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jraf

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26 reviews in total 
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La bonté d'Alice (2004) (TV)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A piece of garbage!, 10 September 2005
1/10

I've been so impatient to see that since I was in the credits! But I knew (by reading the scenario, participating to the footage, seeing the rushes...) it would be a piece of garbage. Well I'm not surprised: I was right! The scenario and dialogue are very weak. The humour doesn't work at all. Only Sophie Le Tellier makes you smile with her great talent. The other actors are not all bad but I have to say it was hard for them to show their talent with so weak characters and stupid quotes! Well, almost everything is bad. That's strange to see that a film like that will stay in my memory because my name is on the credits!

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Eastwood can be that bad ?!, 18 March 2005
2/10

Gosh i wasn't expecting such a bad film from Eastwood! I have not liked all the movies I saw from him (I found Space cowboys very bad for example) nor really loved any to be honest, but I wan't aware that he made such a crap film! Heartbreak Ridge is one of the most clichéd film I've ever seen.

Its directing and editing are very weak, its cinematography is generally quite poor (apart from some Sergio Leone look-alike shots like this beautiful close-up on Eastwood's eyes), and its acting... well I have to admit that I unfortunately saw this film on French TV and it was badly dubbed (dubbing is already something I generally can't stand but it's even worse when it's that badly made!). So I couldn't judge the "voice-acting" but just the "body-acting", and I found it generally either over-acted or under-acted. Some sequences are just awfully static. I also couldn't judge the dialogues but I suppose the dubbing generally kept the main aspect of them so I suppose I would have hated the original dialogues too!

As for the subject of this film, it's kind of silly: army and war are shown like games. There's nothing serious enough nor funny enough to allow us to think that it could have been a kind of critic of army/wars. So it sounds like a clichéd stupid patriotic speech, without any real touch of humanity and reflection on consequences of conflicts etc. A useless movie, really...

A simple and deeply moving masterpiece!, 9 January 2005
10/10

Movies that catch so immediately your eyes and your heart are so rare! From the very first moments you feel like you're entering an intimate auto-documentary, and even if you quickly understand that's fictitious, the tone is given : one can detect it's kind of real-life, genuine, human ! The granule of digital video symbolically takes us inside the main character, who is painting his own portrait himself in a simple neo-romantic narration. Of course, while he's speaking to Sundra, Julián is speaking to us so that it's even easier for us to be caught up in his life. Strangely the film never falls into voyeurism, even during the few quite erotic sequences. It's intimate but also really prudish and sincere: so far away from TV reality shows!

The feeling of authenticity is strengthened by a not inconsiderable part of improvisation – palpable and well done – that tends to compare the movie with John Cassavetes's work. « It's for you ! » also seems to be a successful hybrid of theatre and cinema, a heir of a less pretentious and less eccentric underground cinema, and a declaration of love to… so many things ! Bruno Lázaro Pacheco seems to enjoy an alternation of rhythms, laughs, tears… and sometimes a kind of contemplation with nearly abstract and purely aesthetic shots: plane tracks in the sky, graffiti…

The main virtuosity of this movie is its use of digital video. Unlike lots of films, it isn't only about saving money here. The digital media and the filming process are directly included in the narration, giving the director and the audience a character status. And let's not forget the aesthetic potential of video that Bruno Lázaro Pacheco use with magnificence ! A proof that we can make great cinema without film! A movie that would deserve to be a lot less confidential! 10/10

Cuckoo (2003)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Strange worrying animation, 17 September 2004
8/10

I've seen this short animated artwork at the Biennale of Contemporary Art of Lyon in 2003. The hypnotic music made of chimes and percussion sounded like a weird lullaby and spread its atmosphere in a big part of the museum. It was kind of calling the visitors from the entry, guiding us to the dark little room where the movie was screened. And directly I was catch by this quite amazing atmosphere. The inexorable repetition of this 4 minute film was adding something more to the worrying dream that was shown on the screen. This was all about paradox: the dark combination of black and blue (almost purple) was personifying the frightening appearance of the sequence when white and pink were showing some more dreamy joyful look. Horses and trees were mixed with soldiers and bubbles, in an animation that was somehow both jerky and smooth. Half a dream, half a nightmare. And a feeling of being at ease in our uneasiness... or the contrary! In a word: strange... but great.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Fun!, 24 June 2004
5/10

