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.
Continue reading: The Concert Review
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
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).
Continue reading: A Girl Cut In Two Review
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 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.
Continue reading: The Transporter 2 Review
Continue reading: The School Of Flesh Review
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
Continue reading: Place Vendôme Review
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
Few bad movies are more aggravating than a sequel that betrays everything which made its predecessor entertaining.
The B-movie, wild-ride brilliance of 2002's "The Transporter" stemmed from the filmmakers (producer-writer Luc Besson, co-writer Robert Mark Kamen and especially director/fight-choreographer Cory Yuen) not letting the plot get in the way of the tongue-in-cheek, out-sized action of incredible car chases and slick kung-fu. The flick embraced its own simplistic silliness -- revolving around a glibly stoic ex-Special Forces operative who makes a living delivering anything, anywhere with no questions asked -- and had a ball doing it.
Star Jason Statham retains his scruffy but well-dressed, bad-ass smirky-cool in "The Transporter 2," but he's continually tripped up by ridiculous, amateur-hour car chases and crashes (on the level of old "CHiPs" episodes), by over-choreographed fight scenes (so badly shot and edited that all you can comprehend is motion), and by the insultingly half-baked machinations of a convoluted screenplay.
Continue reading: The Transporter 2 Review
Adrenaline-fueled and mirthfully over-the-top, "The Transporter" is the kind of action movie that winks at the audience in a "we know this is stupid, just have fun" way that big, dumb stunts-and-guns summer blockbusters like "XXX" are sorely lacking.
In "XXX," star Vin Diesel seems to think he's genuinely cooler than cool and director Rob Cohen treats his video-game-fodder plot with laughable seriousness.
But in this kaplewy-and-kung-fu fun-ride, equally tough but tongue-in-cheek star Jason Statham ("Snatch," "The One") and martial arts choreographer-turned director Cory Yuen so clearly revel in their picture's excesses that you can imagine Yuen hollering "Cut," and Statham smiling back at him like a kid on a roller coaster, saying "Let's do that again!"
Continue reading: The Transporter Review
"Romance" is the kind of French movie that can turn people off from French cinema altogether.
Not just the subtitle-averse, mind you, but anyone who isn't an arthouse snob, anyone who doesn't like foreign films simply because they suggest a sophistication American movies don't.
A dark character study of a beautiful, insecure young woman named Marie (Caroline Ducey) whose self-respect is shattered when her boyfriend loses interest in sex, the core idea here is a intriguing one -- the deep exploration of the natural feminine need to feel desired, gone very wrong. But "Romance" serves its anguish without optimism, making it almost impossible to get behind its hopeless heroine.
Continue reading: Romance Review
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Badu used her opening monologue at Sunday night’s awards to tell Azalea, “what you doin' is definitely not rap.”