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What Is the Best American Remake of a Foreign-Language Film? — Critics Survey

What Is the Best American Remake of a Foreign-Language Film? — Critics Survey
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: In dubious honor of “Sleepless,” a new Jamie Foxx vehicle that’s been adapted from Frederic Jardin’s “Sleepless Night,” what is the best American remake of a foreign-language film?

Joshua Rothkopf (@joshrothkopf), Time Out New York

Long before I knew and appreciated Jean Renoir, I was in love with “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” a 1986 comedy based on “Boudu Saved from Drowning” that peppered the flow with some truly eye-opening ideas for Hollywood: class warfare, unequal police treatment, a neurotic dog with its own therapist. The movie holds up beautifully — it’s one of Nick Nolte’s quietest performances, and one
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Spy vs Spy

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The plot of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest was suggested by this spy film.

The Man Who Never Was I Was Monty’s Double Odd Man Out Correct

Clifton Webb starred in Ronald Neame’s 1956 film
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

TV5MONDE USA: May Brings Films of Discovery

Tune in alert for self-discovery and surprise revelations abound in May with TV5MONDE USA. Daniel Auteuil, Quelques Jours Avec Lui (2012) May 15, 1:05pm Edt / 10:05am Pdt Two-time César award (Girl on the Bridge, Jean de Florette), Cannes Film Festival (The Eighth Day) and BAFTA Film Award (Jean de Florette) winner Daniel Auteuil is the focal point of this documentary about self-discovery. Over his forty-year career, Daniel Auteuil has played a thousand roles, including the under-gifted Bebel, for Claude Zidi; Scapin, for Jean-Pierre Vincent; and Ugolin, for Claude Berri. At age 63, after recognizing all of his success, the actor admits he wants to talk a little bit about himself after spending his life hiding behind characters.
See full article at Monsters and Critics »

"St Nick," Wc Fields, Cine las Americas, More

  • MUBI
"The indie Texan filmmaker David Lowery receives a double bill at the reRun Gastropub Theater in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and while Pioneer, a 16-minute short, and St Nick, an 86-minute feature, don't provide hard answers to their mysteries, both are deeply intriguing," writes Andy Webster in the New York Times. Regarding St Nick, a "potentially stifling ambience is deflected by quiet suspense and the awe-inspiring compositions of the cinematographer, Clay Liford. Decaying rustic interiors evoke Andrew Wyeth still lifes; pastoral long shots suggest a Southwestern walkabout. And Mr Lowery seems ready for a bigger canvas."

"Obliquely charting the terror, loneliness, and liberation of navigating a cold, callous grown-up world, St Nick follows nameless brother and sister runaways (played by real-life siblings Tucker and Savanna Sears) who take up impermanent residence in an empty Texas house," writes Nick Schager in Slant. "David Lowery's debut feature is long on silence and laden
See full article at MUBI »

Julien Guiomar, 1928 - 2010

  • MUBI
Le Monde and Le Figaro are among the French papers reporting on the death of Julien Guiomar on Monday at the age of 82. Among the first roles mentioned in nearly every story are his Colonel Vincent in Jean-Marie Poiré's Papy fait de la résistance (Gramps Is in the Resistence, 1983) and his Commissaire Bloret in Les Ripoux (My New Partner, 1984) and Jacques Tricatel in L'Aile ou la Cuisse (The Wing and the Thigh, 1976), both directed by Claude Zidi. International audiences will probably know him best as the Colonel in Costa-Gavras's Z (1969); that same year, he played a Spanish priest in Luis Buñuel's The Milky Way. He also worked with Jean-Paul Rappeneau, André Téchiné, Claude Sautet and Jean-Claude Lauzon. All of the French obits mention Guiomar's deep background in the theater and his popular performances in television comedies.

For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow The Daily
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ABC Believes In Cameron's "True Lies"

  • SneakPeek
The ABC network reports that a script has been ordered for a potential TV series based on director James Cameron's 1994 feature "True Lies".

