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FilmCriticLalitRao

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719 reviews in total 
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Sans Mobile Apparent : French director Philippe Labro's best film in a career spanning 45 years and 7 films., 20 August 2014
10/10

As an intelligent thriller, "Sans Mobile Apparent" allows viewers to keep on guessing about the real motives of a shrewd criminal. It does not take viewers long to realize that a criminal case has become too tough to be solved when there is hardly an apparent motive for a crime. Director Philippe Labro chose to narrate his story in a 'fast pace' mode as a lot happens in three days. It is only through meticulous planning and research that a determined police inspector is able to unearth that some past events are casting their shadows in the form of present day killings. French actor Jean Louis Trintignant is a perfect choice as a no nonsense cop who is absolutely serious about his job. His dedication to his work is so perfect that he does not even tolerate his colleagues eating chewing gum. Although "Sans Mobile Apparent" has been compared with other Hollywood films, it is unique in its own narration of a milieu where rich people lead rakish lives with fatal consequences. Monsieur Philippe Labro is an important personality in the world of French cinema. Apart from making films, he has written many best selling novels as well as articles for magazines. He has also appeared on television. As one looks at his filmography, it is rather strange to note that he no film was directed by him in last three decades. His last film "Rive Droite Rive Gauche" with Gérard Depardieu and Nathalie Baye was made in 1984. However, one should feel happy to learn that as an active filmmaker Philippe Labro has made seven important films which are known for their elements of suspense and thriller.

Director Renny Harlin took cinema for a 'family business' by making "The Long Kiss Goodnight'., 20 August 2014
6/10

As the art and craft of film making is family business for many people, there is nothing wrong in making a film with your wife in a leading role but it should make some sense.One is bound to fail if the film does not convey in a positive manner what it intends to show.On a global level this is a golden mantra for all talented directors. As a film which is short of intelligent ideas,'The Long Kiss Goodnight' leaves a lot to be desired. As the director and his team have not done enough research on Amnesia, Geena Davis as a fearless butt kicking spy is more convincing than a poor Amnesia victim whose past career involved spying for US government. The film also appears to be more of a comedy film with actor Samuel.L.Jackson mouthing countless stupidities. His character has been reduced to that of a third rate stooge. By today's standards,this film's action scenes are OK. In a broader perspective,they are an important relic of a period when many action oriented films were made in Hollywood.

Lady Chatterley : Director Pascale Ferran directs a French version of a controversial British tale., 20 August 2014
10/10

Despite carrying the controversial D.H.Lawrence label, "Lady Chatterley" is more dramatic in essence than erotic. It is true that it does contain some scenes of sexual nature but they are aesthetically done. They were included in the film as their presence in it was largely due to the requirements of the script. In this manner the film negates the possibility of unnecessary titillation and forced voyeurism. As a film "Lady Chatterley" looks in a detailed manner at the inner, psychological world of Lady Chatterley. The importance of this book cannot be overlooked at all as it was probably the first major book in the history of English literature which took a woman's feelings seriously especially her own willingness to choose and deal with her sexual needs. For the Gallic version of a British tale too much of nature is presented as we see it in full bloom with birds chirping nicely amidst an area full of flowers and trees. Director Pascale Ferran has ensured that for her film eroticism is deliberately avoided. She has been helped in her quest by two talented actors Marina Hands and Jean Louis Coulloc'h. Hippolyte Girardot is impressive too in his important yet minor role as Sir Clifford Chatterley.

"Hasta La Vista" is a nice feel good film about the plight of 'differently abled ' people., 20 August 2014
6/10

Sex is an extremely personal thing which cannot be imposed on anyone. Some people go for sex and some people find love while searching sex. It is on these themes that this film has focused all its attention. It does succeed in getting viewers' attention and sympathy as it is a different type of film. When the end of the film is known in the beginning, one has to just watch to know how is the story progressing. It helps to know whether the film has ended as one has wished it to end. This is something which might bother some died hard fans of melodrama films like "Hasta La Vista". Travelling with Europe is not easy as many people do not speak the same language. The language question in this film is presented through a character who doesn't speak much Flemish but prefers to converse in French. This is a good example of a nicely made feel good picture of recent times.'Hasta La Vista' makes the viewers realize that differently abled people also have rights to have sex with people of their choice. When it comes to sex they just want to let others know that they are as eager as other 'normal' people. This is the key message which viewers get by watching "Hasta La Vista".

