Sylvain Richard's best ever films = (The Wall: Ben-Hur: The
Passion of the Christ: Wizard of OZ: Gone With the Wind: 13
Tzameti: This Island Earth: 2001 Space Odyssey: Modern Times:
Metropolis) 5 favourite directors = Alfred Hitchcock, Martin
Scorcese, Takashi Miiki, Oliver Stone and Woody Allen .
-- CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY,
Like a romance gone horribly bad best describes the relationship
between the American people and capitalism, a relationship
now characterized by abuse, enslavement and exploitation.
Film has all of what we have come to expect of post-modern
crusader Michael Moore in his satirical, unflinching pursuit
of the truth. "Capitalism" is the culmination
of 20 years of painstaking investigation and taking issue
with the inherent immorality of capitalism that began with
his ground breaking "Roger and Me."
-- JENNIFER'S BODY,
Practically every high school has one of each -- a sexy,
popular girl (Jennifer) desired by every boy, and a nerdy
plain jane (Needy). Devil's Kettle High School is no different.
Needy and Jennifer are "best of friends" since their days
in the sandbox. One night they go to a local tavern to hear
an indie pop band. A disasterous fire ensues, both escape;
Jennifer goes off with the band members. On her return she
has been transformed into a blood-thirsty, boy-eating demon.
Needy must do all she can to save the day. An above average
teenage angst, comedy-horror thriller from a promising director.
1.8 -- MEN FOR SALE,
A group of young males confide (over the course of year)
live on camera their day to day struggles to survive prostitution,
drugs and life in general. Film was a bit long, lacked personal
touch and failed to strike a chord of sympathy for these sex
-- A CARGO FOR AFRICA,
Buddy movie involving a man who wants to return to Africa
and a young troubled boy dealing with life. Man and boy
serve as each other`s bridge over troubled waters. Heart-warming
with the right touches of humour. Appropriately scored African
-- THE TIMEKEEPER,
A tale of good and evil involving a young man assigned to
be a timekeeper for The Great Slave Railway in 1964, presided
over by an iron-fisted, tyrranical foreman who is desperate
to complete the last 52 mile stretch of track in 52 days,
who doesn't hesitate to banish into the wild disaffected
workers who have broken the faith. The new man refuses to
play by the foreman's book as a battle for survival (over
evil) ensues. The film, destined to become a classic, is
magnificently enhanced by wilderness beauty of the Canadian
north, a bluesy-folk soundtrack and powerful performances.
Based on a novel novel by Trevor Ferguson.
-- LA FILLE DU RER,
Cinematic adaptatation of Jean-Marie Besset play R.E.R. which
is based on on what has been termed L'Affaire du RER D which
occured on the Paris, France metro system (R.E.R) on July
9th, 2004 whereby a young woman falsely claimed she had
been agressed. This caused a huge media fury that is still
generating shockwaves to this day. Film is divided into
two parts: the circumstances and the consequences. Film
fails to transmit the full impact of the incident socially
and mediadically. The editing was fragmented, script sloppy
and unimaginative. Performances were excellent.
An explosive cocktail of lewdness, duplicity and deception
when a lowly secretary (Leo Huff -- Luc Picard) convinces
his boss to allow him (in her Mercedes) to go to Bic National
Park to promote an engineering project. To get there, he has
to pose as engineer. Once there his life is totally turned
on end when he encounters Lou and her extremely jealous and
violent boyfriend Roch. Topnotch acting and georgeous oceanic
cinematography. Character developement and responses to situations
lacked credibilty. Flow was formulaic and all too predictable.
A blue collar comedy centering on the machinations of a culinary
flavour extract business. With an odd cast of characters,
director Mike Judge's challenge is imply an intelligent underpinning
to the film's funny ideas and situations without coming across
as banal or unserious. The result is mixed: at once joyful
and entertaining but without depth.
A sorority prank goes horribly wrong when one of the six
"sisters" of Theta Pi is inadvertently murdered. To protect
their futures and their reputations, the remaining five decide
to cover up the mis-dead. Easier said than done. Later at
their graduation a mysterious killer goes after them. An all
too predictable slasher flic.
