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jboothmillard

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Shoot the Pianist, 16 April 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From director François Truffaut (The 400 Blows, Jules et Jim), whether the title is Pianist or Piano Player, it doesn't matter, it wasn't a French film I would have heard of without the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, but one I looked forward to watching. Basically Charlie Kohler (Charles Aznavour) plays piano in a dive bar, following his wife's suicide he has become somewhat washed up, the waitress Léna (Marie Dubois) who works in the bar as well and is in love with him, but he may not be all he appears. One evening while playing he is approached by his brother Chico Saroyan (Albert Rémy), a crook who takes refuge as he is being chased by two gangsters, Momo (Claude Mansard) and Ernest (Daniel Boulanger), Charlie is becoming inadvertently dragged into the situation and rejoin his family he no longer wanted to be a part of. Charlie confesses his past to Léna, his real name is Edouard Saroyan, he used to be a famous pianist, but quit his successful career after his wife Thérèse Saroyan (Nicole Berger) killed herself, she was also a waitress. The situation gets more complicated when Charlie's other younger brother Fido Saroyan (Richard Kanayan), who lives with him, is kidnapped by the gangsters, forcing him to take drastic actions, but consequences will comes and it ends in tragedy. Also starring Charles Aznavour as Charlie Kohler, Michèle Mercier as Clarisse, Jean-Jacques Aslanian as Richard Saroyan and Serge Davri as Plyne. I will confess having to read subtitles can be annoying so I perhaps didn't see why critics give it five out of five stars, but apparently this is a forgotten gem, it does well to pay homage to classic film noirs, the melancholic romance is relatively interesting, and there are the right thrilling moments, it is a watchable crime drama. Very good!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 16 April 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Avengers Assemble was such a big hit for the Marvel franchise, so I am making sure to follow the storyline that is continuing through each of the films, and of course I liked the first film starring the hero of this wearing the iconic costume, from directors Anthony Russo and John Russo (Welcome to Collinwood, You, Me and Dupree). Basically it has been two years since the events in New York, Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) is still having to catch up with the modern world and pop culture, having been in suspended animation, frozen in ice for fifty years, he works for espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division). He is sent on a rescue mission to save hostages on a vessel, alongside agent Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), in fact besides the rescue the mission involves extracting data from the ship's computers for S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who explains about Project Insight, where three spy satellites can eliminate given targets, Fury is suspicious of the project. Heading to meet with agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Fury is ambushed by enemies, led by the mysterious masked assassin the Winter Soldier (Gone's Sebastian Stan), he survives the attack and makes it to Steve's apartment, Furty warns him that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised and hands him a flash drive, before being shot and dying in surgery, Hill takes the body. Steve is summoned to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters, to tell what he knows to official Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), but refusing to say anything he is regarded a fugitive, but he escapes as the agency hunt for him, he and Romanoff join forces and in New Jersey locate a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker where they can access the content of the flash drive. They activate a supercomputer with the preserved consciousness of Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), Zola explains that S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after the Second World War, but since then enemy organisation HYDRA has secretly operated within its ranks, causing global chaos in the hope that humanity will surrender freedom for the security, and then the pair inside the bunker narrowly escape a missile attack on them. Steve and Romanoff recruit former USAF para-rescue man Sam Wilson aka Falcon (The Adjustment Bureau's Anthony Mackie) to join them, and they deduce the HYDRA mole inside S.H.I.E.L.D. is Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) who they catch and force to divulge the information he knows, that HYDRA has identified through data searching every single individual on the globe who is a threat to their plans, and the three satellites could be programmed to eliminate them all. Travelling to headquarters the trio are ambushed by the Winter Soldier and his assailants, during the long fight the assassin's masked is removed, Steve recognises him as his former comrade James Buchanan 'Bucky' Barnes, who he thought was dead, Hill then rescues the heroes and takes them to a safe house, where they find Fury is alive, he faked his death and he has plans to replace the programming chips for the satellites so they will not fire. At the Triskelion the World Security Council are gathered, Captain America exposes the plot by HYDRA, disguised Romanoff reveals herself and forces Pierce to leak out all classified information, Fury comes in eventually and after a struggle kills Pierce, meanwhile Rogers and Wilson work to try and change the controllers, but with the Falcon suit damaged Rogers is forced to do it alone, the Winter Soldier tries to stop him but the attack is stopped just in time for Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other. Wilson fights and defeats double agent Brock Rumlow (The Grey's Frank Grillo), while the Winter Soldier rescues Rogers when the vessels crash to the ground, but he disappears after this, in the end Fury using the cover of his apparent death heads to find the remaining HYDRA cells in Eastern Europe, Romanoff provides Rogers and Wilson information for them to track down the Winter Soldier program. Also starring Emily VanCamp as Kate aka Agent 13, Georges St- Pierre as Georges Batroc aka Batroc the Leaper, Jenny Agutter as Councilwoman Hawley, Garry Shandling as Senator Stern, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Alan Dale as World Security Council Member, Callan Mulvey as Jack Rollins, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Stan Lee as Smithsonian Security Guard, Gary Sinise as The Smithsonian Narrator, Silent House's Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Kick-Ass's Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff. Evans is still straightforward and definitely growing into the role as he becomes more determined, Johansson is terrific being equally determined and a little feisty, Jackson gets much more time on screen as the smart leader, and even though a little stiff Redford is a villain. You don't have to necessarily pay attention to all the dialogue, the story once you settle into it is well thought out, using the contemporary surveillance scandals to good effect for the usual world destruction concept, of course the best bits are the explosive chase sequences and special effects bundled fight and battle sequences which are fantastic, as a sequel it definitely outweighs the original, a most entertaining action adventure. Very good!

Tommy (1975)
Tommy, 16 April 2014
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From director Ken Russell (Women in Love), I knew that this film was some kind of musical film, I didn't know it based on the album of the same name by The Who, the big name stars in it, or anything about the story, but I was up for it, as it has gained a reputation over time as a cult rock opera. Basically during the Second World War the plane of Captain Walker (Robert Powell) is shot down, he is presumed missing and killed in action, his wife Nora (Golden Globe winning, and Oscar nominated Ann-Margret) gives birth to their son Tommy. A few years pass and Nora meets and quickly gets married to shifty camp counsellor Frank Hobbs (Oliver Reed) while adolescent Tommy is attending "Bernies Holiday Camp", but Captain Walker comes home, only to be murdered and witnessed by his son, his mother and step-father tell him he never saw or heard it, and never to speak of it, Tommy takes this to extreme and becomes blind, deaf and dumb. Grown up Tommy (Golden Globe nominated Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who) goes through many therapies and experiences to try and cure him, including attending a cult church that worship Marilyn Monroe, and crazy prostitute and LSD dealer Gypsie the Acid Queen (Tina Turner), but the parents eventually give up and want to leave Tommy with relatives. Cousin Kevin (Paul Nicholas) is sadistic beating and torturing the young man, and Uncle Ernie (The Who's Keith Moon) is a filthy alcoholic who molests children and rapes the young man, so the parents leave him alone for a bit, and goes to a junkyard where he finds a pinball machine, the device that will change his life, he plays on it all night until being found by the police and his parents. Playing the machine by instinct without hearing and seeing any distractions Tommy plays game after game, the family become rich because of his talent as the "pinball wizard", and he is put in a televised pinball championship where he amazes and beats the Local Lad (Sir Elton John) with his high scoring, but inside Nora is still unhappy that her son is still disabled. Frank tells her he has found a doctor who deals with many kinds of disabled people, The Specialist (Jack Nicholson) confirms that Tommy's problems are psychosomatic and not physical, based on the emotional trauma of his father and step-father, Nora at home eventually shatters him into an awakening, and all his senses return. He realises many people are enlightened by his pinball playing, and being cured he has feels like a messiah, and creating a symbol with a "T" and a pinball he starts holding lectures and rallies, teaching them his unique perspective on life, ultimately he becomes the leader of his own religious cult. This however turns out to be both the family's rise and downfall, as Tommy preaches things the crowds do not feel enlightened by, including wearing headgear to make them blind, deaf and dumb like he used to be, the people eventually upset riot, destroying pinball machines and starting fires, Frank and Nora are killed in the attack, Tommy is only mildly injured and retreats to the place his parents spent a romantic time together, he greets the sun as it rises, and a new dawn. Also starring Eric Clapton as The Preacher, Barry Winch as Young Tommy, Victoria Russell as Sally Simpson, Ben Aris as Reverend Simpson, "Fire" singer Arthur Brown as The Priest, The Who's Pete Townshend and The Who's John Entwistle. Daltrey as the leading star based on his band's own album is terrific, Ann-Margret is good as the emotional mother, and Reed does good as the father-in-law going along with whatever, I agree the celebrity stars slightly overshadow the actors, John in his huge shoes, Nicholson as a cool doctor and Turner going wild, but this film is much more memorable for the often over the top imagery, absurd storytelling, and rhythmical rock singing throughout, for it's reputation it's certainly a worthwhile musical. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Music for Pete Townshend, it was nominated the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy. Good!

