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A revealing and sweet documentary
25 August 2018
I liked everything about the documentary except for one thing. There was a glaring and inexcusable omission. The co-founder and principal choreographer of the troupe, Peter Anastos, is not even mentioned.

Aside from that, this is a lovely portrait of a ground-breaking dance company. I must disagree with another reviewer that this is only a comic ballet company where tha dancers have to "pretend to be clumsy and inept." Anyone who has seen them knows that not every dance they perform is comic, and the skill of the dancers is on constant display. Their skill is acknowledged by the ABT principal dancer who is interviewed in the film.

Worth seeing.
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Wonderful and inspiring
17 June 2018
As good as any biographical documentary I have ever seen. A portrait of a lovely, brilliantly creative and generous man, drawn by a remarkable group of friends and colleagues who have worked with him, loved with him, celebrated and cried with him. Anyone interested in the theatre should not miss it.
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Retablo (2017)
A beautifully made film, but...
16 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
**Spoiler Alert** The quality of the film-making alone would have merited a 9 or 10, but I was distressed by the narrative. The gay element in the plotline, and the violent and brutal response to it by both the townspeople and family, while undoubtedly reflecting realistically the attitudes of the culture being portrayed, were shown with no judgment. Homophobes will watch this film and think it's just fine, there being nothing to challenge their perspective, and no one who dares come to the defense of the character in the center of it. Perhaps that's the point--simply to show things as they are, but in 2018, I find that unacceptable.
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Somewhat disappointing
26 December 2012
If you've seen the stage version of this musical, it's unlikely you will find the movie adaptation satisfying. Russell Crowe and Sacha Baron Cohen are out of their depth vocally, and in the case of Crowe, this is a serious shortcoming. Even Hugh Jackman, who I believe is a consummate all- around entertainer, strains with the vocal demands of his role. Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne are lovely as Cosette and Marius, although they project little amorous fire. The smaller roles of Eponine, Gavroche, young Cosette, and Enjolras are very well cast. The editing is unnecessarily choppy, although I know this is the common model of today's filmmaking. There's no question the film is visually sumptuous, but the production never misses an opportunity to hit us over the head with the pathos, as if audiences are incapable of relating to subtlety. It is a sad statement that the appearance of Colm Wilkinson as the bishop makes one long for his performance in the role of Jean Valjean.
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A Monumental Achievement
18 July 2010
I just saw this film at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra. The film is one of the great achievements of the silent era (or any era for that matter). Its technical wonders are so vast, and fly by you so fast, that in the blink of an eye, you can miss some of them. As others have said, Koyaanisqatsi is the first film that comes to mind, and it was made more than fifty years later.

I won't go into the film's technical brilliance and wonders, they have all been well-covered in other reviews. but if you EVER have the opportunity to see this film accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra, do not miss it. I guarantee it will be one of the highlights of your movie-going life.

It will take you time to decompress and process all you have seen, a vast and comprehensive image of urban Russian life in the 1920s.
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The Reception (2005)
An Extraordinary Achievement
18 June 2005
Just saw this film at the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival. Writer and Director John G. Young shot this film in eight days with $5000, and yet it is vastly superior to most films costing, literally, 10,000 times as much. The storytelling, the dialogue, the acting, and the photography are all superb. Young elicits rich, natural, and sensitive performances from his four principal actors. His script reveals a deep understanding of the complexity of human relationships, needs, and pain without resorting to hackneyed conventions or contrivances. The characters are written so beautifully and distinctly, and are revealed so skillfully, that I do not even want to provide a basic outline of the plot. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Who cares?
17 July 2001
Despite the technical merits (and technical breakthroughs) that the film represents, I didn't care about most of the characters. And for me, that is key. I disagree that, as one reviewer said, we care about them even though we may not like or approve of them. Compare this to the way Almodovar makes us care about the humanity of his characters even though they may do reprehensible things. These are spoiled, shallow, deceitful people who end the film having had no significant epiphanies about why they are so fundamentally unhappy (if they even have enough introspective ability to relaize it). Tedious. Pointless. Waste of time and talent.
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Bagdad Cafe (1987)
Charming, mystical film
31 July 2000
I agree with the previous reviewers who somewhat objected to the words "quirky" and "weird" to describe elements of this film. Both those words have negative implications to me, and I found this film charming, fascinating, offbeat and mystical. The story of the mysterious stranger who shows up and transforms the people around him or her isn't new, but it is so beautifully handled here, especially in Marianne Sagebrecht's wonderful performance. This film was an unexpected delight.
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