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Thread: Russian Movie Reviews!

  1. #21
    dzh
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    а еще, "полиграф полиграфыч" = lie detector

  2. #22
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    Movie reviewed: 9 рота (the ninth company)
    Newness factor: Pretty darn new!
    Story: This is a war movie about the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, it is about a group of teenagers who meet for the first time as volunteers for the war. We follow them through the training and then in action in Afghanistan

    Impressions: Well the first scene to me seemed a *little* too hollywoodish, pouring rain and all the guys saying farewell to their loved ones. Every body is wet of the tears and the rain Another thing that strikes me, and this very non-hollywood, and that is that the actors are not "perfect", like in American movies all the heros are very handsome and have good teeth, well kept etc. Here it is the opposite, they are just average joe's, one has bad teeth, the other a big wart etc.! This gives it a more natural feel to the whole thing, I think. The first half of the movie was alot like any other war movie, you know male-bonding, confrontation and finally acceptance. Now a regular movie would stop there, but this ain't no regular movie. Once these teenagers come to Afghanistan (beautiful scenery btw) I am surprised how grown up they look, compared to they way they looked in the first half. You can feel they have matured, very nice. The war scenes are very well made, one could really feel the atmosphere and problems these guys had and is something that is very topical with this US war in afghanistan. The ending was like most Russian movie endings, sad But the transformation that guy in the end had gone through from the first time we met him is formidable, a very good job!
    All in all: A very good movie, worth watching, especially if you like war-movies, despite all the hollywood-esque scenes (the huge captain crying alone in a field of red flowers ).

    5 out of 6 Kalinkas.
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    Movie Reviewed: Город Зеро - The city Zero
    Newness factor: Not old, not new, 1988
    Word to sum up the movie: Weird
    Famous factor: Recognized three famous Russian actors (one being Евгений Евстигнеев)

    Story and impressions: Man travels to a city for business for one day, but gets stuck there (forever). The whole city behaves very strange, a twilight-zone feel to the whole thing. Strange things like completely naked secrataries (nobody notices, only this guy), a cook makes a cake for our hero, looking remarkable like our hero's head, ludicrous landmarks (including roman centurions), people start claiming the man is the son of the guy who first started rock and roll in the city (who is incidentally the same cook (and who shot himself)). Very weird, it's like everybody is sane, but crazy, except for our hero, who is sane and sane! Can't help but feeling it a little satirical to Russia itself. Like if it was somebody who came to Russia for the first time and the behavior of the locals are strange to him, but he cannot leave. All in all an entertaining film, with some good humor, the reactions by our hero is priceless, he can't just believe what is happening to him. Ending a little disappointing.

    4 out of 6 kalinkas!
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  4. #24
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    Wikapaedia's revue in English and Russian. Very informative with a few historical discrepancies pointed out..........but WARNING........don't read it if you don't want to know the ending. So there!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9th_Company

    EDIT: Before shooting the film young artists met veterans of the Afghan War - the soldiers of legendary 9-oy company. Some were introduced to the prototypes of their characters.
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    The ending was like most Russian movie endings, sad
    Yep, good note. It's funny that virtually every Hollywood movie has a happy ending while most of Russian films end in a sad way




    P.S. Please, keep on! It's very interesting to read your reviews
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    Movie Reviewed: The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin (the title is in English)
    Newness Factor: 1994
    Based on: A book by Vladimir Voinovich
    Word to sum it up: Dirt.
    Famous Factor: None.

    Story: Although this film is European (UK, French, Italian), with english titles, it is entirely in Russian and based on a book which was banned in the Soviet Union. It has a satirical look at Stalinism and Soviet bureaucracy, based in a little village called Red (renamed from Dirt), a KolHoz (Collective Farm) in 1941 (?). Chonkin is a not-so-bright soldier who is set to guard a plane in that village, but when the war breaks out the army forgets about him. Chonkin falls in love with the post mistress and everything is fine until he pisses off a neighbour and he writes a letter to the army that he has deserted. The NKVD come, but Chonkin captures them and then a whole division of the army comes, and Chonkin basically defeats them too. Interesting look on Russian village life, filled with muzhiki, moonshine, corrupt inefficient bureaucracy and dirt. alot of dirt. I would recommend it, if just for the new and interesting experience of Russian village life. However, I suspect that the book would be better.