Scent of a woman : If this is an example of 'popular cinema' than its original version can be called "author cinema"., 16 August 2014
10/10

Hollywood film 'Scent of a woman' is about two men who learn some 'fundamental truths' about life. It features nice performances by American actors Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell. On the one hand, it is the former character who shows viewers how a blind man can be more wise than normal people with eyes despite being treated badly by family members. On the other hand, one learns some bitter truths about school life through an honest boy whose preference for justness conveys that it would not at all be ethical to betray one's friends. As a good part of this film depicts school life without resorting to caricatures, one learns that it is the poor and weak students who are destroyed because of their integrity. This film also features an "American style philosophy" about honesty and integrity in the form of a brilliant speech delivered by Al Pacino who depicts all kinds of emotions ranging from anger, desperation and frustration. His performances are as meaningful and pertinent in 2014 as they were in 1993 when he won best actor Oscar for this film. Lastly, a brief word for intelligent cinéphiles : Italian director Dino Risi made the original film "Profumo Di Donna" in 1974 with actor Vittorio Gassman who played the role of blind army captain.

A l'Origine / In the beginning : This "Xavier Giannoli" film present an honest image of France where jobs have become scarce., 16 August 2014
10/10

In cinema, France is often presented as a hub of culture where all kinds of people are shown hanging around cafés while sipping huge quantities of café. They are represented on screen as living in nice houses with book shelves full of literature books. A l'Origine presents a completely different image of culturally rich France. It is a realistic portrayal of France especially in its apt depiction of all turmoil related to fragile job market. Director Xavier Giannoli shows a crook who has always remained reluctant as hesitant fear always shone on his face. As usual French actor François Cluzet is superb as a different type of crook- one who would not at all hesitate to put his personal, ill gotten wealth to let his project succeed. About François Cluzet it can be said that he has never attempted to become a 'star' as time and again his brilliant acting performances have assured him a permanent place in the realm of French cinema as an "actor of quality". Emmanuelle Devos' performance is amazing in a supporting role as a small town mayor who does not think much before falling for a hesitant conman. This film also features a minor yet essential performance by legendary French actor Gérard Depardieu. He would play a lead role in "Quand J'étais Un Chanteur" / When I was a singer directed by Xavier Giannoli. In the wake of numerous incidents of suicides by France Telecom employees who collapsed due to enormous work pressure, A l'Origine makes a lot of sense as a film which tries to find why some people would go to any extent to earn easy money. One needs to simply watch how a whole town has gone crazy with the sudden arrival of a conman with kids making paintings and a father sitting proudly with his son in a dump truck with people cheering them. This film is your chance to feel happy in life by watching giant trucks used in constructing highways.

An Alain Tanner film in which Portuguese capital Lisbon is as important as its actors., 16 August 2014
10/10

In his long career as one of Swiss cinema's biggest as well as famous directors, Alain Tanner has made many "self discovery" genre of films. These are films in which actors are mere tools to propagate directors' ideas about art, creativity and life as they also turn out to be their alter egos. The opinion about these films is divided. Some viewers consider them to be absolutely pretentious. There are also viewers who judge these films to be intelligent. As a film critic, I chose to watch this film as it is a film admired by my friend Jean-Jacques Beineix. In the white city is an intelligent film about loneliness, loss of companionship with surprising erotic elements. It would appeal to viewers as it raises many questions about which no definitive answers can be found. One is free to choose as many personal interpretations as possible. These questions are related to a person's desire to escape from everything which is an essential part of life. Dans La Ville Blanche / In the white city connects easily with viewers especially those intrepid souls who would like to escape from all forms of civilization. Apart from actor Bruno Ganz in one of the best roles of his career, city of Lisbon emerges as a major star attraction. It is worth exploring for the turbulent nature of its old city, markets, and pool halls.