Everything Must Go, 16 April 2014
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw the DVD for this film when it was released, the leading actor made it obvious it was a film to made for laughter, and the title suggested to me a particular premise, but I didn't know anything about the plot, from the pretty positive reviews I read I was definitely going to watch it. Basically alcoholic Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell) had an unspecified drinking related incident happen in Denver, and due to this he is fired from his job as a salesman after sixteen years, after returning home he finds that the locks have been changed and his wife has left him, with a letter telling him not to contact her, and all his belongings are spread across the lawn. He spends the night on the lawn, he leaves to get some beer and food, and when he gets back his company car is being taken away, his credit cards have been cancelled, he is blocked from accessing the account he shares with his wife, and he has no phone service, police want him to vacate the premises, but his AA sponsor Detective Frank Garcia (Michael Peña) gets him a permit to have a yard sale. Nick has three days to sell as much of his stuff as possible before he must move, neighbourhood boy Kenny Loftus (Christopher Jordan Wallace, the son of The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls) offers to help him, and they make a deal where he will teach the boy to play baseball, but the first day is unsuccessful as Nick cannot bring himself to sell and let go of any of his personal items. He meets new neighbour Samantha (Rebecca Hall) and they become friends, and during their conversation he explains that he was sober for six months, but in Denver he attended a conference where he got drunk and blacked out while in the company of a female coworker, he has no memory of the night before after waking, but he knows he was fired as a complaint was lodged against him. With hardly any progress on the yard sale and feeling lonely Nick decides to seek what could have been his love interest from school, he finds his yearbook and notices a personal message from classmate Delilah (Laura Dern), he manages to track her down for a visit, but their reunion is awkward, before Nick leaves she hugs him and tells him deep down he is a good person. Broken and without alcohol he withdraws himself, Samantha offers him some support but in a low mood he responds with rude comments about her husband who also drinks, which makes her storm off angry and hurt, the next morning things look up a little however when Kenny has finished arranging his belongings with price tags, and that evening many things get sold, Nick and Samantha reconcile, she admits he was right about her husband. During a dinner Nick's supervisor visits and explains that the female employee he spent time has tried blackmailing other employees, he also says he could have given his job back if Nick hadn't slashed his car tyres, he is left a bottle of beer but does not give into temptation, Frank also visits and tells Nick his wife has been staying with him since she left him, also she is a recovering alcoholic. Frank and Nick have a fight, after Frank explains that his wife deserves to be with someone sober to have a better life, and he hands Nick the divorce papers his wife wants him to sign, and also some money and the key to the house, on the way home Nick wants to be dropped off, he walks past a convenience store selling beer, but he keeps walking, and in the end it is the following day, Nick gives away the rest of the items he did not sell, and shares a hug with Samantha. Also starring Rosalie Michaels as Kitty, Stephen Root as Elliot and Glenn Howerton as Gary. I can see the connection critics make to Leaving Las Vegas, with a man down on his luck drinking himself stupid, obviously this film is not as dramatic, Ferrell certainly isn't completely convincing as the hopeless drunk he is supposed to be, he is likable at least, the friendship between the man and the young man is interesting, the relationship between him and the neighbour is nice as well, there are definitely interesting scenes of vulnerability and human frailty, and yes it does make you laugh as well, a watchable comedy drama. Good!