The original action-comedy, casting Arnold Schwarzenegger as a sexist, 'suave' 'James Bond'-like killer, co-starred Jamie Lee Curtis, who won a Golden Globe Award for her performance as legal secretary 'Helen Tasker'. The film was also nominated for a Best Visual Effects Oscar.

Similar to how Cameron took credit after cribbing the original works of writer Harlan Ellison for the feature film "Terminator", the $120 million budgeted "True Lies" was an extended remake of director Claude Zidi's 1991 French feature "La Totale!", starring actors Thierry Lhermitte and Miou-Miou.

"True Lies" was also noted as the first Lightstorm Entertainment project to be distributed under Cameron's new production deal with 20th Century Fox, as well as the first major production for Cameron's VFX company Digital Domain.

"...'Harry Tasker' (Schwarzenegger) leads a double life,
See full article at SneakPeek »

Jean-Jacques Beineix: The Hollywood Interview

French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Beineix.

Jean-jacques Beineix:

Divas and Lions and Moons, Oh My!

By Alex Simon

The Noveulle Vague, or “French New Wave” was launched by a group of film critics and cinefiles who began France’s legendary Cahiers du Cinéma magazine in the 1950s. With Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless in 1959, the movement was launched, emphasizing behavior over aesthetics, content over form, and pastiche of other film genres (particularly those born in the U.S., with a healthy dollop of Italian neorealism) over the more traditional narratives of French films from years past. Francois Truffaut, Jacques Demy, Agnes Varda (see our interview with her below) Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, and Jacques Rivette all fell under the spell of magazine co-founder and theorist Andre Bazin, laying the groundwork for a series of articles, monographs and critiques that formed the so-called “auteur theory,” (or more specifically “"La politique des auteurs" ("The policy of authors,
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

ARP elects helmer Zidi to head its board

PARIS -- ARP, France's influential body of writers, directors and producers, said Tuesday that its board has elected director-writer Claude Zidi as president. Zidi replaces director-writer Pierre Jolivet, who has headed the organization since 1999 and will continue to serve as a vp. Director-writers Claude Miller and Jean Marboeuf also were elected vps at a board meeting Monday. Producer-director Claude Berri, who heads the French Cinematheque, will serve as honorary president for a second year, ARP said. French directors Jeanne Labrune, Gerard Krawczyk and Bertrand Van Effenterre have been named members of the association's management, while producer-writer-director Jean-Claude Jean will serve as treasurer. ARP's administrative council of 14 members includes French directors Alain Corneau, Costa-Gavras, Claude Lelouch, Coline Serreau, Christophe Barratier, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Bertrand Tavernier.

Montreal fest says I do to 'Bride'

Montreal fest says I do to 'Bride'
MONTREAL -- The Syrian Bride, a co-production from Israel, France and Germany by Israeli director Eran Riklis, picked up the Grand Prix of the Americas as top film Monday at the 28th Montreal World Film Festival. "The jury liked many films, but there is only one Grand Prix of the Americas," jury president Claude Zidi said in announcing the winner. Syrian Bride also was awarded the Air Canada People's Choice Award, the public's choice for the best feature film at the festival, the FIPRESCI prize from the International Federation of Film Critics and the Ecumenical prize.

Montreal fest says I do to 'Bride'

Montreal fest says I do to 'Bride'
MONTREAL -- The Syrian Bride, a co-production from Israel, France and Germany by Israeli director Eran Riklis, picked up the Grand Prix of the Americas as top film Monday at the 28th Montreal World Film Festival. "The jury liked many films, but there is only one Grand Prix of the Americas," jury president Claude Zidi said in announcing the winner. Syrian Bride also was awarded the Air Canada People's Choice Award, the public's choice for the best feature film at the festival, the FIPRESCI prize from the International Federation of Film Critics and the Ecumenical prize.

