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Le choix de Myriam (2009) (TV)
« In my HLM » (tv), 20 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Another title taken from the french singer Renaud which is the proof of his talent to feel the french society. All his lyrics from this funny song depict the way of life in social housing with the multitude of next door neighbors and thus it's also a brilliant resume of this TV movie.

Actually, it has two episodes and i have seen only the last. I suppose that in the first, the family arrives in France and participates in the dramatic and shamefully kept hidden demonstration of 17 October 1961 (the one in which our democratic and unpunished state has killed at least 30 opponents). So, now, the family gets old and the future of the kids is the main question.

With this angle, the movie is actually excellent as it encompasses all the facts that could arise. I can talk in full knowledge because I knew a family with this same past: they emigrated from Moroco in 1968, the illiterate husband working sites, the housewife looking after the children who slowly and surely adopts a new way of life as they better understand this new culture. Beyond them, this movie fits indeed the opinions saying those years time were better: those social buildings were shining new then, unemployment, xenophobia, community demands were less strong and neighbors stood together.

Maybe the movie seeks too much to bring tears but at least, it's honest and has sincere values. In addition, the cast is really talented, from the kids to the parents. Maybe Leila appears too young to be the mother or she seems to be as old as her daughter but their fate quickly grips you and you forget this.

It would be great if a sequel could be made because as i have told, french society has dramatically evolved in the 80s, 90s and the new millennium and this family would have face new challenges.

The Badges leave the station ... and me too ! (dvd), 19 July 2014

At last, my DVD have run out ! no more original episodes without subtitles ! This season stays at the same level since Jimmy's departure, in other words very, very average and close to boring.

I don't know if NYPD is a cheap show or if it's for the sake of realism but after 4 seasons, i'm just tired to see the same old station, the same bits of tenements, bar or streets : it's supposed to happen in NYC but the city is limited to those drunken shots that runs seconds…

If i can pick the skeleton of this show, i'd say it has 3 fields : 1) the detective cases 2) the station life 3) the private life of certain detectives

This year, 1) was terrible ! No cases were interesting or moving, except maybe 8.19 when Sipowicz and Medeavoy disguise into grandpas !

3) had maybe some stuff as having Sorenson on the borderline brings a bit pulse to lethargic plots : Diane's choice of attraction was really poor as totally unoriginal : the new good looking detective, the doctor ! For something punchy, i would have paired her with Andy as they both lose spouses ! Instead Andy got his dreadful ex-wife !

2) offers the best moments : Connie was indeed a bursting recruit and the squad took 3 departures (i count Sorenson here along with Diane and Captain Fancy). It was cool to see their chats, their secrets, their help between partners as I wish to meet the same altruism in my work. Each leave was different : public for Fancy, intimate for Diane and unexpected for Sorenson, but every one was really moving thanks to this fantastic cast ! That's why i pick 8.13 as best episode this year: losing a comprehensive boss for a psycho one was totally accurate as I lived this also. So it was funny to see Andy and Fancy battles with their own female octopus !

Bye, 15th squad maybe see you on syndication but never more on DVD, and that's my confess !

Matinee (1993)
Maybe i should watch it on morning ? (tv), 29 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, this movie isn't really bad but it's not also great.

On the positive side, this movie offers a new idea in movies about movies. Usually, it's about Hollywood and I rate them as the lowest level in storytelling: it's like writing a book about a writer (isn't-it Mr King?), it's very complacent. Here, we left producers for the audience and how people receive movies, what they bring to them and how they shape and feed their imagination. Indeed, the movie offers a short but amazing scene about this magic of the theater! In addition, the background is interesting because it could have been the biopic of Mr. King (again!). Like the kids here, he was totally addicted to these matinée and in 1957, one was interrupted by the manager to told the audience that Russians were in space! Here, we got this same kind of red panic!

On the negative side, the movie just never takes off and it's really strange as it's Dante behind the camera: he is such a nervous, corrosive, dynamic director but here, he delivers nothing. It was cool to see his buddies (Miller, Goldsmith) but nothing happens even with this funny Z-movie of the ant-man! His sixties are faraway from the best ("American graffiti", "BTF", "Ed Wood").

So, maybe it's only a movie just for the morning when we are still half sleepy and half aware!

Emmy is worthy to an Emmy (web), 28 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This third season is a good step ahead : the big deficiency of past seasons is well corrected as now it balances swiftly between a lot of characters and the need to conclude their stories. Last season, we had to watch two, three episodes to have an end whereas now, the scripts are not dragging: a new episode, a new problem and the solution right after.