Never Let Me Go, 15 April 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo), I saw the poster and DVD cover for this film, so I knew the two leading actresses in it, but I had no idea of the plot, only that it may involve some love story. Basically in 1952 a medical breakthrough made it possible to extend the human lifespan beyond one hundred years, and in Hailsham, idyllic English boarding school, the explanation for this is that all the child students have been created as later in life they will provide donor organs for transplants after "selection", that is the sole reason they exist, there may be only one procedure, but some go through four or more. While they were at the school Tommy (Andrew Garfield) was emotionally angry and teased by the other boys, and Kathy (Carey Mulligan) fell in love with him, and now teenagers they share a cottage on a rural farm with their friend Ruth (Keira Knightley), they do not question the moral principles of their situation, but they are allowed to leave any time, but they are fascinated to see the humans they were "modeled on". They also hear that if a couple of clones can prove that they are truly in love they may be able to apply for "deferral", living extra years and avoiding "selection", Tommy sees that the artwork made by students at Hailsham was to see which of the children clones had souls, it appears now though that Tommy and Ruth may be falling for each other, becoming sexually active, but it does not last a long time, and Kathy becomes a "carer", who can avoid "selection" supporting and comforting donors who will give up their organs. Years pass and Kathy continues to work as a carer, having watched many clones "complete" with their organs donated, their deaths are referred to as "completion", she reunites with Ruth who has completed two donations and is frail, she helps also to arrange a reunion with Tommy, Ruth admits as well that she did not truly love him, as she was jealous and afraid of being alone, and since this seduction she has been consumed with guilt. Ruth believes Kathy and Tommy would qualify for "deferral", shortly after seeing them she dies in "completion" on the operating table, Tommy explains he has been creating artwork for years in hopes of getting a deferral, but it turns out there is no such no thing as deferral of any kind, the film ends with Kathy left alone after the "completion" for Tommy, and just two weeks she is notified her first "selection" will take place in a month. Also starring Blue Jasmine's Sally Hawkins as Miss Lucy, Charlotte Rampling as Miss Emily, About Time's Domhnall Gleeson as Rodney, Oblivion's Andrea Riseborough as Chrissie, Charlie Rowe as Young Tommy, Ella Purnell as Young Ruth, Nathalie Richard as Madame, Isobel Meikle-Small as Young Kathy and Kate Bowes Renna as Miss Geraldine. Mulligan is reasonably effective in her performance, Knightley is alright in her role as well, and Garfield before becoming Spider-Man proves a good British actor, the three way love story between them is just about interesting, the plot of the film certainly sounds like it would be good, but the problem is that it is not pulled off well enough to the point it does not compel you enough, there might be some great individual scenes, but it should be much darker and emotional, but I suppose it's not a bad romantic science-fiction drama. Worth watching!

The Spirit of the Beehive, 15 April 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember reading this in the book of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, the title certainly didn't suggest anything to me about the plot, but it was rated highly by critics as well and I was definitely going to watch and hope for the best. Basically, set in 1940, after the end of the Spanish Civil War, with the Francoist victory over the Republican forces, and in an small isolated Spanish village on the Castilian plateau lives beekeeper and amateur mycologist Fernando (Fernando Fernán Gómez), his younger wife Teresa (Teresa Gimpera), and their two adolescent daughters Isabel (Isabel Tellería) and Ana (Ana Torrent). During the war Teresa met and fell for a soldier, she has been communicating with him through letters and longs to be with him again, due to this the family life is cold and distant, especially between the husband and wife, but at least their children remain close, they are not just sisters but the best of friends. The sisters go to the local cinema together and watch the latest movie to arrive in town as part of a travelling movie, classic horror movie Frankenstein (1931), and it leaves a lasting impression on six year old Ana, she was not frightened, but she was fascinated by the scene where the Monster making friends with a little girl before she is thrown into the water and drowns. Isabel assures her that everything in the film is fake, but she can think of the Monster as being like a spirit that she can call for, and she even tells her gullible sister that it lives in an abandoned farmhouse and will reveal itself at night when she makes friends with it, Ana returns alone there many times to look for him, but only finds a large footprint each time. Isabel one day lets out a loud scream in the house, Ana comes to see what is wrong and finds her lying perfectly still on the floor, she is in fact pretending to be dead, and that night Ana closes her eyes calling to the Monsters she longs to meet, and at the same during this night a fugitive republican soldier (Juan Margallo) jumps from a moving train and limps to hide in the farmhouse. The next day Ana goes to the farmhouse as usual and finds the soldier, she does not run in terror however, she feeds him and brings some of her father's clothing and pocket watch, he is wordless and she does not speak either, this silent friendship seems very similar to that Frankenstein, but it is brought to an end when during the night police catch up to him and shoot him. The police find the clothing and pocket watch, connect it with Fernando, and the father realises that his younger daughter helped the strange man, Ana goes back to the farmhouse to find the man she assumes is the Monster, she only finds fresh blood on the floor, her father confronts her before she runs away, and wandering into the woods comes across poisonous mushrooms she was told would kill anyone who eats it. It is unclear is she did eat a mushroom, but she has a vision of Frankenstein's Monster (José Villasante) gazing at her sadly behind her as she kneels beside the water, meanwhile Teresa is seen burning a letter meant for her past lover, she is seen later caring for Fernando as well, so the affair is likely to be over, a search party finds Ana the next morning, but she refuses to speak and eat, the doctor assures the parents is shock, at night she closes her eyes and appears to still call for a spirit. Also starring Laly Soldevila as Doña Lucía, Miguel Picazo as Doctor and Ketty De La Cámara as Milagros. Young Torrent gives an enchanting performance as the little girl mistaking a fictional character for a spirit, and later being embodied by the soldier she shortly befriends, this film works really well because it feels authentic to the time it is set, there are interesting things to see, including the beekeeping (hence the title), and it is simple but really charming, a wonderfully watchable period drama. Very good!

