Francois Berleand

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The Concert Review


Excellent
This riotous French farce stirs in both Russian mob action and some strong emotion in a way that kind of defies both description and expectation. But it's brilliantly held together by the music at the centre of the story.

Andrei (Guskov) was a great conductor until he clashed with Brezhnev in 1981.

He's now a cleaner at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, and when he intercepts a fax he decides to reclaim his reputation by gathering his old orchestra buddies and illicitly taking a high-profile gig in Paris with the help of his pal Sacha (Nazarov) and their pushy old manager Ivan (Barinov). Meanwhile, Andrei will also need to face up to his past, most notably to Tchaikovsky's violin concerto, as well as rising-star French violinist Anne-Marie (Laurent) and the high-spirited orchestra members.

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Transporter 3 Review


Weak
Remember the Star Trek films theory? You know, the argument that says every even-numbered entry (two, four, six, so on) in the series was great, while every odd numbered movie was mediocre to awful? Well, the Transporter franchise could soon take the place of everyone's favorite serious science fiction romp, except in this case, the conflicting criticisms would be "tolerable" and "oh no, not again." You'd figure that with this third journey into Jason Statham's six pack, we'd have something akin to a guilty pleasure. Instead, all we're offered is a director named "Olivier Megaton," and sadly, both his name and his effort is a dud.

After retiring to an isolated life in France, driver for hire Frank Martin (Statham) believes his transporting days are over. But when a man he suggested as a replacement literally winds up in his living room, expensive sports car and all, our sullen hero finds himself back behind the wheel. His mission this time around? Deliver a package to the Ukraine, in time to stop a high ranking government official from cancelling a contract with some American energy interests. Seems the U.S. wants to use the former Soviet Union as a toxic waste dumping ground, and a concerned cabinet minister wants no part of the deal. Of course, when a Western thug (Robert Knepper) kidnaps his daughter Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) and holds her hostage, it's up to Martin to step in and save the day.

Continue reading: Transporter 3 Review

Transporter 3 Trailer


Transporter 3 sees Jason Statham return as Frank Martin the 'specialist' delivery man, employed by whoever has enough money to pay for his services, he keeps a strict 'no questions asked policy'. 

Continue: Transporter 3 Trailer

A Girl Cut In Two Review


Good
Quite a good portion of Claude Chabrol's tasty cocktail of romance and jealousy, A Girl Cut in Two, has gone by before you realize that, in essence, nothing much of consequence has happened. This is not a bad thing, and is more a testament to Chabrol's talent behind the camera that he's able to keep his film engaging well past the point that it should have any real right to be. It gives the film a certain drifting quality, even if one knows that something more momentous is waiting in the wings.

Chabrol, who also co-wrote the script with Cécile Maistre, based his story in some measure upon the sensational case of famous architect Stanford White's murder at Madison Square Garden's rooftop theater in 1906. A classic "murder of the century" case, the White murder had a plethora of salacious details for titillation, a number of which Chabrol cannily appropriates for his own scenario. Set in the present day in Lyon, A Girl Cut in Two seems at first like another portrait of an ennui-cloaked artiste, whose fame and fortune no longer excites him. Charles Saint-Denis (François Berléand, excellent in his understatement here just as he was in Tell No One) is an aging novelist of incomparable fame living the perfect life. He lives on a beautiful estate, is feted for his work almost nonstop, has a wife who doesn't appear to notice or care about his habitual flirting, and the money to do essentially whatever he wants. Being a famous novelist on the prowl, it doesn't take long for Saint-Denis to zero in on one of Lyon's most attractive single females, the quite young and innocently beautiful Gabrielle Deneige (Ludivine Sagnier).

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Tell No One Review


OK
Sometimes it requires the eyes of a foreigner to make the old new again. In adapting American crime writer Harlan Coben's 2001 novel Tell No One, French filmmaker Guillaume Canet brings a distancing Gallic fracturedness to a straightforward mystery. By doing so, Canet adds layers that probably weren't there in the original story but also puts us at a distance from its more pulp elements, which are left adrift in this calmly-paced homage to Hitchcock's wrong-man scenarios. An odd policier, Tell No One isn't without its rewards, but is also certainly not without problems.

Unfolding with fecund ripeness in a long and languorous day and evening in the French countryside, where some siblings and their respective others share a meal and sharp-edged conversation at the old family house, the film plays with the notion of barely-concealed secrets and a hint of rottenness. When Alex Beck (Francois Cluzet) chases his wife Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) through a forested pathway lined with lushly blooming flowers, the scene is romantic but weighted with death -- it wouldn't surprise you to find out that the soil was so rich due to bodies being buried there. Like the childhood sweethearts they once were, Alex and Margot swim playfully in a small pond and then coil up naked in the warm night air on a floating raft. She goes ashore; there are sounds of a struggle. Alex, panicked, swims for the dock only to get whacked unconscious by an unseen assailant.

