Anna Karina - Day 1 of the TCM Classic Film Festival on Thursday, April 28, 2016 at TCL Chinese Theater IMAX in Hollywood, California at TCL Chinese Theater - Hollywood, CA - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 28th April 2016
Anna Karina owns the film wholly: She's a stripper in Paris who decides she wants a baby. She approaches her boyfriend (Jean-Claude Brialy), but he refuses. So she turns to another guy: his best friend.
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Jean-Luc Godard's oddball sci-fi spends a lot of time ostensibly bemoaning the dehumanizing effects of technology but doesn't make much of a case for it here. Sure, if we were dumb enough to literally allow a computer to rule our lives, we might get what we deserved. But modern life (and even reasonably forseeable life) has no signs of Godard's "outlawing of emotion" and oppression of individuality. In fact, these ideas are more prevalent than ever, which tends to horribly date Alphaville against its more thought-out successors like A Clockwork Orange and Blade Runner.
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Such is the basic premise of Chinese Roulette, which one-ups the notion of the ruined weekend by adding a crippled daughter and her mute nursemaid to the proceedings. Odd then that the child proves to be the most vicious of them all, as her game of "Chinese Roulette," essentially a truth or dare derivative, ends with gunplay.
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Perhaps it's not fair to begin a movie review by comparing a remake to its original, but since director Jonathan Demme has been proudly trumpeting "The Truth About Charlie" as a reimagining of Stanley Doden's 1963 romantic thriller "Charade," he's practically asking for it.
What the films have in common is a plot centering on a beautiful young woman named Regina (Audrey Hepburn then, Thandie Newton now) who returns to Paris from vacation to discover her husband has stripped their stylish apartment bare, disappeared with a fortune she didn't know he had, and subsequently turned up dead. With the money still missing, dangerous strangers start coming out of the woodwork, convinced she knows where it is.
In "Charade," Hepburn's sprightly Regina meets the suave and cunning -- perhaps a little too cunning -- Peter Joshua, played by Cary Grant, and falls for him as he tries to keep her safe and help her solve the mystery of the absconded riches. In "Charlie," Newton's clever but ingenuous Regina meets gym-buffed paramour Joshua Peters, played by Mark Wahlberg, who may look classy in a '60s-homage pokepie hat, but as a character he's dry, dry, dry.
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