Published on April 2, 2007 By averjoe In Entertainment
This is another review of the movies I’ve seen on DVD over the past month or so. I’m trying to see as many Oscar nominated movies as possible (with particular emphasis on the Best Picture category) but I also include non-Oscar nominated movies.

I tell ya, if it weren’t for VHS tapes or DVDs many of these films I might never have seen.

I don’t particular care for dramas (I find life or reality much more dramatic than anything on film – in most cases). Most actors and people though prefer dramas.

Anyway, back to the movies I’ve seen on DVD. I will write a short review and give a grade for each film mentioned here.

I viewed “Borat – Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. Now this one has received a lot of praise as a comedy film.

The movie is about this journalist from Kazakhstan that is sent off to find out about America (it reminds me of some sort of distorted, demented and tortured Tocqueville’s “Democracy In America”).

Borat gets kind of side tracked and his goal becomes one of pursuing actress Pamela Anderson (I think that’s the name) instead of discovering America.

There were many funny moments in Borat like the “running of the Jew” sequence, the poloraid with son’s penis and a Cheshire Cat smiling Borat, the attempted bagging of an actress, fleeing or cussing New Yorkers about an overly affectionate Borat and a fight between Borat and his producer in the nude throughout a hotel. These are all very funny sequences in the film.

I guess I laughed for about fifty percent of the film, which would not meet my criteria for an A grade comedy film, but this film has so much more going for it.

The scenes where the actor was in character and eliciting real responses from the non actors he was interacting with are priceless and do say something about American culture and thus this fake documentary contains little bits of pure truth. It is just genius.

So, the amount of all-out laughs I got from this movie may not have met my top criteria for a comedy film, but the movie as a whole is a great peace of work and therefore must get a grade of A.

I saw the movie “Marie Antoinette”. This movie has sparse dialogue and tells its story mostly visually. It is a beautiful film and gives a real feel for the ways of French royalty during this period in French history. “Marie Antoinette” gets a grade of B.

The movie “Babel” I had to think about a little bit. It is composed of three stories that are connected in some way.

I have read some reviews that said it is suppose to show the connectedness of us all. In my view there was very little connecting theses stories, but then maybe that was the director’s point. Maybe he wanted to show how people are connected even in the most minute ways. If this is the case, the story works.

However, in my humble opinion the movie’s attempt to make connections between these stories is not really that successful.

Anyway, each individual story is interesting in its own right I see “Babel” as a story about how individuals from different societies or even the same society so often are misunderstood or not understood to such an extent that it seems like they’re babbling and not really communicating, which leads to all sorts of troubles and tragedies.

So, the movie “Babel” gets a B minus grade. It is an okay movie and the stories are interesting.

I watched “Casino Royale”. This is the latest story about 007 and it has a new actor playing James Bond.

I won’t say too much about the story. It concerns terrorist funding.

The opening acrobatics of Bond and a rebel operative leaping up and down skyscrapers under construction was totally unbelievable (even for a modern James Bond movie), yet exciting.

The picture got on a more even keel after this action packed opening (it still had action but a lot more believable action) and spun out an excellent tale.

The new Bond is excellent. The story is great. “Casino Royale” is excellent and gets an A grade.

“Blood Diamond” was anther picture I watched on DVD. This is a story of diamonds, rebel groups and child soldiers, Diamond dealers and smugglers, corporations, and Africa (within the context of the 1999 Sierra Leon civil war).

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this movie is. The subject matter is still timely also.

This movie should have won in at least one of the five categories it was nominated in (for an Oscar). There is top-notch film making and acting in this film. It is really worth seeing and deals with an important historical and social issue that is still current. “Blood Diamond” gets an A grade.

I watched the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”. This is the basic rag to riches story that is based on the true story of a Chris Gardner (I think that’s the name).

There are some things in this supposedly true (or based on true events) tale I don’t understand. Gardner was in sales and had made an investment in selling “bone density machines” to hospitals and doctors’ offices. When he figured out sales were not going as planned why didn’t he seek other types of employment to help over the slow sales period?

He also had a problem with taxes in this story, which is a funny position for one who is almost impoverished to be in, but it could have been a tax bill from when times were better.

Anyway, the story deals with this salesman’s journey (with his son) from struggling to make a living, to homelessness and despair and finally to wealth and success.

It’s a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” sort of story, but I think more can be gleaned from the lines he was forced to wait in when he was homeless (with a kid no less) in order to have somewhere to sleep.

Maybe the film should have been called, “The Pursuit of Money” since the conclusion one can draw from the movie is that money equals happiness.

As a piece of cinema “The Pursuit of Happyness” works. It is a well-told and inspiring story with good performances by all the actors involved. “The Pursuit of Happyness” gets a grade of B.

Finally I saw the movie “Children of Men”. This film takes place in the not to distant future (I think the year was 2027) where the human species has been unable to have babies for about a decade or so. No one knows why this fate has befallen humankind.

The world of 2027 is one of terrorist (of various types), huge population movements and the subsequent mass deportation of illegal immigrants.

This story takes place in Britain but the story let it be known that this world is filled with so many terrorist groups and social upheaval that civilization (worldwide) is collapsing into a sort of anarchy.

Amongst this chaotic social scene a woman becomes pregnant. The story then revolves around getting her away from what seems to be a vicious terrorist group (you decide) and to a mysterious humanitarian group that will supposedly provide some sort of peaceful sanctuary for the first woman to become pregnant in over a decade.

“Children of Men” is a story for the more cerebral sci-fi fan (although it has action). I heard that the director didn’t even want to call it a science fiction movie (but it is) because it might chase away some possible viewers.

Well, the movie watcher should note that this is the near future and things are not that weird or unrelatable (for those with weak imaginations). The characters do not go around talking in sci-fi speak either.

“Children of Men” is more political drama than science fiction movie. So, for those who don’t like science fiction this movie may still be worth seeing.

Many people consider science fiction to be for children. To me an actor is not an actor until he or she has played in at least one science fiction film during his or her career. Science fiction is where it’s at.

The best science fiction usually appeals to children and adults.

“Children of Men” is a good film and can best be summed up as a film about a barren world on the brink of chaos. “Children of Men” gets a grade of B.

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