1) No Brad Pitt. Valli worked on the Brad Pitt film Seven Years in Tibet, which showcased Pitt and his pathetic German accent trekking the Himalayas and befriending the Dalai Lama. Instead of the overpaid, perfect-toothed Pitt, we get real people from Nepal portraying themselves, in roles that demand good acting and a credible screen presence.
Continue reading: Himalaya Review
Its subject, at first glance, is one of the ickiest imaginable: bugs. Given this reviewer's uneasy relationship with the lifeform (grasshoppers in particular freak me out completely), no one could have convinced me that I would leave a documentary about the day-to-day lives of insects in anything but a state of sustained panic. And yet Microcosmos remains among my very favorite nature documentaries or, for that matter, documentaries of any kind.
Continue reading: Microcosmos Review
Jacques Perrin, producer of such hugely successful French films as the exciting Z and the compelling Cinema Paradiso, has turned to films about nature, such as Microcosmos (insects) and Himalaya for his more recent successes. Winged Migration has the potential in sheer amazement of imagery to fly to the top of his list. In it, he provides minimalist narration, allowing the pictures to astound you not only at their majesty but at what made them possible.
Continue reading: Winged Migration Review
Former aspiring musician Clément Mathieu (a charismatic Gérard Jugnot) is the new instructor at a school for uncontrollable adolescent boys which - under the strict orders of dastardly principal Rachin (François Berléand) - punishes bad behavior with swift violence in a policy referred to as "Action - Reaction." Such abuse doesn't sit well with Mathieu, a sensitive soul who believes that there's goodness hidden underneath these wayward kids' rough exteriors. Naturally, The Chorus wholeheartedly subscribes to this romantic theory, characterizing each and every pint-sized punk as an angel in disguise. Though initially intent on terrorizing their new teacher, Mathieu's students see the light once the music-loving professor turns their unruly class into a disciplined choral group, their vocal training indirectly inciting them to study, reconnect with their families (in the case of Jean-Baptiste Maunier's star singer Morhange) or find surrogate parents to embrace (such as with Maxence Perrin's impish Pépinot). As far as Barratier's rose-colored fairy tale is concerned, every bad seed - regardless of his vileness - is redeemable with a little Do-Re-Mi and TLC, and thus The Chorus goes to great lengths to play up the central conflict between compassionate care and corporal punishment embodied by the kindhearted Mathieu and wicked Rachin, a villain so groaningly cartoonish it's a wonder he doesn't twirl his graying moustache.
Continue reading: The Chorus Review
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