This dynamic really enhances the pleasure as « Shameless » remains at my knowledge the only show to feature a truly working family as « married with children » did it in the past. Sure, they are dysfunctional, at the border of legality but they embody what it means to earn own's life. It's really fresh air from the usual cops, doctors, wealthy friends and so on.

In addition, it's again the only show to talk about societal issues and not surprisingly, the America that is shown is faraway of the idyllic, shiny presentation of Hollywood : the tie that bind all issues is that this society erases the traditional values : family can be divided in a matter of days, old people can die without caring ones, every one can have sex with every one, every where, anytime and at the end, money is the only judge.

If it's a gloomy world, the show isn't thanks to its wonderful cast : As long ones featuring a family, it's cool to see the cast getting old, all the more than there is a lot of kids growing up. I'm just amazed to see that they can be so veridical and for sure, Emmy is top of the class. After three seasons, i still don't understand why she hasn't really praises or awards because few actresses could do what she does here !

If i must talk about things to improve, i would pick the start of the show : beginning with summer with no school and hot days isn't as exciting as season one when Chicago was in winter. Next, the pack is maybe still a bit huge as there are some characters who are either transparent (Estephania) or boring (Jody).

This year, I would pick for best episode « Frank the plumber » as it's a best illustration for my arguments. After the big fight about custody, the family meets new challenges right away.

But not yet in Nirvana (tv), 14 June 2014

For those like me who expected this franchise of « Johnny English » to deliver the same hilarity as « Mr Bean », sure, those movies can be a huge disappointment. But they show however that Rowan has other talents.

Now, for those who wants to rate this sequel with the first movie, i would say that there is a tie. The first wasn't so funny but it was illuminated by Natalie Imbruglia. In addition, it was a great British history lesson.

This one is more like « James Bond » with an international threat while « Scully » and his new conquest compensate a bit Nat. In a sense, there are more funny moments (the cat, the granny, the chair) but for me the great black hole of this sequel is, as all blockbusters from 2K10, the terrible use of color grading. The usual awful orange and blue just destroys the movie and it's a pain to watch it: the cast seems sunburned and all the beauty of natural location (Macao, Hong Kong, England and Switzerlan) is lost! Just have a look to the trailer to see if you can stand it !

(N)ot (Y)our (P)owerful (D)etectives anymore (dvd), 13 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One more time, I say that I don't have subtitles for those (long awaited) seasons and it has clear impact on my negative feeling. However, it's also evident that for now 3 seasons I have seen nearly 66 times the same episode as the production is minimal (a few street scene but a lot of precinct stuff!).

This year, we can learn more about Danny and we have also a new detective. Unfortunately, they are badly scripted. Danny is a poor boyfriend as he keeps whining and dismiss truly sweet girlfriends for his obsession to Diane! Baldwin could have been cool but the way he lives his identity is particularly stupid (he doesn't like white people watching black people having sex in episode 11).

Then, this season manages to do nothing with great recurrent female characters: Mary Franco and Nicole « Nomi » Graff !

At last, the show is more interesting with the squad dealing with office life and personal problems than doing their job! They were accurate when they have private conversation, when they deal with a annoyed teammate (usually Andy) and when they try to skip boss surveillance. For everyone (like me) who works in an open office, you will have fun. This show also illustrates my opinion about the one and only thing that could cripple work life: having personal problems!

In conclusion, it was a long tedious, boring season.

My pick for this year would be this Episode 3 as it's very symbolic of this so-so season: a great guest star (here, a past « Fletch » friend) but a disturbing, disorganized plot : arresting a teacher in her school isn't really proportional to the incrimination and the facts on the case!

La Piscine (1969)
1969 : erotic year (tv), 25 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, it's not an erotic movie but the thematic is highly sensual however : adults vacationing during a hot summer in a isolated villa with a pool. Sure, they dress light and short and their desire goes up as well as tension. In a way, it was expected as it's hard to stay alone and promiscuity was unavoidable.

The remarkable facts here are first the historic value of the movie : as it has nearly 50 years, you can appreciate how France looked in the swinging sixties, especially in the infamous spot of French Riviera ! If the vigor of a country can be traced in its fashion, i can understand then the may 68 revolt as everyone is dressed with colorful, vivid clothes. It's a change from nowadays black and gray.

Next, the cast is rather interesting : Romy and Delon exudes passion a bit like Belluci and Cassel would do it again in the new millennium as it's a bit a bit special to watch a real couple being intimate on screen. If Romy is always thin skinned with her feelings, Delon is really this unpleasant, narcissist guy media depicted (looking a bit like coach Mourinho) but he did a great job when he becomes crazy, very feline, very leopard as the title of one of his masterpiece. Birkin was a charming teen and his father was really good even if for me he is a total stranger.

