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Un jour mon père viendra (2012)
Les Compères re-tooled
Yes it is LES COMPERES back again but no they have managed to get more action out of the concept than the re-made Veber film.
Magnate Berléand can't forget the mother and child he abandoned, fingering the crayon letter he was sent twenty plus years back, and sets out to make amends, asking about the girl at the village boozer, to be told her dad is in the back room. Enter Jugnot - who has the Midas touch right now.
Everyone is pretending to be something they are not - or maybe they are. The old hands are right on top of their act and the young TV personalities do beautiful people endearingly. Production values are superior. Much conspicuous consumption
I really enjoyed that.
English sub-titles on the French DVD are not much good.
Le zèbre (1992)
Misjudged French comedy.
Sascha Guitry actor and the original lead in CAGE AUX FOLLES, Poiret tries to put together something as quirky as those, in this story of Marriage Registrar L'Hermitte, who wants to keep his relationship with teacher-wife Cellier alive by kinky sex games.
The jokes are mainly unfunny and the attempt at a final twist is just weird. The piece plays off the charm of the leads and the glossy production values to little effect.
The scene where the masked man has his way of Cellier is quite erotic and out of character with the rest of the film and what do we make of the citation of LE COURBEAU, complete with letter fluttering into the church? A sad footnote to Poiret's acting career.
Fifties US TV sit com.
Exterior free sitcom ep. has only Rooney's engaging performance to carry it, despite the participation of Hollywood professionals.
TV station page Mulligan/Rooney tells new program manager Eldredge about his ambitions and is given the 4 AM disc jokey slot - seen on air changing records.
Implausibly, the criminal dad Toomey is chasing 'phones in, leading to his (off screen) arrest.
Scrubbed up characters deliver the weak material straight faced.
Early entry in he Edwards - Quine - Rooney collaboration - pre SOUND OFF, OPERATION MAD BALL & DRIVE A CROOKED ROAD.
J'ai tué! (1924)
Silent Hayakawa vehicle.
This mid twenties French melo has a few claims on our attention. It survives in a beautiful tinted reconstruction, features the always intriguing Hayakawa and is part filmed by effects specialist Segondo de Chomon, though watching it gives no hint of his participation.
Hayakawa is a Tokyo antiques dealer accused of murder, facing a trial with a surprise outcome. Sessue's leap from the stand is the film's one grabbing moment.
The rest is competent and a glimpse of the French production of the day. Long serving Duclos was Mathilde in L'Herbier's fabulous early sound Gaston Leroux two parter.
Joe Bullet (1973)
Naive but intriguing pioneer all black action movie.
I can't find much information on this historically intriguing South African black wannabe addition to the "Shaft-Superfly- Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song", tradition, or it's 1982 sequel. That's a pity because what went on behind the scenes is probably much more interesting than what we see. We do learn that the film was banned and unbanned in 1972 (why?) and has only just re-appeared and recognize the imposing Ken Gampu from his Jamie Uys movies "Dinkaka" and "The Gods Must be Crazy" and from "The Naked Prey" all those years back. He's a plausible action hero who could have carried a more substantial production.
The film's ambitions are minimal. The formula plot about corruption in sport has the bad hats trying to get star players Tlhotlhalemaje and Chama away from the Eagles so that the the rival Team the Falcons take the big game and the crooks get rich betting on them.
Ken comes with his own song ("he's the man who won't let you down") and wins the manager's daughter Kubeka, who does a passable musical interlude when our hero is not rescuing her from various perils. Versatile director-cameraman de Witt is most at ease covering the film's soccer matches.
The production arrives in brownish newly restored four by three, with English sub-titles rendering the poorly re-voiced English dialog.
La rançon de la gloire (2014)
Off kilter character piece.
Benoît Poelvoorde & Roschdy Zem are two of the most interesting performers making films right now but they don't seem to inhabit the same universe and having emerging director Beauvais, from "Of Gods & Men", steer them though a film about ransoming Charlie Chaplin's body could have gone in any direction. For most of "La rançon de la gloire" the film 's tone is uneasy - a few giggles, a few surreal touches like Poelvoorde finding himself in the middle of a circus, lots of character development and a bit (not enough) of suspense.