-- COCO AVANT CHANEL,
Beautifully executed biopic of Gabriel "Coco" Chanel (1883
- 1971; Audrey Tautou) that concentrates on her rise from
the depths of provincial poverty to her early days as a
cabaret singer (with her sister), and ends as she becomes
a legendary symbol of high fashion. Film focuses on her
life from the moment she enters the orphanage (1893) to
the period of the two major men in her life: Etiene Balsan
(Benoit Poelvoorde), her protector who opened her eyes;
and Arthur "Boy" Capel (Alessandro Nivola), who opened her
heart. As biopic, doesn't quite rank with "Seraphine"
by Martin Provost.
-- IN THE
Hilarious political satire set on both sides of
the Atlantic that begins with a verbal snafu by a British goverment
minister and snowballs into an international affair. Raucous and razor
sharp script that features an alternately venomous and mellifluous barrage of word
play not seen since the heyday of screwball comedy. Pokes fun at the
absurdity and ineptitude found in the "hallowed" corridors of government. Note: stay till the end of the final
Latest from the master of pulp: "fairy-tale"
vision of WWII -- a what-if the Jews of occupied France fought and
took revenge on the Nazis -- Apache style. Typical Tarantino in its
ultraviolence, excellent production values, interracial
cast, meticulous attention to historical detail, costumes and makeup. Film pays homage to earlier
classics -- Chabrol, Leone and others: specifically to Enzo Castellari's
1978 film of similar name "Inglorious Bastards."
-- ADAM, Max Mayer
romantic comedy. Beth, a young school teacher and aspiring
author of children's books, develops a seemingly unlikely
romantic attraction for Adam, a 29 year old who suffers
from Asperger's syndrome (a form of autism that manifests
itself in a lack of social skills). The film's occasional
awkwardness creates an endearing and charming style of humour
while at the same time sensitizes audiences to the plight
of individuals who don't quite "fit in," despite their social
relevance. Ranks lower than "Paper Heart" but higher than
"500 Days of Summer."
-- PONYO, Hayao Miyazaki
from Japan's Studio Ghibli. Animation about a fish-girl,
who, after escaping from her father -- a sea wizard -- and
being rescued by a five year old boy, wants to become human.
Exquisitely detailed. Judging by audience reaction, this
is destined to become a multi-generational family classic
(as with Wizard of Oz).
-- THE TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE, Robert Schwentke
that plays out in the vagaries of transcendental time. Claire
(Rachel McAdams) meets Henry ( Eric Bana) in a meadow behind
her home when she is six years old. Henry has a genetic
anomaly that causes him to travel back and forth through
time. If you are expecting a science-fiction drama with
a romantic touch you will be sadly disappointed. This is
purely romantic -- a kind of modern fairy tale where young
girl meets her prince charming. "The Lake House" by Alejandro
Agresti is far superior. Temporal issues poorly handled,
emotional impact of inherent paradoxes not carried through.
Good casting and excellent performances throughout.
-- LES DOIGTS CROCHES (STICKY FINGERS),
Comedy set in the 1960s. Six buddies from an impoverished
sector of Montreal (Faubourg-à-M'lass) attempt to
commit "the robbery of the century" -- of two million dollars.
They get caught but one escapes with the money. Upon their
release two years later, the five learn that in order to
retrieve their share they need to do the 839 km. pilgrimmage
to Santiago de Compostela (Spain), and more importantly
they need to clearly show that they have changed: easier
said than done. The main cast includes the "cream of the
crop" of Quebec actors : Roy Dupuis, Patrice Robitaille,
Claude Legault, Paulo Noel and Jean-Pierre Bergeron -- and
they deliver. Has moments where I began to desingage but
was always drawn back. Director's first film as director,
who previously wrote the screenplay for "Maurice Richard."
Delightful musical comedy centering on a career woman who
is hard, haughty and racist. One day she is diagnosed with
Addison's desease -- a rare condition by which ones skin pimentation
changes colour (i.e. she will turn black -- allusions to Michael
Jackson, but in reverse). Director wanted to tackle a very
serious subject in a light and funny way -- and succeeds.
