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kurosawa, t.j. anderson, coen bros.,almodovar, spike lee,capra, george stevens, king vidor, lawrence kasdan, sydney lumet, hitchcock,eastwood, spielberg,kieslowski,marc caro,so many contemporary French directors,....
Man, Can This Girl Act
I agree completely with the 3 other reviews. I mostly wanted to rave about this actress, Jasmine Trinca. She is really SOMEthing! She is unusually beautiful and elfin, w/ her Audrey Hepburn haircut, but that attribute is never mentioned in the film, and all the attention is on her laser sharp focus on her mission: traveling, procuring,returning and overseeing her Mexican contraband used by terminally ill people in Italy who wish to end their lives. She takes everything VERY seriously, and it is quite something when she finally smiles, near the film's end. I know using 'girl' instead of woman is not PC, but in this case, she looks soooo young (like 17,even though she was actually twice that old !) That, and maybe her naiveté, made me think of her as a girl.
The very unusual, complex and never explained relationship that develops w/ the 'grumpy old man' is the crux of the story, and the catalyst for change. For me, the film's ending depicted an act that was a true affirmation of Love, and I felt very satisfied by that.Film endings are rarely this successful. But you do have to figure it all out for yourself, because all the visual clues are there for you, but the dialogue never reveals most of what I picked up from watching it. Honey makes for a great conversation piece, about matters that really mean something in how we live our lives. A completely compelling and engrossing experience.
L'exercice de l'État (2011)
I saw this last year as part of a French Film Fest in Boston; it floored me then, and when I saw it again this year, it floored me again. Thankfully 2 other reviewers on its IMDb page-Philippe Guenot and hatugai - say it as well or better than I ever could.
I'm sure I missed a lot of messages that politically aware French people would not miss, but , in spite of that, there was still an abundance of rich material to absorb . That Olivier Gourmet is really something. I had admired his work in The Son and The Promise , but The Minister will be calling card for Gourmet in the same way Raging Bull was a calling card for DeNiro.I want to see other films by Gourmet and this screenwriter/director.
Girl on a Bicycle (2013)
Predictable and Lightweight but Neither Awful or Super
Very much like a Hollywood RomCom (formulaic, predictable, fluffy romantic comedy)some of the other IMDb reviewers thought it was awful and some thought it super duper. For me, it was neither extreme. The lead actor carried his part well and the chemistry was fun and believable between him and his German girlfriend. After the bus incident, you could pretty much write the story yourself, but it was still enjoyable enough to watch it all develop (though I did consider fast-forwarding it in a few places.) The screenplay had a few very good lines, but they're gone from memory as I know the film will be by tomorrow.
All of Me (2013)
Terrific Film on Living with Obesity and Rising Out of It
I was very impressed with this film. It presented a detailed and pretty complete picture of this group of women friends (all ages),their individual experiences with obesity,and the informal self-organized support group in which they found some happiness. The film focused on a few women's stories in detail and I identified with almost all of them. The resolve of a number of them to pursue gastric bypass surgery- was very reinforcing for me, as I have recently begin the road to that surgery as well. I think the film's director did a very thorough job of coming to understand all the issues that needed to be addressed in the film,and she organized them in both an entertaining and educational way. I highly recommend this film for anyone with weight issues, obese or not. It certainly may help change your life.
Comes a Bright Day (2012)
Emotionally Intricate and Quirky Hostage Film
I wouldn't use any extreme words to describe this film. It's not 'fantastic' or 'hysterical' or 'must see'. But it is interesting and unusual.The story of a jewelry heist gone very wrong and the three hostages awaiting resolution in the rarefied atmosphere of an elite London antique jewelry shop , it is fairly quiet, reserved,occasionally funny ;and occasionally jolting, stressful,violent.Except for a few scenes, it all takes place in one interior ,so it feels very much like a play.
I wasn't familiar with any of the actors except my hero, Timothy Spall, but they were all spot on.And it was very interesting to me that the five main actors all pretty much had equal time. There was no one person that 'made the picture.' For me, the story and the characters all felt very authentic and believable, and the pace never felt lagging or forced. The unexpected elements were the romantic interludes- a grief struck gentleman remembering the love of his life,a fairy tale-like story told to distract a worried hostage; a psychopath mesmerized by an opera aria; and they all contributed to making a heist/hostage film something quite different and out of the ordinary.I really enjoyed it.
Harukana jidai no kaidan o (1995)
A Sophomore Work; Unconvincing, Boring and Clumsy
I have just finished watching the last in this trilogy- The Trap, 2005. Where Stairway was a feeble wishy washy visually confusing poorly scripted effort, The Trap was a real movie.I really cannot figure out how anyone would find Stairway superior to The Trap, but since a few reviewers liked this film, i know i will not bother to seek the first in the trilogy. Stairway just felt off kilter through the whole piece, like a drunk who just can't get his footing. Derivative and Hat-tipping can be fun in the movies but in this film all those efforts were lifeless and clumsy and unconvincing.So my advice is- skip this film and see The Trap instead.
