Michael Kohlhaas is a horse dealer living a simple but idyllic life with his beautiful wife, children and their quaint home. He buys some carefully selected horses to take home from a nearby town but on the way he is stopped by a greedy local baron who removes several of his horses apparently unlawfully. When Kohlhaas protests his rights, he discovers that his beloved wife has been ruthlessly killed and so he decides, with his whole world crashing down around him, to embark on a fearless voyage of vengeance. While attempting to gather an army to destroy the monsters who ruined his life, he is confronted by his own religious beliefs which tell him he must forgive his enemies. However, is seems Kohlhaas is willing to face the fiery depths of hell for what those enemies have taken from him.
A range of intelligent blockbusters, inventive foreign films and beautifully crafted storytelling made 2012 a good year at the cinema...
1. Life Of Pi
Ang Lee's clever, thoughtful adaptation of Yann Martel's acclaimed novel is an unexpected work of art. It's also one of the richest, most challenging, most visually spectacular movies we've ever seen.
Starring: Suraj Sharma & Irrfan Khan
Read the review of Life Of Pi Here!
2. Rust & Bone
French filmmaker Jacques Audiard follows up his amazing prison drama A Prophet with this startlingly edgy, tough-minded romance about two deeply wounded people who find each other.
Starring: Marion Cotillard & Matthias Schoenaerts.
Read the review of Rust And Bone Here!
Continue reading: The Ten Best Films of 2012
Kylie Minogue’s new movie Holy Motors has impressed the critics. It’s been a long time since the Aussie pop star ventured in the word of movies but with this art-house offering, directed by Leos Carax, she seems to have done herself proud. It’s an unusual film, seemingly with little in the way of a fixed narrative structure, but that’s part of its off-beat charm.
The Telegraph review reveals that Kylie’s starring moment, though brief, is a highlight: ” Kylie Minogue, memorably, singing an ex-lover’s torch song along the dusty walkways of a derelict department store. We’re left with a vast amount to puzzle over and process. One thing’s for sure: you may struggle to wrest unified meaning out of this entirely irreducible movie, but like Kylie’s other featured song, you can’t get it out of your head.” Equally, The Guardian describes Kylie Minogue’s performance in Holy Motors as “stylish yet gentle.” The New Statesman review does a better job of un-ravelling the meaning of Holy Motors by explaining “the central enigma of Holy Motors rests on where life ends and performance begins, or whether the distinction is irrelevant.”
Also starring Eva Mendes and Denis Lavant, Holy Motors may seem like a peculiarly avant-garde excursion for Kylie but she seems quite at home in front of the camera and look relaxed, though evidently excited at the movie’s recent London premiere, where she revealed that she “couldn’t not do” the film.
Indescribably insane, this outrageously inventive French drama is so bracingly strange that we can't help but love every moment. It's certainly not like any movie you've ever seen before, and French director Carax packs it with so many offbeat touches - from wildly unexpected casting to witty movie references - that watching it is almost like a fever dream.
It's the story of Oscar (Lavant), who goes to work in a white stretch-limousine with his driver Celine (Scob). But the limo is actually his office, and his job entails dressing up in full make-up to play nine roles over the course of the day. These include a scabby homeless woman, a dying husband and a freaky green mischief-maker who invades a funeral and bites off people's fingers. But as the day progresses, Oscar begins to crack under the strain. Is it because of the job's huge emotional demands or because he's not living his own life?
The film is like a razor sharp satire of reality TV and social networking, as Carax cuts through the layers of artificiality of modern life. At the centre, these are all actors playing actors in a variety of scenarios. But who is watching? Some of these scenes are sexy and funny, while others are terrifying or darkly moving. But for all of the intensity of feeling, the situations are essentially shallow simply because they're not actually real. And Carax pushes each segment far beyond what we expect.
Continue reading: Holy Motors Review
When Kylie Minogue hit the red carpet for the premiere of her new movie, she cut a dazzling figure in a stunning black sequinned Dolce & Gabbana gown. On Tuesday night (September 17, 2012), the UK premiere for Holy Motors took place at the Curzon Mayfair and the movie’s Aussie star made sure that she really stood out in her shimmering, floor-length frock. She finished the look off with smoky eye-shadow and dangling diamond earrings.
