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Our Paradise Review


Very Good
Gifted French filmmaker Morel explores fairly dark themes in his films, refusing to make things easy for his characters. And this strikingly involving film is no exception, following a relationship that starts out rather bleakly and gets increasingly unnerving.

At age 30, Vassili (Rideau) works the streets in Paris but finds that his clients are getting older. So he starts quietly killing them. When he rescues 20-ish Angelo (Durdaine) after an attack, the two start to fall for each other even as they continue pulling tricks. And although Angelo asks him to stop, Vassili continues murdering their johns. So they leave the city to see Vassili's friend Anna (Dalle)and her young son (Morisset). Together they head to an idyllic mountain cabin to visit Vassili's mentor Victor (Flamand), where Vassili has a terrible idea.

Continue reading: Our Paradise Review

Cosmopolis Review


Good
Artful, intelligent and wilfully obtuse, Cronenberg uses his skill to hold our interest through this oddity of a film. But it's difficult to engage with such fragmented film, especially when its big themes are hidden in overwritten dialog.

Eric (Pattinson) is a 28-year-old billionaire who wants a haircut. As he climbs into his high-tech limousine, his security chief (Durand) warns about traffic problems because the US President's in Manhattan. En route, Eric continues his routine, meeting his computer expert (Baruchel), theoretician (Morton) and financial advisor (Hampshire), who talks to him during his daily prostate exam.

He also sees his new wife (Gadon) several times, has sex with two women (Binoche and McKenzie), endures an anarchists' riot, gets a pie in the face and confronts a man (Giamatti) who wants to kill him.

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Paulo Branco, David Cronenberg, Don Delillo, Emily Hampshire, Martin Katz, Paul Giamatti, Robert Pattinson and Sarah Gadon - Paulo Branco, Paul Giamatti, Don DeLillo, Juliet Binoche, Robert Pattinson, David Cronenberg, Emily Hampshire, Sarah Gadon and Martin Katz Friday 25th May 2012 'Cosmopolis' premiere during the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival

Guest, Paulo Branco and Cannes Film Festival

Sarah Gadon, David Cronenberg, Emily Hampshire, Martin Katz, Paul Giamatti, Paulo Branco and Robert Pattinson - Sarah Gadon, Robert Pattinson, David Cronenberg, Emily Hampshire, Paul Giamatti, Don Dellilo, Paulo Branco and Martin Katz Friday 25th May 2012 'Cosmopolis' photocall during the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival

Sarah Gadon, David Cronenberg, Emily Hampshire, Martin Katz, Paul Giamatti, Paulo Branco and Robert Pattinson
Sarah Gadon, David Cronenberg, Emily Hampshire, Paul Giamatti and Robert Pattinson
Emily Hampshire, David Cronenberg and Sarah Gadon
Emily Hampshire, David Cronenberg and Sarah Gadon
Emily Hampshire, Robert Pattinson and Sarah Gadon
Emily Hampshire, David Cronenberg and Sarah Gadon

Paulo Branco Tuesday 10th January 2012 15th Annual Toronto Film Critics Association Awards at The Carlu Toronto, Canada

Paulo Branco
Paulo Branco

Mysteries Of Lisbon Review


Excellent
Based on Camilo Castelo Branco's 1854 novel, late filmmaker Ruiz's ambitiously layered drama is relentlessly difficult to follow. And yet it's so gorgeously assembled that it will keep die-hard film fans happy for all four and a half hours.

Teenager Joao (Arrais) has no idea who his father is, he doesn't even have a last name. Raised by Father Dinis (Luz), he learns that he's the illegitimate son of a countess (Bastos) whose vile husband (Jeronimo) keeps her as a maid.

It also turns out that Joao is actually Pedro, son of a nobleman (Baptista). As the years pass, Pedro (later played by Pimental) finds his life deeply entwined with the dashing Alberto (Pereira), while Father Dinis reveals surprising connections through his own history.

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The Inner Life Of Martin Frost Review


Good
The work of Paul Auster can be an acquired taste, but his Inner Life of Martin Frost is so sweet and harmless that even the most jaded of moviegoers ought to find it a breezy way to spend 90 minutes, lost in Auster's weird fantasy land.

Martin Frost (David Thewlis) is a novelist, and he's off to the country for a vacation after finishing his latest book and to work on a new story. No sooner does he fall asleep, though, that he wakes up to find someone else in his bed, Claire Martin (Irène Jacob), who initially says she was lent the house by the same guy who lent it to Martin. Funny coincidence, eh? Just like their names: His first is Martin, her last is Martin. It helps that she's a hot, exotic French beauty with an active libido, and soon she's got her top off as they roll around in the sheets.

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Love Songs Review


Good
Christopher Honore's Love Songs is an atmosphere of dalliance without any real characters to speak of. It's a light and playful story about sex and love but doesn't really say anything specific about either one. The actors, all proven performers, walk through it with a flirtatious candor, but never let in on what they're after or what they're flirting with besides each other. It so badly wants to be revisionist Godard but it ends up sub-Lelouch at best. Even so, the talented, young director floors it and manages to evade worn-out sexual archetypes with a gleeful glint in his eye.

Has a director ever gone so 180 as Honore, last seen offering the inside-out Dans Paris. Love Songs, his third and weakest film, builds on an endlessly-trampled possibility: Is it conceivable to have a relationship with three people where everyone happily coexists? As always, there's a couple at the middle, Ismaël (Louis Garrel) and Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), who are happy and in love but want to try their luck with another person. Enter Alice (Regular Lovers' Clotilde Hesme), a co-worker of Ismaël's. Alice and Julie fool around, and so do Alice and Ismaël, but Julie is unsatisfied with the experiment, which might explain why she shares the news with her entire family.

