Movie reviews: 06/2014
Movies seen this month: 13
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  Title: Enigma of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Genre: Documentary, History, Mystery  Year: 1994  Country:  Rating: Starring: William F. Albright, Magen Broshi, Frank Moore Cross, Philip Davies, Noel Friedman  Director:

My Review: Enigma of the Dead Sea Scrolls - 1994 (Documentary, history, mystery) What I thought was a movie, turned out to be a ‘History Channel Presents’ television show from a series called “Ancient Mysteries”. This show was episode 1 of season 2. Poorly produced with grainy video, and poor quality archive footage. I watched this Amazon Prime ’movie’ because I wanted to learn more about the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’. What I learned was that access to these scrolls is closely guarded and all knowledge of their content seems to have been suppressed by those who control the access to the scrolls. Focusing on the fight over who has access to the scrolls leads me to one clear understanding - The middle east is ‘F-d’ up because of the restrictive beliefs, policies and politics of people who desire to control any and every aspect of daily life in the region. Unfortunately, the ‘dead sea scrolls’ haven’t contributed one iota to our understanding of the ancient world, the bible, or early Christianity, because some group of moralistic gate-keepers don’t want to allow anyone to see or publish what the scrolls say. While this ‘movie’ was written back in 1994, the fact that the public at large knows nothing about the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ speaks volumes to the methods of censorship employed by those who controlled/control access to the scrolls. All that I learned about the Dead Sea Scrolls, from this movie, can be summed up into two words: ‘Not much’ - The movie was pretty much a waste of my time. I give it a 2 out of 5.


  Title: Timecrimes
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller  Year: 2007  Country: Spain  Rating: Starring: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo, Juan Inciarte  Director: Nacho Vigalondo

My Review: Timecrimes / Los cronocrímenes - 2007 (Sci-fi, mystery, horror, action) An independent production that didn’t make much money in the theaters. I enjoyed the movie. I’m a sucker for time travel movies, and this was one of the better ones. It didn’t rely on guns, explosions, cgi, sex, and big Hollywood budgets as a substitute to a good story. The story is a bit confusing (what time travel movie isn’t?) and the convoluted time-line is to be expected. The use of multiple characters that are actually the same people made for some original twists in my brain. Hector (the primary character) and his wife have just moved into a new house. One night, while he’s enjoying a peaceful bit of relaxation in the back yard, he spots some movement in the woods behind his house. He lifts his binoculars expecting to see a bird or an animal - Instead he spots a naked woman! That’s the trigger. He rises from his lawn chair and heads off to begin the mystery. The story contains many plots, sub-plots and convoluted character interactions. More mystery than sci-fi, the story was surprising in its treatment of the topic. The plot is twisted, cynical and a bit comedic. The pacing and direction keep the movie moving in an ever tightening spiral. The acting was quite good, but it’s the writing that wins this one. Nacho Vigalondo writes and directs in this movie, and now I want to see more of his work. I give this one a 4 out of 5.

Summary: Hector is an ordinary man who's moving to a new house with his wife. One evening, while he's looking through his binoculars, he sees a naked girl in the woods. He decides to go there just to find that same girl laying on a rock. Suddenly, a man with a pink bandage covering his face, stabs Hector in his arm with scissors...

  Title: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance  Year: 2014  Country: USA, Germany, UK  Rating: Starring: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe  Director: Wes Anderson

My Review: The Grand Budapest Motel - 2014 (Adventure, comedy, crime) It’s a grand adventure of a movie. A downhill slalom without so much as a single breath. Wes Anderson movies are ‘quirky’, the quirkier the better (in my opinion), and this one’s outstanding in that regard. The visuals are simply astonishing. The movie feels as if it were filmed on a giant indoor diorama, replete with cotton snow and painted miniature soldiers. The cast (Ralph Fiennes (as M. Gustave), Tony Revolori (as Zero), Willem Dafoe (as Jopling), Tilda Swinton (as Madame D.), Harvey Keitel (as Ludwig), and many more - far to numerous to name here) is true to the Anderson motif, acting in character as if the movie were a Richard Scary illustrated novel with dialog bubbles appearing over each character in turn. The performances are brilliant, committed, precise and rich with charisma, charm and panache. The cinematography is excellent. I really enjoyed the camera work with all its various angles, aspect ratios and tight closeups. The hijinks, mystery, romance and quick paced pithy wit left me smiling throughout. I liked it so much I bought a copy. 5 out of 5.

Summary: GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune -- all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.


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