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International DVD Talk Intl. DVDs, Region Free Players, RCE, Hong Kong DVDs & More

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Old 11-13-15, 09:16 PM   #576
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
Been going through a lot of television stuff....Nordic entries such as THE LEGACY, JORDSKOTT, THE SPIDER, SABOTEURS, and 1864...Y GWYLL from Wales...THE GAME and JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL from England...WITNESSES from France...and of course U.S. stuff such as THE KNICK, etc.
Simply attempting to make the above a little less entirely useless...

THE LEGACY aka ARVINGERNE - watched the first two seasons and don't understand the positive reviews...it's a soap opera...lots of family tensions but it all feels fake because you know that deep down the characters really care for and have great warmth for each other. At least a couple of the primary characters turn in impressive acting performances, so that is the best part I suppose. I don't think it was meant to come off as it did, or maybe it was, but the spin on "art" was laughably amusing aka I guess I've been an artist for many years and didn't even realize it...once a month when I arrange all the junk at curbside for the end-of-month bulk trash removal.

JORDSKOTT - first couple of episodes it seems like another crime drama involving something happening to a child, and that is there but it becomes far more pagan/supernatural, maybe more X-FILES-ish as it goes on. Enjoyable.

THE SPIDER aka EDDERKOPPEN - meh...okay I suppose but it did nothing for me.

THE SABOTEURS aka KAMPEN OM TUNGTVANNET - this was quite impressive and if you like WWII stuff then do go ahead with this. The same exact story as the Kirk Douglas movie THE HEROES OF TELEMARK, except in THE SABOTEURS they also add a parallel running secondary storyline concerning Werner Heisenberg back in Germany. A superior take on the material when compared to the earlier Kirk Douglas movie.

1864 - not without shortcomings but easily the most cinematic of all these mentioned so far...quite impressive from a production standpoint. It does play as a little drawn out while also teasing you along in terms of holding back on the action, and the scenes set in present-day aren't really worth the little payoff. However, it really delivers with the second to last episode...a "battle episode" that can rank with other battle episodes from shows such as BAND OF BROTHERS, THE PACIFIC, SPARTACUS, GAME OF THRONES, etc. The show does have some of that Hollywood-influenced, Steven Spielberg feel. And it does lean heavily anti-war and anti-nationalist, while also being reverential in tone when it comes to the common foot soldier. One aspect plays like a twisted version of THE KING'S SPEECH. Actors Pilou Asbaek and Nicolas Bro are terrific! It was nice to see Soren Malling from FORBRYDELSEN in the role of a veteran soldier...a character that brings a magical realism aspect to the show. Certainly should be viewed...if nothing else it was an impressive production...and again Episode 7 is a spectacular and highly cinematic hour of television...it is worth it just for that episode alone.

EYEWITNESS aka OYEVITNE - standard grade but reasonably enjoyable crime fare...wish the final episode wasn't so toothless though

So that's the Nordic stuff...

Y GWYLL - very similar to entries such as SHETLAND and SINGLE-HANDED...something like SHETLAND though did a better job in letting you get to know the lead characters...they didn't give you enough of that in Y GWYLL

THE GAME - solid U.K. spy fare

JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL - I could see that people could really like it but it just didn't do a whole lot for me...left feeling "why didn't I like it more"

WITNESSES aka LES TEMOINS - ahh...a French crime show...after the failures of BRAQUO and SPIRAL, the third time must be the charm, right...wrong! The first couple of episodes were quite okay, but then it crashed and burned. Do a google image search of the scenic French coastal town where it is set...search LE TREPORT...the images of that place in the show are the best thing about it by far...so do the image search and then there is no reason to watch the show.

WENTWORTH PRISON - watched the first season of this Australian women's prison show...basically a junior league version of the much better CAPADOCIA from Mexico (yeah I realize WENTWORTH is based on an older Australian series, but it plays as very similar to CAPADOCIA except CAPADOCIA was more impressive, and WENTWORTH doesn't have anyone nearly as good as the La Negra character from CAPADOCIA). Season 1 of WENTWORTH didn't even kick into gear until maybe episode seven.

SERANGOON ROAD - from HBO Asia...this was a pleasant surprise...nothing demanding really...case-of-the-week type stuff with a season long story arc running in the background....but really nice as easy viewing...really wish they had continued instead of ending it with only one season. It does tell a complete story in that one season so it does play as a satisfying viewing even though it never went beyond the first season. Enjoyed the full roster of characters, and 1960s setting and locale...there were a lot more stories to tell...too bad.
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Old 12-20-15, 02:58 PM   #577
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Bajirao Mastani (2015 - Hindi) - visited the theater to catch up with Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's latest. With entries such as MUGHAL-E-AZAM and more recently the wonderful JODHAA AKBAR (2008), you've got a tough standard to measure up against when trying this type of forbidden love story. I was hoping for the best but expected less as - while director Bhansali has proven extremely capable in terms of delivering pretty pictures - he too often comes up short in all other regards. And that was certainly what transpired with BAJIRAO MASTANI.