Shows that one can be racist and not even be aware of it and
in the most suble of ways, often holding fast to foundationless
concepts that will crumble in the face of overwhelming evidence.
A charming, unique, innovative and original take for a ``romantic
comedy`` containing three major elements: (1) Documentary
-- Charlene Yi does not believe in fairytale or Hollywood
mythology of love so she sets out on a trek (along with her
director played by Jake Johnson) across America to inquire
"What is love?" (2) Narrative -- along the way she meets Michael
Cera and a certain chemical attraction develops. (3) Puppetry
-- recreates stories in place of routine talking head and
still images. Totally realistic with every piece fitting together
3.4 -- THE PERFECT GETAWAY,
Survival thriller with the theme "paradise gone bad."
Set on the lush island of Kauai, Hawaii, three couples are
hiking the secluded and remote 11 mile trail from Ke'e Beach
to Kalalau Valley. News circulates that there is a killer
serial couple on the island tracking and eliminating its victims
(à la Natural Born Killers). All three couples suspect the others.
Who is guilty? All show suspect behaviour and innocence. Previously
directed Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick and wrote the
screenplays for The Fugitive and G.I. Jane.
2.4 -- WHATEVER WORKS,
Allen returns to New York City with this delightful yet at
times irritating romantic comedy. Boris, world class grouch
and self proclaimed genius (Larry David), developes an unlikely
relationship with Melodie (Evan Rachel
Wood), a teen runaway from Eden, Mississippi.
Despite having nothing in common, a chemistry (predictably)
develops. In Larry David, Woody Allen has found a perfect
sub for his brand of neurosis fueled humour. Script and editing
a bit choppy.
-- THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE,
Social drama set in October 2008 about an upscale Manhattan
call girl who offers her clients a simulation of a full romantic
relationship -- the "girlfriend experience." Interesting premise
presented in an unengaging, monotone manner.
Gondry, Carax and Joon-Ho
Three part urban theatre fantasy (same genre as New York
Stories and Paris Je t'aime) poses the question,"Does man
define the city or does the city define the man?" An
entertaining look into the heart and soul of Tokyo.
LIMITS OF CONTROL,
Existential account of a mysterious loner assigned to do
a "job" that is outside the law. Thus, begins a voyage that
take him across Spain; a voyage that is repetitively dreamlike.
The protagonist crosses paths with similarly nameless characters,
many of whom are played by internationally known stars in
cameo appearances. Limits of Control, which follows Broken
Flowers, is an engaging film that requires full attention
to catch the subtlest of clues that are at best parsimoniously
offered. Excellent score by Boris.
THREE MONKEYS, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
A drama showing how past indiscretions and hidden secrets
back to haunt and even destroy us. A well thought out idea
undermined by weak editing. Good performances throughout.
RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, Jonathan Demme
Dysfunctional family comedy drama. Excellent performances.
Good music by Robyn Hitchcock.
Reorchestration of "12 Angry Men." Many elements make this
distinctly Russian/Chechen. Its unfolding & logic of the
dialogue logic (as with original) kept me glued to my seat,
attentive to every word. Unfortunately subtitles were a
bit hard to read.
OF TIME AND THE CITY, Terrence Davis
recollection and ode to the city of Liverpool. Madden's
"My Winnipeg" more compelling.
GOMORRA, Matteo Garrone
Based on monumental study of Camarra Mafia in Naples. Overly
complicated which doesn't detract from the larger message.
Closer to Day to Day than Godfather or Scarface. Locations
and actors well chosen.
Brutally realistic "arthouse" historical essay on the 1981
Maze Prison hunger strike in Belfast. Some of the sequences
were hard to follow due to editing & heavy Irish accents.
WENDY & LUCY,
Lost girl Wendy, accompanied by her dog Lucy, get bogged
down in a small Oregon town. Despite fine acting performance
and credible script, I just couldn't identify.
2.2 -- I KILLED MY MOTHER (J'AI TUE MA
A depiction of a "love/hate" relationship between a mother
and her 16-year old gay son. Also a coming of age story.
I found too many of the scenes in this "adrenalin adulterated"
film unnervingly exaggerated. Nonetheless ( attributed to
immaturity), a director/actor with major potential.