Zidi tapped as jury head for Montreal fest

OTTAWA -- French filmmaker Claude Zidi on Thursday was named head of the eight-member international jury for the 28th Montreal World Film Festival, set to run Aug. 26-Sept. 6. Zidi will be joined on the jury by U.S. director Jerry Schatzberg, Czech animator Bretislav Pojar, Quebec producer Denise Robert, Indian director Goutam Ghose, Mexican actress Diana Bracho, Italian star Anita Caprioli and Spanish director Jaime Camino.

Les Ripoux3

Gaumont Buena Vista International

PARIS -- "Les Ripoux3" is the latest in a series of films that director Claude Zidi began shooting back in the early 1980s. The first two films were a great success in France, but it's difficult to see how this one, which amounts to an old-fashioned cop film, will appeal to anyone other than hard-core fans.

Philippe Noiret picks up his role as Rene Boirond, a corrupt, retired police officer who spends his days betting on horses and avoiding creditors. His former partner Francois (Thierry Lhermitte)' has been promoted to head of the anti-crime squad in Paris. The two ex-colleagues have not seen each other for years until Rene becomes involved with the Chinese mafia under surveillance by Francois' squad. The two are now on opposite sides of the fence, and Francois must choose between helping his old friend out of a tight spot or remaining on the right side of the law.

What starts as a simple story is muddied by a string of subplots and secondary characters. Mistaken identity, a long-lost daughter and a drawn-out bank heist stretch the action too thinly. The main characters never have the chance to dig into their roles as the film flicks from one scene to another. This is a real loss as the relationship between Rene and Francois is the true heart of the film. Instead, the plot laboriously twists and turns, and the comedy wrung from the first two movies is sadly lacking here.

Noiret is a highly credible as the lovable rogue Rene. He shuffles and shambles through the action scenes, throwing in the odd wry comment where needed. L'Hermitte is excellent as the uptight Francois, who seems lost without his inscrutable partner of years gone by.the end of World War II, a young girl named Neera (Biana G. Tamimi) gets separated from her caravan when it is set upon by raiders. (Who these raiders are and what happens to the rest of the caravan are never explained.) The same raiding party then goes after a mare and her newborn colt. The colt escapes and is discovered wandering alone in the desert by Neera.

She names the horse Shetan, and without too much difficulty the two "orphans" somehow find their way to the casbah of Neera's grandfather (Richard Romanus). How do they find their way? What do they eat? How is Neera able to make a fire? The filmmakers show no interest in the story of their survival.

Once Neera reaches her grandfather's place, Shetan runs off only to return a year later as a magnificent stallion. Without even a moment to break in the stallion, Neera simply climbs on Shetan's back and gallops off. Within a matter of minutes and against her grandfather's wishes, she enters Shetan into a desert horse race against several powerful mares that furnishes the movie's climax.

As one can see from this synopsis, characters and story are woefully thin. Even the villains (Gerard Rudolf, Ali Al Ameri) do little more than furrow their brows. The movie exists for its splendid vistas and the final horse race. These elements do justify "Stallion", but if the Mouse wants to pursue Imax features, much more dramatic meat will have to go into the storytelling.

Young Tamini, who has ridden horses virtually all her life, makes a credible heroine even though little is asked of her as an actress. The other actors are stranded by the weak dramatic material.

Production designer Paul Peters and costume designer Jo Katsaras give the film a Moroccan feel. William Ross' score also is a plus, though it contains more than a hint of Maurice Jarre's musical themes from "Lawrence of Arabia".