At last, the story is a bit wicked as if you consider Romy as absolute purity and that criminal laws are superior to heart laws, well, you could be surprised.

Who's next ? (dvd), 24 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, this season was a carnage with no less than 4 cool characters being written off : Bobby, Sylvia, Dolores and Nadine… This may be the most interesting fact of this 6th season as for me, it was indeed painful to watch.

As I said for my 5th season review, this DVD edition without subtitles explains a lot but in the same time, if I cut Bobby's long agony (5 episodes), i had really the feeling to watch 17 times the same show : a DOA, a suspect quickly apprehended and long tense/hard interview at the house to close the case. Sure, this repetitive and circular narrative is logic for a TV show but i know other formula shows which are more creative : « X-files » for example : if it was a monster of the week, at least, the setting, the locations were new every week. With « NYPD », you got only limited outdoor scenes, the indoor scenes looks all the same and i have just said, everything happen in this derelict « house » !

Funny : The other problem had plagued also « X-files » : so, they are cop shows with maybe some personal back-stories tied to the main characters. Up there, this balance is fine. But things degrade quickly as soon as the writers put sexual tension between partners : From my personal life, i don't understand relationships on job and here this romance is a bit provocative : it's like Diana was doomed to have Danny as boyfriend since his arrival.

My best pick would be 6.16 : it was a good illustration of an office with partners tense and offended. I just like how Andy makes tons about it. A last line for Jimmy Smits who did an outstanding job playing an dying Bobby.

« truck » (tv), 5 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My title is borrowed from an album composed by the famous french singer Renaud who dedicated it in memory of his late friend, the famous french humorist and actor, Coluche who faced the same fate than the one depicted in the movie. In a way, the title of the movie says it all with wisdom: « the facts of life ». So, it's true: accidents happen , it's sad, it's meaningless, it's always too soon but we better accept this threat and live with it back in the mind. For example, i knew a young coworker who died suddenly in the office from a heart attack and in a way, it motivates me to leave my studio clean and to shower neatly every day as i wouldn't like to leave the feeling i lived as a pig if i had to go prematurely.

In addition, the movie is a positive illustration of my « FFM » rule, exposed in my last review. Here, those « first five minutes » are clearly interesting and give the urge to see what happens. Sure, like « Carlito's way », you know at first how the movie will (almost) end but this premonition adds however a lot to the drama. It's all the more gripping that time is really distorted in the movie : it's slow, fast-forwarded, back to the past or to the future.

At last, released in 1970, you can notice that french society was stricter then (for example, the law to free divorce was voted 5 years later !) and the charm of this old movie is that the cast is taken for granted : in other words, I just watch them for what they do on screen. Then, acting artists weren't polluted by promotions, selling images, pseudo social commitment or private life news. It's all the more essential that Romy is full of sensibility and Piccoli has a great stature too.

« rainy wedding, happy wedding » (dvd), 4 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, it took 7 years to follow this show on DVD and as usual, the DVD Doom has strike!

Every time, i bought special DVD for a show, you can be sure they won't be perfect ! For a long time, « V » was never released fully in France and as soon I bought the zone 2 edition of the second volume, the full series gets released in a nice packaging. With « Twin Peaks » or « Married with children », it's when I started to buy US edition that the series were released in France ! With « NYPD Blue », DVD stopped at season 4. When UK released all the series last year, i saw the opportunity to discover at least how the show ended ! So, when i got season 5-8 with the Mediumrare edition, i'm hugely disappointed because there are absolutely no subtitles or closed captions ! And for sure, now, American market got those seasons with subtitles !

In all cases,, this 5th season was hard to enter for me. I tried to look for complete scripts on the Web but apparently, no fan and no site have typed them. So, i'm just crushed under the repetitive pattern of the show : one or two crimes investigated, tense or emotional interviews to have the culprit convicted. After 22 episodes quite mute for me, I feel wring out.

However, this show had also two lifelines :

1) the cast : Delaney + Franz + Smits + Thompson + Lawrence was a magic combination. Those people have more talent than a lot of movies stars and they give us wonderful characters as well.

2) The realism : Nowadays, with all the the technological soup and the focus on wealthy, it's hard to find a cop show close to the real life. Here, in NYC, on Manhattan island, you will be surprised to see that poverty, decay jungle is at the door : Crime happen in sordid, old places, they are committed by lost and poor people against lost and poor people. The police is similar as those cops looks terrible (sad gray suits even for women) and their precinct is a ruin !

Only 4 shows got my full interest this season : (5.5) and (5.8) were gripping as they deal with children victims. (5.18) was interesting as though Sipowicz becomes a real drip when being hospitalized. My pick is finally the final (5.22) as it reunites those two plots : child abuse and private life perturbing work life !

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