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Brother (1997) - A Russian film about a young man discharged from the army and encouraged by his mother to go to his brother in St. Petersburg. Although his mother thinks his brother is a big shot, hes actually a hit man who is perceived by his customers as getting a bit too greedy. The two brothers end up as a team. The kid brother, Sergei Bodrov Jr., is a hard case and is well suited for this study in violence. The stop/ start scene breaks are refreshing, giving me a chance to absorb what Ive seen before the next scene. Subtitles are unobtrusive and its easy to watch the film and keep up with the dialogue. Good movie.
The Year That Trembled (2002) Nothing changes, not in politics. Phil Robbins.
Trembled is one-part college kid anxiety over the 1970 Vietnam lottery draft and another-part dramatization of the legal aftermath of the Kent State shootings. Its an interesting story with decent performances and a good balance between the serious and the silly. Unfortunately, the recorded audio levels on the DVD had me constantly reaching for the controller - that part was maddening.
I recommend the film most for the historical perspective. About thirty-five years ago, more and more Americans grew tired with the war in Vietnam and began their struggle to get us out. It was Dick Nixon then, Dick Cheney now; Spiro T. Agnew then, and George W. Bush now. What did the modern war machine learn from the experience of the Old Guard? Dont kill off so many boys and girls that you need the draft.
Heart of Light (2000) - Greenland was relatively untouched until after World War II, when the Danes negotiated a deal, which led Greenland toward modernization, and the national confusion that followed. The central character, who's father made centralization possible, struggled against the loss of national identify until it drug him into alcoholism, family dysfunction, and finally, into tragedy. What follows is a walk along a razors edge of stark reality and mysticism. Great cinematography. Acting so good that you'll forget you're watching a movie. The story will take you in.
Son of Rambow (2007) - "Yeah, all right. Let me die in peace." - Evil Scarecrow
Two boys, each suffering their own worlds of abuse (one from a man who runs their religious community, the other from an absent mother and domineering older brother), find each other in the making of an amateur film.
Garth Jennings, who also brought us "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," wrote and directed this marvelous film. And Bill Milner (Will Proudfoot) and Will Poulter (Lee Carter) are the young actors who helped bring me back those early days of blood brothers and betrayls; courage and love; forgiveness and redemption.
Jennings speaks to those of us willing to risk anything for what we want, and to those of us who have the scars to prove it. For us, "Son of Rambow" is a profoundly cathardic experience.
For everyone else, those of you that play it safe, you may wonder what the fuss is all about...
Ricky Ho (Riki-Oh) (Lik wong) (1991): "By 2001 AD, capitalistic countries have privatized all government organizations. Prisons, like car parks, have become franchised businesses..." - Narrator
Rcky's girlfriend dies while trying to escape drug dealers and his anguish leads him to kill the dealer, which lands him in prison. Ricky becomes the defender of the weak and, as a result, he's a serious problem to the prison mob and the corrupt prison officials. In Metal Gear fashion, Ricky must work his way up to the Big Boss aided by his superhuman strength and durability (a result of breath control technique). Can he manage his way through the lower bosses and defeat the Big Boss?
"He joined a Music College to learn to play the flute." - Prison official reading from Ricky Ho's criminal file.
Ricky is gorgeous: a pretty face, a mass of muscles, and mad mad martial arts skills. Surrounded by cheap sets, tons of blood, buckets of gore, incredibly corny violence, gruesome fake effects, and characters that defy description, "The Story of Ricky Ho" is your basic cult classic.
The script is the best part. One of my favorite lines: "Your original name was Rick, but you were as strong as a bull at 7 or 8... so I called you Ricky." - Uncle Shan Kuei.