Went Right Over My Head or What a Waste of Time
I've never actually given any film a rating of 2, until now. I am just so miffed that i gave up two hours or whatever to watch this travesty.I saw Pater today as part of the Boston MFA Annual French Film Festival. I went to see it because I really admire the work of Vincent Lindon, but I had not researched it before going. All I can adequately relate was that it was an experience of watching 2 people(Lindon and the director/actor) eat a number of meals, talk about daily life, and play at developing a film (a film that went absolutely nowhere for me.) When I left the theater, all I could say was "what a waste." I think it was a purely intellectual exercise and I completely missed any value in it.
For those of you wanting a more informative analytical review,a review that found worth in Pater,there is a film reviewer whose work I usually enjoy and respect(Chris Knipp) and his review is included in the list of Critics Reviews for this film.
Conducting Mahler (1995)
Very Interesting But Far From Great
This DVD is actually two films in one. The first half is Conducting Mahler which intersperses pieces from Mahler's 10 symphonies with the thoughts of conductors Chailly, Haitink, Abbado, Muti, and Rattle. The 2nd half is I Have Lost Touch with the World, which is similar but only covers the 9th Symphony.
I have been a Mahler devotee for 30 years, so I was very excited when this DVD was acquired by my library. The pluses are the conductors' thoughts and experiences, the ability to see them conducting up close, and the pieces themselves as performed by world class orchestras. The negatives are many. There are no English subtitles, and their absence is keenly felt because of the WRETCHED sound editing (So many key ideas and passages are lost because of bad miking, particularly of Haitink and Abbado discussing the 7th ,8th and 10th symphonies in the film's first half.) And you must constantly adjust the volume, as the music is miked very loud but the interspersed interviews are miked very low. As wonderful as it is to hear the pieces from the 10 works covered in the film's first half, it is equally frustrating that they are not identified on the screen, and they are sometimes not from the symphony just discussed. (The irony is that the played pieces ARE identified in the 2nd half of the film -which is only about the 9th Symphony!) The conductors' thoughts vary in their effectiveness,Chailly's being perhaps the most enlightening. Abbado, while a wonderful Mahler conductor, is not a good speaker in this film. I was so disappointed that the filmmaker did not include Benjamin Zander instead , as he is justly famous for both his Mahler conducting and his articulate teachings about Mahler.
The 2nd part of the film, I Have Lost Touch With The World, is for me the most valuable part of the film, as it is a coherent well-ordered and more-than-superficial look into the grand 9th and all its parts. The words of famed Mahler expert Henry-Louis de la Grange I found particularly valuable. (His inclusion in the first half would have helped a lot.) The filmmaker has tackled a very big project here. There are currently no other films that attempt to cover this ground, so I am grateful for the film and all it teaches me(as I watch and rewatch it.) And you will most likely learn and benefit from seeing it. I only wish it did not have so many deficiencies.
Geu-rim-ja sal-in (2009)
Terrific Blend of Fun, Drama, Action; Loved It!
If this really is the first film of this director, he should be in the running for a First Film prize. The other reviews give you a good grounding of the plot and main characters. I loved so many things about the film-the general fun and tone of the film, the Mifune-like detective with great instincts, his somewhat goofy assistant/doctor who was none-the-less effective in many ways,the brilliant woman's help in solving the case,and the highlighting of women's issues and good morals. The pace,action, costumes and settings were all well done and i was engaged from beginning to end. I WANT sequels! * One caveat- they kept changing the look of the detective such that i was rather confused about whether new characters were being introduced in a number of early scenes.But no, it was the same guy.
What It Means To Be a Three Star Michelin Chef
Tonight I saw two excellent food documentaries at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).The second was "El Bulli".Of the 2 films, I think "Three Stars" by Lutz Hachmeister (2011, 83 min.) was the superior one. It focused on 10 Michelin 3 Star restaurants in Scandinavia, Europe, Japan and the U.S., their chefs, staff and environment. Passion was the operative word for all of these chefs, with focus, commitment, excitement and exhaustion all sharing the mix. Extremely well edited, i learned a great deal from the film. Because it tried to cover a great deal of ground, it was not able to answer all the questions you might have, but it did manage to cover many of the angles involved with achieving and maintaining the success that these talented chefs have achieved.Similar to "Danny Meyer, the Restaurateur",but with an international scope, Three Stars will undoubtedly give you a greater appreciation for what goes into giving you a memorable evening the next time you dine at a great restaurant.