Again, everything looks real pretty...costumes, sets, etc. Unfortunately the movie comes up flat otherwise. First off, this is primarily a romance and as such I found the romantic pair of Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone to be entirely unsympathetic...for this type of thing you need to be rooting for them to succeed and for love to conquer all, but conversely I thought not much of their romance (and too from a performance perspective I thought they generated no chemistry together). Priyanka Chopra's character - the aggrieved first wife - actually fairs much better...she comes across as faithful and as good-hearted as could be expected for someone in that situation...still too her character does come across as somewhat simple and overly innocent. So essentially you've got a romantic movie where you don't care about the main romantic pair.

Generally speaking, the storytelling is rather weak and without dramatic tension...not surprising coming from Bhansali I suppose. For this type of royal palace forbidden romance, you need more sophisticated storytelling. For example, there are a few characters in the royal palace who of course disapprove of the romance but their disapproval just feels repetitive and one note...you want to some deeper scheming and such, such that - if you actually care about the romantic couple - you feel tension building as people conspire against them...but that is never present here. Generally all the characters are rather superficial and not deeply realized.

There is some action but it doesn't register any impact and feels like a peripheral aspect of the movie when compared to the core romance.

For me, the best part was one song/dance in the first half centered on Ranveer Singh with his troops. And the best part in the second half was again a song/dance featuring the two female leads...an obvious recall to a similar song from Bhansali's DEVDAS.

BAJIRAO MASTANI failed to engage me from its opening minutes...again just a flat and airless viewing...didn't care about the characters and it never touched me on an emotional level. Bhansali's theme of love is greater than all is nothing new, and here it comes up rather hollow as the core romance was thoroughly unappealing. The movie wasn't a chore to watch...again, visual production values were appealing...and you keep anticipating that it'll kick to life...but the story was thin and underdeveloped and repetitive...and the pacing was rather monotone. The disappointment kicks in greater after the movie when you give thought to how poorly done it was in terms of characters and storytelling. Actually, Bhansali would do greater good if - in future efforts - he just took on the role of producer, and left the story crafting and handling of performers in more capable directorial hands.

BAJIRAO MASTANI is currently playing in U.S. theaters and actually came in number ten at this weekend's box office (and DILWALE was number nine). It isn't worth the trip to the theater however, wait for home video...and even then you'd have a better time just watching JODHAA AKBAR again.
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Old 02-01-16, 09:06 PM   #578
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Flixtime and Nitin,

What did you guys think of Titli? I thought it was good acting but many of the conflicting actions in the film felt too exagerated. It was an entertaining well-made drama but only really worth watching once. The main young actor is interesting and may be somone to look out for in future films.

Had the movie become more exagerated and comic, we could have had a potential Indian Emir Kusturica film (especially with the two violent brothers).
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Old 02-02-16, 06:22 AM   #579
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Haven't gotten around to TITLI yet. Television series on DVD/Blu have been taking up a good chunk of my viewing time in the past year or more so I've fallen behind on keeping up with Indian and other Asian cinema...I do plan on doing a big catch-up at some point, simply want to clear away some of the TV backlog first.

toddly, don't know if you've seen it yet but there is a 2010 Mexican movie called EL INFIERNO aka EL NARCO that you might enjoy. Last I knew the only English-friendly option was the U.S. DVD release (only 2.0 audio though versus the Mexican Blu which had 5.1 audio).

There's a Turkish movie that just came out on Turkish DVD...CEKMECELER aka DRAWERS...seems interesting from the trailer and plot synopsis...I'm going to grab it sooner rather than later.

A couple of months back I watched a big-budget 2015 Hollywood movie that I actually have some enthusiasm for...TOMORROWLAND (could have used a lighter touch over the last few minutes though). For what it is worth, another pleasant surprise for me was the 2014 Johnny Depp movie TRANSCENDENCE.

As to recent TV viewings I watched S3 of BRON/BROEN (aka THE BRIDGE)...similar to my reaction after another recent watch that being S2 of TRUE DETECTIVE...both were solid enough fare, that being for genre fans though...as compared to the earlier seasons of both shows which had a more transcendent mass-market appeal. And I don't quite get the seemingly highly negative reaction to S2 of TRUE DETECTIVE.

Also watched S1 of OUTLANDER...yeah there is definitely a female romance novel aspect to it and at times the female protagonist came across as snooty and unsympathetic...but I found enough to like. I seem to recall the HIGHLANDER TV series having its share of middle-aged female fans...well if one of those fans - after doing a market survey with regard to what women liked most about the HIGHLANDER series - decided to write a book to appeal to that like-minded group (with the story featuring a protagonist that is a composite of that specific fan base (except better-looking perhaps))...then the result would be OUTLANDER.
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Old 02-10-16, 07:46 PM   #580
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Flixtime, Im going to try to find the Mexican blu of El Narco then - looks entertaining!
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Old 02-10-16, 08:52 PM   #581
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toddly, just to clarify an important point, the Mexican Blu does NOT have English subtitles. Last I knew, the only English-friendly option was the U.S. DVD. And the U.S. DVD offered only 2.0 audio, while the Mexican release was 5.1.

