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Movie Review: Up and Down

Alternate Title: Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover

Story:This terrific 2004 academy award nominee (lost to Born into Brothels) for Best Foreign Film gives you a lot to think about.

Czech director Jan Hrebejk tackles enormous problems such as racism, class distinction, immigration, crime and the impact of the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. Whew! I know it sounds like a plateful of depressing ideas but the film's presentation is somehow light-hearted and (in some ways) uplifting.

Essentially you get three stories that eventually connect to one another. Each character at first fits into a stereotypical mold that the viewer can easily identity, such as thief, do-gooder, lost soul, etc. But as the stories move forward every character has a behavioral change due to circumstances that occur out of the norm of their lives.

I highly recommend this film for you to go to see with a friend. There is lots to discuss when exiting the theater.

Acting: Excellent performances throughout the ensemble cast. And only in Eastern Europe would one of the stars have a hair lip. (Try that in Hollywood)!

Predilection: I like to see all of the Oscar nominated films.

Critters: a very sweet orange and white cat and a fluffy dog.

Food: Dumplings, soup, cabbage, beer and talk of deep fried bats.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: An interesting blend of music.

Theater Audience:Seven people including the two of us and lo and behold one of the other five happens to be on my movie list. We all laughed.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2 (one of the characters collects very kitschy stuff that gave me many big laughs).

Visual Art:The sets were very interesting as they depicted the class distinctions clearly.

Squirm Scale:0

Predictability Level: I had no idea where this film was headed.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Apparently not.

Nit Picking: No nits to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: Probably will have to rent this one as it is leaving the theaters.

Length: Two hours