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dbdumonteil

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4339 reviews in total 
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Mary queen of Scots, 14 September 2014

This MTV movie from the "Camera Explore Le Temps" series which generally deals with French history takes place in Scotland but Mary Stuart was first queen of France ,as François II's wife ,for a very short time.Her early years in the Renaissance chateaus were certainly the happiest in her life;she says to Riccio :"play and bring me back on the banks of the Loire"

Mary Stuart was not born to reign ;unlike her cousin Elizabeth and her half- brother Maurey ,she was not expert in politics as she was in poetry.A catholic sovereign ,how could she think she would convince a protestant country?The queen of England appears in two or three scenes and we see a clever authoritarian woman.

Mary (Pascale Audret) ,and her second husband ,Darnley ,are puppets and that's the bastard ,Maurey (François Maistre),who pulls the strings with the virgin queen's approbation.As he said to her:"I'll reap the benefits" . Prophetic words .

This is a very somber story:Darnley gets the urge to become king but never gets round to it ;even the murder of her counselor Riccio is a lords' conspiracy.

Despising this childish (and criminal) prince consort,Mary falls for Bothwell (Pierre Tabard),a man with big ambitions.Nothing daunts him . Fatal passion for the queen who ,after her husband's murder ,will finally lose her throne and her liberty.

The movie shows Mary as a criminal,her lover's accomplice ,but historians' opinions differ.

What about the Roi De Rome?, 14 September 2014

This is not a major historical event;it looks like a hoax ,a farce ,a vaudeville.

1812:Napoleon was in Russia ,and there was no telephone,no internet,the news took weeks to get to Paris;today ,such a plan could not be attempted .

The general Mallet was hostile to his emperor and,with the help of a priest ,a corporal and a naive poet ,he tried his luck at a coup d'Etat.He told Napoleon had been killed (through the heart) in Russia and that he had to take over the government.Some poor fools believed him and they began to release political prisoners and to throw the prefect of Paris ,the secretary of the interior and other 'legal" nuisance into Prison De La Force .When word leaked out that it was a conspiracy ,the usurpers were sentenced to death.

When HE returned,HE gave his government a roasting ,yelling at them: "even if I had been dead ,none of you had thought of the Roi De Rome ,my rightful heir!" François Maistre gives a mischievous portrayal of Mallet,with methods worthy of Arsene Lupin.

Two of us on their way back home, 14 September 2014

This movie should not be considered a sequel ,but the second part of the story released fifteen years before .If you are going to enjoy

"Jägarna 2",you have got to see the first effort first.

Even if Erik's brother is absent (and for a good reason) ,his shadows hangs over the whole movie:two brief flashbacks (the two brother's last hug;Leif's singing on the banks of the lake);the CD Erik gives to his nephew.

This is a thriller in disguise:the subject is the reconstruction of a family.Apparently,Peter,his mother Karin seem (scene of the dinner)and her new companion are the perfect family.But cracks in the mirror will not be long in coming:Peter's hip is black and blue ,and during the funeral where he is supposed to sing ,a lump comes to his throat and tears flows on his face.

The killer's identity is known well before the ending ,but it does not matter.what's really absorbing is Erik's Relationship with Peter,his remorse "I did not do all that I could to save Leif.I knew our father treated him badly ".Like Torsten is doing with his "son" .Peter is a sensitive self-conscious tormented young man who longs for a father figure ,who wants to know more about this father who disappeared at such an early age in mysterious circumstances ,this father who,like him,loved singing -the second part sheds a new light on him,he was a criminal ,but a victim too.That's why the last sentence is such a relief for the viewer.

I find this second part even better than the first one ,more moving,more endearing .The forest landscapes are superbly filmed ,with an extraordinary sense of space ,and some scenes are so intense that the viewer feels like shouting "no!" ,particularly when Torsten treats Peter as a moving target.

Not to be missed,but definitely after watching the first episode .

