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Under the Skin (2013)
Best film of 2014!
By far my favourite 2014 film. It kept me captivated from beginning to end. I'm not sure what I liked best about this film. The carefully framed shots, the eerie atmosphere it creates, the ambiguity of its main character. While I'll admit it's certainly not a movie for everyone (the pacing is slow, the plot twists are coded and the meaning is not explicit) I absolutely enjoyed watching Scarlett Johansson's character discovering a new world with the same awe I had watching the film!
Pretty much everything (from best to worst) has been written in other comments, but if you like beautifully shot movies with deep philosophical questions, like Kubrick use to do, please give Under the Skin a chance!
L'inconnu du lac (2013)
Amazing piece of filmmaking!
Not much to add to the other comments made here, but I'll say that this film was pretty fantastic! It offers a keen inside view of the gay community living and cruising around the lake of the title. All the characters are dead on: the cute guy, the old queens, the pervert etc. with no judgment whatsoever. The pacing can seem long to some, but I quite enjoyed the repetitive installation shots. It mirrored the compulsive visits to the lake the hero makes, in hopes of finding love, even if he himself knows it's a futile quest.
"L'inconnu du lac" screened at the FNC (Festival du Nouveau Cinema) a few weeks ago, where I saw "Interior. Leather Bar." (the James Franco and Travis Mathews doc). I couldn't help but see a connection with some of the stuff Franco discussed. Our objections to porn and graphic sex are mostly constructed by society rather than rooted in any inherently moral reasons. The sex scenes in "L'inconnu du lac" are very graphic but never gratuitous. They expose the mal de vivre of the gay men who visit this beautiful lake better than words could.
L'oeil de l'astronome (2012)
A movie about the scientific method!
Very instructive film. I knew little about Kepler before sitting down at this screening, and now I know much more! Who knew that spending 10 nights looking into a telescope could be so exciting!
Still, the film feels too much like a play. On screen, the actors come in and out around Kepler as they would on a stage. The director, before the projection, warned us that he tried to avoid resorting to the usual tricks of storytelling in film with this project. No love interest, no jokes, no drama other than the drama of scientific exploration!
In that respect I suppose he achieved his goal, but as public we feel a bit shortchanged.
Srpski film (2010)
Thank you fantasia for bringing this movie to Montreal!
Just saw it tonight and it was worth my time. I wasn't so much grossed out (sure, it's gory enough but with all the hype around it my expectations were pretty high) as I was appalled by some of the scenes! Won't say more, but just when I thought I'd gotten what the hype was all about it pushed the envelope just a little bit further! Awesome!
On top of being a pretty good horror movie, it also is a film that makes you think. There's all kinds of parallels to be made with war crimes, modern society and dealing with our demons within. I thought it was brilliant! Not perfect, but brilliant!
Dédé, à travers les brumes (2009)
A Great Biopic but...
I liked this film, very touching, yet I have a few reservations. But Sébastien Ricard is really terrific as Dédé. I'm always very critical of details (the beginning is too slow, some shots are ugly and should have been left out, Ricard can't ski, etc.) but overall it does not hinder my appreciation of the whole. The music is what makes this movie work so well. Being about a musician, I suppose it's the least we should expect, but in this case it really takes us on an emotional trip and forces a new understanding of lyrics and melodies the fans of Les Colocs have heard countless times before.
I'm just a bit disappointed because it could have been so much more powerful had the editing been tighter, some dialogues reworked or omitted. There are moments of pure cinematographic poetry in this film. It is reminiscent of Jean-Claude Lauzon at times. But this crazy touch is quickly put aside (safe for a scene at the hospital) for no apparent reasons. I'm happy with the overall result, but also a bit sad that I didn't get to see the film it could have been, given that all the ingredients were obviously there!
Please run see this film!
I cannot say enough how overdue and how perfectly balanced this film is. It will hit you like a ton of brick, and you will not see the world the same ever, and it's a good thing! Polytechnique sucks you in and makes you not the voyeur of a gory violent spectacle, but the helpless witness of your own rape. The script of this film is absolutely brilliant, and the masterful editing takes you on a journey right on the cusp of the abyss but instead of leaving you there, takes you away and lets you make your own mind.
To think that the events on which this film is based really happened (I was an engineering student in 1989) is bone-chilling. But to realize, as the film so strongly suggests, that you can survive hell and live to be a strong and beautiful soul, that you can refuse to surrender to the horror some believe to be the only solution to life's contradictions is a lesson we can all learn from.
Despite all apprehensions and negative comments we're heard or read since this movie became a project many years ago, this film is first and foremost about hope.
The Safety of Objects (2001)
Wonderful portraits of simple people with simple lives. Yet, as the movie progresses, we find turmoil beneath the quiet facades of these neighbours. The movie is reminiscent of "American Beauty" but also, surprisingly, of Todd Solondz's "Happiness". Perhaps it is the setting (the suburbs) and theme (the dysfunctional families) of these titles that brings to mind this connection. In any case, "Safety of Objects" is not a cynical or an overtly political movie. Instead, it focuses on the emotions, softly making its point.
A film as horrible and beautiful as life itself
Although not a masterpiece, this movie comes close to being brilliant. The simplicity of the story makes it all the more difficult to bear, which might explain why so many people misunderstood its purpose.
This movie isn't for everyone. It is troubling, disturbing and demands a lot of emotional commitment from its viewers. But "Irreversible" is not pure violence. True, it is violent both morally and physically but none of it is gratuitous or unmotivated.
Anyone saying that "By the end of the movie, my eyes were aching, I could no longer bear to watch any more painful scenes" obviously hasn't watched it until the end and probably left after 30 minutes or so. The beauty of Irreversible resides in the equilibrium between violence and beauty. The fact that Belluci plays the victim isn't innocent. The impact wouldn't be the same with a less godly looking actress. But to understand the whole project you have to see it all. By the time the movie is over, the last half hour is what I remembered most. All the hope, the beautiful people in love, the nice home etc. Then the memory of what I had just seen an hour before started to come back.
With a simple story, which could easily have been cliche and conventional, Noé manages to make a film as horrible and as beautiful as life itself.