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Je suis à toi (2014)
euro love quadrangle
"All Yours" begins with some pretty graphic sex scenes, which seems to be our lead Lucas advertising his goods. Nahuel Biscayart is Lucas, a hustler, willing to go where the customer wants. He moves in with a quirky, roly poly baker "Henry" (Jean-Michel Balthazar), but it's a rocky start. As expected, Lucas is a sketchy character, and plays the typical games with his friend/keeper/client/boyfriend. They speak a fun mix of English and french, which works fine if you speak some french. It's certainly a study of human relationships... as well as one long health code violation. The story takes a turn when Lucas starts dating Audrey, who also works in the bakery. He wants it all -- his only income is from doing what hustlers do best, so he's still doing "that"... for the money. Gets pretty serious in the last 30 minutes. Good story development, good acting. No plot holes. enjoyable, overall. Written and directed by David Lambert; not much info about him anywhere. Showing on netflix.
Challenge the Wilderness (1951)
debbie reynolds pushes Westward the Women
Dry and droll. This shortie from MGM talks about the challenges of filming a movie out in the middle of nowhere. Highlighting the stars and their antics, Debbie Reynolds narrates as we see the transport trucks and the actors, cameras, and boom equipment move around in the hot desert. The weird thing is that Reynolds wasn't even in the movie being highlighted... I guess they were just using her to narrate, as she was just getting started with the studio. They show Robert Taylor, clowning around, and the difficulties of communicating in very large outdoor locations. Thank goodness the film Westward the Women is actually a lot more interesting than this. Watch the film being highlighted but skip this little shortie. They show "Westward" on Turner Classics pretty often. A real adventure film.
Jimmy P. (2013)
native American comes home from war en France
I've always enjoyed and believed Benicio Del Toro in the roles he plays. Here, he plays a very careful, methodical Native American, Jimmy Picard,who has clearly been affected by his military service. When the "regular" doctors don't know what to make of him, he is examined by a Mojave Indian Georges Devereux (Mathieu Amalric), who may or may not be who he claims to be. They spend a lot of time showing and examining dreams. This makes sense, since dreams play such a large part of both the Native American and the psychology culture. At 117 minutes, it IS pretty long. But it's certainly entertaining; a mix of Native American culture and the psychology. You can make what you want out of the dreams, but each one is its own little story. Directed by Frenchman Arnaud Desplechin. This is currently showing on netflix. I'd like to see some of his other projects.
Camera Sleuth (1951)
an Okay Pete Smith shortie from MGM
Another chapter in the Pete Smith shorties from Metro Goldwyn. In this one, we watch Jo Goggin as he follows a guy around trying to catch him at insurance fraud. It's a quick little ten minute story. Very predictable ending. It appears to be a re-enactment of an actual possible court case where cameraman Goggin is hired by the insurance company to catch the perp doing physical activity that he shouldn't be able to do. Rawtha dry and straight-forward. This seems to be the only screen work that Goggin ever did. John Miljan plays the perp; he had over 200 roles, about half of which were in the silents. Has a page in wikipedia, but not much info there. Directed by Dave O'Brien... he acted and directed a zillion shorties. It's OK. Catch it between films on Turner Classics.
Tokyo Fiancée (2014)
Spoilers --destiny plays a hand for a couple from different lands
Amelie (Pauline Etienne) returns to Japan after many years of being away. Everyone speaks very fast! Such energy. Amelie even speaks of the energy and happiness she feels. Right off, I notice the neat, organized gardens, even at the houses near the train tracks. She starts teaching French to a rich Japanese boy "Rinri", played by Taichi Inoue. Although he seems to know just as much francais as she does. My first thought was: rich kid hires a tutor to find a girlfriend. Was kind of fun to hear the mix of Japanese and French, as they meet up with Rinri's friends. We also see all the fun Japanese gadgets, and the dekotora. Funny scene of the old man singing over the transit trains... where no-one will be disturbed. They could have left out the scene where Amelie sings her corny "happy" song. Beautiful scenes of the Japanese countryside when she goes hiking. The whole length of the film, we are wondering, as Amelie is wondering, "Where is this going?" It got a bit confusing. At first, the flashes into her mind are amusing, but sometimes its difficult to know what is real and what she is thinking in her mind. Fine performances by Etienne and Inoue. This was the first and only film for Inoue so far, but Etienne has done many. Directed by Stefan Liberski, who has worked in films for many years. Story by Amélie Nothomb... note that this is also the name of our lead. Wonder if this is also her story. Sad ending. Clearly the relationship went the way that the author wanted (or experienced in real life) or she could have taken steps to keep the relationship alive. This received such (un-deserved) low ratings on netflix. It's not bad. Pretty good.
story of porn star Mary Millington
Dexter Fletcher tells the story of Mary Millington, War time baby, turned British porn star in the 1970s. All kinds of nudity. both male and female. Born and raised in "Dorking" (of course). the irony of the town name. Life history and information provided by David Sullivan and Trevor Crook, her purported lovers. Was married to Robert Maxted for 15 years. Documentary shows very explicit intercourse... definitely for adults only! Lots of vintage film from London. They show it all. They also spend a considerable amount of time on Mary Whitehouse, leader of the Christian anti-porn group, who kept trying to shut her down. Sadly, Millington had tax troubles, and overdosed on meds and alcohol at age 33. Written and directed by Simon Sheridan, his one big project to date. Interesting story of what was occurring in Britain about the same time as things like the Playboy Clubs were happening in the United States. Showing on netflix.