    3 out of 6 Kalinkas!
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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by dzh
    а еще, "полиграф полиграфыч" = lie detector
    Actually, since this book is from 1925, I suspect that Polygraph in those days meant "a device for reproducing writings or drawings", and полиграфия was a profession that did such things. I doubt the Soviets in thos days celebrated a lie-detection machine... although the lie detector was invented in 1917...
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
    Yo hablo español mejor que tú.
    Trusnse kal'rt eturule sikay!!! ))

  8. #28
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    Operation S Novom Godom

    Operation S Novom Godom

    circa 2001.

    I love the crew from 'Peculariaties of National Fishing.' To be frank, I don't know if Operation New Year, came before or after that good film.

    This film is not as good, but its a fun romp through a silly parade, and General Comrade has got to be one of my all time favorite character actors.

    I just wish it had more nudity! I mean c'mon this is a B movie, show some skin.

    OK, am I review the movie or myself now? This movie was on sale for 10 dollars, I guess, I won't be a commercial and say where, but if you find it discounted, go ahead and pick it up and add it to your collection.

  9. #29
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    Off Topic, my review of the iPod Video.

    OK, movies are a great topic because I have now, "Son of Mask" (Hollywood, Ukraine version), Brillyantavaya Rooka, Obsonosti nationalnosti ribalki, Ivan Vaslyvich, Ironiya Sudbi, Krasnaya Ploshadt, Devyetaya Rota, etc.... all on my iPod Video, several with dual language subtitles burned in.

    Well, here is the short of it. Great player! Surprisingly easy to carry and watch movies on! Great for playing on a TV too, with near DVD quality.

    That is assuming, you burn the movies correctly. That is one problem with it, the software for converting from DVD to ipod format, and the skill of getting it at the right bitrate, resolution, and encoding format, is something you will have to learn, its not in the traditional 'apple easy to use' format.

    Secondly, the battery life on this thing sucks for movies. I mean, if you play one back on its little screen, you get one movie tops. It recharges pretty well, but you cannot just swap the battery....they do sell external batteries.

    OK, overall I have to recommend it though. I have been watching Russian movies all week, and my vocabulary is way way up.

    And swear words, chort znayit gdye, I've got them all.


    Paka,

    Superman

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    Movie reviewed: Джек Восьмеркин "американец" (Jack Vosmerkin "the american")
    Newness Factor: 1987
    Famous Factor: Евгений Евгинствеев (again, he seems to pop up in alot of movies), the others were unknown

    Story: 1920s, Jack grew up in America and his sister and mother still live in Russia but think he is dead. So Jack arrives in a small village and of course everybody regards him as a curiosity, because they heard that all americans are millionares, and of course this is right after the revolution so there are mixed feeling towards foreigners. Jack arrived because he heard the the soviet government is handing out free land to the Russians, and he wants to become rich with his advanced knowledge of farming.

    Impressions: It seems like the movies that came out in the late 80s are semi-critical of the communists, I am presuming this is because of perestroika and a more critical look on the powers that be was allowed. This gave the books of Bulgakov and many other "critical" writers, and some turned into films. The film itself was pretty amusing, but 3 hours is a long time for a movie, why do all russian movies consist of two or more parts? And of course the sad ending as usual...

    3.5 out of 6 Kalinkas! !
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    Famous Factor: Евгений Евгинствеев
    Евстигнеев probably....

    Kalinka_vinnie, I was wondering how you choose which movie to watch? Would you like some recommendations? I will assume you won't mind too much for now

    Since the New Year time is approaching may I recommend Russian classic for this occasion called "Ирония судьбы или с лёгким паром". Also, there is two more films made in a somewhat similar fairy tale style (the films are actually very much different):
    "Сирота Казанская"
    "Приходи на меня посмотреть"

    One more great film:
    Ребро Адама (Adam's Rib)

  12. #32
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    Well, I take an arbitrary jab at each film, I don't have a particular method of choosing a film. I currently have a heap of russian films I haven't watched yet, sent to me by a friend, so I am trying to get through the pile.

    I also try to watch movies more than once, because the second time is always more understandable (since I already know the plot), because I can never understand 100% of what they are saying.