It's the first time I've watched the whole show and it was fun as I expected! Fun because most of the songs were kitsch! Fun because of the costumes, choreographies, etc... Fun because the French commentary was hilarious: Laurent Ruquier reading the sms that Geluck, Fogiel and other of his famous friends were sending to him during the show, Elsa Fayer commenting the show with sincerity, freshness and humour (and rating 2/20 almost every candidate!). Fun because of the Turkish persenter's hair! Fun because my parents and I played to the voting game. Fun because some few things were not that crap: Turkey's ska band was certainly the best, Ukraine's winner was fun to watch, French candidate was not that bad compare to former French entries, Serbia-Montenegro had a great music (what a pity the singer didn't have the same quality), Germany sent us a non-Eurovision-like candidate, and Russian teenager was cute to see and hear (with Kamel Ouali's choreography that is certainly the only good one...) The worse? Well, I suppose the egocentric gay disco diva from Bosnia is part of them, among the Austrian boys band, the Maltese old-fashioned duet and the Romanian symbol of vulgarity!

Renegade (2004)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Surprising: not that bad!, 4 March 2004
7/10

Well, I went to see that in order to empty my stressed mind and to

forget my personal problems. So I was not expecting a good

movie. Knowing 3 movies by Jan Kounen (Dobermann, Gisele

Kerozene and Vibroboy), I was also expecting a rather violent and

almost inhuman action movie. But to my surprise: NO! It was exactly the contrary: a kind of hypnotic western movie, far

from what we've seen before in that cinema genre. Of course it's

not a masterpiece and it has some clichés and "bad" scenes. But

the style is quite original and it's more an insight of Blueberry's

mind than a Blueberry's adventure. This movie is far from the

comic book's character (I have to admit that I don't really know the

comic book so it's probably why I was not that upset by the

difference!) but in one way it's not a big deal! It's announced in the

opening credits: "freely inspired by"! Therefore, I think that's just a

re-invention of the myth of Blueberry as "O Brother" is a

re-invention of Ulysses by the Coen Brothers or "Romeo + Juliet"

a re-invention of Shakespeare's work by Baz Lurhman. Adaptation shouldn't be a copy, in fact. And that's why lots of

people always say: "oh my God, if you know the book, the cinema

adaptation is totally failed!" Because they (we) are often afraid of

re-invention. To come back to the movie "Blueberry", I have to say that I was

completely hypnotized by the animated almost abstract part of it. At

the end, the long insight of Blueberry reminded me of "2001 a

space odyssey". Of course "Blueberry" will not be remembered as

"2001" is and will still be, but it looks like a kind of tribute to

Kubrick's movie. "Blueberry" seems to be a very personal movie for Kounen and I

suppose that's the reason why it's misunderstood and underestimated. People were probably waiting for a more

conventional western movie. And I think this one is kind of

in-between: both a commercial movie and a more experimental

author's film. So have a try, and just fly in Blueberry's mind... and don't expect too

many action scenes! 7/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An amazing maze through Russian history. Let your eyes be your keys to unlock the doors., 6 June 2003
8/10

