Alex Descas

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The Limits Of Control Review


Excellent
While it's probably too meandering and vague for mainstream cinemagoers, this offbeat thriller is a terrific example of Jarmusch's subtly cheeky tone, plus gorgeous Christopher Doyle cinematography and a terrific cast.

A lone man (De Bankole) is on a mysterious mission, flying into Madrid then travelling to Seville and Alicante. Along the way, he has a series of clandestine meetings with a nervous violinist (Tosar), an enigmatic blonde (Swinton), a naked seductress (de la Huerta), a British guitarist (Hurt), an edgy Mexican (Garcia Bernal), a silent driver (Abbas) and an arrogant American (Murray). But he's all business, never distracted from his assignment and quietly hearing the philosophy that seems to swirl around his every move.

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35 Shots Of Rum [35 Rhums] Review


Excellent
Quietly establishing her characters and their inter-relationships with very little dialog, filmmaker Denis uses her typically moody, vague style to explore multicultural France with dark humour and warm emotion.

Jo (Diop) lives with her widowed train-driver dad Lionel (Descas) in a Paris flat. Also in the building are Lionel's ex Gabrielle (Dogue) and Noe (Colin), a neighbour Jo has her eye on. Together, they're a sort of family, watching out for each other even as circumstances change around them. When a friend (Toussaint) retires, Lionel becomes terrified of his own old age, which opens him up to potential romance with a local cafe owner (Ado). And besides Noe, Jo is also drawn to a cute shop clerk (Folly).

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The Limits Of Control Review


Excellent
It was about three years ago when, emerging from a press screening of Pedro Almodóvar's Volver, a good friend said to me, "You just can't argue with Almodóvar," referring to the idiosyncratic style that the great Spanish director has held steady for nearly three decades now. It didn't matter that Volver was, arguably, one of the director's more languid entries in terms of story, thematic content, and ambition. It simply mattered that it was undeniably Almodóvar.

The Limits of Control, the 11th feature by the New York-born auteur Jim Jarmusch, is another work that is inarguably stamped by its director's idiosyncrasies and, like Volver, there have been several critics who have questioned if its artistic success is not so much a result of it being a Jarmusch film rather than simply a good film. It emits a dark-shade cool, as befits any Jarmusch joint, and it features several of the director's usual performers, including the Ivorian-born actor Isaach De Bankolé in the lead.

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The 2008 Venice Film Festival - Day 4 - '35 Rhums' - Photocall

Alex Descas and Claire Denis - Alex Descas and Claire Denis Saturday 30th August 2008 at Venice Film Festival Venice, Italy

Alex Descas and Claire Denis
Alex Descas and Claire Denis
Alex Descas
Alex Descas and Claire Denis
Alex Descas and Claire Denis

Lumumba Review


OK
The story of the Congo and its struggle for independence from Belgium is a bloody and torrid one, but Lumumba doesn't really imbue the tale with much spirit. Rather, this is a fairly staid look at liberator Patrice Lumumba, intent on elevating him as a superhero above providing much entertainment value. The result: A barely watchable movie.

Trouble Every Day Review


Bad
French filmmaker and provocateur Claire Denis has provided movie audiences with stimulating cinema over the years, with fare such as Nenette et Boni, I Can't Sleep, and the award-winning Beau Travail. Clearly, Denis has proven herself as a progressive and provocative director whose cinematic vision remains dauntingly confrontational. However, in her perversely passionate sexual artsy thriller Trouble Every Day, Denis revels in the hedonistic arena of extreme nudity, graphic sex, and even cannibalism. As a result, her film ends up wallowing in the mundane seediness of its ludicrous and salacious conventions. Although quite raw and caustic, Trouble Every Day is an awkwardly garish showcase that diverges from anything remotely probing or penetrating.

Vincent Gallo (Buffalo '66) and Tricia Vessey (Town & Country) portray American newlyweds named Shane and June Brown, spending their honeymoon in romantic Paris. A reluctant Shane appears fearful about consummating his marriage with an eager June, causing him to seek refuge in a nearby Parisian medical clinic where he explores his unexplainably weird sexual urges. And there's also this tendency for him to want to devour his spouse during sex. Yes, as in literally eating his loving partner's flesh right down to her human bone. Hence, Shane has to resort to masturbation in order to overcome the desire to chew on his new bride as if she were a juicy pork chop. Bottom line: If Shane doesn't get the help he needs to control his bizarre behavior, he will inevitably end up killing his woman.

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Coffee & Cigarettes Review


Good

Not unlike his cigar-shop patter with Harvey Keitel in "Blue in the Face," the great American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has now released a feature length collection of café-style conversation. It consists of eleven semi-fictional segments, the first three of which were released as short films in 1986, 1989 and 1993 respectively. In each, various agents of cool meet at cafes for the title beverage and its symbiotic smokes.

The participants can be as well known as Stephen Wright, Roberto Benigni, Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Cinque and Joie Lee, Steve Buscemi, Steve Coogan, Alfred Molina, Bill Murray, the RZA and the GZA, or, like the gorgeous Renee French, they can be unknown to everyone except Jarmusch and a small cache of insiders. No less a talent than Cate Blanchett appears opposite herself, playing both a movie star and the movie star's lesser-known cousin.

Nothing much holds the eleven segments together, other than their luscious black-and-white photography -- shot by several different cinematographers over the years -- that only emphasizes the eternal coolness of smart people sitting around and talking about nothing. Certain lines of dialogue pop up more than once, and more often than not the talkers don't really connect on either a verbal or spiritual level; most of the conversations are lively disagreements. None of the world's problems gets solved.

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Alex Descas

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Alex Descas Movies

The Limits of Control Movie Review

The Limits of Control Movie Review

While it's probably too meandering and vague for mainstream cinemagoers, this offbeat thriller is a...

35 Shots Of Rum [35 Rhums] Movie Review

35 Shots Of Rum [35 Rhums] Movie Review

Quietly establishing her characters and their inter-relationships with very little dialog, filmmaker Denis uses her...

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Trouble Every Day Movie Review

Trouble Every Day Movie Review

French filmmaker and provocateur Claire Denis has provided movie audiences with stimulating cinema over the...

Coffee & Cigarettes Movie Review

Coffee & Cigarettes Movie Review

Not unlike his cigar-shop patter with Harvey Keitel in "Blue in the Face," the great...

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