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Le concert (2009)
Bravo bravo bravoooo!
This is a gem of a movie. Do not miss it! Amazing rarely seen Russian actors, hilarious comedy, emotions by the bucket, tears, sublime music, tension, suspense, it's been a while since I saw anything like it. I was weary that the director, prize winner of art-house fame, would make a slow pompous contemplative film. At the contrary Le Concert is a fast moving beautifully shot comedy about music, artists, Russia, Paris and communism. The director makes the actors brilliant, even average French actors like Miou Miou or the young soloist whose name I forgot. Do not wait for the DVD: it's worth watching on a big screen with a loud digital surround to enjoy the violins and the magnificent soundtrack. Bring your tissues you will laugh and cry, a great night out guaranteed!!!
**** CONTAINS SPOILERS******* I'd like my 3D with less cheese please Mr Cameron! I walked out of the theater with the same bitter feeling as when I saw the Star Wars prequel whatever it was called the Phantom something. The feeling of having witnessed a complete failure I wanted so badly to enjoy. It all starts with that cheesy voice over. Usually a bad sign, but I was crossing my fingers the guy is a maestro, a genius, a pure talent, after all I heard in the media. 20 minutes of miserable acting and unbelievably lame lines that belong to a B TV series later, I start doubting the reviews. Characters who are supposed to have been living together for months start explaining to each other why they are here, who they are etc... in a very contrived and unsophisticated way that make it all very laughable. The hero is played by a bloke who belongs to an afternoon TV series, and is described as a stupid marine. Impossible to even start liking him. I started asking myself whether the genius had made a comedy. But no, the rest of the picture was undoubtedly first degree cheese. We were not supposed to laugh. Then this big animal a giant black alien panther with 6 legs comes out of the jungle for a chase, I cheer up: the masterpiece starts here! A cool chase in the woods, our hero is separated from his patrol without means of communication and runs for his life in the jungle. His patrol leaves him behind. There is nothing they can do. The hero miraculously escapes by jumping in a waterfall. You'd think that his fellow soldiers would deem him dead after leaving him alone to deal with a giant panther in the middle of a an unknown jungle. No. The officer as if he had seen the movie fears: "he won't make it through the night". That's when I started thinking that there was something deeply rotten in Avatar: the script. It feels it has been written in a rush or by a talentless beginner, or someone whose power in the project was such that nobody would dare tell him the blinding truth: if you are over 12 years old, you cannot believe one minute of Avatar because it's too cheesy. The script is not at par with the budget, nor the CGI . The fact that it makes so much money at the box will certainly make the author(s) brush any criticism away. Regardless of the box, avatar is a scandal of a script. Then the rest of the movie is just a confirmation that what makes a bad movie is a bad story. It becomes an endless retelling of Dances with wolves, itself a cheesy retelling of Little big man etc. As usual it needs a white man to tell the Indians how to fight back, they're too under-developed, naive and primitive you see. With a few differences: the Indians are now the color the soldiers of the cavalry used to be, ie blue, they have rastafari dreadlocks, cats eyes and mouse ears and they are saved not only by Kevin Costner but also by the buffalos this time. The Buffalos join forces as they have learned their lesson: they understand what Buffalo Bill will do to them later on if they don't do anything. Many similarities still with your usual John Wayne western: the horses, the broncos they tame, the arrows the costumes and the squaws. But no Wayne. No actors at all. Our tasteless hero is accepted by the Indians, God only knows why, no explanation is given, except their sheer stupidity and he is taught how to become an Indian himself through a 30 minutes montage of boring sequences with no dramatic tension whatsoever. The rest is the usual celebration of testosterone and violence, the usual Hollywood dubious self-defense violence you find in any action movies except this one is lecturing us on its anti violence anti war stance. It still exploits an hour of pure violence to make money. End of story: the usual showdown between our dummy boy hero and the baddie, a ridiculous body builder GI Joe. A movie is as good as its baddie, Disney used to say . Well look at the baddie here: you'll know how bad Avatar is. The hero saves the Indians who without him would be toast, they're so crass and stupid, those "savages", a stupid marine makes all the difference. I watched all this mess with a pair of heavy 3D glasses which darken the picture and leave a mark on your nose so everybody you meet within the next two hours ask you whether you've just seen avatar, it's so red in the middle of your face. They say it's 21st century cinema. It may well be, but when the novelty of the technique wears off, they'd better start hiring scriptwriters. I am not going back any time soon. I don't care about the 3D, I want to see a good movie please! The quality of the dialogs and the fun of the Ice Age or Nemo make those cartoons enjoyable for all. Avatar is only for kids who enjoy violent video games and do not care for any story or characters. I heard people say Avatar is beautiful. Avatar's conception of beauty is "when it glows in the dark". Like stars you stick on kids bedrooms ceilings. I'm way too old for fluorescent deco. There is good news in Avatar's box office: it is probably scaring the hell out of LA talent agencies who got used to making millions off star power. People seem happy with 3D without cast. It may be the only 21st century news in the picture.
