A CHRISTMAS TALE,
Complex Altmanesque drama of a dysfunctional family reuniting
for the holidays in order to attend to the matriarch's need
for a bone marrow transplant. Top notch performances all around.
Subtle humour abounds in this tragic tale. Eclectic score
perfectly captures the many moods of this fine film. Editing
a bit confusing at times.
MARK OF AN ANGEL,
Psychological thriller on the theme "This child is mine."
Potentially compelling performances yet predictable & lacking
Office romance VS career advancement in a prestigious law
firm. Told from two parallel scenarios depending on "who got
promoted." Fine performances, timely humour, but confusing
LA VIE D'ARTISTE,
Three intersecting storylines -- three aspiring artists (
singer, writer & actress) seeking their big break. Uneven
comedy backed by nifty jazz score from Archie Shepp. Thoroughly
entertaining, well scripted. Hilarius moments, especially
the satarized fantasy memory of Hitler being killed in his
sleep by the leading character.
TWO LIVES PLUS ONE,
A woman in mid-life crisis trying to break free in this Woody
Allenesque family comedy. Somewhat uneven but enjoyable.
BENEATH THE ROOF TOPS OF PARIS,
Slow paced "passage of time" human drama showing the decline
& loneliness that result from old age. If you stay the course,
the story and its characters will thoroughly engage. A touching,
affecting film that scales the heights of poetry.
Parisien take on "Lies my Father Told Me." Well acted but
music score lacked presence.
Human drama about family ties and legacy. Three adult siblings
must deal with the death of their mother & the division of
her valuable assets. Fine performances not enough to overcome
the gaping holes in final edit.
Complex action comedy involving a sting operation, not unlike
"Oceans 11," and multiple back stabbings/betrayals,
as in "Ronin." Complexity & multitude of characters
made this hard to follow, but in the end what mattered was
that I enjoyed watching.
Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Social drama exposing the vulnerabilty of immigrants & the
traps they can fall into while pursuing their dreams in their
new land. Excellent performances, sometimes brilliant script.
Father leading a simple life gets caught up in a web of conspiracy
with the pharmaceutical industry following the death of his
son. Strong beginning gets muddled up in confusing detail.
Typical French farce about unhappy couples, their affairs
& entanglements. Sympathetic jazz score helps this snappy,
ironic comedy stay afloat.
Post WWII drama dealing with the silence of holocaust survivors
& its effects on their children & grand children. A well crafted,
Social drama of an aging woman, losing her memory, who lives
in the past. Though substantive and delightful, it's not as
engaging as "Away from Her" & "Who are You."
for 2007 Cinemania Festival Ratings.
Modern western set in small town near Marseille. An entertaining
and enjoyable action-detective thriller about a tough, stoical
cop sent to a soon-to-be decommissioned police station.
Unlike most films in the genre which are all too predictable,
this offers several layers of meaning.
THE VANISHING POINT,
Laurent de Bartillat
An elegant and aesthetically memorable film centering
on a young art history student convinced that the works
of 18th century painter Jean-Antoine Watteau conceal never
revealed secrets. More intellectual than "Da Vinci Code."
Stellar performances. Intrigue augmented by score.
An exuberant crowd of over 400 pre-adolescent 10-12-yr.
olds attended this rare screening of a little known gem
of Quebec cinema. Relesed in 1999 & set in a small Quebec
town in the winter of 1966-67, the film recounts the rite
of passage of a 12-year old boy from childhood to adolescence.
A bitter-sweet comedy.
A biopic of Misha Defonsca, who as an 8-yr. old during
WW2 traversed 3,000 km from Begium to Ukraine, thru Germany
& Poland in search of her parents. Haunting harp led score,
beautiful cinematography; rapport between the girl & the
wolf pack she encounters during her odyssey contribute
to the fairy tale aspect of this a tale of epic proportions.
Set & shot in Senegal. Young man yearning to immigrate
to Europe leads an expedition deep into the heart of
ancient tribal lands to collect a rare Fetish statue
in exchange for a visa. Personalities weren't particularly
A POLICE ROMANCE,
Unfocused police drama involving a newly assigned trainee
in a tough neighbourhood in Paris where a major drug
operation is taking place. Sexual tensions arise between
him & the lieutenent. Despite credible performances,
novice director's efforts were undone by meandering
script and questionable editing.
Warm, compassionate & convincing social drama about
2 elderly strong-willed women (one Jewish, the other
Muslim) developing an unlikely friendship. Fine performances
by non-professional actors make the strong case that
an open mind can triumph over prejudice.
A dark & seductive thriller about a retired cop with
the beginnings of Alzheimers, who is sent to a secluded
residence. All too frequent deaths lead him to begin
an investigation. Imbued with humour & suspense. Good
performances from both the leads & supporting roles.
Conclusion a little unclear.
LET IT RAIN,
Thoroughly amusing family comedy involving a feminist
& newly engaged politician returning to family cottage
in the south of France to help her sister put her late
mother's affairs in order. Meanwhile she agrees to have
a documentary film made of her. A comedy of "ironies"
Crime comedy involving an armed robbery at the local
stadium during a big game. Storyline told from 3 perspectives:
the mother, the father & the daughter. What originally
was perceived as an ideal family descends into greed,
lies & duplicity once the duffle containing the money
is found. Shades of Claude Chabrol.
Drama about a man who becomes intrigued with an old
house being put for sale at auction; he becomes involved
with one of the two sisters who grew up in the house.
Shallow & aimless effort somewhat saved by haunting
melodies of Lhasa de Sala & autumnal lighting & cinematography.
TONIGHT I'LL SLEEP AT YOURS,
Romantic comedy about a man who will go to absurd lengths
to avoid commitment towards his girlfriend. Slapstick
sequences remind one of romantic comedies of the 30s,
40s & 50s.
A heart warming tale of a homeless mother of a 5-year
old boy who leaves him with a vagabond who lives in
a hut near a famous castle. The two develop a special
bond. This film bares tragic witness to those who
find themselves outside mainstream society.
THE MAIDEN AND THE WOLVES,
in the Alps at the end of WW1 about a young, beautiful
& strong willed woman determined to become the first
female veternarian. Sweeping lush score; majestic
scenery & georgeously filmed animal sequences. An
adventure for the whole family.
THE FEELINGS FACTORY,
An attractive & successful notary seaching for true
love. It begins as a comedy, morphs into drama which
then tries to become a thriller. In the end meaningless.
THE GIRL FROM MONACO,
Delightful comedy about 3 wildly divergent characters
coming together with explosive consequences. A brilliant,
successful lawyer, his athletic, loyal & "keep it
simple" body guard find their worlds turned upside
down when a sexy, bubbly & "to the point" weather
girl enters their lives. Beautifully shot in Monaco.
A risky change of tone 3/4s into the film is well
executed. Certain sequences could have been left out
& others fleshed out.