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raymond-massart

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84 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Original is better, 28 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Are remakes always better than the original? Certainly not I'm sorry to say and this is particularly true for 3.10 to Yuma. First of all, I must agree with other reviews on this site that have pointed out the far-fetched contents of the plot; particularly those relating to the personality structure of Ben Wade. The bad guy with the not-so-bad human touch does not work, as so many examples in former reviews have amply illustrated. Wade remains a cold-blooded murderer and deserves no sympathy on the part of the viewer. The shoot-out at the end of the film as a final climax even borders on the comical as it totally unacceptable that in order to give the plot a sort of Greek drama content, the leader of the pack turns on the gang that set out to rescue him. Russel Crowe does his best to to portray Wade's supposedly split personality but can't compete with Glenn Ford whose natural charm contrasted perfectly with his role as a villain. Christian Bale is a brilliant actor but his physique and strong features stand in the way of his portrayal of a rather weak character. Here again the hesitant Van Heflin in the original cast was more convincing. On the whole the first version of this movie was more slow-paced, less complicated and although even then one had doubts as to the credibility of the story, much more convincing.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Gratuitous violence served with a watery philosophical sauce, 8 March 2010
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'll be brief on this one. A typical example of the present-day trend to focus on gratuitous violence dished out with a tasteless watery semi-philosophical sauce which aims at conveying a vague ethical message. Others have pointed out that I didn't get the humor of it all. Well, apart from all the excessive visual violence, I particularly remember one scene where the psycho leaves the house of yet another victim whom he has obviously just slaughtered and casually looks down at the sole of his shoe to see if there are no bloodstains on it. Humor? Funny? I think not. Sam Peckinpah would have made this movie in his usual detached way. The fact that the Cohen brothers favor the same kind of meaningless violence but nevertheless try to add a vague form of moral concern is not only revolting but also extremely hypocritical.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
The story of a woman, 10 October 2009
8/10

In many ways this movie that, astonishingly enough, has received some negative reviews, is indeed yet another familiar story about a woman, in this case, Matty, a frustrated mother of three who has been abandoned by her husband for a younger girl and who not only wonders what her life has been all about but particularly what the future holds in store for her now that she has reached the age of forty-one. Her chance encounter with a random trucker as the result of a minor traffic accident signifies a turning point in her life. Johnny, the trucker, is immediately infatuated with this woman who is twelve years his senior and his amorous attempts at seducing her, slowly lead Matty to the realization that not only is she still attractive as a woman but also that deep-down her emotions are still alive. As the story develops, the viewer learns that Johnny has a past and also a drinking problem and that Matty's estranged husband is making attempts to return to his family. Matty is caught in the middle and also has to deal with the ongoing sarcastic comments made by her eldest daughter ( a convincing role excellently performed by Anemone Valcke) Matty however grows stronger and more confident mainly as a result of the animosity between the two male contenders that is often more an expression of immature childish bickering than that of two grown-up males. She encounters more obstacles on the complicated road to self-realization but when in the final scene, we see her walking next to a rail road track and in a flash we are reminded of the vague thoughts she once expressed of ending her life under a train, we are quickly reassured by her convincing smile that although she cannot predict the future, at present, all is well. Barbara Sarafian's portrayal of Matty is excellent.Matty is a real woman but above all a (feminine) person: she worries about her age, her looks, her responsibilities, her future and her alternating feelings of hope and despair are wonderfully reflected in her appearance: at times she radiates real beauty while at others she's just another plain Jane.The men in her life are basically very weak:due to his own feelings of insecurity her husband is very dependent on her and burdens her with responsibilities he dare not (cannot?) take himself while her lover is somewhat too young and playful to be convincingly assertive. Jurgen Delnaet who plays Johnny succeeds brilliantly in portraying the rugged trucker in search of a strong woman who will guide him on his way and Johan Heldenbergh as the husband who's experiencing a mid-life crisis is very convincing. The dialog is natural and the acting of the whole cast, superb. A worthy contribution to modern Flemish film making.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Downright boring, 16 May 2009
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Atrocious! What was supposed to be a farce was a downright boring experience that just went on and on. The short Bean sketches which formerly appeared on TV were often very funny but this feature based on a series of vocal ignominies and the pulling of so called funny faces was unworthy of Atkinson and shamefully embarrassing for the viewer. Due to a lack of real content, certain scenes dragged on forever such as Bean's attempts at hitching a ride on a farmer's motorcycle and his ensuing escapade with a roadside shack. Slapstick in this movie was taken literally as everybody seemed to thoroughly enjoy slapping each other on the face. There is so little going on in Mr Bean's Holiday that it's difficult to comment on substance that isn't even there. Not recommended at all.

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
How past & present interact, 30 January 2009
9/10

This 10-part series ("The Taste of De Keyser") tells the story of three generations of the "jenever" distillers De Keyser ("jenever" is a typical Flemish & Dutch alcoholic beverage which can be compared to Gin) that starts in 1939 and ends in 1970. The plot evolves mainly around the mother figure Helena, her daughter Martine and her grandchild Alessandra. Helena who is madly in love with Alfred sees her dreamlike world abruptly come to an end at the outbreak of the war. Alfred and his best friend George who is also in love with Helena and extremely jealous of their relationship, are called up to join the army and sent off to defend their country against the Germans. They are captured and sent to a prisoners of war camp where Alfred is killed. Years later, the old and dying Helena who has never had a satisfying answer to the question of what really happened to Alfred and how he died, instructs her granddaughter Helena to dig into the past and find out the truth. The action often goes back and forth between the past and the present and astonishingly enough the many flashbacks are never annoying as is so often the case in current features. We see how the war transforms the frivolous young Helena into an increasingly embittered older woman, how she eventually marries George in a desperate attempt to cling to her memories of Alfred, how the past always creeps back on us and determines the present and above all how the quest for perfection which has always been Helena's ultimate aim by discovering "the perfect taste" in the distillation process, lives on in her grandchild ( hence the title) There are many sub-plots to this story which all come together in the end and therefore form a remarkable entity but are better not revealed at present so as not to spoil the experience of the viewer. Frank Van Passel and Jan Matthys have succeeded in making an intriguing and entertaining visual document based on a convincing story. Excellent camera-work , often slow-paced but never boring and not in the least, a beautiful music score ( Wim De Wilde) Superb acting on the part of the whole male and female cast with a special mention for Marieke Dillens, Katelijne Damen and Laura Verlinden.