The Spirit (2008)
Cheap but not that bad
The budget below the line as it appears on screen is too small to make the Spirit worth watching in theaters. The Spirit will still be a cool movie to watch on DVD to enjoy some really funny moments which emerge after all above the numerous flaws. Once the endless opening lake side fight scene finishes, there are some real hilarious moments: Eva Mendes photocopying her bottom and leaving the copy behind which the Spirit then shows to everyone in town to try and locate her, who's seen such a magnificent piece of ass cannot possibly have forgotten it. Brilliant composition by Pulp Fiction genius Samuel L Jackson dressed up as a SS officer with a monocle answering the phone with a loud and guttural "Guten tag!", is a sight which cannot be missed and is anthology for me. There is almost no violence and no nudity in the movie so I am really surprised that it could get such a harsh rating as any episode of any of the forensic TV series out there contain images ten times worse than anything in The Spirit. Miller should have gone down the spoof route more obviously rather than hesitating between a superhero flick and a Abraham Zucker as the result lacks taste.
Good vs Evil tale for bigots
MAY CONTENT SPOILERS What is Clint Eastwood's problem? Is the aging Pale Rider getting afraid of Death? Has he not found anything else than religious bigotry to cure his fears? Because that is what Changeling is about. A series of caricatured characters straight out of a Sunday morning sermon, in a story told with absolutely no humor, no irony - always a bad sign - on a pompous solemn TV evangelist tone. Be afraid of going to hell! Be afraid of sitting in front of 132 minutes of a sermonizing movie about good and evil. Add to this: clichés galore, a slow pace (you can go out and buy a drink, being comfortable you are not missing anything), plain camera work and picture compositions, and a very unconvincing performance from A. Jolie. Everything she does is unbelievable. When she takes her child in her arms it looks fake. Her feelings which may be genuine just don't come through. To her credit she has nothing to play: the character is the embodiment of virtue. She's good, good, good, so good, so dull, she should have asked for a rewrite. Only upside to her character: she works on roller skates for a telephone company, which may have sound cool on paper and is simply odd in the movie. Quite unlike her, a series of evil freaks badly try to harm the Virgin Mary who's lost her child. The corrupt cop, excellent performance by Jeffrey Donovan, a baddie who should get more parts, the corrupt and pervert psychiatrist (what else), and of course the formulaic serial killer who just walked out of an episode of CSI, except this time, the TV series plot is served with a sermon, as he finds true redemption owing to a last minute confession to a priest. The content of the confession most certainly holds the secret to the whole plot but nor us nor Mrs Jolie get to know it. The good mother is helped by another good character in her fight against the three baddies and guess what's his job: he's a reverend. Malkovitch looks so evil naturally that he manages to create an interesting character out of another dull part of the screenplay. He's a genius actor this man, Hollywood tends to forget his huge talent too much too fast. You end up wishing the film was about the reverend rather than his simpering protégé. Most of the time the plot is grossly unbelievable. The mother is manipulated by the press to accept a child which is clearly not hers; What made the real mother do it in the real life, who knows; but the film fails to properly account for this keystone to the story. The good reverend walks in the hospital with a warrant to save the good mother from the evil psychiatrist just as she is about to receive electric shocks, just like in a pulp B movie, except this one thinks very highly of itself. I mean come on, this can't be serious, what were they thinking? 2 out of 10 for the recreation of the 1930s LA costumes, props and visual effects.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Lack of talent may destroy world cinema greatest franchise
When a formulaic screenplay meets a talentless director the greatest franchise in film history is in serious danger. No imagination, predictable scenes, repetitive action scenes shot clumsily by a director who cannot seem to give his actors any direction - as a result the actors speak their lines like priests at a funeral - A feeling of confusion, a big headache due to inelegant speedy editing of shaky close up shots. The director edits 15 close ups back to back and the spectator loses all sense of location and action scenes become tedious. What may seem cool on on a small avid monitor turns out to be a disaster on a big screen. Well what about the usually beautiful inventive opening credits sequences? Dull ugly graphics which may have seemed cool 20 years ago although I doubt it. Definitely not at par with the rest of the Bonds, including the previous Craig Bond movie which seems a masterpiece in comparison with this Quantum of Disaster. First time in my life I see people walk out the theater during a Bond movie. All feeling sorry and ashamed for Bond.
Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007)
Genius slapstick with moments of sheer joy
Monsieur Hulot is waving his hat throughout this modern day slapstick brilliant work of art and wit. Bean and Steve Bendelack's tasteful directing and sense of composition bring us to the verge of tears at moments as they manage to bridge the Franco British cultural bridge better than centuries of malicious so-called diplomacy. Before Bienvenue chez les Chtis the south of France / Channel shores clash is explored with an impressive display of indisputable talent. The French peasant on his solex bike embodies the genius of Mr Bean's Holiday. The ludicrous French bike solex which Bean thinks will come and rescue him in this deserted landscape of endless wheat fields moves so slowly it does barely grow in the horizon. The French take their time, they know how to enjoy life. They chose to work 35 hours weeks to enjoy life to the full, making a reality the US entertainment fantasy motto "life is for living"; The contrary of the alienating work ethics fueled by guilt and greed imposed upon the people in the UK and the US. England chose to scrap the whole peasant class early in the XIXth century when the French kept their tariffs to protect their rural world. A French peasant on a slow moving solex comes to rescue Bean. Bean has time to take a nap before the solex reaches him. When it does Bean takes advantage of the French peasant's willing to help to try and steal his bike (the dark side of Bean) only to fail miserably and receive the punishment he deserves in the hilarious side of the road wood cabin prison trap. Bean is a very well written, very well acted and directed film, people behind it should be offered more films to make!
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Flawed script and directing
Regardless of historical accuracy, of faithfulness to the novel the Other Boleyn Girl is a bad film. The screenplay is a succession of scenes with very little purpose until the second half of the film. Even then it fails to create a sense of intimacy with the characters, a series of monsters in their own right for which the viewer does not care. Even the good sister is depicted as too stupid and obedient to be worth any sympathy. After all her sister has done to her she still loves her; whatever monstrosity her daddy or uncle asks her to perform she does it with a nod and smile. So she can't be the right point of view to tell the story and she is not. The main problem of this bad screenplay is indeed that it is not told from any body's point of view. The POV is outside. So is the spectator. Outside the theater quick. Fresh air. Relief. Now when it comes to directing, the director manages to make three of the most handsome actors and actresses in Hollywood today look plain, vulgar and tired. Almost every shot has the wrong POV. The camera moves are repetitive. Filming through a grid, a fence, whatever he can find is a repetitive pattern of photography. Horrible color timing. One scene is green, the other is dark, the other red, without any apparent logic. Lighting is crude, plain, TV-like most of the time, and all of a sudden falsely sophisticated for a minute without a reason. The castles feel empty and dead. You feel it's a movie set all the time. Costumes: ugly, taking all the appeal away from the actresses. A Majority of BBC TV period dramas look better than this film. Deserved to flop at the box despite its ultra glamorous cast and a very interesting story to begin with. A complete waste.