    ирония судьбы I have of course watched, more than once But those other ones I haven't heard of. The problem is getting a hold of these movies But these films are duely noted!
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
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  13. #33
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    To balance all this I'd like to talk about an American movie. No, really, I am stuck at home thanks to a blizzard and I am watching the '76 King Kong. It would not be my first choice, but it's on and I am watching it. Well better than be stuck on a bridge somewhere running out of gas. Suddenly I realize that I love this movie on so many levels, and here is one of them: is it just me or this movie is a borderline hardcore porn? What exactly is the relationship between Dwan and Kong? Lange looks as slutty as it gets and I'm totally for it, but that is obviously not enough for whoever is responsible for this piece of umm masterpiece. She says things like "C'mon Kong it is never going to work" and "You goddamn chauvinist pig ape" Wha? Jeff Bridges in his Big Lebowski costume actually goes: "There is a girl out there who might be running for her life from some gigantic turned-on ape" And some of (romantic?) scenes I dont even dare to describe to anyone under 21.

    Now here comes the question. Is the bride a virgin?
    I've got a TV, and I'm not afraid to use it

  14. #34
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    Movie Reviewed: The Master and Margarita (Мастер и Маргарита)
    Newness Factor: 2005 (brand stinking new!!!)
    Based on: A book by Mikhail Bulgakov
    Word to sum it up: Nudity!!!
    Famous Factor: High
    Director: Vladimir Bortko

    Intro: The title of the film should be familiar for anyone interested in Russian literature, the book got a cult status after it was completely released from censorship in Russia in 1973 (the book was written in 1928-1941), because it criticized the soviet government. For more information about the book and plot see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_and_Margarita. The film is really a mini series in 10 parts.

    Plot: The devil (under the name Woland) arrives in Moscow on business (I won't spoil the plot too much) with his henchmen and naturally strange things start happening to Moscow residents. At the same time there is a parallell story with Pontus Pilatus (the guy who sentenced Jesus to death in... in... sometime long time ago) and Jesus, a kind of alternate version of the bibilical events. These past events are apparently from a book a guy named Master wrote and because of which is in the mental asylum.

    Impressions: Upon hearing that Vladimir Bortko was going to make the movie (he also made Heart of Dog, also based on a Bulgakov book, see the first post), I got midly excited. I really liked the work he did on Heart of Dog, and naturally expected something similar here, but was concerned with how much nudity they were going to show (I mean after all, it is one thing to mention in the book that one is naked, but to show it on TV is down-right distracting...). As the film is in 10 parts, I got a small sensation that it is a television series, rather than a film film. But that feeling I got used to pretty fast. The cast was overall good, I feel that all the main characters were wonderfully cast, even though there were some inconsistencies with the book (Woland is supposed to be middle-aged, in the movie he looks over 60). I particualty liked Koroliev and Azazello. For Margarita and the Master I had mixed feelings. Margarita was very beautiful (especially naked, hohum) and played well, up until the point she went "wild" and then it just seemed unnatural, kind of fake. The Master played as well as you can expect, but his main attributes is to look hopeless, mystical and wise. This guy looked simply dead. Over to Begemot, the character that I was the most interested in, because after having read the book I said to myself that it would be impossible to film such a character. For those with weak memory or haven't read the book, Begemot is a cat that walks and talks like a human and can definitely drink vodka better than any human. How to make a cat walk and talk like a human, but still be 100% cat? The solution this film has is a mix between a man in a cat-suit, a doll and a computer animated creature. Result: Disappointment, but that was to be expected. I did like the guy who played the human form of the cat, he did look very cattish (a bit like how Polygraph Polygraphovich looked doggish in Heart of Dog) and played very well.

    There were alot of special effects in this movie, with mixed results. Some of the scenary looked outright fake, while some looked so real that if I didn't know better, I would think so. I really liked how they did the fires and the flying and airwalking (man, how can you resist reading the book now?). To Jesus and Pilatus. Pilatus disappointed me at first (he too was supposed to be relative young), but he won me over in the end! Having read the book in english, it surprised me that the jews spoke to the Romans with the familiar ты. Mark (the supposedly large muscular guard) was laughably disappointing, he looked like a regular Russian мужик: fat. Jesus was of course completely different than I expected, being used to our western image of Jesus, this Jesus was more slavic with big round eyes, and played decently (for an actor who played a Brigada gangster).