Sokurov is not the first man to try make a one-shot movie. Hitchcock was probably the first with "Rope", and he would have done it in one single shot if it was technically possible at the time. More recently Mike Figgis attempted to approach the problem differently with "Time Code" ( one screen divided into four simultaneous images , each of them, a single shot ). But even so, "Russian Ark" is a tour de force! If an unedited movie is always a challenge, this one is almost provocative. Making a movie with more than two thousand actors, an amazing number of costumes and props, and in no less a place than the Hermitage, involving scenes in more than thirty of its rooms, would be impressive in a conventional movie, but shooting it for a duration of more than one and a half hours without a single cut is just crazy! I suppose the famous French cinema theorist Andre Bazin would have loved this movie. Of course Bazin and other defenders of unedited sequences are correct about one thing: that you can feel more involved in a movie that is free of the distractions of editing. Coinciding with the apparent current invasion with reality TV, this movie seems more realistic than these awfully edited shows. The filmmaker has fewer opportunities to cheat, with a single shot. Of course cinema will never be reality: it was, is, and will be an IMAGE forever. But a single shot accompanying the characters through a whole movie is an amazing thing, to attract us and to make us feel we're part of the story. Naturally there are some disadvantages with a single shot, if indeed we can regard them as such. Apart from the technical difficulty involved, the problem is to have something to show all the time. Indeed there are some quite lengthy scenes in "R.A" that are either tedious or meaningless, but since an unedited film is closer to reality than any other kind of film, the question is: aren't there some moments like that in our lives? Don't we wait sometimes? Naturally, lots of people would contend that they don't go to the cinema in order to be bored (possibly because their own lives are filled with enough tedium), but the fact is that cinema is quite an eclectic art: you can find American blockbusters made simply for fun, or to wash your brain, and otherwise you can access movies that are more "clever"(and that does not mean that blockbusters are necessarily "dumb"), but it is worth acknowledging that some cinema is concerned with values that have no connection with fun or frivolity. This may seem obvious, but it is an essential consideration if we are to do justice to a brave new film like "R.A", and let us come back to the movie and the way it deals with the single shot: the 'empty' sequences manifest a mirror of life, and in that case a reflection of the life in Russia especially. We can appreciate Sokurov's rationale for making an unedited movie: that is , the camera is subjective; indeed our actual physical vision is not cut in real life (even if you close your eyes for a moment, your vision is not 'cut' but only blackened for a brief period.) Not only does the single shot give a feeling of reality, but it also makes us think we are the character whose eyes are replaced by the camera. The character's eyes became the camera, then the screen, then OUR eyes. There is a double indirect connection between the character and us. In Noah's Ark, all of the animals are in pairs. In "Russian Ark", the VISION is double. That leads me to discuss the character's voiceover. The voice might have been a bit odd for the audience because it seems that it was pasted, since it was recorded after the shooting and then added to the movie, and so the movie partly loses its unedited quality, due to the sound. During the first minutes of the movie, we feel no connection between the image and the voiceover, but as we continue to follow this character through the 'maze', we're getting closer to him thanks to the 'eyes', and then we accept the voice. Indeed, don't we hear our own voice differently from the way we receive other people's voices? If the voiceover has a strange murmuring quality, it is because it manifests as our own voice! This effect may not work for everybody, but it worked (sometimes) for me. If the single shot and the voice are employed to project us into the 'action', the subject is quite fascinating and challenging as well: relating three centuries of Russian history by using the Hermitage Museum in St.-Petersburg! It is particularly interesting to see that Sokurov has employed a kind of sci-fi convention to communicate the idea of two men wandering through corridors of history. That creates a kind of duality between past and future. Lots of things reminded me of Tartovski's "Stalker" (another Russian metaphorical and metaphysical sci-fi film); the slowness, the strange unexplained situations, the odd dialogue, the loneliness of the characters, and the fact that the unreal part of the story is neither visible nor barely discussed, which probably suggests that Sokurov chose a sci-fi approach more as a simple narrative device rather than any desire to make a sci-fi movie. To have cast a non Russian character to help Sokurov to look at his country's history more objectively, is a wise decision. And so he refrains from any temptation to make a glorious kind of propaganda film: instead we see a well measured film which yields an exposure of positive and negative aspects of Russian history and culture. The film's element of satire ensures that there is no indulgence in the self-congratulatory that is evident in the worst of US cinema. Well, to be honest, I think I did not know enough Russian history to really understand this movie because it can be very confusing without that knowledge. (I had the exact same concerns with Rohmer's "l'Anglaise et le Duc"). But on the other hand, it encourages the viewer to learn more about Russia, and to see this movie again to enjoy it more. It is also the kind of movie that makes you regret that you do not speak the original language, obviating the absence of more genuine comprehension. Actually it is quite talky, and not everything is subtitled: sometimes you cannot identify which character IS subtitled, and it becomes it a bit more confusing. In spite of any negative remarks, partly due to (any) spectator's ignorance of Russian culture, this movie is generally rewarding and worth seeing. I should add that the shots are generally beautiful: the exterior scene in the snow is stunning, but regrettably too short! And the ball scene is also sublime… Just watch it with a Russian-speaking friend who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Russian history, and it will be even better! Otherwise just let your eyes be your guide: after all we don't understand everything that occurs around us in our lives! 7/10