Love in the Time of Cholera (2007)
work of art
I find Cinema rarely the form of art its theoreticians pretend it to be. Well for sure, it's a form of entertainment designed to suck a few coins out of the pockets of the bored Saturday night passers by on the boulevards. Video art - not art-house cinema - became a form of using moving pictures in the process of creation of fine visual arts, with some cool results. Art-house cinema has in the meantime remained mostly a weak form of literature to me. Defended by bitter critics who could not make it in literature or film making. Nobody can dispute that none of the great cinema talent compare to the great novelists and poets of the history of literature. Unfortunately cinema, because it's easy to watch a movie, has the favours of the wider audience. Literature tries desperately these days to mimic film story-telling to capture some of the cash- know the feeling seems like reading a screenplay when turning the pages of the best selling paperbacks these days - Here Mike Newell tries to transpose a fine piece of literature into a series of shots and a bunch of extras in costumes. The result is excellent, unexpectedly. Owing to a great sense of directing and editing. Owing to the superb performance of Javier Bardem - charisma is his middle name this man, cut in the cloth of the Marlon Brandos and the Paul Newmans -Owing to a superb illustration for the screen of Garcia Marquez brilliant concept of eternal return, of the myths of everyday life created from the coincidences, absurd and meaningful, of our odd lives. Shakira's voice adds to the magic. The aging of the actors in unevenly mastered and sometimes annoying, notably in the first half of the film. The budget isn't huge but the result is unmissable. Cinema has a lot to do with talent. Newell has tuns of it.
Cemento armato (2007)
Young and violent
Cemento Armato starts in violence and ends in brutality. This is a very violent film which deals with strong human feelings: the love one has for one's father and one's mother, the love for the loved ones and the rage and hatred which violence triggers when those are the victims. A young Roman teenager a pure brainless idiot on a stolen scooter crosses the path of a ruthless sadistic Mafia boss with principles. Complacency meets discipline, crass stupidity meets malice and vice, weakness meets force. Guess who wins. The ending of the film is phenomenal and worth the ticket. Nicolas Vaporidis the rising star of Italian cinema is perfect as the teenager you love to want to slap, Giorgio Faletti is solid, the baddies could have been badder. Rape and Revenge with a drop of Romanzo Criminale.
Il nascondiglio (2007)
The Others meets Cold Case with style
Pupi Avati is a master of world cinema, a living legend. I wondered how he could cope with a genre which I thought was alien to him. Well I was twice wrong. First he makes the most stylish and efficient thriller I have seen since the Others confirming that European directors are genius at shooting edgy American films (The Hideout is shot in the US in a small town). Second the genre is not alien to him as he wrote several thrillers and horror films in the 70s when Italian suspense and thriller was at its best. His mind has the edge and the wit to create images which scare without revealing too much, playing with the audience nerves, building slowly the feeling of uneasiness until the grand finale where hell breaks loose. Music by master of suspense Riz Ortolani (Cannibal Holocaust) adds a lot to the tension; Photography is sublime. Among the actors Laura Morante stands out as the stubborn ambitious little Italian immigrant, camera angles are a work of art every shot could be framed on a wall and the edit is fast paced. The amount of work put inside the film is outstanding. The screenplay is excellent: expect the unexpected. The ghost story ends with an unpredictable twist as we find out that there is an evil much worse than the evil we were fearing.
Real Monsters Freaks and Fangs. Cool and Extreme Stuff
The movie "Vampyres" which i saw in Valencia will confirm Jamaicans in the idea that Babylon has lost control again: shots of tens of boys and girls, white, black, Puertoricans, dressed up in leather, walking the street of the Queens at night in silence, looking like they came straight out of Walter Hill's The Warriors... until they open their mouths and you make out the canines, the long sharp teeth... the fangs. And then you understand that Blade's children are out on the streets and are multiplying. For the first time I see a film showing the film industry its reflection in the mirror of society. Hey Hollywood horror machine, this is what you do to the people. Not to everybody. No just to the most fragile, socially or psychologically youngsters of America. As in everything there is a good side: calling themselves Lord, Count and Countess, like the old European degenerate vampires of the XIXth century allows these guys to access social status, which society denies them otherwise. A guy who lived in a cardboard box says it: being a Vampyre took him off the streets. He became somebody and found a new dignity. But for the rest. Scary. The blood drinking sequences are very tough. The cannibal guy testimony is one of the scariest I ever came across. By the way how come this guy is not in a hospital, he's the real Hannibal Lecter, did he eat his nurse??? The music reminded me of Goblins at times. Don't watch Vampyres late at night and not by yourself, especially if your skin is white and delicate.
