Patrick Godeau

Patrick Godeau

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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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The Bridesmaid Review


Good
At first glance, she doesn't seem like much -- maybe it's the dress. When Philippe (Benoit Magimel) -- the slim, self-satisfied, smart-but-stupid chump in Claude Chabrol's psycho-drama The Bridesmaid -- sees Senta (Laura Smet), a bridesmaid at his sister's wedding, he's intrigued by something in her direct stare and later, flirty brush-off. However, when Senta appears unannounced at the door of his mother's home (where Philippe, a mama's boy practically smothered by her constant compliments) a few hours later and then proceeds to strip off the wet dress and have her reckless way with him, he becomes positively interested. When later she starts in with all that talk about how they're fated for each other and, hey, what if they each committed a murder to prove their love, he remains interested because, well, he doesn't have much else going on in his life.

In Smet and Magimel, Chabrol has found willing partners for his bleak little tale -- like the director, they keep things under wraps, playing things close to the vest, which is harder than it may sound, given the high drama plot, taken from a Ruth Rendell novel. Philippe is a cipher straight from a detective story of years past, working as a numbers guy for a contractor in a small French town, he's completely bottled up inside his trim suits and slightly superior demeanor, just aching for something to come along and bust things up. After easing us into Philippe's life with some minor melodrama involving the three women in Philippe's house (mother, two sisters), Chabrol drops Senta in to knock Philippe out of his rut, and she's perfect for the job.

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The Butterfly (2002) Review


Very Good
First there was that disparate-age buddy movie, Monsieur Ibrahim, in which an older man and a boy pair up. Now, before Ibrahim is out of theatres comes another in the bonding genre. It's still a matter of a wide gap in ages but this one deals with an older man and an 8 year old girl. The matchup in the former was made possible by a plot point that removed the young boy's real father from the scenario -- in The Butterfly it's a never-home mother that makes the attention-starved child force herself on the old man downstairs.

The problem for distinguished actor Michel Serrault (Les Diaboliques, 1954) is in withholding his adoration of co-star cutie Claire Bouanich (as Elsa, in her screen debut) long enough to portray ornery neighbor Julien, a self-contained entomologist who is too absorbed in his butterfly collection to welcome a child's attentions. Pretending to see her as an over-inquisitive annoyance demanded professional distance in order to allow the dramatic design to ensnare him (and us) into her magnetic little net.

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Sade Review


OK
It would be hard for anyone to follow the critically acclaimed Quills, a vibrant portrayal of the Marquis de Sade, brilliantly coming alive through the talents of Geoffrey Rush. As a point of interest, the recently released Sade was actually made in the same year (2000). Having another strike against it for being foreign with subtitles, it had to take its time coming over to the United States. Being based on a similar subject, and created at the same time, it's nearly impossible to discuss without some sort of comparison.

This Sade (Daniel Auteuil) is no less seductively charismatic than Rush was, but he has less to do, as Sade chooses to focus more attention on the cultural climate than any specific, provocative interaction between characters. Rush was allowed more leeway to display range from torment to arrogance while Auteuil's Sade is a bit too impervious to his surroundings. What they do both achieve is providing an easy attraction. Neither have the stereotypically sexual physique the average woman clambers for, but their wit and intelligence are arousing. The acting isn't necessarily better in the English counterpart, but there is more weight given to individual motivation so that you're more attuned to personal struggles in the progressively oppressive Napoleonic era.

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Red Lights Review


Excellent
Red Lights consists of a lot of driving, but unlike those trips you took with your folks and their array of Air Supply and Anne Murray cassettes, it's never boring. This movie is a riveting look at manhood and marriage. It's also legitimately frightening.

A Parisian couple in their 40s set off on a lengthy trip to pick up their kids from camp in Southern France. Hélène (Carole Bouquet) is a successful attorney who is a beloved, crucial part of her firm. Antoine (Jeane Pierre Darroussin) works for an insurance company, and it's very apparent that this trip has a very different meaning for him. In the movie's early moments, you see that he's dissatisfied with his role in the relationship. He's waiting on her to arrive; she's the one with the demands. He leaves work without any notice.

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Patrick Godeau Movies

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...

The Bridesmaid Movie Review

The Bridesmaid Movie Review

At first glance, she doesn't seem like much -- maybe it's the dress. When Philippe...

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The Butterfly (2002) Movie Review

The Butterfly (2002) Movie Review

First there was that disparate-age buddy movie, Monsieur Ibrahim, in which an older man and...

Red Lights Movie Review

Red Lights Movie Review

Red Lights consists of a lot of driving, but unlike those trips you took with...

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