    Nudity. There is alot of it, especially towards the end. I felt that the nudity became a little overwhelming at times, but I think Bortko (the director) did a great job minimizing it with camera angles and postures.One could easily just have a full body shot of Margarita for 10 minutes and most people would be happy (a little too happy), but as I said it gets distracting... I am only human!

    The humor that was etched in the book was not wasted, and the film was overall very amusing. Just too bad that all the cat-related humor was wasted, because of the cat looking totally like a doll.

    I really liked that the film followed the book and Bortko's cineagraphic effects, esp. with colors. The "present" time is is black/white, the past in color as well as certain satanic events. It was very refreshing.

    All in all a decent adaptation, certain things could of been obviously improved easily, which is disappointing, but the impact the film has on you is still very large.

    4.5 out of 6 Kalinkas! !
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
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    Re: Operation S Novom Godom

    Quote Originally Posted by Superman
    Operation S Novom Godom

    circa 2001.

    I love the crew from 'Peculariaties of National Fishing.' To be frank, I don't know if Operation New Year, came before or after that good film.

    This film is not as good, but its a fun romp through a silly parade, and General Comrade has got to be one of my all time favorite character actors.
    I saw this on a bus ride from Tallinn to Petersburg...great movie, funny, although I like the "Peculiarity" movies better. But I'll second this as a good comedy.

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    i bought these movies and am yet to watch (its hit and miss with the dvd player formats) siberian barber, statski sovetnik, esenin (was tv series). could anyone comment?
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    i bought these movies and am yet to watch (its hit and miss with the dvd player formats) siberian barber, statski sovetnik, esenin (was tv series). could anyone comment?
    "siberian barber" is bad film with old Menshikov as a young guy. This film was made for stupid foreiners who think that Russia is tsar, bears, vodka, bliny etc.

    "statski sovetnik" is very bad film about the same.

    "esenin"? I didn't see it but as far as I heard... See above.

    Want to see real good Russian film? Try to find "Апрель", and then try to understand it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Columbo
    i bought these movies and am yet to watch (its hit and miss with the dvd player formats) siberian barber, statski sovetnik, esenin (was tv series). could anyone comment?
    The Barber of Siberia (that's the correct English title) strongly impressed me when I first saw it on a big screen. It's one of the most expensive productions ever made in Russia and I think it is meant to be seen on a big screen. Yes, it is a patriotic fairy tale, but the cinematography is beatiful and most of the actors play great. I believe the film was blacklisted for showing in the US because of some comments made by Nikita Mikhalkov during one of the press-conferences and because of a slight anti-american innuendo in it. However AFAIK it was shown in Western Europe with big success.

    The Statski Sovetnik in my view is a great film, though very sad... Mikhalkov plays his best in it. Menshikov is good too, but my favourite movie with Menshikov is actually "Pokrovskie Vorota".

    Esenin on the other hand doesn't stand anywhere close to neither of the above in my view. I haven't seen the whole thing though. It's a long TV series and I only saw part of it... The production is very cheap, reminds me somewhat western films where everything Soviet is shown with exaggerated use of red everywhere, big stars, etc...

  19. #39
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    I agree with MikeM and disagree with Fantomaks, the Barberer of Siberia is a really good film. Yes, it may not be factual, but the story is actually quite decent and the scenery is really great. It is actually one of my favorite films. As Mikhailkov said himself: "Это не как было, а как должно быть". I guess I am a stupid foreigner, but the film gives off some energy to me! Whether Russians don't feel they are portrayed 100% correctly, is really just wind over the trees to me.

    Another movie which is similar to the Barberer of Siberia is East - West (Восток - Запад) also with Menshikov. Also a clash of cultures, this time the french in Stalin's CCCP. Highly recommended.

    I have Yesenin here in front of me, but haven't had time to watch it yet. I hear good things about it though.
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    Another movie which is similar to the Barberer of Siberia is East - West (Восток - Запад) also with Menshikov. Also a clash of cultures, this time the french in Stalin's CCCP. Highly recommended.
    No, no, no... The East-West is not similar to The Barber and it is not half as good as The Barber. And it's probably one of the worst roles played by Menshikov... All is IMHO of course

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