THE YOUNG BLACK STALLION

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures

Credits:

Director: Simon Wincer

Screenwriter: Jeanne Rosenberg

Based on the book by: Walter Farley and Steven Farley

Producers: Fred Roos, Frank Marshall

Executive producers: Jeanne Rosenberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Director of photography: Reed Smoot

Production designer: Paul Peters

Music: William Ross

Costume designer: Jo Katsaras

Editors: Bud Smith, Terry Blythe

Cast:

Neera: Biana G. Tamimi

Ben Ishak: Richard Romanus

Aden: Patrick Elyas

Rhamon: Gerard Rudolf

Mansoor: Ali Al Ameri

Kadir: Andries Rossouw

MPAA rating: G

Running time -- 51 minutesG-13>Emma: Dina Waters

Michael: Marc John Jefferies

Megan: Aree Davis

Running time -- 88 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

Les Ripoux3

Gaumont Buena Vista International

PARIS -- "Les Ripoux3" is the latest in a series of films that director Claude Zidi began shooting back in the early 1980s. The first two films were a great success in France, but it's difficult to see how this one, which amounts to an old-fashioned cop film, will appeal to anyone other than hard-core fans.

Philippe Noiret picks up his role as Rene Boirond, a corrupt, retired police officer who spends his days betting on horses and avoiding creditors. His former partner Francois (Thierry Lhermitte)' has been promoted to head of the anti-crime squad in Paris. The two ex-colleagues have not seen each other for years until Rene becomes involved with the Chinese mafia under surveillance by Francois' squad. The two are now on opposite sides of the fence, and Francois must choose between helping his old friend out of a tight spot or remaining on the right side of the law.

What starts as a simple story is muddied by a string of subplots and secondary characters. Mistaken identity, a long-lost daughter and a drawn-out bank heist stretch the action too thinly. The main characters never have the chance to dig into their roles as the film flicks from one scene to another. This is a real loss as the relationship between Rene and Francois is the true heart of the film. Instead, the plot laboriously twists and turns, and the comedy wrung from the first two movies is sadly lacking here.

Noiret is a highly credible as the lovable rogue Rene. He shuffles and shambles through the action scenes, throwing in the odd wry comment where needed. L'Hermitte is excellent as the uptight Francois, who seems lost without his inscrutable partner of years gone by.the end of World War II, a young girl named Neera (Biana G. Tamimi) gets separated from her caravan when it is set upon by raiders. (Who these raiders are and what happens to the rest of the caravan are never explained.) The same raiding party then goes after a mare and her newborn colt. The colt escapes and is discovered wandering alone in the desert by Neera.

She names the horse Shetan, and without too much difficulty the two "orphans" somehow find their way to the casbah of Neera's grandfather (Richard Romanus). How do they find their way? What do they eat? How is Neera able to make a fire? The filmmakers show no interest in the story of their survival.

Once Neera reaches her grandfather's place, Shetan runs off only to return a year later as a magnificent stallion. Without even a moment to break in the stallion, Neera simply climbs on Shetan's back and gallops off. Within a matter of minutes and against her grandfather's wishes, she enters Shetan into a desert horse race against several powerful mares that furnishes the movie's climax.

As one can see from this synopsis, characters and story are woefully thin. Even the villains (Gerard Rudolf, Ali Al Ameri) do little more than furrow their brows. The movie exists for its splendid vistas and the final horse race. These elements do justify "Stallion", but if the Mouse wants to pursue Imax features, much more dramatic meat will have to go into the storytelling.

Young Tamini, who has ridden horses virtually all her life, makes a credible heroine even though little is asked of her as an actress. The other actors are stranded by the weak dramatic material.

Production designer Paul Peters and costume designer Jo Katsaras give the film a Moroccan feel. William Ross' score also is a plus, though it contains more than a hint of Maurice Jarre's musical themes from "Lawrence of Arabia".

THE YOUNG BLACK STALLION

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures

Credits:

Director: Simon Wincer

Screenwriter: Jeanne Rosenberg

Based on the book by: Walter Farley and Steven Farley

Producers: Fred Roos, Frank Marshall

Executive producers: Jeanne Rosenberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Director of photography: Reed Smoot

Production designer: Paul Peters

Music: William Ross

Costume designer: Jo Katsaras

Editors: Bud Smith, Terry Blythe

Cast:

Neera: Biana G. Tamimi

Ben Ishak: Richard Romanus

Aden: Patrick Elyas

Rhamon: Gerard Rudolf

Mansoor: Ali Al Ameri

Kadir: Andries Rossouw

MPAA rating: G

Running time -- 51 minutesG-13>Emma: Dina Waters

Michael: Marc John Jefferies

Megan: Aree Davis

Running time -- 88 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

Film review: 'Asterix & Obelix'

Although often fascinating, "Asterix & Obelix Take on Caesar" doesn't have enough charm, excitement or humor to work outside of the territories involved in its production.

