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jotix100

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3819 reviews in total 
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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Naked in the bathroom, 18 June 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

David Trueba, like most of his Spanish fellow directors, is a man with lots of ideas, which unfortunately rely on gimmicks to present this basically two character film that feels claustrophobic, not only in its setting, which takes place in a locked bathroom where a couple cannot escape from. The film is hermetic in form, relying on the fact that the couple is trapped inside a room with no possible solution for getting out of their predicament.

Miguel, a respected journalist, is admired by a young Angela, who wants to write and figures she can create an interest in the older man, whose only interest, plain and simple, is to have sex with the luscious woman. As the two get trapped, one thing comes out clear, Angela, with her young, supple body, stands in stark contrast against the aging Miguel, whose aging body is a turn off for Angela.

Mr. Trueba gives the best lines to Miguel, while poor Angela has nothing to show but her charms. The director makes sure his male star, Jose Sacristan is only photographed from the chest up, hiding his manhood from indiscreet exposure, but Maria Valverde has the difficult task of being a vulnerable and naked Angela.

When all is said and done, there is nothing but blah, blah, blah.

No et moi (2010)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Partners, 18 June 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lou, a good student at school, is quite concerned about the homeless people she encounters all over Paris. She loves hanging out in the Gare Austerlitz, where she observes an enigmatic young woman who attracts her attention. She has written essays for her class, and with the encouragement of her Lycee teacher she decides to explore a world that is alien to her. Coming from a household in which her mother suffers from depression, getting to know Nora, who prefers to be called "No" presents a challenge for this middle class girl.

As it turns out, No, is at first flattered and confused by Lou, a girl so different from her, a good source for getting a drink, or a meal when she is down and out. Lou pleads with her parents to let her friend move with them. The parents are reluctant, at first, but decide to go along. Lou secretly watches Lucas, a classmate, who is popular with girls. He is a the product of divorced parents living alone in a huge apartment. With the arrival of No, Lucas takes an interest in Lou. Things go bad after No shows she is heavily involved with drugs and the kind of life her friend Lou gets to know through her, but realizes she does not fit in that sordid world.

Zabou Breitman, the director, shows her immense talent in taking us to uncharted territory in this story which involves two opposite characters that meet under extenuating circumstances. On the one hand we have a good soul, Lou who shows an extreme amount of compassion for those that are down on their luck, and juxtaposes her to the jaded No, who is beyond help. The path No has taken by living freely and not making an effort to take the wonderful opportunity Lou offers her. Ms. Breitman, who co-wrote the adaptation of a novel by Delphine De Vigan, with Agnes De Sacy, also participates in the film as the mother of Lou. She gets intense performances from the sweet Nina Rodriguez, seen as Lou as well as Julie-Marie Parmentier, playing the hard edged No. Antonin Chalon returns to work with a director he has been closely associated with.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Lucky man, 12 June 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Uriel Cohen, a divorced father of two children, is addicted to playing poker on line. His life seems to be on track, being the owner of a financial firm in Buenos Aires. He has come to the realization he will not like to have more children. For that, he needs to consult his doctor, who suggests he goes to another city, Rosario for a confidential procedure. He is lucky in finding a casino where he can enjoy playing poker. Unknown to him, as chance would have it, he meets an old flame, Gloria, who is also staying at his hotel. Remembering the good times he shared with Gloria, he realizes he cannot have intimate contact with a woman he once loved. Gloria is confused by what she feels is a rejection.

The lovers will come together again later on in Buenos Aires. By then, Uriel and Gloria decide to bring romance into their relationship, something both want. Unfortunately, Uriel had lied about his profession to Gloria, thinking a more glamorous job in the local music business will be nicer. The ruse backfires on Uriel, as Gloria finds out what her lover really does for a living, and to Uriel's amazement, she could not care less.