Blues walking like a man
I cannot get the Blues guitar riffs of Bluesbreaker out of my head. The film preaches the blues and the passion for playing guitar in a way seldomly achieved in fictions on the silver screen. School of Rock remained very superficial, and the Blues Brothers's masterpiece was not about inspiration. People with music in their blood lead a different life than the rest of us. Bluesbreaker tells the story of a young kid who cannot focus on anything else than his guitar and fails in everything else, love, work, friendship, miserably, his failures fueling his inspiration for more Blues. At the same time he casts an aura of magnificent confidence and inspiration, which is the energy of his burning passion inside. This is where Robinson Stevenin's interpretation becomes pure magic. Served by excellent camera work, beautiful 35mm compositions of DOP turned director Brenguier, this tale of Blues stays with you after you have left the theater. Makes you want to put a John Lee Hooker or a Stevie Ray Vaughn CD in your car stereo and drive nowhere fast. Preach the Blues now!
Vampire Diary (2006)
Neo Vampire chilling urban tale
I saw this movie at the NFT in London. It was packed. It is set among the young people of the neo vampire Goth scene of London. They listen to Fields of the Nephilim, wear fangs and heavy make up, it's all deliciously decadent and trendy. Some of them exchange blood. It's all good except that among the crowd, lives a real vampire. She seduces a girl of the gang and uses her blood to feed the baby vampire she is expecting. Rosemary's baby is a vampire... But the vampire's fresh blood needs exceed what her poor exhausted human Goth lover can provide... The vampire has to go out on the streets hunting for human preys. She uses a butcher gun to slaughter her victims and soon becomes the most sought after serial killer in the UK... The film introduces a modern day Vampirella, in hiding among the humans, where no one can spot her: within the Goth crowd. A clever concept, a solid story, well shot. Pretty girls, lots of blood. Instant cult.
The New World (2005)
Cast lacks charisma for a true epic
Past the marvels of the opening shots, one must admit that the performance of Farrell is the core of the failure of this movie. The storyline is predictable until it ends abruptly, thanks to the new cut I guess, the dialogs are scarce which certainly does not help the actors, but in Farrell's case... maybe it does. The director did not manage to pull a hero out of him, nor a anti hero, nor a baddie, nothing but a dull performance. The music is nice but repetitive, 2 pieces are looped and played over and over again for over 2 hours. The settings are nice but do not vary except for a welcome trip to England which deserved a less superficial treatment. Come on. Pocahontas visits the Queen. This should have been a mythical sequence. It's hardly on screen. The desperation of the settlers deserved to be explored a bit more, to make them interesting rather than plain bad guys saying they are hungry. That is how deep the movie goes...
The Salon (2005)
Fast paced entertainment, lots of laughs and emotions
Mark Brown the man behind MGM's Barbershop franchise brings us a more sensitive although equally funny movie about the struggles of a single woman with a demanding job and a cute 6 year-old to take care of. The recipe for her success: she's honest and always in a good mood. Until a lawyer from the City council walks in to announce he closes the Salon down. But he's the SEXIEST man on earth. Mixed emotions, feuds among staff, kid going astray. Everything seems to fall apart in her life... Vivica Fox's performance is magnificent. She is just adorable. The very talented Terrence Howard plays a brutal husband, Brooke Burns and Greg Germann are great in cameo parts. The editing is brilliant, the photography colorful; the movie is fast paced, the jokes are sharp. Two hours of pleasure and pure talent. Look for it and enjoy!
Boring slow paced wannabe psychological mess
That many reputable actors cannot have fallen for a bad script. Well... I'm not sure what it proves about those actor's judgment. They did attract the financiers and the distributors. I'm not sure what this proves about these people either. The result is quite mesmerizing: a lousy star-studded student film. A new sub-genre of its own. The director tried very hard to be profound and disturbing etc. achieving absolutely nothing except boredom (the film's not even pompous, it does not have enough style), a sad and depressing absence of inspiration which you eventually find revolting because of all the talented film makers out there who do not have access to A list cast and funding. Nepotism rules in the movie industry. Chromophobia is another proof.