When released in France, this live-action version of the much-loved comic books was a massive success, attracting an audience of more than 9 million and topping the boxoffice figures of "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" in the process.

Aimed straight at youngsters (the French version was for older audiences, with the jokes somewhat cruder) the dubbed "Asterix & Obelix" is likely to meet with only limited success among boys who have read and loved the comic books.

Dubbing of this English-language version was overseen by former Monty Python cast member and experienced writer-

director Terry Jones, who also takes on the voice of Gerard Depardieu's Obelix.

The casting is certainly top-drawer. Alongside Depardieu is Christian Clavier's wily Asterix, while Oscar winner Roberto Benigni is at his manic best as the scheming Roman Detritus. Director Claude Zidi's film is one of the most expensive in French history and is staged impressively. The effects and costumes are fabulous, plus Zidi recruited 1,500 extras for the scenes of Roman soldiers battling Asterix, Obelix and their buddies.

The film is set in 50 B.C., when Gaul (France) is occupied by Julius Caesar's Roman armies. One tiny village in Brittany refuses to surrender; this is where Asterix and Obelix live. Their ability to resist the Romans stems from a magic potion brewed by the druid Getafix that gives them incredible strength. (Obelix, played with muscular charm by Depardieu, fell into a cauldron of the potion as a baby and is so powerful, he doesn't know his own strength.)

Detritus plans to overthrow Caesar and sets about capturing Getafix. Asterix and Obelix attempt to rescue Getafix and eventually enter the Roman camp with Obelix disguised as a Roman and Asterix pretending to be a prisoner.

The scene is then set for an impressively mounted sequence of Asterix fighting off snakes, lions, crocodiles and spiders while trying to cross an arena in a test staged by Detritus. The Gaulish team escapes with ease, of course, teams with Caesar and sees off Detritus and his army.

Zidi does a marvelous job handling the large-scale scenes and hundreds of extras, and the digital effects are well-integrated, giving the fight scenes a sense of the comic book versions. Clavier and Depardieu are excellent as the little-and-large team of Asterix and Obelix, but as in any film in which voices have been dubbed, you miss out on certain facets of their performances.

Benigni typically goes over the top, though in a way that suits the film, and nice performances from Fassbinder veteran Gottfried John as an imperious Caesar and Claude Pieplu as Getafix (who looks identical to his comic book original) help.

ASTERIX & OBELIX TAKE ON CAESAR

Katherina-Renn Prods./TF1 Films Prods./

Bavaria Film/Bavaria Entertainment/

Melampo Cinematografica

Producer: Claude Berri

Director: Claude Zidi

Executive producer: Pierre Grunstein

Screenwriters: Claude Zidi, Gerard Lauzier

English adaptation by: Terry Jones

Director of photography: Tony Pierce-Roberts

Production designer: Jean Rabasse

Editors: Nicole Saunier, Herve de Luze

Costume designer: Sylvie Gautrelet

Music: Jean-Jacques Goldman, Roland Romanelli

Color/stereo

Cast:

Asterix: Christian Clavier

Obelix: Gerard Depardieu

Detritus: Roberto Benigni

Vitalstatistix: Michel Galabru

Getafix: Claude Pieplu

Panacea: Laetitia Casta

Caesar: Gottfried John

Crismus Bonus: Jean-Pierre Castaldi

Benamenture: Marianne Sagebrecht

Running time -- 110 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

Credited With | External Sites