The film, a romantic comedy by noted director Daniel Burman, marks a change of pace for this talented filmmaker. Mr. Burman goes for a comedy that does not compare with his previous work. There are aspects of the story that ring false as he tries to inject cuteness to the story, especially in meeting a rabbi who is a gambler himself, who does not seem to find anything wrong with Uriel's gambling. The way Mr. Burman ends the film appears to be a cop out when Uriel's young son is allowed to play with a band of Hasidic Jews in front of a large crowd. The screenplay was a collaboration with Sergio Dubkovsky. And where the first half of the story showed promise, it does not keep the momentum.

Singer turned actor Jorge Drexler does what he can, but he is not in the same league as Daniel Hendler, an actor long associated with the director. Valeria Bertuccelli,who is seen as Gloria, continues to make an impression. Norma Aleandro, one of Argentina's best actresses, is relegated to a minor, unimportant role.

Chinese cheese, 6 June 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Chinese invasion in all parts of the world is evident. Italy has not been spared, as most of Europe is experiencing the effects of a different culture which is trying to assimilate to the new markets. At the center of the story is Ciccio, a man who produces mozzarella cheese.to his amazement, there is a Chinese version of the product that, when closely examined is not as bad, as Ciccio believes it is.

Ciccio, a powerful figure in the Caserta region, has been producing a product that is typical Italian, now he must deal with a powerful enemy that wants his business. His daughter Sofi is married to Totone, a good for nothing singer, whose fame is just a memory. There are other sinister characters lurking everywhere. To complicate things, Totone is in deep trouble because money he owes. Eventually, things get out of hand, as everyone wants a piece of Ciccio's cheese making business, but only Sofi will prevail in getting the business.

An Italian feature conceived by Edoardo De Angelis. The problem with the film is that it plays as a comedy with so few laughs, it might have been better as a drama because the murky elements in the story. The film changes directions toward the end of the story. Perhaps the film made more sense to Italian audiences, but something is lacking to make viewers enjoy it more. Best thing in the picture is Giampaolo Fabrizio, seen as Ciccio. Lovely Luisa Ranieri appears as Sofi. The great actor Luca Zingaretti is totally wasted. American actress Aida Turturro shows up as Autilia, a singer.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A woman exploited, 5 June 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A doctor introduces the audience to what is about to unfold before our eyes on the screen. It is a lecture about an unusual woman who puzzled the scientists of the early XIX century. The subject of the study was a South African native, Saartjie Baartman, a woman of humble origins, working as a domestic help in the home of Hendrick Caezar, an opportunist, who realizes the potential in exploiting Saartjie to unsuspecting European audiences whose appetite for that type of freak shows proved to be a source of making money at the expense of the unfortunate woman.

Another member of that circuit, the bear tamer Reaux, realizes the gold mine his friend has. Reaux manages to get Saartjie for his own exploitation. He devises a scheme where he pushes Saartjie into exhibiting her as a freak show for the corrupt higher classes of France, of that time. The bored high society saw in Saartjie an opportunity to satisfy their own perversity and abnormal sex desires, heightened by the presence of the exotic woman who is made to be the object of their fantasies. Ultimately, Saartjie resorts to prostitution, dying in miserable conditions. The ultimate desecration of this woman occurred as Reaux finally sells her body to the medical investigators Saartjie did not want to have them examine her most intimate parts.

"Black Venus", conceived and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, the recent winner of best picture at Cannes 2013. The film is a documentary about the tragic life of a woman that attracted attention from people that exploited the physical attributes which she, a rarity for an ignorant public came to see as an aberration, as well as a sexual fantasy. M. Kechiche co-wrote the screenplay with Ghalia Lacroix. It is based on the real story of the South African woman, who finally was recognized as a victim of those who used her for their own benefit, getting rich by selling her as the wild animal she was not.

