Set in Paris's small theater district, the movie tracks the intersecting lives of a virtuoso pianist, a successful actress, and a rich old art collector, each of whom is facing a huge life change. The connections between them are facilitated by Jessica (Cécile De France), a young and innocent country girl who has arrived in the big city and taken a job at an atmospheric cafe patronized mainly by the artistic types who live and work nearby.
Continue reading: Avenue Montaigne Review
While Kevin Reynolds' (Waterworld) recent adaptation was warmly received by both audiences and critics (myself included), his was a truncated version. It made up for graceless transitions with gorgeously shot action sequences and American melodrama. Reynolds focused on the story's conflict but lost all the subtlety of the inner narrative, the character growth, and the true turning of the worm. While not as breathtakingly visual, Josée Dayan's earlier television production is superior to Reynolds' film because it assumes that the audience is familiar not just with the story but the novel.
Continue reading: The Count Of Monte Cristo (1998) Review
Focusing on three sisters who come together a few days before Christmas, their mother's second husband dies, leaving her a little befuddled for the holidays. The sisters proceed to organize a reunion of sorts with their father (mom's first husband), whereupon all manner of old history and secrets are dredged up.
Continue reading: La Bûche Review
No one should fret over the fact that I've just revealed the film's ending, since all but the most novice filmgoers will deduce such a conclusion from Jet Lag's opening moments, in which we find Rose - who, to top off a bad day that's left her stranded indefinitely in the airport, has lost her phone down a toilet - asking to use Félix's cell. Decked out in stylishly alluring attire and an abundant amount of make-up, Rose seems, at first glance, to be a somewhat trashy primadonna. However, despite her appearance, Rose has set herself down a life-altering path - finally seizing the opportunity to break free from her no-good boyfriend's violent control - even though waiting for her flight provides numerous chances to give up the escape plan and return home, Stockholm Syndrome-style, to her tormentor.
Continue reading: Jet Lag Review
Luckily, we are saved throughout by Watson's performance. As a woman vacationing with her pesky mother in 1920s Italy, she stumbles upon eccentric, pained, chess genius Alexander Luzhin, or more accurately, he stumbles upon her. Luzhin, played by a solid and risk-taking John Turturro, is disheveled and awkward, the kind of absent-minded obsessive that draws stares of both scorn and jealousy. Watson and Turturro, both at the top of their talents, create a sort of Romeo and Juliet -- he's reckless and unkempt, she's proper and well-mannered.
Continue reading: The Luzhin Defence Review
John Turturro is all about idiosyncrasies in "The Luzhin Defence," an adaptation of a Vladimir Nobokov novel in which the actor plays a brilliant 1920s chess grand master whose strict, sometimes cruel upbringing has left him an erratic social misfit.
Deeply submerged in his character, he walks like he's forever in the middle of trying to prevent a stumble. Reflected in his busy eyes is the fact that his mind is compulsively darting and dashing about. And he's a man who lacks certain social graces -- like getting a girl's name before he proposes marriage to her.
Visiting a lakeside resort chateau in northern Italy for a championship chess tournament, Alexander Luzhin (Turturro) finds himself distracted by a beautiful Russian heiress named Natalia (Emily Watson), on holiday with her persnickety bluenosed parents. Unable to get her out of his mind after one brief encounter and not adept at social interaction, Luzhin approaches her out of the blue, while she's in the middle of playing tennis, to burst out his proposal.
Continue reading: The Luzhin Defence Review
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