The Next Three Days, 13 April 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From director Paul Haggis (Crash, In the Valley of Elah), this despite having the big star from Gladiator probably wasn't one of the most promoted at the time of it's release, and I knew it was likely to be worthy of three out of five stars, but I still wanted to watch it. Basically in Pittsburgh, John Brennan (Russell Crowe), a family man and community college teacher has his life turned upside down when his beloved wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) is suddenly arrested for the accused murder of her boss, without any proof of her innocence she is convicted and sent to Allegheny County Jail. Three years pass and John has been forced to raise their son Luke (Insidious's Ty Simpkins) alone and continues to appeal for his wife's release in court, but with a motivation for murder, an argument with the boss, her fingerprints on the fire extinguisher used as the murder weapon, his blood stain on her coat, and a witness seeing her leave the parking lot where it occurred, the evidence against her being solid and her lawyer unable to sway the verdict. John is the only person who believes that Lara is innocent, so following any sources he can find he is trying to work out a way to break her out of the prison, including an interview with a former escapee, and after this scheme is complete they will travel abroad with their son, but he needs a good escape plan, false passports and new identities, and a lot of money. He is informed that within the next three days Lara will be transferred to the state prison,so he needs to move fast to get the money he needs and plan a strategy before she is moved, he uses drastic measures, including robbery and conning a drug lord. John manages to falsify his wife's blood test results to make it look like she has a high amount of potassium in her system, and being transferred to a hospital he is able to get her out of the ambulance and help her escape, she is reluctant to go with his plan, but the idea of Luke being raised without either parent is too persuasive. John and Lara reach the airport and have a nervous trip through airport security, it is only when the guard is changing his shift that they avoid being recognised as their "wanted" photographs are put out, but the police were fooled to go to the wrong terminal, and the couple with their son manage to get away undetected and take off. In the end John and Lara are safe in Caracas, Venezuela, and meanwhile investigating Lieutenant Nabulsi (The Prisoner's Lennie James) goes to the crime scene, theorising that Mrs. Brennan may have been innocent, the murderer was a mugger who bumped into her, and a button from her coat may have gone down a drainpipe when it was raining, the detective just misses the button under the grime. Also starring Jason Beghe as Detective Quinn, Aisha Hinds as Detective Collero, Liam Neeson as Damon Pennington, Olivia Wilde as Nicole, Brian Dennehy as George Brennan, Daniel Stern as Meyer Fisk, Kevin Corrigan as Alex, Jonathan Tucker as David, RZA as Mouss, Moran Atias as Erit, James Ransone as Harv, Trudie Styler as Dr. Byrdie Lifson and Jurassic Park III's Bruce A. Young as Craftsman in Elevator. Crowe is relatively good as the determined husband who will do anything to get his family back, Banks does alright with her time on screen as well, the grittiness is evident with the good use of grey looking Philadelphia locations, the story is pretty simple if a little slow on occasions, but the chase and tension sequences keep you just about gripped, it is a standard but good enough crime drama. Worth watching!

