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Rating History

The Pianist
The Pianist (2002)
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[font=Arial][color=white][b]There a films that come along from time to time that just blow audiences away, which a brilliant performance or a magnificent storyline. The film ?The Pianist? dares to bring both of these and so much more, Adrien Brody stars as Wladyslaw Szpilman a Polish Jew musician. [/b][/color][/font]

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[font=Arial][color=white][b]Szpilman faces the hardships of the times as a Jew in the most horrible of times, Germany 1940?s, a very talented and well known pianist, having played for radio stations across the land. Szpilman and his family bind together in schemes to survive in this terrifying time, but are split apart only to favor Wladyslaw if you see a positive in watching your entire family being shipped away by train to what can only be conceived as there illicit deaths. [/b][/color][/font]

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[b][font=Arial][color=white]Szpilman doesn?t appear as a Rambo of this era, more of ordinary in his movements and careful with his actions, trying to not attract attention. This isn?t to say he doesn?t show the characteristics of a brave man, to simply survive in this story in one of great bravery. Escaping the trains to the gas chambers was fortunate to say the least, his escape of the Warsaw ghetto showed great determination in a willingness to not allow this to happen, not to him. [/color][/font][/b]

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[b][font=Arial][color=white]Through the film we are shown both sides of races and the way they can be so different and similar in one, Szpilman has the help of Germans in the film as they scamper him from safe house to safe house. Those willing to help and those who give the intentions of helping yet see it as only a way of personal gain more than anything, quite inhumane and despicable. Where we even see nearing the end of the film even a Nazi soldier, able to show some humanity finding Szpilman playing the piano only how he can, instead of shooting and killing him the soldier offers him a coat and a safe haven to stay until the war is over. [/color][/font][/b]

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[font=Arial][color=white][b]Roman Polanski has a pile of great films, the one I remember best is his version of Macbeth in 1971, having studied it in my schooling years it was a film that was not only brilliant to learn but excellent to view. The Pianist is as much a pleasure to view as Macbeth ever was, succeeding it with great ease that is how great this film is. [/b][/color][/font]

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[font=Arial][color=white][b]The film has the passion to rival any film, you feel for Szpilman of course but he is one of the few fortunate in the film and the real-time happenings. Some scenes will make you question the audacity of the Nazi soldiers even knowing the history, knowing how brutal the Nazi? were with the Jews. In one scene a Jewish family sit at the dinner table, Nazi? barge in on this dinner making every family member stand at the table, unable to stand an elder man in a wheelchair. The harshness of the Nazi soldiers is typified in this one scene as they toss the disabled man out of a window from the second floor, downright sickening. [/b][/color][/font]
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[font=Arial][color=white][b]Hardly a feel-good film, a touching re-enactment of a time that not only punished the Jews but put a deplorable face on man, in this unforgettable film for all the wrong reasons. Polanski' 'The Pianist' is a film that rivals any that are laid before it, with its harsh truths and impious happenings making it a must see film.[/b][/color][/font]

Running Scared
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[font=Arial][b]Having enjoyed Paul Walker in his role in the Fast and the Furious series I was looking forward to seeing him in a different role, away from the street racing pretty boy. Playing Joey in Wayne Kramer? ?Running Scared?, packed full of crime and killing, this movie shows no remorse to its victims or its viewers. [/b][/font]

[font=Arial][b]Joey is a bit part player in a local mob being their weapon disposal man, when his job of that is put in jeopardy along with his life as Oleg (Cameron Bright), his sons best friend and neighbour steals one of his mob-job guns, shoots his step-father (who runs a drug lab in his backyard and involved with another mob in town) and causes a world of trouble for Joey.[/b][/font][font=Arial][b]

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[font=Arial][b]The actual gun that Oleg had taken to shoot his step-father was one of a mob-job that went wrong, which happened to kill a few local cops seeking some action on the side by busting a big time deal between Joey? mob and a African group. It seems all cops in Running Scared are corrupt or well on their way. Being Oleg?s best friend Nick (Alex Neuberger), Joey?s son is dragged along all night in the search for Oleg and the shiny pistol.[/b][/font]