And yeah I found the movie quite entertaining...it is nearly two and half hours long but I thought it flew by...I wrote a little more - some months back - on the movie in the European Cinema thread (post number 12) in this same forum. HEROD'S LAW (1999) is another movie by the same director/actor pair, and it is pretty good too.

Don't know if a more vanilla detective mystery type movie is anything you'd be interested in, but if so Japan's MIDSUMMER'S EQUATION (2013) was another one I quite liked...unlike a lot of detective stuff the detective here actually inspired confidence and the story was rather touching for this type of movie. There's a Hong Kong Blu available so maybe you can find it cheap if it strikes your fancy.
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Old 02-23-16, 09:48 PM   #582
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Neerja (2016 - Hindi) - "don't f*** it up, or we'll kill you"...if I recall right something to that effect was mentioned in the "making of" extras for the 2013 based-on-a-true story war movie LONE SURVIVOR...meaning, when you are making a movie about real-life heroes - especially those who lost their lives in the process - you'd better do a darned good job at it. Taking those as the marching orders, NEERJA too is a certain success.

For background Neerja Bhanot was a member of the flight crew when her Pan Am flight was hijacked in 1986...she remained dutiful to her passengers throughout the ordeal and ultimately lost her life in the process.

The movie starts off alternating scenes between Neerja in the hours before she was to embark on that ill-fated flight, and scenes of the terrorists in preparation for the hijacking. The tone is rather low-key and quiet...sort of a sweet melancholy to things...you know what is eventually going to happen so you feel the ache and foreshadowing in lots of the time spent with Neerja and her family.

Once the hijacking gets underway, it is a fairly standard hijack movie...I mean a plane hijacking is a plane hijacking there is only so much you can do with that...conventions become conventions because that is the way things happen. The movie isn't totally docudrama liked UNITED 93 nor is it escapist fare like say EXECUTIVE DECISION...it is more middle ground and natural while also again having that sort of elegiac biopic aspect to it to honor Neerja's sacrifice.

Generally I was feeling that while the filmmakers got it right, and while it was certainly an important subject to get right, in other regards the film was rather standard fare. It was being done as well as could be expected for this type of effort.

However, as the climax and epilogue sections started to play out, I was caught off guard by how affecting it was...I found myself feeling quite choked up for a rather extended period...perhaps the last dozen minutes or more. Usually - at least in the Indian movies I've gone too (and most other movies too for that matter) - once the end credits start to roll everybody jumps out of their seats and head for the exits. For NEERJA it was very different, the end credits also feature photos of the real-life Neerja and her family so people not surprisingly remained seated...after that however - once the end credits were just technical credits on black - people still didn't move at all...you could feel that everyone present was taking just a bit of time to compose themselves and try to detach from the experience...it took at least a minute before anyone even started to move. One comment heard just outside the theater was "heartbreaking"...and that really sums it up without all my long-windedness...I mean you know it is a movie, and yeah it is based-on-a-true story, but still it really was heartbreaking and it took me a good five minutes into the drive home to start to shake away the effect.

What helped was that I thought of the bit of trivia I had read, where Neerja's mom - who also appears in an introduction to the movie - when she first met actress Sonam Kapoor (who played Neerja in the movie), according to IMDb Neerja's mom said to Sonam "my daughter was prettier"...and you know what, while Sonam Kapoor is certainly attractive, based on the pictures shown at the end of the movie, the real-life Neerja was indeed much prettier. And Neerja's mom did just pass away at the end of 2015.

And don't even get me started on the fates of the hijackers...

One small bit of criticism, during the hijacking section, they also flashback to some scenes again with Neerja and her family, with a focus on some memories of her life with her abusive ex-husband. I would have preferred that they handled this a bit differently...he appears in two or maybe it was three scenes for a couple of minutes or a little more of screentime and I thought his angry husband character sort of didn't fit well with the rest of the movie...they could have worked that same content in in another manner, perhaps having it be an audio only memory over some other type of on-screen imagery. And another total nitpick is the freeze-frame close to signal intermission...would've preferred more of a fade-out instead.

The runtime was around two hours, and NEERJA is currently playing in U.S. theaters.



My new "in" thing is Hi-Chew candy...apparently it is getting promoted in places like MLB clubhouses...and I love baseball so it caught my eye...basically it is like Starburst candy except it chews and feels a little more like chewing gum, except again you chew it quickly and swallow it like a Starburst...seems fairly easy to find in stores here in the U.S., though apparently it is of Japanese origin. So a handful of Hi-Chew candies kept me company through NEERJA.
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