Project overseers Emmanuel Benbihy and Tristan Carné wanted to create a cinematic map of Paris, with each short film representing one of the city's 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods). They ended up with 18 films, none of them more than a few minutes long and directed by a glittering, international roster of filmmakers. While none of the films here are anything approaching masterpieces, hardly a one is in any way a chore to sit through, which has to be some sort of an accomplishment.
Continue reading: Paris, Je T'aime Review
What makes Nathalie different than your run of the mill tale of infidelity is what Catherine decides to do after receiving this news. She frets a bit about her husband, but instead of tossing him out or simply shrugging and getting on with things, she's left uneasy, pining with curiosity. Fortunately, there's a house of ill repute just around the corner from her office, so Catherine decides to do a little field research on what makes men do these sorts of things. Popping into the "private club," all tacky red décor and overly made-up girls, Catherine drinks whiskey straight and gets to know the prettiest girl in the joint, Marlène (Emmanuelle Béart).
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Continue reading: Beyond The Clouds Review
The battle plays out over the soul of a pathetic boxer named Manny (Demián Bichir), who makes next to no impression in the film. All eyes are on the leading ladies and the jaunts through heaven, hell, and earth. Whether Abril's performing in a cabaret or Abril is eating lunch in her waitstaff's uniform, this bizarre production keeps you wondering, well, what the hell is going on in this movie?
Continue reading: Don't Tempt Me Review
Before pondering this, the question of whether or not a frivolous film is acceptable needs to be addressed. Mindless eye candy is redeemable when a) at least one character is fun to follow; b) some of the humor is fresh instead of feeling like a bunch of regurgitated stereotypes; c) not every single scene or line of dialogue is predictable, including the supposedly surprising conclusion.
Continue reading: 8 Women Review
So leave it to Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) to adapt Swann in Love, a continuation of part one (Swann's Way) of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, series of seven volumes that span some 3,000 pages. (I'm hardly a Proust expert, so if I've got the exact ID of the original text wrong, forgive me.)
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An affectionate, sophisticated parody of Technicolor melodramas and musicals of the 1950s -- with a some mock-Agatha Christie thrown in for fun -- Francios Ozon's ironic, estrogen-overloaded "8 Women" is a cinema-couture candy whodunit, full of frivolous twists and frothy performances.
Set at a snowed-in country chateau in France where the man of the house has been found dead with a knife in his back, the artificially stylized film (sets are deliberately soundstagey, Dior-inspired costumes pop with color, characters are mock-'50s stereotypes) traps all its impeccably attired suspects in the house together (The phone line's been cut! The car has been sabotaged!) and slowly reveals each of their deep, dark secrets to fuel whimsical paranoid conjecture.
Could the killer be the man's well-bred bourgeois wife (Catherine Deneuve) who was never all that fond of him? How about their chic, beautiful, ostensibly virginal elder daughter (Virginie Ledoyen) or her tomboyish teenage sister (Ludivine Sagnier)? Perhaps his live-in mother-in-law (Danielle Darrieux) -- who had been faking the need to use a wheelchair for reasons unknown -- did it?
Continue reading: 8 Women Review