The movie, a French drama, also stars Denis Lavant, Edith Scob and Eva Mendes. After posing for photos on the red carpet, Kylie then “cosied up to director Leos Carax,” according to the Daily Mail. It’s a rare film role for Kylie; even though she started out as an actress – in Australian soaps such as Neighbours - she has spent the last twenty-five years focusing mainly on her music career. Speaking about her decision to take part in the movie, Kylie said “I’m always intrigued and enticed by that which I haven’t done, so… there was every reason to do it and no reason not to do it… it turned out to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
Kylie plays the role of Eva Grace (Jean) in the movie. She has her hair cropped short for the role, a far cry from the elegant long locks that she was sporting Tuesday night. There are no Kylie Minogue songs in the movie, though she does have a singing part. Holy Motors receives its general release in the UK on September 28, 2012.
Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Kylie Minogue and Leos Carax - Denis Lavant, Kylie Minogue, Leos Carax, Edith Scob, Elise Lhomeau and Jeanne Disson Wednesday 23rd May 2012 'Holy Motors' premiere during the 65th Cannes Film Festival
Edith Scob, Denis Lavant, Kylie Minogue and Leos Carax - Edith Scob, Denis Lavant, Kylie Minogue and director Leos Carax Wednesday 23rd May 2012 'Holy Motors' photocall during the 65th Cannes Film Festival
Edith Scob, Denis Lavant, Kylie Minogue and Leos Carax - Edith Scob, Denis Lavant, Kylie Minogue, director Leos Carax, Jeanne Disson and Elise Lhomeau Wednesday 23rd May 2012 'Holy Motors' photocall during the 65th Cannes Film Festival
For its easy charm and humor, Michel Gondry's "Interior Design" comes off best. Gondry's story follows a young couple -- Hiroko and Akira (Ayako Fujitani and Ryo Kase) -- who have just moved to Tokyo, struggling to find an apartment, jobs, and generally to start their new lives. Akira's an aspiring filmmaker-artist, hence a bit of a space case, while his girlfriend Hiroko is smart but directionless. While getting started in Tokyo, they bunk up with a friend in her absurdly tiny apartment. Gradually, Hiroko pulls away from Akira and, in a Gondry-esque bit of transmogrification, she suddenly has the ability to shift from human to chair form and back. As a chair, she becomes part of the furnishings in a stranger's home, and feels herself an object of value, something she lacked as a human being. Gondry pokes fun at Tokyo's housing crisis: The living spaces are hilariously cramped, hardly more than glorified closets. With the low-key bantering of its characters, the quotidian details of Tokyo street life, its movie-within-a-movie device, the human-chair magic trick, and the overall theme of life-as-reverie, this is a Gondry project through and through. And, though not illuminating on the subject of its city, it's still a cute, clever take on Tokyo to keep us amused.
Continue reading: Tokyo! Review
I've read that this movie is based on true events (though the film itself does allude to them and I can't confirm that anywhere), and it plays out with the almost clinical plotting that indicates it could be "ripped from the headlines." Either way, it sounds familiar: Vacationing at a low-budget camp with her parents, Camille (Isild Le Besco) lives a usual life of drinking beer, wearing next to nothing, and wasting away most of the summer. Enter Blaise (Denis Lavant, France's answer to Billy Bob Thornton), the brother-in-law of the camp director, a sad sack who finds pity and a job at the camp. Despite the unlikelihood, Camille (20 years younger and two inches taller) takes a fancy to Blaise, and soon they're canoodling and launching mega gossip throughout the camp. Naturally, Camille's boyfriend dislikes this turn of events, and ultimately things turn nasty.
Continue reading: Wild Camp Review
Continue reading: Beau Travail Review
Although it starts off like a war film - opening in the muck and mire, as all good war films must - and gives us plenty of reason to understand why these soldiers shot themselves in the hand (a sort of purposeful self-stigmata), A Very Long Engagement is really about a woman trying to find her lost love. The woman, Mathilde, is played by Jeunet's muse, Audrey Tautou, and though she doesn't here have the near-angelic glow he gave her in Amelie, she's plenty captivating nonetheless. Mathilde fell in love with her childhood friend, Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), and we see their romance in flashback, all frolicking in their picturesque village, swooning episodes atop a lighthouse and innocent carnality. Then the war comes, and poor, fresh-faced Manech is sent off to the front, later to be one of the five hurled into no man's land by a callous military bureaucracy determined to make an example of them. After the war, Mathilde refuses to accept what seems obvious to everybody else, that Manech is dead, and she launches on a journey to dig up every last piece of information she can about the case and find out what happened to her one true love.
Continue reading: A Very Long Engagement Review
Get beyond the many gimmicks, and you'll find a reasonably good story waiting to get out. As told through images and various characters' grunts, we watch as a public spa/pool/gym struggles with its rapidly disintegrating edifice. The fact that the inspector is about to condemn the place is one thing -- an evil boatman who wants a crucial part from the gym's steam engine is yet another headache.
Continue reading: Tuvalu Review