The acting is one of the best things going for the film. Unfortunately, the central figure of Saartjie, as played by Yahima Torres, who appears to be a non professional actress, shows only a limited range of emotions, keeping her one expression, with the exception of her real tears, throughout the film. It probably is unfair to Ms. Torres, but she was in the company of more experienced professionals like the excellent Olivier Gourmet, who as Reaux, is the best thing in the picture. Theactor keeps surprising with every new appearance. Andre Jacobs as Fredrick Caezar manages to convey his hideous nature as the exploiter of the unfortunate woman. Elina Lowensohn makes an impression as Jeanne, the only kind soul Saartjie met in her life.

Director Kechiche shows incredible talent and it is apparent he will be a force to be reckoned with in his future endeavors. The cinematographer, Ludomir Bakchev captures the mood of the period in which the action takes place.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Unforgiven, 1 June 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Andre Techine's 2011 film "Impardonnable" was shown recently on a cable channel. The idea of a new production by M. Techine, as well as the people involved in it, was a deciding factor for our interest in watching it. Sadly to say, the film is a disappointment, compared with better, more accomplished films by the director.

The main problem is one of credibility. The premise sounds false from start to finish, but we went along hoping for the best, a promise that alas, did not pan out as expected. Supposedly, this picture is based on a novel by Philippe Dijan, which of course, we have not read. M. Techine and his collaborator, Mehdi Ben Attia, have tried injecting some life into the proceedings, with mixed results.

The excellent Andre Dussolier, seen as Francis, has the unfortunate task to give life to the blocked crime writer who comes to Venice to get out of his funk. Instead, he gets involved into an affair with a younger woman, Judith, played with multi talented Carole Bouquet. Their love affair does not make much sense, and since doubt enters his mind, the writer engages Anna Maria, a private investigator, a woman who was Judith's lover to look into her imaginary affair that has been bothering Francis.

Andre Dussolier had the difficult assignment of baring it all in a couple of nude scenes, where a much modest Carole Bouquet keeps on her clothes. One can hope the next film by Andre Techine will find him in a different frame of mind.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Omar killed me!, 1 June 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A true story about a Morroccan immigrant gets a full production from actor Roshdy Zem. In his second directorial job, M. Zem takes us to a case involving Omar, an innocent man, accused of killing a wealthy woman who used to employ him. As in "Bad Faith", Roshdy Zem makes a case for the under privileged man at the mercy of a justice system that is clearly prejudiced against the man because prejudice on the circumstantial evidence that surfaced in the case.

As the story begins, we are taken to a casino where we watch Omar playing the slot machines. He is a loser, as it is the case with most people trying their luck in a game where all odds are against them. It comes as a complete surprise when the police comes to arrest him, being accused of killing his wealthy employer. Omar has everything stacked against him. Nothing seems to be in his favor as he goes on trial. Omar receives an eighteen year jail term for something he did not do.

The film is told from the viewpoint of Omar, which is clearly the way it happened. The man's dignity is put to a test as he is incarcerated as punishment by a penal system that is set in finding him guilty without examining the real facts on the case. A friendly writer sees the opportunity to prove the innocence of Omar, which unfortunately only produces a book, but no release from prison.

This is a good documentary that moves with an excellent pace thanks to M. Zem's take on the subject. The director collaborated with the real Omar Raddad in the adaptation of the material for the film. The result is an emotional expose on the misuse of French justice. Sami Bouajila appears as Omar and Denis Podalydes, of the Comedy Francaise, is the friendly writer who tried to help the innocent man.

One can only hope the film stirred enough controversy in France about the case. It is obvious the real Omar Raddad wants justice.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Photographic mind, 1 June 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A character study about a man who battled his alcohol dependency as well as having suffered the departure of Mireille, his wife, is the basis of Jean-Pierre Denis interesting take on a novel by Pierre Peju, which we have not read. It was adapted by the director, and his collaborator, Yvon Rouve. It is clear from the start, the film was tailor made for Olivier Gourmet, the Belgian actor, a man who embodies the man in the center of the action, Etienne Vollard.