[font=Arial][b]The film doesn?t only tackle the mob lives of those involved, but also the emotion of living under the same house as a father or step-father that you just cant stand, a couple of pedophiles who just happen to find what there looking for in the back of their truck, the Russian mafia and a badly dressed pimp (I know! Who?d of thought?) Who just ends up falling into the story as Oleg plays hero for a hooker.[/b][/font]

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[/b][/font][font=Arial][b]The usually over-the-top Walker is likable in the film, his desire to stay alive and find Oleg, a boy who he doesn?t even like playing with his son is admirable. The situations he finds himself in can be intensely filthy, but comes out looking sanitized, except for the moment at the ice rink involving hockey pucks.[/b][/font]

[font=Arial][b]There?s no shame in Running Scared within the first few moments of the film, Walkers character Joey is munching the carpet of his lady in the laundry with his senile father in the next room. You do have moments in the film where you see more than you would expect in the way of nudity and violence, that?s not a bad thing, is it? In fact the most disturbing part of the film is that Anzor (Karel Roden), Oleg?s step-father, has a large sized tattoo on his back of John Wayne.[/b][/font][font=Arial][b]

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[font=Arial][b]The use of the camera and the visual effects of the film are quite dramatic but affluent, the cinematography was displayed in a flash and powerful fashion that you expect from the all-time greats of filmmaking. The camera angles used in the car scenes especially are first-rate; the ability of Kramer to single out the characters in different scenes in a stylish and valuable manner, even during scenes involving substantial action, making it a big positive for the film.[/b][/font]

[font=Arial][b]While it?s not a show stopper, Running Scared is a film that did live up to its low expectations and a little beyond. The camera work is commendable and effective and the acting from even Paul Walker was decent at worst. Running Scared even offers a little twist at the end.[/b][/font]

Solaris
Solaris (2002)
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

[font=Arial][b]George Clooney stars in Steven Soderberghs space psychological film ?Solaris?, a remake of the Russian 1971 film. Clooney plays the role of Chris Kelvin, a Psychologist, sent into orbit to find some answers in a space station mystery. [/b][/font]


[font=Arial][b]The film beginnings with Chris sitting in a room hearing voices of his late wife, Rheya (Natascha McElhone), It starts a bit strange not sure what is exactly happening as it crosses to him in one of his group sessions. He is then visited by two men with a video message from a group of astronauts who were sent out in the atmosphere to learn more about the Solaris. [/b][/font]

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[font=Arial][b]When Clooney arrives aboard the station he is welcomed by a trail of blood leading up to a cool room where he finds the corpses of two members of this mission, including Gibarin (Ulrich Tukur), who sent the distress signal. Meeting with the two remaining members of the crew of this voyage in Snow (Jeremy Davies) and Gordon (Viola Davis) they are distant and subjugated by the world that is Solaris. [/b][/font][font=Arial][b]

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[font=Arial][b]The film brings more to the table than the basic sci-fi film; Solaris gives the conundrum of lost love ones being reformed in a lifelike transformation of memories constructed by the crew members of the station as they sleep, using only the memories of which the crew dream of them to construct these replicas, leaving the crew in disbelief at the rejuvenation of their lost ones. [/b][/font]

[font=Arial][b]Clooney?s acting of Kelvin; a man who has lost his wife and suddenly reunited together aboard this quest, is done with great passion and a sense of realism, acting as many would in the same situation making his character believable and authentic. Given the chance to make it a go of his second chance with his late wife, who knows she is nothing more than a mysterious construction made from the dream memories of Kelvin and the fibers of Solaris.[/b][/font]
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[left][font=Arial][b]The touching moments that arise with the subject of the film will lead you into the evening with constant debate over the 'right thing to do'; however the story doesn't really offer much in the way of excitement, its over soon after it starts. Those more inclined to males will appreciate Solaris for the mere excuse to view Clooney's bare bottom.[/b][/font][/left]