Laurent Petin

Laurent Petin

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Bon Voyage Review


Weak
Roger Ebert once wrote that he would love to see a behind the scenes look at how a bad movie got made. Though it's certainly not the worst movie of 2004, people might get a kick out of a look at the French drama Bon Voyage and how the cast and crew turned a plot revolving around World War II, nuclear explosives, escaped convicts, and unrequited love into such a lifeless experience.

My nominee for the culprit would be the plot, which is convoluted and plodding. In short, Paris is in flux as the Nazis make their advances in 1940. A spoiled, petulant actress (Isabelle Adjani) travels with her new beau of convenience, the Prime Minister, played by a slim Gérard Depardieu. Meanwhile, her childhood friend (Grégori Derangère) - whom she inadvertently framed for murder - has escaped from jail.

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Murderous Maids Review


Very Good
One of history's most perverse accounts of murder, naturally it took place in France.

Murderous Maids tells the story of two sisters that are just a little to close and a little too sociopathic... which means plenty of incestual lesbianism capped off with the murder of their employer. This story -- a true-ish account that occured in the 1930s -- was told in film once before in the lackluster Sister My Sister, and it keeps cropping up in plays, books, and popular culture. In fact, this version of the film is based on a novelization of the events called L'affaire Papin.

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Rosetta Review


Terrible
Fair warning! Don't eat a big meal before you watch Rosetta. If you thought the handheld camera motion from The Blair Witch Project was bad, you'll be stumbling out of this one with a splitting headache and nausea that only Dramamine can prevent or projectile vomiting can cure. At least in Blair Witch the technique served a purpose that added an element of mystery to the film. Rosetta, on the other hand, was so dull and convoluted that the hand held style fails miserably in its attempt to create a "realistic atmosphere." Directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne should issue a warning for theaters to block off the first eight rows of every location that this movie opens so that nobody gets too close to the screen, plus they ought to provide those handy little barf bags, just in case you have a weak stomach like me.

Rosetta, played by newcomer Emilie Dequenne, is a seventeen year-old adolescent suffering through a miserable life in Seraing, Belgium. She lives in a trailer park with an alcoholic mother who prostitutes herself for booze and food. Her home barely has running water and cannot even provide shelter from the cold wind. Despite her horrid circumstances, the film chronicles her incredible perseverance and strength as she attempts to get a job that will provide food and rent money for her desolate family to survive.

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Monsieur Ibrahim Review


Very Good
Because this story is so intent on making the adoption of a young Jewish boy by an older Muslim man plausible, characters and situation had to be contrived to clear away logical and cultural impediments. Despite questions of credibility, director François Depeyron achieves more of what he aimed to do than his underwritten screenplay would seem to justify.

He gives us a Paris neighborhood for the underclass, a place where prostitutes take up their posts along the street and where young Moses (Pierre Boulanger in a first time role) watches them ply their trade from his modest apartment where he lives with his father (Gilbert Melik). Instead of wanting the latest board game or bicycle he's seen in a store, this 13-year old develops a strong hankering for one of the women on the street. Driven by hormonal awakenings, he breaks open his piggy bank and bravely offers what it contained to the lady of his dreams. She turns him down, but he's taken for deflowering by another streetwalker with a more generous attitude.

Continue reading: Monsieur Ibrahim Review

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Laurent Petin Movies

Bon Voyage Movie Review

Bon Voyage Movie Review

Roger Ebert once wrote that he would love to see a behind the scenes look...

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Monsieur Ibrahim Movie Review

Monsieur Ibrahim Movie Review

Because this story is so intent on making the adoption of a young Jewish boy...

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