Cypher (2002)
'How-more-than-Why' is Natali's trademark!, 30 April 2003
8/10

This movie is confirming what we thought about Vincenzo Natali: he prefers to ask "How?" than "Why?". Although there are more explanations in "Cypher" than in "Cube" or "Elevated", the movie is more focused on the way the character is trying to get rid of his problems. Of course the heroes of Natali's movies are always trying to find the causes of what occurs to them but they realise step by step that explanations would not help them. Therefore Natali's movies seem to have a more philosophical meaning than expected. If fantasy/sci-fi components are almost permanent in his movies they are only excuses to show the craziness of human beings and to display the fact that humans are dangers for humans themselves! The danger never comes from where you expect it to come in Natali's films and that's why it doesn't matter to try to find the source of Evil: it can be anywhere! And you cannot go backward to resolve problems so reasons of problems appear to be useless. Natali is also confirming that he's trying to get rid of his own claustrophobia by making 'shock therapy' movies, even though the claustrophobic angle in "Cypher" is less obvious than in "Cube" or "Elevated". Is he actually saying that Evil can only be beaten by itself? Well his characters are also generally trying to use Evil against itself. But against all expectations, Natali's films are not that Manichean. Every character has something bad and something good in himself. To finish with the subject of "Cypher" and its meanings, I have to say that it's less good than "Cube" but it couldn't have been better. Let me explain: at the end there are some few explanations that first seem to be a bit disappointing. Indeed the "Cube" mysterious end was not repeated here but on the other hand a lack of explanations would have been weirder in "Cypher" and quite unpleasant. The end was harder to build in "Cypher" than in "Cube" and the kind of funny twist at the end of "Cypher" seems to be the best compromise that they could find. (Natali is probably experiencing the difficulty to overcome the hard task to make a second movie after a welcomed first movie as "Cube".)

And now, let's speak about the stylish beauty of the movie! Again, Natali is making a very good sci-fi movie with few special effects. Wouldn't it be the best way to make a sci-fi movie? Far better than some meaningless and dull use of special effects in movies as the latest episodes of "Star Wars"? As in "Cube", Natali worked with cinematographer Derek Rogers, production designer Jasna Stefanovic and visual effects supervisor Bob Munroe, who created a quite simple but very beautiful atmosphere. As for the music, it seems that Michael Andrews is a twin of Mark Korven because their respective musics for "Cypher" and "Cube" are both perfect for the claustrophobic and mysterious ambience of Vincenzo Natali's movies. The performance of Jeremy Northam is just fabulous in a sort of schizophrenic role, and the short appearance of David Hewlett (who was already in "Elevated" and "Cube") is a major moment of the movie. As for Lucy Liu, it seems that she's here more to make the movie a bit more commercial but her presence is quite appreciable and her performance is good. As a conclusion, I have to say that I was also delighted to see a kind of homage to Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" and Hithcock's "North by Northwest". A very good moment. (7.5/10)

7 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Maybe one of the worst editing ever!, 22 April 2003
2/10

Everybody who wants to be an editor should watch this movie! It shows you about every mistake not to do in editing a movie! My grandma could have done better than that! But that's not the only reason why this movie is really bad! (It's actually so bad that I'm not able to write a sentence without exclamation mark!) If the first episode of ‘Les Visiteurs' was a quite good familial comedy with funny jokes and cult dialogues, this sequel is copying badly the receipe of the first one. The funny parts could be counted on one hand and maybe half of it. Clavier is over-acting his role even more than in the first part, Robin is trying to act like Lemercier (because she's replacing her) but that's ‘grotesque'. Lemercier is Lemercier, Robin is Robin! Even if Muriel Robin can be funny by herself on stage, she is not in this movie because she's not acting as she used to act. I know that it should be hard to replace somebody who was good in a role (Lemercier obtained a César award for her role in the first movie) but she made a big mistake: instead of playing her role, she played ‘Lemercier playing her role'! As for the story, it's just too much! Of course we knew at he end of the first movie that there would be a sequel but Poiré and Clavier should hae tried to write a more simple story like the first episode. The gags are repetitive, childish and déjà-vu. No, really, there's no more than 3 funny parts in this. The only good things might be the costumes and some special effects. So you have only 2 reasons to watch it: 1) if you want to learn how to edit awfully a movie, 2) if you want to waste your time or if you really need a ‘brainless moment'! 2/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
So-so, 23 April 2002
6/10

Actors are pretty bad, the sound is awful, the black and white seems to be here to hide some technical defects, the story is not very original but well-done and the direction is quite good by showing different points of view of the same action. In fact the best is the `Pulp Fiction' kind of thing with the unchronological editing showing different points of view. Therefore it's not a bad movie but it's not unforgettable!


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