No Place to Hide (1973)
Rebellion of a tormented young man
An incredibly sexy handsome young Sly thrown in the political turmoil of the ending sixties, the Vietnam war protests, the anti multi national firms activism. A must see, Stallone on screen from the first to the last second of the movie embodies the disarray of an entire generation, which at some point contemplated terrorism against its own institutions public or private. Sly's performance is brilliant conveying the confusion of the times, as in the wake of 1969 America was on the verge of civil war. Beautiful soundtrack of protest songs. Classic direction by Robert Schnitzer. Look for the fully remastered version of 2006.
Bad Santa (2003)
A modern masterpiece of world cinema
Interpretation, directing, script all deserve a 10 out of 10 in this masterpiece which should have taken at least three Oscars. Billy Bob and Tony Cox should have received best actors of 2003 there is no dispute about that. Their performance is worthy of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, it's up to you to decide which is which. Who won that year: Chris Cooper in Adaptation (?) a nevertheless potent narcotic and the rest went to The Pianist. Nothing at all for funny movies, once again. But Terry Zwigoff knows how to direct. He's pure talent this man. The film is a lesson in film. Stop screening Kieslowski in cinema schools. Teach movie-making with Zwigoff! The budget is low but each dime serves a laugh. Pure genius, too good for words.
La science des rêves (2006)
No imagination, the label is misleading
Gondry's film tries very hard to be poetic and uplifting. Alas the absence of story makes it a very boring movie. Young guy arrives in Paris from Mexico, a bit of a dreamer, wants a creative job, gets a boring job making calendars. Meets girl next door, falls in love, she does not respond. Eventually they kiss. The dream sequences are supposed to be impressive. The first three sequences are OK, although you have to adhere to the sixties hippie low budget "super 8" look. Then it becomes incredibly repetitive, the same cardboard stop-motion animation over and over again, with cotton bowls for clouds and cellophane for water. That's as poetic and imaginative as it ever gets. When the end credits finally roll, you're left wondering... was that an ending? Did I miss something? You didn't. Bernal and Chabat are very good, not much of a revelation.
Unbeatable Harold (2006)
Sweet and unusual romcom reminding of early Wenders and Lynch
I saw Unbeatable Harold at the ISIS theater in Aspen in March 2006 during the HBO festival. I enjoyed the film a lot. Nicole DeHuff is radiant. She reminded me of a David Lynch Mulholland drive type character. Imagine Naomi Watts from Lynch's film falling in love almost against her will with Wenders' Paris Texas Harry Dean Stanton: you get Unbeatable Harold. While this couple brings most of the emotions and the inspiration in the film, the assemble cast brings most of the fun: old timers like Durning and Winkler cross the path of younger actors like Taryn Manning of Hustle and Flow and Dylan McDermott, hilarious as a fallen rock star performing heavy metal covers of "The Greatest Love of All" on the Nevada "hotel" circuit... The film is a portrait of a series of American losers, of all ages and in all fields, filmed with great love and tenderness. After laughing at them, I started feeling for them and left the theater full of joy and understanding... I was shocked to read in the ending credits that the main actress Nicole DeHuff passed away after they filmed the film.
The Hot Chick (2002)
Brilliant hilarious teenage comedy
Rob Schneider is a comedy genius and he proves it in the Hot Chick: the way he imitates teenage girls throughout the film is just irresistible. The story is entertaining enough: a pompous teenage wannabe prom queen is unfortunate enough to cast a spell on herself while manipulating an ancient pair of earrings in an Antique shop. She's turned into a man during her sleep while the man is turned into her at the same time. The wake up call is hilarious. The girl discovering a man's sexuality and body from within is a very enjoyable moment. Then comes the traditional - but always welcome - mistaken identity jokes: her dad thinks she's the gardener and expands on his sex life problems... etc. Anna Faris as April is extremely good as usual. Not to be missed. You'll cry of laughter if you enjoy the genre. A masterpiece in its genre!