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A Few Days In September Review


Bad
Lots of bad things seem to happen in a matter of "days" in the month of September. It took Four Days in September for Alan Arkin's kidnapping drama to unfold, but only One Day for the Munich Olympic hostage catastrophe to pan out. 9/11 would be the backdrop for 7 Days in September. 9/11 is the subjext again here, but director Santiago Amigorena must have sensed that primary numbers were getting scarce, saddling his film with the awful title A Few Days in September. You know, give or take.

The title isn't all that's awful about this film, a mess of a story that wants desperately to be an espionage thriller. The tale centers around a missing spy named Elliot. On the hunt for him is Irène (Juliette Binoche, perhaps never more out of character) and two of Elliot's kids, American David (Tom Riley) and French Orlando (Sara Forestier), actually step-relations.

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Dans Paris Review


Very Good
Can we take a moment and talk about Romaine Duris? Not to stray away from the subject of film, but where did this guy come from? The first time I saw him was in a film called L'Auberge Espagnole back in 2003, playing a humdrum student abroad living with a bevy of bodacious babes and a few quixotic chaps in a Spanish apartment. As it were, he also ended up in an American film that very year, James Ivory's vastly underrated Le Divorce. Impressions were made and when his name made a cast list, an interested "hmph" pressed its way out of my vocal chords. Then Jacques Adiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped came out, and things changed.

Adiard's film wasn't just a great movie; it was a fully-functional jive. What still haunts me is the way Duris moved along to every funky camera move and dynamic scene with such disheveled, transcendent grace. The movie itself breathed in unison with Duris', performance making it easily the best French remake of a movie starring Harvey Keitel ever.

Continue reading: Dans Paris Review

Changing Times Review


Very Good
A man is buried under a heap of mud and dirt within the first five minutes of Andre Techine's Changing Times. It's not quite a mudslide since it's not on any sort of angle, but it piles on a man until a group of workers have to dive into the hole to dig him out. Not surprisingly, this event punctuates the subdued surreal nature of the film.

Antoine (Gérard Depardieu) has a nice job. He oversees construction for a company who builds media centers all over the world, using his skills as an engineer and a negotiator to keep projects rolling. These skills were not used to his advantage earlier in his life when he dated Cécile (Catherine Deneuve), who now makes her living as a radio show host and a wife to Nathan (Gilbert Melki), a renowned doctor. Fate, as it tends to do, intervenes (interferes) and sends Antoine to Tangiers, where Cécile lives. At the same time, Cécile and Nathan's son Sami (Malik Zidi) and his partner Nadia (Lubna Azabal) come home for vacation time. By vacation, they actually mean for Sami to visit his secret boyfriend and for Nadia to visit her sister, Aïcha (Lubna again). The film mainly pivots on Antoine's quest to get Cécile back, which begins as gazing from afar and eventually becomes family interaction.

Continue reading: Changing Times Review

El Mar Review


Very Good
Though brightly lit by the harsh Mallorcan sun, El Mar is a film of tremendous darkness, a troubling meditation on history and violence and sickness of both the body and the soul. Set during the difficult days of the Spanish Civil War and then ten years later in the first years after World War II, it considers the fates of three children of violence who grow into young adults without successfully processing all the horrors they've seen.

As children, Francisca, Ramallo, and Manuel witness seemingly random firing squads in their dirt-poor village. Members of their own families are killed before their eyes, and when another child taunts Ramallo, saying his father was a bad guy, Ramallo has no problem with killing the kid by bashing his head against a rock and then stabbing him in the throat for good measure.

Continue reading: El Mar Review

The Uncertainty Principle (2002) Review


Weak
Social class, prideful martyrdom, and a dollop of beautifully expansive landscape weave a tale of operatic proportions, both by plot and physically exhaustive standards, in veteran Manoel de Oliveira's latest exploration of motivation. Marrying for money instead of childhood love, Camila (Leonor Baldaque) naïvely assumes the supposed epic and selfless attributes of Joan of Arc to deal with her husband's infidelity and the consistent treatment of being irrelevant to the very people that encouraged the doomed match.

When The Uncertainty Principle isn't relishing placing Camila within the bleakly lush settings of her prison, it takes the time to humorously discuss philosophical ideas with an energy that keeps character interaction enjoyable. It can never be fully surmised if Camila's passivity is an effort at provoking guilt out of those in her environment or if she is internalizing some imagined voice emanating from the cobwebbed statue she visits frequently, so her erratic impulses are continually amusing. Also well executed is the slowly mounting, subtly-played tension between her lifelong crush Jose (Ricardo Trêpa) and apathetic husband Antonio (Ivo Canelas) for the possible fate of the woman they share.

Continue reading: The Uncertainty Principle (2002) Review

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Paulo Branco Movies

Our Paradise Movie Review

Our Paradise Movie Review

Gifted French filmmaker Morel explores fairly dark themes in his films, refusing to make things...

Cosmopolis Movie Review

Cosmopolis Movie Review

Artful, intelligent and wilfully obtuse, Cronenberg uses his skill to hold our interest through this...

Mysteries of Lisbon Movie Review

Mysteries of Lisbon Movie Review

Based on Camilo Castelo Branco's 1854 novel, late filmmaker Ruiz's ambitiously layered drama is relentlessly...

Dans Paris Movie Review

Dans Paris Movie Review

Can we take a moment and talk about Romaine Duris? Not to stray away from...

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It's Easier for a Camel... Movie Review

It's Easier for a Camel... Movie Review

To paraphrase Bogart, the problems of a bunch of rich people don't add up to...

El Mar Movie Review

El Mar Movie Review

Though brightly lit by the harsh Mallorcan sun, El Mar is a film of tremendous...

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