Jimmy Carr: Laughing and Joking, 10 April 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was the eighth stand up tour and DVD release for the fantastically funny, witty and debonair comedian Jimmy Carr, who presents once again his cool dress code, and his brilliant observational and even ruder jokes covering various subjects. Routines and discussions in the show, with some audience participation and animated illustrations on screen, include him being in comedy, laughing, chat up lines, disability, the supernatural and seeing a ghost, obesity and being fat, a lot about sex, clothing and fashion, sexuality and gender, him having no relation to Alan Carr, homosexuality - gay and lesbian, 50 Shades of Grey, pornography, political correctness, paedophilia, teachers, Countdown and Rachel Riley, charity, posh people and royalty, The Queen, flashing, Vajazzles, the best and worst gifts someone has given someone else, hecklers, Secret Santa, relationships, most important things in a relationship, masturbation, celebrities, terrorism and terrorist threat levels, religion, teenage girls, foreign holidays, couples, long term relationships, reasons heard not to have sex by women, weird sexual acts, fetishes and fantasies, walking in on people having sex, what women have been asked sexually and said no to, children and parenting, oral sex and blowjobs, racism, offensive jokes and a story about being famous. Special features on the DVD include him meeting and greeting members of the audience for autographs and photographs and getting to know them to make jokes, and some extra jokes he performed on stage been was not seen in the full show. Jimmy Carr was number 12 on 100 Greatest Stand-Ups. Very good!

The Colour of Pomegranates, 10 April 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was another foreign film I found listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, as with many of the other titles I watched previously I didn't know what to expect, but I hoped for the best with this Armenian/Soviet Union film. Basically this film is supposed to be a biographical piece about Armenian poet Arutiun Sayadin, formerly the apprentice of a carpet weaver who rose to become first the court minstrel Sayat Nova ("the king of song"), and then an archbishop. But the film is much more surreal and obscure than that, and there seems to be hardly any real plot at all, it is simply a series of fascinating imagery, including by the leading actress Sofiko Chiaureli, playing both male and female characters. Rather than focusing on the depiction of actual events of the real person involved, the film is a depiction and symbolisation of the many ideas written in Sayadin's poetry, the actors on screen dress up and create things to portray religious iconography and nationalist folklore as big art pieces and illustrations. Starring Sofiko Chiaureli as Poet as a Youth / Poet's Love / Poet's Muse / Mime / Angel of Resurrection, Vilen Galstyan as Poet in the cloister, Melkon Alekyan as Poet as a child and Giorgi Gegechkori as Poet as an old man. The title comes from the fact that there are pomegranates seen on screen, and specifically the colour of them, the red colour is seen on screen in many of the artistic visuals, this film works especially well if you have keen eye or interest in art, you will not necessarily be able to decipher the ideas behind what is created in each scene, but it is a remarkable and beautiful biographical drama. Very good!

A Winter's Tale, 10 April 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This French film, also known by some as either A Tale of Winter, or Conte d'hiver, was featured in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, but I didn't know anything about it prior to reading about it, from director Eric Rohmer (My Night with Maud). Basically while on holiday Félicie (Charlotte Véry) meets and falls in love with cook Charles (Frédéric Van Den Driessche), they have a whirlwind holiday romance, but then after some time they are forced to go their separate ways, but she gives him her address. Time has passed, five years, and due to a mix-up he is not able to find or contact her, and it is now Christmas time, with Félicie living with her mother in Paris, where the weather is cold, and she also has a child born from the summer with the man she met. Félicie still manages to find herself male company and companionship, but she cannot choose between the two men which she would commit with, either hairdresser Maxence (Michel Voletti) or intellectual librarian Loïc (Hervé Furic), because she still hold on to the memory of Charles and what may have been between them. In the end of course Félicie realises she cannot be truly happy with either of them, and fortunately fate brings Charles back into her life, they settle back with each other like before, they get married and open a restaurant together. Also starring Ava Loraschi as Elise. I admit the story is a little slow for my liking, I didn't fully get what was going on to be absolutely honest, but once I got the gist of what the plot was I found it relatively interesting, I'm not sure if I would agree it being a must see film, or worthy of four stars out of five by critics, perhaps I should watch it again, but it was an alright romantic drama. It was nominated the Oscars for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced and Best Foreign Language Film. Worth watching!


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