Archive for the ‘France’ Category

It starts off really good, this crime thriller set in Cairo. The plot is intriguing. The introduction to the story and its characters is told by images rather than by words. The mood is dark. The setting is, well not really exotic, but different and thus exciting. But somewhere halfway through the story it becomes less appealing. There’s repetition. There’s no suspense. The direction is less inspiring. The acting is still good though. And there’s anticipation until the end about how the revolution of 2011 will be presented.

That Fares Fares is doing a fine job as the troubled good cop/bad cop who needs to solve a murder committed in a hotel room. A starlet is killed and there’s a housemaid who’s seen the killer. But instead of looking for the housemaid, the detective has a different trace that leads him to a network of prostitutes who seduce rich men, frame them and then blackmail them…

It’s heralded as a film noir. Which is understandable. The cops are depicted as a bunch of corrupt, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, territory claiming gang of scumbags. They’re not roaming the streets of LA, but of Cairo. And the housemaids aren’t poor Mexican immigrants, but poor Sudanese immigrants. They all talk (shout) in Arab instead of English and the events occur during a rising revolution against the corrupt powers that be. It’s not the LA riots for a change. At one point the movie feels like an episode of a Scandinavian detective series. And guess what? The director happens to be from Sweden. Okay, he has Egyptian roots. But still.

The movie has a lot of potential, but the story is weak and unoriginal. Too bad. I’m sure it won’t be shown in Egypt.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5540188

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Au Revoir Là-Haut – **(*)

Posted: November 5, 2017 in 2017, Dramedy, France, WW1, XX1/2

Well directed, well filmed, well acted.

Yet somehow, the story isn’t quite as gripping as you want it to be.

An artist son of a rich businessman is sent to war and gets wounded days before the armistice. The lower part of his face is totally destroyed. He needs a daily dose of morphine, can’t speak and can’t eat properly. So far the sad part. He asks his soldier friend to fake his death and takes on the identity of another (dead) soldier. Life goes on, he becomes a great graphic illustrator wearing self-made masks and comes up with a fraudulent scheme to make a lot of money and leave France for good.

It’s quite an adventurous dramedy. It’s a multi layered story and the pace and action make it a fast ride. There’s a lot of drama, but the humor makes it light-hearted. In fact the humor makes the movie quite unique. It’s pretty dark (for a french movie). There are quite a lot of funny moments relating to dying and death and disrespect to the deceased. It’s not to everyone’s taste.

It’s visually spectacular. The historical setting is spot on. The war scenes in the beginning are Spielberg-esque. The masked moments are magical. It’s one to watch in the cinemas.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5258850

Demain (Tomorrow) – **

Posted: November 5, 2017 in 2015, Documentary, France, XX

This documentary was a box office hit in France and got no attention in the US. Understandably. It’s a documentary produced by some French people who travel the world looking for alternatives to all kinds of issues that we are experiencing right now and are terrifying for the future. They do visit places like San Francisco and Detroit and even the windmills in Texas are mentioned, but it’s a movie about global issues and when people can choose between The Avengers and a lecturing documentary the choice is easily made.

It’s sad though, because it’s not a bad documentary at all. It’s an easy and soft approach and the lecturing is pretty limited. It’s quite a positive and uplifting documentary. It doesn’t make you feel like the planet is doomed, so it’s easier to appreciate the shown alternatives.

Too bad the directors didn’t stick to just one issue. The start is quite fascinating. Urban agriculture as opposed to mass agriculture. The projects of reducing the use of fuel in our societies are also intriguing. But then it starts off talking about alternatives in politics, democracy, education and that’s just a bit too much. Interesting, sure, but it’s like they tickle the subject and not tackle them.

Worth the watch.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4449576

Long Distance Flight Movie #6

Heard people around me laugh while watching Raid Dingue, a French comedy by the guy who made Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis. Not sure why they laughed so much. Yes, it’s a comedy. But the jokes lack subtilty. And are very repetitive. And most of them don’t work. The daughter of the minister of interior has one ambition: to become a member of the national special force unit. She’s stupid though and clumsy, tactless and stubborn. But she is the daughter of a minister and gets admitted to the boot camp. She’s assigned to an experienced officer who wants to get rid of her as soon as possible. Of course, they end up liking each other. And she will turn out not to be that clumsy and stupid. But before that happens, there’s a seemingly endless series of scenes alternating from very bad to kind of funny. Sure, there are some laugh out loud moments, but unfortunately they are rare.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5736696

La Fille De Monaco – *

Posted: July 30, 2017 in 2008, Drama, France, Romance, Thriller, X

A lawyer receives protection from a body guard, sent by the son of his client in a murder case. It takes a while, but after a few days there is a connection between both men who like each other’s company.  And just when you think the story will evolve into a gay romantic adventure in Monte Carlo, a young fresh actress appears on screen who steals the heart of everyone. She has her eye set on the lawyer, but dated the bodyguard in the past…

Intriguing plot synopsis.

Poor execution.

Roschdy Zem (the bodyguard) is quite impressive, as always, but he looks lost in the bizarre dialogues and the crazy story that leads to nothing good at all. This was probably set up as a mix between a romantic comedy and crime thriller, but there’s is no romance, no comedy, no crime and no thrilling element….

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1139800

 

Patients is a quite a unique movie experience about a young man who is paralyzed after a silly diving incident in the swimming pool and tries to live with the fact that he’ll never be a professional basketball player or physical trainer anymore . The synopsis may not be all that appealing, but go see it anyways. It’s really well done.What makes the experience great (and appealing for a different kind of crowd that usually watches ‘disease of the week’ movies) is the storytelling. It’s not politically correct, it’s not sensitive, it’s not overdramatizing… It’s just very real. It also has a lot of humor as well (even though the references and jokes get lost in translation). And it’s filled with great tracks ranging from modern instrumental tunes to heartfelt rap.  Because of its multicultural cast, it may appeal to an audience that normally can’t relate to stories of disabled people. Just because in general they are always white. The main character in this movie is also white, but the rehabilitation centre that he stays at is very bbb (beur black blanc – north african, black, white). It’s sad that anno 2017 you notice this difference to other movies about disabled characters. But it makes it intriguing as well. The acting is very good. Especially by Pablo Pauly in the lead role. The topic is delivered in the most truthful way. The situations are real. The directing is brilliant. There are quite some original shots. The scenes are edited extremely well, especially during the musical intervals. In fact, this is great cinema. A must.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5598100

Based on an autographical book from the seventies, Un Sac De Billes tells the story of the Jewish family Joffo (and in particular the youngest sons Joseph and Maurice) during the Second World War. The family has a popular barber shop in occupied Paris and even has German officers as clients. But when Jewish people need to start wearing a yellow badge, the family decides to flee to unoccupied southern France. Not as one family, but split up. It’s quite a journey, but they make it to Nice, which is in the unoccupied zone and under surveillance of the more moderate Italians soldiers. Until Mussolini is disposed and the nazis come marching in and the family has to flee again.

This classical tearjerker is made for kids. They are the central characters and all focus is on them. It’s adventurous at times and there are some funny scenes too. But it also has some harsh moments that may not be suitable for kids (there is an execution by firing squad f.i.). The movie theatre was filled with adults though, a lot of seniors even. And almost everyone was sobbing. It’s not as good as Au Revoir Les Enfants, but it’s worth the watch. The period setting is praiseworthy and it’s not all that moralizing and pretty factual. The kids’ performances are good. But it’s in the supporting roles dat you see talented actors like Patrick Bruel or Christian Clavier shine.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5091612