The genius of a character like Bean is that he is never completely explained to us in any specific way. Throughout his stand-up, a sadly short-lived BBC series, and Bean (his 1997 movie romp), Atkinson and the writers have never given a shred of evidence to justify or correlate Bean's persona. You could call him a blank slate based on his aloof, ruinous behavior, but that definition disregards his absurd volatility. If Bean was badly cut, you'd half-expect his blood to spurt out and form a mini-Bean that tap-danced to elevator music. It is unsurprising that a character of this untoward bewilderment would find a happy home in France, the home of Jerry Lewis's most devoted fandom.
Continue reading: Mr. Bean's Holiday Review
After scoring so perfectly with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and its follow-up, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, it was maybe inevitable that Gondry was going to slip up, and this film is that slip-up. Firstly, it's hard to shake the feeling that the scraps of story that leak out around the visuals are not much more than leftover ideas from Eternal Sunshine, further notes on the fantastic. As Stephane, the neurotic star of his own dream-TV show, Stephane TV, Gael García Bernal uses that slightly blank charisma of his to singular effect. Though Gondry takes awhile to lay his cards down on this character, leaving audiences not entirely sure whether to view Stephane as an innocent dreamer or immature creep, it's hard not to warm to Bernal's enthusiasm -- even he did put it to better use in The King.
Continue reading: The Science Of Sleep Review
The strapping youth whom the film places at the intersecting desires of three women is Pierre (Louis Garrel), a somewhat idle guy who, after his father's mysterious death, gets sucked into the orbit of his self-destructive mother, Helène (Huppert). This involves a lot of gamesmanship whereby Helène tries to push Pierre into more and more outlandish behavior, especially with her wastrel friend Réa (Joane Preiss), whom she's more than a little chummy with. At first, Helène pushes Pierre towards Réa, seemingly as a way of having one-degree-of-separation sex with him, watching longingly as Réa screws Pierre in public, blasé strangers wandering past. It's easy to see why these three are pushing themselves to such extremes, given the film's bland setting in the Grand Canaries - with its California-like, mildly libidinous atmosphere and constant, enervating sunlight. But unfortunately that doesn't mean there's much depth to it at all, no matter how much philosophical and religious piffle writer/director Christophe Honoré puts into Pierre's portentous voiceovers.
Continue reading: Ma Mère Review
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