The Expert (1932)
Old and young learn from each other
Dickie Moore and Chic Sale star in this very well restored film from 1932. The picture quality and the sound quality are excellent. Sale is Grandpa Minick, who goes to live with his son, and it's not working out so well. Minick makes friends with the little hoodlum from next door, and they teach each other various life lessons. Louise Beavers is in here as the maid... you'll recognize her from "Imitation of Life" with Claudette Colbert. The characters are all like-able, so it's fun to watch. Chic Sale has a fun story on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_"Chic"_Sale . Apparently his specialty was to dress up and act the part of a country bumpkin. Wrote several books as well. Dickie Moore started in films as a baby, and was a member of "Our Gang" for a while. Fun film. Moves right along. Quick, plain, simple story, so don't look too deeply into the plot.
Mikra Anglia (2013)
Greek epic story of love found... and lost
Dramatic, angry, cold ocean scene with the waves crashing. We're told right at the beginning that it's 1930. Greek chick "Orsa" loves local dude Spyros, because he's NOT a captain, and therefore he won't be lost at sea as so many others have been. Unfortunately, her mother has other plans. She marries a "Captain", and it's pretty much all sad and mournful from there on out. And to make matters worse, her younger sister "Moscha" ends up marrying Spyros, the guy she wanted to marry. A Jane Austen drama. Anyhoo. BEAUTIFUL outdoor scenery of Greece. Of course, with World War II looming, the men folk all head off to war, and we know that one of the husbands will soon be knocked off.... but which one ? and which secrets will come out? The secrets DO come out and there is bad blood between the sisters. Kind of goes on and on. Bland and bleak. Needed some humor or something to zing it up. Although it DID win a bunch of awards at the various film festivals. Written by Ioanna Karystiani. Directed by Pantelis Voulgaris, who had been working in films since the 1960s. Everything is very well done, its just a very long, serious story. Two hours.
Notre paradis (2011)
mixed reviews for this Morel project
SPOILERS Pretty violent beginning. Aging male prostitute Vassili (Stephane Rideau) commits a murder, then goes back out on the street, where he meets the much-younger Angelo. Dimitri Durdaine is "Angelo', who has just been beaten up and left in the bushes. Vassili brings Angelo home and looks after him, but then the story gets very dark. Vassili has anger issues, and it always leads to violence. The apartment is dark. The night is dark. But they both can't decide what they really want. Other people (guys and girls) come and go, and they talk about breaking up but they don't. They stick together; it gets even more violent. I get it that the business of prostitution probably DOES come with a certain amount of violence and danger, but this really was more violence than I needed to see. Right at the halfway mark, we are introduced to a mom and little boy, and the story kind of takes a left turn. The girl seems to be Vassili's old friend? wife? I liked the meandering storyline, but this would have been so much better without all the violence. One complaint I have was the translation for the French language. they left many details un-translated. unless you know some francais, you will miss a few things here and there. Written and directed by Gael Morel. I have seen and loved some of his earlier films. Elements of the film were great, but there's just WAY too much violence in this one for me. Beautiful scenes of France, both in the city and in the countryside.
All About E (2015)
road trip caper.... down undah
SPOILERS "E" (Mandahla Rose) is a DJ down oondah in Australia, and when she accidentally takes her boss's bag of money, it turns her life upside down. She loses her girlfriend Trish (Julia Billington), and freaks out her own parents by telling them they must go on holiday so her boss doesn't harm them. Her gay manager Matt (Brett Rogers) is also her best friend, but even that relationship is on the rocks. With all this going on, E and Matt hit the road with the stolen money, and hope for the best. So many bad decisions. Great outdoor scenery shots of the hot, dry, outback of Australia. You really feel the hot air and parched earth. Written and directed by Lousie Wadley, of Girls Own Productions, which you can read about here www.girlsown.com/about/ . Good story, fine acting performances by all. Lots of mournful clarinet music throughout, since E used to play the clarinet - an ongoing theme. The title was a little confusing, and that may have been intentional; i wasn't sure if it was a reference to ecstasy, or maybe a parody of All About Eve. it's neither one. An upbeat ending, which was nice. Story was a little far-fetched... would someone really put their own life, and the lives of her parental units in such danger when the solution to all this could have been reached much earlier? maybe. still interesting to watch.