Friday, June 24, 2005



Judi Dench: Ursula
Maggie Smith: her sister Janet
Daniel Bruhl: Andrea, a young man from Poland

The acting by the two sisters is exactly as one would expect: excellent. But it takes more than that to make a good movie. This one is a little too drawn out to make it really interesting. The rating says it all… it’s ok, but I wish I had chosen something else.

for brief strong language.



It's rare you get to see a charming, amusing, touching and suspenseful movie. And a documentary about some New York City fifth-graders taking a mandatory 10-week ballroom dancing course is in itself rather unusual. But so are the kids and that’s what makes it so enjoyable.


One small criticism: some of the children speak on-camera in their native language but there are no subtitles in English.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Coming of age

Adapted from a bestselling novel by Ann Brashares that proved to be very popular with millions of young women.

Amber Tamblyn: Tibby, an amateur filmmaker
Alexis Bledel: Lena, the shy artistic one who's off to visit her grandparents in Greece
Blake Lively: Bridget, a star athlete attending soccer camp in Mexico
America Ferrera: Carmen, who’s planning on spending the summer with her dad

Definitely a great movie for the target audience (pre-teen and adolescent girls) but somewhat difficult for the rest of us to sit through. The adventures of four friends during one summer in their lives (when they are all of seventeen) will have little interest to anyone much older than that.

for thematic elements, some sensuality and language.

The movie could almost qualify as a travelogue with great shots of the Greek island of Santorini and the beaches of Baja, Mexico.


Action adventure

Christian Bale: billionaire Bruce Wayne, aka Batman
Linus Roache: his father
Liam Neeson: Henri Ducard, Zen master and leader of the League of Shadows
Michael Caine: Alfred, the butler of Wayne Manor
Morgan Freeman: Lucius Fox, employee of Wayne Industries
Tom Wilkinson: Carmine Falcone, Gotham city's crime lord
Cillian Murphy: psychiatrist and proprietor of Arkham Asylum, aka The Scarecrow
Gary Oldman: Jim Gordon, one of the city's few good cops
Katie Holmes: Rachel Dawes, assistant DA and Bruce’s former childhood sweetheart

This movie is not a sequel to any of the ones we’ve seen before. It is a reinvention of Batman, just like the title says, starting from when he was a young boy. Unlike previous incarnations, it is not the “cartoony” type with stylised comic book characters. It is far more serious than that and deals with more weighty issues like morality and overcoming adversity and confronting your fears. In fact, the first half of the movie is devoted to these ideological concerns rather than the crime problems of Gotham city. I liked the old Batman better.

for intense action violence, disturbing images and some thematic elements.

The echolocation signals emitted by bats are between 20 and 100 kilohertz.This is above the human range of hearing so we would not hear anything but the flutter of their wings when they are in flight.

During the sword fight on the glacier, a bracelet falls off one of the combatants on to the icy surface. There is a change in the camera’s point-of-view and the bracelet has disappeared although no one approached it.

Thursday, June 9, 2005


True story

America's Great Depression is regarded as having begun in 1929 with the Stock Market crash, and ended in 1941 with America's entry into World War II. The major factors were the following:
 Speculation in the 1920s caused many people to by stocks with loaned money and they used these stocks as collateral for buying more stocks. Broker's loans went from less than $5 million in mid 1928 to more than $850 million in September 1929. The stock market boom was based on borrowed money and false optimism. When investors lost confidence, the stock market collapsed, taking them along with it.
 Short-sighted U.S.A. government economic policies: politicians believed that business was the key business of America. Thus, the government took no action against unwise investing. Congress passed high tariffs that protected American industries but hurt farmers and international trade.
 The economy was not balanced: few people with stocks kept them as an investment. Most bought and sold their stocks and spent the profits on American goods. The demand exceeded supply and prices went up to the point few could afford to buy anything. Some people profited from this situation, but most did not.

With the crash many families lost their homes because they could not pay their mortgages. These people had no choice but to seek alternative forms of shelter called Hoovervilles. These were named after U.S. President Hoover, who was blamed for the problems that led to the depression.

Russell Crowe: James J. Braddock, a cocky young boxing contender
Renée Zellweger: his wife, Mae
Paul Giamatti: Braddock's trainer, manager and loyal friend
Craig Bierko:s heavyweight champ Max Baer

The boxing ring can be a symbol for the struggles of one man against all odds. Or it can simply be where one man found fame and fortune in the struggle of life. The movie goes beyond showing us how he dealt with the “tough times”. It gives us an insight to the problems so many faced during America’s worst economic crisis. The acting is superb.

Although not classified with a R rating, the film accurately portrays the violence of professional boxing and the brutal fight sequences might be unsettling for some.

for intense boxing violence and some language.

Damon Runyon, legendary reporter, coined the name "Cinderella Man" as an admiring description for the underdog Braddock.