Mon Oncle d'Amérique / My American Uncle : One of Alain Resnais' important films which says a lot about human behavior., 16 August 2014
10/10

By making "Mon Oncle D'Amérique" / My American uncle, French director Alain Resnais made a strong as well as serious attempt to comprehend whether human beings are same as rats ? He wanted to portray the fundamental behavior of human beings when confronted with a rival or dealing with life's tough situations. For this film, Resnais teamed up with famous French neurobiologist Henri Laborit to investigate whether the behavioral traits of human beings can be observed as precisely as those of rats in laboratories ? This film features outstanding performances by Gérard Depardieu and Nicole Garcia.In many ways, the acting performances of this film's actors is a direct tribute to the glorious past of French cinema. Each major actor is shown as connected to another colossal figure of French cinema. This is done by linking Depardieu with Jean Gabin and Jean Marais and Nicole Garcia with Danielle Darrieux.My American uncle is neither difficult nor intellectual in nature.It is a different film as before Alain Resnais no director thought of amalgamating a feature film with shades of documentary film's aesthetics. It is a film which requires viewers to display some form of intelligence in order to comprehend scientific explanations which are "Raison D'être" of its characters' behavioral as well as personal traits. The historical importance of "My American uncle" is due to the fact that Resnais' film features creators as 'real stars' as opposed to actors as 'real stars'.

Alceste à Bicyclette / Bicycling with Molière : A film which shows that "Monsieur Molière" would always be important for all actors and directors., 16 August 2014
10/10

French director Philippe Le Guay's Alceste à Bicyclette / Bicycling with Molière is based on actor Fabrice Luchini's original idea. The film is all about actors, their homes, moods, relationships and worlds. The scenario is written in such a manner that this film is also able to discuss the concepts of "good actor" versus "bad actor". They make viewers discover that all actors are absolutely conscious of their image. There is one major thing which all viewers can easily identify in the film. It is related to some actors and their essential need of personal space especially due to their being popular on television. Apart from actors and acting, Bicycling with Molière throws light on how the presence of a woman impacts male bonding. In many ways, it can be construed as this film's minor yet useful subplot. It gains considerable weight due to the benign presence of Italian actress Maya Sensa. Any discussion about this film would not make much sense unless the importance of actor Fabrice Luchini in French cinema is discussed. He has become an important personality of French cultural life. Apart from films, he is seen on TV talk shows reading excerpts from literary as well as philosophical works. He is the best reason to watch this film as good/poor actor Fabrice Luchini takes his revenge on bad/rich actor Lambert Wilson. Before concluding it can be said that actors riding bicycles is a good sign of people in show business coming out of their comfort zones. This statement is as close in reality as stating that in the field of acting there are no friends as nobody would like to miss the opportunity of playing an important role.

Withnail and I : Bruce Robinson's superb tale about the mad world of failed actors., 15 August 2014
10/10

Each national film industry has its own profitable crop of films dubbed as "Cult films". British cinema got lucky in 1987, a year when director Bruce Robinson's autobiographical tale 'Withnail and I' achieved enormous critical success partly due to its highly unusual portrayal of 'artistic angst' of its two young protagonists. Although it was made in 1987, Withnail and I remained too frank in its portrayal of 'drug culture' experienced by youngsters in 1960s. A viewer would simply have to cast a glance at the way all important "drug talk" was depicted in this film. In the last three decades of "British cinema", a handful of films can boast of having a marked presence of "rural Britain".'Withnail and I' turned out to be a major exception to this rule. It showed vast expanses of rural hinterlands where farmers have no difficulties in getting their daily ration of meat and vegetables. Bruce Robinson's film succeeded as it revealed a 'never before seen' facet of poor,ordinary Britons in an honest tale about a journey into 'self exploration' undertaken by two unknown actors. British actors Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann brought more than perfect dignity in their roles as two failed as well as unlucky actors 'Withnail' and 'Marwood'. The film also features a powerful performance by actor Richard Griffiths as an aged homosexual. His performance is so convincing that out of sheer resentment, some intolerant viewers might develop a feeling of homophobia. Lastly, any good actor must be prepared for all times whether bad or good as success is not easy to come. This is precisely why "Withnail and I " questions why some actors are not so lucky. As "Withnail and I" continues to enjoy a cult films status and is available on DVD, it would be a great idea to watch it in order to understand a time when drugs were considered important by youngsters.


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