Etienne is a man with a surprising mind. He is quite familiar with books, which is a bonus for a man who works in a book store dealing with literature. Unknown to Etienne, a single mother, Pascale Blanchot, is having a hard time because her total lack of punctuality. Pascale has a daughter in school, but most of the time, she is late. Pointing out the route home one day, she is not prepared for the turn of events when young Eva, not being met, decides to go by herself. Fate intervenes as Etienne is driving and the girl, crossing a street, is hit by the car.

What follows is a small tragedy. Because of his own past, Etienne feels guilty for striking Eva, when in reality, it was not his own fault. Compounding on the problem, Pascale, who is aimless, decides to go work at a different city, leaving Eva behind in a rehab institution. Etienne's guilt gets the best of him. He is seen going to the clinic, first reading to her, later trying to get her out of the state in which the girl experiences. In moments where his despair gets the best of him, he goes into the nearby mountains and climbs them. Nothing prepares us for the outcome of this strange relationship between the unresponsive Eva and Etienne while the absent mother stays away.

Olivier Gourmet does a fabulous job impersonating the lonely Etienne. The actor gives an intense reading to the role he was meant to play. As he has proved with his work in his native country, he continues to enhance anything he is asked to play. Canadian born actress Marie-Josee Crozet has the unwelcome task to give life to a monster of a mother, as is the case with her take on Pascale. Young Bertile Noel-Bruneau, a delightful red headed doll, shows she is a natural.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A room without view, 1 June 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nantes 1955, is the setting for this rarely seen film by Jacques Demy, one of French directors most influenced by the American musicals of his youth. This film followed two other innovative films by M. Demy, "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and "The Young Girls of Rochefort", both surprising creations of a man who understood how to combine drama and music with good results.

On this picture, M. Demy had a new collaborator, Michel Colombier, a talented musician on his own. Michel Legrand, the composer of the two previous efforts, was not involved in this project, which could have used some of his wit and clear precision with the music of the production. It is nevertheless, a worthy try to combine all the elements behind the drama into a musical that was a departure from his first ventures into this artistic form.

At heart, the film has all the elements to; make a statement of the conditions of the metal workers on strike and a domestic drama. Edith, a young married woman, trapped in a loveless marriage sees no way out of her situation. She resorts to picking up men as she roams the streets of Nantes naked under her fur coat. Francois Guilbaud, a striking metal worker, has found a room in the apartment of Margot Langlois an impoverished noblewoman with a drinking problem.

Francois has been seeing Violette, a sales lady for the local department store. She is hopeful Francois will marry her as she finds their romance has left her pregnant. It is at this time Edith meets Francois during her nocturnal walk. It is clear to see why Edith falls for the handsome Francois, a sharp contrast with her jealous husband, Edmond Leroyer. The drama is complicated as all the elements in the tragedy converge toward a climactic finale.

Dominique Sanda, at the height of her beauty, is marvelous as Edith. A young Richard Berry plays Francois with conviction. Danielle Darrieux, an exquisite classic actress, surprises with her role of Mme. Langlois. Michel Piccoli wearing a hideous reddish wig has some good moments as Edmond, the man who feels betrayed by the younger woman he married. Fabienne Guyon appears as Violette.

The inventor, 29 May 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Paul Thalman has been seduced by Mathilde on a sort of blind date when she kisses him. He is smitten by the gorgeous woman, a kind of a miracle, because he has not amounted to anything in life. Paul is a dreamer, which does not help his situation at home. Mathilde, feeling restless, has an adventure with the son of a famous actor.

One day, Paul stumbles into an idea about a product he wants to patent. Not having the money for the registration, he turns into his father-in-law, who sees the possible profit from the production and marketing of the holder for grocery bags, which unknown to him, has already been in the market.

A whimsical comedy by Michel Leclerc that was shown recently on cable. Our only interest in watching was the presence of Elsa Ziberstein in the comedy, as we had always seen her in dramatic roles. She surprises in this film with her easy take on the heroine. Kad Merad is a comedian who tries hard, sometimes he succeeds and at other times, he comes across as too heavy. Claude Brasseur has a small role playing Mathilde's father.


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