What about the Roi De Rome?, 14 September 2014

This is not a major historical event;it looks like a hoax ,a farce ,a vaudeville.

1812:Napoleon was in Russia ,and there was no telephone,no internet,the news took weeks to get to Paris;today ,such a plan could not be attempted .

The general Mallet was hostile to his emperor and,with the help of a priest ,a corporal and a naive poet ,he tried his luck at a coup d'Etat.He told Napoleon had been killed (through the heart) in Russia and that he had to take over the government.Some poor fools believed him and they began to release political prisoners and to throw the prefect of Paris ,the secretary of the interior and other 'legal" nuisance into Prison De La Force .When word leaked out that it was a conspiracy ,the usurpers were sentenced to death.

When HE returned,HE gave his government a roasting ,yelling at them: "even if I had been dead ,none of you had thought of the Roi De Rome ,my rightful heir!" François Maistre gives a mischievous portrayal of Mallet,with methods worthy of Arsene Lupin.

Journey thru the past, 12 September 2014

The movie is first a depiction of the (snobbish ,the press writes)residents of a fashionable district in the fifties .Beginning with a Boris Vian quotation,the atmosphere is depicted down to the smallest details:jazz in the cellars,Café De Flore,radio broadcasts,girls who resemble Juliette Greco (except for the nose),gays,existentialism,wealthy dandy (who watches "the most dangerous game" ) and the whole shebang.

This fascinating atmosphere and a young Daniel Auteuil's portrayal of a bisexual poet,a man with the child in his eyes, are the reasons to watch this first effort by Bob Swaim .The second part belongs to him and he overshadows veteran Michel Galabru as the resident private eye ,Nestor Burma .Mort Shuman (one half of the famous Pomus/Shuman team who wrote rock classics),who was fluent in French, portrays Germain Saint Germain a would be writer ,but his part is underwritten.

As for the detective story ,it is the low point of the movie:this affair of stolen jewels and murders is never exciting ,although the killer's motive for committing the crimes was not derivative for 1977.

Wages of male chauvinism., 12 September 2014

Henri Verneuil is not an auteur .So what? Who cares ? He is a perfect craftsman ,a very good story teller ,the perfect antidote to the N.V. headaches ;Saturday night movies best describe his work.And we do need this kind of cinema.

"100000 dollars Au Soleil" looks like a lite "Salaire De La Peur",the classic by Clouzot,but in a tongue in cheek way,with good lines by Audiard.Plus a splendid use of the wide screen exploring the Morrocan desert.Plus two French favorites;the third lead ,Reginald Kernan is unknown in France and is in it probably because the producers could not get Hardy Kruger.Plus a cast against type Blier and Gert "Goldfinger" Froebe .Plus a magnificent score by Georges Delerue,but had this composer ever written mediocre music for films?

An action-packed movie ,which enhances male friendship (if there's a moral in this tale) .Women are demeaned :Belmondo's best fiancée (sic)(Andréa Parisy) is scarcely allowed to complete a sentence ,he expects her to sit there and look pretty.As for Angèle,who dreams of the broader horizons of the big town,Ventura tells her that "she is not a whore cause she does not get dough when she sleeps with his mates (the truck drivers)"But one of the girls will remember the proverb:he(or she) who laughs last laughs best !Eat your heart out ,machos!

I'm fine,thanks!, 12 September 2014

My good friend Writer's Reign, a true connoisseur of the French cinema ,wrote the first review ,and as usual,I second all that he said.It's incredible that ,in 7 years ,no French user felt like sending a comment .

Writer's insists on what I would call a "prologue" ,taking place in the subway:this incident is the straw that breaks the camel's back for the hero is already paranoiac ,depressive and terribly stressed.

For a while I feared the incident on the street with the cops could lead the movie into the clichéd post -68 cinema territory:"cops are b.......";these policemen on the street have really a hard work to do ,they get stressed too,and the fact is that Alex is really a pain in the neck that night.The suicide rate is high in French police ,certainly higher than among accountants in suits.

But fortunately ,Emmanuelle Cuau put the whole French society on trial.In her movie,her characters belong to middle class,no wealth ,but no poverty either.In the hospital ,a woman asks Béatrice if she looks haunted ,then if she is red in the face ;in her taxi ,another one begins to talk about her shrink ,which infuriates her .

It goes to show that in-communicability is in the center of the movie;wherever it takes place,be it in the precinct ,in the mental hospital or during the job interviews ,it's like talking to a brick wall,in a Kafkaesque -as Leon wrote- world.

Reductio ad absurdum:it is when he cheats (the Mickey Mouse degrees which he got on his computer) that Alex learns the rules of the game ,that he becomes part of the "normal" society.It should be pointed out that the ending remains very ambiguous :is Alex in through the out door?

Very well acted by the two principals ,and the secondary characters are extremely true to life.

Born to dance, 11 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The title might suggest a Young girl's struggle to become a ballerina ;well it is partly this ,but the atmosphere is closer to thriller with hints at Gaston Leroux's famous "Fantôme De L'Opera" which the detective seems to enjoy.

"Live your dream" has a screenplay with so many subplots that it's hard to get somewhere:dad (a physician) who has got other plans for his dear daughter and who is still a womanizer ,his late wife who hanged herself -we do not exactly why -though she was a famous dancer,a ballet teacher ,fond of Young men (and even of young girls ,as one brief scene shows)who blackmails a guy who 's got a raw deal ;and the heroine's best friend:did she fall or was she pushed?Enough is enough,even if we can give credit to the screenwriters for explaining almost all these mysteries.

The most endearing character is neither the heroine nor the ballet teacher (perhaps inspired by Dario Argento's "Suspiria" ,Alida Valli's part) but Vinzenz Kiefer's Tom,a young man treated as a sex object .

Southbound train, 11 September 2014

The GJ Arnaud who wrote the novel must not be mistaken for Georges Arnaud,who wrote the very famous "Salaire De La Peur" (wage of fear)which Clouzot brilliantly transferred to the screen .

There are three good things in this rather dull movie: First,the sadly missed Bernard Giraudeau ,who,even in a thankless part,beneath him,displays plenty of go,a good sense of humor and an obvious talent;all the good moments rest on his shoulders.Sadly ,he is unsupported by the rest of the cast:the female co-star is not in the same league as him,and amateurish -to put it mildly- acting by pop singer Robert Charlebois does not help either.

And there're the beautiful landscapes in South America and a good music.

As for the story,it is a muddled affair ;if it were not for the lines which open the movie,the viewer would be lost in this tale of writer the extremists ("Les Longs Manteaux"= the long coats)want to slay as he is riding on a train.Even the final unexpected twist has been used again again and again in (political or not) adventure movies, or spy (or else)) thrillers .

Gilles Béhat had directed Giraudeau in "Rue Barbare" (1984) which had an eye on "Mad Max";in this effort,we feel Sergio Leone's influence in the second half ;the score is good and will remind you of (you guess it) Ennio Morricone.

Battle beyond the stars (French title!), 11 September 2014

Released the very year when "2001" revolutionized sci fi ,"the green slime" looks like a comic strip,sometimes involuntarily very funny,notably in the sequence of the attack on the infirmary. The special effects ,particularly the rubber creatures ,are priceless and the rockets ,the launching ramps and the orbital station look like toys .

In its way ,the first part is an "Armageddon" (1998) in miniature whereas the second one predates "alien " (1979) ,its sequels and its countless imitators.The two astronauts ,with diametrically opposite characters but good friends in the end ,vying with each other for the doctor's love ,will return in too many thrillers ,as far as the detectives are concerned .

They must be forgiven ,because the physician is none other than the gorgeous Lucianna Paluzzi who played Fiona Volpe ,my favorite villainess in the Bond saga .I must confess I watched the flick because she was in it.


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