Inspector Lewis (2006) (TV)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A worthy follow-up to Morse, 2 March 2008
8/10

Morse is dead and Lewis is retrieved so to say from the grave by explaining his long absence by a stay in a foreign country. The once more or less submissive assistant of the flamboyant inspector has changed. The death of his wife has marked him both physically and emotionally and he has become more mature. His new partner, a brilliant scholar who studied theology, is obviously more learned than Lewis who at times seems disturbed by the striking resemblance of his new colleague to his former superior. Lewis senses a form of intellectual superiority on the part of his aide and is determined not to revert to the former humiliating relationship he often experienced with Morse .It is also interesting to note that each time others refer to Morse, Lewis is rather reticent and never shows signs of real empathy towards his former boss as if he still seems to suffer from his haunting and domineering presence. The series is still too recent to evaluate as a whole although the first episodes seem promising enough to guarantee that this sequel to Morse will certainly meet the expectations of the followers of good detective fiction.

Atonement (2007)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
One of the best productions in recent years, 19 February 2008
9/10

Should I have read the book before seeing this movie? Not necessarily of course but in the case of "Atonement" it was certainly an advantage as I asked myself how the richness of the vocabulary, the suggestive delicacy of the verbally painted pictures and the intricate pattern of the relationships between the various characters would be rendered on the screen. The answer to these intriguing questions is not difficult at all: the cinematographic version has come as close to the original literary work as one can possibly get. The author, Ian McEwan, always excels in depicting life as it was in England in the early 20th century with its restraining formalism, hypocrisy and a numbing form of awkwardness that often lead to a lasting form of tragedy. All these elements are constantly present throughout the movie and together with the excellent acting, the captivating images of landscapes and the camera's keen eye for detail, one cannot but acclaim "Atonement" as one of the best productions in recent years.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Great series, 28 November 2007
9/10

One of my favorite series. Slow -paced with episodes that concentrate more on the psychological aspects of the various characters than on violence and cheap thrills. All the members of the team have their own personal problems that often affect the way in which they deal with their assignments. The visual switching of people to a younger age and then returning to their actual physical appearance adds a special dimension to the series and most likely aims at portraying how fragile life really is. Digging up files from the past in order to achieve justice for the victims is a painstaking task as time seems to have erased the facts from most people's minds. The confrontation of the guilty person with his or her former acts always forms the climax of each episode and is particularly intense as the past involvement and emotions are experienced all over again. Excellent acting with a special mention for Kathryn Morris who radiates an undeniable form of mysterious charm.

Fracture (2007)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Conventional roles & conventional acting, 5 November 2007
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The theme of " Fracture" has been amply reviewed on this site and I was amazed at the number of favorable appreciations the movie received. Although some comments have pointed out the weaker aspects of the plot, most reviews are very positive as regards the acting which to be really honest did not impress me at all. Anthony Hopinkins with his watered down version of Hannibal Lecter has become all too familiar and apart from the fact that his appearance on screen reveals unmistakable signs of increased age, his presence has really nothing new to offer. Although he's undoubtedly a great actor, since he first starred as the schizophrenic ventriloquist in "Magic"(1978) he has played that role a little too often in order to maintain the viewer's attention. Ryan Gosling has this air about him that makes him a very obnoxious sort of personality. The more I see him acting, the more I cannot detach myself from the frustrating feeling that in real life he must be very irritating also.I admit that this impression is entirely subjective but the fact that he was constantly chewing jelly beans or whatever only contributed further to my aversion. All the other characters in this movie are of no importance at all and not worth describing. On the whole a very mediocre movie with very conventional roles and conventional acting.

Crash (2004/I)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Isolation & Prejudice, 22 September 2007
8/10

This movie about people (meaning you and me) is brilliantly structured. The difficult task of blending multiple stories into a convincing whole without any trace of artificiality or exaggerated sentimentality is an admirable achievement.Life as it is with the increasing tendency of present-day man to isolate himself and hide behind prejudices towards others as a form of survival in a mad, mad world. Not a moralizing or judgemental approach as to what we are as human beings but an illustration of the complex aspects of our nature and how easily good can turn to bad and vice versa. Our narrow-minded outlook on the world around us and how easily we debase individuals by defining them as belonging to an inferior class or race is the main theme on which the movie is based. The issue however is not that simple and the most important aspect of this movie is that it sees things as they really are: our urban environment and our personal experiences with people in general do not encourage real confidence in our fellow man. There remains however a glimmer of hope and the message "Crash" conveys is that by gaining insight into the fact that our attitudes in general are based more on the unforeseen and casual incidents we experience in everyday life than on our so-called deep convictions, we could (possibly) become better people.A lot of reviews consider the movie weak due to its radical and therefore limited analysis of racism in general and that it focuses too often on a form of cheap emotional content. But let's be honest: isn't that precisely the only way most people in the real world function?


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