School of Life (2005)
Fantastic High school comedy with great tear jerking moments
School of life is just perfect: the acting is wonderful, the script has just the right mix of tears and laughter, the music is great, and the directing is outstanding (you don't notice it, you actually completely forget about it and follow the story and the characters, which is exactly what every director should try to achieve. If you notice the directing, the magic is gone, the film is bad). A high school biology teacher (comedy genius David Paymer) wants to be the best teacher of the year to honor the memory of his just deceased father. But here comes the coolest trendiest sexiest young teacher any high school has ever seen (Ryan Reynolds). And the old teacher's life is ruined: he goes literally mad! The story is told from the point of view of a 13 year old, the old teacher's son who happens to a-dore the young teacher, making his father's life miserable at home too. You may ask: does the teacher's wife sleep with the young teacher: no, she doesn't. This is a good film, remember. See it, you will love it.
Jeux d'enfants (2003)
Vulgar and phony wannabe Amelie
Yann Samuel and Antoine Roch the DOP have tried very hard to mimic Jeunet's 80s 90s style (green photography, digitally enhanced ultra-swift camera tracking etc...) which all came from the French TV advertising trendy aesthetics of the 80s. And achieved nothing but an irritating flick. Jeux d'Enfants contains nothing you have not seen before. You wish filmmakers had turned the page... No. The whole "stylish" shooting is so much in your face that it prevents you from following the ultra slim story line. The actors are good (Canet and Cotillard have proved elsewhere that they can act) so what's so wrong and phony about Jeux d'Enfants? You have to look towards the director, who must value photography and camera moves more than actor's direction. What about the script? As often these days, the concept is the whole thing (Open Water, Phone Booth etc...): short and easy to market. What about the spectator who's paid his ticket? Is there anything left for him? Like life, emotions, tears, joy, fear, laughter? Nope. He's been conned. The dialogs are not funny. They're actually incredibly sloppy and vulgar (an 8 year old girl saying "blow job" to her teacher is tasteless and not funny, if not completely unrealistic). The story is unbelievable, and the characters are heartless. No emotions, no depth, no fun. Sheer vulgarity. With color grading gone bad. A talentless caricature of wannabe trendy French cinema. Thank God there are films about youth like Billy Elliot who talk to one's heart, eyes, brains and soul...
Fin de curso (2005)
Teenage comedy with all the ingredients and more...
Fin de Curso aka "School's Out" is a teenage comedy which would be the equivalent of Loser, with Jordi Vilches in the part of Jason Biggs. It's well scripted, well directed and Jordi Vilches is amazing, as in all his movies (check out "Dos Tipos Duros"). Jordi Vilches is definitely a rising star of Spanish cinema and world comedy. The story line is bitter sweet: Jaime is the misfit, the loner, the loser in his school. His father is the local undertaker and his profession does not help Jaime's PR with the girls. Boys make fun of him and the girl he is deeply, madly in love with would not even consider talking to him... Until the teacher asks the class to decide on a destination for the school's year-end trip. Boys suggest Benidorm on the Spanish Riviera, kingdom of fun, parties and sex, whereas girls unanimously vote for a cultural trip to Paris. Jaime at last sees the opportunity he was waiting for: he lets the girls know he will vote for Paris too, thus possibly changing the outcome of the election in their favor... at certain conditions. The boys hear about it and fight to bring Jaime back to their camp. As Jaime becomes the center of everybody's attention, his life takes an unexpected turn... Photography is colorful, music rocks, the film is fast paced, the actors believable and funny, there are some steamy hot scenes (Jaime's fantasies are very hot) and some memorable and hilarious moments of gross-out humor which will rejoice the amateurs... The film is a spicy red hot pepper from Spain with sweet moments owing to the utterly lovable Jaime (Jordi Vilches).
Paris selon Moussa (2003)
A sweet comedy which turns sour... courtesy of the French police violence
A granddad from Guinea (Cheik Doukoure) travels to France to buy a water pump. The old Russian one is dead. He's on a tourist visa and carries all the villagers savings. He gets robbed upon arrival... he is desperate... he tries to find a job to earn the money back... and falls in the trap of illegal immigration... and has to face the terrible French anti immigration laws and police. On his journey to hell he meets several people who try to help him, and actually care (Elisabeth Vitali, Magloire, Vincent Mc Doom) including a Christian priest who tries to shelter him in his church... A very moving film which caused controversy in France, and was awarded the Humna rights award by the United Nations in 2003. For a reason...