Patrice Ledoux

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The Valet Review


Weak
After a lifetime of carefully calibrating small-idea comedies, French director Francis Veber hits his biggest movie to date. Already planned to be remade in America by the Farrelly brothers and Veber himself, The Valet marks the first time where Veber's deft skills at wild-eyed slapstick and quick-witted jabs have failed him in his endless fascination with the comedy of manners.

It all starts with a poor valet named Francois Pignon (Gad Elmalah), who wants to be the knight-in-shining-armor to his longtime friend and crush Emile (Virginie Ledoyen). Emile needs money to keep open her quaint little bookshop, money that Francois is sadly without. Enter Mr. Levasseur (the great Daniel Auteuil), a philandering corporate dud, and Elena (stunner Alice Taglioni), his model girlfriend, who get photographed together by accident, with Pignon right next to them. The scheme gets thick: The businessman will stake the dough for Emile's store if Francois pretends to be the model's lowly boyfriend. The tent for the media circus is quickly erected as Christine (Kristen Scott Thomas), the businessman's loaded wife, mounts her own investigation into the validity of the relationship.

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Empire Of The Wolves Review


Bad
Every once in awhile a movie comes along that is so nonsensical, so random, so stupid even, that it simply defies reviewing. 2005's edition is Empire of the Wolves, a film which appears to have gone straight to video despite starring Jean Reno.

The film opens interestingly, almost Matrix-like, as a woman (Arly Jover) is seen undergoing some kind of treatment for amnesia -- she can remember just about everyone except her husband. Increasingly suspicious and susceptible to flashbacks, she help from a psychiatrist who turns her on to the scars behind her ears and on her scalp. An x-ray reveals she's full of metal pins. Someone has done a major plastic surgery number on the gal. An hour into the 128-minute affair we get the film's primary revelation: Jover's Anna was once Turkish!

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Un, Deux, Trois, Soleil Review


Good
What's real in Un, deux, trois, soleil is the teeming multiracial housing project in the slums of Marseilles where Victorine (Anouk Grinberg) struggles through her childhood and early adulthood. What's not real in this feverish dreamscape of a film is just about everything else. The story seems to unwind -- and then tangle -- inside Victorine's troubled mind as she seeks the affection her parents can't provide in the back seats of the cars of teenage Moroccan gangs and in the arms of a petty thief.

And mon dieu, what parents she has! Victorine's mother (Myriam Boyer) is quite insane, and her father (Marcello Mastroianni) is a raging alcoholic who spends most of the movie hunched over a bar drinking pastis. They torment Victorine at every stage of her young life, and we see every stage, with Grinberg acting 12, 16, 20, or 25 as the scene demands. With just the change of an outfit and some altered body language, we get Victorine as a middle schooler in love with her daddy, as a married woman with several children (it's hard to tell how many), as a tough teenager looking for trouble, and as a preteen willing to give up her virginity to anyone who'll be nice to her. Linear chronology flies out the window, and you're never quite sure what you're seeing, especially when dead characters reappear to chat with Victorine or address the audience. It's a tour de force for Grinberg, although some of its power dissipates in the overall confusion of the storytelling.

Continue reading: Un, Deux, Trois, Soleil Review

The Big Blue Review


Good
No wonder audiences didn't connect with this film, an early Luc Besson-Jean Reno collaboration that explores the mysterious world of deep deep diving. Oddly, The Big Blue is somehow a love story as well, with Rosanna Arquette and Jean-Marc Barr making goo-goo eyes between his deep dives and swims with the dolphins. The Reno-Barr rivalry (who can dive deeper) consitutes the bulk of the film, as well as its most dramatic moments, but the strange dolphin symbolism, blue-tinted photography, and self-important chest-beating will likely leave most viewers out to sea.

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The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc Review


OK
Milla J., stick to the singing career.

Luc Besson, imaginative mind behind such notable works of art such as The Professional, La Femme Nikita, and The Big Blue, has created such a memorable mess of things with his newest release, The Messenger. A car crash of a movie headed straight for the Days of Heaven territory.

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Just Visiting Review


Good
In 1993, director Jean-Marie Poiré created a small comedy sensation about two 12th century Frenchmen (played by Jean Reno and popular French comic actor Christian Clavier) who are mistakenly transported to the modern world. The film made nearly $100 million worldwide and was never released theatrically in the US.

It's eight years later, and Poiré has directed another small comedy about two 12th century Frenchmen (hmm, played by Jean Reno and that same popular French guy) who are mistakenly transported to Chicago 2000. Hey, wait a minute!

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The Closet Review


Good
In this lighthearted, unpretentious comedy, Daniel Auteuil sheds the intensity of his previous roles -- in Les Voleurs, Ma saison préférée, Manon of the Spring, to name just a few -- and plays a shy, crooked-nosed accountant too boring to be tolerated by just about anyone. His François Pignon -- an appropriate name for somebody who is about to be fired, literally, for being a bore -- is a harmless placeholder who has no ambitions and no misconceptions about who he is.

Pignon's wife couldn't stand him and left two years ago, yet he still phones regularly to her and their indifferent teenage son. After learning that he is soon to be fired, Pignon, distraught, returns home and meets that "perfect stranger" we all want to meet someday: The one who steps into our life and brings magic into it. From that moment on, the neighbor, Belone (Michel Aumont), navigates Pignon's life like a chess game.

Continue reading: The Closet Review

The Fifth Element Review


Weak
I have seen the future, and it is very French.

What can I say about The Fifth Element that you haven't probably heard already? Not much, but I will say that The Fifth Element is a mess -- a mess of grand proportions, full of dazzling colors, lights, explosions, outfits, and... hairstyles. Designer John-Paul Gaultier's involvement with Luc Besson's creation (the most expensive French production ever) is well-known, as is Milla Jovovich's role as Leeloo, supposedly the most perfect being (but I wouldn't have pegged her as being so flaky).

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'Modern Family' Casts TV's First Transgender Child Actor

'Modern Family' Casts TV's First Transgender Child Actor

Jackson Millarker will star in episode ‘A Stereotypical Day’ set to air in the US on Wednesday evening.

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'Will And Grace' Comes Back For Mini Episode To Voice Support For Hillary Clinton

'Will And Grace' Comes Back For Mini Episode To Voice Support For Hillary Clinton

The cast had teased something big was coming and all was revealed on Monday night.

Drake Launches Intense New Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'

Drake Launches Intense New Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'

The rapper teams up with Apple Music on his latest project.

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Patrice Ledoux Movies

The Valet Movie Review

The Valet Movie Review

After a lifetime of carefully calibrating small-idea comedies, French director Francis Veber hits his biggest...

Un, deux, trois, soleil Movie Review

Un, deux, trois, soleil Movie Review

What's real in Un, deux, trois, soleil is the teeming multiracial housing project in the...

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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc Movie Review

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc Movie Review

Milla J., stick to the singing career.Luc Besson, imaginative mind behind such notable works of...

Just Visiting Movie Review

Just Visiting Movie Review

In 1993, director Jean-Marie Poiré created a small comedy sensation about two 12th century Frenchmen...

The Closet Movie Review

The Closet Movie Review

In this lighthearted, unpretentious comedy, Daniel Auteuil sheds the intensity of his previous roles --...

The Fifth Element Movie Review

The Fifth Element Movie Review

I have seen the future, and it is very French.What can I say about The...

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