Continue reading: Tell No One Review

The Transporter 2 Review


Weak
Michael Bay, the reigning champ of crappy action films, once said, "I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime." So it is with The Transporter 2, an inoffensive, over-the-top action flick composed of wild car chases and staggering improbabilities that are sure to delight 13-year-old boys everywhere -- and no one else.

The reason for this is simple. Unlike the rest of us, 13-year-old boys haven't yet developed an immunity to mindless spectacle. They haven't been around long enough to realize it's their job as moviegoers to cluck and fuss every time a director tries to pull one over on the audience. Instead of feeling cheated when implausible scenarios pile up and ridiculous actions beget even more ridiculous reactions, 13-year-old boys hoot in approval. The explosions, the fights, the hot chicks, that's enough for them. It's a good thing, too, because that's all The Transporter 2 has.

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The School Of Flesh Review


Terrible
School's out at The School of Flesh, a ridiculous and banal French melodrama about an older woman obsessed with a younger, male, bisexual prostitute. You know, just like in real life. Utterly without point, unless you consider Martinez's butt, which is in every other scene. Based on a Japanese novel -- how d'ya like that?

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The Chorus Review


Weak
Manipulative, maudlin filmmaking knows no cultural boundaries, and further proof of imports' potential for derivative corniness can be found in The Chorus (Les Choristes), Christophe Barratier's directorial debut - a runaway hit in its native France - about an inspirational music teacher at a boarding school for delinquent kids in 1949 France. An embarrassingly mushy story of an ordinary guy's yeoman efforts to change the world one rebellious rascal at a time, it's a movie that disingenuously invokes and exploits Nazi war crimes and child abuse in service of a feel-good fable. Cloying from start to finish, it's so drenched in syrupy sentimentality - from its plethora of quaint small-town Parisian details to its bludgeoning good vs. evil set-up - that one barely needs to read the subtitles to recognize its utilization of every convention found in Mr. Holland's Opus, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Dangerous Minds, and innumerable other films in Hollywood's trite, faux-uplifting "good teacher-bad student" sub-genre.

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

Place Vendôme Review


Good
This French thriller gives us Catherine Deneuve at the top of her game, but unfortunately it gives her little to do. Newly widowed and permanently insane and alcoholic, she finds herself in the possession of seven enormous diamonds -- certainly stolen -- and has to muddle her way through an attempt to sell them. Soon enough she's in this together with her dead husband's much younger mistress (Emmanuelle Seigner), and while no one wants to pony up cash, everyone would be glad to take the diamonds off their hands.

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The Transporter Review


Good
With the goofiest title of the year so far - The Transporter is a prime example of pure and unadulterated popcorn trash cinema.

The plot of The Transporter never extends beyond the borders of a video game story. Basically, if you need something - or someone - transported from one place to another, you drop a call to Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin (Jason Statham) and his "tricked-out" BMW to deliver the goods. But, remember - before you hire Mr. Frank for one of your mysterious and sometimes dangerous tasks - you must remember his three golden rules.

Continue reading: The Transporter Review

Francois Berleand

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Francois Berleand Movies

The Concert Movie Review

The Concert Movie Review

This riotous French farce stirs in both Russian mob action and some strong emotion in...

Transporter 3 Trailer

Transporter 3 Trailer

Transporter 3 sees Jason Statham return as Frank Martin the 'specialist' delivery man, employed by...

A Girl Cut In Two Movie Review

A Girl Cut In Two Movie Review

Quite a good portion of Claude Chabrol's tasty cocktail of romance and jealousy, A Girl...

Tell No One Movie Review

Tell No One Movie Review

Sometimes it requires the eyes of a foreigner to make the old new again. In...

The Transporter 2 Movie Review

The Transporter 2 Movie Review

Michael Bay, the reigning champ of crappy action films, once said, "I make movies for...

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The Chorus Movie Review

The Chorus Movie Review

Manipulative, maudlin filmmaking knows no cultural boundaries, and further proof of imports' potential for derivative...

The Transporter Movie Review

The Transporter Movie Review

With the goofiest title of the year so far - The Transporter is a prime...

The Transporter 2 Movie Review

The Transporter 2 Movie Review

Few bad movies are more aggravating than a sequel that betrays everything which made its...

The Transporter Movie Review

The Transporter Movie Review

Adrenaline-fueled and mirthfully over-the-top, "The Transporter" is the kind of action movie that winks at...

Romance Movie Review

Romance Movie Review

"Romance" is the kind of French movie that can turn people off from French cinema...

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