi.

My review:
Two of the most famous swordsmen in Japanese movies, Yojimbo and Zatoichi played also by the 2 most appropriate actors, all in one movie. One of the reasons that the Zatoichi series is so attractive is that a seemingly handicapped person is so powerful that he possesses the ability to right the wrongs and the baddies are always punished.

Kandahar

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Kandahar (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama, Iran, France 2001

Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

My rating: 3

Key actors/actresses:
Nelofer Pazira .... Nafas
Hassan Tantai .... Tabib Sahid
Sadou Teymouri .... Khak
Hoyatala Hakimi .... Hayat

Posted by Dominic
Story:
A native Afghanistan woman Nafas who now resides in Canada has returned to Afghanistan and must go back to Kandahar to see her sister who wrote and said she was going to end her life. Nafas only has 48 hours and she is deseparate to go on an unsafe journey.

My review:
Though the story is fictional, the many details of the life of the people in Afghanistan are not. Torn by years of war, people are living a pretty scary life. Trust no one and people constantly have to lie to survive. Sigh..

The Cube

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Cube (buy from Amazon)

Type: Drama SciFi Suspense, Canada 1997

Director: Vincenzo Natali

My rating: 3

Key actors/actresses:
Nicole de Boer .... Joan Leaven (The Math Student)
Nicky Guadagni .... Helen Holloway (The Doctor)
David Hewlett .... David Worth (The Architect)
Andrew Miller .... Kazan (The Autistic Man)
Julian Richings .... Alderson (The First Victim)
Wayne Robson .... Rennes (The Fugitive)
Maurice Dean Wint .... Quentin (The Cop)

Story:
7 completely strangers with very different background found themselves woke up in a strange place - a cube with doors on each of the 6 surfaces and each door leads to another cube and there seems to be endless number of cubes and many cubes have deadly traps. Why are they here? How or will they ever get out of the cube?

My review:
Interesting concepts and story lines. Very different from mainstream movies, refreshing. Though this is not to everyone's liking. I quite like it.

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