Comes the trial climax and the defense convincing us that the lead duo are Chaplin characters pulls it all together. Nice touches - Michel Legrand on the 'phone to go with the clip of a TV "Demoiselles de Rochefort", the car snaking along the highway at night to the "Limelight" Theme, Zem and Mastroianni from Beauvais' first movie, Nour from "Caramel", the beautiful quality Chaplin clips, his great looking grand-daughter in person and Benoit and Noirjean doing the circus clown act I remember from the fifties, not to mention the snappy post titles gag.
L'atleta fantasma (1919)
Early Muscle man adventure
After the Feuillade serials, before Zorro and Superman, with their identities similarly hidden from their squeezes by soppy real life characters, we get this long forgotten post WW1 Turin proto super hero adventure.
Barrel chested Guaita-Ausonia, in a chain mail hood like Republic's Copperhead, defeats the working class nasties to win aristocratic Zara and protect her cursed brooch. We get cliff hangers, a comic reporter, the fire brigade to the rescue and a harlequin painting where the side kicks watch through the eyes.
The film lacks the surreal imagery of Fantômas and the stunts don't match the breath catching ones from the Fairbanks movies, but this is still something that lovers of the trashy end of the spectrum will find fascinating.
Film form is quite slick for the day - matching cuts closer and back, fades and dissolves all quite deft, along with relevant close ups - one of Guaita-Ausonia's bulging bicep.
Alles inklusive (2014)
Winning German generational comedy.
This one starts off as if it will be Dörrie with her feet off the pedals - naked hippies, unlovable dog, doofus couples having trouble getting together, recuperating mum Hannelore Elsner on a Spanish holiday she doesn't want and daughter Nadja Uhl can't afford to bank roll.
However the elements that will make it agreeable and unexpected are already in place and Dörrie uses her two hours to line them up for another of the superior, quirky comedies of the unexpected she keeps on making. Nicely made and beautifully played. Elsner & Uhl were in Dörrie's KIRSHENBLUTEN - HANAMI
How come Pedro Almodovar is famous and Doris Dörrie is known only to determined fosickers among the Teutonic festivals? I've been on her case since 1985 and I've still seen less that half her thirty five movies.
One Eyed Girl (2014)
Unsatisfying Australian drama.
It's an unwelcome responsibility to be the only one to write about this bubble from the swamp of fringe Australian production in which the hopes of a cross section of the country's film making talent are obviously emotionally invested. It has one great idea, the broken character absorbed into a cult gone bush is himself a therapist, which gives him some understanding of what is happening.
However if we are going to tackle this film on the level of high seriousness, which it clearly would like, note absence of religion which is the back bone of pretty well all such operations and the objection that sudden sodomy is not the central evil that makes them destructive.
The grainy images assembled in jagged discontinuity take a while to lose conviction and there are moments which engage - Winter's self dismissal, Le Marquand's Iraq monologue, the swinging at the punching bag routine. However on a single viewing there is no feeling that there is some great truth buried by the production's excessive length.
Gobsmacking Hispanic shocker.
It really is amazing that producer Alex de Iglesia has gotten so far without being a world celebrity film maker. This one is a quickie directed by a couple of his colleagues with unfamiliar players (Mrs. de Iglesea, the striking Carolina Bang, has a quite small part) and while it has a personality of it's own we can still see the macabre, master-crafted Iglesea style in it.
We get one of his closed environments like the apartment block in LA COMUNIDAD or Resines' space ship in ACCION MUTANTE, here a flat in a fifties Spanish apartment block, which the camera never leaves. Shut in seamstress Gómez (who proves to have a scream queen background that includes a Stuart Gordon Lovecraft adaptation) terrorizes her younger sister, former child actress Nadia de Santiago, now at the age where getting out of the house to work has made her take an interest in boys. Then neighbor Silva falls down the stairs - and proves to have a secret of his own. Throw in religious fanaticism and morphine addiction.
Gripping, perverse, bloody but not without rounded characters in the confusion. The great Luis Tosar is particularly imposing in his small footage.
Giving us some idea of the shortness of the film critic memory a few writers have cited MISERY but no one seems to notice that it's retreading WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE.